Your Loudspeaker history

With the current popular threads on CD player history and on amplifier history it’s a bit surprising someone hasn’t started one on loudspeakers - so here it is!

Whilst even a simple unannotated list would be interesting other information is encouraged where possible: Year added, even if only approximate, would give historical scale, while additional detail would add interest to the reader, e.g. reasons for choices/changes, impressions, overall preference etc. Certainly I’ve found such information in the other threads made for interesting reading, though even the plain lists are fascinating, whether someone has taken very few steps in their hifi history or has made frequent changes.

Where you have multiple systems it may be worth clarifying whether components were added for additional systems or whether they were all originally for the main one, with displaced kit moving into other systems.

To kick off, here is my own speaker history:

DIY reflex design using Eagle FR8 8” fullrange driver. These completed the build of my first hifi system in 1969. 2cu ft cabinets made of varnished stained plywood, calculations for the port done by slide rule from published theory as there were no computer tools or databases then (indeed, no computers for home use, and no calculator either), and other aspects as gleaned from books. Sounded great to me, and all my friends agreed my system sounded better than whatever they had to play music on. And they did bass! Admittedly, I was later to learn that bass could be better. A lot better (they wallowed). But it was the first time I’d really heard, and felt, bass, making rock and prog music sound so much better. A couple of journalists from a hifi magazine who heard them were at first impressed, as I was playing Pink Floyd’s Saucerful of secrets with its organ notes sounding as they arrived - but on went some classical that they knew, and although they were polite, they were, shall we say, less than impressed with overall clarity and with the distinctly subdued top end: the supposedly full range drivers had quite a treble roll off in reality.

DIY 3-way floorstanders (my mum called them coffins!). Aware of the limitations of my first speakers it wasn’t long before I set about upgrading. So in, I think, 1970 I built these, using KEF B139 bass drivers and KEF T15 tweeters, together with the Eagle FR8s from my first speakers repurposed for just midrange duty. Chipboard cabinets were veneered, stained and French polished. Ah, that was definitely better! More balanced sound with a top end to match the bottom (ish).

IMF TLS150ii: In 1975 or early 1976 some money from maturing saving policy allowed me to treat myself with a huge (to me) budget of £300. This led to a mammoth speaker search, auditioning 13, all in the £250-£300 price bracket (around £2.5-£3k today). The one that did it for me was the IMF TLS150ii. I was astounded to find that even at that quite high price bracket they all sounded so very different from one another - all the more so given that about three quarters of those I auditioned were the respective manufacturers’ flagship models, and all having received glowing magazine reviews. Ten of them were so bad to my ears that I rejected them virtually instantly when music started to play (yet some I have since learnt are liked by members of this forum), and another one only lasting a couple of tracks. The TLS 50s were lovely speakers, full range with excellent bass, and with a neutrality that meant they could play any music well, unlike some speakers. I say were - they still do sound good: after a 26 years elsewhere they eventually came back and my son has them now.

IMF RSPM: In ~1990 the chance spotting of a newspaper advert offering a secondhand pair of these at a very good price had me borrowing my brother-in-law’s Range Rover and driving from Tyne and Wear to Doncaster. A quick listen confirmed their suitability and I was heading back with them. The RSPMs were IMF’s top speaker at the time I bought the TLS50s, but out of reach then - to say I was chuffed at the change is an understatement. The same, but more and better is the only way I can describe them.

PMC EB1i. In 2016 an inheritance from the person who introduced me to music prompted a change of speakers, and after some research and planning a mammoth road trip covering the length and breadth of England led to me choosing these. The primary criteria of that search was for something that was at least every bit as good as the IMFs, younger, and if possible capable a playing at a higher sound level. The EB1i did all that, with essentially the same sound character, and added greater tautness to the bass.

Modified PMC EB1i - tri-amping then using with ATC mid and Scanspeak treble…. I had been playing at designing and building a pair of transmission line speakers myself (a longterm project, in abeyance for a while), for which I had bought the sublime ATC SM75-150 3” dome midrange drivers (before ATC stopped selling on their own), which together with some Scanspeak tweeters I had built into satellite boxes that would sit atop the said transmission line cabinets. To simplify that design had I added a couple of extra MF P170 amps and an active crossover. In 2017 it occurred to me to try using that electronics to have a go at active driving of my PMCs, as they were fitted with triple terminals and I knew their passive crossover was easy to remove. There was a definite improvement - small but definite, across the board but perhaps most noticeable at the bass end. Then a brainwave: those ATC mid units were very similar to PMCs midrange units used in their top models (unsurprising as I understand PMC used to use the ATC unit before ATC stopped selling to competitors, and, allegedly at least, their own unit that followed was a near clone). I put my DIY satellites on top of the EB1 speakers, connecting mid and treble amps to them, using the PMCs just for the bass. Now that made a significant difference, the ATC mid shining through, adding a greater sense of realism, especially to solo vocals, sounding as if the person was in the room, without losing the excellent bass of the EB1. So that is how it stayed.

PMC MB2. When I bought the EB1s, one of the other speakers I auditioned was the MB2. On hearing I considered them to be the best speakers I’d ever heard, however whilst I had a very good offer for them ex-dem, that was £4k more than the EB1s, and I was concerned about my ability to manhandle the MBs as I get older - so my head ruled and I went for the EBs. However I was left with a lingering niggle, with something in me regretting not going for the MB2, one of my very few ever regrets. Then in October 2022 a secondhand pair appeared online at a remarkably good price - collection only, but only a couple of hours from where I happened to be with a campervan. They were in mint condition, and are now mine! Putting them on their stands is a challenge, really at least a two person job and not easy even then, and moving them, even a few cm, is not something I’d want to do in a hurry. However, the solution is incredibly simple - don’t ever move them! And if ever it were to be necessary, make sure there are some fit and strong helpers around.

That, I think, is the end of my speaker journey., and I’m unlikely ever to change again. That said, I’d love to hear them in MB2XBD format, and I’d also love to hear some others out of curiosity, including Tannoy Westminster Royal, Ferguson-Hill FH1, B&W’s Nautilus, and ATC’s SCM150A. Who knows what a lottery win would trigger?


Started my career with Kef Q90 in 1996. Inherited them after my dad bought SF Minima. Before that a nice Luxor system from the 70s.
Tannoy 631 and Kez center channel.
Bag End Infra18 in 1997.
Cerwin Vega V35B professional horn speakers in 2000
ATC A7 in 2001
Sonus Faber Concertino in 2005
Monitor Audio GR10 in 2005
Some small Klipsch standmounts

From 2008:
Naim SBL mk2 (Used these for 8 years)
Naim IBL mk1
Rega Ela (sold to my cousin)
Dynaudio Excite (Had these only a few months)
Rega R5 (my brother have these)
Neat Momentum 3i
Harbeth M30i
Royd Squire (friend have these)
Totem Arro (In my main system for several years. These are now in the TV-room)
Naim IBL mk2
TAD2402 clones with cheaper drivers.
Open baffles with 2x15" and horns.
PMC Twente5-24
Rel Tzero mk2
Slot load open baffle horn speakers, active.


This is embarrassing, or not!

Mordaunt Short MS310
Neat Motive SX3

That’s it. Over 30 years.

2 CD players.

3 Amps

2 pairs of speakers

2 turntables.

The rest of you change HiFi equipment more often than your underwear.


I play around with speakers in my second system, but I’ve only had four pairs in my main system over the past 50 years.

Original Advent
Large JSE Infinite Slope
Martin-Logan Sequel II
PSB Synchrony 2

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It’s a short list for me

1998, KefQ15.
Little stand mounts which are great for what they are. They got me up and running post divorce. Used with Nait 3 and Rega Planet CD player. Still used on the Uniti Nova and still giving a good account of themselves.

2000, Naim Credo.
Bought as an upgrade to go with my upgraded system. Used with 92R/90, 102/180/HC, 82/250/HC. All fed by Naim CD3.5/HC and latterly CDS2/XPS. Sitting upstairs with various Naim components as spare systems just in case. Comes out occasionally for something different.

2019, Naim SBL MKii Hornslett
Again bought as an upgrade to go with my 82/CDS2 system. Currently used with 52/SC/135’s, CDS2, LP12.

All three speakers continue to give me great pleasure and I have never regretted for a moment buying any of them. Indeed I am really pleased that I still have them all. What, if anything is next? Dunno. I’ve heard a few speakers and it seems I would need to spend a considerable amount of money to get better. Not sure I feel like doing that, so the SBL’s might be the end of the road for me.

  1. Mordaunt Short Pageant series 2. Late 1970s

  2. Rogers LS3/5a with Rogers LSB1 subwoofer. Mid 1980s

  3. Naim SBL MK1 bought in 1987 and upgraded to MK2 in 1999 to go with Naim 32.5/Hicap/250 CB and NAT 01 CB

  4. Kudos T505. 2021


The reasons for the wide variation could be many - contentment or lack of, or variable, different levels of aspiration, size of steps upgrading towards goal, moving goal, different levels of resources, susceptibility to upgraditis triggered by external influences (e.g. this forum!), etc etc. But the very variation makes the contributions interesting, from some much as you, to others as you say. And of course some of the bigger lists, at least in the amplifiers thread, are from people with multiple systems (hence the request with this one to identify where there are multiple systems).

Mine is effectively 7 speakers in 63 years.


Sure, and sorry, it was very much meant gently. At least I hope you all change your underwear more often than your boxes…

I forgot all about my UQ1.5 and Neat Iota’s too, so I’m not all that ascetic :wink:

Wharfedale Linton 3xp (scrapped)
Heybrook HB1 (damaged and scrapped)
B&W 705s (sold)
Naim SL2 (main system)
Wharfedale diamond 220s (second system)

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Music Centre
Goodmans RB20
A variety of midi systems!
Focal Chorus 705 V
B&W 685
With Naim systems:
Rega RS3
Dali Rubicon 6
Spendor A6
Proac D18

Presently have Proac D18 on end of 500 system. Sounds great, but the speakers are the ‘weak’ link, all relative of course. Proac K3 beckons…… maybe one day.


In my twenties I spent time trying to work out what I liked and tried Gales, Mission and others. In 1988 I bought new Mk1 SBLs. They were ‘replaced’ a few years ago by late Mk2 SBLs. It seems I now know what I like…


Started with Mission 731LE
Eltax LR-6.5
Mordant Short floorstanders?
Rega ELA (my son has them)
Currently running Neat Iota Xplorer

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My journey started with my Dads system being moved from the lounge to my bedroom. Loads of Decca stuff but don’t know what models. Then, later in life my first lounge system was a very fashionable micro hifi. Small little aluminium speakers screws to a brick wall and sounding surprisingly good. Next a move to big Acoustic Research speakers with side firing bass units. Not great. A move to Meridian M2’s corrected this for a while until my dealer suggested Linn Kans on the end of a 32-5/140. Pure unadulterated bliss! A move to Isobariks was my attempt to get some more bass, which I did but at a loss of the Kans fantastic speed and agility. However, going active with 135’s solved this little problem. Finally, 24 years later, a chance of some Naim DBL’s came up and I jumped at them. Now these really are just like a great big set of Kans but with bass. Frighteningly fast, incredibly agile, subterranean bass, just like a real band is in the front room with you. Journeys end!


Just seven pairs across 40 years:

KEF Coda
Tannoy 605
Mission 782
Totem Arro
Totem Mani-2
ProAc Tablette 10

46 years has seen these speakers in my main system:
Omar wendover (1977)
Tangent TM1 (1978)
Castle Conway II (1981)
Epos ES14 (1989)
Castle Harlech (1997)
PMC FB1+ (2007)
Spender A9 (2013 and still current)

Where next?

Please don’t start a thread on the history of speaker cable. I started out with twin core lighting cable.


KEF Q somethings in the 90’s
Swapped for Naim Allaes (which I still have in storage) in about 2006ish
Currently running Focal Kanta 1’s

I don’t change speakers very often.

Tannoy 605 (1992)
Quad 77-11L (2004)
Focal Aria 926 (2022)

I also have a Sonos surround sound system consisting of a Sonos Beam, a pair of Sonos Ones and the Sonos Sub

My main system speakers:

B&w dm603 (I think they were) bought in ‘96 ish along with a Cyrus iii. I was probably too hasty choosing these.

Pmc fb1 much more refined, the b&w only really came alive with plenty of volume

Meadowlark shearwaters very nice
But then I simply fancied a change
And with a predicted change to Naim amplification …. Plus I’d bought rega r3 speakers for the lounge as I wanted something discreet, and so:

Rega R7 these were great
But then changed room and they were too big, so:

Neat motive sx2 I really like these, they are now in the lounge and the r3’s in their box

Finally I wanted to buy my “forever” speakers (less than a year ago): proac d20r simply fabulous and beat more expensive speakers in the auditioning phase when I took my time and listened to several different pairs from the likes of Sonus faber, kudos and neat

I also have totem dreamcatchers with a unitiqute2/nap100.

B&W 601
Wharfedale diamonds
Mission somethings
AE1 series 2
Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor
SF Cremona Auditor M
SF Cremona Auditor
Kudos s20
SF Cremona Auditor
Revel M106
SF Cremona Auditor
Falcon Q7 gold badge
SF Cremona Auditor

B&W sub of some variety with most of the above.

Thats the order used over the years and still own quite a few of them. You’d think I’d give up with changing speakers due to being the master of failed upgrades but I’m one persistant old git :slightly_smiling_face:
Now fancy a pair of vintage Tannoys or SF Guarneris for my next disaster


1983-1987: Rogers LS1

1987-1989: Rogers LS7

1989-present day (2nd system) Mordaunt Short 100 golds

1994-1997 SBLs in light oak veneer

2006-present day SBLs in dark oak veneer