vintage speakers

Vintage Speaker User Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Here is the list of some important topics that will guide you in every while finding and using a vintage speaker.

  1. How to hook up a vintage pioneer stereo system speakers and phonograph?

Hooking a vintage Pioneer stereo system to a phonograph or record player might seem tricky, but in reality, it is not that tough. To connect them, first find out the analog phonograph input in your Pioneer system and connect one end of the RCA cable.

Then hook the other end of RCA to the audio input of the phonograph. However, if the phonograph has no preamp and if you are not getting any sound after connecting the phonograph to a stereo system, then you will have to buy a preamp separately.

Since the voltage output of a phonograph is much low so you need to amplify the sound to 150mVs so that it offers proper music through the speaker system.

In order to connect the pioneer system to the phonograph via external preamp,  first, plug the preamp to the AC power outlet. Then hook the phonograph to the preamp and vintage pioneer system to a preamp through an RCA cable.

After connecting both of them, now adjust the preamp gain to a minimal level and do the same to the volume level of your old speaker system.

Now switch both the audio system, and you will hear audio coming out of the box. You should modify the volume depend upon your requirements and enjoy the classic old songs.

  1. How to hook up speakers to vintage Pioneer receiver?

As an audiophile, you will know hooking a speaker to a vintage Pioneer receiver will lead to an exceptional audio experience. In the beginning position, the speakers properly and hook the appropriate RCA cable.

Now connect the left speaker cable to the appropriate port in the rear end of the receiver and the right one to the right speaker port. Now, if you have a rear speaker combo and a center speaker, then like the previous one, you should hook the cables in the respective ports.

When the connection is over, you should switch on both the device, and you will get a mesmerizing audio experience.

  1. How to clean a vintage drive-in speaker?

Using a microfiber cloth to clean a vintage drive-in speaker is probably the most natural way, although it entirely depends upon the condition.

First, you should open the interior of the drive-in speaker and use a normal to dust off the large debris. Then use a microfiber along with some cleaning spray to clean the interior of the speaker system.

  1. What are the best brands for vintage speakers?

When it comes to selecting brands for vintage speakers, you should look for Pioneer, JBL, Klipsch, EPI, Polk, Thiel, ADL, B&W, etc. Sony and Celestion also serve as a good option, but they are not totally worth it.

Some people also consider Yamaha, Spendor, BBC, and Quad as top brands for vintage speakers, but they have a reputation like Klipsch or Pioneer.

  1. How to re veneer vintage speakers?

Re veneering, a vintage speaker, is a delicate yet straightforward task because it will help you to match it with your surroundings but without compromising quality. First, you should twist and wrap the cables and ports so that it doesn’t come in your way.

Then use a sharp object to wooden trims from the speaker and then use a utility knife to take out the existing veneer. Now you will have to loosen the glues using a heater and then slowly using a knife; you will have to remove all the veneers.

Now use sandpaper to sand the entire box to remove any glue and sanding marks on the body. With the help of a paintbrush, apply a thin layer of polyurethane on the cleaned surface of the box. Then allow it to dry for a day; otherwise, their veneering process won’t work.

After drying it off, measure the area of the speaker and cut the veneer according to the measurement. While cutting the exterior, you should keep 1/2inch extra because it will come handy. Now take out a protective back layer of the veneer and press it on the speaker according to the measurement.

After applying the veneer, now again use three coatings of polyurethane with a 30minutes gap. Lastly, reinstall the foam and trim to complete their veneering process.

  1. How to test if vintage speakers work?

Using an ohmmeter to test the working condition of a vintage speaker is possibly the best way. You will have to take out the drivers and plugs before hooking the ohmmeter. So if you don’t get any sound, then the speaker won’t be working.

You can also check the vintage speaker by connecting the positive and negative output wire with a 9volt battery. If you heard any scratching noise, then the speaker is in working condition; otherwise, then the speaker is probably damaged.

The most straightforward way to test a vintage speaker is by playing any music, and if it oozes out clear audio in all frequency range, then it is in excellent condition.

You can also check the wiring from the outer till the crossover to find out if there is any dent. In case of any dent or breakage, there is a chance that the speaker won’t work.

Another way of testing a vintage speaker is by utilizing a digital multimeter with a capacitor. First, connect the positive cable to the positive cable of both multimeter and capacitor. Then hook the negative part similarly. If the multimeter shows the rating of the capacitor, then it means that the speaker is working.

  1. What amplifier to drive vintage 12inch speakers?

Basically, if you are using a vintage 12inch speaker, then depending upon the capacity or ohm of the speaker, you should get an amplifier.

So to power a 12inch a speaker, you need at least a 50watt rated amp to get excellent audio performance. However, it would be best to go for 100watt or higher for high volume.

  1. How do vintage speakers work?

Even though vintage speakers differ from modern speakers, but the way they produce sound is quite similar. Basically, they convert the electrical energy into mechanical energy that compresses the air to create motion.

This motion then subsequently convert into sound. Vintage speakers come with voice coils and permanent magnet. So when the electric current is passed through the coil, it creates an electric field, and it interacts with the magnetic field that is already created.

Thus when an audio signal travels through the voice coil, the music waveform starts going up and down due to repulsion. Due to this cone in the speaker also start vibrating, and it leads to a pressure wave in the air that basically originates sound.

  1. What kind of connectors is needed for vintage speakers?

Even though vintage speakers are quite outdated, but they are compatible with many connector facilities. RCA plugs probably the most common connector type when it comes to vintage speakers, and most of the brands utilized it. This connector type is present in the audio industry since 1940, so every speaker came with an RCA compatibility option.

TRS connectors were not popular as RCA, but many vintage speakers came with this connector as a standard connectivity facility. TRSs are basically quarter-inch plugs that are mainly used by professional audio devices and stereo speakers.

Speakon is another connector type that is used for connecting vintage speakers, but they are restricted to limited types. They are available in various pole design, and many high-end vintage speakers used it for its non-shorting capability.

XLR connectors are also well-known for connecting vintage speakers, and they are widely used in large size speaker systems. Although they weren’t commonly used as RCA or TRS.

  1. How to wire a vintage speaker?

Wiring a vintage speaker is not tricky as it might seem because they use the same theory that is utilized by today’s speaker.

To wire your vintage speaker with a modern amplifier and receiver, first, you need to cut the rear ends of the audio jack as not all devices will be compatible with your vintage speaker’s connector.

While stripping your speaker wire, make sure you peel it by 1/2inch and separate the wire halves. Now you need to twist the bare wires so that it forms a pointy end that can hook with any port. After twisting the exposed end, you will have to open the portholes of the amplifier or speaker.

Then insert the twisted wires into those holes. While entering it, you should make sure that you are putting them in the right terminals. Before switching on both the devices, twist the post to secure the connection.

  1. How to connect vintage receiver and speakers?

 Connecting a vintage receiver and speaker requires the simple insertion of the RCA plug at the right ports. However, if your old speaker and receiver don’t support RCA, then you need to strip off the wire and insert them in the correct ports by twisting the head.

However, while connecting a vintage speaker and receiver, you avoid crossing the wires as it will lead to a short circuit. Basically, the color code will help you out to hook both the devices.

  1. How to setup vintage speakers?

To set up a vintage speaker, you first need the respective speaker wires, cables, and a receiver that can amplify the audio for your old speakers. Before you begin, you should create a rough map for the setup.

Then place the audio source and receiver in a rack and distribute the speaker properly so that you get a proper experience. Now it is time to hook the receiver with the audio source with an RCA cable or traditional red and white analog cables.

After connecting the audio source, you will now have to connect the receiver with the speaker using L and R port. So if you are using RCA, TRS, or banana cable, then make sure the wires are connected to the right port. While connecting them, make sure you label them correctly to avoid any confusion.

  1. How to choose speakers for a vintage amp?

A vintage amplifier works in the same manner as the modern amp, where it takes the electric signal and amplify to produce audible sound through the speaker. You will have to match the impedance, wattage, and sensitivity range of the amp with the new speaker as it will give you excellent audio output.

First, check out the output for your amp, and if it falls within the amplification range of your speaker, then the speaker would perfectly fit. So if you have a high-end amp, then you can easily opt for large speakers with woofers.

However, if you don’t have a powerful amp, then choosing a bookshelf speaker or something similar would be a wise choice. Besides, you should also look for the tonal balance while coupling your amp with a speaker because it will determine the output quality of your music.

  1. How to make a vintage stereo system to wireless speakers?

If you are thinking of turning your vintage stereo into a modern music streaming, then you quickly achieve it by adding two devices. You just need one Bluetooth adapter and an amplifier to your old stereo into a booming wireless audio streamer.

Just connect the speaker and amplifier to the Bluetooth adapter with RCA cable, and you will be ready to rock.

However, if you have an amplifier with inbuilt Bluetooth, then you can directly connect the speaker for the wireless audio experience. You can even connect speaker and amplifier to a Chromecast that will also convert the set up a wireless system.

Else if you want to invest a considerable amount, then you can opt for a wireless audio system that can easily convert your vintage stereo to a wireless one.

For audio sources, you can use your mobile, laptop, tablet, or any other device that will be compatible.

  1. What kind of receiver works with vintage speakers?

Matching a receiver with a vintage speaker is slightly a tricky task because there is a difference between modern and old power rating. So if you have a large speaker with 50-watt per channel, then it is advisable to go for a receiver with a wide power range.

While playing music, power requirements might fluctuate from 5 to 30-watt, and if you go for a low-powered receiver, then you will distorted output. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with the power of your receiver and try to maintain a balance.

So if you 50-watt per channel, then it would be unwise to add a 500-watt receiver because it will be totally useless. Always look for a model that has extensive frequency coverage and can handle the wattage of your speaker.

  1. How to recone a vintage speaker?

The recone process of a vintage speaker is lengthy but straightforward. Before you begin the process, first you will have to find out the recone kit of your speaker and then buy them. After that, you need to disassemble the old cone by cutting the outer rim and base.

You also need to remove wires by using a heat gun or soldering iron. Now you should carefully remove any dust and dirt from the air gap of the cone magnet.

You can use a scraper to remove the remaining of the old cone. While cleaning, you can use masking tape in the air gap to prevent further intrusion of dust.

After removing the cone, it is time to add the new cone by removing the tape from the air gap. Before putting the cone, you should apply some adhesive on both the body and also on the spider’s base.

While placing the cone over the voice coil, you should check whether it fits correctly or not. Then put the gasket and shim and seal to completely seal the setup so that the speaker can sit properly. Keep the cone aside for at least 24hours after placing the speaker.

Then after drying off the adhesive, take out all the shims carefully so that you can attach the dust cover.

Now put some adhesive on the base of the cone and then place the dust cover by applying a minimal amount of pressure. In the end, use a soldering iron to connect all the lead wires so that your speaker can work again.

  1. How to restore vintage speakers?

Restoring your vintage speaker is a smart way to get good audio experience without spending hundreds of dollars. The restoring process either requires replacing the old components or repairing them.

However, the best way to restore a vintage speaker is by adding a new driver as it will notch up the overall audio performance. Check the specification and size of your old driver before getting the replacement.

Then with the help of a screwdriver and other tools, unscrew the old one and then carefully install the new driver. You can even restore your old model by replacing the old capacitor as it faces a lot of wear and tear due to prolonged usage.