SPICA revival and modification

When I just began getting into audio as I hobby, I remember reading about Spica loudspeakers. They were always able to get into Stereophile recommended ratings eventhough they were fairly affordable. Sadly, the company has been shelved after being bought by Parasound, and after having read an interview article with the mastermind of the RIP company, I wonder if these speaker can be bought used and refurbished with new drivers that would also preserve as much of their original sound as possible...The designer said that the Audax drivers used on the Spica Tc-50s, 60s and Angelus are gone, they are no more and that the crossover components may get corrupted. Any experience with these speakers gentlemen? I am very interested in hearing from actual owner with factual stories of what they did with the set ups when they blew up....I remember ST saying that the SPICAs needed to be matched carefully, not with high wattage. PAUL
I owned the TC 50 and partnered them with a $400 Arcam integrated. The sound was very good, but not exceptional. Then I got an AMC 3030 tube-hybrid integrated (30 watts)and the speakers absolutely came ALIVE! This was with an inexpensive Marantz CD46. I don't own them any longer, but just the other day I saw a used pair in the window of Park Avenue Audio in Manhattan (a highly reputable high-end dealer at Park Ave & 29th street - they advertise in Stereophile) for $250. I think I can say the sound was awesome with some justification because my "big" speakers are Pro Ac Response 3.5's ($7,500 list), which I compared directly to the Spicas. If you can find an AMC 3030 used, go for this combination! Steve
I think I know what you mean about the blowing up. Ten years ago when I was shopping for new speakers. The TC-50 and angelus were on my short list. I didn't buy them however because the dealer demonstrated that they drove to distortion at moderate volumes. They imaged like nothing I had ever heard. I describe their sound as a little laid back like a vandersteen but with more detail, far less bass, and vastly superior imaging. I just bought a set of used tc-60's to use with my tv setup, and I think they sound excellent. These actually play as loud as I want (I've never driven them to distortion), and have pretty good power handling with bass that goes to the low 30's. They replaced my old vandersteen 2C's, and I think they are quite a bit better. They are excellent with vocals, and sound very good with my mid-fi solid state denon reciever. I think this is because they are inherently a little soft sounding. For nearfield listening, I think they are a steal.
to stevegolf1...HAHAHA, I also was browsing throught the window display in PARK AVENUE audio and I saw the same pair. That is why I got curious about these speakers and also due to this article in AUDIO ASYLUM. Nevertheless, it seems like no one here is addressing my question, modifications and repairs. PAUL
In a former life I was the national sales manager at Spica and here are some facts for you ... the drivers for both the TC-50 and the Angelus were raw Audax units customized and matched in-house by Spica. All the crossover components were also individually graded and matched in-house. When the crossovers were assembled they were also matched. Although the crossover components showed "10%" they were all individually matched closer than "1%". A "service code" was assigned and that's how we supplied replacement parts and kept the speakers in spec. That's why when hobbyists replaced caps with better(?) grade pieces they found that their speakers sounded really different and always much worse. John Bau was a truly brilliant designer. The TC-50 and Angelus are truly outstanding loudspeakers and offer imaging and transparency rarely achieved at any price BUT they are OLD. Drivers age with time, use, and exposure to the atmosphere. With no replacement drivers available and the fact that a "loose nut in front of the volume knob" can blow anything up you are taking your chances. I don't have any experience with the TC-60, as I left the company before the sellout, but if there are no parts for them the same holds true.
To Bemoptil23: What's the HAHAHA all about? I was just trying to pass along some information that I thought you might find useful.
More information on Spica service codes and driver replacement can e found here on the Spica Speaker Enthusiast site: www.spicaspeakers.com
I loved the Spica's. But you should know that the brilliance of Spica was it's ability to tame the beamy Audax tweeter. Its solution was basicaly to tilt the tweeter up so you were listenig off axis.

I suugest that you can use more modern tweeters.
I used to own Spica Angelus. Fabulous imaging, and very non-fatiguing, but unable to play rock music due to very thin bass and limited dynamics.

I switched them for Green Mountain Audio Europas, and I haven't missed them. The Europas do everything the Spicas did, but with improved high frequency, greater transparency, and much better dynamics.

The Angelus were a great speaker, but limited by the driver technology of the time. You can do better for not much more money with modern speakers.
Here's a Spica story for ya' - Around 1987 or '88, after having heard new TC-50's in a showroom, I bought a used pair at Stereo Exchange (in NYC). When I got them set up, I was pleased but they didn't seem as incredibly magical as the new pair had at the dealer (on W. 8th St). I figured it must be my "cheap" receiver being the problem - so back to Stereo Exchange for a decent integrated amp (Phase Linear).

When I got that fugly thing hooked up, I was surprised to find no difference in sound quality from the receiver - so I returned the integrated.

I kept fidgeting with the Spicas to try to get them "right", but something kept bugging me that I couldn't put my finger on. The drivers all sounded fine, etc. - I thought I was going crazy, maybe just being neurotic, and after about 3 weeks of this, I tracked down Spica's phone number in New Mexico and called for some advice.

Whoever picked up the phone had me check the above mentioned "serial number" on the back of one speaker and they went off to check something re: those particular units I guess. When they came back, they hadn't found anything unusual to report, but said "Out of curiosity, what's the code on the back of the other speaker?"

I came back to the phone with the other code - and they immediately informed me that this was NOT a factory matched pair! So hmmmm, what did that mean? I called Stereo Exchange - and guess what - they had bought TWO pairs of TC-50's at an auction and hadn't realized they shouldn't mix and match - and they didn't have a record of who bought the other pair (supposedly)!

Called Spica back, and they told me the only way to get them right was to ship the pair back to New Mexico - which I did.

About a month later, my Spica's reappeared via UPS - Spica had replaced ALL FOUR drivers and crossovers, and they sounded great. So the "component matching" that SPica performed really did account for a huge amount of their magic - which certainly makes sense re: imaging.

The only thing that was missing when I opned the box was the hefty bill I had been expecting, so I called Spica again to ask how much I owed them and their reply was - ZERO - they didn't even charge me for the return shipping !!!

How about that for customer service on a pair of $500 speakers that I didn't even buy new?
IMHO the Spicas were great in their day, but, at their current infalted used prices, much better values exist. For very little more money one can often find either Thiel CS 2's or a Vandersteen 2C's. All in all, much better values to me, with active customer support to boot.
The only thing that was missing when I opned the box was the hefty bill I had been expecting, so I called Spica again to ask how much I owed them and their reply was - ZERO - they didn't even charge me for the return shipping !!!

How about that for customer service on a pair of $500 speakers that I didn't even buy new?

...no wonder they went out of business.

I am still kicking myself - I lived in Albuquerque, NM for 8 years and never picked up a pair of Spicas. I retrospect I really regret that one.
GR Research recently did an update to both the crossover and tweeter of a pair of TC-50s (at the owner's request). I urged Danny (of GR) to offer the modifications to the general public and am now glad to say he is offering them at a very reasonable price! Based on the measurements he has posted and the familuarity which I have of both the replacement tweeter and Danny's work, I think these mods are a no-brainer for anyone looking for modern update of an original classic. Danny even published a step response measurement to show how the mod didn't effect the orignal designer's intent of what made the TC-50 so unique (in it's day).
Great story!! I paid $250 to update my speakers from the first version to the second. The problem was they ran out of early drivers (Audax had a problem with a supplier)> Sapica had to start using a new version. This meant revised crossovers and a upgrade to the tweeter.

The revision is casually referred to as the TC-50i which started shipping in January of 1988. My guess is they wound up upgrading yours to the TC-50i specs