Speakers in 2017 are kind of awesome


Maybe it was my father’s Pioneer then. I know I’ve used those long switches before. Or were those switches common to several brands? And the knobs felt substantial when you turned them. And those needle gauges (or whatever they’re called), and that back-lighting. It just looks classy as hell.

Anyway, yeah I get a huge nostalgia wave just looking at that photo.


Sonny, we called 'em ‘meters’ and we were happy to have 'em. Why, when I was a kid the only way to know how loud your music was was to lug this thing to school, uphill both ways in the snow:


I’m not sure who popularized them, but yeah, I think they were relatively common, on the Japanese equipment at least. Sansui and Technics also used them for a while in the 70s, along with kerchunky knobs and wood grain exteriors.

That Pioneer is actually a little bit before my time. My original paper-route-money receiver was all metal and pushbuttons and LEDs. Very Risky Business, and stylish too, in its own way.

So has anyone paired awesome new speakers with sturdy vintage amplification? The old Bostons I’m currently running are decent, but I’d love an upgrade that doesn’t involve shelling out 2 grand for Klipsch Heresy IIIs.


No questions are stupid here on QT3 (except for LCD ones). The reason is because the TV’s volume control really does only control the sound coming out of its speakers…and that it does not control the “volume” of its Audio outputs (from the back of the TV) at all. So if you hook up any sort of external speakers or amps through RCA L/R audio out or Optical out, it is up to the external thing to amplify and control the sound volume.

You are likely confused because TV Cable boxes gives 2 ways to control volumes. Either it leaves the volume output constant for the TV to control, or it control the volume itself and expect your TV volume to be left at very loud.

Aside: /sniff/ I miss my dad’s Sansui stereo receiver from the late 70’s. It was bigger than that Pioneer up-thread, and had these shaved-chrome surfaces on square pushbuttons, plus the same giant AM/FM dial, with the Tempest knob for tuning stations. Unfortunately the whole thing rusted after 25 years, or else I would have totally kept it.


Man you guys were way more into this stuff than I was. I love these old amps/receivers, but couldn’t tell you a thing about them.

For instance, I saw “Tempest knob” and thought WTF is a Tempest knob?
I looked it up, and while I see there are such things, I still don’t know why they are called that.


Naaa, I just invented term right now, because it describes the knob perfectly. I figured most people here have played Tempest, and would know what I’m talking about. The knob was smooth as butter, but weighty. You can grab it and spin in hard like The Price Is Right wheel, and go from 93.1 all the way down to 104.5 CHUM FM!!!

Since we’re talking about it, Google found it for me!


Oh well, duh. [slaps forehead]

The receiver I’m currently using (1989 Pioneer) has a volume knob like that, and it’s one of my favorite things about it. I’ve noticed on a lot of other old receivers my friends have, that when you turn the volume knob, there is always a lot of static that comes through the speakers. But mine has never had that problem for whatever reason. I just figure I’m lucky.

I wish they still made receivers that look like the ones shown in this thread. They are so aesthetically pleasing. I especially miss those old meters.


29 times out of 30 that’s just a dirty (corroded) volume potentiometer. Your friends can fix theirs in seconds to minutes with a spritz of Deoxit or any similar electrical contact cleaner, the minutes being required if they have to remove the top and fascia to get the corroded bits.

I saw an interesting article a couple months ago about how popular vintage receivers are getting, though they’ve always had a certain following. The author’s thesis was that in the 70s and (for some manufacturers) the 80s stereo receivers were built for sound quality, whereas their equivalents today are built to get in as many features as possible — in the 90s the receiver became more associated with home theater, so it was all about the latest surround sound encodings, and today it’s all about connectivity — Bluetooth, WiFi, Cat5 input, HDMI switching, built-in functionality for Pandora and other services, etc.

Personally I prefer to put the connectivty in other devices, like my Cambridge Audio 851D DAC, and keep the amp and sources and speakers about sound.

70s receivers to check out:
Pioneer SX series
Marantz blue dial/silver face receivers — 2275 is super classic
Sansui 8080/9090 — don’t be fooled by the mystique around the 9090db as opposed to the regular 9090, as the “db” refers to an FM radio noise reduction technology that is no longer used anywhere

80s receivers that were still good:
Yamahas made in Japan
Onkyos made in Japan
Nakamichis (I strongly prefer the TA models to the SR models)
Harman Kardon
Luxman, esp the incredible R-117


Can someone recommend an Amp to go with those Q Acoustics 3020 speakers? I’m torn at the moment between getting these or just buying the wirecutter’s upgrade pick for PC Speakers. Obviously the Q Acoustics will be better but having difficulty figuring out how little I get away with spending on Amp without compromising the quality of the speakers.


Not sure what your budget is, but check out the Orb T-amp I mentioned above. It’s still on sale, but not as good a price as a few weeks ago (69 dollars instead of 39). Even so, good quality


I have a set of Adam A7s and I doubt anything will replace them. Games, a wide range of music, some amateur studio stuff and even my guitar via Rocksmith all sound great. You notice the difference with dubstep and drum and bass at lower volumes, and get to hear some of the bass subtleties missing from anything short of a big sound system.


I did look at it, but no optical support which I use at the moment. And I presume I want to keep using optical over other inputs. Their next model up has optical but its $160. I’m not opposed to spending that much, I guess I just don’t know whether its worth spending nearly $500 on speakers to plug into a PC.


Yeah, I have the Booster (the one with the optical). I’ve been quite happy with it, but it’s not cheap.


Hmm - I’ve been eyeing this setup for a while now and while looking into it realized that the Orb T-amp powers 20W while the Q3020s recommend a range of 25-75W.

Does that mean it’s too weak and I would need to pair it with a stronger amp? I’m too much of an audio noob to understand.


Most of your listening is likely done at about 1 watt. One wrinkle is the Q 3020s are 6-ohm speakers and I can’t find any mention on the Mini-Orb page about how it is spec-ed driving 6 ohms.


Not sure this helps, but the single orbs are 8 and the doubles are 4. They sell the mini packaged with the singles and the booster with singles and doubles. Doesn’t necessarily mean mini couldn’t drive the doubles, though. Maybe give them a call? I’ve never talked to their customer support, but they seem proud of that area.


Power doubles as resistance halves, re: ohm’s law. If that orb is rated [email protected], that will means it will deliver [email protected] Any modern amp rated at 8ohm should happily and safely drives loads at 6 or even 4 ohm. 6ohm should be no drama at all. 4 ohm I’d just be ensuring adequate ventilation. Anything lower would be really unusual for non-car audio equipment and I’d be asking of the amp was rated for that load.


My Mom surprised me with a pair of the Micca MB42X’s for xmas, and now I’m trying to find an amplifier for them. Something very small would be nice. So, other than recommendations (which I’d like), I’m also confused about amps all over again. Specifically, if these speakers say they handle 75W at 4-8 ohms, and I buy an amp that says 150W (75Wx2), then I’m all good? What if I were to buy an amp that pushes higher wattage? Could that “blow” the speakers? I know a lot of stuff with electricity is a “this wattage is available but the thing will take whatever it needs” sort of thing, but is that true with speakers as well? Or do I need to buy more conservatively and target 50W per channel? I’d usually spend a couple hours googling this but you guys seem to already know what you’re talking about so I thought I’d ask here. Thanks!



I got those speakers. They sound great.

If nobody says anything else, I ended up with this: Nobsound. It has no microphone output. It does have a volume knob, and a physical on off switch.


smsl sa-60 is what the reddit people and some thread on QT3 last year recommended. That blew up on me.


I’m sure its been said before in this thread - but so you don’t have to hunt for it:

Way more speakers get blown because they are paired with too small an amp than with too big an amp.

With a big amp you can certainly blow your speakers, but you’d have to be playing them really, really loud and probably for an extended time. With a small amp, that one time you want to play them just really loud, you’ll drive your amp into clipping, and you will blow the speakers instantly.

That said, unless you decide one day to use these speakers for a rave, or try to fill your backyard with sound, you’re unlikely to use anywhere near 50 watts anyway.