Speakers 10 years old or older that can compete with todays best,

I attend High End Audio Shows whenever I get a chance.  I also regularly visit several of my local High End Audio parlors, so I get to hear quite a few different speaker brands all the time.  And these speakers are also at various price points. Of course, the new speakers with their current technology sound totally incredible. However, I strongly feel that my beloved Revel Salon 2 speakers, which have been around for over ten years, still sound just as good or even better than the vast majority of the newer speakers that I get a chance to hear or audition in todays market.  And that goes for speakers at, or well above the Salon 2s price point. I feel that my Revel Salon 2 speakers (especially for the money) are so incredibly outstanding compared to the current speaker offerings of today, that I will probably never part with them. Are there others who feel that your beloved older speakers compare favorably with todays, newfangled, shinny-penny, obscenely expensive models?


I'm rocking close to 40 year old speakers. I haven't heard any of the newer speakers but that's because I'm totally satisfied with my Yamaha NS-2000's. They're fantastic in a small room like I have. That's because they're acoustic suspension speakers which are much more forgiving being close to the back wall. I listen to them near field and they sound fantastic.

DCM Time Windows! First pair bought in 1977 ($660). Sold those and bought an improved pair in 1979 (new woofers). Sold them in 1981 when I bought Quad 57's. Now using a third pair (52779, 52780) bought six years ago. A successful speaker company in Ann Arbor, Michigan that changed ownership and went out of business. Impulse response and neutrality from a two-way dynamic system equivalent to Quad ESL's yet with superior power handling.

I'm still enjoying my Infinity IRS Beta speaker system and have no plans to replace it.

I have a pair of Polk SDA-1C from 1987 that will still impress, and they do so regularly. 10 years means nothing, and even 50 years ago the world already had a solid handle on making excellent full range world-class speakers. It's not a new thing.


I have the Coincident Total Eclipse II speakers. An excellent speaker built by Israel Blume (Utilizes Scanspeak drivers). Superb sounding after all these years. I remain utterly satisfied with them.


many older horns were quite good, Altec, Klipsch (with some mods). Old Tannoys are still desirable on the used market. ADS made some killer speakers that still sound great today. IRS, Proac Response series are getting on in years and still perform well. JBL's of all generations are still selling very well on the used market,. blue face especially. so many more out there. 

Dali Epicon 8 and MS5...original DCM Time Windows were one of the first "high end" speakers I heard, very awesome...


You animal! IRS Betas? You are going to destroy your hearing! What are you driving them with?  Nothing like having 8 12" woofers staring at you.

I forgot to mention Dahlquist DQ 10s. Amazing loudspeaker for the price, then and now.

I'm stuck on ESLs. If you can find Acoustat 2+2s in decent shape, add subs and really big SS amps. You will have an amazing line source system. 

In general, I have to agree. It has been my observation that in ten years any component category advances make a very sizable and worthwhile improvement to upgrade. This does not mean the old stuff is not satisfying.

The easiest for me to relate to is amps. I have owned and upgraded Pass amps since about 1980…every ten years. Each time I questioned if they could be worth the upgrade and each time I was so impressed I had to. I have also experienced this in speakers (owning 20 year old 10 year old and now contemporary), preamps. Of course digital really big time changes.

@mijostyn : I agree! The DQ-10's we're game-changers for the speaker market. Until the Time Windows came along a few years later! BTW I have the TW's AND DQ-10's. The last awaiting space for set up.

I still run Aerial 10T, but recently I snatched B&W N802 for just $300 at the church garage sale barely used. I think they were built around the same era as my 10Ts.

Now I'm at the very big quest on which ones are remaining and which ones are for sale.

Very possible, that there will be another listening room with Macs and B's.


my now 11 years old Evolution Acoustics MM7’s certainly still hold up against the other current top level offerings. and i mean any/all of them.


they are -3db down at 7hz, and -6db at 3hz.

only limited by the room and system.

I also bought DCM TW`s paid $660 too, went in to listen to Polk Monitor 10`s

and came out with the TW`s...not close and an NAD 3020 to power them too 👍


Anyway but back to the question:

My Revel F52`s might fend off some pretty decent new speakers that are out there.

Somewhere I heard you were trying to sell them?


i did list them for sale on Audiogon for a couple of months, my ad makes it clear i’m good whether they sell or not.

honestly i am torn, and all my friends think i’m nuts to sell them. i suppose it would be fun making a change after 11 years. but i still love what i hear. the reason i thought about selling is that Evolution has a new model being introduced. it is very very good. probably an incremental step up. but lots more money and i just retired so that’s an issue. so i am on the fence.


That itch is tough to ignore. Sometimes the newer system winds up being worse! 

Speakers like that are very expensive to make and the market for them is limited. There is certainly a point of diminishing returns and you are well past it. Once you are use to that amount of bass power it is hard to revert to something smaller. You might try working with them, not just changing amps or other electronics. The two most difficult parts of speaker design are the enclosures, which I seriously doubt you want to mess with and the crossovers which you can easily play with, for fun! You might just surprise yourself. DEQX is recruiting 120 audiophiles to beta test the programming of their new processor, the Pre 8. It has a programmable 4 way digital crossover in it. Retail in the US is going to be $13K but they are giving them to the beta testers for $6K. Cheap entertainment! I do not think they have yet reached 120. Have a look at it. https://www.deqx.com/









My Dunlavy SC 3'S that I bought in the late 90's will kick the crap out of all these current speakers, with there built in amps and sophisticated cabinets.  I've upgraded all amps, preamps and digital, and these speakers still sing like birds.  

You might just surprise yourself. DEQX is recruiting 120 audiophiles to beta test the programming of their new processor, the Pre 8. It has a programmable 4 way digital crossover in it. Retail in the US is going to be $13K but they are giving them to the beta testers for $6K. Cheap entertainment! I do not think they have yet reached 120. Have a look at it. https://www.deqx.com/


not a chance.

my room is epic, my set-up and room tuning is epic, any sort of dsp would be wasted and regressive in my particular room and signal path. no matter the acronym.

the only advantage to a new set of speakers is the theoretical idea that a new speaker has evolutionary better performance. one of my large concerns is whether i can accomplish as fine a speaker<->room integration again. it took me 9 months before....and that was after i was in my new 'perfect' room for 11 years improving it.


not a chance.

my room is epic, my set-up and room tuning is epic, any sort of dsp would be wasted and regressive in my particular room and signal path. no matter the acronym

Seems a logical assessment. Could very possibly  be a backwards move.​​​​​​


My Early 2000’s Gallo Acoustic reference 3.1s will never leave my home. Imaging to die for, finese, brute strength and a truly flat response down to about 25 hz.


My 32 year old Apogee Duetta Signature ribbons still blow me away every day.

I used to own Apogee. They were exceptionally great sounding speakers for the money… very worthy of much higher quality inputs than many speakers. While I don’t regret getting rid of them, they were exceptional. The baby grand and grand… even more so.

I have Revel Studio 2‘s with a pair of Rythmik subwoofers as my 2-channel and it’s hard to part with them. I had a recent situation that caused me to realize that money matters in sound, but at a certain point, for me it doesn’t matter enough to pay substantially more.

I was at our local high end audio store recently and he loaded up what he said was the best system he had at the moment, in slightly used equipment.. The speakers were Spendor Classic 200Tis, amp: darTZeel NHB-108 Model 2, preamp:darTZeel NHB-18NS, and a suite of Merging Technologies +NADAC,clock u, plus,Merging Technologies +NADAC /+POWER MkII…cables etc.

it was extraordinary. I felt lucky to listen and enjoy it all. When I got home and listened to the same material on my system it was very enjoyable, certainly a bit less detailed soundstage and imaging.  However, I felt like the Revels and rythmik subwoofers were hard to argue as comparable quality, not same quality, but a heck of a value set up, for a used price of roughly $11k.

A well set up pair of Altec Valencia's.....with Great Plains Audio crossovers.... not to shaby even by today's comparable offerings.

I love my Paradigm Reference Studio 40s. V.2 is the sweet spot IMHO.  Made around the year 2000. l like them so much, I bought a second pair, they are the headliners of my two primary systems. Oh, and they sound much better when bi-wired.  YMMV.  Enjoy the music.

MBL-101 one of the top  few full range speakers ever made 

stilll exceptional when setup properly.


anther is the Infinity IRS  dual panels per speaker 


Couldn't agree with you more. I have managed to incorporate almost every model of Dunlavy(s) in the various systems throughout the house. I have been to several Audio Shows and there are a lot of impressive speakers. Many do some things better, but it's hard to find any that does everything as well. 


The Altec Lancing Voice of the theater speakers are used in the reverb chambers under Capitol Records in LA. 

illaherman: I read of your recent listening experience, which included a pair of Spender Classic 200TI speakers. I have heard the Spender Classic 200TI speakers on several occasions and they are highly capable and outstanding sounding speakers indeed. However, although more expensive then the Revel Salon 2s, I do believe that, from top-to-bottom, the Revel Salon 2 speakers are superior in every way, which includes it’s superior build quality, detail and transparency (Revel Salons true beryllium tweeters), dynamics, bass impact and extension, etc. If you think you’re hearing less detail from your Revel Salon 2 speakers than what you heard out of the Spender Classic 200TI speakers you heard at the audio store, then the deficiency in detail, I’m positive, doesn’t lay with the Salon 2 speakers. I would reevaluate my cabling and components if I were you. Happy listening!!!

I’m still digging my 1978 Belle Klipsch. Yes, new tweeters and ALK Extreme Slope Crossovers. Technically not exactly the same speaker as new, but I love ‘em!  

I loved my ADS 1230s. Used them until very recently when they needed a repair that no one locally could do.  There's only one person in Tulsa who repairs speakers and he didn't have the space to work on the large floorstanders. So sold them. Would still be using them otherwise.

I love my Dunlavy SC-V speakers. I have them as front speakers in my really large media room. I play them in stereo all the time because they sound so good. They are really large and fill the room with sound. They are not high fidelity. My downstairs system has Sonus Faber Serafino speakers that sound special. 

Still have a pair of TDL compact monitors, 1988, with a good and powerful amplifier, they are beautiful! Original version of the mission 760s I still have, still one of the best sounding mini monitors IMO. The TDL Studio 1s needed Threshold power, but were amazing. Regret selling those… Working in a HIFI store, speakers I should have bought, but regrettably didn’t were, Morrison, Dahlquist, Tannoy, some of the original Paradigm’s, NHT 1.3 and 1.8. Oh and the Mission 767. And how could I forget my original entry into this world, my pair of Rogers LS4a. Proton 455 integrated, Phillips CD50 disc player, AKG k240 cans… the music of my college years..

Wilson Maxx II and III - the best balanced speakers Wilson made prior to the current generation. Starting to show their age now compared to the newest Daryl Wilson designs but still an exceptional loudspeaker.

Other suggestions: LS3/5a, Quad ESL 57, ProAc Response 2.5


To be honest, mot people have not maxed out the potential of their systems.  The components most people use are inferior to what they can be using to improve the sound in their systems.  We get to hear some many systems and components weekly and people are amazed when the hear our products and what their components sound like once we upgrade them.  So IMO the limiting factor is the components uses.  Our Class A mono block amplifiers were recently paired with a pair of Sonus Faber Stradivari Homage speakers.  This is a guy who works for an audio store so he has access to many components.  He purchased the mono blocks.  The sound coming out of the speakers completely changed to his preference.

You have to keep trying and learning what makes sound do what it does,

Happy Listening.




Ten years is a “bump in the road” especially for speakers. I wouldn’t have my qualms of putting any ten year old speaker up against new ones. The only issue with older speakers might be capacitors, but in ten years that’s probably wouldn’t be an issue. Also, a lot of older speakers are better made construction wise than more recent ones. All in all, I think this comparison is a non issue.

I am running Tidal Contriva Diacera SE speakers. They are 10+ years old, I have owned them for about 7 months.

Amazing, hard to imagine there is better available.

And they are beautiful!

@jasonbourne71 @scm

I wish I’d kept my DCM time windows! They were my first real speakers. Got them in 1992 from an engineer that had refurbished them and drove them with an old high current Kenwood integrated. Had them for almost 20 years and sold them.

would love to get another pair just to recreate that feeling I got when I first had them.

@mikelavigne ,

There is no such thing as a perfect room. There is also no such thing as a perfect loudspeaker and there is certainly no such thing as a perfect analog crossover.

Each one of your speakers has its own amplitude curve and they are not the same, even if your room is perfectly symmetrical. This leads to smearing of the image. The secret is getting the two channels within 1 dB or better from 100 Hz to 12kHz.

You can use much steeper orders without any distortion in the digital realm and you can perfectly align all the drivers in phase and time regardless of where you place them. 

In short, your speaker plus the DEQX will be way more accurate than any speaker these people can come up with. That sir is an absolute fact. I spent decades on your side of the fence. The single greatest development in HiFi since the advent of the KLH Model 3 is digital signal processing. The Pre 8 is currently the best processor available. It has a 64 bit floating point system and will stay above 192/24 regardless of anything it does. What is the difference? It is like trying to compare a good direct to disc record and a good studio record. 

But, stay on your side of the fence. Instead of knowing you have the best possible system, waste time and money searching for something better. That search will never end. That question mark will drive you crazy.

Instead of knowing you have the best possible system, waste time and money searching for something better.


Honestly, i’m not searching. My speaker builder wants me to buy the new version. Im not really doing anything to make that happen. But if it does, then ok.


the new version has enough in common with mine they should be relatively plug and play in my room.

That search will never end. That question mark will drive you crazy.

no one ever knows if something is the best possible. that is a fools errand. But i have reached my goals (back 8 years ago in 2015) as far as my reference system sound and have no interest, none at all, in digitizing my signal path to find something different. i have invested in ultimate sources with astonishing purity. why would i dumb those down with dsp?

i have a separate home theater with Trinnov 9.3.6 Dolby Atmos for my dsp itch to be scratched, it’s not going to be part of my 2 channel room. multi-channel is already mucked up with dsp to begin with so i’m fine with that.

if i ever downsize and sell my home, and get a smaller 2 channel room with acoustic issues then who knows. dsp might be one choice if i can somehow hold my nose with my analog. but not in my current room. never going to happen.

btw, you and i have already done this same dance before. why do it again?

“I'm stuck on ESLs. If you can find Acoustat 2+2s in decent shape, add subs and really big SS amps. You will have an amazing line source system. ”

No need for either, keep them away from walls and they do well.

I used to run them off a nad 208 ( 600wpc into 2ohms) but found they like my tube jolida brc1000 best. I have the rare carver loudspeaker slipped in to give a little bass boost and it has hooography circuit optimized for planars, sounds better than anything else I have heard

I've had a similar experience to the OP. I've been to 3 audio shows in the last few years and I have determined that it would take a huge amount of money to beat my current late 90's system - Thiel CS6 speakers, Krell KRC-2 and KSA 300S. These speaker are about 25 years old and when I come home and play the same tracks I heard at the show I sit there and shake my head in disbelief. Except for a very few speakers (MBL 101E Mk II or Von Schweikert Ultra 11's for example) my Thiels hold up against pretty much anything.

I have listened to rooms where the cabling and power conditioning cost more than my entire system and I wasn't impressed. BTW, I am lucky to have a large listening room but I haven't done any audiophile room treatment. I have lots of absorption and diffusion (book shelves, CD shelves, equipment racks, couch, chair, ottoman, desk, etc) and when I play a good recording the speakers absolutely disappear. I've had non-audiophile friends listen slack jawed and finally ask me, "how does it do that?"

I honestly don't think that the state of the art in playback has progressed much in the last 25 years unless you get into 6 figure components. There are a lot of wealthy people in the world who will pay big bucks for something that they can show off to their friends but an audiophile of modest means can put together a killer system for a reasonable amount of money.

Compared to forty years ago, most speaker companies are nothing more than cabinet makers that toss in off the shelf drivers. A year ago, I read a rave review of some $1800 a pair PSB speakers then did a check at Madisound and found they spent under $100 for all the drivers, the tweeters were about $30.

Oh, I’m sure all were “modified” for the builder.

I don’t know of any modern speakers that can outperform my full range acoustat 2+2, ADS 1230 or my energy Veritas 2.8’.
I have some custom built speakers that are modern ( 5 years old?) with $500 RAAL tweeters, they’re still not as good as the ‘stats or the 2.8’s, so much for modern… 

+1Avalon and Tidal. The Rockport Arrakis is definitely one as well. Not made any more and I haven’t heard it but they get immense praise on the forums.