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another Boston (Wilmington) SPK - ADS

Guest rickcee

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Guest rickcee

Hi Just wondering - back in late '70 time frame there was a Boston area company , ADS which sold fairly 'high end' spks - models like 710 - 8" bass, dome mid & tweet - had punched steel grills, very nice lookin.

anyone have them as direct comparo to AR of similar $$ If I remember reviews right, they were considered to have perhaps tighter, crisper sound than the 3 way AR ?? and of interest now, I think real rubber bass surrounds, not foam. Have good holiday Rick

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I have a pair of L-730's in-house right now. They are sold and I'm waiting for the customer to come and pick them up. They are a 10", 3-way, sealed box, with butyl rubber surrounds and dome mids and tweets. Cabinets are rock solid, with perforated steel grilles you spoke of.

I also had a pair of L-500's at one time, an 8", 2-way sealed box.

While being excellent loudspeakers, both pair lack the warmth associated with KLH, Advent, or AR. In my opinion.

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>Hi Just wondering - back in late '70 time frame there was a

>Boston area company , ADS which sold fairly 'high end' spks -

>models like 710 - 8" bass, dome mid & tweet - had punched

>steel grills, very nice lookin.

>anyone have them as direct comparo to AR of similar $$ If I

>remember reviews right, they were considered to have perhaps

>tighter, crisper sound than the 3 way AR ?? and of interest

>now, I think real rubber bass surrounds, not foam. Have good

>holiday Rick


a/d/s/ (Analog and Digital Systems) speakers did use AR technology -- acoustic-suspension woofers and dome tweeters. Originally, a/d/s/ imported German Braun (pronounced "Brown") drivers and sold systems based on those excellent drivers. Subsequently, the company began producing their own drivers and marketing these products in the US. There were several excellent loudspeakers made by a/d/s/ over the years. a/d/s/ loudspeaker were always recognizable by their precision and very high-quality construction.

In the mid-1980s I purchased a pair of Rosewood a/d/s/ 1590 Series II tower speakers after selling my pair of AR-9s (I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit it on this forum). Nevertheless, the 1590s were beautiful tower loudspeakers with two 10-inch heavy-duty woofers (-3dB point was 28 Hz), a 2-inch coated fabric-dome midrange driver and a 3/4-inch fabric-dome driver. The speaker had the well-known Linkquist-Riley 4th-order crossover. These well-engineered speakers were quite accurate, and they had a powerful, full sound. Compared to the AR-9, I felt that the 1590 was not its equal at the very lowest frequencies, but the 1590 lacked the heaviness that the AR-9 sometimes exhibited. What I'm saying here is that the AR-9 is more sensitive to room placement than the 1590. On the other hand, the 1590 did not compensate as well for boundary radiation -- the Allison Effect -- which the AR-9 accomplished well, and there was probably a slight abberation in the frequency response at those boundary frequencies despite its low crossover and high-mounted woofers. The a/d/s/ speakers could ocassionally sound bright. But overall, the 1590 was an excellent loudspeaker by any standard. It was never heavily reviewed, and thus did not receive much fanfare.

a/d/s/ is best known for its original "2001" system, a special car system that used a version of their dimunitive 2-way acoustic-suspension system using a three- or four-inch woofer and a 1-inch or 3/4-inch tweeter. This car system was marketed with the BMW 2001 in mind and was sold with a Nakamichi audio amp and related system, I believe.

a/d/s/ speakers were usually sold through specialty hi-fi stores along side McIntosh and other big names, and were rarely discounted to buyers. Because of their relatively high price, exclusivity and meager discounts, these speaker were never sold in big numbers in the manner of AR, KLH and Advent. Once the high-end speaker market began to flourish in the late-80s and early 90s, a/d/s/ sales began to decline. KEFs and B&Ws replaced a/d/s/ speakers in that market segment.

Sadly, a/d/s/ is no longer that once-proud company that existed in Massachusetts. The vestige of that company is now out in Texas or somewhere, and I do not know if they are still making loudspeakers. SteveF is a student of audio history, and might also have some insight into this company.

--Tom Tyson

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Hi, Tom

You are not alone and I am not embarrassed or affraid to admit the fact that the ADS more expensive models such as the 1590 and 1290 speakers which I used to owned offer rich and neutral midrange along with very transparent high range that make them sound a bit bright compare to the recess high of the AR-3a speakers. The 3/4" and 2" coated fabric German made soft dome drivers are very well built and so do the rubber surround woofers. The selected matched pattern real wood veneer MDF cabinets are so beautifully made with style. The sound of ADS 1290 speakers remind me of the AR Classic 26 speakers in the early '90. AR Classic 26 and 30 tower speakers were the stepping stones before AR lanuched the AR Limited 3 in 1994 which is a truely cost is no object AR speaker system.


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ADS was founded by Godehardt Gunther, a driven and brilliant, if somewhat "interesting," personality.

They were known for excellent speakers through the 70's-80's. AS design, somewhat bright, lean tonal balance. The floorstanding L1290, 1590 were superb speakers, and had a unique plate sub amp option that slotted into the

base of the speaker. I never saw or heard this combination, but it was intriguing, and ahead of its time. The 710 and 810 were truly good products--clean, uncolored, tight. The 810 was a natural competitor to the AR-11--about the same size and price, but with two 8-inch woofers to the AR's one 12-inch woofer. Both speakers used dome midranges and tweeters.

(Interesting side note: the 7" woofers that ADS used in many of their models were so admired by Andy Petite (later Kotsatos) of Boston Acoustics, that he used the 7" size extensively throughout his product line, from the HD7 to the Sub Sat7 to the CR-8 to the CR-85 bookshelves and VR-20 and VR-30 floorstanders. Andy felt that a 7-inch woofer provided a great balance of

bass capability on one hand while retaining acceptable midrange dispersion on the other.)

L-200 mini speakers, teamed with a Nakamichi cassette deck, became the performance standard in car audio.

ADS was known as an innovator of in-wall speakers and automotive audio.

In early 90's, they were developing a transportable stereo system with two mini speakers and subwoofer called CAMPUS, but it never reached the market, due to hum and noise problems that couldn't be satisfactorily overcome. This caused a major financial drain on the company, as did their failure to

anticipate the shift from 2-channel audio to multi-channel home theater.

They had financial problems in mid-90's, were sold to Canadian ownership and Gunther was out.

They were purchased by a large conglomerate called Directed Electronics, who moved the company to Arizona in 1998, where today, it is just another brand name in the corporate stable. Directed's roster of companies includes Sirius Satellite Radio, Viper and Clifford security, Orion and Precision Power car

audio, and most recently, they bought famed speaker company Definitive Technology. Directed was founded by California Congressman Darrell Issa, long before he made his mark on the national scene by initiating the recall effort against California Governor Gray Davis.

Despite the technical excellence of their products and the almost cult-like following engendered by their L-200 mini monitors, ADS never developed a reputation beyond the industry itself, unlike AR, KLH, and Advent, who were able to achieve a fair degree of recognition--and therefore sales--outside of just the audio-enthusiast community.

That's my off-the-top-of-my-head recollection of the history of ADS.

Anything further, I'll have to research.

Steve F.

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