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Hello,

Does anyone have any information on old EMI speakers? I have a pair of bookshelf/monitor size w/ very heavy duty oval speakers w/coaxial mounted tweeter. The sound is fantastic and I am curious about the history. A small badge proclaims the model as the 630.

Thanks,

Leo

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Guest

Those old Emi's don't half come in many diffrent flavors,some of them are a dual cone, rated at 3watt others are a higher powered rubber edge units with ally coil's there about 40watt.

Those speakers mainly come with those old record players and arnt really the edge in sonic abillty, but classic old gear all the same!

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Guest olfoo

EMI Speaker old ...

Q.? does the label state EMI of Great Britain the manufacturer or is it Benjamin Electronic Sound of Farmingdale N.Y. ? which imported EMI drivers for their models circa 1970.

Q.? is the oval woofer butyl surround or on close inspection actually black doped cloth ?

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Guest planet10

I just discovered this forum, and this is my 1st post.

The EMIs i have run across have been those made in the UK... they have a pretty good reputation.

The driver that i've seen is a 6x9 unique in that it has an aluminum centre cone -- only viisible from the back of the speaker. It is quite good sounding.

dave

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Reviving this ancient thread.

I came across a pair of EMI 630 speakers and took a chance. Unfortunately, one cabinet is pretty badly damaged, so we'll see...

Here is a site in Hong Kong, selling a nice pair of these for HK $12,000 (that's about $1,547 USD). http://www.antiqueaudioshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=70    Apparently there is some cult following for the elliptical coaxial drivers. This ebay "buying guide" discusses the 630 and the coaxial driver but I find the narrative semi-incoherent :huh:  http://www.ebay.com/gds/Rare-EMI-speaker-chassis-oval-elliptical-tweeter-B-W-/10000000010079859/g.html

Here are some preliminary shots of mine. Heavy walnut-veneered cabs. Metal (!!) grille, single coaxial driver, cheap terminal screws. There is a single capacitor, enclosed in a cloth-sleeved inductor. Not sure how to replace the cap, or what the value is. I'm trying to repair the damaged cabinet but if not successful I'll just try to sell the drivers. More photos to come.....

-Kent

 

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Update: 

Well, the one water-damaged cabinet is proving to be a real challenge. Not sure if I'll ever get it to look acceptable.

It's surprising how little info there is on these. Made in England by EMI. EMI speakers were used as studio monitors in Abbey Road. According to the above-cited ebay article these are best paired with vintage Quad tube amps. It goes on to say this regarding the 630:

"note the later black capacitor on-board LC x.o. shows it's the 5 watt RMS 630 (10 watt USA) and a red capacitor with a green basket is the 8 watt (16 watt USA) RMS 650.  These watt ratings are for tube amplifiers and early Solid State, modern amplifiers are best not connected, as they're too powerful and may easily damage the alloy cone from over excursion, or ruin the speaker."

I don't know about that but it got me to wondering about using these with low-powered tube amps. As it so happened, I had just finished re-capping a KLH Model Eight radio and decided to test the EMI with that. Now, I live in the Appalachian Mtns of northern NJ, surrounded by hills that were once mined for iron ore, so reception is abysmal. And, I always take my radios to a pro for alignment and general check-up. Haven't done that yet, so I wasn't expecting much..........

Fired up the Eight and managed to find an NPR jazz station from the Hudson Valley. WOW! I love the Model Eight but this is something else! One piece featured the Hammond B3 organ. Incredible. This weird elliptical coax that looks like something salvaged from the package shelf of your father's Oldsmobile really sings! I love this speaker with tubes! Maybe if I can only save this one it will motivate me to finish restoring a little Grommes mono tube amp that's been collecting dust ;)

Model 8 w EMI 630.jpg

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I love FM jazz, as well as the Hammond B-3, and the best car my mother ever drove was a lovely silver-blue Olds Cutlass, so I really like the peripheral elements of this story. But really it's the serendipitous synchronicity of pairing these components that is the main course of this meal, and it explains the reason we like to explore, de-construct, and tinker with these dust-collecting items. Really great vintage stuff.

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Thanks Robert. Wish I could get some other members interested but these aren't New England speakers--they're "Olde England" ;)

The effort to repair the water-damaged cabinet is coming out "OK". Not great, Just OK.

I tried to fix the badly swollen particle board by jamming some epoxy in and clamping it tightly, but when I removed the clamps the epoxy just split. So the bottom of the cab flares out a bit.

I filled gaps and cracks with brown epoxy. Used the "tootsie roll" kind that you knead in your hand. It's good for many spots but not so much for edges. For those I like the more liquid epoxy, tinted with Mixol and poured into a form made with a masking tape dam. I will have to touch up some of the edges using that method.

After filing down the epoxy I sanded everything lightly with 220 grit. I'm always afraid of going through the veneer and sure enough, I did in one spot. Touched that up with a brown permanent marker (hope it really is permanent).

I cleaned the cabinet with lacquer thinner (I believe they were lacquered) then used Dark Walnut Howard Restore-a-Finish. Of course now I won't be able to lacquer the cabs but I think Minwax Antique Oil (similar to Tung Oil) will give a nice finish.

This cabinet is now lighter than the other, with a more pronounced wood grain, so if I decide to re-assemble it (as opposed to just parting out the driver) I'll have to do the same treatment on the other cabinet.

Some photos to illustrate what's described above:

 

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07 21 16_0726.JPG

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Yeah, those look really good, Kent, and many of us have encountered those cabinet problems that challenge our woodworking skills. Not long ago, I finished restoring a pair of AR-6's that were really beat up, and I had corner conditions similar to yours that required both gap filler and touch-up markers. I still haven't tried the "tootsie rolls" (Mohawk product?), but I've been having good results using this soft putty-like product - - - it's rather forgiving and the only downside is it dries really fast so you have to work quickly.

http://eclecticproducts.com/products/famowood/famowood-original-wood-filler.html 

This long video shows a boatbuilder using this product, but his excellent tip (with the plastic bag) at the 4:00 minute mark was something I used to extend working time. 

 

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The "toosie roll" I used isn't a Mohawk but it's virtually the same. Thanks for the Famowood lead. I'd never even heard of it, but just ordered a small can to try it out.

btw--if anyone else wants to try it, go to the Walmart site. They have the 1/4 pt can on closeout for under $7 with free shipping.

-Kent

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Ohh, I will check that stuff out for sure.  Always looking for a wood filler that takes color.

JKent, there is a set of old Eico speakers available here locally for $40 that remind me of these and I have been tempted to go check them out.

I want a model 8.  Keeping my eyes peeled.

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Quote

I want a model 8.  Keeping my eyes peeled.

If you want one that's fully restored send me a PM.

-Kent

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Good morning. I just became a member! Had to do it, for, as Kent notes, finding info on old EMI speakers is pretty darn hard. I'm the guy that found a pair of EMI 319's yesterday and put that post up on audiokarma, the one mentioned above in this thread. Mine are in amazing shape, save for a few nicks and scratches in the finish, but I just don't know enough about them to start experimenting with power input and amplifier type. That said, they do sound spectacular with an NAD 7400 power envelope receiver (100 watts per channel) but I have not pushed the volume. Instead I ran them for about 8 hours continuous at very low volume using easy listening music yesterday and plan on doing same at slightly higher volume today. They seem to be pretty sensitive, but again I'm not certain. No idea about ohm rating either. I'll keep searching for info, especially about that capacitor, it's type, value, and what that jacket around it does, and if I find anything I'll share it here.

20160723_142614-2.jpg

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Welcome jayrosc!

Who knows? Maybe we'll start an EMI following here ;)

The only info I've found is the ebay buying guide linked above. The author of that piece said the jacket around the cap is the inductor. Interesting setup. He also wrote that modern solid state amps will destroy the speakers. I doubt it, unless someone is stupid with the volume control. I can say that these do seem to be particularly well-suited to low power tube amplification. As shown above, it works beautifully with the little tube amp in the KLH radio. In fact, I can only turn the volume control up a little bit--about the 8 o'clock position--before it gets way too loud! Nice speakers.

-Kent

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Yeah, I read that eBay stuff too. It's hard to read, plus I suspect that some of that stuff about modern solid states smacked of tube amp snobbery, but until I learn more I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. Also, I'm no Techy, so I have no idea what the hell an inductor is, but I guess it at least means I can't just remove the whole thing and put in a new capacitor. I have no Tube amps yet, but do have a couple low watt solid states like a Marantz 2235B (35 watts)  and an old sony compact unit that delivers only 20 watts per channel. I wonder if 20 watts in solid state is the same as 20 watts in tubes. How many does that KLH put out? That eBay essay(?) made me wonder if the author was saying that these speakers are probably unable to handle the deep bass found in todays music. I'm certainly not playing any yet!

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We were all in the same place once. I'm not an expert, but a typical crossover may include an inductor, a resistor and a capacitor. Inductors are also called coils or chokes and are abbreviated L so a crossover may be described as an LCR type. There's no R in the EMI. If you wanted to replace the cap in an EMI you'd have to extract it from inside the coil. I don't know how easy that is so I'm inclined not to do it.

I don't think an over-powered amp will hurt any speaker, as long as you don't accidentally crank it up to ear-splitting (and cone-shattering) levels. Plenty of people here advocate using kilowatt amps to drive their classic AR speakers even though an AR amp will do just fine at only 60 watts. It's usually clipping that can fry speakers and that's caused by too little power, not too much. But you CAN blow up any speaker by being stupid.

I don't know what the output of the KLH table radio is but I'm sure it's less than 5 watts and probably more like 2.

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Well, the good news is there is no indication that the caps need replacing and after reaching out over on AK one tech guy said that if one does start to drift I could bypass the original with a new cap right alongside it, but the old cap must remain inside the inductor because there's some type of synergy that goes on between the two. I don't know the value, but I've seen a couple two way speakers with values of right around 4uf and the metal cans in these EMI's are considerably larger than the 4uf electrolytic caps I've seen, so I'm hoping the originals are perhaps an oil cap or some other sort that handles age much better than those old electrolytics. After about 20 hours of use these speakers do sound very very good. They remind me of a couple pair of KEF's I've had in the past. It's all about the mid range.

On another note, being on this site has prompted me to try and finish an AR 2A project I started last winter. Got one done only to find out the tweeter is shot, so I didn't crack open the other one. Was just gonna sell them as is, but now maybe it's time to wrestle that other grill off.

Jay

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Got this post last night from a guy that did some work on a pair of these:

Hey, great to see a fellow owner of these. I did a thread back in the winter about turning a "not-quite-a-pair" into a pair. I'm pretty sure, though, that the single crossover component is in fact a cap. In the course of my refurb, I wound up with a spare driver (er, set of drivers... whatever) that supposedly had a bad woofer. I desoldered the mystery piece and tested its capacitance; it came out at something in the 6uF range, if I remember correctly. I don't think a coil would read anything sensible like that. And to the other poster who asked, it's not wood, it's like a wax impregnated cloth. And it's not a cover or an outer shell or anything like that, it is the body of the cap. If you cut it open, you see bare wires. The caps were originally orange, although this one seems to have faded quite a bit. I would love to see something "official" listing the original cap value as I have no way of knowing if the one I pulled had drifted, so I can't use it as a guide for replacement. Enjoy! Keep us posted.
 
 

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I don't claim to be an expert but I believe that writer is mistaken.  Yes, it's a cap but it's encased in an inductor (hence the "bare wires"). It's an LC crossover.

-Kent

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I don't even know what an LC Crossover is! But yes, his info does seem to conflict with things you and I have both read on the topic. I'm still leaning toward those. Good news is these speakers have no sound issues, so those caps or crossovers or whatever they are will stay put.

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LC simply refers to the two crossover components: inductor (L) and capacitor (C). A bit difficult to follow, but this thread shows a number of these LC devices and mentions the 630 model at several points.

http://www.ebay.com/gds/EMI-350-style-combination-speakers-Single-Point-Source-Monitors-/10000000020917667/g.html

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Oh well. Win some, lose some. I just turned my system on at a barely audible, early morning volume so as not to wake anyone in the house and noticed that the sound in one of these speakers has begun breaking up. Checked the connections and all is well. Guess I'm screwed unless I change that cap after all. If it fails, well, another 8 bucks down the drain.:dunno: Only kidding about the money thing, isn't that the cost of a beer in a tavern nowadays? In truth these are superior speakers that deserve saving and it really bums me out that, after exactly one week, they may have become firewood on my watch. Too bad the manufacturer has made it so hard to repair them. Only good news is that I put my JBL 4312's in their place because they were the closest pair available that I could reach without much effort, and they HAVE been restored with new caps and pots. Have not heard them in months. I know these don't get as much love on this site as they do others, but they do sound great. 
Fall down, get back up. And on it goes.

IMG_1780.jpg

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On 7/24/2016 at 8:28 AM, jayrosc said:

I'll keep searching for info, especially about that capacitor, it's type, value, and what that jacket around it does, and if I find anything I'll share it here.

There is a current ebay listing, #122075096462 that offers "Remanufactured cross overs to suit EMI elliptical speakers 92390 or EMI350 13.5" x 8" or similar".

The ad states "They are the same values as the original EMI supplied cross overs - 2.2uF capacitor and approx 310uH air cored inductor/coil. . . . The cross overs are wired thus: inductor goes across the tweeter, the capacitor joins +ve of base unit to -ve of tweeter, -ve of base unit and +ve of tweeter connected together"

I do not vouch for the accuracy of this information but thought others may find it helpful.

-Kent

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On August 7, 2016 at 10:05 PM, JKent said:

There is a current ebay listing, #122075096462 that offers "Remanufactured cross overs to suit EMI elliptical speakers 92390 or EMI350 13.5" x 8" or similar".

The ad states "They are the same values as the original EMI supplied cross overs - 2.2uF capacitor and approx 310uH air cored inductor/coil. . . . The cross overs are wired thus: inductor goes across the tweeter, the capacitor joins +ve of base unit to -ve of tweeter, -ve of base unit and +ve of tweeter connected together"

I do not vouch for the accuracy of this information but thought others may find it helpful.

-Kent

I couldn't find that eBay listing, but description looks like it is the same as the ones on my speakers. I still don't know what to do with mine though! Might be worth getting a 2.2uf cap and putting it in next to the original and see what happens. 

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