Originally based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Acoustic Research is a celebrated high-end audio manufacturer famous for their revolutionary classics such as their AR-3 series, and are still in existence today but under new ownership.
The AR48S represent the last of Acoustic Research’s classic series of speakers and were introduced in the final year of the Golden Age of Audio in 1981. They were offered until around 1983. Note the AR48S should not to be confused with the post-classic AR48B and AR48BX speakers produced later.
Sporting a 10″ Acoustic Suspension Woofer, 4″ Mid Range and 1″ Dome Tweeter and were designed for amplifiers rated between 15 & 100 Watts.
As a 3-way speaker with a 10″ suspension woofer the AR48 is the natural evolution of the AR2ax and saw improvements with brighter sound and excellent dispersion characteristics.
While the AR48S doesn’t yet have the vintage recognition of say the AR5, their performance is very impressive. Their mid-range and high’s are excellent and well dispersed and they sound great even when your positioned closely to the speakers. Some criticise these speakers for a lack of bass, but you must remember these are sealed enclosures and in a bookshelf format designed to give a more natural sound. If you want thunderous bass then look for a combination of either a ported speaker or a large floor standing model. I personally find the bass sufficient for most music genres, but I understand if you would want to round it out with the addition of a subwoofer, especially if you are in to electronic music.
IMHO these speakers would be a perfect match for many mid-to-late 1970s Amplifiers and Receivers.
Aesthetically these speakers suffered from the trend that began in the mid-seventies to replace real wood with laminate. We can’t really blame AR for this as they weren’t alone, typically most high-end manufacturers from this era were guilty of introducing laminate into many of their models. At least the laminate on the AR48S is better than most and is thick and has not suffered peeling as is so commonly seen with laminate of this vintage.
These particular specimens have some minor cosmetic issues; there are some marks here and there, the cabinets have some ver slight damage to some corners, the woofer domes have dimples in them (does not effect sound), one woofer has a stain. Other than that they are functioning well and I would say they are in good vintage condition for their ~33 years of age.
Frequency Response: 45-24k +/- 3 dB SPL: 87dB XOVER: 400/2500hz Power MIN/MAX: 15-100w OHMS (Min-Nom): 6 ohms Size: 25″x14″x11″ Weight: 38 lbs
These gorgeous Jensen’s were built during the height of Receiver Wars during the Golden Era of Audio. Branded as the Lifestyle Series of speakers they were heavily promoted in Audiophile publications such as Stereo Review in the mid to late 1970s. The LS-4b’s were smack in the middle of this range of speakers.
The Lifestyle Series featured what Jensen referred to as as ‘Total Energy Response’, which roughly translates as the ability to completely fill a space not just with noise but with detailed sound information. And for once the adverts are telling the truth! They do indeed have a very wide spatial dispersion of sound throughout the sonic range, filling your room with music, and they truly do immerse you in an enchanting musical experience.
The bass is terrific, these speaker were made to party and possess an amazing SPL – they just make you want to get up and dance! And BTW the LS-4B were only the mid-range in this series!
The LS-4b featured a 25cm Woofer, a 8.75cm Mid-range and a 5cm Dome Tweeter.
Cosmetically it appears that Jensen managed to avoid the cheap thin laminate that many other manufactures had adopted at this time. Overall the laminate on the pair I acquired is in great condition with no major peeling occurring anywhere, though some tiny lifting here and there is evident.
Remember these speakers are rapidly approaching 40 years of age and some folks on the internet have described some of these units as having muddy or sloppy bass response. This is likely the situation where some these speakers have been hammered long and hard and their electrolytic capacitors are just plain worn out.
The solution? While not a cure all often replacing the capacitors in the crossovers will do wonders for the sound in an old pair of speakers, tightening up the bass and delivering clear mid’s and highs, this can be especially the case if the electrolytics are replaced with audio grade polymer capacitors. I haven’t recapped this pair as yet because I have been enjoying them the way they are, but if I do I will certainly post it here.
Please ignore the 1978 in the above slider, that’s my bad! While I am calling these speakers ‘Vintage’ but to be truthful I have yet to come across any information about when these speakers were produced. I contacted the firm that owns the Jensen brand today and even they know nothing about these speakers!
So lets start by describing what these speakers are! They are 3-Way ported speakers are rated at 8 ohms 70 Watts. It features a 12″ sub-woofer, 5″ mid-driver and a 3″ tweeter.
Overall these speakers are in good vintage condition and I think they look great. On close inspection the vinyl has been touched up in places and has imperfections, alas it is the curse of the late 70s thin laminate!
I recapped with audio grade polypropylene capacitors of the correct specification. These speakers offer big sound with a decent mid-range, and the high’s are well formed and not harsh. These speakers look great and would suit a wide range of vintage 70s amplifiers and receivers.
Pioneer’s SCS-11 are very cute and of 60s to possibly very early 70s vintage. The cases are an attractive wood veneer finish and a grill cloth with a unique and attractive stripe pattern.
The SCS-11’s are very rare, while you will generally always find a pair of SCS-12 models floating around on eBay, these I am yet to see there! Furthermore I haven’t been able to locate any information online regarding these at all?!
So what do we know about these speakers? Well I read the label on the back…
Manufacture: Pioneer Electronics Model: SCS-11 Max Input Power: 18 Watts Impedance: 8 Ohms Made in Japan
They are fitted with the polarised speaker plug used in many late 60s and early 70s Pioneer Amplifiers and Receivers and are wall mountable. I suspect they have a single 6.5″ inch driver similar to the SCS-12, but I never opened them up so this is just a guess.
While obviously not a high-powered speaker, they are well matched to my Pioneer SA-5300 amplifier which is rated at 10-Watts RMS and together they produce a surprisingly rich and warm sound that was very enjoyable to listen to.
As you can see one speaker had some unfortunate damage to one corner.
A 130 Watt Speaker from Pioneer’s Linear Fidelity Series.
Here is a Pioneer pair of 3-way speakers that I came across in my adventures. While they are definitely not what I’d consider vintage at a guess I’d say they hail somewhere from the late 1980s to early 1990s. However, that said these speakers have a high-quality wood-grain finish with a deep shine that helps them to blend in very well with the 60s and 70s period gear.
I would be interested in finding a little more on these units as they look a little higher end and do not look like the junky speakers that Pioneer were producing for their complete component HiFi’s aimed at teenagers at that time (late 80s early
Being unable to find any official data or information on these speakers I’ll start with what I can read off the label on the rear. First and foremost they have a ‘rated power’ of 30 Watts and a maximum power rating of 130 Watts and their impedance is 6-ohms.
The cabinets measure 50 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm and are of a bass-reflex design with a port in the upper-right rear corner. The bass driver measured approximately 20cm across
These speakers seem to be well suited to genres such as Rock, Pop, Dance, and Dubstep, with a tight well controlled bass response and with good mid’s and highs that don’t over power you. I was nicely surprised with just how well these speakers performed and filled my living room effortlessly with hefty beats!
If I ever come across more info and what the “Linear Fidelity” series was all about I will post it here.
Here is a pair of vintage Akai SW-T30’s that have passed through my collection. I haven’t been able to pin down these 2-way bookshelf speakers from Akai to a precise year, but from available catalogs and guessing by the style of the speaker I would place these bang in the middle of 1970s circa 1974/75.
I am a big fan of Akai gear and these speakers were a sweet surprise! They are rated at a very usable 60 Watts max input at 8 ohms and provide a great range of sound for their size and class and featured a 10 inch woofer and 1 3/4 inch tweeter in a sealed cabinet. As you can see the tweeter voice-coil domes on both speakers have been depressed – unfortunate cosmetically but this in no way impairs the sound.
I test drove these out on a 100 Watt RMS Sansui amplifier keeping the volume within the limits of the speakers and was pleasantly surprised at the range and performance. I was especially impressed at their bass response which I was not expecting with their sealed cabinets. While I stress again these are not for the high-end audiophile, they were very enjoyable to listen to and quite musical. Also the drivers look great in action and give a lovely ‘pull’ on firing up.
If your looking for a pair of 2-Way bookshelf speakers for your vintage setup that are not going to cost you a terrible lot, and you like listening to pop and rock, then you won’t go to far wrong with a pair of these. I think they would be very suitable candidates for a lot of mid-range 1970s Receivers and Amplifiers. IMHO these are very attractive speakers with or without the semi-transparent grilles.
While these are no longer in my collection they did peak my interest and I have recently acquired a slightly higher end version of them in a 3-Way I am going to get around to trying out soon!