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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Hello, I have acquired a pair of Acoustat tower speakers, they are the
MK-121-B model. I was hoping that someone on this list could let me
know if these are a rare find or just old junk!

Also, any advice for setting them up, or what they would be worth to
the right buyer.

Thanks in advance!

Chad
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

On Thu, 14 Aug 2008 20:09:32 -0700, wrote
(in article ):

Hello, I have acquired a pair of Acoustat tower speakers, they are the
MK-121-B model. I was hoping that someone on this list could let me
know if these are a rare find or just old junk!

Also, any advice for setting them up, or what they would be worth to
the right buyer.

Thanks in advance!

Chad


These are full-range electrostatic speakers made from the late 80's until
sometime in the 90's. When new, they were NOT cheap and were available in
single-panel, double-panel 4-panel, 6-panel, and 8-panel arrays. You don't
say how big they are, but the single panels are about 6-ft tall and skinny
and the double panels are wider and the 8 panels are almost 8 ft tall. The
single panel units are bar far the most plentiful and don't have much in the
way of bass, Even the 8-panel models don't go much below about 40 Hz.

If these speakers work, they can sound very good. They have most of the
electrostatic loudspeaker's advantages (fast, low coloration, di-polar
radiation pattern) and do some things very well. They al;so tend to exhibit
most of the electrostatic's drawbacks (narrow dispersion, limited low-end,
limited playback volume, a tendency to compress sound on loud passages and
funny impedance curves that not all amplifiers like.).

As Acoustat is out of business, you might have trouble getting them repaired
or getting parts for them. Today, Martin-Logan is the main carrier of the
electrostatic speaker "torch" and even modest Martin-Logans are FAR better
than the best Acoustats. But Acoustats still have their champions, and these
speakers are far from junk.

As to value, since I don't know what version you have I can't tell you what
they might be worth. From what I can glean, The MK-121-B designation is not a
model, but rather is a panel type. Models are designated by names such as
1+1, 2, 2+2, 3, 4, 6, and 8. 1+1s are two Mk-121-B panels stacked one atop
the other to make a tall, narrow tower, the 2s are two Mk-121-B panels side
by side and are relatively short and wide (almost square), the 2+2 s are two
Mk-121-B panels wide and two high (total of 4 panels). The 3s are three
Mk-121-B panels side by side etc. The 8's seem to be 4 Mk-121-B panels wide
and two high making them almost 8 ft tall.
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Sonnova wrote:

As Acoustat is out of business...


Acoustat, like everything else, is now made in China. Whether they support
the old gear is, however, another story.

Michael

http://www.acoustat.com.cn/en/index.asp
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 06:19:28 -0700, wrote
(in article ):

Sonnova wrote:

As Acoustat is out of business...


Acoustat, like everything else, is now made in China. Whether they support
the old gear is, however, another story.

Michael

http://www.acoustat.com.cn/en/index.asp

I'll be damned! I figured that when Rockford corporation divested themselves
of Acoustat to concentrate on Hafler electronics (and to eventually change
their name to Hafler) and Acoustat electrostatic speaker products fell off
the map, that was the end of them. I had no idea that they had, in the
interim, moved to Italy and finally to China. It used to be that prestigious
(and discarded) US Hi-Fi names ended up in Japan where the brands were
slapped on generic goods and sold to an unsuspecting public - anyone remember
the Japanese Fisher stuff? It was junk. I believe the Pilot name went the
same way as did Sherwood.

I suspect (although I do not know for sure) that Acoustat of China does not
support older Rockford or James Strickland made Acoustat products. I wonder
if they have a US distributor? Looking over their site, it doesn't seem
so....
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Sonnova wrote:

I suspect (although I do not know for sure) that Acoustat of China does
not support older Rockford or James Strickland made Acoustat products. I
wonder if they have a US distributor? Looking over their site, it doesn't
seem so....


Does any company support a 25 year old product? And would anyone really
want to refurbish a 25 year old speaker? Some would, but probably not
many. The Acoustats were OK at the time, for what they were. However,
time marches on, and when I sold mine I never really missed them.

I thought the amplifier was a good product, but after many years I sold it,
too (I read somewhere that the Hitachi mos-fets were a discontinued item).
I didn't want the thing to die on me, and then not be able to get it
repaired. One cannot be too sentimental about these things.

Acoustat is now made in Gaungzhou, a city where the midday sun appears as
the moon to the naked eye. There are rich people in tri-city area of GZ,
Shenzhen, and HK (across the bay), but the average Chinese cannot afford
much of a hi fi system, and they are probably not interested in any case.
It's all television and iPod knock offs. I wonder where they are exporting
the panels, since there is currently no US presence?

Michael



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On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 17:38:15 -0700, wrote
(in article ):

Sonnova wrote:

I suspect (although I do not know for sure) that Acoustat of China does
not support older Rockford or James Strickland made Acoustat products. I
wonder if they have a US distributor? Looking over their site, it doesn't
seem so....


Does any company support a 25 year old product? And would anyone really
want to refurbish a 25 year old speaker? Some would, but probably not
many. The Acoustats were OK at the time, for what they were. However,
time marches on, and when I sold mine I never really missed them.


I have a friend who just sent a pair of Tympani 1D (circa 1980) speakers back
to Magnepan in White Bear lake Minnesota and for $1900 including two-way
shipping and new cartons they completely re-furbished them using the latest
technology. New magnets, new mylar diaphragms, new voice grids and crossover
components, new "socks", the works. He says they sound much better than they
did when he sent them in and in fact, sound much better than they did when
new. They have better bass and are more extended on the top while maintaining
the Maggie midrange that he said he fell in love with more than a quarter of
a century ago. While I cannot comment on how the speakers sounded BEFORE he
sent them back to Magnepan, I can attest that they sound very good now. As a
former owner of a pair of Tympani 3Cs with it's EIGHT panels, I can say that
for $1900, he certainly got a bargain.

I thought the amplifier was a good product, but after many years I sold it,
too (I read somewhere that the Hitachi mos-fets were a discontinued item).
I didn't want the thing to die on me, and then not be able to get it
repaired. One cannot be too sentimental about these things.

Acoustat is now made in Gaungzhou, a city where the midday sun appears as
the moon to the naked eye. There are rich people in tri-city area of GZ,
Shenzhen, and HK (across the bay), but the average Chinese cannot afford
much of a hi fi system, and they are probably not interested in any case.
It's all television and iPod knock offs. I wonder where they are exporting
the panels, since there is currently no US presence?


Looking at their press releases, I thought I saw something about them having
a substantial European presence.
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Harry Lavo Harry Lavo is offline
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

wrote in message
...
Sonnova wrote:

I suspect (although I do not know for sure) that Acoustat of China does
not support older Rockford or James Strickland made Acoustat products. I
wonder if they have a US distributor? Looking over their site, it doesn't
seem so....


Does any company support a 25 year old product? And would anyone really
want to refurbish a 25 year old speaker? Some would, but probably not
many. The Acoustats were OK at the time, for what they were. However,
time marches on, and when I sold mine I never really missed them.

I thought the amplifier was a good product, but after many years I sold
it,
too (I read somewhere that the Hitachi mos-fets were a discontinued item).
I didn't want the thing to die on me, and then not be able to get it
repaired. One cannot be too sentimental about these things.

Acoustat is now made in Gaungzhou, a city where the midday sun appears as
the moon to the naked eye. There are rich people in tri-city area of GZ,
Shenzhen, and HK (across the bay), but the average Chinese cannot afford
much of a hi fi system, and they are probably not interested in any case.
It's all television and iPod knock offs. I wonder where they are
exporting
the panels, since there is currently no US presence?

Michael


One of the reasons to support Thiel....they make great speakers and they
still care about their 25 year old speakers.

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Norman M. Schwartz Norman M. Schwartz is offline
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

wrote:
Sonnova wrote:

I suspect (although I do not know for sure) that Acoustat of China
does not support older Rockford or James Strickland made Acoustat
products. I wonder if they have a US distributor? Looking over their
site, it doesn't seem so....


Does any company support a 25 year old product? And would anyone
really want to refurbish a 25 year old speaker? Some would, but
probably not many.


Sure, my fav and one of the best of them does:
www.magnepan.com



I thought the amplifier was a good product, but after many years I
sold it, too (I read somewhere that the Hitachi mos-fets were a
discontinued item). I didn't want the thing to die on me, and then
not be able to get it repaired. One cannot be too sentimental about
these things.

Acoustat is now made in Gaungzhou, a city where the midday sun
appears as the moon to the naked eye. There are rich people in
tri-city area of GZ, Shenzhen, and HK (across the bay), but the
average Chinese cannot afford much of a hi fi system, and they are
probably not interested in any case. It's all television and iPod
knock offs. I wonder where they are exporting the panels, since
there is currently no US presence?

Michael



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Harry Lavo wrote:

One of the reasons to support Thiel....they make great speakers and they
still care about their 25 year old speakers.


There are those with classic horn speakers from the 50s and 60s who
appreciate the dynamic range and low distortion. Perhaps those are worth
taking care of if, you like the sound. Yet, I wonder if any 25 year old
box speaker can match what is made today? Obviously, the cost of repair
might be significantly less than purchasing anything new. Budget is always
a consideration, and it is much easier to re-foam a woofer, or replace a
tweeter, than an electrostatic panel, even if you can find a replacement.

I'm guessing that a company like McIntosh will support older products.
Pride of ownership cannot be discounted for that type of gear--an old
McIntosh amp or tuner is something you might actually want to own. A 30
year old Mac speaker is altogether different. If I owned one I would
probably keep it. First, who today would want it? Secondly, if you found
someone that did, they would proably not give you much for it--considering
what they cost new. If I were looking to buy, I'd never consider such a
thing.

I recently had a chance to live with a set of Acoustat model 3s for a few
weeks (before a friend sold them). I let him "store" them in my living
room, as I wanted to relive the experience, and he didn't mind. The sound
was as I remembered...OK in the context of an 80s speaker, but given their
limitations (size, problematic room requirements, limited listening
position, and overall weird look) I didn't much see the point.

Michael

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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Just to throw this out for a 25 + year old speaker. I have Acoust
model X with the servo amps. I have had (myself) the amps refurbished
with all modern parts. The frames and panels are original with the
exception of modern dampening and other tech. I go to homes with $30K
plus newer systems. I do not come home wanting more. My sound stage
is as good if not better, bass, and high frequencies are right there.
Any one reading these threads who has Acoustats, do not let them
divert your attention. They are worth the effort.



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On Thu, 21 Aug 2008 15:30:49 -0700, wrote
(in article ):

Harry Lavo wrote:

One of the reasons to support Thiel....they make great speakers and they
still care about their 25 year old speakers.


There are those with classic horn speakers from the 50s and 60s who
appreciate the dynamic range and low distortion. Perhaps those are worth
taking care of if, you like the sound. Yet, I wonder if any 25 year old
box speaker can match what is made today? Obviously, the cost of repair
might be significantly less than purchasing anything new. Budget is always
a consideration, and it is much easier to re-foam a woofer, or replace a
tweeter, than an electrostatic panel, even if you can find a replacement.

I'm guessing that a company like McIntosh will support older products.


They sure used to. At one time, official McIntosh dealers would hold
amplifier "clinics" in which factory technicians with a truckload of
equipment would set-up in a dealer's premisses and would check-out, adjust
and repair - without cost (!) any McIntosh amp or preamp brought in by its
owner, regardless of age, and do so RIGHT THERE. If the amp needed new output
tubes, it got new output tubes. If it needed new capacitors, it got new
capacitors. That's what I call customer service. Of course, they stopped
doing that sometime in the 1970's.

Pride of ownership cannot be discounted for that type of gear--an old
McIntosh amp or tuner is something you might actually want to own. A 30
year old Mac speaker is altogether different. If I owned one I would
probably keep it. First, who today would want it? Secondly, if you found
someone that did, they would proably not give you much for it--considering
what they cost new. If I were looking to buy, I'd never consider such a
thing.

I recently had a chance to live with a set of Acoustat model 3s for a few
weeks (before a friend sold them). I let him "store" them in my living
room, as I wanted to relive the experience, and he didn't mind. The sound
was as I remembered...OK in the context of an 80s speaker, but given their
limitations (size, problematic room requirements, limited listening
position, and overall weird look) I didn't much see the point.


You have a point. I had a pair of Acoustat Spectra 11s once and sold them
because their transformer wasn't very well designed and they would get
congested sounding as they got loud almost like a very poorly designed
broadcast limiter. The music would build to a crescendo, but at some point
would stop getting louder (even though it was supposed to) and each increase
in orchestra output would result in nothing but more and more distortion
until ultimately, they became unlistenable unless one turned the volume down
to point where the amp was no longer overloading the transformer. Not very
useful by today's standards.

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On Fri, 22 Aug 2008 06:26:06 -0700, wrote
(in article ):

Just to throw this out for a 25 + year old speaker. I have Acoust
model X with the servo amps. I have had (myself) the amps refurbished
with all modern parts. The frames and panels are original with the
exception of modern dampening and other tech. I go to homes with $30K
plus newer systems. I do not come home wanting more. My sound stage
is as good if not better, bass, and high frequencies are right there.
Any one reading these threads who has Acoustats, do not let them
divert your attention. They are worth the effort.


I don't doubt that many of them are very much worth saving. There is, after
all, something magic about electrostatic speakers. Most are push-pull design
and therefore are capable of much lower distortion than are cone speakers and
most planar dynamic designs (which are single-ended, being driven only from
magnets on the front side of the diaphragm). Also, electrostatics (especially
full range) tend to be very coherent from top to bottom since all frequencies
radiate from the same surface and they tend to be naturally time-aligned (in
the E.M. Long sense) for the same reason. If the power supplies are adequate
and the transformer is properly designed, they can be very satisfying. OTOH,
Electrostatics tend to be light in the bass, they tend to beam and many have
a very small listening "sweet spot" **. Older designs have very little
response at either the top or the bottom (the original Quads) and tend to
suffer from arcing (extremely high voltage is required for them to work)
caused by a curious electrostatic field effect known as charge migration
where all of the static charge tends to concentrate at the point where the
diaphragm comes closest to the stator plates (the perforated panels covering
the diaphragm on both sides of the speaker). This point is, of course, the
place where the diaphragm moves the most and that's its physical center. If
not compensated for, this phenomenon causes only the center of the speaker to
produce any appreciable sound, and of course, excess excursion here will
cause the aforementioned arcing which can actually punch holes in the
diaphragm.

Modern designs have gotten around these various shortcomings and good modern
electrostatics are very good indeed, but the further one goes back in time
with earlier designs, one is going run up on these limitations. For instance,
back in the 1970's a company called Beveridge made some very expensive
electrostatic speakers with dedicated tube amps. The plates of the push-pull
tube amps connected directly to the stator plates of the speakers, thus
eliminating the double impedance conversion needed with most tube amp powered
electrostatics. While the Beveridges sounded quite good for their day, IIRC,
they could hardly play above a whisper without arcing. Arnie Nudel's Infinity
Servo-Static electrostatics were quite spectacular - on those rare days when
all of the small panels that made up the speaker's incredible surface area
worked at once - something that many critics maintained was a statistical
impossibility. And then there were the original Quads, where it all started.
These quirky speakers had marvelous midrange but absolutely no bass below
about 70 Hz and no treble above about 6 KHz. I've seen hybrid designs in the
'70's where a large frame held two Quads per side (one inverted over the
other to form a continuous arc from top to bottom) with a Decca ribbon
tweeter mounted between them and a large woofer in a box at the bottom of the
frame (forget who made these things but they actually sounded really good for
the time. They were terribly expensive though, as I recall). Of course, who
can forget the Dayton-Wrights of the late sixties and '70's which got around
the arcing problems by encasing the electrostatic elements in a bag full of
some kind of inert gas (hexaflourine?) to allow for more excursion without
danger of arcing. Finally, the first few generations of Acoustat speakers had
many of the above problems and should be avoided for the reasons mentioned.

**I once reviewed a pair of Roger Sanders' InnerSound electrostatics that I
thought sounded very good. The problem with them was that they had me
seriously contemplating checking antique stores for one of those "head vise"
contraptions that you often see holding people's heads still in old 19th
century deguerreotypes! As a listener, you literally couldn't move your head
an inch without losing all the highs. Setting the speakers up required that
one use a flashlight atop ones head pointing forward so that the beam hit the
wall exactly halfway between the two speakers. Then, you had to toe the two
speakers in until you could see the reflection of the flashlight beam equally
in both metalized mylar diaphragms! As far as I was concerned, this was
unacceptable, irrespective of how good the speakers sounded when optimally
set-up, and they WERE very good indeed. Who wants speakers that couldn't be
shared with others? This is a problem with lots of electrostatics, although
probably not to the extent of the InnerSound experience. Martin Logan gets
around this by curving his panels and they have a much wider listening angle.
In fact the "sweet spot" in most MLs extends to more than 30 degrees
off-axis.
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Sonnova wrote:

They sure used to. At one time, official McIntosh dealers would hold
amplifier "clinics" in which factory technicians with a truckload of
equipment would set-up in a dealer's premisses and would check-out, adjust
and repair - without cost (!) any McIntosh amp or preamp brought in by
its owner, regardless of age, and do so RIGHT THERE. If the amp needed new
output tubes, it got new output tubes. If it needed new capacitors, it got
new capacitors. That's what I call customer service. Of course, they
stopped doing that sometime in the 1970's.


McIntosh also encouraged their dealers to purchase expensive stereo
microscopes enabling them to inspect phono styli. With a dealer in my
area, this was a free service--to anyone. Although I never owned Mac gear
(I was a kid at the time) the dealer never balked at helping me out.

I am glad McIntosh has survived (although back then the equipment was simply
good value and built well, it is now priced distinctly in the
statosphere--maybe the result of not moving manufaturing facilities to
China). Sadly, in the late 70s and early 80s the high-end press always
talked the company down. In those days, you "needed" Levinson, or Audio
Research gear. It was just the way it was.

You have a point. I had a pair of Acoustat Spectra 11s once and sold them
because their transformer wasn't very well designed and they would get
congested sounding as they got loud almost like a very poorly designed
broadcast limiter. The music would build to a crescendo, but at some point
would stop getting louder (even though it was supposed to) and each
increase in orchestra output would result in nothing but more and more
distortion until ultimately, they became unlistenable unless one turned
the volume down to point where the amp was no longer overloading the
transformer. Not very useful by today's standards.


Yes. Ironically, you also needed a beefy amp to drive the speakers. I
destroyed a decent, but typically adequate amp trying to drive Acoustats.
I was eventually forced to purchase the large Acoustat amp; yet, in spite
of the quality and power of this large mos-fet amp, the speaker always
sounded best at low levels.

Back in the 80s there were a lot of bad sounding speakers. The Acoustats
were not "bad" sounding. They just had a lot of limitations, and were
never SOA.

Michael

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Sonnova wrote:

And then there were
the original Quads, where it all started. These quirky speakers had
marvelous midrange but absolutely no bass below about 70 Hz and no treble
above about 6 KHz. I've seen hybrid designs in the '70's where a large
frame held two Quads per side (one inverted over the other to form a
continuous arc from top to bottom) with a Decca ribbon tweeter mounted
between them and a large woofer in a box at the bottom of the frame
(forget who made these things but they actually sounded really good for
the time. They were terribly expensive though, as I recall).


The most famous iteration was Mark ("I never met a preamp that cost too
much") Levinson's HQD system, using the 24 inch Hartley woofer, all driven
by half a dozen (cheaper by the six pack--not!) ML-2, 25 watt class A amps.

Peter Aczel came up with a similar home-made device using the Janus woofer
and (I'm doing this from memory, so don't hold me to it) Dick Sequerra's
Pyramid tweeter. I think SME used a stacked Quad setup in their listening
room, too.

Michael


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On Sat, 23 Aug 2008 08:47:04 -0700, wrote
(in article ):

Sonnova wrote:

They sure used to. At one time, official McIntosh dealers would hold
amplifier "clinics" in which factory technicians with a truckload of
equipment would set-up in a dealer's premisses and would check-out, adjust
and repair - without cost (!) any McIntosh amp or preamp brought in by
its owner, regardless of age, and do so RIGHT THERE. If the amp needed new
output tubes, it got new output tubes. If it needed new capacitors, it got
new capacitors. That's what I call customer service. Of course, they
stopped doing that sometime in the 1970's.


McIntosh also encouraged their dealers to purchase expensive stereo
microscopes enabling them to inspect phono styli. With a dealer in my
area, this was a free service--to anyone. Although I never owned Mac gear
(I was a kid at the time) the dealer never balked at helping me out.


I too was a kid but my dad owned McIntosh amps and a tuner/pre-amp.

I am glad McIntosh has survived (although back then the equipment was simply
good value and built well, it is now priced distinctly in the
statosphere--maybe the result of not moving manufaturing facilities to
China). Sadly, in the late 70s and early 80s the high-end press always
talked the company down. In those days, you "needed" Levinson, or Audio
Research gear. It was just the way it was.


A McIntosh M75 monoblock was 75 Watts (in the early '60's) and cost over $250
(this is when a Dynaco MkIII sold for about $80). That's at least $2-$3000 in
today's money, meaning that two of them would cost $400 or the equivalent of
$4-$6,000 2008 worthless Bush Bucks. I'd say that since today's Mac MC275 amp
is $4500 Bush Bucks, that McIntosh equipment is still pretty much the same
value it was then and has just kept-up with inflation.

McIntosh sort of lost their way in the 1970s with the introduction of
solid-state gear. Their expertise was in their exquisite bifilar wound output
transformers. Of course, transistor amps don't need output transformers, but
McIntosh's early SS designs incorporated them anyway (interstage transformers
too, IIRC). The result was that Mac 1st (and possibly second) generation
Solid-State amps didn't sound even as good as other companies' early
transistor efforts, and THEY were often lousy (early Dynaco ST-120s, and
Harmon-Kardon Citation 12s for instance). Add to that a cheaper, "budget"
line called simply 'Mac' and made in Japan, and you have a perfect recipe for
a more than slightly tarnished reputation. The high-end press in those days
was having none of it, of course and saw McIntosh's fall as illustrative of
the plight of the entire audio community as company after company abandoned
decent performing tube designs for lousy sounding, unreliable solid-state.

You have a point. I had a pair of Acoustat Spectra 11s once and sold them
because their transformer wasn't very well designed and they would get
congested sounding as they got loud almost like a very poorly designed
broadcast limiter. The music would build to a crescendo, but at some point
would stop getting louder (even though it was supposed to) and each
increase in orchestra output would result in nothing but more and more
distortion until ultimately, they became unlistenable unless one turned
the volume down to point where the amp was no longer overloading the
transformer. Not very useful by today's standards.


Yes. Ironically, you also needed a beefy amp to drive the speakers. I
destroyed a decent, but typically adequate amp trying to drive Acoustats.
I was eventually forced to purchase the large Acoustat amp; yet, in spite
of the quality and power of this large mos-fet amp, the speaker always
sounded best at low levels.

Back in the 80s there were a lot of bad sounding speakers. The Acoustats
were not "bad" sounding. They just had a lot of limitations, and were
never SOA.


No, not at all. I always thought my Spectra 11s sounded great a low volumes.
They were far from bad sounding. They just couldn't play at anything
approaching "realistic" volume levels, even in a relatively small room.
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[email protected] mpresley@earthlink.net is offline
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Sonnova wrote:

The high-end press in those
days was having none of it


The high-end press in those days was self absorbed and not very rigorous in
their ways (with one exception). From them, I would not place much value
in what was going down.

No, not at all. I always thought my Spectra 11s sounded great a low
volumes. They were far from bad sounding. They just couldn't play at
anything approaching "realistic" volume levels, even in a relatively small
room.


Read closely what I wrote. I never said they were bad sounding. They just
had limitations, and were never SOA. For a reasonably priced speaker they
were OK.

Michael

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[email protected] luciano.veneziano@gmail.com is offline
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Il giorno venerd=C3=AC 15 agosto 2008 05:09:32 UTC+2, ha =
scritto:
Hello, I have acquired a pair of Acoustat tower speakers, they are the
MK-121-B model. I was hoping that someone on this list could let me
know if these are a rare find or just old junk!
=20
Also, any advice for setting them up, or what they would be worth to
the right buyer.
=20
Thanks in advance!
=20
Chad


Hi! I have Monitor 4 and search two MK121, Where I can purchase?
Thanks
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Peter Wieck[_2_] Peter Wieck[_2_] is offline
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Default Acoustat MK-121-B

Chad:

The last post was just under ten (10) years ago.
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