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ADS L1590

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On 9/2/2016 at 1:18 PM, GD70 said:

Being a 910 owner, early sequential numbers, with original stands, this thread is invaluable! Incredible information here.

Regarding the 910's sound, I have found them to out preform just about every speaker set I own. This includes AR12's, AR3's, AR LST-2's KLH Fives, among a few others, (all restored). The only set that comes close are a set of Prototype/DIYs, labeled "Angelica's", I found at a GW a year ago that are incredible. I have a lengthy thread over on AK about them. Anyway, I sent my mids and tweeters to Richard So for preventive maintenance more than for sonic improvement. They sounded great prior to the rebuild, but a bit better after. Just a bit cleaner and crisper in the mids and highs than before, though not at all harsh or too forward sounding. In my space in my cave/basement, they sit about 10 feet apart. The sound stage spaceiousness and dimensional clarity are quite amazing. I too had wondered why these were not mirrored, and assumed it was a cost issue vs. sonic benefits. The cross overs are original and will be left alone. I was able to find and purchase the bi-amp & tri-amp cards as well as the LED cards, and may some day try to bi-amp them, but for now I'm quite happy. I'm driving them with a JVC M-7050 power amp rated @ 150wpc, but on my techs bench was putting out 210 wpc. This combination is just spectacular, and as stated earlier, at extreme volume, the 910's output is effortless and distortion free.

I would love to hear the later models just to see how they compare some day.

Glenn

Glenn,

The ADS 910 has always been considered a fine loudspeaker, but when you say you found them to "outperform... AR12s, AR-3s, AR-LST/2s, KLH Fives..." I think you mean that you prefer the ADS 910s to those speakers, not that they will outperform them, for they won't. 

For example, the AR-LST/2s easily have flatter and more uniform power response into the reverberant sound field than the 910s, meaning that the LSTs are much more spacious and 3-dimensional when properly placed and when listed to well back into a listening room.  The 910 has superior low-frequency output when compared with the LST/2s, but throughout the midrange and treble, the dispersion and smoothness of the LST/2s is far superior to the 910.  On axis—and up close—the 910 is certainly as smooth or smoother than the LST/2, but not off axis. 

The AR-3, if it is in 100% original working condition, has slightly lower harmonic distortion than the 910 down in the deepest bass range, but the 910 has a somewhat lower resonance frequency and bass extension, somewhat greater overall power-handling capability. The 910 can't equal the AR-3's woofer in low harmonic distortion, especially at frequencies below 40 Hz, but few speakers can match, let alone surpass, the AR-3/3a in low distortion.  The AR-3, in original working condition, is probably smoother in the midrange and treble as well, but high-frequency response declines more rapidly in the AR-3 than with the 910, making the AR-3 sound more reticent, and the biggest problem for the 55-year-old AR-3 is that only a rare few models left today still have sufficient output in the midrange and treble to be comparable to their sound when new.  The sensitivity of the dome midrange and tweeter in the AR-3 (and the tweeter in the AR-3a, AR-5 and LST/2) tends to drop off the older the speaker get, unless these speakers had been stored in climate-controlled areas for many years in boxes, etc.   

Yet overall, it's what a listener prefers that counts in the long run.  Some speakers do better when listened to up fairly close; others do better when listening back in the sound field, as with most of the AR speakers of the earlier generation.  Nevertheless, the 910 is one of the premier loudspeakers from ADS, and it has always been a reference standard in the industry.

—Tom Tyson

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Tom, Glenn.

I am very lucky to have both the 910's and the 1590's.  Both are incredible and will remain in my little collection until something uncontrollable makes me move them on.  Each will be put back into the best condition possible over time.

I would agree with you quicks description of the 1590 being more refined.  I think that is as good a quality as I could come up with to describe why I listen to them more than the 910's.  I do think the room they are in has some impact on it all with the 1590's doing better in my smallish area.  I also need to finish reproducing the 910 stands before i can fully criticize them.

The only challenges I see remaining with my efforts on the 1590's is those darn grilles.  I can probably do up the grilles themselves well enough, it's the pegs that are the problem.  I am missing about 2 on each speaker.  I really like the originals but they are hard if not impossible to come by.

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On October 7, 2016 at 1:01 AM, tysontom said:

Glenn,

The ADS 910 has always been considered a fine loudspeaker, but when you say you found them to "outperform... AR12s, AR-3s, AR-LST/2s, KLH Fives..." I think you mean that you prefer the ADS 910s to those speakers, not that they will outperform them, for they won't. 

For example, the AR-LST/2s easily have flatter and more uniform power response into the reverberant sound field than the 910s, meaning that the LSTs are much more spacious and 3-dimensional when properly placed and when listed to well back into a listening room.  The 910 has superior low-frequency output when compared with the LST/2s, but throughout the midrange and treble, the dispersion and smoothness of the LST/2s is far superior to the 910.  On axis—and up close—the 910 is certainly as smooth or smoother than the LST/2, but not off axis. 

The AR-3, if it is in 100% original working condition, has slightly lower harmonic distortion than the 910 down in the deepest bass range, but the 910 has a somewhat lower resonance frequency and bass extension, somewhat greater overall power-handling capability. The 910 can't equal the AR-3's woofer in low harmonic distortion, especially at frequencies below 40 Hz, but few speakers can match, let alone surpass, the AR-3/3a in low distortion.  The AR-3, in original working condition, is probably smoother in the midrange and treble as well, but high-frequency response declines more rapidly in the AR-3 than with the 910, making the AR-3 sound more reticent, and the biggest problem for the 55-year-old AR-3 is that only a rare few models left today still have sufficient output in the midrange and treble to be comparable to their sound when new.  The sensitivity of the dome midrange and tweeter in the AR-3 (and the tweeter in the AR-3a, AR-5 and LST/2) tends to drop off the older the speaker get, unless these speakers had been stored in climate-controlled areas for many years in boxes, etc.   

Yet overall, it's what a listener prefers that counts in the long run.  Some speakers do better when listened to up fairly close; others do better when listening back in the sound field, as with most of the AR speakers of the earlier generation.  Nevertheless, the 910 is one of the premier loudspeakers from ADS, and it has always been a reference standard in the industry.

—Tom Tyson

Hi Tom,

Thank you for the technical descriptions of these.

My AR3's are superb no doubt. I've never felt that were lacking in the mids and highs, and bass output is terrific as we all know. I'm sure the mids would benefit from Roy's restoration work though, which I do plan to have him do in the near future. 

The LST-2's do have an amazing dimensionality, and soundstage. All the tweeters were dead when I bought them. Roy guided me through the restoration, and suggested using the HiVi tweeters with the crossover mods which I did. The mids sound great, and to my ears, don't seem at all deficient in output. Woofers surrounds were replaced with the correct Boston surrounds, which Roy sent to me.

I suppose I do prefer the 910's to the others. Of course environment plays a huge part, but in the current space, the 910's can't be beat. I hope to do some experimenting with speakers in different rooms in the house and see how it effects their performance and my ears!

Thanks, Glenn

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On 10/10/2016 at 11:27 PM, GD70 said:

Hi Tom,

Thank you for the technical descriptions of these.

My AR3's are superb no doubt. I've never felt that were lacking in the mids and highs, and bass output is terrific as we all know. I'm sure the mids would benefit from Roy's restoration work though, which I do plan to have him do in the near future. 

The LST-2's do have an amazing dimensionality, and soundstage. All the tweeters were dead when I bought them. Roy guided me through the restoration, and suggested using the HiVi tweeters with the crossover mods which I did. The mids sound great, and to my ears, don't seem at all deficient in output. Woofers surrounds were replaced with the correct Boston surrounds, which Roy sent to me.

I suppose I do prefer the 910's to the others. Of course environment plays a huge part, but in the current space, the 910's can't be beat. I hope to do some experimenting with speakers in different rooms in the house and see how it effects their performance and my ears!

Thanks, Glenn

Hi Glenn,

You are certainly fortunate to have so many outstanding speakers in your collection!  

The midrange restoration on the AR-3 done by Roy is a step in the right direction, but the smoothness and accuracy of the driver after the change is not assured; only in output is there an improvement.  So there would be a trade-off in output quantity for output quality, yet the old midrange drivers (those with the white butyl-rubber substance around the gap) do drop off in output over time in most cases.

It's a shame that your LST-2s had bad tweeters!  The original 3/4-inch hard-dome tweeter is a very fine unit when it is working correctly, and it contributes a great deal to the natural AR-LST-2 sound.  One problem I found with the LST and the LST-2 is that the output sensitivity from each of the tweeters began to vary as the speakers aged a bit, thus putting the tweeters in peril if one got too much energy.  It actually takes a pretty good amount of power into the tweeter to cause thermal issues, but people always manage to do it.

The 910 is certainly a fine, accurate speaker, and it was widely used professionally for many years, too!  It actually has a nearly ideal balance between wide dispersion and good on-axis performance, and many listeners prefer this characteristic.  The ADS tweeters are consistent and well-behaved, and they tend to be durable, too!  I listen a lot with my ADS L1290/2 and L1590/2 speakers, and I never tire of their sound.  

--Tom Tyson

 

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Are we to believe Tom Tyson of "All-America Acoustic Research" would ever admit a speaker made by the Germans (basically) is superior?

 

I don't blame him though.  ADS (Braun) certainly stole the technology of sealed cabinets and dome drivers.   :)

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On 11/14/2016 at 4:14 PM, bassment142 said:

Are we to believe Tom Tyson of "All-America Acoustic Research" would ever admit a speaker made by the Germans (basically) is superior?

 

I don't blame him though.  ADS (Braun) certainly stole the technology of sealed cabinets and dome drivers.   :)

Ha-ha!  Good one.  First of all, the ADS (and a/d/s/) speakers were for the most part American-made except for the very early versions, which used the Braun drivers.  Strangely, the cabinets on several models were fabricated in German and shipped to the US!  The  1090, 1290 and 1590 cabinets were made by a German company, but those speakers used US made and designed drivers.

What is the "superior" quote?  Don't get me wrong, I greatly admire just about anything designed and made in Germany.  I own both AR and ADS speakers, too!

 

 

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6 hours ago, DavidDru said:

Tom, what are you driving your 1590's with these days and how is it configured?

Nothing fancy.  I use a QSC PLX3602 pro amp with a Crown preamp.  The QSC is in a cabinet that closes off the sound of the fan.  In the past, I've used a Crown Macro Reference amp and a McIntosh MC2275 and later a MC2500.

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So no biamping?

I am running my lone WOPL Phase Linear 400 and it seems like it's plenty in my 12x12 room.

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On 11/17/2016 at 6:40 PM, DavidDru said:

So no biamping?

I am running my lone WOPL Phase Linear 400 and it seems like it's plenty in my 12x12 room.

No, I haven't bi-amped these.  It is easy to do, but I haven't tried to do it.  

By the way, I am downsizing some of my equipment, and I have decided to put these L1590/2 speakers on eBay (322343347803)  These are the same ones shown in the original pictures I put on this post.  They have been great loudspeakers (as good as anything I've ever owned) and very musical and enjoyable, but I need to slim down the size my audio collection.  I still have a lot of equipment, so it's just a small dent.

--Tom Tyson

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On 4/12/2008 at 6:15 PM, tysontom said:

The L1590 was a 1980's speaker held in high regard for its uniform on-axis output as well as it's relatively flat acoustic-power output, the downfall of so many loudspeakers. The acoustic-power frequency response is basically the integrated power output of a transducer as measured throughout a listening environment, and is a measurement of the speaker's abillity to disperse sound over a wide vertical and horizontal axis. The end result was a speaker that was capable of great accuracy and realism, as well as a speaker with very "spacious" sound characteristics.

The L1590 also had very low distortion and excellent deep-bass capability with its two 10-inch acoustic-suspension woofers mounted in separate chambers within the heavily braced cabinet. The -3 dB point of this speaker was approximately 28 Hz, so the low-frequency extension was also excellent. Power-handling for the woofers was top notch with the 2-inch-diameter voice coils with 1.5-inch high windings, giving greater than .5-inch linear overhang.

Subjectively, earlier versions of the tweeter used A/D/S/ was considered to be bright sounding, but A/D/S/ made changes to the crossover and the magnet structures on this vintage of the speaker, and the L1090, L1290 and L1590 were a bit more reticent than earlier models.

--Tom Tyson

I recently sold these beautiful ADS L1590s after nearly 30 years of ownership.  I have been downsizing some of my equipment, so it was appropriate to let someone else enjoy these wonderful loudspeakers.  Packing and shipping a speaker system this large is not an easy task, but with the original shipping cartons, the speakers are safe for normal shipment.  The importance of keeping the original shipping cartons cannot be over-stressed.  I took pictures of the process and I've attached a document showing that process.

ADS-L1590-2_Packing_Tyson.pdf

--Tom Tyson

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So Tom, I am sure it was tough to do that.  Congrats on the sale though.  I am sure the new owner is really happy.

What are you thinning your options down to if I am may ask? 

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On 12/14/2016 at 10:09 PM, DavidDru said:

So Tom, I am sure it was tough to do that.  Congrats on the sale though.  I am sure the new owner is really happy.

What are you thinning your options down to if I am may ask? 

Yes, it's always tough to part with something you have enjoyed through the years.  I hate to admit it, but I grew attached to audio equipment that give me musical enjoyment!.  Nothing is forever, though, and perhaps it is better to pass these wonderful speakers on to another music-lover to enjoy for another 30 years or so.  I'm lucky that these ADS 1590s held up so well, and I really never had to do anything to them, but I never abused them.  A good friend, and my family doctor at the time, wanted them very badly back in the early 90s, and I sold them to him.  He kept them for several years and played mostly small-ensemble chamber music with them, and they were never ever stressed to my knowledge.  The most important thing is that I held on to the speaker cartons (I kept them sealed in plastic bags to protect the cardboard), even while he owned them, and then one day I had them back again.

I think the new owner, I think a perfectionist and ADS-admirer in his own right, seems to be very happy with them!  UPS was a little rough on the cartons during shipment, but the big boxes did what they were designed to do, and the contents were protected in transit!

ADS-L1590-2_Shipping-Carton_011.jpg

Big ADS L1590 in its protective shipping carton.

As for my collection (and I still have a way to go), I will thin it down to a few pairs of speakers.  I enjoyed collecting these speakers, and many have grown in value over the years, so it wasn't a bad investment!  I still have KLH Sixes and Fours, AR-2s, a pair of walnut ADS L1290/2 speakers (which I like nearly as well as the 1590s), a pair of AR9s that I am slowly restoring, a pair of mint AR-LSTs and a very early pair of AR-3s, etc.  I also have a pair of AR-303As (I'll probably sell these at some point).

AR_Collection_ARHPG_002.jpg 

Some of these items are gone, but many are still in place!  Time to let other people enjoy them.

--Tom Tyson

 

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Been reading this thread with interest as I just picked up an absolutely pristine pair of L-1590's locally. One of the tweeters has been to Richard for rework just recently. I was told that the caps in the crossovers were measured to br near perfect, but not sure I trust that to be the case. I find the sound to be a bit lacking and the mids are almost intolerable as they are forward to the point of being harsh. Almost horn-like if that makes sense. The highs also seem weak and the bottom kinda thin. 

As everything I've read tells me they should be better than this nad compare to the AR9's which were my near favorites when I was shopping for my first nice pair back in 1980 ( I bought the Infinity RS1.5's ) to replace my beloved Epicures. Pretty much makes me question the integrity of the crossovers. 

My modern speakers were DefTech BP7002, and now I own three sets of very modern System Audios which are the complete opposite in presentation. 

Thinking of contacting Richard for his thoughts and possibly having him look at the mids and crossovers. 

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Wow, yes, I would think something is up.  Richard would know.  Are the switches on the back at the posts in the correct position?

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17 hours ago, BayouTiger said:

I've checked and everything seems in order. 

 

Can you send some pictures of your two recently acquired ADS L1590s (are they first models or Series 2?), your amplification and input-source setup and the room in which they are being played?  What you describe about the sound quality is the exact opposite from what most people sense from these speakers, and it makes one think the following:

  • You have major electro-mechanical issues with the speakers themselves (have been over-driven, modified or damaged by a previous owner);
  • You have issues with your electronics, either incompatible or insufficient to properly drive the speakers;
  • Your room is not well-suited to the speakers or they are arranged improperly;
  • You have the speakers out of phase;
  • You have become too familiar with the sometimes excessively "bloated" bass response from the Definitive Technololy BP7002 home-movie speakers.

Thanks, 

--Tom Tyson

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3 hours ago, tysontom said:

Can you send some pictures of your two recently acquired ADS L1590s (are they first models or Series 2?), your amplification and input-source setup and the room in which they are being played?  What you describe about the sound quality is the exact opposite from what most people sense from these speakers, and it makes one think the following:

  • You have major electro-mechanical issues with the speakers themselves (have been over-driven, modified or damaged by a previous owner);
  • You have issues with your electronics, either incompatible or insufficient to properly drive the speakers;
  • Your room is not well-suited to the speakers or they are arranged improperly;
  • You have the speakers out of phase;
  • You have become too familiar with the sometimes excessively "bloated" bass response from the Definitive Technololy BP7002 home-movie speakers.

Thanks, 

--Tom Tyson

They were bought from a local flipper that got them from a gent that sold him all his gear to go see the world in an RV. They are truly immaculate, shockingly so. The pic here is not good, I need to get a better one. 

My setup in that room is fed from an ARC Ref75SE and LS27. Source was my Oppo105 fed by Roon as well as some SACD's. The phasing is fine. I also swapped speaker cables as the bananas on my Litzline cables were too large for the upright posts so I went back to my Audioquest Type 4's. 

The room is certainly a problem for low bass, I wasn't expecting them to be great there, but I thought they would be better than the 4x4.5" woofers in my Mantra60's which I have been using for a couple of years. Yes the DefTech's as bloated down low (depending on how you tune the subs), but I gave those to my sis when I got the System Audio's. 

One tweeter had been repaired/replaced by Richard (I saw the receipt). The drivers are functioning fine, but the mids are certainly really forward. I'm a newbie to these particular speakers and not really a vintage guy, but I'm not a newbie to the hobby. I do plan on moving them to another room and hooking them up on one of my other three (One ARC SP16/VS110 and another Rogue RP5/ARC D240, or maybe the new Peachtree Nova150 I just got. 

Part of the issue is that I am used to the System Audio house sound at this point. I ave three sets and they are about the most amazing units I have heard for midrange and high end clarity, almost to a fault. Their bottom is their weakness. Very tight and fast but not low as would be expected with 4x4.5" drivers. 

I keeps bringing me back to the crossovers.  

 

 

 

 

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00i0i_irPh3cofMzm_600x450.jpg

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21 minutes ago, BayouTiger said:

I keeps bringing me back to the crossovers.  

Having similar thoughts about some ADS L980's.

Roger

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On 12/26/2016 at 7:11 PM, BayouTiger said:

They were bought from a local flipper that got them from a gent that sold him all his gear to go see the world in an RV. They are truly immaculate, shockingly so. The pic here is not good, I need to get a better one. 

My setup in that room is fed from an ARC Ref75SE and LS27. Source was my Oppo105 fed by Roon as well as some SACD's. The phasing is fine. I also swapped speaker cables as the bananas on my Litzline cables were too large for the upright posts so I went back to my Audioquest Type 4's. 

The room is certainly a problem for low bass, I wasn't expecting them to be great there, but I thought they would be better than the 4x4.5" woofers in my Mantra60's which I have been using for a couple of years. Yes the DefTech's as bloated down low (depending on how you tune the subs), but I gave those to my sis when I got the System Audio's. 

One tweeter had been repaired/replaced by Richard (I saw the receipt). The drivers are functioning fine, but the mids are certainly really forward. I'm a newbie to these particular speakers and not really a vintage guy, but I'm not a newbie to the hobby. I do plan on moving them to another room and hooking them up on one of my other three (One ARC SP16/VS110 and another Rogue RP5/ARC D240, or maybe the new Peachtree Nova150 I just got. 

Part of the issue is that I am used to the System Audio house sound at this point. I ave three sets and they are about the most amazing units I have heard for midrange and high end clarity, almost to a fault. Their bottom is their weakness. Very tight and fast but not low as would be expected with 4x4.5" drivers. 

I keeps bringing me back to the crossovers.  

 

 

 

 

5c3bb4b19063e31e693491603b5c9ef6_zpsl5nbbhtz.jpg

00i0i_irPh3cofMzm_600x450.jpg

Checking the crossovers might not be a bad idea, but the likelihood of bad capacitors is not high considering the quality of the components ADS used in this speaker.  To check each capacitor, you will have to remove at least one lead from each capacitor (being checked) on the crossover board.  It's also possible that something might have happened to the speakers before you acquired them, and they may have been subjected to excessive input power levels for extended periods, which could affect the crossover as well as the Ferrofluid in the voice coils.  I can also see from the images that it looks like the woofers (at least the top one) may have been removed.  The edge of the cabinet above the woofer seems to be slightly scratched, but it could be an optical illusion, as the picture is not completely in focus.  If a woofer has been removed for some reason, the phasing and integrity of the wiring should be checked.

Again, explain the amplifier being used, what type, rating, etc.  I didn't look it up to see what configuration.  Some amplifiers don't work well with these speakers.

Thanks, and good luck with these speakers.  I hope you get to the bottom of the issues!

--Tom Tyson

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BayouTiger,

I agree with Tom that the odds of there being a crossover issue is low.  When I get a new set of speakers, I usually listen to them for about a month, then open them up and check the crossover components.  I've checked about a dozen sets of ADS speakers.  From this sample set, I have only found one capacitor that was out of specification.  IIRC, this was an electrolytic capacitor from a "slash era" (a/d/s) speaker.  The parts from the ADS and aDs era speakers have been surprisingly close to the values printed on the parts.  The only crossover parts I've seen completely failed were resistors that were obviously pushed past their limits.

You should be able to visually check the crossovers pretty easily.  I haven't pulled apart an L-1590 crossover, but I would expect that it is similar to other crossovers of the same era.  The tough part is prying the crossover from the cabinet after removing the four mounting screws.  You will likely lift some of the particle board under the screw holes.  The components will be "sandwiched" between the circuit board and the cover plate.  However, you should be able to see all of the parts that could be diagnosed with a visual inspection without any further dis-assembly.  The resistors and electrolytic capacitors are typically mounted on the edge of the boards.  The inductors and poly-caps are typically mounted more toward the middle of the board.  If you need to remove the circuit board from the cover plate, it is usually four more screws and a nut that holds on the woofer inductor.  You will also need to remove the two binding posts.  There may not be a lot of room for removing the binding post nuts.  I usually de-solder the binding post leads from the circuit board since I have the equipment to do so.  If the resistors are not burnt and the electrolytic capacitors aren't bulging, you are most likely in good shape.

If you have an issue, then it will most likely be in just one speaker.  If you have the crossovers out for inspection, you can swap them and see if the issue follows the crossover.

I have seen one other issue with an ADS mid-range and it was related to the ferro-fluid.  This was in a set of speakers that was not used for over a decade.  I can provide more info about this if you rule out your crossovers as a possible cause.

Please let us know how your 1590's sound in the "other room".  I had an issue with my L-1290's where they were a bit hot in the mid-range.  I was convinced that it was an equipment issue when I started the debugging process.  The actual problem turned out to be related to the room.  I fixed the issue via repositioning the speakers and adding an acoustic panel.  The deeper I get into this hobby, the more I'm convinced that I've never heard a flat frequency response.  I simply do not have a house/room that will allow it.

Glitch

p.s. I bought Tom's L-1590's and I am very happy with them.

 

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On 12/30/2016 at 8:36 PM, Glitch said:

> snip <

Please let us know how your 1590's sound in the "other room".  I had an issue with my L-1290's where they were a bit hot in the mid-range.  I was convinced that it was an equipment issue when I started the debugging process.  The actual problem turned out to be related to the room.  I fixed the issue via repositioning the speakers and adding an acoustic panel.  The deeper I get into this hobby, the more I'm convinced that I've never heard a flat frequency response.  I simply do not have a house/room that will allow it.

 

I have been quite frustrated with room correction of late.  I finally got my 1590s to the point where it was time to try letting my dbx 14/10 do its' thing.  Killed the imaging in the midrange, very disappointing.  Perhaps I just like the coloration of my room, and many others I've had!  I'm looking forward to having a friend do a sweep with a more modern and non-consumer RTA to see what that shows.

Coming back to BayouTigers' frustrations, unless you can actually meet an original owner, assume nothing with gear this old.  I'd suggest checking the numbers on the drivers, there are so many part numbers of same-sized drivers that confirming the correct pieces seems like step 1 to me.

Meanwhile, my real reason for chiming in was the bi-amp comments above.  My amplification is pure overkill, as in dbx BX-1.  Huge current capability and no fan.  Anyway with no headroom worries beyond enough 120v supply, I did not expect a big change when switching to bi-amp, but WOW what a huge difference in imaging.  I've always had room trouble getting the imaging I know my many varied ADS speakers can do, to the point of calling most of them "overgrown headphones".  A works in "exactly this spot" kind of thing.  Well, when I set up my 1590s the imaging was limited, but there if you listened for it, in the main listening position.  To my surprise, adding some PA crossovers (dbx 223, found quite reasonably) (I have plenty of channels) made the whole thing "light up" with presence, instrument placement and even movement, and not just "right there" either.  To say I was pleasantly surprised would be my understatement of an admittedly young year.

Best,

- Jeff

 

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On 12/30/2016 at 8:36 PM, Glitch said:

BayouTiger,

I agree with Tom that the odds of there being a crossover issue is low.  When I get a new set of speakers, I usually listen to them for about a month, then open them up and check the crossover components.  I've checked about a dozen sets of ADS speakers.  From this sample set, I have only found one capacitor that was out of specification.  IIRC, this was an electrolytic capacitor from a "slash era" (a/d/s) speaker.  The parts from the ADS and aDs era speakers have been surprisingly close to the values printed on the parts.  The only crossover parts I've seen completely failed were resistors that were obviously pushed past their limits.

You should be able to visually check the crossovers pretty easily.  I haven't pulled apart an L-1590 crossover, but I would expect that it is similar to other crossovers of the same era.  The tough part is prying the crossover from the cabinet after removing the four mounting screws.  You will likely lift some of the particle board under the screw holes.  The components will be "sandwiched" between the circuit board and the cover plate.  However, you should be able to see all of the parts that could be diagnosed with a visual inspection without any further dis-assembly.  The resistors and electrolytic capacitors are typically mounted on the edge of the boards.  The inductors and poly-caps are typically mounted more toward the middle of the board.  If you need to remove the circuit board from the cover plate, it is usually four more screws and a nut that holds on the woofer inductor.  You will also need to remove the two binding posts.  There may not be a lot of room for removing the binding post nuts.  I usually de-solder the binding post leads from the circuit board since I have the equipment to do so.  If the resistors are not burnt and the electrolytic capacitors aren't bulging, you are most likely in good shape.

If you have an issue, then it will most likely be in just one speaker.  If you have the crossovers out for inspection, you can swap them and see if the issue follows the crossover.

I have seen one other issue with an ADS mid-range and it was related to the ferro-fluid.  This was in a set of speakers that was not used for over a decade.  I can provide more info about this if you rule out your crossovers as a possible cause.

Please let us know how your 1590's sound in the "other room".  I had an issue with my L-1290's where they were a bit hot in the mid-range.  I was convinced that it was an equipment issue when I started the debugging process.  The actual problem turned out to be related to the room.  I fixed the issue via repositioning the speakers and adding an acoustic panel.  The deeper I get into this hobby, the more I'm convinced that I've never heard a flat frequency response.  I simply do not have a house/room that will allow it.

Glitch

p.s. I bought Tom's L-1590's and I am very happy with them.

 

Dear Glitch,

I'm glad to hear (though this is a few months later) that you are happy with your L1590s!  I think the 1590s were superb, especially in a large room, but the speakers have to be positioned properly for best results.  When I had them at first, I had them in a large, relatively damped, living room, and they sounded superb.  I still have my L1290s, and although they are excellent speakers, I never liked them quite as much as the 1590s.  I suspect that the 1590's lower midrange crossover and extended deep-bass output accounted for that difference.  Have you compared the two systems yet?  I'd be curious to know your impressions.

By the way, it's really hard to believe that there have been nearly 60,000 views of this one topic concerning the this one superb loudspeaker system.  When I began the topic, I made a mistake: I said they were "a/d/s/ L-1590," but I meant "ADS L-1590."  The new logo had not been adopted until the "M" series arrived a few years later!  I wasn't thinking, but then it was too late to change the topic.

--Tom Tyson

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Tom,

Yes, I did spend some time comparing the L1590s and L1290s.  I found the speakers to be very similar in the overlapping frequency bands.  For this comparison, I used a Crown pro amp and used the built-in DSP to filter off the lower frequencies (where the L1590s have a clear advantage).  This allowed me to more easily evaluate the mid, tweeter and crossover performance.  I found overall tonality/voicing of the speakers to be remarkably consistent.  I think the biggest difference between the two models is in the "attack" of sharp sounds like a hard snare hit.  For these kinds of sounds, the L1590s seem not only faster, but also better damped.  Both models exhibit the celebrated ADS sparkle.  Both speakers reached highs that are beyond my hearing range.  I didn’t notice any difference in the lower mid-range at the mid-woofer crossover frequency.

I replaced the L1290s in my main system with the L1590s.  I put them in the same location.  The overall imaging was slightly better with the L1590s.  I found the need to use an acoustic panel with the L1290s to tame some upper mid-range harshness.  The L1590s also benefited similarly from the panel at the same location.  I believe this confirms my theory that the problem lies in the room geometry and speaker placement.  Unfortunately, my speaker placement is more governed by WAF than acoustic optimization.

The most dramatic difference between the speakers is in the lower frequencies.  The L1290s simply don’t go as low.  I used a pair of subwoofers with the L1290s to extend the ultra-low frequencies.  I was very happy with how well this worked.  I am using the same subs with the L1590s.  I had a much harder time integrating the subs with the L1590s.  The subs ended up in a very different configuration than with the L1290s.  I could live without the subs with the L1590s.

I moved the L1290s into my basement workshop and added them to what we affectionately call “The Pile”.  The Pile contains many of the speakers that I’m working on.  They are all connected to a speaker switch where I can run A-B comparisons as I’m tweaking things.  I decided to rework the mids and tweeters in the L1290s.  I recently did the same to a pair of L880s and a set of spare mids and tweeters that I had on hand.  I replaced the ferrofluid and realigned the voice coils.  I performed measurements on all of these drivers and used the data to create matched pairs.  Matching the drivers greatly improved the imaging of both the L1290s and L880s.  Both of these speakers are Series 2 and use the same mids and tweeters.  I’m still doing experiments on these where I’m varying the ferrofluid viscosity.  The jury is still out on which combination I prefer the most.  The experiments are a slow process.  I hope to have this nailed down by summertime.  

I think that I have been able to improve the “attack” of the L1290s to be more like the L1590s with the tweaks.  I suspect that the L1290s may now outperform the L1590s in imaging performance.  I won’t really know how successful the changes were until I move the L1290s back upstairs and do direct A-B comparisons.

I recently picked up a pair of PA1 amps.  One of the amps was dead when I bought it.  I was able to repair the broken one and went through both amps to ensure that everything is working well.  I have the PA1s installed in the L1290s now.

Glitch

 

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Hi Glitch,

These were very interesting comments, especially the contrast between the L1590 and L1290.  Sorry I'm so late in commenting on them, over a year later! 

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

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

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

—Tom Tyson

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