Steve F Posted May 29, 2012 Report Share Posted May 29, 2012 I attended a very interesting BAS (Boston Audio Society) meeting on Sunday May 27th. It was a monitor speaker shootout where the “golden-ears” of the BAS compared and rated several small speakers, including some homemade speakers done by BAS members themselves.We level-matched all the speakers, and the entire group listened to one speaker at a time (in mono) and rated each one on a variety of classical, vocal, and jazz music for bass quality, midrange, treble and “overall” sound quality, which was not necessarily a compilation of the B-M-T ratings.. The speaker group was then narrowed to a smaller group, then a final three, then two, then a winner. You can quibble all you want with the methodology, but the speakers were side-by-side when compared, and in very similar relationships to the room boundaries. We were in the far-ish field, about 10-15 feet away. It was a small conference room at BU, about 20 x 25, moderately damped. The room was fine.The speakers included a BA HD-9, a Polk 30 II monitor, an RA labs MTM center speaker turned vertically on its end, an Atlantic AT-2 with its new H-PAS bass technology, a mint-condition AR-4x, a KLH bookshelf speaker from the ‘90’s, a Raidho 1C ($9k each, I’d never heard of this brand before), and a few homemade specials.Turns out that the aging golden-eared geeks of the BAS liked the BA HD-9 and the Atlantic AT-2 the best. They were the two finalists. (I don’t know the actual winner yet. The results weren’t tabulated that night.)But the star of the evening, without any doubt whatsoever, was the 4x. A pristine example--its cloth surround still sealed nicely and its FR confirmed as being spot-on--it was unfinished pine, painted white. S/N was 291k. My Dad had 4x’s that were S/N 365k purchased in July 1969, so this was probably from 1968. It sounded great. Very slightly reticent, great mids, strong, clean bass. Amazing that a 44 year-old speaker was fully competitive with the best of today. Yes, the AT-2 went a little deeper with its H-PAS and its 1 1/8" dome was a bit smoother, but the 4x was right in there. It made it to group 2, and was debated strongly about being in the group of three. The 4x's mids were just a bit uneven, due, no doubt, to the cost-conscious nature of its crossover. I'd love to hear the re-done crossover that Speaker Dave did, using the 4x's original drivers.After hearing what I heard Sunday night, there is no question in my mind that the 1967-1978 ARs (the 3a and 5 onwards) were as good as we remember them being. It's not just 'fond acoustic memories.' The thing is, at the time--fed with restricted frequency- and dynamic-range LPs played on analog turntables with rumble and w&f--they didn't sound as good then as they do now.Steve F. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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