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tysontom

ADS L1590

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18 hours ago, tysontom said:

I think the different crossovers and slight differences between the 2-inch dome midrange drivers between the two speakers probably accounts somewhat for the difference in perceived transient performance.  Except for the more robust L1590 woofers, I don't understand why the L1590 has greater overall power-handling capability than the L1290, especially since the 2-inch dome is driven to a lower crossover frequency in the big speaker.  How this could represent greater power-handling, I don't know!  The upper end should be equal across the board.  Thoughts?

The L1590 has different tweeters, mids and woofers than the L1290.  I assume that each one of the components in the L1590 is rated for more power, but can't find any data right now to back up my theory. 

18 hours ago, tysontom said:

Also, do you have any copies of your measurements on these speakers?  I would love to see them if you have saved any.  If you could do some impulse tests—even the old transient-response tests—it would be interesting to see if there are any differences in the two speakers' midrange performance.

I'm sure that I have data from the L1290 and L880 drivers somewhere on my computer.  Unfortunately, I'm pretty thorough at testing and analyzing data, but usually not very good at documenting the results.  If I found the data, it might not be clear what I actually tested.

It all may be a moot point since I tested individual drivers from the L1290 and L880, but didn't disassemble the L1590 for individual driver testing.  My comparisons between the L1290 and L1590 were done with the speakers side by side connected to a speaker selector switch.  In the past, I've tried to run quantitative comparisons of overall speaker performance, but never obtained results that I thought I could trust.  I typically end up doing qualitative evaluations (which may be too subjective to be useful to anyone else).

18 hours ago, tysontom said:

I would not think so, as both use the same magnet and voice-coil assemblies.

I recall reading somewhere that the L1590 mids and tweeters had stronger magnets than the L1290.  However, I can't recall where I read that.

18 hours ago, tysontom said:

Did you actually find the Ferrofluid dried up in the 1290s?  Was it partially dry or what was the case?

I've only experienced one ADS driver with a ferrofluid issue.  The best way I can describe it is that the fluid "crusted over".  The fluid under the crust seemed fine.  I originally repaired the driver by cleaning out all of the dried fluid "chunks" and running the driver with the remaining fluid.  I've since completely replaced the fluid (several times) in the course of my various experiments.

18 hours ago, tysontom said:

Also, as for imaging, I would think that the L1290 and L890 speakers, with their higher midrange crossover, might image slightly better than the 1590, but the latter would have somewhat greater "spaciousness" in the reverberant field.  More three-dimensional in the far field.

I believe that improvements in imaging in my L1290 (and L880) were more from using matched driver pairs than anything else.  I'd love to be able to repeat the driver matching experiment on the L1590s, but I don't have a suitable pool of spare parts to make it happen.

19 hours ago, tysontom said:

These were all great speakers!  Do you also have a pair of L980s?

Unfortunately, no.  There are only a couple of ADS speakers that are on my watch list and the L980 is one of them.

 

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Hi Glitch,

Great message.  Regarding the L980s, I wonder how it would compare, ultimately, with the AR-3a?  There would be a fairly close resemblance in terms of bandwidth and spectral balance, except that the ADS speakers would have noticeably greater upper-midrange and treble output in comparison with the AR-3a.  As for accuracy, it would be a close call, with both speakers representing a very high level of smoothness and low distortion.

I am quite surprised that at least one of ADS's later designs didn't make it to Stereophile magazine's "Best Top Speakers of the Past 40 Years."  You just never know how these things will go, but there were several ADS speaker that could easily have outmatched several of the magazine's top picks.  Of course, Stereophile magazine (much like TAS) reviews and articles were heavily weighed on subjective evaluation and judgment, and the results were usually more emotional than objective.  

https://www.stereophile.com/content/40-years-istereophilei-hot-100-products-page-7

By the way, you are exactly right about the different part numbers for the ADS 1590 and 1290!  For some reason I thought the tweeters were identical, but it's not the case.  According to what I found in my files: 

L1290: tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0211, woofer 206-0349

L1590: tweeter 206-0119, mid 206-0213, woofer 206-0350.

I'm not positive that these are the Series 2 part numbers or the original series, but I think so.  You may know for sure.

--Tom 

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6 hours ago, tysontom said:

Regarding the L980s, I wonder how it would compare, ultimately, with the AR-3a?

Setting up a listening comparison between those two speakers would be a real treat.  I have neither, so it could be a long while until I have the opportunity.  Based on my experience with the L1590, L1290 and L880, I would think that you would be able to A/B your 3a's and L1290's and get a very good feel for how they stack up.  The tricky part of the experiment might be getting the room setup right since each of those speakers would have a fairly different "ideal" spot in the room.  I'm guessing that you already thought of this and is one of the reasons why you suggested the 3a to L980 comparison.  (i.e. both would benefit from a similar setup position, etc.).

The Stereophile Magazine article was a trip down memory lane.  To me, it seems "right" that there weren't any ADS offerings on the list.  I've never thought of ADS as one of those companies that was targeting the stereotypical audiophile personality.  Sure, there were other companies on the list that are arguably similar in this regard.  IMHO, there products were more revolutionary than anything ADS did.  As big of an ADS fan as I am, I don't feel slighted at all by the list.

Here are some relevant part numbers (from the ADS parts list)

L880:       tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0211, woofer 206-0346

L880/2:   tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0215, woofer 206-0357

L1290:     tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0211, woofer 206-0349

L1290/2: tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0215, woofer 206-0359 or 206-0360

L980:       tweeter 206-0118, mid 206-0212, woofer 206-0347

L980/2:   tweeter 206-0118, mid 206-0214, woofer 206-0353

L1590:     tweeter 206-0119, mid 206-0213, woofer 206-0350

L1590/2: tweeter 206-0118, mid 206-0214, woofer 206-0361

I'm a bit surprised that drivers pattern on the L980/L1590 doesn't follow the same pattern as the L880/L1290.  I wonder if the L980 was introduced "late" relative to the L1590? (i.e I expected that it, L980/1, would have a 206-0119 tweeter & 206-0213 mid)


 

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So I guess I had mis-remembered this.  My 1590s and 980s are both series 1, so they aren't identical (mid/tweet) drivers after all.  Drat.

Not going to try to "cure" that though!

 

Best,

- Jeff

 

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On 6/5/2018 at 8:07 PM, Glitch said:

Setting up a listening comparison between those two speakers would be a real treat.  I have neither, so it could be a long while until I have the opportunity.  Based on my experience with the L1590, L1290 and L880, I would think that you would be able to A/B your 3a's and L1290's and get a very good feel for how they stack up.  The tricky part of the experiment might be getting the room setup right since each of those speakers would have a fairly different "ideal" spot in the room.  I'm guessing that you already thought of this and is one of the reasons why you suggested the 3a to L980 comparison.  (i.e. both would benefit from a similar setup position, etc.).

The Stereophile Magazine article was a trip down memory lane.  To me, it seems "right" that there weren't any ADS offerings on the list.  I've never thought of ADS as one of those companies that was targeting the stereotypical audiophile personality.  Sure, there were other companies on the list that are arguably similar in this regard.  IMHO, there products were more revolutionary than anything ADS did.  As big of an ADS fan as I am, I don't feel slighted at all by the list.

Here are some relevant part numbers (from the ADS parts list)

L880:       tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0211, woofer 206-0346

L880/2:   tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0215, woofer 206-0357

L1290:     tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0211, woofer 206-0349

L1290/2: tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0215, woofer 206-0359 or 206-0360

L980:       tweeter 206-0118, mid 206-0212, woofer 206-0347

L980/2:   tweeter 206-0118, mid 206-0214, woofer 206-0353

L1590:     tweeter 206-0119, mid 206-0213, woofer 206-0350

L1590/2: tweeter 206-0118, mid 206-0214, woofer 206-0361

I'm a bit surprised that drivers pattern on the L980/L1590 doesn't follow the same pattern as the L880/L1290.  I wonder if the L980 was introduced "late" relative to the L1590? (i.e I expected that it, L980/1, would have a 206-0119 tweeter & 206-0213 mid)


 

Glitch,

Thanks for your interesting comments and for the part numbers as listed.   

The L980 and AR-3a are very similar, of course, in layout and function.  Both are low-resonance acoustic-suspension designs with dome midrange and dome tweeters (both ¾-inch) and similar crossover characteristics.  A direct A-B comparison would be very interesting.  I've never read a report on a comparison between these two fine speakers, but I think there were far fewer L980s out there than AR-3as or its later iterations (AR-10, AR-58, AR98Ls, etc).  On the other hand, I did compare my L1290/2 and AR-3a speakers, and I can comment a bit on that comparison.  It was difficult to compare them, as the optimal spot for the 3a is flush in a bookshelf, and the 1290 has to be out slightly from the front wall, toed-in a bit, to be positioned optimally.  I am fond of both the 1290/2 and the AR-3a; unfortunately, the 50-year-old AR-3a dome tweeters are beginning to deteriorate, causing lower output from the domes.  Perhaps a better comparison for the L980 would be an AR-10π, AR58 or AR78 with their cloth-dome tweeters.

In the bass, the AR-3a has a slight advantage in low-frequency extension, but the differences are subtle and only noticeable on organ or electronic music or jazz with prominent kick drum or orchestral bass drum.  The 1290 isn't deficient, but it's slightly less prominent and less "warm."  Part of this difference, too, is the relative balance between the woofers and high-range drivers in the ADS vs. AR speakers.  AR's midrange and treble are more reticent, on-axis, and the output is slightly downward-sloping in the higher frequencies; this is not the case with the 1290, as it is quite uniform throughout the midrange and treble.  Therefore, the 1290 is more "forward" and brighter-sounding than the AR-3a; however, well back in the reverberant listening area, where the predominant sound is reflected, there are fewer differences in the balance of the sound between these two systems, mainly because the dispersion of the 3a's hard-dome tweeter is somewhat wider than that of the soft-dome ADS tweeter.  Therefore, the excellent power response of the AR-3a makes up for its on-axis reticence.  The AR-3a's 1½-inch dome midrange also has better dispersion than the 2-inch dome in 1290, but the clarity of the output from the ADS tweeters is just about unsurpassed.  Both of these speaker systems are so good that it would be hard to find too much fault with either system.

Therefore, I never found a favorite.  The ADS seems to bring you a bit closer to the music and there is that outstanding midrange and treble clarity.  The AR-3a is more laid-back, but it has a smooth, very natural reproduction of midrange and treble.  In the bass, the AR-3a is more solid, but the differences are subtle.  Perhaps a draw.

—Tom Tyson

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I had ADS 980 here that I bought at an estate sale.....only to find out the mids and tweeters were shot (fluid was dried up and were really dark instead of being clear). I removed them and spent the $225 or so dollars to get them like new by having them redone by Richard So. Was excited to get them set up and listen as I had read about them being studio monitors...rare....and being able to handle 300 watts. 

And...I was disappointed. It was too clean for my taste. I am not a musician so critical listening is not my forte but the music that I like sounded better on the 3a. The bass is more buttery and warm with the 3a and the mid was better to me. The 980 had excellent highs but again that area is not important to me but it was certainly better than the screeching L166 JBL's I had here. 

My buddy that is into audio big time bought my 980's and loves them.....so it is all in how we like to hear and the level one is at in listening to music. One note.....the woofer on the 980 is installed in a manner that is maddening to ever remove. I asked Richard So about it as I wanted to check out the crossover....and he showed me a tool he made to remove it. He said it is a real pain to remove...so I passed...:)

 

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On 6/25/2018 at 8:02 PM, lakecat said:

 

lakecat, 

I think your comments about the ADS L980 do reflect a common sentiment about the spectral balance of the ADS woofer, midrange and tweeter.  These are accurate and analytical dome drivers, but they have a lot of output, and this sometimes comes across as being a bit forward-sounding.  Also, some ADS woofers tend to be slightly over-damped in some instances in an effort to avoid "warmth" in the sound, and this makes the speakers seem dry and lacking in bass in some respects.  I don't sense this dryness when I listen to my 1290s,  but it may be that the 980 is that way since it was intended to be used in recording studios and high-end installations.  Also, you are going to be hard-pressed to find a woofer that can surpass the AR-3a in the region from 500 Hz down to 30 Hz or so; it is nearly perfect in this range with very uniform output and extremely low harmonic distortion.  I would love to see the measurement curves on the L980, but I'm sure it is excellent, nonetheless.  I don't know the Q of that system or its actual bass resonance (fc) frequency, but I think the latter is around 41 Hz or so, similar to the AR-3a.  I suspect that the Q is somewhere between 0.7 and 0.5 judging by the "dry" sound.  The AR-3a is 0.7 to 1.0, approximately.    

I have found that the best place to listen to ADS speakers (in general) is in a large, well-padded living room with little slap echo.  A "live" room can be difficult sometimes, but in the right room these speakers can sound great!  In any event, ADS always tried to get the most accuracy from their products, and their design and production-control methods for the dome tweeters was outstanding, and there is rarely any variation in the sound.  It is unfortunate that most of the ADS (and later a/d/s/) models did not get widespread critical acclaim and reviews in the way that AR speakers did through the years.  Julian Hirsch did give the 1290 very high marks, and Julian was basically very fond of Acoustic Research products through the years.  Overall, AR received many glowing reviews and tests, and ADS was not tested as much for some reason, yet each design was superb in its own way. 

Consider this interesting tidbit: ADS manufactured (for the most part) their drivers for the 1090, 1290 and 1590 in-house in the Wilmington, MA facility; the cabinets were made in Germany and shipped to the US!  It's amazing that this could be considered economical, but somehow it worked for ADS at the time.

--Tom Tyson

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Nice explanation on those 980's. Mine were set up in a 28' deep by 18' wide by 16' high cathedral ceiling room...and is sunken 3'. Tall windows on each end.

The speakers were set up one pair at a time about twenty-eight inches from floor and six feet apart...just a hint of toe in. They were about six inches out from wall behind. 

I have to add that my friend that bought the 980's....and is s big ADS fan...still prefers his 1590's.

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Notice any difference in this topic?  I corrected my early logo mistake: "a/d/s/ L1590 to the correct version, ADS L1590!"  ADS didn't change to the more avant garde "a/d/s/" until the late 1980s with the M-series. 

--Tom Tyson

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Also, check the number of "views" on this one topic!  More than 72,000!  There are very few topics that have been viewed this often.  This shows the popularity of ADS' L-series tower speakers, especially the L1590.

--Tom Tyson 

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On 8/5/2018 at 11:13 PM, tysontom said:

Notice any difference in this topic?  I corrected my early logo mistake: "a/d/s/ L1590 to the correct version, ADS L1590!"

Better late then never?  😀

I just reread the entire thread.  Does this add 1 to the counter?  

One thing I noticed is that the links to the .pdf files and many of the pictures are dead.  Bummer.

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On 8/7/2018 at 11:33 AM, Glitch said:

Better late then never?  😀

I just reread the entire thread.  Does this add 1 to the counter?  

One thing I noticed is that the links to the .pdf files and many of the pictures are dead.  Bummer.

Yes, better late than never!  I didn't realize that I could edit the actual subject line itself, but the originator has some slight latitude.   

What files do you need?  I think I dropped some files after my file load approached maximum.  I can replace any that are needed for download.

--Tom

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And speaking of better late than never, how's this for a late comment...

I can recall at the time, there were opinions (even within ADS I think) that the L1290 could provide better imaging owing to its' narrower baffle board.

I have a set of each but have never A/B'ed them.  Never actually used the L1290s as "front", hope to in a new setup sometime maybe later this year.  I've not been tempted to unplug my L1590s for any reason what-so-ever.  Might try stacking 1290s on top for atmos height speakers (overkill, YEAH!) though ;).

Cheers,

- Jeff

 

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