Cambridge Audio R50s - a good project?

I have acquired a pair of Cambridge Audio R50s. These are 1970s Transmission Line units. The Cabinets and grills are in wonderful condition. So, I’m considering replacing all the parts that require attention, such as new drivers and crossovers, wiring, wadding etc. I know I can get all I need from Falcon. Does anyone have any thoughts on these speakers? For example would they sound Ok driven by a 250dr for instance?
They are a bit long in the tooth in terms of design, I know, but they look gorgeous and wonder if the sound would be as good as I imagine it to be. ?

. . image from wikipedia Cambridge Audio_ entry

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That sounds like an interesting project - weren’t they Stan Curtis designs ?


Hi James, I think they were designed by B.J. Webb, but maybe Stan at CA had something to do with the Production, I don’t know.


Maybe twenty years ago, I found a pair R40s for my sister which she ran for a while with her unserviced Nait [1]. They sounded okay. I would imagine a Naim set containing a NAP250DR would sing with R50s.

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To me transmission line bass when done well beats any other. I don’t know the R50, but it did have a good reputation’ albeit not as consistently praised as IMF (though that doesn’t mean they’re not as godod).

If you need new drivers, try Falcon Acoustics: they now make B139 (Later version, not the original ‘racetrack’ version), B110 and T27, designed as exact replacements though Possibly improved in terms of power handling. They also do the Coles supertweeter. And they supply crossovers, and crossover components if they don’r do the R50 XO, or if you want improved conponents.

Transmission lines have a reputation for needing very capable amps to keep a grip on them - famously Bryston have been consistently praised in such role - I have no idea about Naim amps, but with high peak current capability for their RMS power ratings I would have thought a fair chance of success.

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Have you tried it out as it is presently ?

How does it sound ?

On lencoheaven dot net there is a restoration project of these speakers with pics


Hope reference to Lenco heaven is OK with Naim

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I had a pair of Cambridge R40s with a NAP200
Worked well
These were 1970s vintage I think
Certainly bought just after they were first released

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Thank you for all that information, it’s really useful. Falcon have already given me some great advice on the phone regarding dismantling and what to look for. I’m going to visit Oxford when things are normal again :slight_smile:

. . . Thank you, that’s good to hear.

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I have heard them. yes. I 'm going to update the crossover at least and possibly Supertweeter as IB mentioned earlier but some testing to do first. Also thank you for the pointer about lencoheaven, you are right, there is a mine of information there, for instance I was not aware of the TL200’s . . . Lots to read first.

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You have hit the jackpot with these especially if you can fully restore them.

Of course if you had £15,000 burning a hole in your pocket then you could probably go out and buy some speakers almost as great, but not many of us have that luxury. The R50s are as good as any loudspeaker I’ve heard - they are pretty big so placement can be hard, but I’m sure you’ll sort that out.

I couldn’t afford them when I first heard them many years ago, but a friend could and drove them with a Cambridge Audio P110 - so a NAP 250 will drive them without any problem at all. Should/will sound fantastic. His system always sounded better than mine.

I had a P60. When I had a little extra cash the R50s had ceased production and I tried to recapture that magical sound with first TDLs and then PMCs, both good transmission line designs, but alas they were not R50s.

Good luck restoring your R50s and I hope you will post about how you get on. In my opinion, you have a pair of the best speakers ever designed or made.


Great looking speakers too. I’ll be interested in how you get on. You may want to seek advice in the classic section at the pink place. You’ll usually find someone who has done the same or plenty of people who can offer good advice. @Mr.Tibbs of this parish covered his Gale 401 restoration there. Well worth a read.


Wow! Well I was looking at this project thinking it would be fun, because I always wanted to restore some nice vintage speakers. (I do love fixing things). I had no idea that they were that revered. So, no pressure to get it right then? :slight_smile:
Seriously though, speaking as a sculptor, I love the 1970’s architectural design of these speakers. They are not small cabinets, but the elegant and parallel lines of the grill, force the eye to move up and down quickly which gives them speed and lightness. I am looking forward to the restoration, and will most definitely record the stages and processes involved. My farther in law, who owned these, told me he loved the fact that they weighed 98 lbs and cost the same £98. So they were “a pound - a pound” .

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Thank you James, I’ll be sure to check that out.

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