Nelson Reed 8-04/B -- A Journey

Today I picked up a pair of Nelson Reed 8-04/B speakers in SoCal from a guy on Craigslist. He and I had been going back and forth for a bit about his listing, but decided it would be best to meet up in person. I was already suspicious going into this transaction because

A) His post was a copy/paste of this one, which led me to believe I was buying the CM, not B model
B) English was not his first language so almost every question was answered 'Yes', even though they were not Yes/No questions
C) He had no photos of his actual speakers

Before meeting, he told me there would be no way to test the speakers, but assured me they were in 100% working order. He wanted $700 for them.

10:00 am rolls around and we meet in a parking lot near Disneyland. The seller is a very nice man that indeed speaks almost no English so we immediately jump into looking at the goods.

"Quincy, these aren't 8-04/CM speakers like your listing states. These are are 8-02/Bs, an older model," I said.

"Yes."

Quincy was a man of few words. I didn't want the B series, but hey, maybe I could get a good price out of him. Let's see what's under these grilles...

I was immediately struck by the differing tweeters. Quincy tells me one of the tweeters went out long ago so he replaced it with a Focal model. The problem was that this wasn't a Focal tweeter, it was made by Infinity and either way, neither would work well with the crossover being built for ScanSpeak 2008s. The Volt woofers looked to be in good condition and so did the ATC mid ranges. I noticed the coating on the ATC's had faded over the years, but overall, with the exception of one tweeter, the drivers all looked fine. Maybe I could rebuild these things in a new cabinet?

"I hate to say it Quincy, but these are worth $150 tops to me. They're the wrong model, the speaker bodies aren't in great shape, the back panel is cracked on one, and you've butchered one of the tweeters..."

"No no. They sound clear. Really good. $250."

At this point I was ready to walk, but something kept me around. Maybe it was my desire to hear these ATC drivers or maybe it was because I felt like taking on a project. I offered him $200 and we made a deal. We packed the speakers up and I made my way home.

My stereo system is upstairs in my house. Im a single guy in my 30s so I didn't have anyone around to help me lug these 100lb speakers around the house for their first test run - I had to get innovative. After slowly lowering each one from my truck onto a creeper, I got the pair inside. From there, I wrapped each in a thick moving blanket and secured them with a tie down strap. Attached to the tie down strap is a yellow bridle I use for pulling vehicles out of the mud and speakers up flights of stairs.

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Success! Worked like a charm. Pulled these suckers up one by one, nice and steady with the drivers facing up. No damage, no problem, and I got the speakers connected into my system faster than I had anticipated.

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First order of business was to check the fuses and wire everything up. My current system:

Magnepan 1.7 speakers
McIntosh C41 preamp
Bel Canto EVO 200.2 power amp (Tripath)

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Magnepans are out, Nelson Reeds are in. The fuses? Well, that was one of my first mistakes. I should have checked them...

3 of the 4 were blown. 2 of the blown ones were wrapped in foil (😂). Boy, this isn't looking good. I swap the fuses and jump the terminals since I am not going to bi-amp. I notice only one speaker had the OEM jumpers, the other had none. Welp, guess ill be making a couple quick jumpers.

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I double check everything is well connected, volume set to low, and well placed for my listening pleasure. I fire up Roon and put on a couple of test tracks. I immediately notice a problem; neither tweeter is working. In fact, it sounds as if both mid-range drivers are outputting all of the high end. Maybe Quincy messed with the crossovers? I doubted it, but to be sure I needed to dig in further.

My first impression, despite the handicapped operation of these things, was that they do in fact have tons of potential. The ATC's really sang and the low end was very tight and much better than I expected. Of course, this is coming from a guy that has Magnepans so im easier to please when it comes to low end frequencies (I do have a Rythmik F12G sub on standby, though). I can see why these speakers are often spoken about as having a similar vibe to studio monitors. I just wish I had some high end frequencies to listen to...

I text Quincy and let him know he misrepresented the speakers. Tweeters are toast, fuses were blown, I sense a light distortion coming from both speakers, though I can't be sure if its actually the drivers or something else. He tells me he tested these before he brought them to me this morning. Ya, im calling BS. The fact that one speaker was missing jumpers means he either tried bi-amping with jumpers on one speaker (yikes) or he didn't test at all. Come to think of it, the blown fuses would have prevented any audio from coming out so ya, he hasn't touched these things in years (or he blew them up when he did test them).

Quincy tells me it must be a problem on my side and then goes quiet. I think I know how this ends...

Undeterred, I press on. Let's see what's inside these guys...

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Hello beautiful. Quality design on the inside, if a bit basic. Nicely dampened and everything looks unmolested.

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In one of the Stereophile reviews, the author notes a lack of bass because his B series had mismatched woofers and crossovers. I wonder if what we're seeing here on the crossover was the problem. Note this was originally an 8-02 crossover that was modified to be suitable for the 8-04.

So why aren't my tweeters working? I don't see any clear issues at hand. Could be something went bad on the crossovers, but im not an engineer nor am I very experienced with these things. Perhaps someone could help me out with that one? Let's pull the tweeter from one of these...

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These are ferro-fluid tweeters, which means they will dry out and go bad over time - or so im told. Maybe that's why this one is dead? It looks like you can still get these for about $80 from various locations so maybe ill pick up a new pair and throw them in. Let's check out this Infinity impostor Quincy put in on the other speaker...

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Sigh, yep, budget hack job. Nice.

But wait, it get's better!

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Quincy, Quincy, Quincy...just what were you thinking? Instead of, you know, trying to do this right, you went and cut a notch into the bottom of the cradle where the original was supposed to fit. 🙄 Why such little respect for something so great?

The good news is that the grilles look good. At least I have that going for me.

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And here is where the journey ends for today. I haven't decided on my next step. Do I pick up some NOS tweeters and bring these back into stock spec? How do I verify if the crossover is in good working order? Are these worth spending any more time or money on?

If you're in SoCal and want to join in on the fun, shoot me a msg. Better yet, if you're looking for a project, this very, very special set of speakers has your name on it.

So what's the moral of this story? Better due diligence? Don't buy a speaker without proper testing? If the deal is too good to be true then it probably is? I'd say all of the above. But hey, at least it was fun.

So without further adieu, a quick system shot with the Nelson Reeds hastily thrown into position (with now missing tweeters). Apologies for the messy setup, but it has been a long afternoon.

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Hi, I'm new to this forum. I'm in Socal and am interested in this type of project. I may even have close enough tweets in my box (the non ferro version). Let me know your thoughts about parting with these. Seems like the crossover caps all need to be replaced along with both tweets.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Sorry I missed your post earlier.
Have you tested the tweeters/sure they are dead? You can hook them up to your speaker cables at very low volume and see if any sound comes out. If you have a multimeter you can test for continuity (set to ohms). If you don't have one, multimeters are cheap at harbor freight/home depot/etc (eventually you would want a good one...).
Also, make sure you have the jumpers set up correctly. I didn't have tweeters working at 1st on my pair until i realized I had put the jumpers in wrong.
Did you put in the correct fuses?
They are great speakers if you can get them working.
Friends who have listened to mine have been impressed; worth fixing up IMHO.
 
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Kpatch

Junior Member
You dragged them up the stairs?!!

“So what's the moral of this story? Better due diligence? Don't buy a speaker without proper testing? If the deal is too good to be true then it probably is? I'd say all of the above. But hey, at least it was fun.”

And to the moral of the story, I’d add “If you can’t test them on-site, then don’t buy from people who don’t speak English”. You can’t understand them, they can’t understand you. (Please don’t interpret that as any sort of racist or ugly comment. I just mean it as practical advice.)

Yes.

You dragged them up the stairs?!!
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
You dragged them up the stairs?!!

“So what's the moral of this story? Better due diligence? Don't buy a speaker without proper testing? If the deal is too good to be true then it probably is? I'd say all of the above. But hey, at least it was fun.”

And to the moral of the story, I’d add “If you can’t test them on-site, then don’t buy from people who don’t speak English”. You can’t understand them, they can’t understand you. (Please don’t interpret that as any sort of racist or ugly comment. I just mean it as practical advice.)

Yes.

You dragged them up the stairs?!!
Not racist at all!;)😅.......I know what you mean; don’t buy something from someone who can’t communicate properly what’s what with a purchase (I think he knew and was shady?).
I agree on not buying before testing, unless you know the person or they are not suspect.
 

JimPA

Junior Member
I would replace the tweeters with the Hiquphon OW2F tweeters that use ferrofluid.
products

I wouldn't be concerned about the ferrofluid drying out.

The Hiquphon tweeters will work with any crossover designed to use the Scan Speak 2008 model.
They are superior to the Scan Speak 2008 tweeter.
 
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You dragged them up the stairs?!!

“So what's the moral of this story? Better due diligence? Don't buy a speaker without proper testing? If the deal is too good to be true then it probably is? I'd say all of the above. But hey, at least it was fun.”

And to the moral of the story, I’d add “If you can’t test them on-site, then don’t buy from people who don’t speak English”. You can’t understand them, they can’t understand you. (Please don’t interpret that as any sort of racist or ugly comment. I just mean it as practical advice.)

Yes.

You dragged them up the stairs?!!
Wow, I didn't realize all these comments were here!

I wasn't particularly upset about the purchase. For $200, it was worth potentially getting a pair of ATC drivers on the cheap. Unfortunately, they weren't in good condition. I just let the set go to a nice guy not far from my location. He says he's going to recondition the system so I hope he's successful!

And yes, dragged them up the stairs! I know people think that's crazy, but it got the job done and caused no damage. ;)
 
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