Question: I have a pair of Large Advent speakers from the early 1970s. The woofer foam has disintegrated and they need to be repaired. This isn't the first time this has happened. At this point do you think they are worth repairing, or should I just get something new?
Answer: I recently wrote about products that have "euphonic" qualities, which means they produce a pleasant sound that is agreeable to the ear, though it is not necessarily the most scientifically accurate sound. Euphonic products often do not use the most modern technology. Record players and tube amplifiers are examples of this.
Your Large Advent speakers are another example of this concept. Designed by audio legend Henry Kloss, they were widely respected in their day and still hold up quite well compared to many modern designs. Not only do the Advents sound good, but they do not really make speakers like them anymore.
Your speakers are comprised of a large, sealed box (called acoustic suspension) with a front-facing woofer of considerable size. Most floor standing speakers sold today are narrow towers that are usually ported, which provides more bass and reduces the speaker's power requirements. Many listeners prefer the acoustic suspension design for its tight, controlled bass and refined sound. The Large Advent is still sought out on the vintage speaker market because of this.
Given the basic goodness of your Advents and their desirability in the classic marketplace, I would repair them whether you want to keep them or not. You can get a do-it-yourself refoam kit from The Speaker Exchange (www.speakerex.com) for $8 per woofer. You could fix them for $16 and resell them for $100 or more. If you aren't confident of your repair skills, try Galaxie Electronics (www.galaxieelectronics.com), which is located inside the world-famous Jerry's Records store in your hometown of Pittsburgh.
If you want to try something new, there are some great floor-standing speakers that sell from $250 to around $500. My first recommendation is the Pioneer SP-FS52-LR, which sell for a mere $252 per pair. These are great-sounding speakers with a sound that belies their low price, and they work well for music or home theater. Next step up would be the Arx A3c for $539 per pair (www.theaudioinsider.com).
The Pioneers would probably be closest to your Advents as Pioneer's technology is more conventional. The Arx speakers use exotic leaf tweeters and special woofers that really make the music come alive. If you have the budget for the Arx, I would go in that direction, but if you want to keep your outlay low, you won't be disappointed with the Pioneers.
My gut feeling is that you should repair and keep your Large Advents while purchasing a newer pair of speakers to supplement them. The Advents would make great conversation pieces, you can use them as a different room or you can switch them out with your newer speakers once in a while and enjoy them.
There is no rule that you can only have one pair of speakers and classic gear has qualities that often can't be matched with modern gear. If you part with them, you could well regret it later. I speak from experience here as I have parted with some nice stuff in the past, and looking back, I wish I hadn't!
Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.