Snell Type A/II or Type E/III - opinions wanted


I've recently been bitten by the Snell bug. My first pair was a nice Type J/IV which I sold to "upgrade" to the highly touted Type E/III. I LOVE these speakers and they didn't cost a mint either! However I want to move up the aisle in vintage snell and have located a pair of Type A/II I could buy. Include the electronic crossover, all the original boxes, and receipts for $1800 worth of recent (last couple of years) mechanical overhaul including caps, surrounds and replacement snell drivers, where needed.

This pair of A/II will cost me a premium though, above what is listed here as average "used", and I may not get much opportunity to demo them beyond making sure they work correctly. My question is will the A/IIs be a significant upgrade to my E/III? I'm hoping someone out there will have experience with both models and will be willing to share?

Thanks in advance!
I love the E/III too... wish I could tell you about the A.. but all I ever hear is how great they are.. kind of big boxes for almost the same drivers you'd get in the 'C'... the AIII has the 12" vs. the earlier 10" woofers... I think the model CII would be the better deal, also the "B" has two 10" woofs.. there are two "B"'s listed now on ebay.
If I remember right the A/3 is the easier of the A's to drive..I think the 1 and 2 are a harder load to drive so I would be very carefull and do your homework..I do remember them form many years ago..Wonderfull speaker..They do need a large room though I do remember that.......
Many years ago I owned a pair of AIII i and they were a great speaker. A couple of things to keep in mind, they really need to be bi-amped to get the best out of them and you will need a big room to get the full benefit from them. When set up correctly they are a great speaker.

What price point are you looking at? These are pretty old and one wonders if some other new speaker would be a better fit.
I've seen the Bs on the 'bay. One pair local pickup only and the other pair after shipping would easily top $2ooo... more than I need to spend if I want to keep "happily" in front of "married".

I can have the A/II for right at $900 and he's willing to take my E/III in exchange... I think right about $400 trade in credit.

My listening room isn't what I would describe as "large" but it's been an adequate home for large Maggies, Vandersteen 2C, Dahlquist (20i & 30) as well as the top of the food chain in vintage AR. I run one Adcom GFA-555mkII, can add a second, but also wonder what the Type A might sound like with McIntosh SS?
As for the age of the speaker, again, these have been recently overhauled, completely. The owner describes them as "better than new"?
I'd agree that it's worth considering a more recent model, unless you really need a model that Peter Snell himself designed.

The models designed by Kevin Voecks, like your J/IV, were very, very well reviewed by Stereophile magazine. In particular, the Type D, which I own and love, and the C/V, which recieve numerous glowing remarks on this board, are both astounding used speaker values. Both models often sell in the $1000 or less range with the D's occasionally dipping into the $600 range.

A set of Type D's is on sale on this board now for $800 ->

You really should try to give the Type D's and Type C/V's a listen.

The bass goes very low on both. Don't forget that Snell was very strict with frequency response measurements. They used an anechoic chamber and limited their published numbers to usually +/- 2dB (sometimes less!), which is not the industry norm. The Type D was listed as 36Hz to 20kHz +/- 1.75dB anechoic. Stereophile's testing revealed them to be good to "at least 30Hz". The C/V's went even lower.

Finally, the old Snell specifications page that can be found via Google and was posted by Snell several years back contains several incorrect entries, those specifications can not be used reliably.
I have nothing against the Kevin Voecks designs, the J/IV is an exceptional speaker. I did get to extensively demo a local pair of Type D with a stack of Naim in a better room than mine. They seemed easier to place than the E/III (in my room) and sounded very good but more like my E/III than different enough to call them a significant upgrade. I had also been considering the C/II of which a few pairs have popped up recently but none are close enough to demo and I suspect from the similarity of design that they too will fall into the "similar to the Type D and E/III" pool as well.

I'd love to find a pair of Type B or A/III I think but the B's have been prohibitively expensive and the A/III seems quite elusive in the wild.
I hear what your saying. I had the D's set up on in a room that was 13" x 19", they were centered about 8-9' apart on the long wall and about 10" from the wall. Snell spikes installed. A low pile area carpet over a hardwood floor, two sofas, two chairs, a few small tables, plaster walls, and four or five windows. They're really not hard to place at all. I didn't fool around with them after this initial setup. The D's were amazing. I didn't (don't) want to hear anything better - I'm quite happy.

For a finished basement, I recently picked up a set of J/IV's. They blew me away. With their published Snell specs (48Hz to 20kHz +/- 2dB anechoic), I wasn't expecting much bass. Well, I'm not sure how they do it. The bass is incredible. I'd call them full range and slightly warm compared to the the very neutral Type D's. I do not believe there are any independent tests of this short-lived speaker model, but I'd say the bass is definitely usable to below 40Hz, maybe the mid 30's. After all, the J/IV cabinet isn't that small. It's a shame Snell didn't include how low a speaker went at -6dB, as many manufactures do today.

In the end, this may be why you're not happy with the EIII's, your J/IV's were very good performers. I wouldn't be surprised if their bass was as good or better than the EIII's. The speakers used similar drivers in similar sized boxes, but the J/IV's had nearly a decade edge on speaker design. Perhaps Snell was conservative with the published specifications to avoid losing Type E/IV and Type D sales - I'm just postulating... (If anyone can find a reveiw, please post a link.)

Also, consider another listen of the D's, I'm not the only one that loves them, see the reviews at ->
I never said I wasn't happy with my EIIIs, in fact I love them! Only that I'd like to move up the family tree, within reason, if there is some greater height to be achieved in vintage Snell ;)

I have yet to hear a Snell I don't like. There is something special about Snell, even in their relatively simple looking two-way designs (yes, the J/IVs blew me away too!) that has made Snell the brand I just cannot easily shake.

My living room has been home to many good, large speakers over the years but for whatever reason none of them so far (with the possible exception of the Dahlquist DQ-20i) were ones I really missed once they were gone. The Snells I've owned recently have probably been the cause of doubling the amount of time per week that I listen to music. It's like rediscovering my music collection all over again!

I also run a pair of AKG-K701s and a Creek OBH-11 headphone amp for those late night music sessions and E/III and the J/IV that preceded them came closer to my AKGs in detail than any speaker I've owned previously.

Ideally I hope to discover that the A/IIs will keep the lovely mid-bass and upper end detail of my E/IIIs but with better bass extension. I use Copeland's "Farewell to the Common Man" as one of my ultimate speaker survival tracks, played back at something close to "realistic" levels (front hall) and while both the E/IIIs and the J/IVs are beautiful speakers they just can't reproduce the full power of those huge kettle drum hits with much realism... there's only so much an 8" woofer in a two way box can achieve! I hope that the A/IIs might be up to the trick?
Briefly, some time ago. A pair of K was what really spurred my interest in Snell in the first place. Similar to the J/IV that I so much liked but without the same bass extension due in part to being in a smaller cabinet. I wouldn't pass up the chance to own a pair of K's either if they popped up locally. You would of course need stands and maybe a subwoofer to fill the in the bottom.
I've owned a pair of E-III's since 1997 and recently had them re-foamed. They are incredible speakers and always sound great in every room in my home. I also have Vandersteen 3A sigs, Maggie 1.6, DCM Timeframes and the Snells in many repects bring me more pleasure than all of them, although they are all VERY GOOD! I recently put Quicksilver V4 amps and a Counterpoint SA1000 preamp with the Snells and I am blown away. These speakers really show their stuff with tubes!!! The bass is just stunning from such a simple box!!!
Good luck with moving up the Snell line. I've heard the D's and the C's and they are much like the E-III's but of course better the further you go.
Try your E-III's with tubes. Match made in heaven!!!
Tonyjack is right on the money with tubes being a heavenly match with the snell e III's! I was originally powering my e III's with an Aragon 4004 mk II power amp and 18K preamp. Great combination that everyone knows about and is a 200 watt powerhouse. However, I recently came across an absolute steal on a beautiful little Italian Synthesis Nimis 15 watt integrated amp. Go to the Synthesis Art in Audio website to check out this beauty. Anyhow, I installed a matched quad of the awesome new TAD EL84-STR power tubes, and the jawdropping sound that emerged from the e III's when I dropped the needle on Melody Gardot's wonderful new album was breathtaking! This little 15 watter put my 200 watt Aragon to shame. The Synthesis Nimis was so full bodied, spacious and dynamic. Vocals were incredibly realistic, with such body,lushness and tons of 3 dimensional detail. This little tube amp brought out all of the wonderful qualities of the Snells that much more. The solid state Aragon sounded two dimensional and dry in comparison. I've since relegated my Aragon to home theater duties.

Tubes with your e III's...definitely give it a try, you won't be disappointed!