Hi All, this is my first post here!
I've inherited my Dad's old L1290s (which I loved back in the day). They still sound pretty great, but I'm questioning the high frequencies. They seem a little "harsher" than I remember them being, from 30 years ago! I do remember they were quite bright when they were new, though.
What I'm noticing, is that on recordings with any kind of hyped, exaggerated highs, the tweeter can almost sound distorted...not quite distorted, but it's like I can hear it ringing out, on its own, as if is not integrated with other drivers, or is too loud or something.
On smooth recordings, for example the new Radiohead record "A Moon Shaped Pool," they sound fantastic.
I've been scanning the forums for any kind of consensus on when/whether the Richard So rebuilds are worth it. For a lot of folks who report a big difference, it seems like they are reporting that the old driver sounded muffled, or obviously distorted. Others who had drivers rebuilt that were just old, report a modest improvement, if any (not a "night and day difference" is often the term used).
The reason I don't take that as strong confirmation is because placebo effects are rampant in audio, especially without a comparison close in time. (Even those are highly suspect, IMO, do the vicissitudes of critical listening.)
As I am somewhat obsessive, I'm having a hard time deciding what to do...as I listen, if I hear something that sounds harsh, it starts to bug me, almost prevents me from enjoying my listening.
One interesting aspect of these speakers: I'm a music producer/recording engineer. One of the hardest things to get right is the high frequency response. Often, my mixes that sound perfect in my studio, will not be bright enough compared to commercial recordings. However, on the L1290s, my mixes sound as I expect.
The brightening done in mastering is often pretty drastic, and can easily introduce distortions. So I wonder if part of what I am hearing is the 1290s simply revealing the distortion that is truly present in the recording. Such high frequency distortion is a very challenging signal for a speaker to reproduce in a flattering way. Some speakers are more "forgiving."
Anyway, I know it's been talked to death. I just wish I could figure out a way to really test with the tweeters and mids on these 1290s were actually in need of any repair.
Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear any other comments on this subject...