Thread Number: 51998
Omnidirectional Stereo Speakers
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Post# 744030   3/21/2014 at 23:50 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        

I'm going to need a pair of speakers for my recently re-acquired chrome-and-glass stereo stand (circa 1976), and someone here might have some ideas. The stereo stand will go in my home office, which eventually will be redone in my fantasy theme.

Trying to describe the theme is difficult, but here goes. What I would like for it to look like is an intergalactic Business Center/Lobby of a Howard Johnson's in the year 2001, as imagined in the year 1969 (or anytime in that time period of the late '60s through the mid '70s). Except that instead of a riot of color, I want the complete absence of color, so only black, white, silver, gray, chrome and the like.

I've got my original Pioneer receiver and Technics turntable, but I got rid of my old speakers a long time ago, and they really don't fit my theme. The speakers of the future, I believe, are going to be cylindrical and omnidirectional.

Here is the stereo stand; my next step is to get new glass shelves cut for it (there are bits of masking tape at the corners).







Post# 744031 , Reply# 1   3/21/2014 at 23:55 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        
Zenith Circle of Sound

The max size of the speakers can be 27" tall, by 14" deep and 15" wide, or 14" diameter, if I'm looking at cylindrical speakers.

Although the woodgrain would have to be covered, maybe with black fabric or a vinyl wrap, these Circle of Sound speakers came to mind. They are futuristic looking.

From what I've read, these are the earlier variety, and don't have much in the way of bass. I don't need a lot, but these speakers might be a bit too small.



Post# 744033 , Reply# 2   3/21/2014 at 23:57 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        
More Circle of Sound

I found this ad for what I think are a later version of the Zenith speakers, with a bigger bass speaker directed out of the bottom.

These might be ideal, but I don't know how hard they are to find.


Post# 744034 , Reply# 3   3/21/2014 at 23:59 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        
Canon speakers

Canon, the camera company, apparently made these speakers, but only in England, for a brief period of time. I think this particular version might be too large for my stereo stand, and they look a little Darth-Vaderish to me.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK on eBay


Post# 744035 , Reply# 4   3/22/2014 at 00:03 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        
Pioneer

Even though the look is all wrong, I'm intrigued by these Pioneer speakers for sale on the Pittsburgh Craigslist. I suppose I could do a vinyl wrap on the top, and wrap around the side with acoustical speaker foam. I believe the side and bottom are molded plastic, and maybe the top is real wood.



CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK on Pittsburgh Craigslist


Post# 744036 , Reply# 5   3/22/2014 at 00:10 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        

I've found a few more omnidirectional speakers as apparently they were a bit of a fad in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the other ones I've found have been rectangular in shape. That look is not from the future!

My ears are not trained for high-fidelity and I don't play music at high volume. Perhaps there is someone among the membership who has a suggestion of where to look?


Post# 744038 , Reply# 6   3/22/2014 at 00:17 (2,989 days old) by hydralique (Los Angeles)        

Round (as in plan view) speakers were a bit of a fad in the late '60s and into the '70s. They didn't work for most furniture and room layouts so never became common. Empire (IIRC the same company that made some quality phono cartridges) had several of this type. I don't have personal experience with them but they should be decent hifi component quality, while I'd guess the Zeniths are mid-fi at best - by that time Zenith, Magnavox and their fellow TV manufacturers had abandoned any pretense of making good audio equipment. The Pioneers might be OK, though back then most Japanese speakers weren't up to the quality of good American or British equivalents.

 

Spend some time over at Audiokarma.com, they have lots of speaker threads and no doubt there is someone there who knows more.


Post# 744125 , Reply# 7   3/22/2014 at 11:15 (2,989 days old) by retropia ()        

I'll check out the forum at audiokarma.com; thanks for the suggestion. If they are all about high-fidelity, though, I may just lurk instead of post. They might not appreciate my wacky preference of visual aesthetics over aural quality.


Post# 744169 , Reply# 8   3/22/2014 at 14:02 (2,989 days old) by electron1100 (England)        
omni directional speakers

electron1100's profile picture
hello Doug
Just to add a few more, Bose I think its 901 was a sort of omnidirectional speaker, in Europe the best known name to me are Sonab, standard arrangements with the bass units but a row of tweeters in an arc on the top spread the sound around.

The zenith cylindrical speakers are very similar to one in the uk made by ITT KB

The most stylish sort of multidirectional speakers I remember where made by Grundig and they were and still are a fashion icon and fetch silly money on epay, I cannot remember the name of the model but basically they are large orb atop a stylish chromed stand and chrome base. Ah yes another! Tandberg Facetts they were funky looking...........

Phew my brain is empty now better go and watch some dynasty whilst it recovers

All these sorts of speakers were very popular in the early to mid 70s in the uk, but it was fun then as various manufacturers would bring out there model claiming it was the last word in sound experience so if you end up with a really wacky pair with about 20 drivers in them, they certainly should be interesting and entertaining.


Post# 744171 , Reply# 9   3/22/2014 at 14:02 (2,989 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
The round speaker set I wouldn't mind owning. A Clairtone Project G

Post# 744173 , Reply# 10   3/22/2014 at 14:04 (2,989 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
But I'd settle for an Electrohome Apollo :)

Post# 744189 , Reply# 11   3/22/2014 at 15:29 (2,989 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
Of the vintage round/omni speakers sold back then...

firedome's profile picture
the Empires were by far the best mentioned. The larger model 9000M "Grenadier" cost $220 in 1965, and had real marble top. Omnidirectional in general is tricky as it doesn't usually produce a coherent soundstage, something Dahlquist managed much more effectively with the Phased Array DQ-10 in the 70s, not exactly the round look, but they sound excellent.

If you want the '69 2001 Ho-Jo look what would be perfect are Saarinen "tulip" chirs and tables, and maybe a "womb" chair or 2. I have 4 tulip chair knock-offs that were made not by Knoll but by another office furniture maker, and there were less expensive domestic versions as well. You can still get the originals at "Design Within Reach", but they are hardly within reach of most people, at least the last time I looked at stuff in their store in Brooklyn Heights.


Post# 744197 , Reply# 12   3/22/2014 at 15:56 (2,989 days old) by hydralique (Los Angeles)        
firedome . . .

By "womb chair" do you mean something like this? It's not an outdoor chair but I took the pic on the lawn after unloading it from the truck. Not the most comfortable thing in the house but Delilah the Balinese cat likes it.

 

BTW agree that those old Dahlquist "Time Window" speakers are pretty fine, a buddy used to have a set.


Post# 744204 , Reply# 13   3/22/2014 at 16:20 (2,989 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
that chair

firedome's profile picture
reminds me of the chair #2 always sat in in "The Prisoner", Leo McKern was particularly memorable in that role. The Saarinen Womb chair wasn't a sectioned sphere as in yours www.google.com/#q=saarine... but is an acknowledged design classic right up there with the Eames chair. As an aside we had one of those (Eames) and got rid of it because it wasn't as comfortable to sit in for long reads as an Ikea Poang chair at about $150! Amazing but true.

Post# 744208 , Reply# 14   3/22/2014 at 16:32 (2,989 days old) by hydralique (Los Angeles)        

Oh yes, I do know that Saarinen Womb Chair, just forgot the name. I've sat in them and they're far more comfortable than the round chair I have, in fact the round chair is nearly useless except for the cats or someone very small. Supposedly it was used in the Austin Powers movie. It looks totally cool and was cheap so had to have it in spite of being slightly beat up around the edges.

 

I am in complete agreement regarding the Ikea Poang chairs: I am sitting in one as I type. It's 20 years old, bought for virtually nothing from an ex-bf who was moving back to Europe. Like most Ikea furniture it's not built well but gives an OK service life if not abused. This one is black with black leather and is falling apart so will have to be replaced with another eventually but until I fall to the floor I'm keeping it!


Post# 744218 , Reply# 15   3/22/2014 at 16:56 (2,989 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
luckily

firedome's profile picture
the Poang frame is very well made, and cushions are available in numerous fabrics, leathers and colors for very little... collect the whole set! And I sure didn't tell the Chicago Psychiatrist who paid crazy $ for our mint Rosewood and Dark Brown leather 1972 Eames w/ ottoman that the Poang is actually more comfortable!

Re: round speakers, I heard those Zeniths when they came out ca: 1968/9 and they didn't sound particularly good, it was a sales gimmick, basically.


Post# 744219 , Reply# 16   3/22/2014 at 17:03 (2,989 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
btw really like the look...

firedome's profile picture
of the DIY stereo stand, very 1968, my Sr. year in HS and 1st yr. of college... ah, what a year THAT was.

Post# 744221 , Reply# 17   3/22/2014 at 17:11 (2,989 days old) by hydralique (Los Angeles)        
firedome . . .

Do you recall Empire or perhaps someone else having a round (not segmented) floor standing fiberglass speaker system that was available in white? It tapered slightly towards the top; the junction of side to top was radiused. I believe it might have been advertised as being suitable for protected outdoor installation such as on a covered patio. I dimly recall the advertisements in the early '70s before I could drive and so couldn't hear them in person but they looked totally space-age.


Post# 744285 , Reply# 18   3/22/2014 at 23:22 (2,988 days old) by retropia ()        
Empire speakers

Hydralique and Roger, I came across this set of omnidirectional Empire speakers for sale on Craigslist. This set in particular is probably too large and heavy to fit in my stereo stand, but it is interesting to know that they have better sound.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK on Milwaukee Craigslist


Post# 744290 , Reply# 19   3/22/2014 at 23:41 (2,988 days old) by retropia ()        
ITT Schaub-Lorenz Korona

Gary, I came across these orb-shaped speakers which I think might be the ones you were referring to, made in Germany. They are extra-groovy! I can't tell how large they are, but apparently they can be mounted on short stands, like these, or on a tall stand, so they can sit directly on the floor, or hung upside down from the ceiling, like a hanging or ceiling lamp.


Post# 744293 , Reply# 20   3/22/2014 at 23:52 (2,988 days old) by retropia ()        
Clairtone Project G

Petek, I'd never heard of these before, but they are wild! If someone wanted a console stereo, this is about as contemporary as they came, I suppose. Those speakers look really serious.



CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK


Post# 744295 , Reply# 21   3/23/2014 at 00:13 (2,988 days old) by retropia ()        
Chairs

Roger, I don't have any womb chairs, but I do have a couple of Herman Miller chairs like these that came out of a bank. The upholstery is black vinyl on a white tub, the only real difference on mine is that they have black trim around the upholstery instead of white trim, like in the photo. These appear to have some type of height adjustment; mine do not.

I've also got a mid-1970s Parsons-style desk finished in black laminate. The only other thing I'd like to have furniture-wise is a Platner end table, either real or knock-off that I could place between the chairs. I've always thought that those are very futuristic-looking.


Post# 744297 , Reply# 22   3/23/2014 at 00:21 (2,988 days old) by retropia ()        
More Empire speakers

Hydralique, are these the Empire speakers you're thinking of? I found a listing (expired) for them on eBay. They were called Empire Model Jupiter 6500 speakers. They apparently have a down-firing big speaker at the bottom, and I suppose the two smaller speakers on the side are for mid- and high-range sounds.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK on eBay


Post# 744303 , Reply# 23   3/23/2014 at 00:43 (2,988 days old) by beekeyknee (Columbia, MO)        

beekeyknee's profile picture
Just be careful of foam surrounds or edges as they will sometimes deteriorate and crumble with age.

Post# 744316 , Reply# 24   3/23/2014 at 03:00 (2,988 days old) by hydralique (Los Angeles)        
Yes!

Those are the Empires I remember being advertised. Very cool look IMO, I like them better than the wood octagonal versions.


Post# 744321 , Reply# 25   3/23/2014 at 04:03 (2,988 days old) by electron1100 (England)        
Grundig

electron1100's profile picture
Hello Doug

This is great seeing all these designs, I have found a picture of the Grundig Audiorama speakers I was rattling on about, they were used with Grundigs top line quadraphonic system with two smaller versions for the rear channels.

Good luck
Gary


Post# 744322 , Reply# 26   3/23/2014 at 04:04 (2,988 days old) by electron1100 (England)        
Grundig

electron1100's profile picture
Hello Doug

This is great seeing all these designs, I have found a picture of the Grundig Audiorama speakers I was rattling on about, they were used with Grundigs top line quadraphonic system with two smaller versions for the rear channels.

Good luck
Gary


Post# 744331 , Reply# 27   3/23/2014 at 05:54 (2,988 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        

I really like the look of the room in reply #20,  the man looks like "Dean Martin".   alr

 


Post# 744340 , Reply# 28   3/23/2014 at 06:21 (2,988 days old) by 112561 (River Park, in Port St. Lucie, Florida)        

112561's profile picture

Yep, that's Dean Martin, in I guess a Matt Helm movie. The rest of the room looks pretty good too. I wonder who that blonde is? 


Post# 744462 , Reply# 29   3/23/2014 at 12:40 (2,988 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
Syd Mead

sounds like you are going for a Syd Mead-ish look :) Watched the movie"who's minding the mint"(1966)last night and a clairtone project G was seen.

Post# 744476 , Reply# 30   3/23/2014 at 13:53 (2,988 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
Petek, you're in luck...

twintubdexter's profile picture
This has been re-listed on ebay for a second time but with no price reduction. I guess a BIN price of $23,500 is a little steep, although the last one of these I watched sold on ebay for $9,000 and the speakers looked like someone played basketball with them...badly dented.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO twintubdexter's LINK on eBay


Post# 744502 , Reply# 31   3/23/2014 at 15:16 (2,988 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
They day I show that in my house you'll know I've won a lotto.

Post# 744671 , Reply# 32   3/23/2014 at 23:54 (2,987 days old) by retropia ()        
Grundig Audiorama

Gary, those Grundig speakers are awesome! Apparently they were originally round, and then sometime recently they started making them again in an elliptical shape. I think they may be out of production again.

In searching, I came across this version in the photo, which was called the Grundig Audiorama 700, and it came in black or white. I like these a lot, too.

Alas, I don't think many of the Audiorama speakers were sold here. In any event, they seem to be quite popular with collectors and priced accordingly.


Post# 744673 , Reply# 33   3/24/2014 at 00:10 (2,987 days old) by retropia ()        

I do like Syd Mead's futuristic illustrations. He illustrated a book for, I believe, U.S. Steel a long time ago. It had a limited print run and is also highly popular with collectors. It's on my wish list.

One of my inspiration pieces is this New Haven wall clock, which I found at a church rummage sale. It reminds me of a bit of Syd Mead's work; I have no idea who designed it.

My taste in decor and collectibles can sometimes be found near the intersection of Cheesy Avenue and Bad Taste Boulevard, so my office won't be too serious, when and if it ever gets done.


Post# 745037 , Reply# 34   3/25/2014 at 11:35 (2,986 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

How good were Clairtone's actual products? I've never heard of them before. Is it all based on appearance or is there actual performance beyond appearance?

Post# 745042 , Reply# 35   3/25/2014 at 12:00 (2,986 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
most of the spacey looking speakers

firedome's profile picture
probably including the cool Clairtone console, were more for design effect than audio excellence, but must admit they look way cool!

Doug, ouur chairs look very similar to yours but have white aluminum "tulip" bases, similar to Saarinen/Miller originals, blue-grey tweedy fabric seat covers, and came out of my wife's medical office. They were bought in bulk by a major health-care organization for waiting rooms when they owned the practice, and something like 20 of them were on eBay all at once about a year or 2 ago, when they cleaned out one of their warehouses! I was lucky that 8 were left in the basement when the practice went independent. I sent 2 to LA, 2 to Paris (shipping was killer!) and the best 4 went to my basement!

Some Verner Panton chairs might look good in that Ho-Jo lounge of the future!


Post# 745047 , Reply# 36   3/25/2014 at 12:50 (2,986 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
near the intersection of Cheesy Avenue and Bad Taste Blvd

ovrphil's profile picture
LOL! What a great idea, Doug. I have the Zenith Circle of Sound stereo - speakers are mediocre, but fine for general radio and casual listening...wasn't my goal to buy it for quality.

I love the Saarinen chairs. Your look sounds like a Restoration Hardware store's perpective on color - monochromatic overall, with chrome and glass(assuming you're using glass for the top and bottom of that chromed unit pictured?

Are you going to hang up some Syd Mead drawings? When I was in art school, one of my classmates collected photos, prints,etc..anything..of Syd Mead's. Great stuff! As a freshman, I thought the world would actually look Syd Mead'ish in the year 2000.

So many cool surround sound speakers. These are a pair I missed by a minute; another guy just put them in his Goodwill basket..still there, way too much $$: atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/eld/43...

I've included some chairs that would make great office additions for relaxing...if price wasn't an issue. Colors are not my choice, and you could do silver, black, or birch gray. I'm just puttin' stuff out there. Good luck and hope it comes together.







Post# 745427 , Reply# 37   3/26/2014 at 23:47 (2,984 days old) by retropia ()        

Phil, those items all look appropriately futuristic. The Panasonic speakers look like they would be the right size for my stereo stand. It would probably not be too difficult for me to make a "sock" of speaker cloth so I could cover up the woodgrain. Most speakers seem to have a woodgrain finish, including the Zenith Circle of Sound models, so that is something I'll have to deal with.

It seems to me that Syd Mead did some landscapes that look like an alien planet, although I didn't come across any in a quick Google search. That is probably what I would like, since it would be like a typical sofa painting of a nature scene, except in outer space.

I came across these Philco speakers for sale on Craigslist, which I'm guessing were Philco's answer to Zenith's Circle of Sound. I like the way the chrome base is designed. These speakers are a little small for my stereo stand, though.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK on Dallas Craigslist


Post# 745430 , Reply# 38   3/26/2014 at 23:56 (2,984 days old) by retropia ()        
Chair plus built-in speakers

I came across this oddity on Craigslist. I don't have room for anything like this, but it is very era-appropriate. The tag says it is made by "Lee Co., Burbank, California."

Why interact with others when you can sink into your egg chair, and shut the world out? Of course, you would periodically have to get out of your egg chair to flip your vinyl LP to listen to the other side.

No doubt this chair would be ideal for experiencing altered states of consciousness. Probably it is endorsed by Dr. Timothy Leary!



CLICK HERE TO GO TO retropia's LINK on Detroit Craigslist


Post# 745435 , Reply# 39   3/27/2014 at 00:10 (2,984 days old) by retropia ()        

The stereo stand has been polished twice with chrome cleaner, coated with alloy wheel sealer, and I've replaced all of the clear plastic pegs that hold the glass shelves in place. If I have time tomorrow, I'll take it to the glass shop to have new glass shelves cut.

Originally, it came with clear glass for the top and middle shelf, and mirrored glass for the bottom shelf. The mirror broke while I still had it, probably because it was overburdened with the heavy speakers I had on the ends, plus too many albums stored in the middle.

I won't be doing that again, as I'm looking for speakers that don't weigh as much. The albums I'll be storing elsewhere out-of-sight due to my no-color rule. I think I will be on the lookout for a set of the "dual dimension" version of the Circle of Sound speakers. I'm curious to see if the sound is of acceptable quality to my non-discerning ears.

This time, I think the bottom shelf in the stereo stand will be clear glass. I can always replace it later with a mirror if I don't like the look.


Post# 745512 , Reply# 40   3/27/2014 at 11:19 (2,984 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
Here's another 60's Electrohome with the matching chair w built in speakers



Post# 745538 , Reply# 41   3/27/2014 at 13:38 (2,984 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

ovrphil's profile picture
Doug(retropia)...just curious, are you placing the speakers on or off that stand - I can't imagine those being on or within the unit?

Post# 745546 , Reply# 42   3/27/2014 at 14:24 (2,984 days old) by retropia ()        
Electrohome

That's a groovy set - a chair with built-in speakers, and a cocktail table with a built-in turntable. In the future, all furniture will multi-task.

The Electrohome name doesn't ring any bells. I wonder if it was primarily sold north of the border?


Post# 745548 , Reply# 43   3/27/2014 at 14:35 (2,984 days old) by retropia ()        

Phil, the speakers will fit within the stereo stand, on the bottom shelf, on the left and right sides. It's not the best for stereo separation, but it will look the best. That is the way the stereo stand was designed originally to be used.

The maximum available space for each speaker is 27" high by 14" deep by 15" wide.

In the middle, on the bottom is space meant for albums. Above that there is a glass shelf where I'll put my Pioneer cassette deck. On the top is where the receiver and turntable go. I also have a couple of small Sony color TVs from that time period, and I should have room for at least one of them on top of the stand.


Post# 745559 , Reply# 44   3/27/2014 at 15:00 (2,984 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
Electrohome was a Canadian manufacturer located in Kitchener Ontario. They made stereo's tv/s, home organs, radios etc.. They also owned the Deilcraft Furniture company which made high quality wood furniture hence their cabinetry for the electronics was always top notch, the electronics themselves were good but not as good as a high quality component system. There were a few variations on that circular stereo cabinet with different configurations. Basically out of business now like all the other manufacturers, a name only




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