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Speakers old v new

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
I've been browsing Ebay ( with no real intention to buy anything) looking at standmount speakers and noticed that for a similar price you can buy newish speakers like Wharfedale Diamond 9.1, Monitor Audio Bronze 2 or something older like Castle Isis, Ruark Icon or Epos M5.

What I'm wondering is will a modern budget speaker like the Diamond 9.1 sound better than a 20 year old mid range speaker like the Epos or Castle?
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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0
Gaz37 said:
I've been browsing Ebay ( with no real intention to buy anything) looking at standmount speakers and noticed that for a similar price you can buy newish speakers like Wharfedale Diamond 9.1, Monitor Audio Bronze 2 or something older like Castle Isis, Ruark Icon or Epos M5.

What I'm wondering is will a modern budget speaker like the Diamond 9.1 sound better than a 20 year old mid range speaker like the Epos or Castle?
Lindsayt is your man for this... *wink*
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
I can offer a comparison between Monitor Audio Bronze and Wharfedale Diamonds 9.1. Not the older speakers you mention. I've had a number of MA speakers different sizes and generations (B2, BX5, RS-5, RX-2) as well as the Diamonds. Heard the new Bronze and Silvers as well.

Diamond 9.1s are very good budget speakers. Imho they beat just about anything up to £250 mark if you were to buy new. Granted, I've not heard the new Missions but if old Mission are anything to go by I'd still have Wharfedales. Considering that at times you can get Diamonds for less than £50 delivered they're an amazing value.

Compared to MA Bronze, Wharfedales are less detailed but a tad more musical and much less restrained in presentation. I'd say they're also more universal and will pair up easier with different amplification. Bronze can sound on a bright side when paired incorrectly.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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Gazzip said:
Lindsayt is your man for this... *wink*
No I'm not. Small speakers are not my cup of tea. Someone like Gromit - who frequents other forums and exhibits at Scalford every year has much more experience of small speakers, new and old than I do. Pick his brains and follow his advice.

As to which will sound better out of a small new speaker and a small old speaker - well that depends on the speakers in question.

What I will say is that it dosen't take much to make better sounding speakers than Diamond 9.1 and MA Bronze 2's. But then again there are a lot of poor sounding small old speakers around, such as original Kef Codas or Eltax monitors.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
slice said:
.....are currently £99 new at superfi
And on Ebay there are a pair of Ruark Icons for £95.

By reputation Ruarks are the better speaker, but has technology improved enough to make a new £100 speaker as good as an old £400 (when new)speaker
 

Leeps

New member
Dec 10, 2012
219
1
0
I'm a long time Ruark fan. Not familar with the Icons, but own Ruark Epilogue II's (small standmounts MA Silver One size) and Talisman III's (floorstanders Neat Motive SX1 size). IMO Ruarks are fantastic speakers - very musical indeed, excellent pace, rhythm and timing, albeit very slightly forward/bright, so partner well with a more lush rounded amp, or at least neutral.

There are pros and cons going used. I've found with the Ruarks that some I viewed (and one pair I bought) weren't that well looked after, but another pair I bought (& the Talismans) were mint and epic bargains that easily outperform new speakers for the same money.

My general rules are;

How well/detailed is the seller's listing? Has it been copied and pasted from a manufacturer's website or is the seller clearly an enthusiast who's described the speaker accurately in his own words? This can indicate whether someone's just flogging another box or whether they're an enthusiast who's taken care of their pride & joy.

Age. As a speaker gets older the rubber seals can go, but the speakers I bought were among the last Ruark made before they sadly diversified away from making proper speakers, so are between 10 & 12 years old. A ten-year old speaker that's been looked after should have many more years of life left, but a speaker that age where the corners have been repeatedly knocked about may not weather so well, so I'd personally walk away if it's not mint.

But if you're sensible and patient, you can definitely grab a bargain used. I bought my Talisman III's from a dealer, Hifi Hangar in Hampshire. Very confident about buying from them - they were real enthusiasts who wanted me not just to listen to the speakers I bought, but others they had in the shop too, just because they wanted to, and even though it was past their closing time. So places like that can be sound places to check out, beyond the usual Gumtree/Ebay suspects.
 

jmjones

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2009
49
12
18,545
It's definitely worth the effort. You can pick up older speakers at a fraction of the cost of new. I'd recommend making sure you can hear them first (new or second hand there!), and examine the goods for perished rubbers, etc.

If you are working at the more expensive end of the spectrum there are people like Wilmslow audio who can replace drivers with more modern equivalent units - just in case anything does fail after purchase.

Some speaker designs haven't fundamentally changed for years. It's funny that Tannoy are bringing back their Legacy range, no doubt with updated drivers and crossovers. They may not fit in a modern room as well as some, but there is a lot to be said for a 15 inch driver. And have you seen the prices?

i bought a pair of second-hand Kef 104ab back in 1980. My brother in law is still using them, and the only things he has had to replace are the foam grilles!

Also I would certainly support Leeps "checklist" on how to do it
 

Al ears

Moderator
Leeps said:
I'm a long time Ruark fan. Not familar with the Icons, but own Ruark Epilogue II's (small standmounts MA Silver One size) and Talisman III's (floorstanders Neat Motive SX1 size). IMO Ruarks are fantastic speakers - very musical indeed, excellent pace, rhythm and timing, albeit very slightly forward/bright, so partner well with a more lush rounded amp, or at least neutral.

There are pros and cons going used. I've found with the Ruarks that some I viewed (and one pair I bought) weren't that well looked after, but another pair I bought (& the Talismans) were mint and epic bargains that easily outperform new speakers for the same money.

My general rules are;

How well/detailed is the seller's listing? Has it been copied and pasted from a manufacturer's website or is the seller clearly an enthusiast who's described the speaker accurately in his own words? This can indicate whether someone's just flogging another box or whether they're an enthusiast who's taken care of their pride & joy.

Age. As a speaker gets older the rubber seals can go, but the speakers I bought were among the last Ruark made before they sadly diversified away from making proper speakers, so are between 10 & 12 years old. A ten-year old speaker that's been looked after should have many more years of life left, but a speaker that age where the corners have been repeatedly knocked about may not weather so well, so I'd personally walk away if it's not mint.

But if you're sensible and patient, you can definitely grab a bargain used. I bought my Talisman III's from a dealer, Hifi Hangar in Hampshire. Very confident about buying from them - they were real enthusiasts who wanted me not just to listen to the speakers I bought, but others they had in the shop too, just because they wanted to, and even though it was past their closing time. So places like that can be sound places to check out, beyond the usual Gumtree/Ebay suspects.
I'd agree. You need find the right speaker. Old Heybrook HB1's hold price for a reason but they are so old they invariably need re-foaming or other things doing to get them anywhere near the original in sound quality.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Leeps said:
I'm a long time Ruark fan. Not familar with the Icons, but own Ruark Epilogue II's (small standmounts MA Silver One size) and Talisman III's (floorstanders Neat Motive SX1 size). IMO Ruarks are fantastic speakers - very musical indeed, excellent pace, rhythm and timing, albeit very slightly forward/bright, so partner well with a more lush rounded amp, or at least neutral.

There are pros and cons going used. I've found with the Ruarks that some I viewed (and one pair I bought) weren't that well looked after, but another pair I bought (& the Talismans) were mint and epic bargains that easily outperform new speakers for the same money.

My general rules are;

How well/detailed is the seller's listing? Has it been copied and pasted from a manufacturer's website or is the seller clearly an enthusiast who's described the speaker accurately in his own words? This can indicate whether someone's just flogging another box or whether they're an enthusiast who's taken care of their pride & joy.

Age. As a speaker gets older the rubber seals can go, but the speakers I bought were among the last Ruark made before they sadly diversified away from making proper speakers, so are between 10 & 12 years old. A ten-year old speaker that's been looked after should have many more years of life left, but a speaker that age where the corners have been repeatedly knocked about may not weather so well, so I'd personally walk away if it's not mint.

But if you're sensible and patient, you can definitely grab a bargain used. I bought my Talisman III's from a dealer, Hifi Hangar in Hampshire. Very confident about buying from them - they were real enthusiasts who wanted me not just to listen to the speakers I bought, but others they had in the shop too, just because they wanted to, and even though it was past their closing time. So places like that can be sound places to check out, beyond the usual Gumtree/Ebay suspects.
I have a pair of Swordsmans which I love, Mrs Gaz is however less impressed as they apparently look "big, ugly and old" so I took a punt on a pair of Epilogue IIs but I don't like them as much as the Swordsman, it's hard to put my finger on why but there's just something lacking.
 

Leeps

New member
Dec 10, 2012
219
1
0
Gaz37 said:
I have a pair of Swordsmans which I love, Mrs Gaz is however less impressed as they apparently look "big, ugly and old" so I took a punt on a pair of Epilogue IIs but I don't like them as much as the Swordsman, it's hard to put my finger on why but there's just something lacking.
The Epilogue II's do respond differently to the amplification used. It's worth experimenting with a few different amps to bring the best out of them. They work well with Roksan & Arcam and their strengths are best heard with certain musical genres. Radiohead's Amnesiac sounds jaw-droppingly good through them - anything where timing or complexity needs a firm grip, as does Rodrigo & Gabriella's 11:11.

I do have to agree with Mrs Gaz though - some Ruark designs to look their age now. Much depends on the finish. The Epilogue II's looked much more contemporary than the mark 1's, and I personally favour the lighter coloured veneers.
 

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