View Full Version : Vintage Radio Shack/Realistic Speakers?


tvpierce
03-21-2008, 04:29 PM
Ive been into audio for decades: since the early 80s but just recently joined AK.
I have a question about vintage Radio Shack/Realistic speakers. (Dont take this the wrong way Im not knocking them. Im trying to educate myself here.)
In reading through the speaker forum, Ive been a bit surprised that many knowledgeable members seem to hold Radio Shack/Realistic speakers in high regard. Optimus, Mach One, etc I vividly remember these models from the 80s, but never gave them much thought because RS had/has a reputation for rather low-end merchandise. What can you tell me about RS/Realistic speakers of this vintage? Clearly they have a loyal following of people who appreciate quality audio.

Thanks in advance.

jp

MAXZ28
03-21-2008, 05:00 PM
I recently picked up a quad of Realistic Nova 7B's at the Goodwill for $16. Two worked and two had blown crossovers and tweeters. The cabinets are solid and well built and they are sonically acceptible. Not the best speaker I've heard, but definitely not the worst. Tough to find drop in modern day replacement tweeters without having to modify, but I've been intrigued enough now to consider different models should they come my way.

Tripqzon
03-21-2008, 05:21 PM
If they weren't any good back in the day, why do people think they're any good now? Does it have anything to do guys hearing rolling off as we age. Are newer speakers that bad that we actually think the vintage RS speaker are any good now.

Come on guys, must of us wouldn't have been caught dead buying RS speakers back in the day with the exception of the Mach's maybe.

Now, I must admit that I did own a pair of Nova 6's, but I was about 10 years old and they were ok, but I never considered any RS speaker as a serious HI-FI speaker. And I know most of you felt the same way. So what gives?

My .02 cents

terra1
03-21-2008, 05:27 PM
I had the Nova 8B 12" woofer 2 midranges and another acting as a tweeter. The Optimus 5 has the same configuration but I never had the pleasure of listening to them, but they are highly regarded.

Radio Shack was considered cheap only among snobophiles. I regularly had people surprised on how great they sounded. Radio Shack was expensive for me but offered value if you carefully did your research and compared specs. I lived and timed the seasons based on the Radio Shack sales.

The Nova 8Bs had a wide frequency range with enough thump and high frequency detail to make comedy albums with special effects, jazz, rock engulf you. Not like today where they expect you to supplement your puny HT speakers with a subwoofer.

None of this crap where you have to defend certain speakers that this is good for jazz and classical or these are rock speakers. Niche, niche, niche.

I drove them with a 44 watt Realistic STA-250 with Quatravox and rear speakers Realistic Solo 3As.

I gave them away regretfully. I thought all speakers were supposed to sound that good. I bought into the propaganda. More expensive meant better. I was supposed to look for nice warm tones or a certain sound.

I have purchased used looking for that sound and detail: a pair of Boston A100, Advent 5002, Polk Monitor 10B and the Polk 10B is the only one that comes closest to producing or surpassing it with sizzling guitars, thumping bass, and sassy vocals.

Bostons A100 are a tea party.
Advents are a cocktail party.
Polks are the boys are back in town. I would classify the Nova 8b in the same category.

terra1
03-21-2008, 05:34 PM
I recently picked up a quad of Realistic Nova 7B's at the Goodwill for $16. Two worked and two had blown crossovers and tweeters. The cabinets are solid and well built and they are sonically acceptible. Not the best speaker I've heard, but definitely not the worst. Tough to find drop in modern day replacement tweeters without having to modify, but I've been intrigued enough now to consider different models should they come my way.

I bought a pair of 7Bs and a Realistic STA-77 for $25 off craigslist.

They are in great conditon. The STA-77 does not have any issues with weak channels, static, or other common maladies afflicting more complicated and expensive receivers you read about in these forums. When I turn it on, I have no apprehension of will it fail, sounds great first time all the time.

The 7Bs have great detail and nice crisp highs and bass for a smaller version of the 8Bs.

saltwater
03-21-2008, 05:37 PM
Nova 10's are a good speaker! Not saying they are great for hi fi, but they manage.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd198/justineakins/nova10s001.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd198/justineakins/nova10s002.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd198/justineakins/nova10005.jpg

RussinOhio
03-21-2008, 05:39 PM
Realistic Optimus 5B was my first pair of speakers. I think I bought them in the winter of '77. Sold them sometime I think around late '79.

Wonder where they are today? It'd be weird as hell if some fellow AK member has them now!:D


Russ

AnalogDigit
03-21-2008, 05:49 PM
I used to own Mach Ones during the 80's. But the foam went bad and I gave them to a friend of mine since I was moving. I still have my Minimus 7's.

I kind of like Radio Shack equipment in it's heyday around late 70's, early 80's. They were like the unknown place where you can find decent items. I miss their catalogs!

sealy
03-21-2008, 06:02 PM
Mach II's, my friend. $50 purchase price, $25 worth of refoaming. They will shake your booty. Don't forget that the Shack sourced their drivers from many name brand audio companies. One look at the components will dispell the "cheap" monicker forevah.

Tripqzon
03-21-2008, 06:25 PM
I always like the looks of the Mach's. They looked tough for speakers back in their time.

Those Nova 10's look pretty decent also. Never had the opportunity to hear them though.

saltwater
03-21-2008, 06:29 PM
I painted the white on there. It was a grey color in the begining, it just makes them look more attractive this way! Plus the WAF!

markus
03-21-2008, 06:35 PM
Lineaum Dipole Ribbon tweeters . . .

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=83767&d=1206142417

Dual Radial Horn Tweeters. . . .

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=83768&d=1206142417

and the venerable Fostex-ish 'super tweeter' . . .

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=83769&d=1206142417

not to mention all the full range drivers they put out

Elfasto
03-21-2008, 06:53 PM
Radio Shack was considered cheap only among snobophiles. I regularly had people surprised on how great they sounded. Radio Shack was expensive for me but offered value if you carefully did your research and compared specs.

x2.

Their speakers were not crap by any non-biased standard.

superdog
03-21-2008, 07:20 PM
Radio Shack is alright by me.I would love one of those huge 70's receivers.I passed on a set of RS speakers with some beautiful cabs at the thrift awhile back.Regretted it soon after.Sometimes I would like a system that looks very pleasing even though it is not the best sonically.

majorloser
03-21-2008, 07:25 PM
I still have two pairs of the Minimus 7's and a pair of the little 3.5's.
Wish I could find a STA-7 in good shape since mine blew up years ago.

Paul C
03-21-2008, 08:09 PM
Say what you want about Radio Shack, but their speakers were good values. You got a lot of speaker for the money, and a lot better than the typical mass market stuff. At one time it was said that Radio Shack sold more speakers than anyone else. I can believe it.

Yes, some were cheap. But most all were well very well made and well designed for their price point. Yes, it did look to me as if they put some actual effort into the design of each speaker. If you had $100 to spend on speakers, I doubt you could do better than spend that $100 at the Shack.

Were there better speakers around? You bet! But you'd certainly pay more.

I still have respect for their speakers.

Fletch
03-21-2008, 08:46 PM
I wasn't even remotely into hi-fi when the Nova-5's came out. I recently found a pair for $6.99 and thought they would be a great refoam project. This was my first refoam so I thought if I made a mistake it was not a big deal. I found a set of surrounds of the Bay for $6.50 shipped. Hooked them up after they were refoamed and I was pleasantly suprised. I had very low expectations but they are a great rock speaker. They also have good detail and bass response. Very well constructed cabinets. Just my 2 cents.

archie2
03-21-2008, 08:51 PM
The Radio Shack receiver STA-2100 is one of the best made. Their Minimus 7's are well sought after even today and their Elac Miracord TT's rivaled the Duals of the same era.

Unican_Eric
03-22-2008, 12:39 AM
I have had many Minimus 7s over the years and now own a set of Mach II as well as a set of Optimus T-120. I love these speakers. I will not pass another set of any Radio Shack speakers if I can help it.

Fast_Eddie
03-22-2008, 07:20 AM
Mach II's, my friend. $50 purchase price, $25 worth of refoaming. They will shake your booty. Don't forget that the Shack sourced their drivers from many name brand audio companies. One look at the components will dispell the "cheap" monicker forevah.

The pair I saved from the thrift store are being delivered to my father-in-law today. I foamed them, oiled the cabinets and just cleaned them up. I really got a kick out of them but some things needed to move out. He'll love them. It's a tired expression but rarely more appropriate: they don't make um like that anymore. They really will rock the house.

Take care,

Ed

gearhound
03-22-2008, 08:17 AM
Found a pair of Realistic Nova-4's at a yard sale for $10.
They sound decent and look nice too (real wood)!

Steve

pmsummer
03-22-2008, 10:04 AM
Echo here. Radio Shack speakers were VERY good (for the money). Whoever was in charge knew what they were doing.

The Optimus 1 sounded like a KLH 17 for half the price (important to me in 1969). The Solo 1 had the early version of the Fostex 4.5" full-range driver that everyone now admires. Their SuperTweeter is the schnitz! The Mach 1 was their big move away from the japanese 'kinda-east-coast-sound"* towards more of a "kinda-west-coast-Japanese" sound. Very popular with the boys.

Really, pretty much all their stuff was a good buy, with high quality for the money. They used many different sources.

Love my Realistic stuff.

*Being as they were originally from the Boston area (before Tandy Crafts bought them), I wonder if that had a lingering impact?

jocko_nc
03-22-2008, 11:21 AM
Ditto the regards for the Nova-10's. They are very decent speakers. Grab a pair if given the chance.

Not really a manufacturer, I think Realistic tried to copy what was already successful in the market. The result was a schizo-lineup of products, with their speaker efforts all across the board. When they changed directions, they changed in a hurry. When the quality died, it died in a hurry.

Minimus-7 are still a wonderful speaker.
Nova-10's are limited in dynamics but quite nice.
Mach-1 and Mach-2 rock.
Supertweeters.

Their Optimus towers were excellent for the day. I recall their best effort was a 12.00 inch tower with a passive radiator and a horn. (I think). It sold top-of-the-line, above the Mach-1's. I always wanted those, but ended up with the newer model with 10.00 inch and a passive. They were good enough, but looking back I probably bought on the down slope of Realistic. I do know the drivers were Peerless. The crossover was a cheap disaster, however.

I'd love to see cut sheets of the TOTL Realistic towers from the day...

jocko

GENXVINTAGE
03-22-2008, 12:56 PM
Ive been into audio for decades: since the early 80s but just recently joined AK.
I have a question about vintage Radio Shack/Realistic speakers. (Dont take this the wrong way Im not knocking them. Im trying to educate myself here.)
In reading through the speaker forum, Ive been a bit surprised that many knowledgeable members seem to hold Radio Shack/Realistic speakers in high regard. Optimus, Mach One, etc I vividly remember these models from the 80s, but never gave them much thought because RS had/has a reputation for rather low-end merchandise. What can you tell me about RS/Realistic speakers of this vintage? Clearly they have a loyal following of people who appreciate quality audio.

Thanks in advance.

jp


You need to check out a pair on Mach I's or Mach II's. They sound very
good!!

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=83864&stc=1&d=1206208626

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=83861&stc=1&d=1206208626

m1.5tman
03-22-2008, 01:01 PM
Are we gonna talk about how great Sparkomatic was "in the day" now?:D

Fast_Eddie
03-22-2008, 01:20 PM
Are we gonna talk about how great Sparkomatic was "in the day" now?:D

lol - well, I didn't have a Sparkomatic, but I had a Pyramid cassette tuner in my old '74 Capri. Complete with a Pyramid power booster with built in five band EQ. Wasn't much, but the whole kit cost about $50. In those days that took quite a bit of saving up for me and I was happy to have it. At least it worked for several years. Lately, seems that the very inexpensive stuff you can buy doesn't even work at all.

Take care,

Ed

dc270
03-22-2008, 01:27 PM
I have restored many speakers in the Realistic/ Optimus line and found most to be a pleasure to work on. The Walnut veneer was suitably thick, the driver compliments good and the sound value @ cost point usually very good.

Considering what some much bigger brand names offered, RS was not a bad way to go. The Mach 1's really woke up a few top names with their 3 way, 15" woofer, horn mid/ high home speaker!! While Klipsch, EV, Speakerlab (& maybe a few others) had the market cornered on home based horn systems- RS came through for the common guy and made them pretty affoardable & reasonbably good sounding.

DC

terra1
03-22-2008, 01:36 PM
Are we gonna talk about how great Sparkomatic was "in the day" now?:D

Nope, that's another thread. :lmao:

Besides I have no experience with Sparkomatic and so I generally avoid looking down at a product without some evidence.

I notice people fall into two camps. Those with first hand experience and evidence and those with a notion based on ... well ... a notion.

If people are really objective, they can look up data on tunerinfo or any other source. Either Radio Shack fans are liars or maybe -- just maybe critics are subject to equipment envy and can't stand or imagine the thought they could have paid less for quality products.

Actually, I may recommend -- NOT defending Radio Shack. Some items are going up in bidding as it is as readers become more educated.

Radio Shack cheap garbage! Sing it loud sing it proud! ;) :thmbsp:

Paul C
03-22-2008, 01:48 PM
The thing that got me about Radio Shack, they had some nice little replacement drivers, and you could ALMOST build some decent speakers, but they lacked crossover parts. You could get caps, but no inductors. They had a crappy ready made crossover that wouldn't really work with anything in their line.

It would have been nice, and perhaps a good introduction to speaker building to have just a few more components and perhaps a "cookbook" of half a dozen designs using all their products.

Get someone hooked on a nice little bookshelf system that sounded halfway decent, then a few other mid sized models, and then a big 3-way using their 15" poly cone woofer.

They would have had people building speakers "on the installment plan".

They should have hired me for marketing. ;-)

corporalcripp
03-22-2008, 02:08 PM
My first pair of speakers.Quite good.8" woofs with a mid-tweeter.Typical RS cost cutting with the woofers-they had wool dustcaps!Decent bass,maybe could've been better in the highs.Looked a lot like the KLH enclosures around '72,had nicely built cabinets.No one ever mentions them (sniff) & I regret letting them go.

Elfasto
03-22-2008, 02:12 PM
You could get caps, but no inductors. They had a crappy ready made crossover that wouldn't really work with anything in their line.


Yeah, the crossover's weren't anything special. The inductors were the stronger point on them, but the caps were caa-caa. If one replaced the caps with better units, then the X-over's were not too bad.

terra1
03-22-2008, 02:29 PM
My first pair of speakers.Quite good.8" woofs with a mid-tweeter.Typical RS cost cutting with the woofers-they had wool dustcaps!Decent bass,maybe could've been better in the highs.Looked a lot like the KLH enclosures around '72,had nicely built cabinets.No one ever mentions them (sniff) & I regret letting them go.
Those sound like my first pair too. Mine were Realistic Solo 3As. Not a conventional surround on the woofer. The driver was flush with the surface. They were definitely budget speakers.


The Nova 8Bs and Nova 7Bs had nice reinforcement around the dustcaps. And the surround was not your usual sponge foam.

Here's a pic from eBay on the Nova 8B drivers

terra1
03-22-2008, 03:46 PM
Yeah, the crossover's weren't anything special. The inductors were the stronger point on them, but the caps were caa-caa. If one replaced the caps with better units, then the X-over's were not too bad.

Can you recommend a 12" speaker with these excellent crossovers you mention in the under $100 range?

I have seen Nova 8Bs sold for $20-$50 on eBay. Their shipping costs are enormous though because of their weight.

I have been wondering what other Realistic owners do for alternative or better speakers. I am adding the Optimus 5B on my watch list.

As I have posted, I have been looking for the sound and detail in highs and lows closest to the Nova 8Bs as my reference. I purchased the Boston A100, Advent 5002 and they are quite refined, but the Polk Monitor 10Bs are the closest to that clarity, bass and detail I remember. I mentioned those as a comparison because they are well known.

Among 12" speakers I already own: I have seen Kenwood LS408As sold for $30-40 on craigslist. I haven't seen any Cannon TLS 1232 speakers at all.

Thanks.

Elfasto
03-22-2008, 04:30 PM
Can you recommend a 12" speaker with these excellent crossovers you mention in the under $100 range?



I'm afraid you misread my post. I said the Radio Shack crossovers were nothing special. Certainly not excellent by any standard. The only reason I said the inductors were the stronger points on those X-overs is because it's actually really hard to make a non-functioning inductor. The capacitors on those were pretty bad.

Fast_Eddie
03-22-2008, 05:13 PM
The pair I saved from the thrift store are being delivered to my father-in-law today. I foamed them, oiled the cabinets and just cleaned them up. I really got a kick out of them but some things needed to move out. He'll love them. It's a tired expression but rarely more appropriate: they don't make um like that anymore. They really will rock the house.

Take care,

Ed

I just got word that the Mach IIs made it to Ohio just fine and are currently jamming the Eagles from the pretty danged nice Yamaha receiver I gave him last fall. Nice to spread the love! That's a pretty cool set up- all from the thrift store, of course.

Take care,

Ed

Divotdog
03-22-2008, 05:37 PM
The thing that got me about Radio Shack, they had some nice little replacement drivers, and you could ALMOST build some decent speakers, but they lacked crossover parts. You could get caps, but no inductors. They had a crappy ready made crossover that wouldn't really work with anything in their line.

It would have been nice, and perhaps a good introduction to speaker building to have just a few more components and perhaps a "cookbook" of half a dozen designs using all their products.

Get someone hooked on a nice little bookshelf system that sounded halfway decent, then a few other mid sized models, and then a big 3-way using their 15" poly cone woofer.

They would have had people building speakers "on the installment plan".

They should have hired me for marketing. ;-)

Back in the 70s I bought a book by David Weems that was a "cookbook" based on all RS products, I built a nice little set of book shelf speakers from that book, I will have to look, I may still have it around.

sealy
03-22-2008, 07:18 PM
Remember this book? This got me into speaker-building long ago.

Best $6.95(Cdn) I ever spent.

Paul C
03-22-2008, 08:05 PM
Can you recommend a 12" speaker with these excellent crossovers you mention in the under $100 range?

(snip)

Thanks.

We were talking about the separate crossover assembly they sold, not the crossovers in their speakers. They had a simple little 3-way crossover that was not really very useful.

Elfasto
03-22-2008, 09:57 PM
Remember this book? This got me into speaker-building long ago.

Best $6.95(Cdn) I ever spent.

Got that one too, and the previous version, which is loving referred to as the little red book. The older one was far better technically.

terra1
03-22-2008, 10:08 PM
I'm afraid you misread my post. I said the Radio Shack crossovers were nothing special. Certainly not excellent by any standard. The only reason I said the inductors were the stronger points on those X-overs is because it's actually really hard to make a non-functioning inductor. The capacitors on those were pretty bad.

Then you must have misread my post. ;)

I asked a question about what your recommendation of speakers that had better parts in that price range. Or what alternatives there are.

My post was not intended to question your assessment of crossovers or inductors. That's something I don't know much about or care about. I can only understan what I hear. You seemed knowledgable about speakers.

I gave my examples in search of The Sound - that I loved!

Not trying to be difficult. I am absolutely serious about looking for speakers that had the detail, bass, and crispness of the Nova 8B. I can't find any Nova 8Bs. I fully understand it had shortcomings and said the Bostons and Advents seemed more "refined."
And after all, the Polks sold for $740 and Nova 8B for $139. To build the 7B with more expensive parts may have taken them out of the market they were targeting.

But if there are a speakers with better inductors or crossovers that sound great in the price range. Then I want to find them - who wouldn't? That's why I asked.

Specifically, I have been in search of speakers that played Hendrix Gypsy Eyes with thump, Firesign Theater and Congress of Wonders where I can hear specific background detail and effects. Those are some of the tests that I just compare speakers to. That's why I said the Polks came closest.

Sorry if I seemed naive or if you thought I was being sarcastic.

gearhound
03-22-2008, 10:27 PM
I did a few cheap "upgrades" on my Realistic Nova-4's that worked out well.
1) Original Xover (2000 hz.) was a single electrolytic capacitor.
Replaced with DIY 1st order/6db Xover (2000hz).
2) Replaced stock RS tweeters with a pair of $5 e-bay 2 1/4" Peerless Alnico cone tweeters.
3) Added a pair of 8 ohm, 15 watt L-Pads from PE to pad down the tweeters.

Steve

Elfasto
03-22-2008, 10:32 PM
Then you must have misread my post. ;)

I asked a question about what your recommendation of speakers that had better parts in that price range. Or what alternatives there are.

My post was not intended to question your assessment of crossovers or inductors. That's something I don't know much about or care about. I can only understand what I hear. You seemed knowledgeable about speakers.

I gave my examples in search of The Sound - that I loved!

Not trying to be difficult. I am absolutely serious about looking for speakers that had the detail, bass, and crispness of the Nova 8B. I can't find any Nova 8Bs. I fully understand it had shortcomings and said the Bostons and Advents seemed more "refined."
And after all, the Polks sold for $740 and Nova 8B for $139. To build the 7B with more expensive parts may have taken them out of the market they were targeting.

But if there are a speakers with better inductors or crossovers that sound great in the price range. Then I want to find them - who wouldn't? That's why I asked.

Specifically, I have been in search of speakers that played Hendrix Gypsy Eyes with thump, Firesign Theater and Congress of Wonders where I can hear specific background detail and effects. Those are some of the tests that I just compare speakers to. That's why I said the Polks came closest.

Sorry if I seemed naive or if you thought I was being sarcastic.

Ah, okay. Forgetaboutit, eh?

Alright, to be totally honest, I classify myself as a amateur with lots of experience on what not to do with speakers. Kinda like Edison: He screwed up around 2000 times before he finally achieved a reliable light bulb.

I've built alot of bad speaker cabinets, and only the last two pairs I built I can call them "successes". My last pair are a 8" folded TL lines that I did the math kinda ship-shod, but they worked out pretty damn good, with good solid bass down to 30 Hz, which I think is pretty good for a 8" driver. Before that it was a pair of 10" 3-ways in a 2.8 cu.ft sealed cabinet. Pretty hard to screw up there.

It's kind of hard to nail down a specific speaker to play all things equally. Some drivers absolutely play Mozart or Bach like a pack of horny angels, but AC/DC they kinda go flat, whereas some drivers love Metallica but couldn't play Miles Davis to save their lives.

As for your question about a 12" bass driver under $100, that's a tough one to recommend given the examples of music you listen to. I guess a good start would be finding out the interior volume of the Nova 8b's first, then using that volume to play with different drivers using software to get a reasonably flat response. The one with the flattest response on the simulator is the winner.

Kind of a vague answer to your query, but it's the safest advise I can give you. Swapping out mids and tweets is childs play compared to this.

Paul C
03-22-2008, 11:36 PM
A GREAT 12" woofer... Eminence Delta 12LFA. A 3 cu ft ported cabinet and you have a lot of low end extension in a reasonable size box. Efficiency is very high. And the Delta 12LFA's are just under $100 each from Parts Express.

Check www.pispeakers.com and look at the 3pi Theatre. Email Wayne and ask for the 3pi Theatre plans. It uses the Eminence H290 horn lens and Eminence PSD2002 horn driver. The crossover is a slightly modified Eminence crossover, just a few parts added... some pad resistors, a compensation cap, and a cap/resistor for woofer Zobel.

terra1
03-23-2008, 05:03 AM
Thanks Elfasto and Paul C for the thoughts and suggestions and understanding.

I think what I noticed about the Polks where they have a similarity to the Nova 8Bs are the two mid ranges. That really seems to bring a lot of sizzle to guitars, vocals more forward, and I can hear dialog that gets buried in other speakers. And the Polk with just a 10" driver somehow is just amazing how good the bass is.

So, I was thinking that a 12" driver would give me even more engulfment.

Everything I have bought since, I judge by that sense of detail and low end the Nova 8Bs brought to music, dialog and special effects. Is it better or a step backwards? I have bought more expensive speakers that sound smoother but still missing some of the detail. But the more I listen to the Polks the better they sound.

So I guess I need to step back and enjoy these Polks I got for $75 last week, and not get caught up in the size of the driver. Just appreciate what I've got.

Thanks again.

tgw323
03-23-2008, 09:06 PM
I went to college in 1971-72. A guy across the hall had RS speakers. As I recall ,they had electrostatic tweeters. Pretty sure they plugged into the wall. They had great highs,at least until they blew. Anyone else recall such a thing?

Celt
03-23-2008, 09:35 PM
I went to college in 1971-72. A guy across the hall had RS speakers. As I recall ,they had electrostatic tweeters. Pretty sure they plugged into the wall. They had great highs,at least until they blew. Anyone else recall such a thing?

Yes. The Electrostats stayed in their line for a very long time. There are a few old threads about them here. I believe all had four electrostatic panels and one 8" or possibly 10" alnico bass driver.

oldgringo
03-23-2008, 11:03 PM
I have Minimus Seven's, from new; and T-100's.

And, to stimulate your great conversation . . .

pmsummer
03-24-2008, 08:57 AM
I'm still looking for a clean (and CHEAP) pair of these. Optimus-1. Compared very favorably with the KLH 17. I enjoyed a pair for years, but I left them behind while moving a long, long time ago.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=84114&d=1206330751

gkimeng
03-24-2008, 09:45 AM
In reading through the speaker forum, Ive been a bit surprised that many knowledgeable members seem to hold Radio Shack/Realistic speakers in high regard. Optimus, Mach One, etc I vividly remember these models from the 80s, but never gave them much thought because RS had/has a reputation for rather low-end merchandise. What can you tell me about RS/Realistic speakers of this vintage?

I worked P/T at the local RS through most of my college years, and for a few years after graduation, and had the chance to open up quite a few of the speakers doing in-store warranty service. RS speakers were manufactured using many of the same parts used in name brand speakers, but because they were designed to lower price points, RS' speaker lines did not have any "no compromise" models. So the top of the line models of the early 70's peaked at performance levels comparable to the mid ranges of name brands such as AR and JBL (the two brands that RS speakers' sound was most commonly patterned after during that period). If you were shopping upper-range AR models like the 3a, 5 or 2ax, no RS model could compete with their bass, smoothness, dispersion or power handling, but you would have had no trouble at all finding a RS model that was comparable to the 4, 6, 7 or 8.

In the late 70's, the sound balance was changed to be more like what was being sold by the most successful name brands, and overall build quality started to suffer as RS was forced to pull prices down even more to compete with the name brands after the "fair trade" laws that enabled manufacturers to dictate retail prices were repealed and discounting became common. But this descent mirrored similar compromises being made by name brands as well. So the "sweet spot" for vintage RS is the 50's to the mid 70's, the same as brands like AR and JBL.

saltwater
03-24-2008, 09:50 AM
I have Minimus Seven's, from new; and T-100's.

And, to stimulate your great conversation . . .


I think i need to move to toronto! your the onw finding the good uns! :thmbsp:

oldgringo
03-24-2008, 12:53 PM
I think i need to move to toronto! your the onw finding the good uns! :thmbsp:

Thank you! [It snowed again last night, tho' :)] :thmbsp:

Fletch
05-17-2008, 09:52 AM
Any info on Optimus 2's? Might be able to pick up a pair cheap. I posted another thread but then found this one. Some info in the thread but no pics or size? These any good?

stangbat
05-17-2008, 02:24 PM
Remember this book? This got me into speaker-building long ago.

Best $6.95(Cdn) I ever spent.
I've got that book as well as the previous "red book" version:

http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/9746/weemsmediumwt1.jpg

Got me into speaker building too. I ended up building these, which should be gone today. I'm giving them away. Nobody wanted to buy them or even take them off my hands at a garage sale last weekend. I'll miss them, but they are just too damn big to keep around anymore.

http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/2137/dsc5020mediumwf3.jpg

Elfasto
05-17-2008, 02:34 PM
http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/2137/dsc5020mediumwf3.jpg


AUGH......and I have to be 3000km away. I would have grabbed those. I have the tweeters and those mids here. Good parts!

Nice layout.

Fletch
05-17-2008, 03:10 PM
Those are some sweet speakers!! Too bad that no one with good taste came to your garage sale. Flea markets are good places to sell electronics. I;ve noticed the earlier I get there, the better items I see. Tells me one thing, electronics sell well there. I'm contemplating of having a yard sale or go to the flea market.

stangbat
05-17-2008, 04:49 PM
A college student just picked them up and is excited about bringing them back to campus for school next year. They spent some time cranking out tunes at parties in the past, and now they are going back in service. :music: Radio Shack to the rescue.

marc mc
05-18-2008, 12:09 PM
Wow Radioshack speakers, who would think they could be so good:music:

I picked these Optimus 7's up at a junk store because I liked the cabs and thought they would make a nice home for my Wharfedale Super 12's. The only problem was I hooked them up. They are in perfect working condition.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h214/marcstoolshed/op72.jpg

Yes thats a 12 " woofer.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h214/marcstoolshed/op71.jpg


The simple truth is they are easily now the best speakers that I own. Forget the audiophile rule book and the bias that I had right up to second I heard these. These things are absolutley amazing in every respect.

As fate would have it I was at a garage sale yesterday and found the Nova 7b's. Sorry to break the bad news but they are excellent as well.

Last summer the Sansui 9090 shook my foundations about amps and this summer RS has done the same with speakers. Sorry boys but IMO we have been duped in audio land since those days.

marc mc

BruceRPA
05-18-2008, 02:00 PM
Those Optimus 7 speakers are excellent marc mc! Nice looking and well made cabinets too! And yes, Radio Shack did have some exceptional speakers over the years, some better than others, but most were very, very good in their price range. Yours are among the best. I bet they will sound like new again if you replace those 35 year old crossover caps.

Congratulations - and enjoy! :music:

Here is the catalog page from 1973. (And they are still playing and sounding good too. Interesting, isn't it?)

Sir.Byrd
05-18-2008, 02:04 PM
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h175/TigerSword/IMG_0498.jpghttp://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h175/TigerSword/IMG_0435.jpg

Minimus 7, 7W, and Solo-1

Blast
05-18-2008, 04:10 PM
Say what you want about Radio Shack, but their speakers were good values. You got a lot of speaker for the money, and a lot better than the typical mass market stuff. At one time it was said that Radio Shack sold more speakers than anyone else. I can believe it.

Yes, some were cheap. But most all were well very well made and well designed for their price point. Yes, it did look to me as if they put some actual effort into the design of each speaker. If you had $100 to spend on speakers, I doubt you could do better than spend that $100 at the Shack.

Were there better speakers around? You bet! But you'd certainly pay more.

I still have respect for their speakers.

My thoughts exactly!

darren
05-18-2008, 06:09 PM
I had a PR of optimus 10 2 way 8"woofer 10"PR and tweeter Had wood cab
and sounded good I did like them

Darren

Smorgy
05-19-2008, 09:22 PM
I really like my Realistic Optimus T-200's, and yes - both of the 10" woofers are active! They sound great with my STA 120B or my STA 2100D :music:

//Smorgy

BruceRPA
05-19-2008, 09:32 PM
I really like my Realistic Optimus T-200's, and yes - both of the 10" woofers are active! They sound great with my STA 120B or my STA 2100D :music:

//Smorgy Amen to that! I still have the T200s that I bought new way back when. I replaced the foam surrounds a year or so ago. Yours are probably close to deteriorating so keep an eye on them. They are my favorite Radio Shack speakers. I also played them with my now departed STA-2100 but I do have a STA-120B, another one of my all time favorite Realistic receivers. Search around and for T-200, STA-2100 and STA-120B and you will find lots of information on them here.

You have excellent taste in Realistic gear! :D

Edit: My STA-2100 was not the "D" version, but you still have great taste!

Smorgy
05-19-2008, 09:42 PM
I did replace the woofers when I got them about 4 years ago. Radio Shack was still selling speakers then, so I got 4 new 10" woofers. But they are 8 ohms and the original woofers were 16 ohms. (16 + 16 = 8, you gotta love that!). So, I had to wire them in parallel instead of series.

I still have the originals, though, and intend (one of these days) to re-foam them and re-install them.

My first real pieces of gear were a STA 65C and Realistic (Miracord) 40 turntable paired up with a pair of Utah 12" 3-ways. It was great for my first purchase back in the day.

When I went searching a few years ago for a STA 65C, I ended up getting the STA 120B and love it. Radio Shack Rocks!

//Smorgy

Old John
05-20-2008, 02:23 PM
I know this is really dumb - probably, but in my work area I have a pair of New Large Advents with a Nova 7B stacked on each. At first, the 7Bs were put there just for temporary storage, but when I tried hooking them up I really enjoyed the sound of the combination. The 4 speakers are driven by a Luxman R117.
Old John

goanlisten
05-20-2008, 03:06 PM
I loved my Nova 7B's way back in 1977 - clean, clear and crisp. The sound was a little brighter than my Fisher XP-7s. The real charm was stacking the two.

Unfortunately they were too heavy for the move or else I'd still be using them......

rushfan
05-20-2008, 03:22 PM
I have restored many speakers in the Realistic/ Optimus line and found most to be a pleasure to work on. The Walnut veneer was suitably thick, the driver compliments good and the sound value @ cost point usually very good.

Have you restored a pair of Optimus-5B speakers? If so, what did you do? I would like to recap the pair that I just acquired. They are in very good condition. I don't think that the grille was pulled away even once for a peek underneath until I got them!

You can PM me your answer if you like, to keep this thread on track.

Argyle
05-20-2008, 03:47 PM
Got that one too, and the previous version, which is loving referred to as the little red book. The older one was far better technically.

Can you tell me the actual title and/or the RS number on it? i'd really like to find a copy of that. Feel free to PM if that's easier. Thanks!

I've got that book as well as the previous "red book" version:

http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/9746/weemsmediumwt1.jpg

Got me into speaker building too.

This i found and will probably order it as well - thanks for posting the photo!

marc mc
05-31-2008, 12:05 PM
I picked up an STA 2290D Reciever but I can't find much info. Any owners or info would be welcome.

marc mc

BruceRPA
05-31-2008, 04:54 PM
I picked up an STA 2290D Reciever but I can't find much info. Any owners or info would be welcome.

marc mc

I am not familiar with the "D" version but there is quite a bit of information on the STA-2290 throughout AK. Search "STA-2290" and, among several others, you will find this thread with the RS catalog pages for it: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=164244&highlight=STA-2290 . Also, this forum and thread is not the ideal place to seek information on a receiver. After searching you might want to post a request for info in the Vintage Solid State forum. Great receiver by the way!

tylerdurden
06-01-2008, 12:50 PM
About a month ago I found a pair of Minimus 7w's at the good will for $3 each and fell in love with them. I to remember back in the day everyone talked crap about RS. The truth is they where always great Value speakers, even better then that. I cant seem to get away from these little guys. I keep finding them cheap so now I have 4 pairs. I have done the mods on the xovers and A/B'ed them and the MOD really makes a difference.
Now I am looking to get a set of the LX-5's.

Oh yeah I also have a set of the PRO 44's in the small metal cabs. I found a couple of really old RS speakers in a real nice wood cabinet. They didnt have a model # on them. They are 9" tall and 6" wide. they only had one 4" paper cone driver in them and both where torn. I think I am going to put the drivers and Xovers from the 44's in these cabinets.

jimfet
06-01-2008, 01:55 PM
Plus I remember back in the day, when I used to run a Shack. If you were willing to wait, everything in the store went on sale for half price at least one month out of the year. It may still be that way. It was all divided up into 12 sale sections. Some of all categories.

marc mc
06-02-2008, 09:47 AM
I am not familiar with the "D" version but there is quite a bit of information on the STA-2290 throughout AK. Search "STA-2290" and, among several others, you will find this thread with the RS catalog pages for it: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=164244&highlight=STA-2290 . Also, this forum and thread is not the ideal place to seek information on a receiver. After searching you might want to post a request for info in the Vintage Solid State forum. Great receiver by the way!

Thanks, the guy was telling me the model over the phone and he must have thought it was a "D". It is a 2290. I bought it and it works great. He also had a Nova 7b so now I have spare drivers for mine.

marc mc

Volvo242GT
06-02-2008, 10:03 PM
Still have the Minimus-7's that I bought new in September '86... Silver version, to match an old Harman/Kardon SC7 Nocturne music system that I was using at the time. Did have to replace the woofer in one of them, but the other is 100% original. Not using them @ the moment, but have them on hand for when my old Sony STR-6120 is fixed and put back into service. Funnily enough, with that Sony receiver, they will actually go down to 50Hz or so. Just have to flip on the bass boost switch on the back of the receiver. With the switched turned off, they only do about 90-110Hz.

-J

MaxSeven
06-02-2008, 10:13 PM
Those Optimus 7 speakers are excellent marc mc! Nice looking and well made cabinets too! And yes, Radio Shack did have some exceptional speakers over the years, some better than others, but most were very, very good in their price range. Yours are among the best. I bet they will sound like new again if you replace those 35 year old crossover caps.

Congratulations - and enjoy! :music:

Here is the catalog page from 1973. (And they are still playing and sounding good too. Interesting, isn't it?)

$198.50 in 1973 = $973.70 in 2008

Those are some nice looking cabinets!

marc mc
06-10-2008, 09:57 AM
I have had some time between projects and this allowed me to work on the Optimus 7 Cabs. They are not done but they are getting there.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h214/marcstoolshed/op7.jpg

You can't beat real wood. The early 70's really was the Golden Age of audio both in sound and construction. We have all been duped.

marc mc

Aldo
06-10-2008, 12:58 PM
Awesome...they look fantastic. That is the one model that has eluded me, i've had many Realistic classics but never the Optimus-7. Maybe someday...

tylerdurden
06-10-2008, 04:12 PM
WOW those look great. I couldnt agree more with you. Real wood will never be out done.

DaWoofer
06-10-2008, 05:22 PM
Although the 1301 15" R/S speaker is no longer available in the USA and still available in Canada if you can find them they are considered by many to be the "sleeper" of R/S speakers. I've got a set in my Sentry III's and am in no hurry to get the original EV's refoamed. The sound amazing. Anyone in Canada that needs a 15" should pick these up before they are out of stock there too. You will not be disappointed!

BruceRPA
06-10-2008, 06:53 PM
Those Optimus 7s look great! Nicely done! Please be sure to post some more pictures and let us know what you think if them when you are finished. I really like those speakers. I would love to hear a pair again.

I just dug these Optimus Pro LV10 speakers out for a friend that I am putting a system together for. I haven't listened to them for more than a few minutes when I first got them a year or so ago. Now I have been A-B, or A-B-C-D, comparing them with some other speakers and I am very pleasantly surprised. Those ribbon tweeters do sound very good, especially on jazz and acoustic guitar. The LV10s sound like crap on (c)rap "music", but then again... oh never mind, it really doesn't matter anyway! :D

Also, is that yellow "4.7K" cap a 4.7MFD @ 250 VDC cap and is it the kind that is likely to have changed value over time and will need to be replaced? I think it is a mylar cap of some sort and I seem to recall that they last a very long time but I am not sure. I was going to replace it but may not if there is no reason to do so.

jstang
06-10-2008, 07:54 PM
In case you are like me and can not get enough of the Realistic Super tweeter....

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?Partnumber=270-100&FTR=270-100&CFID=2520530&CFTOKEN=10866065

Teradacto58
03-12-2009, 10:16 AM
Analog Digit.....I have never seen the foam go bad, on a Mach 1. It not the average foam...It seems more resiliant! We have had many vintage Realistics...and parted many out. Some with the same foam..all fine, other than the odd cat claw!! At the moment we have 4x Mach 1's....The foam is excellent!! ...Jim

Teradacto58
03-12-2009, 11:07 AM
I found a pair of Bose 601's at a swap meet a few years ago. The top woofer foam suspenions, were rotted out! I had a pair of Realistic 8" woofers ...that I replaced them with. I noticed the rear magnets were an exact match as the Bose...gold anodized, exact size magnet, + the dimple in the middle!! The only thing lacking was the "Bose" name stamped in the back! I was wondering... if they were made by the the same manufacturer?? Realistic had a better poly foam suspenion! I Finally sold them off to a co-worker...I'm not a Bose lover.....The 301's were their only ones...I didn't mind!

Tecexec
08-23-2009, 10:34 PM
I was the designer of most US made systems from 1977 to 1990. There were two major manufactures: Sunwood (from Asia) and Tandy Speakers. While Sunwood did have better cabinets (finish-wise) and attention to details, the US made speakers from Tandy Speakers were always superior in sound and acoustical replication. It's difficult separate the wheat from the shaft. The T-100 was design by me but built by Sunwood. Really outstanding speakers were the Optimus 10, Optimus-23, T-70 and T-300. I tried to change the philosophy of the closed box designs to the higher efficiency and greater bandwidth of tuned system (second order and greater). Just for the record.

terra1
08-24-2009, 01:43 AM
I was the designer of most US made systems from 1977 to 1990. There were two major manufactures: Sunwood (from Asia) and Tandy Speakers. While Sunwood did have better cabinets (finish-wise) and attention to details, the US made speakers from Tandy Speakers were always superior in sound and acoustical replication. It's difficult separate the wheat from the shaft. The T-100 was design by me but built by Sunwood. Really outstanding speakers were the Optimus 10, Optimus-23, T-70 and T-300. I tried to change the philosophy of the closed box designs to the higher efficiency and greater bandwidth of tuned system (second order and greater). Just for the record.

Welcome.

I gave away a pair of Nova 8B speakers which I still have fond memories of. Looking forward to more contributions by you!

pmsummer
08-24-2009, 05:26 AM
I was the designer of most US made systems from 1977 to 1990. There were two major manufactures: Sunwood (from Asia) and Tandy Speakers. While Sunwood did have better cabinets (finish-wise) and attention to details, the US made speakers from Tandy Speakers were always superior in sound and acoustical replication. It's difficult separate the wheat from the shaft. The T-100 was design by me but built by Sunwood. Really outstanding speakers were the Optimus 10, Optimus-23, T-70 and T-300. I tried to change the philosophy of the closed box designs to the higher efficiency and greater bandwidth of tuned system (second order and greater). Just for the record.

Welcome to AK, and thanks for piping in! I've long thought Realistic speakers were by and large under appreciated. Where were the US made speakers manufactured?

Tecexec
08-24-2009, 10:06 AM
P.M.,

They were produced mostly in Fort Worth, TX. Tandy Electronics had two operations: Tandy Speakers and later Tandy Cabinets. Many years (after 1990) later after Tandy bought O'Sullivan Industries; some were built in the O'Sullivan operations in Virginia and Missouri.

jocko_nc
08-24-2009, 11:08 AM
I was the designer of most US made systems from 1977 to 1990. There were two major manufactures: Sunwood (from Asia) and Tandy Speakers. While Sunwood did have better cabinets (finish-wise) and attention to details, the US made speakers from Tandy Speakers were always superior in sound and acoustical replication. It's difficult separate the wheat from the shaft. The T-100 was design by me but built by Sunwood. Really outstanding speakers were the Optimus 10, Optimus-23, T-70 and T-300. I tried to change the philosophy of the closed box designs to the higher efficiency and greater bandwidth of tuned system (second order and greater). Just for the record.

T-300 were my first serious speakers. Mowed many lawns and raked tons of leaves to get them. RS would have 50% off sales when phasing out a product, I think they were $299.00 for the pair. Why were the crossover coils so darn wimpy? Melted down a few of those. Were the tweeters Peerless? Those were good speakers. RS efforts seemed to go downhill after that.

M Jarve
08-24-2009, 12:25 PM
TRS also used and sold some drivers that almost anyone would be happy to have in their systems. Their horn and some of their dome tweeters were indeed by Foster/Fostex; who also provided some OE drivers for the older Realistic lines like the Solo series.

The Linaeum tweeters were made by Toshiba. The diaphragms were thicker than genuine Linaeums, somewhat negating the HF extension, but they were also more robust.

Peerless even made its way into the Pro LX8, by way of the woofer.

Many of their raw-frame drivers were Pioneer, and even the no-name "Manufactured in Taiwan for RadioShack" were decent enough.

Tecexec
08-24-2009, 05:51 PM
Jocko NC,

The T-300 tweeter was originally a Peerless soft dome but later a Tonegen knock-off to save money (make Tandy more profit). The midrange was originally a CTS mid, which Tandy speakers tried to knock off with poor yields. The woofer and drone were made by Tandy Speakers. They were good driver except they had foam surrounds.

I didn't remember problems with the crossovers BUT I'll take you word for it. From a design point, I didn't like exotic crossovers. I read a review on my T-100 that it only had a 4.7 microfarad cap and a 50 ohm variable resistor. Well duh, that's how I designed it. The T-100 had two 16 ohm custom made drivers. We use an extra long former and almost twice the windings length of an 8 ohm. What that gives you is extra inductance, which when designed properly levels the response and crossover frequency. Bottom line, we didn't need a large inductor and possible shunt capacitor for a good crossover. We had no insertion loss and much greater efficiency (both power and acoustically).

Back to the T-300: If you had trouble, it had to be in the mid/tweeter crossover. It's been a long time but I really thought we heatsinked some of the components because of heating issues(?). I know we heat-sinked the L-Pads.

I was Senior Director by that time and I was mainly involved in product definition and the design architecture. I know that I was adamant about a using a fourth order passive radiator design. The T-200 used two 10" active drivers, which unless you use them in a isobaric arrangement (which Sunwood didn't), drives to VAS requirement to double the cabinet size. Sunwood at that time had little to No skills in acoustics.

Anyway, I left in 1990 over way two many philosophical issues. I had a magical period that think that I upgraded the audio products in spite of the obstacles that I had to hurdle.

OLDisGOLD
08-24-2009, 07:12 PM
Those Optimus 7 speakers are excellent marc mc! Nice looking and well made cabinets too! And yes, Radio Shack did have some exceptional speakers over the years, some better than others, but most were very, very good in their price range. Yours are among the best. I bet they will sound like new again if you replace those 35 year old crossover caps.

Congratulations - and enjoy! :music:

Here is the catalog page from 1973. (And they are still playing and sounding good too. Interesting, isn't it?)

I had a pair of the NOVA 9's back in the 70's. Not the worst, but certainly not the best, Realistic speaker made. I never see any advertised for sale anywhere. Was it because few were sold, or they got pitched or parted out, or gutted & re-stuffed? They had nice cabs

It's a MYSTERY !!!

Maron
08-25-2009, 02:16 AM
terra1 , are these the Nova 8's you are talking about ?

Canuck57
08-26-2009, 07:11 AM
I've been visiting a local thrift shop periodically and have scored 2 pairs of Minimus 7s (Made in Japan) and a pair of Nova 6s (made in Japan). Each pair was under $10 CDN! I'm in the process of refinishing the Novas. They're nice sounding little speakers.

I picked up a pair of Mach 1s, the original version which I've read are better than the later versions & have the rubber surrounds. I love them! You can see the Mach 1s tucked in among other speakers in the picture attached.

Link to past Radio Shack Catalogs (yes I realize this has been posted elsewhere, however, it's relevant to this thread).

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html

ChadHahn
08-26-2009, 12:40 PM
I had a pair of Optimus Pro LX-5s that I picked up at a thrift store for $25. I had wanted a pair since they first came out but never got one. I compared them against my JBL 2500s and liked the sound of the JBLs better. I ended up putting them on eBay but the auction ended on Easter Sunday so I didn't get much money for them.

I have had plenty of RS stuff over the years and have a pair of Pro-7s on the back porch right now hooked up to a Yamaha R-5 receiver.

Chad

cityslicker
08-31-2009, 08:14 PM
Back in the late 80's I had a pair of Mach 1's and mach 2's hooked up to my Denon PMA 920. 115wpc. It sounded pretty dam good. I thought the Mach 2's sounded better. I had a Vector Research cd player hooked up to it. that was the first cd player I bought, back in 1983.

jocko_nc
08-31-2009, 09:28 PM
Jocko NC,

The T-300 tweeter was originally a Peerless soft dome but later a Tonegen knock-off to save money (make Tandy more profit). The midrange was originally a CTS mid, which Tandy speakers tried to knock off with poor yields. The woofer and drone were made by Tandy Speakers. They were good driver except they had foam surrounds.

I didn't remember problems with the crossovers BUT I'll take you word for it. From a design point, I didn't like exotic crossovers. I read a review on my T-100 that it only had a 4.7 microfarad cap and a 50 ohm variable resistor. Well duh, that's how I designed it. The T-100 had two 16 ohm custom made drivers. We use an extra long former and almost twice the windings length of an 8 ohm. What that gives you is extra inductance, which when designed properly levels the response and crossover frequency. Bottom line, we didn't need a large inductor and possible shunt capacitor for a good crossover. We had no insertion loss and much greater efficiency (both power and acoustically).

Back to the T-300: If you had trouble, it had to be in the mid/tweeter crossover. It's been a long time but I really thought we heatsinked some of the components because of heating issues(?). I know we heat-sinked the L-Pads.

I was Senior Director by that time and I was mainly involved in product definition and the design architecture. I know that I was adamant about a using a fourth order passive radiator design. The T-200 used two 10" active drivers, which unless you use them in a isobaric arrangement (which Sunwood didn't), drives to VAS requirement to double the cabinet size. Sunwood at that time had little to No skills in acoustics.

Anyway, I left in 1990 over way two many philosophical issues. I had a magical period that think that I upgraded the audio products in spite of the obstacles that I had to hurdle.

That is a neat story to hear. I lugged those towers to school and they served me well enough. I had to learn to replace crossover coils, they would simply melt with enough abuse. My roomies got loaded once and and killed both mids, I took them home with me and had a tech re-cone them. Eventually I remade them with a superheavy 2-way crossover and 1 1/8 horns. They played louder that way. I probably still have a foam-rotted woofer somewhere. I got my money out of those. Eventually replaced them with Vandy 2Ce's, it was no competition.

geiman
10-01-2009, 09:32 AM
I'm still looking for a clean (and CHEAP) pair of these. Optimus-1. Compared very favorably with the KLH 17. I enjoyed a pair for years, but I left them behind while moving a long, long time ago.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=84114&d=1206330751

I need a woofer for Oppy ones just like those!

No recone kits available. Help! Someone?

Out Of Time
10-02-2009, 04:27 AM
Mach II's, my friend. $50 purchase price, $25 worth of refoaming. They will shake your booty. Don't forget that the Shack sourced their drivers from many name brand audio companies. One look at the components will dispell the "cheap" monicker forevah.

Quoted for truth.

I've never been disappointed in them on the basis of performance vs cost and I've owned two pair in the last 25 years. Are they uncolored? No. 'Accurate' No. But I wasn't looking for monitors. I was looking for a clean-sounding, though colored, speaker, which could make rock sound like rock. Not all 'Boom and Sizzle' mind ya... but just a warm sound from a speak which could take the punishment. I also run a pair of of the RS Fostex bullet horn supertweeters on top ( A-models ) bought new in '84.

HomeBody
11-07-2009, 11:54 AM
Excellent Read from all Posters....Thanks Kindly for your inputs!

cornwallguy
11-07-2009, 05:18 PM
It made me smile when i read this topic
In fact its the only house brand on anything that i ve really liked !
I work in Pro sound, i ve seen some darn good stuff, some so-so,and some plain ole dogs !
I still own my minimus 7 pair, currently running on my daughters little sharp stereo it actually makes it sound reasonalble.
Also Dad gave to me a original set of Minimus 2 that i have connected to the B switch on our electrohome console .
Dad picked these speakers hands down, to run on a new Sony reciever, dual TT,and Sony reel to reel, yet he had to have the minimus speakers
He says it was because they were the little brother to the Optimus 5,Mom liked them because the real wood finish matched the dining room, Yay Mom, allways the deciding vote in the house.
they had other gems, the sta 225 was easilly one of the best recievers they offered ,and the TM -1000 tuner was a good contender for seperates.
there are others of course but these have stood the test of time

PWK said it best, theres no substitute for good engineering
hmm something in that i guess LOL

enjoy
Rob

Aldo
11-07-2009, 05:28 PM
I remember the Minimus-2 very well, they sure surprised a lot of people who took the time to listen to them.....without prejudice.

krowmagnum
11-07-2009, 05:49 PM
I use a Realistic STA-64 receiver with Minimus 7's in my office hooked up to my Mac and I like it. I only paid $3.50 for the entire set-up at yard sales but I would have paid much more and still been happy with it.

As long as most people think Realistic is junk the prices will stay down... and I'll keep buying more.

Wooferman93
11-07-2009, 06:13 PM
I have a pair of Minimus 2's in my den that I think are great little guys hooked up to this cheapy Aiwa reciever.

cornwallguy
11-07-2009, 06:17 PM
[QUOTE=terra1;1734847]I had the Nova 8B 12" woofer 2 midranges and another acting as a tweeter. The Optimus 5 has the same configuration but I never had the pleasure of listening to them, but they are highly regarded.

the main difference between the nova 8b & the optimus 5 besides furniture appointments, was the crossover
the Nova 8 crossed over lower from woofer to mid speakers, and the Optimus 5 had a higher crossover point, making it a little dryer .
The rock crowd seemed to go for the Optimus while the easy listening and classical crowd seem to flock to the Nova
Other than that they are identical .

Rob

gitfiddle42
11-07-2009, 06:34 PM
I run orig. Mach 1s and nova 7bs in my main system I have swapped them out many times but they always come back i just like the way they sound better than any of the others I try. I should add Im stricky a classic rock and metal listener.

burnsyaz
11-07-2009, 07:19 PM
What about the minimus-1? Anyone ever own a set? I haven't been able to find out much about the 1's although I have read that the audio review magazines of the day seemed to favor them. I picked them up last week along with the Ohm's and the Realistic 20 watt amp at my local Goodwill 1/2 off sale. They need a little TLC but they work and sound pretty damn good. A re-cap and re-fin and I think they will be keepers.

Bob Clobber
11-07-2009, 07:26 PM
Optimus 5b's are rocking in my house right now. Hard to decide if I like them better than my Mission 770s's, or my Paradigm Titans.

Live_Wire
11-07-2009, 08:34 PM
I'm listening to my Mach 1's right now. I also have a set of Minimus 7's on this receiver. Even for such a tiny speaker, they really put out a full and pleasing sound. You can hear the bass, just can't feel it. It's nice to have a small speaker running late at night :)

Wish they still made these things :( (The Mach's that is, you can still buy these Minimus 7s)

AAA3330
11-08-2009, 04:51 AM
I'm glad that this old thread has been revived a time or two, as somehow I missed it. I first read it last evening. I figured that I may as well post pics of my speakers as well.

Don't know how many of you have heard of the Optimus STS-1500 models with 15" woofers in the first photo, but here they are. They were first manufactured in 1996 and I believe were the last of the "big boy" speakers that Radio Shack produced. I've always been very pleased with these and have been my main speakers since purchased. Kind of wonder how these would compare next to the older Mach series, but have never heard the latter. I've seen these come up for sale on ebay a few times, so there must be a few out there, but nowhere near the number of Mach series that were sold. Even when I purchased them, seemed as if everyone was going toward the smaller tower speakers. Don't know when they stopped making them exactly, but am sure that this is why RS didn't offer any large speakers of this type afterwards.

In the second photo are two pairs of smaller speakers. The larger ones are Realistic Optimus-650's, which I bought in the late 80's. Please note that the woofers in these are not original, but still wanted to post the photo so you could see the layout. These used 10" woofers and are a very nice sounding speaker, although nowhere near the bass response of the 15" woofer models. The second smaller pair in the photo are some RCA bookshelfs. Cat no. 40-5014. These are from around the year 2000. They are very nice sounding for a bookshelf. They have a bass port located on the back of them.

HomeBody
11-08-2009, 06:03 AM
http://www.frontiernet.net/~dreagh/Homer/Homer_Shout.pngThanks AAA-

Bstable
11-08-2009, 06:29 AM
As someone else mentioned, I can't comment on their gear as much as their prices. Comparing watt for watt they were always more expensive than typical Pioneer, Kenwood, Technics, etc. Their product lines were MOTL or lower. They did have a few higher end products.

I loved their catalogs. If something was ON SALE it was comparable to other manufacturers offerings in price. I could not find many reviews on their gear either.

I owned some Minimus 7s, and they were a great low price compact speaker. They served in a Ground Round kitchen for 6 years.

pmsummer
11-08-2009, 07:03 AM
As someone else mentioned, I can't comment on their gear as much as their prices. Comparing watt for watt they were always more expensive than typical Pioneer, Kenwood, Technics, etc.

Can you provide examples of this? MSRP to MSRP, because that wasn't my experience.

Their product lines were MOTL or lower. They did have a few higher end products.

Same could be said for Pioneer, Kenwood, Technics, etc.

I loved their catalogs. If something was ON SALE it was comparable other manufacturers offerings in price.

Again, I'd say the reverse.

Could not find many reviews on their gear either.

Consumer Reports tested RS gear all the time, and liked it. Stereo and Hi-Fi didn't often test Realistic gear for the same reason they didn't test McIntosh... the manufacturer didn't play that game.

I owned some Minimus 7s, and they were a great low price compact speaker. They served in a Ground Round kitchen for 6 years.

The Minimus 7s were a great mini-speaker at a great price (low). My dealer's claims to the contrary, they were identical to the Audiosource LS-1s I bought for 3X as much as the Minimus 7s in 1982. The XO in the LS-1 was slightly different (but similar in design and quality), but other than that, they were clearly made by the same manufacturer.

markus
11-08-2009, 07:03 AM
What about the minimus-1? Anyone ever own a set? I haven't been able to find out much about the 1's although I have read that the audio review magazines of the day seemed to favor them. I picked them up last week along with the Ohm's and the Realistic 20 watt amp at my local Goodwill 1/2 off sale. They need a little TLC but they work and sound pretty damn good. A re-cap and re-fin and I think they will be keepers.

those Minimus 1's look suspiciously like the venerable Goodmas Maxim :yes:

Live_Wire
11-08-2009, 07:18 AM
I wonder if I should post the Mach 5000's I have here. I posted a little bit of info in another thread though. They don't seem to be too common a speaker. Even at that, I think they were only sold in Canada.

I have a pair of Realistic Mach 5000 speakers. They aren't branded Optimus. I have a feeling these speakers may have been a Canadian only speaker as they were made in Canada.

Realistic Mach 5000:

2 X Bullet Tweeters
1 X 5" Cone Midrange
1 X 15" Polypropylene Cone Woofer, Foam Surrounds

Cat Number: 40-8032

Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Power Handling: 100 Watt RMS/160 Watt Peak
Efficiency: 91dB 1Watt/1Meter

Digital Ready, Auto Reset Breaker

Rear ported bass reflex design. Removable face grill. No controls for any drivers.

Pictures:

Nameplate on the front:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/mach5k/th_mach5knameplate.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/mach5k/mach5knameplate.jpg)

Compared to my Mach 1 (40-4024A)
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/mach5k/th_mach1-5k.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/mach5k/mach1-5k.jpg)

bre's dad
11-08-2009, 08:42 AM
I've always had a soft spot for the old Rat Shack stuff and grab it where I can. Of course everyone knows the Mach series, Minimus 7's (I own both) but another that seems to go under the radar are the Optimus T-120's. A friend in high school bought a set new and I've always been highly impressed by them.

OLDisGOLD
11-08-2009, 12:46 PM
Can you provide examples of this? MSRP to MSRP, because that wasn't my experience.



Same could be said for Pioneer, Kenwood, Technics, etc.



Again, I'd say the reverse.



Consumer Reports tested RS gear all the time, and liked it. Stereo and Hi-Fi didn't often test Realistic gear for the same reason they didn't test McIntosh... the manufacturer didn't play that game.



The Minimus 7s were a great mini-speaker at a great price (low). My dealer's claims to the contrary, they were identical to the Audiosource LS-1s I bought for 3X as much as the Minimus 7s in 1982. The XO in the LS-1 was slightly different (but similar in design and quality), but other than that, they were clearly made by the same manufacturer.

I agree with P.M. ........................ dollar for dollar with comparable products RS beat everybody else hands down.

Bstable
11-09-2009, 08:00 AM
Can you provide examples of this? MSRP to MSRP, because that wasn't my experience.



Same could be said for Pioneer, Kenwood, Technics, etc.



Again, I'd say the reverse.



Consumer Reports tested RS gear all the time, and liked it. Stereo and Hi-Fi didn't often test Realistic gear for the same reason they didn't test McIntosh... the manufacturer didn't play that game.



The Minimus 7s were a great mini-speaker at a great price (low). My dealer's claims to the contrary, they were identical to the Audiosource LS-1s I bought for 3X as much as the Minimus 7s in 1982. The XO in the LS-1 was slightly different (but similar in design and quality), but other than that, they were clearly made by the same manufacturer.

I used to look at the Circuit City, Audio Buys, Georges (appliance store) and Reliable Home Appliances ads in the Sunday Paper every week. These were SALE ads as I never bought gear that wasn't on sale.

In 1979 you could get a Pioneer SX-780 for $200 or less. I could give many examples, but for the money RS gear was more expensive (unless on sale)

Their gear seemed to be contracted out. There was a definite resemblance to other manufacturers gear. I followed prices very carefully. They probably did not move as much gear as Circuit City did in their heyday.

Being a military Dependant, I also got to shop at the PX. Rs definitely could not compete with them either.

Look through their catalogs, and compare watt for watt.

I am not saying their gear wasn't any good, but I trusted familiar brands that were almost always cheaper.

DaveHo
11-09-2009, 08:48 AM
I worked at the Shack during in the late 80's early 90's. I've gotta admit, with the exception of the Minimus 7's I thought most of the audio equipment was crap. Maybe I missed the Shack's audio heyday?

-Dave

BruceRPA
11-09-2009, 08:54 AM
I worked at the Shack during in the late 80's early 90's. I've gotta admit, with the exception of the Minimus 7's I thought most of the audio equipment was crap. Maybe I missed the Shack's audio heyday?

-DaveYour analysis is correct. "The good old days of Radio Shack" had expired by 1980. Not much has changed for the better since. :sigh:

Shackman55
11-09-2009, 09:00 AM
I have worked for Radio Shack for 16 years and there are good bad and ugly just like any brand. I think the draw for many is the memories, memories of those "wish" catalogs. I know in my house there was the Sears, The Monkey Wards, JC Penny's and RS catalogs. And from December 26th to December 24th we all poured over them and dreamed about what Santa might bring, or what we could spend our Birthday/Lawn mowing/Newspaper/allowance/whatever money on. Shiny glossy pages filled with dreams and hopes. And the promise that if you had just the stereo, toys, or whatever, that you would be popular and everyone would like you. Yes there were some truly unique offerings, but for me, it was that shiny dream that I could never quite save up enough to afford before it was discontinued and replaced with a new shinier version. I suspect that is also part of the draw of the Silver faced 70's units is the sheen. Just don't get that with the flat black stuff later on. Mmmmmm shiny!

stereofanboy
11-09-2009, 11:19 AM
Pmsummer, a couple of other guys skirted this explanation, but didn't say it straight out. Radio Shack probably did beat the other guys msrp to msrp. You didn't even have to pay full price if you were willing to wait. Sometime soon that item you had your eye on would be on sale with a hefty discount. If it wasn't the right part of the cycle, it was full price or wait. With the other brands, msrp didn't really matter, as your item was sure to be on sale somewhere nearby, or cheap by mail order all the time. There were some brands that didn't go in much for this pricing scheme like maybe Yamaha, but others were in it big time like Pioneer. Ten months out of the year, those RS items were full price, twelve months out of the year Pioneer was on sale.

Bstable
11-09-2009, 11:42 PM
Pmsummer, a couple of other guys skirted this explanation, but didn't say it straight out. Radio Shack probably did beat the other guys msrp to msrp. You didn't even have to pay full price if you were willing to wait. Sometime soon that item you had your eye on would be on sale with a hefty discount. If it wasn't the right part of the cycle, it was full price or wait. With the other brands, msrp didn't really matter, as your item was sure to be on sale somewhere nearby, or cheap by mail order all the time. There were some brands that didn't go in much for this pricing scheme like maybe Yamaha, but others were in it big time like Pioneer. Ten months out of the year, those RS items were full price, twelve months out of the year Pioneer was on sale.

That is exactly how I saw it. And how pissed were you, when the receiver you paid full price for, went on sale at $75 off the next month.

I drooled about Yamaha, but in Northern Virginia (1979), you could only get it at a few places (Audio Associates). It was never discounted. I paid $395 for a Yamaha CR-640 (and it broke 15 years ago) Wish I had invested it on a Pioneer SX-880/980

Dr FET
11-09-2009, 11:52 PM
Little know thing about Radioshack ;
A lot of thier drivers where mad eunder contract for them by ......YEs you already know Fostex !!!.
The Fe-103 4" full is a good example , and to my knowledge the longest run production speaker in history .
I bought my first pair back in 74 and they had been in production since 67 or 68 .
The minimus 7 is a great little speaker using good quality Japanese components .
If you find anything decent first thing is change out the crappy wire and use a high strand count 12 GA (yes I said 12 Gauge) Oxygen free copper . Then use puzzle coat to coat the cones (woofer and Mid) then use higher quality capacitors in the X-over, then liberally damp the cabinet itself and the magnet backs with Dynamat (used for damping car interiors)
If the speaker frames are stamped steel and not cast , then use some Dynamat on the frames as well.
And they will sound unbelievable for a small investment.
Cheers...Rich

gyrene
11-10-2009, 05:36 AM
DrFET would this go for my 4029's as well?
Someone in here said it earlier...this is a hobby...its supposed to be fun maybe challenging but with no real requirement of being rational.

Dr FET
11-10-2009, 08:42 PM
Hi gyrene;
I hostly believe that a sub division of Fostex possibly made the 4029's
And I think I've seen Fostex stamps on some those drivers , but can't be sure as I have no detail.
Another company that did a lot of 3rd party speaker build's in the day was Forgings acoustic's in Tiawan, being sucontacted by Japanese companies.
But the Japanese have some interesting history about who made what.
A lot of later 70's Japanese stereo and televisions had numerous components made often by competing companies . Ie SOny amps with Hitachi parts or Hitchi amps with JVC parts , or Sansui with Hitachi and mistubishi parts.
So with speakers its hard to know all of the second source suppliers in Japan during that time as many of them didn't label anything other than production numbers.
Cheers...Rich

DrFET would this go for my 4029's as well?
Someone in here said it earlier...this is a hobby...its supposed to be fun maybe challenging but with no real requirement of being rational.

AAA3330
11-11-2009, 04:35 AM
Found this link a few days ago. May be mostly newer speakers, but did see that docs for the Mach and Minimus series were listed.


http://support.radioshack.com/productinfo/ProductResults.asp?Name=Home_Speaker_Systems&ID=003008002

gyrene
11-11-2009, 05:42 AM
Nice find AAA thanks

geiman
11-11-2009, 07:28 AM
It looks like all the RS guys are watching this thread. Can anyone direct me to a source where I can find an Optimus 1 woofer, new(good luck!) or used?

Zeke
11-11-2009, 10:55 AM
A friend's father is using them, now, but I had a set of Optimus Mach Threes that combined the horn drivers of the Mach One with the ported woofer of the Mach Two.

I purchased them in college (early 1990's?) and used them for many, many years with great results, until I scored some Klispch Cornwalls for an unheard of price.

I threw power at them and they were efficient, indestructible, filled any space that I had (apartment, duplex, house, etc.) with quality sound and were worth every penny paid.

To me, that's high praise for any speaker. "Good stuff."

bre's dad
11-11-2009, 10:58 AM
It looks like all the RS guys are watching this thread. Can anyone direct me to a source where I can find an Optimus 1 woofer, new(good luck!) or used?

I'd check and see if parts express had something that would work. I couple of friends have found replacement drivers for older Radio Shack speakers there.

cornwallguy
11-11-2009, 06:41 PM
I have had some time between projects and this allowed me to work on the Optimus 7 Cabs. They are not done but they are getting there.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h214/marcstoolshed/op7.jpg

You can't beat real wood. The early 70's really was the Golden Age of audio both in sound and construction. We have all been duped.

marc mc

marc ,man thats a nice finish on those ! ,they had a few nice formal furniture speakers!
maybe i can get my minimus 2's to look that grand

BostonDave
11-11-2009, 08:05 PM
I have a pair of Nova 10's and they sound pretty good through some of my lower wpc receivers. I bought them and a pair of Nova 5's from an elderly couple who were selling off their old Realistic stereo. They has an early 80's digital receiver for sale as well and an old Realistic LAB woodgrain looking turntable. I passed on that stuff but kind of regretted since not scooping up the turntable. It was all completely mint - looked hardly used.

marc mc
11-11-2009, 08:43 PM
marc ,man thats a nice finish on those ! ,they had a few nice formal furniture speakers!
maybe i can get my minimus 2's to look that grand

The Optimus 7's are fantastic speakers. My wife used them for a long time in our livingroom and loved them. She now uses my McIntosh XRT 18's. I will never sell the optimus's so they now are end tables in our bedroom. I love them.

I have had lots of RS speakers and I can't stress enough just how good these speakers sound. The Mach's are the Cerwin Vega's and these are their Tannoy's.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h214/marcstoolshed/speakersss002.jpg

marc mc

yungin's-dad
11-11-2009, 09:12 PM
I'm still looking for a clean (and CHEAP) pair of these. Optimus-1. Compared very favorably with the KLH 17. I enjoyed a pair for years, but I left them behind while moving a long, long time ago.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=84114&d=1206330751

pms,

I have a pair of them, actually they're the 1b's (which IMO sound better). They happen to be at a friends house right now, he's checking them out because he was in dis belief how good they sound. They are in solid shape, but could use a refinish. I will be moving to Texas in a couple of weeks, and I would be glad to bring them with me for you. I too could not believe how good they sounded. I was just going to leave them with my friend, but I would be happy to give them to you. I also have a pair of Optimus 900's that I don't know what I'm going to do with, and they are re foamed.

As you can tell..... I'm a big fan of vintage shack speakers.

Ron

Bob Clobber
11-11-2009, 09:36 PM
Thanks to Balifly, I'm listening to a pair of rescued and refoamed Optimus 900's right now. Booker T & the M.G's "Melting Pot". Bass is well behaved, good imaging and lots of detail in the upper registers. These sold for $150 back in 1987. They didn't have the same wow factor as the 5B's when I got them, but I'll be listening to these for a while trying to decide if they replace the KLH's in the bedroom system.
I also tried out some MC-1000's and Minimum 26's this week. The MC-1000's were crap, and the Minimus 26's were not as good as I remember Minimus 7's to be.

spideyjack
11-13-2009, 06:52 AM
http://i904.photobucket.com/albums/ac244/spideyjack_photos/minimus.jpg
I just hooked up this pair of silver Minimus 7's this morning, thanks to Andyman for fixing me up with a new tweeter for one. I have another pair in Walnut, both have modded crossovers and sound wonderful. You can see these are truly a bookshelf speaker as they are on a bookshelf.

This thread has inspired me to check out some bigger Realistic speakers.

HomeBody
11-13-2009, 07:06 AM
You'll see on several forums that the 70s-80s Radio Shack stuff is quietly coming into demand and a different tune is being played on the opinions of the older Shacks.
Minimus 7 is very tough to beat...and for what they are, I don't believe one can beat'em....

stereofanboy
11-13-2009, 08:50 AM
http://i904.photobucket.com/albums/ac244/spideyjack_photos/minimus.jpg
I just hooked up this pair of silver Minimus 7's this morning, thanks to Andyman for fixing me up with a new tweeter for one. I have another pair in Walnut, both have modded crossovers and sound wonderful. You can see these are truly a bookshelf speaker as they are on a bookshelf.

This thread has inspired me to check out some bigger Realistic speakers.

What are the details of these mods? I have a few pairs and am willing to sacrifice at least one pair to the gods of alteration.

It seems that Radio Shack copied at least the appearance of several popular speakers in the '70s. I've had a lot Radio Shack speakers, so I know that even if they just copied someone else's looks they put their own effort into the sound to good result. The Optimus 1B is nice and of course don't overlook the Mach One and Two.

Off topic, good taste in books. I've read six or seven of those Preston/Childs books and really enjoyed them all.

spideyjack
11-13-2009, 08:59 AM
What are the details of these mods? I have a few pairs and am willing to sacrifice at least one pair to the gods of alteration.

It seems that Radio Shack copied at least the appearance of several popular speakers in the '70s. I've had a lot Radio Shack speakers, so I know that even if they just copied someone else's looks they put their own effort into the sound to good result. The Optimus 1B is nice and of course don't overlook the Mach One and Two.

Off topic, good taste in books. I've read six or seven of those Preston/Childs books and really enjoyed them all.

I used the mod that is sold on ebay, there is a really long thread here by Zilch (I think,that's right) about crossover points that is way beyond my comprehension. For my limited skills the ebay one is good casue it is just snip, snip, solder,solder screw and done.

as for the books, mrs. spideyjack is the one with good taste, the Mad paperback is mine. :yes:

bre's dad
11-13-2009, 08:53 PM
I used the mod that is sold on ebay, there is a really long thread here by Zilch (I think,that's right) about crossover points that is way beyond my comprehension. For my limited skills the ebay one is good casue it is just snip, snip, solder,solder screw and done.

as for the books, mrs. spideyjack is the one with good taste, the Mad paperback is mine. :yes:

You must have bought the one I was watching... :D

Teradacto58
11-14-2009, 04:27 AM
Markus....Love the Karlson's!! What are you running in them??

markus
11-14-2009, 07:19 AM
Markus....Love the Karlson's!! What are you running in them??

Altec 418's :D

they don't go far below 50 Hz, but they SLAM !

btw - I have a 'vintage realistic speaker' time capsule that I'll be sharing in this thread soon . . . gotta get some pictures :thmbsp:

anden
11-14-2009, 08:53 AM
Anyone know the model of the Realistic speaker that was made by KLH in about 1960 ? I recall they were like the KLH model Six which was a highly regarded loudspeaker. It was one of the few Radio Shack speakers made in the U.S.

Both RS and KLH were Boston based back then -

The good old days when great speakers were made here in the States !

pmsummer
11-14-2009, 09:08 AM
The good old days when great speakers were made here in the States !

Ahem [clears throat]. Hope, Arkansas.

dc270
11-14-2009, 09:53 AM
Ahem [clears throat]. Hope, Arkansas.


I though Altec was in Oklahoma?
DC

clydeselsor
11-14-2009, 10:09 AM
Come on guys, most of us wouldn't have been caught dead buying RS speakers back in the day with the exception of the Mach's maybe.



Speak for yourself!

HomeBody
11-14-2009, 10:20 AM
Come on guys, most of us wouldn't have been caught dead buying RS speakers back in the day with the exception of the Mach's maybe.
Ditto Clydeselsor

pmsummer
11-14-2009, 10:51 AM
Speak for yourself!

Realistic Optimus 1 speakers happily bought when I couldn't afford Advents. Sounded like KLH 17s... even High-Fidelity thought so... for 2/3rd the price.

Living in the sticks played a part, too (no shipping charges).

vol4
11-14-2009, 03:17 PM
Yes that dirty S word Shipping! And it will only go up and up. I do the local Craigslist,yard sale and fleamarket thing just for that reason. I've found several sets of Minimus7s. But never any early upper end large RS speakers.

xupernaut
11-17-2009, 10:53 PM
I picked up these Nova 10's at a thrift today along with a pair of stands. The veneer on the cabinets is a little dull but the drivers are in mint shape. I think they sound very good not a lot of bass but very clear sounding.http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-8/803555/DSCF3076.JPG

markus
11-18-2009, 10:21 AM
OK . . . so a while back, a local guy who knows I'm into audio gave me pretty much all his old system(s) . . nothing crazy like Altec / Scott / etc. , but it was all Radio Shack Gear in nice shape. By far the COOLEST thing he gave me was 5 Solo 3B's, three of which were new in the box - never opened, never played :banana:

Sure, it's not like stumbliong across a pair of JBL C38's NIB, but pretty sweet none the less . . . check out the pictures :D

As for performance, I've been using their 'open box' brothers on one of my Magnavox tube amps, and they sound quite decent. They have everything I like in a vintage speaker: paper cone, vented dustcap, and real (walnut) veneer cabinets . . . Botrytis and Soundwesael suggested I use the minty cabinets for a DIY fullrange project, which I just might do . . . for now, I'm going to enjoy them 'as -is' :yes:

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=180156&stc=1&d=1258561059

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=180159&stc=1&d=1258561059

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=180163&stc=1&d=1258561151

Live_Wire
11-18-2009, 11:29 AM
OK . . . so a while back, a local guy who knows I'm into audio gave me pretty much all his old system(s)....

:drool:

That is just one unreal haul man! :thmbsp:

markus
11-18-2009, 11:53 AM
:drool:

That is just one unreal haul man! :thmbsp:


put the word out in your neighborhood ! there are BOUND to be people with old audio stuff collecting dust that would rather give it to someone to enjoy, rather than kick it to the curb :D

most of my favorite pieces came to me this way :yes:

jancumps
11-18-2009, 02:13 PM
As if I don't have enough Realistic speakers: I recently purchased these optimus 12.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=179423&d=1258204777

They seem to be fairly unknown. No info on the web, no info on www.radioshackcatalogs.com.

DLariv308
11-18-2009, 06:01 PM
I have the Optimus 600 in storage. They are the little brothers of the Optimus 900 but with an 8" woofer. They came with a Realistic system my dad bought in 1985-86. I blew a woofer in the mid 90's and threw in a new random radio shack replacement. I will never get rid of them and have plans to fix them up. They sounded pretty decent.

page 23
http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalogs/1987_small/

Live_Wire
11-18-2009, 06:29 PM
As if I don't have enough Realistic speakers: I recently purchased these optimus 12.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=179423&d=1258204777

They seem to be fairly unknown. No info on the web, no info on www.radioshackcatalogs.com.

They might be in the same boat as my Mach 5000's. I haven't found any info on the web about them other than a couple classified ads. As far as I can tell, they were made in Canada, for Canadians. Yours might be the same idea.

They look pretty damn nice though, if I do say so :thmbsp:

HomeBody
11-19-2009, 07:23 AM
I noticed on the '87 RS catalog that speakers were advertised as "Digital-Ready".....
What does this really mean w/regards to vintage amps & receivers? was it the absence of the typical wow-flutter associated w/TT the the Cd replaced...wait, my eyes are going cross-eyed-

Live_Wire
11-19-2009, 02:24 PM
I don't really know what they mean by Digital Ready. As far as I can tell, it might mean something with the sensitivity. How can it really mean anything anyway? I mean, it's a speaker. Maybe crossover design?

markus
11-19-2009, 02:32 PM
I don't really know what they mean by Digital Ready. As far as I can tell, it might mean something with the sensitivity. How can it really mean anything anyway? I mean, it's a speaker. Maybe crossover design?

naaaah . . . I think it was just creative marketing :D

Live_Wire
11-19-2009, 09:37 PM
naaaah . . . I think it was just creative marketing :D

Exactly what I'm thinking :thmbsp:

Celt
11-19-2009, 09:54 PM
"Digital Ready", nearly all of the companies did that back then. What bullshit. :no:

tarior
11-19-2009, 10:09 PM
I've had a few RS speakers over the years, and they were all quite good. I particularly liked the T-120s and Optimus 27s. A friend has some Mach IIs, and they will certainly rock your world.:D

Dave1384
11-19-2009, 10:30 PM
Down the shore yesterday. Float into the thrift shop 3 minutes to 4. "We're closing", she says. Not yet, you're not. I ask where their audio gear is, she walks me to it in the back. " We"re closing". I scan the wall. Nothing I want. " Sir, We're CLOSING". I turn to go, what's this? under a table, I almost missed 'em. :

Optimus 5 B's. Similiar to Nova 8 B's, which I also own. Out they go. 8.00:music: Sound and look great. Hard to pass this stuff up.

EddyFranner
11-19-2009, 10:49 PM
I picked up a pair of Mach3's last weekend for 10.00 bucks needing foam surrounds on the 15's otherwise in great shape. They seem well built and i hope for good sound from them after re-foaming the surrounds.

Live_Wire
11-20-2009, 06:51 AM
I think they will sound good EddyFranner.

Dave, that's an awesome pickup man. Congrats! :thmbsp:

HomeBody
11-20-2009, 07:45 AM
Its good being Digital-Ready

viva.last
03-27-2010, 06:32 PM
Hello everyone. I know I'm bumping an old thread but I figure searching is better than making a new one. Going through this thread it seems a lot of you know your stuff.

I have an old pair of Realistic PA-99 PA speakers. Exact model is 'PA-99 CAT.NO. 40-1410.' Two 10 inch woofers and a tweeter. I can only find specs for PA-96 and PA-88 on Radioshack's website. Emailing Radioshack ends up at a deadend as well.

I'm attempting to figure out the wattage. I've found claims of 100 watts on some Craigslist ads. But I don't wish to damage anything with unsourced claims. The speakers themselves are unmarked.

Finding a poweramp that outputs <100 watts @ 8ohms per channel is kind of tricky.

Would http://www.parts-express.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-383 drive them?

Thanks for your time.

edit:kind of confusing post... Sum it up:
1.Does anyone know the wattage of the speakers?
2.Could someone recommend a poweramp to drive them. Would be used to play music and a little PAing of guitar/vocals to compete with a drummer.

mashaffer
03-27-2010, 07:23 PM
Finding an amp to put out less than 100W is not hard. Take your gazzilion watt amplifier and just turn it down. Seriously there is no problem with having extra power available just don't over drive your speakers regardless of the amp being used. You can cook them with an underpowered amp too.

mike

Teradacto58
03-28-2010, 10:59 AM
Here you go ...look up your speakers in the RS Catalog Archives....

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html

domino4001
04-09-2010, 05:19 PM
I have been running a pair of Optimus T-120s for several years now and love them. Had to re-foam both woofers and midrange drivers but it was worth it.

I bought the pair AND a Pioneer SX-637 at an estate sale for $25.00!

HomeBody
04-10-2010, 08:57 AM
What Viva said. Noone should really attempt to blow a speaker, no matter what make it is. But you're way better off being over-powered than under.

jamesm007
04-16-2010, 02:27 AM
I was the designer of most US made systems from 1977 to 1990. There were two major manufactures: Sunwood (from Asia) and Tandy Speakers. While Sunwood did have better cabinets (finish-wise) and attention to details, the US made speakers from Tandy Speakers were always superior in sound and acoustical replication. It's difficult separate the wheat from the shaft. The T-100 was design by me but built by Sunwood. Really outstanding speakers were the Optimus 10, Optimus-23, T-70 and T-300. I tried to change the philosophy of the closed box designs to the higher efficiency and greater bandwidth of tuned system (second order and greater). Just for the record.

Not many speak/write/talk of the T-70 I know well how ahead of thier time they were. The labyrinth loaded 8" driver (a good 8" woofer/mid) and dome tweeter was a great sounding combo. The small tower reached cleanly down into the deep bass (~ 45hz ish for the time/price very good). My friend two doors down had them. I had Technics SB?-70 speakers, 3 way, 11" woofer fairly large ported box speakers. His T-70s wasted mine for bass and sound Q. To this day I have always wondered who (designed them) and why did Radio shack make such a complicated design for the price. Now I know YOU :thmbsp: and I noticed RS started to get into dome tweeters and a smoother type sound, I bet all that was you :thmbsp: Honestly great job for the move to more efficient woofer enclosures and better sound.

Folks the T-70 was one of the best under $150 speaker on the market for overall value and sound quality. It was smooth and musical. It was reviewed by a magazine (I forget the name) that reviewed a lot of speakers and the baby of RS towers (quoting them) the T-70 was found to be the best value of the Radio Shack line. The T-70 (if memory serves?) was said to have deep extended (smooth) bass and smooth highs (it used a dome rare at that price). It was better than the T-100s that I owned some years latter; or equal... the T100s were very musical so I should not say one is better than another, forget that comment. The T-100s were fine sounding, good tower speakers with great cabinets (even the back was finished). I just blew the woofers... and went and got two 16ohm replacement drivers and dome tweeters. Never did sound right (its not easy making your own). Now IMO that tower should have had two of the T-70 woofers and its dome tweeter. Do you know what you would have? The classic Advent Heritage (which is what I was trying to make lol).

After your time I noticed a shift out of acoustic suspension and better mids and high frequency drivers. You did a great job:D thanks for some great speakers.

johnda
04-16-2010, 05:55 AM
The Optimus 1050's were a three way speaker with a 15"woofer in a cabinet the same size as the Mach Two. They sold for $200 each. In 1990 they went on sale for $100 each and I recommended them to my son-in-law who was composing music and using an electronic keyboard. They had a nice full sound and he enjoyed running them for quite a few years.

The Shack did come up with very acceptable sounding speakers, and electronics that not only sounded good, but also stood the test of time. My Pro X7 speakers are still running just fine off my Accurian amplifier as my computer sound system. I'm sorry they have decided to become the cell phone capitol instead.

Live_Wire
05-10-2010, 09:09 AM
I know the thread's a month past the last reply, but I figured it's better posting in here than making a new thread.

Just got some Nova-10's and they sound excellent. They really just needed a good cleaning and a bit of oil. The foam is in excellent condition on both the PR and the Woofer. They only range from 80Hz - 18kHz, but they sound excellent none-the-less.

I don't know how many of their speakers have lasted in terms of the foam, but considering these are 28 years old, the foam has definitely lasted. And they spent most of their life in a garage.

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/th_IMG_0031.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/?action=view&current=IMG_0031.jpg) http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/th_IMG_0030.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/?action=view&current=IMG_0030.jpg) http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/th_IMG_0028.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/?action=view&current=IMG_0028.jpg) http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/th_IMG_0026.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/?action=view&current=IMG_0026.jpg) http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/th_IMG_0023.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/?action=view&current=IMG_0023.jpg) http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/th_IMG_0024.jpg (http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n227/brian10161/Stereo/speakers/nova10/?action=view&current=IMG_0024.jpg)

kramerpage
05-10-2010, 03:17 PM
I just bought a pair of Mach Ones Off CL for 50.00 for my new man cave. The owner said he purchased them in 78 when he sold his corvette. They have a few nicks in the veneer as expected but the grilles are perfect which was surprising for the age. I made sure they were operational before I purchased them. I got them home and hooked them up and they sound OK at low volume but as you put the powered to them the sound distorts terribly. I remember listening to Neil Young on these in the late 70's and they sounded great. Were do I start getting these back in shape?

I am driving with an Onkyo 100 RMS per channel amplifier.

The bottoms are finished walnut veneer
The 15 inch driver surrounds are the tough rubber type. They are hard to move in and out. It doesn't feel like the coils are cooked but the surround is very stiff. I was reading about the caps drying out and needing replaced. Could this drift in resistance cause the distortion I am hearing?
They also seam power hungry compared to my 15 inch cerwin-Vega's. About half as loud as the Vega's.
Thanks for any help. This thread is cool. I could have easily went out and bought new speakers if I could find any for sale that is. They are all powered now. I even went to Sam Ash music. You would think I am an old man the way the kids look at you describing what you are looking for. They have never even seen old 15 inch speakers before.

Thanks for any help.

geontemt
05-10-2010, 06:21 PM
I replaced the caps & resistors in mine and they sounded much clearer!

mashaffer
05-10-2010, 08:05 PM
May need to clean the controls too.

mike

reggaenaut
05-10-2010, 08:36 PM
Replaced the cone tweeter in my Nova 6 with dome tweeter and it made a big difference.

johnda
05-10-2010, 09:42 PM
Well, guys,

I did it! Today I picked up a pair of Optimus 1050's for myself. Despite being about 20 years old, their walnut cabinets and grills were in very good shape. The speakers had no rot at all. I got them home and set them up in my basement, driving them with my Kenwood KR-6600 amplifier. My iMac power PC 400 fed the internet audio to the Kenwood. I listened to piano and vocals and all I can say is "Golly!" I AM impressed!:music:

Live_Wire
05-10-2010, 09:45 PM
The Optimus-1050's are awesome speakers, my friend has a pair of them and they sound great. Glad to hear you got a pair in good condition! My friend's are beat to hell unfortunately :(

Enjoy em!

vintage4
05-10-2010, 10:27 PM
Some so called audiophiles claim that the Mach 1's are not accurate sounding . I came to the conclusion long ago not to trust these self proclaimed pro audio reviewers . Some of those guys have hearing damage and imprint their impressions upon their hapless readers . My experience with my Mach 1 loudspeakers have been nothing but total fun and they do sound great with any music source . And they are one of the few speakers I've owned that sounds good even at very low levels . I own a bunch of loudspeakers but these Mach 1's will always have a home with me . Realistic is not as bad as some people would want you to believe . RS made very good stuff during their time .

RickeyM
05-11-2010, 01:06 AM
I just bought a pair of Mach Ones Off CL for 50.00 for my new man cave. The owner said he purchased them in 78 when he sold his corvette. They have a few nicks in the veneer as expected but the grilles are perfect which was surprising for the age. I made sure they were operational before I purchased them. I got them home and hooked them up and they sound OK at low volume but as you put the powered to them the sound distorts terribly. I remember listening to Neil Young on these in the late 70's and they sounded great. Were do I start getting these back in shape?

I am driving with an Onkyo 100 RMS per channel amplifier.

The bottoms are finished walnut veneer
The 15 inch driver surrounds are the tough rubber type. They are hard to move in and out. It doesn't feel like the coils are cooked but the surround is very stiff. I was reading about the caps drying out and needing replaced. Could this drift in resistance cause the distortion I am hearing?
They also seam power hungry compared to my 15 inch cerwin-Vega's. About half as loud as the Vega's.
Thanks for any help. This thread is cool. I could have easily went out and bought new speakers if I could find any for sale that is. They are all powered now. I even went to Sam Ash music. You would think I am an old man the way the kids look at you describing what you are looking for. They have never even seen old 15 inch speakers before.

Thanks for any help.

Parts Express now has replacement woofers for these. After that, I'd replace any electroylitic caps in there with poly's.

Live_Wire
05-11-2010, 06:09 AM
Some so called audiophiles claim that the Mach 1's are not accurate sounding . I came to the conclusion long ago not to trust these self proclaimed pro audio reviewers . Some of those guys have hearing damage and imprint their impressions upon their hapless readers . My experience with my Mach 1 loudspeakers have been nothing but total fun and they do sound great with any music source . And they are one of the few speakers I've owned that sounds good even at very low levels . I own a bunch of loudspeakers but these Mach 1's will always have a home with me . Realistic is not as bad as some people would want you to believe . RS made very good stuff during their time .

Completely agree with you mate. The Mach 1s sound good low or high, doesn't matter what volume really :music:

Scioneer
05-14-2010, 02:03 PM
I've had a good amount of experience with Radio Shack's stereo equipment. My dad for a long time had a nice pair of the Wood Boxed Minimus 7s that sounded great until my sister's ex blew them, then trashed them( I would have loved to have a chance to replace the Woofers, the tweets were still good,). My stereo I have is a STA-795 I saved up for when I was a teen. Its still working great powering a vintage pair of Maggies I found two years ago at Goodwill for $10. Before them I has some Technics on the amp.

Over time I've acquired many raw Radio Shack speakers, like a pair of the 4 inch Woofers, a pair of the 40-1043 8 inch Full Range that was built on the underpinnings of one of their 8 inch woofers, one 40-1271, and one 40-1272.

I also have a single Minimus 7 in the black metal enclosure, and a set of Optimus XTS 21 bookshelf speakers that use a driver similar to the 1197, but with a smaller magnet. Another speaker that surprised me was the 8 inch Wall-Hanger PA Speaker ( not the horns, lol). I have two hooked up to the Tandy MMS-10 speaker/amp combo thats used for my game console sound system. Previously they were used on my friends el-cheapo 5 watt/channel bookshelf system, where they clobbered the crappy little speakers it came with. For low wattage applications them as well as the 1271 and 1272 are great speakers to use.

I've been impressed with most of the RS speakers and Amps/Recievers I've owned or at least heard, and I'm now one of their biggest critic for the "Cell Phone Shop" direction they've gone to. The Mach Ones and Minumus 7's have been replaced by Motorola Razors and Samsung Blackjacks, and RS is now a sinking ship by allowing cell phones to cause them to abandon their core customer base.

wlgrant6
05-14-2010, 02:26 PM
I picked up a pair of Realistic Nova-7B speakers at a yard sale, and they are really nice speakers. Cabinets are oiled walnut with a cross-hatch grille. Speakers are a 10" woofer, and 2 extended range high-complianace 3" tweeters. Freq response, 20-20K. I know all this because they came with the original Specification and Instruction sheet.

They are in excellent condition, and sound really great for "Rat Shack" speakers. Driving them with an old Kenwood 5150 receiver (Same yard sale) and they sound really good. Don't know who originally made them for Radio Shack, but they are nice
speakers.

mhardy6647
05-14-2010, 06:47 PM
Generally not a big fan of any vintage Radio Shack loudspeaker systems I've heard. Most of them have a two-dimensional artificial "hifi" sound that just doesn't do it for me.
In fairness, the Electrostat-2a is pretty respectable sounding; its only demerit is a near total lack of LF.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v223/mhardy6647/P1020701.jpg

Now... Radio Shack did, in the golden days, make/sell some very nice loudspeaker drivers. My two favorites (by far) are the 40-1354 5-1/4" twincone "fullrange" driver and the 40-1375 planar tweeter. These are both fine sounding inexpensive drivers.

40-1354 in a folded mass loaded TQWT enclosure designed by Bob Brines and tricked out with a phase plug made and sold by Dave Dlugos:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v223/mhardy6647/DSCN5289.jpg

40-1375 tweeter (either a knockoff or OEM version of a JVC tweeter):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v223/mhardy6647/40-1375.jpg

Scioneer
05-14-2010, 09:18 PM
That 5 1/4 incher is indeed a very good driver. One crazy thing of note is that some of the Early 80's Jeep Wagoneers had them as their factory speakers.

HomeBody
05-15-2010, 05:15 AM
Generally not a big fan of any vintage Radio Shack loudspeaker systems I've heard. Most of them have a two-dimensional artificial "hifi" sound that just doesn't do it for me....
That's an issue of the audio source's signal...not the speaker's-
The Mach series are a very 'airy' speaker when coupled to an 'airy' amp/receiver. The Realistic STA-2080 is a gleeming example.

Some so called audiophiles claim that the Mach 1's are not accurate sounding . I came to the conclusion long ago not to trust these self proclaimed pro audio reviewers . Some of those guys have hearing damage and imprint their impressions upon their hapless readers....
You hit the nail on the head. And don't leave ENVY off of the table. Writers are notorious for submitting bad press when things didn't go their way...
the 220 Swift is a classic example of a regurgitated lie going on for close to 80 years now.

Horn Head
05-15-2010, 11:27 PM
Growing up I thought RS gear was tremendously expensive for "JC Penney-Like" gear. But I was 13 at the time. Still never touched their stuff. Really like the Pioneer SX-X80 series and Cerwin Vega Speakers...for much less cash.

Fast forward 30 years and I find a pair of Nova 8Bs being thrown out for trash while doing my 4 mile daily run. Ran home, got the truck and rang the doorbell....guy says take 'em if you want 'em.

Thought they'd be destroyed but figured the crossovers would be worth $0.00. Hooked them up to my old Technics SU-V8 and the worked fantastically - weren't bunged-up, and the drivers were all behaving properly.

Unscrewed the grills off and found pristine drivers - the 12" cone with the reinforced part at the dustcap, and the three mids and tweet.

I almost felt bad because at that point I didn't want to rape them for parts! They're sitting in the garage with no other mods other than taking a vacume to the cabinets....and they push great sound and absorb lots of watts.

After all these years I began wondering about the true quality of the RS speaker lineup (always like those minimus 7s...).

Am begining to be a believer that RS did design good speakers. And hats off to them. Apparently they couldn't market to kids like me with limited budgets.

Those 8Bs are nice and can rock. Not sure what they sold for back in the day. But if you can find them for a few bucks now, you have a fine speaker to toy with. I'm a bit of a believer now and have no intention of getting rid of these free speakers. +1 for Radio Shack (the old Radio Shack....not the new cell phone Radio Shack).

willhowl
05-16-2010, 05:44 AM
Oh, well....Okay ....the OLD Shack...........I used to think, too, that Radio Shack sold (especially speakers) stuff that was...okay, but not great.......

BUT...hindsight is 20/20........NOW I'm finding out that they had some (not all) really good stuff.........of course, at today's thrift shop/ garage sale type prices.......

I'm currently listening to my recently scored Realistic Optimus 25 speakers( 3-way 11" woofs..odd size) driven by 55WPC from my Yamaha AX-400 int amp...and they sound really good to me.........Opera, right now, off the air (KUHF...college radio, NPR...). I've never cared for Opera,(just found out...this is Verdi....for all culture vultures out there).... but now, .....this is cool!!

I had a "big" 100WPC Realistic receiver for a while....lost it......bad story....but it was COOL...I think it was a 2380....it sounded real good.....

Horn Head.....keep runnin'....great story, by the way......

If you can find it, DO NOT just turn up your nose at it.....or DO.................... I may be right behind you...............willhowl:scratch2:

P.S. note to self.......post 601

kconnor
05-16-2010, 06:55 AM
Generally not a big fan of any vintage Radio Shack loudspeaker systems I've heard. Most of them have a two-dimensional artificial "hifi" sound that just doesn't do it for me.
In fairness, the Electrostat-2a is pretty respectable sounding; its only demerit is a near total lack of LF.

I picked up a set of Electrostat - 2a two years ago for about $50. I think that The cabinets are some of the most beautifully veneered I've ever seen. I hoped for the best because I always wanted these after seeing them in the RS catalog as a kid many years ago. Unfortunately, The LF driver is lame and I don't think that the electrostatic driver is very good either. I still have them, I just love the looks of those cabinets.
Radio Shack did sell some very good raw drivers. One of the first systems I ever built was a small 2-way with the 40-1375 tweeter and a 8" poly woofer. Everyone hearing that speaker was astonished at the quantity and quality of sound that came out of those things.

HomeBody
05-16-2010, 07:39 AM
http://www.frontiernet.net/~dreagh/IGGY/popcorn3dm.gifI'm w/KConnor on the veneer used w/the Electrostat-2a...
Truly a classic, understated styling that I do believe will NEVER go out of style.
Period.

wallacefl
05-16-2010, 08:06 AM
I picked up a set of Electrostat - 2a two years ago for about $50. I think that The cabinets are some of the most beautifully veneered I've ever seen. I hoped for the best because I always wanted these after seeing them in the RS catalog as a kid many years ago. Unfortunately, The LF driver is lame and I don't think that the electrostatic driver is very good either. I still have them, I just love the looks of those cabinets.
Radio Shack did sell some very good raw drivers. One of the first systems I ever built was a small 2-way with the 40-1375 tweeter and a 8" poly woofer. Everyone hearing that speaker was astonished at the quantity and quality of sound that came out of those things.

I had a pair of the 2a's and replaced the woofer with a Pioneer BU20...helped the bass department alot....always thought it might be fun to do a 3 way with midrange centered amongst the tweeter ( Realistic had an upper level model that did this) but didn't have the know how.

Live_Wire
05-16-2010, 08:18 AM
@Horn Head, awesome story. I think the Nova series of speakers were pretty good, I haven't heard the 8Bs before, but I can imagine they must sound pretty good. A lot of people seem to like them!

I've been listening to my Nova 10's for the past while and I don't really understand how, but I don't think these have been listened to much in their lifetime. My dad originally bought them in 1982 for my mom, but after about a year my uncle got them in a trade for some furniture. I don't think they have been used much since. After the past while of listening to them, they are getting better.

I thought it was just me getting use to them, but I played back some music that I initially listened to on them and confirmed, they are getting better. It's as though the drivers are freeing up.

I have them on my STA-2270 which is 65WPC, and they just sound excellent. The bass response is clean and quite deep for just an 8" driver. The highend is a little rolled off, but the cone tweeter doesn't really throw the sound I find. I just turn up the treble though :)

mhb1234
05-18-2010, 08:39 PM
Jocko NC,

The T-300 tweeter was originally a Peerless soft dome but later a Tonegen knock-off to save money (make Tandy more profit). The midrange was originally a CTS mid, which Tandy speakers tried to knock off with poor yields. The woofer and drone were made by Tandy Speakers. They were good driver except they had foam surrounds.

I didn't remember problems with the crossovers BUT I'll take you word for it. From a design point, I didn't like exotic crossovers. I read a review on my T-100 that it only had a 4.7 microfarad cap and a 50 ohm variable resistor. Well duh, that's how I designed it. The T-100 had two 16 ohm custom made drivers. We use an extra long former and almost twice the windings length of an 8 ohm. What that gives you is extra inductance, which when designed properly levels the response and crossover frequency. Bottom line, we didn't need a large inductor and possible shunt capacitor for a good crossover. We had no insertion loss and much greater efficiency (both power and acoustically).

Back to the T-300: If you had trouble, it had to be in the mid/tweeter crossover. It's been a long time but I really thought we heatsinked some of the components because of heating issues(?). I know we heat-sinked the L-Pads.

I was Senior Director by that time and I was mainly involved in product definition and the design architecture. I know that I was adamant about a using a fourth order passive radiator design. The T-200 used two 10" active drivers, which unless you use them in a isobaric arrangement (which Sunwood didn't), drives to VAS requirement to double the cabinet size. Sunwood at that time had little to No skills in acoustics.

Anyway, I left in 1990 over way two many philosophical issues. I had a magical period that think that I upgraded the audio products in spite of the obstacles that I had to hurdle.

I bought mine like another poster did when they were half off back sometime in '83/'84. Just broke them out of ten year storage (rotted woofers and 3 babies). I also melted a few tweeter crossover parts, but I LOVE these speakers! I plan to do whatever it takes to get them back in shape.
Should I just automatically expect to replace the caps in the crossovers?
Thanks to you for your design bringing me so much enjoyments for so many years.

empirelvr
05-31-2010, 11:26 AM
Count me as a fan of older vintage Realistic/Radio Shack speakers.

I have a pair of 1975 vintage Nova 7B's that were my in-laws for about 14 years now that I use in my living room stereo/TV setup. I always liked them, nice smooth sound with impressive deep bass from such a small enclosure. One thing I especially like is that the woofers have rubber surrounds. No need to refoam ever!! And they have very nice, heavy, thick veneered cabinets.

They suck if used as intended as bookshelf speakers, but on a stand, out away from walls and boundaries...they are :tresbon:

Their biggest flaw though was they always screeched and the impressive soundstage they threw collapsed as the volume went up.

After about a month of that shortly after I came into posession of them, I dug inside them and swapped out the 50V non-polar caps with exact same value Solen poly caps I really just did have laying around. Overkill I know, especially since they were 600V rated but I thought they had to be better than what was in there and maybe it would help the sound. The coils and padding resistors looked fine though so I left them alone. Even the tweeter level switch was a sealed unit which made a shot of DeOxit unneeded.

At first after the change they were unbearably bright. But after about 50 hours, something really special happened. The high end calmed down and all of a sudden they blossomed. Now they can play VERY loud and stay smooth. Plus the soundstage stays coherent and doesn't disappear at loud volumes.

The fact they soundstage at all is incredible considering they have that plastic lattice grille and the front baffle is set back a good inch in the cabinet. But yet, when the recording calls for it, they can disappear or throw a wide and deep image like any high end speaker I've ever heard.

I was so impressed with the cap swap I did the same mod to a pair of Minimus 7's and a pair of Pro-X55AV's I have to similar effect.

Proof that whoever voiced the speaker line back then had a good ear. I really didn't think a simple cap change could make such a difference but there you go!:music:

Blooze
09-11-2010, 09:55 AM
I picked up a set of mint Nova 10's and a STA-11 receiver last summer at an estate sale. They look and sound as if they had never been used or touched. The cabinets didn't have one mark on them and both the receiver and speakers came with the manuals. The only thing I've found is a slight click through the speakers when powering off the STA-11. Great little speakers that sound pretty good when you don't push them. They do acoustic guitar as well as classic rock very well.

premiumplus
10-20-2010, 01:53 PM
I'll tell you, as I've owned 4 of the Optimus 7 speakers since 1974, I've never found a speaker for less than $1000 (or much more) that comes close to them. Wonderful speakers.

dnewma04
10-20-2010, 09:40 PM
I've had Optimus 7s.

absolve2525
10-20-2010, 11:12 PM
Hey, Empirelvr - I also switched out the crossover cap shortly after I finding some 7Bs at a thrift store. I agree the soundstage is amazing! What tweeter level are you using - Norm, High, or Low?

74747474
01-11-2011, 09:45 AM
I have long maintained this notion about Realistic/RS gear: if someone breaks into your house, they'll take the Kenwood, Pioneer etc gear and leave the Radio Shack stuff alone thinking that it is junk. Thankfully, we all know better!!

melofelo
01-11-2011, 11:35 AM
been running a pair of 40-1310A supertweeters since 1986..they just make everything sound sweeter no matter what music you throw at them. They feel reassuringly solid too..i just wish i had kept the original box for them...i think they,ve become a bit collectible in certain circles..:scratch2:

jjtucker2
01-11-2011, 11:56 AM
Old thread, but what the heck............I'll plug Realistic any day!

:music:

DR_Simpkins
01-11-2011, 03:08 PM
Same here tucker , I wish I had my 4024 Machs that I bought new and gave to my son a couple of years ago. Not long after that I picked up a Sta-2080 and switched out my Sansui 9090db that I originally ran the Mach's with all these years. I'd love to hear them hooked up to the 2080.

anden
01-11-2011, 03:25 PM
Anyone know of a Realistic speaker which was made by KLH ?

This topic was discused on another forum a few years ago, but no example was presented, but several people claimed that yes indeed KLH did produce a speaker for Radio Shack around 1959-60 that was very much like KLH's model 6. Back in those days, both firms were located in Boston, so I can see it being possible.

BruceRPA
01-11-2011, 05:00 PM
The original Optimus speakers, the Optimus 1, resembles KLH speakers of that time but I doubt that they were actually made by KLH.

Bob Clobber
01-11-2011, 05:15 PM
My Optimus 5B's resemble KLH 5's as far as the layout of drivers and cabinet size, but not made by KLH, IIRC. If you google images of both, the woofers, mids and tweets are not the same.

stereofanboy
01-11-2011, 05:21 PM
Anyone know of a Realistic speaker which was made by KLH ?

This topic was discused on another forum a few years ago, but no example was presented, but several people claimed that yes indeed KLH did produce a speaker for Radio Shack around 1959-60 that was very much like KLH's model 6. Back in those days, both firms were located in Boston, so I can see it being possible.

I have a copy of the 1967 Radio Shack catalog. They had KLH 17s and 6s in there. Wharfedales too.

HomeBody
04-24-2011, 04:17 AM
Old thread, but what the heck............I'll plug Realistic any day....
Rodger That JJ...My 4029s'' & my 2080 is (literally)all the audio I would ever want again. While everything else seems to falling apart around my homestead, my hearing is still as sharp as a pin and my 2080/Mach Ones are PRICELESS.

''(Using VL's modifications but alittle astray from his published works found here at AK..):smoke:
VL- Hope all is well with you & yours. May God Bless you this great holiday-Ed

bre's dad
04-24-2011, 08:53 AM
I have some 1B's. Hooked them up last night vs. some Optimus 45's. They actually sounded better than I expected. They aren't as open as th 45's but too, the 45's have Peerless dome tweeters rather than the stock cones. The Peerless fir right in and look factory.

The 1B's need the cabinets refinished. They have several water rings on top where someone used them as a coaster but are are otherwise fine.

Copa1934
04-24-2011, 11:06 PM
Rodger That JJ...My 4029s'' & my 2080 is (literally)all the audio I would ever want again. While everything else seems to falling apart around my homestead, my hearing is still as sharp as a pin and my 2080/Mach Ones are PRICELESS.

''(Using VL's modifications but alittle astray from his published works found here at AK..):smoke:
VL- Hope all is well with you & yours. May God Bless you this great holiday-Ed
Any chance of elaporating on the deviation? I'm moding one cabinet, got as far as knocking a 4" hole in the mid chamber. Need to run sealant along the inside due to braces (where the back cover mates) that have gaps and may leak with the pressure. By the say, anyone change or mod the back cover? clearly it wasn't designed for the pressure of the 15"er (sealed off), so I was wondering did anyone notice vibration coming off that cover? Only 1/2" thick stock.

AnalogDigit
04-24-2011, 11:22 PM
Old thread, but what the heck............I'll plug Realistic any day!

:music:

Same here! I like my Nova 6, 7B and 8B's. I like the Minimus 7's and the Optimus Pro 77!

Les Lammers
04-25-2011, 07:28 AM
"Digital Ready", nearly all of the companies did that back then. What bullshit. :no:

Yeah, but some of us took the bait. :tears:


RS had some OK speakers. If you like them, they're good. There is no perfect speaker.

world-
04-25-2011, 05:53 PM
Picked up a pair of 7b's yesterday since they were cheap, boxes need to be refinished but the wood is solid and the speakers are still mint. I need to see if someone changed the crossovers but I'll tell you what these little baby's fill my room with sound. I have a nice pair of JBL L36's and to me these sound just as good. I have them hooked to a "shack" STA-84 so they are paired good.

johnda
04-25-2011, 09:41 PM
I did it again last year. I was so happy with the 1050's that when I came across a pair of Nova 8's at a tag sale I grabbed them for $10 for the pair. The left speaker had blown caps and I replaced them with new ones from Parts Express. The right speaker was going to get a new set of caps also this winter, but for now I'm running it with the old caps. They have a beautiful sound in my study and match up quite nicely to my Sherwood RX 4109 receiver. Great sound. Because of health issues, we may be selling our home and moving to a senior development at some point, I only hope I can take them with us if we go. This is a fun thread!

Copa1934
04-25-2011, 10:18 PM
I did it again last year. I was so happy with the 1050's that when I came across a pair of Nova 8's at a tag sale I grabbed them for $10 for the pair. The left speaker had blown caps and I replaced them with new ones from Parts Express. The right speaker was going to get a new set of caps also this winter, but for now I'm running it with the old caps. They have a beautiful sound in my study and match up quite nicely to my Sherwood RX 4109 receiver. Great sound. Because of health issues, we may be selling our home and moving to a senior development at some point, I only hope I can take them with us if we go. This is a fun thread!
No lack of RS stuff around here, there and everywhere else for that matter. No lack of people who enjoy them either.

tiga
04-26-2011, 08:08 PM
Running a pair of MINT Nova 8's now with stock caps, powered by a little Kenwood 4140. Sweet music. Amazing how nice these speaker are - smooth, detailed and non-fatiguing with good bass. I can listen to them all day.

pognoot
04-26-2011, 08:37 PM
As a kid I owned Optimus-50s. I am sure that for their day they were a decent speaker for a teenager, but if I heard them today I'd less than enthusiastic. I guess I tend the gravitate towards the "newer is generally better" camp.

Frank_Black
04-26-2011, 08:54 PM
I saw a pair of Optimus T-110s at the GW today. $60. I'm not a Realistic guy, so I didn't bother.

bre's dad
04-26-2011, 10:24 PM
I've sat here for the last half hour or so listening to Patricia Barber on a Pioneer SX-680 driving my Optimus 1B's. Now that they've ran a few hours, I'm quite impressed with then. Not the most detailed or accurate but I get no listening fatigue. Decent speakers... definitely worthy or refinishing the cabinets and rebuilding the X-overs.

thunderp
04-26-2011, 10:36 PM
I've got 6 pairs of the 7w... I don't know why but I can't resist buying them. They are the cutest thing ever. Everything you need in a compact enclosure.
I also have 2 empty 7w and 2 black 7s.

I've got 1 in each corner of my garage and what is below 80hz is directed to a custom built box with 2 cerwin vega 10 inchers. Sounds pretty good.

And a Realistic speaker collector would be nowhere without mach-ones (4024a, please).

They are my Left, center and right main channels in my ht room. Ok, it's my wife's living room... but it's my ht room. Depends on the point of view.

I've got an extra 4024a that has a damaged woofer. Picked it up cheap, had some sort of water damage. Woofer cone is destroyed (funny thing is the surround is still perfect..). I keep it for parts (just in case)

Copa1934
04-26-2011, 11:12 PM
I saw a pair of Optimus T-110s at the GW today. $60. I'm not a Realistic guy, so I didn't bother.
Too bad, those are well like models, especially the looks. Should go back and get them when they have a half off sale, may not be as painful then. ;-)

bre's dad
04-27-2011, 06:20 AM
I've got 6 pairs of the 7w... I don't know why but I can't resist buying them. They are the cutest thing ever. Everything you need in a compact enclosure.
I also have 2 empty 7w and 2 black 7s.)

Almost sounds like some kind of mental disorder. When they name mine, I'll let you know (I have the same thing) :D

thunderp
04-27-2011, 06:41 AM
Almost sounds like some kind of mental disorder. When they name mine, I'll let you know (I have the same thing) :D


Hum. You think?

Now I only need to pickup two more mach's to complete my 5.1

time to take my pills.

EscapeVelo
06-03-2011, 12:57 AM
My first pair of speakers were the Realistic Optimus T-120s and my first receiver was the Realistic STA-2600.

The amplifier was a bit anemic for 100 watts RMS rating per channel, but the Optimus T-120s couldnt take it all anyways.

Very nice starter combo. Ill always have a sentimental spot in my heart for them.

Looking to pick up soem Mach Twos. I almost snagged a pair at Habitat Store a few years ago for $50. The cabinets were in poor scratched up shape but the drivers were perfect. There was also a pair of Altec's there. But I didnt have the cash on me. Went back the next day, and they were BOTH gone. :(

EASTYJAZ34
06-03-2011, 03:44 AM
im kind of digging those passive radiators dude

EscapeVelo
06-03-2011, 09:04 AM
I just wanted to add, that I really dug most of the speaker parts that Radio Shack stocked. The tweeters as mentioned before and the especially that 6.5" poly mid-woofer, which I used on my second pair of speaker builds, 2 ways with tweeter, bookshelf sized. Those were fantastic!

conaway
06-03-2011, 10:29 AM
I still have a pair of optimus 1's that I bought new in 1973 - they are part of my basement system, driven by a realistic STA-75 receiver. Although I haven't rebuilt the crossovers, they sound quite good - very balanced and crisp, with good high-frequency response - although very directional, as the tweeters have tubular baffles inside the cabinet. While these speakers don't sound quite as good as my AR3a's, they do sound good and were a great value at the time I bought them.

Jim

HomeBody
06-05-2011, 09:50 AM
Any chance of elaporating on the deviation?....
Here's a basic rundown (http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?p=4701497#post4701497) of my trials/test runs of exploring the added cubic volumes of the Mach One cabinets.

eddantes
06-05-2011, 10:14 AM
I bought a pair of RS Nova 6 for a tenner. They are my second favourite speaker in the house after the newly acquired Magnepan 2.6s. I use them on my computer powered by a Sherwood s-7450cp positioned about three feet pointed at each ear. I find them to be everything I ever wanted in a speaker - good bass and surprisingly detailed highs (probably 'cause they're pointing right into my ears).

I like them so much that I'm ready to buy any more Nova's I come across.

AnalogDigit
06-05-2011, 10:20 AM
I bought a pair of RS Nova 6 for a tenner. They are my second favourite speaker in the house after the newly acquired Magnepan 2.6s. I use them on my computer powered by a Sherwood s-7450cp positioned about three feet pointed at each ear. I find them to be everything I ever wanted in a speaker - good bass and surprisingly detailed highs (probably 'cause they're pointing right into my ears).

I like them so much that I'm ready to buy any more Nova's I come across.

The Nova series are definite sleepers in the Realistic speaker department. I own a pair of Nova 6, 7b and 8b.

Copa1934
06-05-2011, 12:46 PM
The Nova series are definite sleepers in the Realistic speaker department. I own a pair of Nova 6, 7b and 8b.
Ditto on the 7b (2 pairs). Also own the 5b (sibling to the 8b, just different xover). Have one pair of the 7b's in my shop, listen to them 9-10hr a day. Never get tired of them. Can't wait to cap them and do the updates to the 5b's (VL mods).