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  1. #1
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    Default To keep or replace Richter excalibur 3 way

    Never ventured into this side of the forum before. Hope to see some new names.

    My speakers are now 20 years old and I wonder is it time to replace them with newer technology.

    What I have is this: Richter Excalibur 3 way speakers. Heavy as hell. I know what you are thinking. Richter only ever made 2 way excalibur speakers. What most people don't know is that Ralph Waters was going to make a commercial range of Excalibur 3 way speakers. He made only 10 pairs of these speakers as prototypes and sold them to people he knew. He told me he probably couldn't command commercially the price they deserved. So There are only 10 pairs in existance. Mine are in pristine condition. I drive them with a Marantz PM 80 amplifier. We drove them flat chat in his workshop with no distortion at all.

    They sound magnificant.

    I am not a technophile at all but am thinking that there must have been advances in this area and maybe I can get a smaller, lighter set of speakers with the same qualities?? Do speakers have a life span as such? Will they one day just deteriorate and be useless? Any suggestion will be welcomed.

    Chris
    Killer of brain cells

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  3. #2
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    Default

    If they still sound good then keep them.

    Generally they don't wear out.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by windbreaker View Post

    I am not a technophile at all but am thinking that there must have been advances in this area and maybe I can get a smaller, lighter set of speakers with the same qualities?? Do speakers have a life span as such? Will they one day just deteriorate and be useless? Any suggestion will be welcomed.

    Chris
    yeah speakers will break down over time, give them a poke and see if the surround is still intact and still sticks to the cone and the basket, but you should also be able to hear problems like that.

    basic loudspeaker theory hasn't changed at all in the last 50 years, the improvements have only been in materials and the differences in sound quality incrementally small.
    If they still sound good, then they still sound good. keep them.

  5. #4
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    Oyster Bay NSW
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    Quote Originally Posted by windbreaker View Post
    I am not a technophile at all but am thinking that there must have been advances in this area and maybe I can get a smaller, lighter set of speakers with the same qualities?? Do speakers have a life span as such? Will they one day just deteriorate and be useless? Any suggestion will be welcomed.

    Chris
    In general terms, the answer is no. As those who drive large V8 engined cars would say:

    "There ain't no substutute for cubes (cubic inches)."

    Similar deal with speakers. If you want decent bass performance, you'll either need a large box, OR a small box, with a very high performance, high mass, very long throw bass driver AND a crap-load of power. Far more than your PM80 can deliver.

    This exactly what car stereo guys and subwoofer guys do.

    Thing is this:

    Speaker design has not really changed since the 1930s. Materials technology, computer aided design and amplifier power has changed. Ralph used top of the line CAD software to design his speakers (he still does). You may gain some small improvements by moving to a more modern set of speakers, but I doubt you'd gain much and you'd certainly spend a significant chunk of money in the process.

    Lifespan:

    If treated reasonably (keep them away from drunk teenagers) and, assuming the bass driver surrounds remain intact (though they can be repaired inexpensively), you should expect about 100+ years' of service from your Richters.

    BTW: Your PM80 is an excellent amp. Do not be misled by salespeople trying to 'upgrade' you. You would need to drop a serious chunk of change to better your old Marantz.
    Last edited by Zaphod; 11th Nov 2010 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Brain fart

  6. #5
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    Good Morning Windbreaker

    Zaphod, Phantom and Ivan have given you excellent advice, IMHO.

    Speaker research in recent years has been mainly channeled towards making them cheaper and smaller (read less efficient and requiring BIG amplifiers). Not so much effort into producing better sounding stereo.

    Excellent quality speakers like your Richters last a long time with care. The part most likely to fail is the surround. This is the soft rubber membrain that connects the outside edge of the cone to the metal frame of the speaker - the rubber perishes with time, but you can replace it yourself. (As the surround loses it resilience the sound very slowly becomes muddier - so slowly that you do not notice.) I replaced the surrounds on my speakers so if I can do it, so can you. See Tom at Melbourne based:
    Speaker repairs, Speaker parts, Ortofon cartridges, Thoren turntables, DJ accessories - Speakerbits

    My Tannoy 15" are now 35 years old and I cannot match them sound-wise for less than $10,000 - I think that you are in a similar position.

    Cheers

    Graeme

  7. #6
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    Default

    OH come on saying that nothing has changed in speaker design is just a dream.

    Saying not much has changed is like comparing a model T ford with any of the modern cars....yeh it sill has 4 wheels and ann internal combustion motor........but the result is a vast difference.

    In the 30's most speaker design was trail and error, the only mathamatical quantity thay could manipulate with certainty was resonance.......Thiel and Small revolutionised speaker design in tha late 60's early 70's by quantifying the phisics of speakers and in the 80's computer modeling was a quantum shift in speaker design.

    Saying only the materials have changed is to very much under estimate the huge role that materials and manufacturing process have had in the last 10 to 15 years.



    If you think any of the speakers from the 60's, 70's, and 80's are better than the best of what is available now...you are having a nostalga dream.
    Ya probaly like the sound you have become acustomed too.

    And HELL YEH a lot of what has changed has braught the price down considerably.....back in the day, HIFI was a rich mans game, ya needed considerable $$$$$ to get something at all decent.

    These days even the better sort of cheap crap sounds better that some of the stuff that people raved about and paid family car prices for back in the day.

    All the speaker componenets even the cheaper stuff is manufacturered, more consistently and accuratly than what was available in the past.
    Better materials, engineering and manufacturing has produced components that are physicaly capable of better results.

    There is still a pile of BS arround and people selling stuff at a price way above its value.... but hey that is HIFI and always will be.

    But if you are wise and buy well, you can get something that sounds very nice for much less that in the past.

    That said......if your richters are in good nick and you like them...even if the surrounds on the bass drivers are perished.....yd have rocks in your head to get rid of them.

    I too have relaced a few surrounds, if you understand the process, have modestly good hand skills and patience and get the right parts.....it is not hard to do.

    I know lots of people recon they can replace the surrounds without removing the cone...... but I recon you are better off.....removing the whole cone, spider and all.... fitting the surround and then reinstalling the cone complete, shimming the voice coil and replacing the dist cap..

    One important thing.....if it is a foam or rubber surround..you must get the right glue........lots of the surrounds, premature death was sealed with the solvent bassed glue used to fix them.

    the surround materials have improved, and there is a funky white water bassed glue available that does not compromise the surround.

    If ya don't want your richters....I am sure there are a few who would line up to take em to a good home.

    And..YEH..I do agree, ya cana change the laws of physics....ya still need size and mass to make a good speaker.....well one that has bass response anyway.

    cheers

    cheers
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
    Most powertools have sharp teeth.
    People are made of meat.
    Abrasives can be just as dangerous as a blade.....and 10 times more painfull.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman View Post
    OH come on saying that nothing has changed in speaker design is just a dream.
    Good, because that is not what I wrote.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman View Post
    Saying not much has changed is like comparing a model T ford with any of the modern cars....yeh it sill has 4 wheels and ann internal combustion motor........but the result is a vast difference.
    The facts are pretty simple: Every single speaker technology we have now (including ribbons, electrostatics, moving coil, ionic), except one, was developed before 1940. That exception was piezo speakers, which, with one lone exception, are crap anyway. As I stated, the real developments have come with CAD and materials. And amplifier power. The fundamental technology is the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman View Post
    In the 30's most speaker design was trail and error, the only mathamatical quantity thay could manipulate with certainty was resonance.......Thiel and Small revolutionised speaker design in tha late 60's early 70's by quantifying the phisics of speakers and in the 80's computer modeling was a quantum shift in speaker design.
    Which is precisely why I stated that CAD was an important development.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman View Post
    Saying only the materials have changed is to very much under estimate the huge role that materials and manufacturing process have had in the last 10 to 15 years.
    Bollocks. Here's my short, unofficial RECENT history of significant loudspeaker developments:

    * Quad ESL57. Although developed BEFORE the advent of stereo recordings, this speaker is STILL the benchmark for absolute clarity and accuracy. Not without it's flaws (like all speakers), the ESL57 still manages to do stuff that no other speaker can. And that was well into production long before 1960. A revolution, because modern plastics were used, rather than perishable organic materials.

    * The AR1. Henry Klossand Edgar Villchur developed the 'sealed enclosure' principle, using relatively high mass, compliant cones. This has paved the way for the 'doof-doof' generation. 1954. Again, modern plastics and rubber came to the rescue.

    * By 1962, KEF were using modern, vacuum formed cones. By 1966, KEF were using Neoprene™ rubber for the surrounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman View Post

    If you think any of the speakers from the 60's, 70's, and 80's are better than the best of what is available now...you are having a nostalga dream.
    Ya probaly like the sound you have become acustomed too.
    I suggest you listen to the following speakers sometime, THEN try to make that judgement:

    * The Quad ESL57 (used with music appropriate to the speaker, of course). 1957.
    * The B&W DM7 (and MkII). This product will happily compete with modern speakers ranging up to (say) $5k. 1977.
    * The B&W 802. Excellent product, capable of delivering very fine performance. 1983.
    * The B&W 801. Not as impressive as the DM7, IMO, but the 801 is still capable of performance that will put most modern speakers to shame. 1979.
    * The B&W Matrix series. Fabulous speakers. Easily able to beat the vast majority of modern products. 1986.

    Of course, there is more. MUCH more. There have been many properly designed speakers, which have not been significantly bettered over the last 60 years. To draw a woodworking analogy, I use a Makita 3601B router. It is around 40 years old. I was recently told by a professional that not only is the 3601 still in production, but it is a well regarded router. Good design is just that: Good design.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman View Post
    And..YEH..I do agree, ya cana change the laws of physics....ya still need size and mass to make a good speaker.....well one that has bass response anyway.

    cheers

    cheers
    Of course. That is what I said.

  9. #8
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    OK that settles it. I'm going to keep them. Anyway It's not like I can lift them any more. They are beautiful, sound wonderful but really should have had more use over the last few years.

    Sitting at a computer listening to MP3 files through a pair of Logitechs just ain't the same now is it????
    Killer of brain cells

  10. #9
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    * The B&W 801. Not as impressive as the DM7, IMO, but the 801 is still capable of performance that will put most modern speakers to shame. 1979.
    Mmmm ... that's good to hear. I hope others are in agreement. I would like to hear opinions ...

    I have a pair of DM7 MkII. Had them for 26 years now. They still sound as good as the day I got them. Powered by a Musical Fidelity Synthesis amp, which is the same vintage.

    Over the past year my wife has been wanting the B&Ws out of the living room, and to get small speakers. My argument is always the same - decent small speakers will cost the earth, and I really cannot see the point.

    A couple of weeks ago I nearly succumbed after listening to a demo of some amazing Geneva speakers. Impressive in the shop.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  11. #10
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    Yeh Zaphod...still living in that nostalga dream.....

    Consider what any of the old iconic HIFI speakers cost when they were new, then translate that into a modern day price tag.

    mostly, even something "basicaly funky" has always cost you arround the same as a decent family station waggon per pair.

    So if ya want to talk the best of the modern HIFI speakers ( still wank factor in my opinion), you need to start at $30 000..so forget your $5000.

    Any way..... how many of these "iconic Hi Fi speakers" found their way into reputable studios.......ever.......Tannoy reds or golds maybe... but they were never a HI fi speaker....they were a proper studio monitor........hardly ever hear HIFI people talk about the brands well known in studios in the same periods Altec, Electrovoice, JBL, RCF, Tanoy, URI and several lesser known......I know a few studios had some B&W in them.........probaly because they could not afford one of the major pro industry brands or "it was only for radio" or even worse television......(Ok I'm winding you up about the B&W, the ABC was lousy with the things but that was only radio & TV)

    As for Piezos.......the only reason they had a reputation for being crap is that they were cheap so people failed to treat the concept and the available product with respect as a component.........admittedly it did have a limited frequency range and application......most people would not even be aware of the range of piezo product that was once available.

    the HIFI market as it once was is pretty well dead, because for the price of a decent family station waggon you can buy a pretty respectable home cinema
    and the "cultured appreciation of audio" simply cant compete with the doof doof and the booom crash of modern music and dolby surround.

    In practical terms, you can still get something all but the snootyest "audiophile" would be happy with for arround two weeks pay....and as always you will get better value for money buying from the recording industry rather than from a HIFI shop.

    And most likley ya wont need to buy a power amp either because they will have internal multiway amplification and active crossovers.

    But then you cant boast about the funky amp and the known HIFI brands.

    Serioulsy these days any company with a switched on designer can turn out a pretty respectable speaker.....

    I'd rather have a decent station waggon than a funky set of speakers anyway.

    cheers
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
    Most powertools have sharp teeth.
    People are made of meat.
    Abrasives can be just as dangerous as a blade.....and 10 times more painfull.

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