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tomknow

ADS L520

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I've never owned any ADS speakers but am very curious to hear and play around. Have an opportunity to buy a pair of L520 for $60. I've only seen some photos  of them on  the CL ad.  Cabs are in rough shape, chipped corners and what looks like peeling vinyl. I have read that the cabs are wood veener.  Did they make these w vinyl coverings? Looks to have cloth grills, not metal. Maybe an earlier version? 

Am going to look in a couple of days so hopefully some can comment.

Opinions? Decent value?  

Thx

Tom

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Disclaimer:  I don't have first hand experience with the L520's.  I do have a lot of experience with many of the other speakers in the ADS line.

In general, it is hard to go wrong with ADS speakers as long as the drivers are original and working.  The L520's use a tweeter that is common with a large number of other (highly regarded) speakers in the ADS line.  All you need to look for is that the tweeters make noise and the sticky coating is in reasonable condition.  The tweeters can/will collect dust, pet hair, etc., but as long as it is not excessive it doesn't affect the sound quality.  The woofers are unique to the L520's.  In general, ADS woofers aren't problematic.  I'm almost 100% sure that the L520's use rubber surrounds.  Just make sure there aren't holes in the cones or tears in the surrounds and you'll be fine.  Rough cabinets are only as big of deal as you want to make it.  As long as they maintain an air seal with the woofer you should have a good experience.  Are the cabinets wood or black?  Wood should be walnut veneer, not vinyl.  The crossovers may be have NPE capacitors in the high frequency circuits.  Speakers higher in the ADS pecking order usually have film capacitors that very rarely ever go bad.  The  NPEs that ADS uses usually don't go bad, but it would be worth investigating if you buy them.

I have a pair of the L570's.  These are the natural evolution of the L520's.  These are very nice speakers.  While they aren't as amazing as the ADS high end speakers, they will give you a reasonable feel for what the ADS community is raving about.

I think that it is a pretty safe bet to buy the speakers at that price (as long as the drivers are good).  I would try to talk the seller down a bit, but I always try to talk the seller down, even if it starts off as a great deal. ;)  If you don't like the speakers, you could likely get your money back out of them by parting them out.   I think the biggest risk you are taking is that you will love them and put more time and money than what they are worth into the restoration.  There is also the risk of total addiction.  The L520's could be thought of as a gateway drug. 

Post some pictures if you can, I (and likely others) will be able to provide better advice on the condition of the actual speakers and prospective pitfalls.

 

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Thanks so much. Great advice!  Here is the only photo that I have. Seller tells me they are all original and all drivers working. Going to see them in a day or two.

ads.jpg

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I had a pair of L520's that I really loved.  However, they didn't look like these ones.  They must have been a later model, they had wood veneer and metal grilles.   The ones in your photo do not evoke the warm memories I have!

It's possible the earlier models used foam surrounds, so make sure to check them out, and of course make sure the tweeters work also.  These may be good speakers, or not, I hope you find them to your liking. 

 

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I have found out more...they are indeed an earlier model. I did aquire them this afternoon. Other than the cabinets, they appear to be in very good shape and at first listen, I think I'm going to love these. They are vinyl covered and have fabric grills. Drivers look very good. Thank you all for the advice, VERY much appreciated. 

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Congratulations on your purchase!

I learned something new about the wood patterned vinyl finish on the early L520s.  ADS also used a simulated wood finish on the L470s, even into the metal grill era.  It sounds like you scored on the records.  Some kinds of vinyl are better than others. ;)

I'd be interested in hearing your impressions (and seeing more pictures) once you get settled in with the speakers.

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Congratulations, you did well! 

I also lucked out once, when buying some equipment a few years ago, I ended up with a nice record collection which I have enjoyed ever since.  Probably the best part of what I brought home, since I don't remember what the primary object was anymore!

Like Glitch, I hope as well that you'll post your further impressions about the speakers when you have a chance.

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Well...one dead woofer. The other speaker sounds excellent. Now I need to find a replacement woof. There are no part numbers on the driver. There are a couple of drivers on eeebay, both listed for the L520 but they have different part numbers. 206-0326 and 206-0323.

?

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An ADS document lists the woofer part number as 206-0326 for speaker serial numbers 0 to 10199.  For serial numbers 10200 and up, the part number is 206-0323.  This seems odd since one would expect the "higher" number to be used in the newer speakers.

Have you done any debugging to verify that the woofer is the actual problem?  For example, check with a multimeter or swap woofers between speakers.

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Thanks Glitch. I think either would work?  I did test the " bad" one and tested direct from my receiver and no sound. I did not disconnect it from the crossover because it's soldered and I don't know how to solder. When I touched the speaker wire for my receiver to the Woffor clips no sound but the Tweeter worked fine through it that way. So I think I'll switch woofers and see if it works that way just to eliminate a crossover problem. Does that make sense?

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Swapping woofers would tell you what you need to know.  The woofers may (or may not) be difficult to remove from the cabinets.

As a first step, you could disconnect one wire from the woofer (between the woofer and crossover) and repeat the "receiver test" again connecting directly to the woofer.  This will eliminate the crossover from the test and saves the work of removing the woofer.  Another possibility for debugging is to swap crossovers.

All of the "all uppercase" era ADS speakers (i.e. ADS versus aDs or a/d/s) that I own use spade connectors to connect to the drivers.   I'm a bit surprised by your comment about the connections being soldered.  However, you never really know what you will find inside of a vintage speaker.  Soldering is pretty easy and a worthwhile skill to have.

Please post some pictures of what you have.  It will make it easier for people to provide advice.  As I said in my first reply, I haven't worked on that particular model.  I'm making some guesses about what you have based on experience with other ADS speakers.

 

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I know it's been a while but I had to create an account to reply.

From '76 through '78 I owned a pair of L520s.   Walnut wood veneer and cloth covers.   The woofers used rubber surrounds, the tweeter the soft cloth type.  Black matte in front, flat back in back, with two screw in posts for connections.  They sounded almost like a prototypical "monitor" speaker.   Not very deep bass extension but very FAST and accurate bass and a very clean midrange with good -and sweet- treble extension.   We used to call that the "East Coast" sound vs. the "West Coast" sound of the JBL L100 Century (with a boomy deep end).

I sold the pair to my friend when I upgraded to the L810s ( which I still own but seldom play ).   Those added the midrange dome for more accuracy in the midrange, dual 8 inch woofers for much deeper bass, pretty much the same treble and overall much more power capacity.    If the L520s went to 9.5, the L810 go to 11.   Heck, I blew a midrange playing Eric Clapton with a 150 watt amp.... Figure how loud that must have been... But CLEAN... as all ADS speakers were.

Quite a few of my friends heard my L520s and bought them.   Some of my college friends lived in an old house with two pairs of L520s in the living room, one speaker per corner.  It sounded awesome in a 14'x24' room.

So, did you get your speakers fixed and setup?

Make sure to drive them with an amp with good current drive (I recall they are 4 ohms... huh?) of sufficient quality.  The old Harman Kardons and Kenwoods of the day drove them beautifully.

As a vintage speaker, they lack the imaging of newer speakers and the treble is a bit rolled off due to the soft dome tweeter, but their deficiencies are of omission.

Oh, btw, you wrote your wife was not happy with your LP purchase.   I realize a year has past, but I would be more than willing to help you out with that problem.  😉

Oh, btwII, the rubber surrounds of the woofers in my L810s are still working fine.   It's been.. hmmm.. 41 years now?   I have no reason to believe the L520s would not last any less.

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