New-Old speakers in the house


Senior Member
I needed help to unload the Jeep the other night after dropping everything I was doing for a CL pick up. One of those times you know to just GO NOW.

I have a pair of AR-2x speakers that I have talked to a guy on CL about swapping as he likes AR and he might have something I could use but he does not want to buy them, preferring he AR-2a, (3-way vs. the 2-way 2x). He emailed about maybe something last weekend. I responded that I was kinda tied up, all in or whatever. Sat I was making lasagna for Sunday dinner for my Sister in Law since she did the turkey and all. So I had things going on. But I was also wasting time on the boards. Then I just sat down at the computer and clicked on the CL link which goes to PHL CL Electronics and I see ADS speakers. Click that NO pictures, just a model number and price. With the 1590 model number listed I immediately sent an email (the only contact). Seven minutes after they were posted. I sat and waited as the sauce simmered for the needed hour.

Then I got the call. I wanted to verify they were functional and not black. He said all is good so I got directions, turned off the sauce and started getting things ready for this. I had to inflate the right front tire on the Jeep (it leaks down about 10 psi in a couple weeks not a problem I have big air compressor just inside the garage door) and move the spare tire (that should be mounted at the left rear of the Jeep, don't ask it was a water pump problem) to the proper storage location in the Jeep in anticipation of picking up these speakers. And off I go.

With the Garmin doing the thinking since I did not want to just roll up the freeway bang a left and roll some more, I got a nice drive on suburban back roads I would have attacked in the car but it was drizzling and I was in the Jeep (Cherokee). Nice drive, arrive on time. I was shown the speaker and with a receiver hooked up one at a time I verified that all 8 drivers did work. Cabinets not Rosewood, darn, but Walnut, OK, were in good shape and the metal grilles were in decent shape just bent a bit here and there. We loaded them in the Jeep and I paid upon the last delivery the grilles to the Jeep. His wife had posted them, she wanted them gone, too big and the daughter, about 4 years old was happier with the sound bar than the big speakers. Cost about what the sound bar sold for according to the seller. He had gotten them handed down from his father who had upgraded.

Get em home and brought the grilles inside and at 100-pounds each, I called a neighbor to help me get them inside. Hooked em up to the gear on the coffee table a 60 wpc Onkyo A-8015 with a DX-1800 Onkyo CDP, because the wires were there the parts were ready to use and I could hear them. Put on a local library copy of Santana Multi-Dimensional Warrior and WOW. These things will put out the jams. I like the guitar high notes that Neil Young and Carlos Santana can get from their instruments and know that these notes will destroy tweeters. These ADS 1590, and as I was grabbing the serial numbers I found out I did not buy L-1590s but L-1590/2 the later fully upgraded version, could do those licks and fill the house with sound. And the bass, I had to turn down the bass.

They have been here since Saturday evening and in that time I have made them nice. I do this with all the CL gear I buy as it is fun and I learn about the unit. But this is an unusual list of work done, something folks might not think would be for making a speaker like new again.
vacuum the drivers, the ADS metal grilled speakers allowed dust into the driver area and it settles on the bottom half of the cone.
vacuum the grilles as they collect dust over the years.
wipe down the entire cabinets and woofer surrounds, like washing a faceplate but a lot easier and no disassembly required.
remove the attaching pins from the grilles and do minor body work massaging the grilles back in shape. Small hammer and the BFH did a fine job using a chunk of wood for a dolly.
paint the grilles
reattach the pins and reinstall. There are 6 pins per grille and when the grilles are right these pins will fit into the grommets on the cabinet without having to muscle the pin/grille to make it fit. I got the grilles right as after I put the top two pins in the next 4 on each speaker were just a simple push and the snapped into place.

These are now all dressed up with the main rig waiting. Dang speaker wires won't work with them so I have to change that. They were originally playing into the dining room from the soundroom and now are further into the room. I'll move them in place by Sunday as friends, the SE PA Audio Club will be by to hear their new records and Thain's newly up and running Bogen MO-100 amps and such.

But you guys want to know about the sound. I like em. I have had a number of ADS speakers because they are an easy sell and a very well built product. I have sampled them because I didn't sell them and have read good things. I got the L990 a number of years ago. OK but my brother heard them for 15 seconds and said "I can't listen to those." The L990 is known to be one of the lesser ADS speakers with a woofer that isn't strong enough and apparently a midrange-tweeter combo that my brother does not like. He said Sunday night that the 1590/2 sounded nice. They have passed their second test.

I have been listening to them for the past few days on that little system and they do a lot of things well. Smooth top to bottom, great bass, nice highs and great sound power. I don't know about imaging yet, and will not care about that until they are in the main rig. Give me a chance to compare to what has been there in the past year, DQ-10 (2 pair) and Magneplanar MG-IIIa, known to image well. Additionally, the guys coming over have heard the system and I'll be getting their impressions and report back. For now, I'm liking what I hear and I haven't used more than a 60 watter. And these can easily be biamped and I have more than enough amp channels for that. 185 on the top end from a McCormack amp and 265 on the bottom from a wonderful bass amp a Crown PSA-2. So more to come on this one.

Here they are just in the door and set up. Dirty woofers and all. You can see the half moon of dust on the lower half of the woofers. The grilles show a few of the bumps at the pin locations. And as with all the ADS towers with short grilles the wood color changes over time and you can see where the grilles cover the wood.

Here is one of them cleaned up and the grille repaired and installed pushed further into the soundroom. Just need to rotate it into place and move the MG-III out of the way.

This one shows the smoothed grilles without the bumps and bruises that ADS metal grilles all get over the years.

Overall these are in very nice shape and everything works as it should for its age. Folks on AK talk about sending the mids and tweets in for a rebuild for about $225, more than I paid for the speakers and this may happen but not any time soon. They have to oust some of the other speakers and become true keepers before I even consider it. Right now they do a lot of things right and are the best speaker I have for loud listening and I like that. I use all the amp when I use my speakers that can handle it. Not all the time but some stuff just needs to have the volume turned up. I don't know if I can do that with these speakers.


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Congratulations on the find!

Those sure are nice looking ADS 1590s. They look to be in great shape.

The 1590 knows how to rock so you should be able to enjoy yourself and treat the neighborhood to some nice music. ;) ;) :)
Gonna run tubes on Sunday. Start with my Luxman 50 watters and then Thain's Bogens that he has measured to be about 90 watt mono amps. KT-120 in those. I'll get to see if they will fit my amps for future consideration. 90DB1W1m is decent with tube gear. And we have one gentleman that does not like it loud.

You are right, they are in excellent shape. Tickled pink except for the Rosewood looks nicer to me. I can't complain.
Very nice. As a kid when I first got the hi-fi bug, I used to drool over the ADS ads in Stereo Review. I'm not sure I've ever heard a pair!
Stacked ADS 810s were one of the holy grails back in the 1970s.

You typically needed a solid state amp that would drive 3 ohms with authority. Mac was good. The GAS Grandson. Threshold. The ESS Eclipse.

Stacked 810s could really rock and roll..... :)

They also played jazz, blues and classical music quite nicely. ;)
Other ADS that I have picked up since I discovered CL are the L420, L520, L990s mentioned, L710 parts units, L710 perfect units (cloth grilles, clean drivers), L810 rough cabinets not painted satin black, a monitor if you will and L570s. Only ones left are the good 710s and the 810s but this last pair is on the chopping block. I find the 810 a good bit boomy compared to the more balanced 710. When we did my amplifier evaluation, Hafler DH-200, Crown, McCormack, HK Citation 22 and Luxman MB3045, we used the 710. The other reviewer, the gentleman with great ears and the ability to explain what he hears was very familiar with the 710s having used them in the past.

Although I never sold the ADS speakers and didn't know their sound, I did end up with their gear in my car. Other than an Alpine HU and a pair of 10 Goldsound woofers the rest of the system is ADS, 300i, 320i, PQ-10s oh and a couple Soundstream crossovers. That ADS 642CSi was a little to expensive and today doesn't seem to be what I need for a crossover.
Got the 1590s into the main rig. Heard some tunes I like to play a bit louder, Joe Satriani, The Who and a bunch of others. Well not a lot of them were loud.

Amazing how such a large speaker looks so small when it takes the place of the Magneplanars. Next is to finish the KD-600/Magnepan TT to put in the system and hook up the tube amps. Should be a nice upgrade in sound quality.

Sony receiver is on its way to New York this weekend so I'll have a bit more room.


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Now you have me confused. Am I moving forward to a neater nice soundroom or backward with too much gear everywhere? Check out the before pic in the thread on what the soundroom looks like. I couldn't even walk around.
That is acoustic treatments, 5 pair!! I need to go back to small bookshelf speakers, 1969 or earlier as I had AR-5s (a large bookshelf speaker in 1970) because I can't move all those speakers too far out of the way.

Hartge7;n18184 said:
That is acoustic treatments, 5 pair!! I need to go back to small bookshelf speakers, 1969 or earlier as I had AR-5s (a large bookshelf speaker in 1970) because I can't move all those speakers too far out of the way.

I agree with you..... ;)

My room has multiple pairs of acoustic treatments, too. ;) :)

Moving a bunch of speakers the size of the LS3/5a would sure be easier on my back.
Update on that recent room pic. The Sony receiver on the coffee table is now in CT and the AR speakers hiding behind that table are now in a speaker collection 15 miles away. Would have liked cash but swap was all he offered so I got a decent 125wpc Yamaha amp and two throw in pieces. I hope I don't end up throwing them out. The Yamaha has been hooked up in the rig as I usually try out all new to me decent stuff. Works well with the speakers. I'm just glad the ARs are gone. I had no idea how I was going to move those without shipping.

And all those DQ-10s, don't put the rear grilles on and one can carry them by the top of the frame of the main grille. Makes moving them a lot easier.