Question Should I get new speakers?

Steve983

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I have had the same Linn Index speakers since 1986! Should I replace them with something new? What am I missing?
In general I'm sure speaker tech has come a long way since then and I'm sure the smaller speakers that are in vogue these days sound great but is it worth it?
I can't really crank up the volume due to neighbours and so lower kind of conversation level volumes are what they are used for and my more serious listening is done on headphones..

Each time I delve into this I come away thinking it's not worth it and these modern speakers - they're so tiny!!

So any thoughts welcome - thanks.
 

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Cork

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Unlike electronics, speakers technology hasn't moved that far. So if you like how they sound and the "speaker surround" (the flexible part around the edge of the speaker) is still good, then I'd say keep what you have. And if the surround is cracked you can generally get a replacement very inexpensively.
 
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My2Cents

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Unlike electronics, speakers technology hasn't moved that far. So if you like how they sound and the "speaker surround" (the flexible part around the edge of the speaker) is still good, then I'd say keep what you have. And if the surround is cracked you can generally get a replacement very inexpensively.
With all due respect, all of the technology has moved on a long way over the decades.
However, there is still equipment from some of those decades (1970's onward) that can rival new equipment produced today.

Some of the reasons why today's speakers can sound very good at a low price point (say $1,000 a pair... or even $500)! is due to CAD cabinet/driver design combined with software product analysis tools (along with new matrials technology).
Combine this technology with cheap Asian labor and CNC machined mass manufacturing and we can produce a speaker today that would have cost a small fortune to produce 40 years ago... if it had even been possible .
Here is an interesting article by an industry veteran:

 
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My2Cents

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You may well find that a small pair of modern speakers like the Q Acoustics 5020's may well give you a better sound than the Linn's... but only your ears can be the judge of that!
Perhaps arrange a visit to a hi-fi store (as @nopiano suggested), take your Index's along and do some comparison shopping... it could be a fun day out!
 
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Gray

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... if you really must spend up to £1250 Steve - and you don't mind a choice of black only, I would put PMC Prodigy 1 on your audition list, if you've already got stands.
(Prodigy 5 is the more expensive floorstanding version).

You'll be so familiar with your current sound - make sure you allow plenty of time to aclimatise to the sound of whatever you audition. (Better can actually sound wrong at first).
 

Fandango Andy

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I have had the same Linn Index speakers since 1986! Should I replace them with something new? What am I missing?
In general I'm sure speaker tech has come a long way since then and I'm sure the smaller speakers that are in vogue these days sound great but is it worth it?
I can't really crank up the volume due to neighbours and so lower kind of conversation level volumes are what they are used for and my more serious listening is done on headphones..

Each time I delve into this I come away thinking it's not worth it and these modern speakers - they're so tiny!!

So any thoughts welcome - thanks.
It's all subjective. All you can do is audition some new speakers and see how they sound.

I'm not familiar with your speakers, the photographs make it look like they are close to the wall. Are they designed for that? If not you may benefit from giving them some space to breathe.
 
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SteveH72

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I think the first question should be: what is missing from your current sound? What are you hoping to achieve?
As previously mentioned, there have been improvements in terms of CAD as well as lighter materials for driver cones. None of this means you’ll prefer them, though.
I’d have a fun hour in a dealer listening to a few modern systems to compare.
 
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Stuart83

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I agree to what's eluded to.
Providing you are happy with what you are listening to then stick with it.

I've got systems of old and new and some of the best stuff factually to my ears is vintage despite new designs etc.

Some of the best speakers I've heard were early 90s and late 80s stuff.
 
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Steve983

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Thanks for all the replies folks. As some of you say the best thing would be to go and listen to some which I may well do. It would be interesting to hear if I could get a more detailed and rounded sound at lower volumes.
 
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Stuart83

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That's true....when it isn't.
But stuff like more powerful magnets (if only to hold grilles in place) and improved cone materials can and do make worthwhile differences (once the timeless basics have been optimised).
I do like me magnets on the speakers I have 😂

The QA's aren't that strong but the fyne audio grills nearly pull your hand off with a satisfying snap when ones about 2 inches away.
 
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Cork

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With all due respect, all of the technology has moved on a long way over the decades. ...
Just my opinion; and if your can't debate opinion in these forums, what's the point really.

In any case, I'm unswayed. The Thiele parameters have been known since the 70's and have been mostly tweaked since then. Materials have allowed smaller speakers, but not substantially better. Note that I didn't suggest the OP couldn't get better speakers, just that he needn't do so due to technology changes; if you spent more 40 years ago you'd also have gotten better speakers. There have been tweaks to crossover circuits, but those are slight sound improvement along with more substantial cost improvement. Again, the OP's question was better, not cheaper. I looked up changes in magnets, but nothing popped out for those used at room temperature. There are more recent planar and electrostatic speaker choices, but most of us don't go that route.

I did forget about active DSP speaker systems. If one's willing to spend the money for active DSP then that would be a significant technological improvement.
 

twinkletoes

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I think when people say speaker tech hasn’t changed much, I think they mean from the last 20 years or so. Peerless makes some of the best drivers around most of there units are very old.

Most “manufacturers” and use that term very loosely, buy oem off the peg and make changes to the cone material from options in a catalog to make it look fancy they’re only a hand full of true manufacturers that make drivers and you count them on one hand. ATC, focal, harman and there’s a couple more

What has changed is our understanding of cabinate design and the use of FE analysis before they even put those said off the peg drivers in the box. It should make speakers cheaper because of such programming but computing power to run these simulations are very expensive. So smaller brands do it the old fashioned way still.

Another aspect that has changed a lot is voicing, and manufacturers will hide behind this as “innovation”. Eg the I version of a given brand.

The old adage of try before you buy still ring as true today as it did back in the 80’s
 
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Witterings

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I'd find a store that do home trials, go in and listen to 3 / 4 pairs and take the ones you like most home with you for 2 / 3 days and then you can get a good comparison.

One think I'd say about going to smaller speakers though you'll probably notice it and not necessarily in a good way. In a Kitchen / Living area I had small a pair of Monitor Audio BX1's and tried some Elac 5.2's and they have a very noticeable and MUCH "bigger" sound .... I take the Elacs into the lounge and they seem a bit lost compared to the floorstanders I have in there.

Only thing you can do is a home trial before you get rid of yoru current ones to see if you like them.
 
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Gray

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Whether or not you think speakers have changed much over time, there's probably one thing we can agree on - and that's the fact that there isn't one speaker that doesn't sound better above, rather than below, conversation level volume.

Sadly for OP Steve, he's limited to the former.
Like him, I'm very conscious of, and considerate towards, attached neighbours.
But, as I've said before, If I had to ALWAYS play at a level where normal conversation could take place in the same room....I'm not sure I'd own a hifi - probably wouldn't have spent so much on it.

Anyone disagree when I say that at such low levels you're never going to hear the best any speaker can do?....(No doubt Stuart agrees, he's only happy at 90% of max. 🙉)
 

Witterings

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Whether or not you think speakers have changed much over time, there's probably one thing we can agree on - and that's the fact that there isn't one speaker that doesn't sound better above, rather than below, conversation level volume.

Sadly for OP Steve, he's limited to the former.
Like him, I'm very conscious of, and considerate towards, attached neighbours.
But, as I've said before, If I had to ALWAYS play at a level where normal conversation could take place in the same room....I'm not sure I'd own a hifi - probably wouldn't have spent so much on it.

Anyone disagree when I say that at such low levels you're never going to hear the best any speaker can do?....(No doubt Stuart agrees, he's only happy at 90% of max. 🙉)

Totally agree with you on this, I've recently been trying different amps to see if a higher current one makes a difference as well and it didn't.
 
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jjbomber

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I looked up changes in magnets, but nothing popped out for those used at room temperature. There are more recent planar and electrostatic speaker choices, but most of us don't go that route.
Neodymium magnets rather than big, heavy ceramic magnets. However, that doesn't automatically make them better, but it has allowed manufacturers to make smaller speakers.
 
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