Listening #89 Letters from July 2010

Letters from July 2010 (Vol.33 No.7):

Won't get fooled again!
Editor: I grinned the whole way through Artie's May write-up on restoring Large Advent speakers from the memories it evoked. Back in the day, my audiophile pal had a pair of Advents while I opted for the EPI sound. I foolishly sold my two pairs of circa-1973 EPI 100s in the 1990s during a couple of downsizing periods. It didn't take long for me to track down another set a few years later.

After reading Art's piece, I did the only thing I could do: I dropped 40-year old music on the 'table and let them babies crank. We won't get fooled again.—Richard Crimi, Beaverton, OR,

What can we learn?
Editor: I immensely enjoyed Art Dudley's May 2010 "Listening" (p.33), in which he resurrected two moribund Large Advent Loudspeakers. Many good memories from 1973 came back, when I owned a pair of them and listened to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and two Sheffield Labs direct-to-disc cuts over and over again. I loved those speakers, and didn't replace them until 1979 (with ESS AMT 1bs). Since I have also felt that the Large Advents did a lot of things inherently right, I wonder if it would be possible to convince Art—and his daughter—to give them up for a week or two for a detailed John Atkinson diagnosis. Maybe we can learn something.—Rainer Alpert, El Paso, TX,

Extra thanks
Editor: Thank you, Art Dudley, for your article on restoring Large Advent speakers. In the early 1970s I bought a set of Smaller Advents. I'm ashamed to say that I drifted away from listening to much music, and the Advents were banished to a shelf in the garage. Two years ago, when I decided to return to something that might be called serious listening, I did several things right away. I subscribed to Stereophile, got those Smaller Advents down from the garage shelf, and then read Robert Reina's 2006 article on the Smaller Advents.

My Smaller Advents were, predictably, in pretty bad shape. While the cabinet and grille fabric still looked great, the speaker cones were in shreds. I took the speakers to SpeakerWorks here in Tulsa and got back wonderfully restored equipment. But I knew soon enough that I just had to have those Large Advents. I did some looking on the Web but found that the prices were fairly high—especially considering the shipping charges. Then, one Saturday morning, I had a call from one of my students, a genuine audiophile. He called to say that he had found a beautiful set of Large Advents at a bargain price at an antique mall. Even better, they had been recently restored. I didn't get the price that Art Dudley got, but then, I was simply glad to have the Large Advents. Needless to say, I bought them. Then I had the good folks at SpeakerWorks do a bit of extra checking. The cabinet is in great shape, as is the fabric.

I have a modest system—a Creek Audio EVO player and the Rega Brio-3 amp—but I won't reveal the name and age of my turntable, since I don't want Mr. Fremer to cast me into outer darkness. Thanks again to Art Dudley for a great article, and an extra thanks to Robert Reina for his review of the Smaller Advents.— Jim Ronda, Tulsa, OK,

An unusual marriage
Editor: My favorite Art Dudley columns are those in which he brings old gear back to life, and I really enjoyed his garage-sale Advent piece in May. It should be noted, however, that his were an unusual marriage of the first- and second-generation Large Advents. The cabinet, with its deeply recessed baffle and Masonite-mounted tweeter, is first-generation, while the facts that the tweeter had no protective metal grille and a resultant dimpled center dome indicate that it was an early original Advent. (The pair I purchased in 1973 had the grille.)

However, the woofers in Art's pair are from the second generation, introduced in 1977 and dubbed the New Large Advent. They crossed over at a higher frequency than the original to a ferrofluid-cooled tweeter that had the same orange diaphragm but an all-metal frame. (I bought those also, and still have them in the basement.)

Although the newer woofer's specs were supposed to be very close to the originals, which had a large Masonite ring to which the surround was attached, I'm not sure Art is hearing the speaker as Henry Kloss and Andy Petite intended. New capacitors and an undented tweeter would get Art closer to the original sound.— Jeff Kaschyk,

More, please
Editor: I enjoyed Art Dudley's piece about restoring Advents. However, it appears that the Advents Mr. Dudley restored were something of a hybrid; the cabinets and tweeters look like they're from original Large Advents, while the metal-frame woofers are from New Large Advents, which came out in 1973 or so. I also think the 1970s price cited by Mr. Dudley is too low. If memory serves, Utility Advents had a list price of $102/speaker, with real-wood Advents costing a bit more.

There are a good number of vintage audiophiles out there refoaming Advents, re-capping Dynaco A-25s, and trying to figure out the problematic potentiometers of AR-2axes. I think many of us who were just getting our feet wet in the 1970s (and are currently getting back into the old stuff that we couldn't afford as kids) would enjoy more reports about "vintage" gear.— C.H. Sacks, Pleasant Hill, CA,

My "Letters" in-box has been a horrorshow lately: I read everything that comes in, but only by peeking between the fingers that cover my eyes. Thus the letters from Messrs. Ronda, Alpert, et al were pleasant surprises. Thank you.

I'd never owned Advents before this pair, and I'm certainly not a collector, so I was unaware until recently that the woofers in my $15 lawn-sale speakers weren't original. As I believe the piece made clear, my goal was to repair a cheap, broken pair of loudspeakers so that my 12-year-old daughter could use them in her bedroom. But I understand how a very serious Advent enthusiast would be upset to read—or hear of—a story about his favorite product that contains an error such as the one I made.

Hopefully, there's enough good information in the column that it remains worthy of most readers' attention. Meanwhile, I'll exercise greater care the next time I choose a DIY project as a subject for my column.—Art Dudley