View Full Version : Very pleasant surprise: Radio Shack Nova 8B's


DaLarry
10-05-2007, 03:04 PM
A couple of days ago my wife forced me to take her to our local Goodwill Thrift Store. :boring: I wasn't really into it but that quickly changed when I spied two interesting looking pairs of speakers. For $15 and $10 bucks each I decided I couldn't go too far wrong. I googled them quickly on the old Blackberry and was happy with what I found. The $15 pair were Infinity SM 102's. Not bad but nothing spectacular.

The other pair were Radio Shack Nova 8B's. They were an altogether different aninmal. They weighed a country ton and were a little beat up cosmetically. On one speaker the bottom panel had separated. I could see that the crossover, drivers, surrounds all looked good on the open one. Next morning I went to Home Depot and had a piece cut to fit where the bottom had been, cemented it on and caulked it. This morning I decided to give them a listen.

The Infinity's sounded OK but they quickly ended up in the closet. On the other hand, the Radio Shacks just blew me away. :banana:They rival my Mission 734's and sound smoother than my AR2ax's. Apparently I did a pretty good job sealing the open speaker. The bass is nice and tight; together they are warm, smooth, fairly detailed, and compare very favorably to any other speaker I've been listening too lately.:music:

Who knew!?

ponderbear
10-05-2007, 03:15 PM
Good to know! I've been keeping an eye peeled for the Nova 10s, now I can add 8Bs to the list.

gearhound
10-05-2007, 05:03 PM
You can add Nova 4's too!
These $10 yard sale speakers are pretty darn good!

Steve

soundmotor
10-05-2007, 05:18 PM
Who knew!?

RS speakers have surprised me many times over the years. Electrostat II's remain some of the best I've ever heard, a set of RS whizzer cone 8" drivers in cabinets a buddy picked up a yard sale were astounding, and Mach II's are one great party speaker. I am going to add the Nova 8B's to the list and say another silent thanks to the often maligned (by me) Radio Shack, as well as keep my eyes open.

Thanks for sharing!

:thmbsp:

DaLarry
10-05-2007, 05:31 PM
I have to admit that I've been inclined to discount RS's offerings over the years but no more. They sound really great paired with my GSI-Dynaco. I'm going to keep an eyed peeled for some of the other's mentioned here, especially the electrostats. Now, If I could only figure out how to clean and and keep the dust off the plastic "chain link" fence in the front.....

scott.french
10-05-2007, 09:43 PM
Concerning Radio Shack speakers, a friend of mine owned a pair from RS's lifetime warranty series [Minimus?] speakers-- this was during the early 70's--and I really wanted to get a pair because they sounded so different in the bass when placed on the floor in the corners. On a regular basis he would blow the tweeters with his solid state Marantz reciever but never had to pay labor or parts $$ since the speakers were protected by a lifetime warranty. These speakers or the whole series of speakers was discontinued [I suppose because of people like my friend] so my alternative choice was the MC-100. I found out later that consumer reports magazine had tested these speakers as being very flat in their response but I never liked them.
To this day I would still like to know who actually manufactured the drivers in my friend's speakers. So therefore I will post the following question here and on the speaker forum:
Does anyone remember RS's lifetime warrantied speakers from the 70's?

willyrover
10-05-2007, 10:45 PM
The original Mach ONES had a lifetime warranty. Not sure if it was limited to the original owner though.

Haven't worried about it anyway...the things are indestructible. Sound great especially with blues and jazz.

The Nova 8b and the identical Optimus 5 also have lifetime warranties. Can't say I liked either of them though in the short time I owned them.

DaLarry
10-05-2007, 11:23 PM
The original Mach ONES had a lifetime warranty. Not sure if it was limited to the original owner though.

Haven't worried about it anyway...the things are indestructible. Sound great especially with blues and jazz.

The Nova 8b and the identical Optimus 5 also have lifetime warranties. Can't say I liked either of them though in the short time I owned them.

Really, what didn't you like about them? Everybody's mileage may vary but the RS's' sound really good mated to my Dynaco. Similarly, my AR2ax's sounded much better connected to my Yamaha RX V550 5.1 than the Dynaco. I've heard of the Optimus line; were they sold by RS as well?

DaLarry
10-05-2007, 11:42 PM
Concerning Radio Shack speakers, a friend of mine owned a pair from RS's lifetime warranty series [Minimus?] speakers-- this was during the early 70's--and I really wanted to get a pair because they sounded so different in the bass when placed on the floor in the corners. On a regular basis he would blow the tweeters with his solid state Marantz reciever but never had to pay labor or parts $$ since the speakers were protected by a lifetime warranty. These speakers or the whole series of speakers was discontinued [I suppose because of people like my friend] so my alternative choice was the MC-100. I found out later that consumer reports magazine had tested these speakers as being very flat in their response but I never liked them.
To this day I would still like to know who actually manufactured the drivers in my friend's speakers. So therefore I will post the following question here and on the speaker forum:
Does anyone remember RS's lifetime warrantied speakers from the 70's?

I didn't do a good job of documenting this find and project. Before I sealed up the busted one I saw that it was made in Japan. It didn't identify the manufacturer though. I didn't know about the lifetime warranty but I wonder if RS would have honored it? :nono: Not very likely.

Greyhawk17
10-05-2007, 11:45 PM
Howdy,
Have a pair of pristine 8's I traded for, Excellent vintage speakers,
and very nice to find, needing nothing but oiling.....Sound smooth
with Sansui G-7500 receiver.....Enjoy them, great find! Cheers......





Systems; Sansui's G-7500, G-7700, 8080
Denon 5-channel, DCD-1500
Denon DRM-500
Klipsch Cornwalls, Nova 8's, Pioneer CS-99,
and a couple dozen others in the wings.....

bully
10-06-2007, 09:03 AM
I believe the AR sound was the goal for the Nova speaker systems.
I very much enjoy the sound of my Nova 8B with the 85 wpc Nikko NR-1015. I also have a pair of the Nova 7B.

SDA SRS 1.2
10-06-2007, 09:20 AM
Couldn't resist a pair of Nova 10's at a church fund raiser for only $10 that only needed a little furniture polish and was pleasantly surprised at how good they sound. Glad to hear the 8B's sound good as well.

DaLarry
10-06-2007, 11:33 AM
I believe the AR sound was the goal for the Nova speaker systems.
I very much enjoy the sound of my Nova 8B with the 85 wpc Nikko NR-1015. I also have a pair of the Nova 7B.

Hmmm. That's interesting. I got started on this little hobby when I found some AR 2ax's at the Salvation Army. Cosmetically, they were in much better shape than the Nova's but the Nova's sound better. Maybe its time to do a rebuild on the AR's no matter how good they look.

DaLarry
10-06-2007, 12:30 PM
Howdy,
Have a pair of pristine 8's I traded for, Excellent vintage speakers,
and very nice to find, needing nothing but oiling.....Sound smooth
with Sansui G-7500 receiver.....Enjoy them, great find! Cheers......


It's prretty dry here in Denver. So far, they've slurped up a quarter of a bottle of Old English Lemon Oil. Anything better?

kfa888
10-06-2007, 01:11 PM
Are these the ones with the three paper cone tweets and a woofer?

Greyhawk17
10-06-2007, 05:35 PM
Howdy,
Yes, dry here too,.....I cleaned mine with a minwax cleaner, then a
couple coats of Watco danish oil,.....Light scrub with #00000 pads,
from Woodworker's Source, followed by a coat of carnuba wax.....
Nice, rich satin sheen....Cheers!

DaLarry
10-06-2007, 10:53 PM
Howdy,
Yes, dry here too,.....I cleaned mine with a minwax cleaner, then a
couple coats of Watco danish oil,.....Light scrub with #00000 pads,
from Woodworker's Source, followed by a coat of carnuba wax.....
Nice, rich satin sheen....Cheers!

Thanx!

Kencat
10-07-2007, 12:51 AM
Are these the ones with the three paper cone tweets and a woofer?

Optimus 5B's have that configuration.

BruceRPA
10-07-2007, 12:06 PM
The Nova 8 speakers were very similar to the highly regarded Optimus 5 speakers.

Here is a catalog page scan. I also uploaded some higher res scans of catalog pages to www.sendspace.com that you can download using the following links. Note that the files will only be available for a few days on that site before they get deleted automatically.

File 1:
File Name: T-200 and T-100.pdf
File Size: 884 KB
Download Link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/r88o5j

File 2:
File Name: Opt 1b-2b-5b.pdf
File Size: 1 MB
Download Link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/esghth

File 3:
File Name: Nova 7-8.pdf
File Size: 1015 KB
Download Link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/mm1d5o

File 4:
File Name: Nova7b-8b-Mach1 Catalog Page.pdf
File Size: 1 MB
Download Link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/0hmix7

File 5:
File Name: Mach 1 and Nova 7-8.jpg
File Size: 594 KB
Download Link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/whsfyd


If they expire and you want a high res scan send me a PM and I will upload the large file to www.sendspace where you will be able to download it.

DaLarry
10-07-2007, 12:18 PM
The Nova 8 speakers were very similar to the highly regarded Optimus 5 speakers.

Here is a catalog page scan. I also uploaded some higher res scans of catalog pages to www.sendspace.com that you can download using the following links. Note that the files will only be available for a few days on that site before they get deleted automatically.


Thanx! I got them. A great help. :thmbsp:

DaLarry
10-07-2007, 01:25 PM
In case you are curious, this is what they look like.

After drinking up a gallon of Old English Lemon Oil:

http://www.dalarry.com/RSNova/DSCF0003.jpg

With the yet uncleaned "chain link fence":

http://www.dalarry.com/RSNova/DSCF0004.jpg

Did I mention the the bottom piece was completely missing?

http://www.dalarry.com/RSNova/DSCF0001.jpg

willyrover
10-07-2007, 02:11 PM
Really, what didn't you like about them? Everybody's mileage may vary but the RS's' sound really good mated to my Dynaco. Similarly, my AR2ax's sounded much better connected to my Yamaha RX V550 5.1 than the Dynaco. I've heard of the Optimus line; were they sold by RS as well?

Yes. The Optimus 5 and the Nova 8 were exactly the same speaker except for the grille treatment. Novas had the lattice grille and the Optimus has flat grille.

I found the bass a little sloppy and treble extremely lacking. I tried them on a few different amps. Of course they might have benefited from a cap replacement and I never played around with positioning too much.

gadget73
10-07-2007, 03:32 PM
I used to have a set of Nova 9's, monsters they were, 15" woofer, a horn tweeter and a paper midrange. They produced nice sound, but I found they wanted a lot of power to really make them sing. When I had the STA2100 before it went into meltdown, they really sounded their finest. Not a very efficient speaker at all but with the right amount of watts they sounded darn fine for the $30 I paid for them. Unfortunately they got left behind when I moved, no place for them.

mave
10-08-2007, 07:43 AM
I found a pair of these at a local thrift store for $15 had them in my cart and on the way back to front I ran by doors to the back room where people drop stuff off and saw 2 additional pair of speakers. One pair was kenwood kl-999dx and the other were kl-444a. So I went and found manager and she said I could have the two pair of kenwoods for a total of $30. So I took those also BUT ran in to big problem when wife (who was with me) saw that I had three pair of speakers. Her dad was also in store and she said I had to give up one pair for him. I chose to give him the Nova 8b boy I wish I could of had all three but oh well he still reminds me on how good they sound...

dnewma04
10-08-2007, 09:00 AM
I have two pairs of 7Bs and was pleasantly surprised by them. Not world beaters, but pretty competent and well built.

gearhound
10-08-2007, 09:19 AM
I modded my RS Nova-4's:
1) Replaced original tweeters with Peerless Alnico cone tweeters, damped down with PE 15w L-pads.
2) Replaced original single cap with a home-built 2000hz/6db Xover with parts from PE.
The Peerless tweeter is SO MUCH sweeter sounding than the RS tweeter.
The 8" woofer (with the 2Khz Xover) is no longer run full-range.
Really a BIG step up from the original....run with a Marantz 2230 receiver....it is a now serious sounding speaker.

Steve

SixCats!
10-08-2007, 09:52 AM
Hi Da,

Congrats on your find. I just wanted to mention, should you ever find a
lil' pair of Radio Shack Minimus 4's GRAB EM! Better still, the slightly larger
"R Hi-fi" Speakers sound even better! Both these lil' wood cabinet Bookshelf speakers house but a simple single 3 inch (perhaps 4 inch) driver but, the sound is wonderful! I am not 100% sure of the driver make but it has been suggested that it is perhaps a FOSTEX driver. Sure, a bit lacking in the BASS department but otherwise, just excellent sounding. Hook these lil' speakers up to a simple tube amp and the lil' Minimus 4's (or "R Hi-fi") Speakers will surely please.

Regards,
SixCats!

phaxda
10-14-2007, 01:37 PM
I bought a pair of the Nova 8s at a garage sale yesterday and this was the only site where I could find anything on them. Anyway, I am incredibly surprised by how nice they sound. This is my first foray into vintage audio, so I do have a couple of questions...

What's the best way to clean the latticework? I suppose I could just take the whole front off, but when I do so what's the best way to clean the whole thing altogether--I am assuming the lattice is attached to the grille (appears to be, anyway).

Wiring these was easy, of course, but what is the center port that is labeled 8 ohm? I know what the 8 ohm means now from Googling yesterday--hey, stop laughing I am a TOTAL newb--but can you put an audio cable in here? What's it for? Just curious.

The speakers and receiver (I am going to make another thread for that one because it's a whole different beast--Reference 180R by Quadraflex) were $10.

MisterFishey
10-14-2007, 01:47 PM
Yeah, Radio Shack did make some fairly decent stuff back in the day. I have a Realistic Receiver hooked up to my TV and I have had zero problems with it EVER except for one light blowing out. I even have the matching speakers, which are just ok, not the Optimus or Nova ones. The interesting thing about most RS equipment was their RCA speaker connections. It really makes connecting speakers easier, and I often wonder why it never caught on...

soundmotor
10-14-2007, 01:51 PM
I left a set of Nova-4's at the dump yesterday. Someone else grabbed them after I put the 1st one down. Was it one of you here? If so, stop following me around. I saw you at both yardsales I went to later on!

:D

phaxda
10-24-2007, 03:44 PM
Bad form to reply to myself, but these cleaned up sweet once I took them apart. The latticework is not (of course) attached and after a nice soak in some mild cleaner they no longer have dust anywhere. They look great and sound good too! The cabinets did love that lemon oil...

Edit: I reread the earlier comment about the Minumus speakers and it turns out that the bookshelf speakers I have been using for years are Minumus 7s. Who knew?! This site has taught me so much already.

dividebytube
10-24-2007, 03:48 PM
If Radio Shack is anything like Lafayette - they are probably made in Japan...

I have a pair of Lafayette SK-58s 12" Coax drivers (need new surrounds) that were made by Pioneer. Then of course I have some SK-500s made in England by Goodmans - go figure.

cfranz
10-24-2007, 04:02 PM
I've run into several Rat Shack speakers where, with a little care and tweeking, were amazing. Rat Shack, of course, discontinued them. :scratch2:

Seems to be a pattern with Rat Shack, when they have a truely excellent product, they discontinue it. :grumpy: