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Old 12-11-2019, 08:51 AM
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I found the little shop (Watertown, Mass.), and even better - he will repair stuff. So I bought a mid-grade amp that had been repaired, and I had him do some cone repairs on my old big cheap speakers and he upgraded some components in the crossover circuits of the speakers at the same time. You don't have to buy new, you know.

Actually, in my other location, right now I'm listening to a Yamaha tuner-amp that I found by the side of the road to be picked up! Sounds great. My CD player? Also picked up by the side of the road (different road, different day).

I've seen a lot of medium quality speakers set out by the side of the road, too, probably because they are old and big and the people got some of those new expensive tiny speakers that (as I noted above) are very impressive in the stereo store but in practice wear your ears out with their immediacy.

So if you live in a fairly prosperous neighborhood and keep your eyes open, over the course of a couple years it might be possible to build a pretty good system off the side of the road!
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:53 AM
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Vintage Marantz silver face receiver. Doesnt have to be high power. 2230 is adequate.
Lots of good speakers out there.
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Old 12-27-2019, 08:59 AM
Location: NNJ
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With a little DIY and audio system knowledge (easy... all available online), you can build a great sound system that is cost and space efficient. The key is finding good (even older) speakers.

I had received Marshall bluetooth speaker as a gift. Great sound but the electronics inside were less than desirable; the unit failed (amp died) in three years. The quality drivers and cabinet was so nice I had a hard time just trashing. So there it sat for another year as a door stop.

So I eventually opened it up and gutted it. Then rewired it to a two channel crossover inside, sealed the exposed holes, and exposed two leads out the back with terminal binding posts. Sourced a mono power amp and Vacuum tube preamp to drive it. Both amp and preamps were relatively inexpensive units branded "Nobsound" a subsidiary of Douk Audio. Both units a very small.. mini... about the size of a large paperback book each with their own external power supply.

The crossover mounted inside is a two channel one (three channel is available depending on the speakers). It has 4 jumpers to adjust and solder-less connectors. Goes for $12 USD


The Amp itself is 100W(2ohm) mono that can be switched between full spectrum and sub modes. It can drive small 2,4,8 ohm speakers, has its own gain settings, for those that use it to drive a subwoofer it also has a frequency cutoff adjustment. So pretty much can cover most mono applications for small book shelf speakers. Goes for $56 USD.


The PreAmp (if you choose to use one) uses tubes, supports Bluetooth, and has two Aux inputs. It also has two adjustments for Treble and Bass. So far the bluetooth is very stable but I use Aux inputs most of the time. Originally sampled the speaker without the preamp... just source > amp > crossover > speaker. Even then, it sounded darn good. Goes for $80 USD.


Now, I've had some great systems in years past that I had to let go due to space and these units are pretty inexpensive. As such my expectations were pretty low but it would still be nice to breath new life into the Marshall.

I was blown away by the sound of this little single speaker system. So much so, I hit Ebay to find another nearly identical "for parts" Marshall that also fried its electronics real cheap. All wanted was good drivers and cabinet to split the L/R channels to separate mono amps. The nice balanced crisp sound has far exceeded my expectations. It is more than adequate to fill a 15x20 room with music nicely with little distortion and high volume. I listen to everything from classical, piano, pop, R&B, rock, and even some dubstep..

Here's the end result of my small audio system

The connector posts I used:

Spare tubes just in case:

Short RCA audio cables I used:

I originally intended to pair it with a gutted/modified/amp'd subwoofer. But I decided it was not necessary... the unit sounds wonderful without it. But I ended getting these as well to split the signal at the pre-amp:

As someone already posted, you can find some excellent garage/side-of-road/pawn sourced speakers... old school ones are still great. Many were tossed aside in favor to tiny bluetooth speakers out of convenience. For bare minimum cost of about $70 bucks/channel (Amp + crossover), it isn't all that hard to bring new life to them.

The con is that each unit has its own power supply... so you are going to have a bit of nest of wires behind it. I have a dedicated slim power strip with a couple of these IEC C7 to NEMA 1-15 adapters to cut down on the mess:


I later found Douk Audio's webpage: https://www.doukaudio.com
They have a nice catalog of small mini audio components to build a variety of high fidelity sound systems without a high budget; switches, bluetooth, DACs, tube amplifiers, headphone amplifiers, etc... I just noticed that they have a newer version of my mono-amplifier that has been upgraded to support 300Ws for larger than bookshelf speakers... ideas! Want to simplify what I created? Skip the separate amp + preamp and drive the speakers from a all in one unit.. there's an amplified version of the tubed unit like mine... even cheaper too.. A catalog of audiophile bargains...

Last edited by usayit; 12-27-2019 at 10:01 AM..
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