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glen
12-17-2005, 06:45 PM
Some of the pieces are so rare I am happy to obtain them in any condition, and regard them primarily as historical artifacts.

I another thread Steve Schell mentioned regarding the vintage speaker systems he collects as "historical artifacts".
http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=8345&page=3&pp=15

I know some Lansing fans would happily toss the cabinets and re-use just the vintage components in new cabinets. Others would painstakingly restore classic cabinets but completely revamp the drivers and crossovers with the best currently available diaphram materials and crossover components, producing a modern system in a vintage looking package.
Does a system have to rare for it to be worth restoring to original condition?
Would you take a clean, unmolested vintage system and redo the components with non-period updates for improved sound?

I know many of you must have weighed these issues, where do you draw the line between preserving a classic speaker system and hot-rodding vintage components for the best performance?

norealtalent
12-17-2005, 07:07 PM
This is just my $.02 ... I restore the pieces that are worth restoring based on the time involved and the value when done. Obviously you wouldn't spend as much time and energy restoring L15's as you would L100's, it's just not a worthwhile venture. For my own use, I know I'll end up building my own speakers because everything I would keep for me is worth at least twice what I can build something better for. I love being able to salvage pieces of Audio History but it's not always worth the energy. Sometimes (when you can't fit in the workshop, basement, shed or livingroom anymore) you keep the pieces and curb the cabs. Some people collect all the neat vintage stuff. I appreciate that and enjoy the hell out of looking, listening and experiencing it but my taste is in how it sounds. I think each person figures out what they really want and need by experiencing as much as they can. A good decision can not be made until you know the options. Thats what I try to do and I really appreciate the people that share with me and help me along the way. Isn't that what this is really all about anyway?:bouncy:

yggdrasil
12-17-2005, 07:28 PM
I have the idea that upgrading the crossovers will be within preserving the vintage system.
Changing dia's, reconing is sometimes necessary.

Changing drivers would be hot-rodding.

scott fitlin
12-17-2005, 09:11 PM
You gotta look at the speakers your thinking about restoring! BTW, which JBL,s are you thinking about restoring?

Some were better than others, some have more value than others. Most important, at least I think, is most people go after a set of speakers they are or were familiar with! Like a guy getting a pair of L-300,s because he loved em years ago, but couldnt afford them. Or Hartsfields for their collectibility and if you like that type of sound!

If its a speaker like the Paragon, or Hartsfiields, etc, then I would probably want to keep them as original as possible, because that maintains the value as a collectible, and because hot rodding these designs changes their sound! To buy a speaker like these, only to try to change their sound into something more modernized, or better, than this isnt what you should get! At least not IMHO!

As far as reconing, sometimes you need to. I go by the motto of fix what needs to be fixed! If theirs something in the xover gone bad, yes fix it!

Cabinet refinishing? I like this. You can restore a cabinet to like new condition, depending on how much time, money and effort your willing to put into the job, and I would always prefer nice looking cabinets in my house!

As I said, however, I would NOT take a clean, unmolested vintage speaker set, especially if they are really collectible and try to modernize them! If you are after something more modern, sell the collectibles to someone who will appreciate them, take the money and go buy something modern!

But, if you have something rare, listen to them, and see what you think, before you get rid of em.

:)

glen
12-19-2005, 03:39 PM
You gotta look at the speakers your thinking about restoring! BTW, which JBL,s are you thinking about restoring?
:)

I recently picked up a D-1002 by the side of the road, no grille cloth, torn woofer cone, and hacked-up baffle board with a slant plate lens over the horn. I'm not sure if the high freq driver is original either (been too busy with the holidays to open it up)

Is this rare enough to be worth restoring/preserving?

Steve Schell
12-19-2005, 08:49 PM
Great thread, Glen. As to your D1002 system, I would say that it is old and rare enough to justify restoration, or at least saving in its current condition. Jim Lansing began building these in 1946, and they continued in production until the 175DLH replaced the early 175 and H-1000 assembly in the early 1950s. I would have to see your driver and cabinet to opine as to whether they started life together. In any case the 175 would be gray with solder terminals, and have either a "Jim Lansing Signature Speaker" paper label or a cut corners rectangular decal that might say Venice, Van Nuys or Los Angeles. The labels on cabinet back, crossover, woofer and compression driver are usually the same style and marked with the same location, but I did see one pristine looking system where they were mismatched. Anyway, JBL was a tiny company in those years and probably not more than a few hundred D1000 series cabinets (at most) were produced. If you ever decide to unload it, let me know.

The D1002 falls into the same catagory as some of the LMCo. pieces, of being so rare that most folks have no idea what it is. Several Iconics have been sold piecemeal on ebay, and usually the seller removed the components from the cabinet which was then tossed. Yikes! I have paid as much as $600 for an empty original Iconic box, and was happy to do so. To me these things are like Precolumbian figurines. Nearly all of the early, significant, low production speakers have been lost already, so I'm inclined to try and save the remaining few if at all possible.

Will the bulk of the JBL consumer systems ever attain rare collectible, high dollar status? It is hard to say. These days the high prices are paid for Paragons (and other 'gons), Hartsfields, the big monitors and a few beauties like the Olympus. With each passing year more and more of the more common speakers disappear, so the rarity of the remaining ones increases. It seems to take rarity combined with a pool of collectors actively seeking them to make the price shoot up, just the ol' supply / demand equation at work.

I have a 1980 Mercedes 450SL, a beater that I obtained for next to nothing but have enjoyed greatly. These can be fantastic cars if in good shape, yet they sell quite cheaply in relation to their quality. Problem is that this series was a huge hit for Mercedes, and they built them in large numbers from 1972 to 1989. Owners will have to wait a loooong time to see these appreciate to rare collectible status.

scott fitlin
12-19-2005, 09:11 PM
Great thread, Glen. As to your D1002 system, I would say that it is old and rare enough to justify restoration, or at least saving in its current condition. Jim Lansing began building these in 1946, and they continued in production until the 175DLH replaced the early 175 and H-1000 assembly in the early 1950s. I would have to see your driver and cabinet to opine as to whether they started life together. In any case the 175 would be gray with solder terminals, and have either a "Jim Lansing Signature Speaker" paper label or a cut corners rectangular decal that might say Venice, Van Nuys or Los Angeles. The labels on cabinet back, crossover, woofer and compression driver are usually the same style and marked with the same location, but I did see one pristine looking system where they were mismatched. Anyway, JBL was a tiny company in those years and probably not more than a few hundred D1000 series cabinets (at most) were produced. If you ever decide to unload it, let me know.

The D1002 falls into the same catagory as some of the LMCo. pieces, of being so rare that most folks have no idea what it is. Several Iconics have been sold piecemeal on ebay, and usually the seller removed the components from the cabinet which was then tossed. Yikes! I have paid as much as $600 for an empty original Iconic box, and was happy to do so. To me these things are like Precolumbian figurines. Nearly all of the early, significant, low production speakers have been lost already, so I'm inclined to try and save the remaining few if at all possible.

Will the bulk of the JBL consumer systems ever attain rare collectible, high dollar status? It is hard to say. These days the high prices are paid for Paragons (and other 'gons), Hartsfields, the big monitors and a few beauties like the Olympus. With each passing year more and more of the more common speakers disappear, so the rarity of the remaining ones increases. It seems to take rarity combined with a pool of collectors actively seeking them to make the price shoot up, just the ol' supply / demand equation at work.

I have a 1980 Mercedes 450SL, a beater that I obtained for next to nothing but have enjoyed greatly. These can be fantastic cars if in good shape, yet they sell quite cheaply in relation to their quality. Problem is that this series was a huge hit for Mercedes, and they built them in large numbers from 1972 to 1989. Owners will have to wait a loooong time to see these appreciate to rare collectible status.What he said. BTW, Glenn, Steve Schell is about the best authority on really old audio, and he knows what is what!

It would be in your best interest to open up your cabinets to see what drivers they do have, get some pics, then you will get much better info on what to do.

If they have really old and very rare drivers, its worth restoring, and even if you dont like them as speakers, you can always sell them, and use the money to purchase what you do want!

Maron Horonzakz
12-20-2005, 07:10 AM
Remember JBL did there own HOT RODDING...On the Hartsfield they later added the 075 tweeter. On the Paragon JBL changed the woofer from 150-4c to Le15 & changed Xovers. So I have no qwalms about changing components to improve the sound. Every body knows to improve a Klipschorn is to throw out the cheap drivers & install JBL or TAD drivers.;)

norealtalent
12-20-2005, 08:48 AM
Remember JBL did there own HOT RODDING...On the Hartsfield they later added the 075 tweeter. On the Paragon JBL changed the woofer from 150-4c to Le15 & changed Xovers. So I have no qwalms about changing components to improve the sound. Every body knows to improve a Klipschorn is to throw out the cheap drivers & install JBL or TAD drivers.;)

:applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

glen
12-27-2005, 03:23 PM
If they have really old and very rare drivers, its worth restoring, and even if you dont like them as speakers, you can always sell them, and use the money to purchase what you do want!

The D-1002 turned out to contain torn-up & substituted drivers.

That was quite a bummer, until I found the original drivers (D130A, D175 & multicell H1000 horn) which were not in the D-1002 cabinet, but in another cabinet I picked up at the same time.

So I guess I'm on the road to restoring the D-1002, with a lot of astute advice from Steve Schell who you rightly called "the best authority on really old audio".
(Steve even identified the unmarked Stevens TruSonic cabinet that held the original drivers)

On a speaker this old & unusual though I don't think I would refinish the cabinet, even if it were pretty rough. I would rather preserve it in the original state as much as possible. (makes me think of the PBS "Antiques Roadshow" where the appraisers tell the owner of the piece of old furniture how it have been worth 4 times as much if only they hadn't refinished it).
Honestly, I like that "patina of age" better than having it look "good as new", makes it look kind of venerable.

boputnam
12-27-2005, 06:19 PM
The D-1002 turned out to contain torn-up & substituted drivers.And therein lies the paradox of your thread. To refinish and refurbish, or move the drivers to a new and "better" cabinet...? Or part 'em out, and move 'em on eBay, dammit - that's where the real value is found... :(

pelly3s
12-27-2005, 07:41 PM
If you dont want to keep the cabinet there are radio and audio museums around the country you could donate them to

glen
12-28-2005, 11:55 PM
If you dont want to keep the cabinet there are radio and audio museums around the country you could donate them to

I'm planning to keep the cabinet. But I have wondered if there was some sort of audio museum out there that might be a caretaker for really historical pieces

Steve Schell
12-29-2005, 01:08 AM
It is a tragic thing in my estimation, but there is little to no interest in preserving audio history except among collectors/enthusiasts. These folks, while enthusiastic and well intentioned, do not have the resources to maintain any sort of real museum. We collect, sell and trade the remaining important pieces and at least keep it out of the landfill for now, but what about the future? Will folks in the 22nd century have access to the important sound equipment of the 20th century?

I spoke to the fellow who once ran the Ampex museum, and we discussed this subject. He reasoned that the only way to preserve audio history was in virtual i.e. web site form, in pictures and document scans. No one seems able, or is able to justify the expense of the large space necessary to display old audio equipment, unless perhaps it was owned by Marilyn Monroe.

If I was a rich guy, I would establish a museum somewhere and assemble complete, working systems of historical importance. Imagine a space with nicely preserved Western Electric, Lansing, Altec Lansing and RCA theatre systems that represented the different eras and major developments of the technology. As it is I have collected as much of the work of Jim Lansing as I can afford, and would like to see it all placed in a museum setting some day. But where? More likely, they'll eventually haul my bones out of here then say "Now what do we do with all this crap?"

Glen's cabinets are an example of what has happened to most of the better equipment produced decades ago. It was extremely fine luck that a Lansing Heritage enthusiast happened onto these pieces before trash day, but this almost never happens and the majority of the stuff from the good old days is now gone and the rest is endangered.

Bill Gates, are you reading this?

glen
12-29-2005, 10:15 AM
I spoke to the fellow who once ran the Ampex museum, and we discussed this subject. He reasoned that the only way to preserve audio history was in virtual i.e. web site form, in pictures and document scans.


There's a lot of documentation online (never enough) but I've been surprised that the photo galleries haven't been filling up with many detailed photos of the old and unusual audio antiques owned or observed by the members of the forum.

I wish everyone on the forum would get out their oddest/oldest piece of gear and post pictures of it. Not just snapshots of it sitting in the living room corner, but haul it out and show sides/back/bottom. Pull off the grilles, take out the drivers and show details down to their model/serial numbers. Take pics of the cabinet showing the crossover, wiring, damping material and construction techniques.

The photo gallery is a nice place to show off your system, but it could also be a great resource in piecing together the evolution of early audio into the great speakers and drivers.

glen
02-09-2006, 12:15 AM
Well, here's the cabinet I'm aiming to restore.
Many thanks to Steve Schell for doing a great measured drawing of the baffle of his complete, unmolested, older cabinet, and allowing me to take many pictures for reference.

Below are:
The D1002 as I found it, with no grille, home-made baffle, and incorrect drivers.
The model/serial number lable on the back of the cabinet.
The drivers that were originally in the D1002, here installed in a different cabinet, longing to return to their true home.