Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair

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colekaye1

Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« on: 25 Jan 2012, 11:41 pm »
Hey everybody,

     I happened to come across a pair of Snell Type E/III speakers. I'm new to the audio world and was wondering if anybody knows anything about them (what are they worth, are they worth keeping, etc.). Thank you for reading my post and I look forward to your responses.

-Colekaye1

Andrew JC

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #1 on: 27 Jan 2012, 12:01 am »
First off welcome to the forum! I’m currently a Snell owner myself and I’m on my second pair. I’m by no means an expert on the brand. I can tell you that they are an excellent pair of speakers.  If you care about quality craftsmanship and sound they are worth keeping. They were made in the USA in Haverhill, MA by group of people who took great pride in their work.  The cabinets were finished by hand with real wood veneers and the tweeters were matched within .5dB.  I had to get some work on my speakers and was able to drive to the factory and met some of the people who worked there.  If I remember correctly Snell was acquired by Boston Acoustics then by Harman Kardon.  You can read about the company here http://www.snellacoustics.com/default.asp

Letitroll98

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #2 on: 27 Jan 2012, 04:33 am »
Welcome Cole.  Are they worth it?  Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  One of the finest two way floorstanders ever designed.  Originally $850 they rose to $1199 at the end of the run, yet they still demand fairly high prices on the used market, $400 and up for nice examples.  They are actually a 2 1/4 way design as they have a supertweeter in the back for added ambiance.  The original was designed by Peter, but Series III and IV were mostly the work of Kevin Voecks who took over design duties after Peter Snell's sudden death.  The Series II and III were largely refinements of the original, with the Series IV taking a greater departure, much more Kevin's idea of what the speaker should have been.  Beautiful tone, detailed, alive, strong and punchy bass, some whiffs of treble graininess creep in, but not to objectionable levels.  Except for the Series IV, imaging was not their strong suit, more of a wall of sound than highly detailed soundstage, which Peter felt was more representative of actual concert hall presentation.  For the Series IV this all changed, outstanding soundstaging with sharply drawn images.  I'm a real fan of the Series IV, purists hate it.  http://www.snell.no/the_archives_type_E.htm and http://www.snellacoustics.com/History.asp

For used pairs you need to check the foam surround for rot.  Snell used high quality foam, but it's still not a rubber surround.  Check the rear level controls for scratchiness, again they used good components, but they are old.  Finally, one of the hallmarks of the design were .5db matched drivers, which means the crossovers were hand tuned for each speaker.  When I had to replace a woofer I got the new woofer with the added crossover components to bring it into spec with the other half of the pair.  They still had the tested response curves on file 10 years later.  Don't know if that still holds true since the purchase by D&M Holdings.  But for you it means if any of the crossover caps have changed values over the years, they may or may not have direct replacements, worth checking out.

Lastly, Audio Note UK still sells the original Type E design under their own brand as the AN-E with four different price levels, from memory about $3500 to something under $10k?, or something insane like that.  They are improved designs, but I didn't think that improved when I heard them.

Hope this helps.           

tonyjack

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #3 on: 27 Jan 2012, 03:49 pm »
I have owned the Snell E III speakers since 1998 and I had the surrounds done about 2 years ago. They are fantastic speakers. I've had them in 3 different rooms in my house and they've sounded good everywhere. I've had them with a variety of electronics,Bryston, Counterpoint, NAD,McIntosh, Nuforce and right now Quicksilver V4 amps, Counterpoint SA 1000 pre, CAL Sigma II Dac, Sony 775 SACD player. I agree with the others in that they may not be the best at imaging but you can certainly get pretty good results with experimenting with positioning. I also own Vandersteen 3A Sigs and Maggie 1.6 in other systems and the Snells are just as enjoyable to listen to. They just play music and are easy to integrate with most any electronics up front.
www.snell.no is a sight devoted to Snell speakers that may be of help. Enjoy your Snells.

colekaye1

Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #4 on: 27 Jan 2012, 04:09 pm »
Thanks so much for the info guys! Looks like I stumbled into something good. :D The foam surrounds were rotted when I got them, so I bought a couple of foam kits and re-foamed them. Everything else with the speakers seems to be alright, I didn't have any scratchiness with the rear level controls. Do you guys think that the new foam would either drastically change the sound or the value of the speakers?  They currently sound great with the new foam surrounds. I can only imagine what they must have sounded like right out of the box.

Letitroll98

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #5 on: 27 Jan 2012, 11:10 pm »
No, refoaming can only improve what you had.  Dead on spec, perhaps not, but the motor, spider and cone have way more effect than one foam surround or another.  If you had changed to rubber or coated the surround it might make a major difference.  The only other thing that could change is the value of the caps in the crossover, which could lower the crossover point.  I wouldn't sweat it unless you start hearing distortion in the upper mids/lower treble.  Since AFAIK you have to remove the caps to test their value, it's only for obsessive DIY'ers or if you hear a problem.  Enjoy, you have found a winner.  BTW, could we ask how much you paid?

tonyjack

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #6 on: 27 Jan 2012, 11:41 pm »
Anyone out there know if Peter Snell designed his speakers like the E Type to go in the corners? I know that the Audio Note Speakers which are basically Snells but very tweaked out with high grade components and wire, are always demoed with them being in the corner. The demos I've heard of them have been fantastic, with great imaging, sound stage and the bass for being in the corner is not over ripe or bloated. I've never tried putting my E III's in the corner but was wondering about this. The Snells have a port in the back as well as the rear firing tweeter which I don't think the Audio Notes have. Putting them in the corner would seem like a no-no with that design. Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.

Letitroll98

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #7 on: 28 Jan 2012, 12:15 am »
There's a toggle switch to turn off the rear tweeter, so that's not an issue, and yes, Peter Snell considered the room an integral part of his designs and could all be placed near wall if needed (hence the switch) or further out into the room.  However they were not designed for corner placement like Allison's or Klipsch's.  You see more of his in room theory in the Type A and B, with the B Minor down thru the K making more and more compromises for the marketplace. 

Audio Note UK has their own ideas, some of which I don't particularly agree with, but they do a nice job executing them.  I have only heard the AN-E's during show conditions in which they did not image as well as other displays in similar sized rooms and were not placed hard against the corners, just trending towards that with the front wall and the corners several feet away.  But certainly you may have had better conditions to hear them in than I did.  In any case they sounded very nice.

tonyjack

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #8 on: 28 Jan 2012, 01:08 am »
Thanks for the speedy reply! My Snells do not have a toggle switch but do have a rotary knob in the back for adjusting the front tweeter output. Serial # 43869 and 438670. Would some production model E-III's have the toggle and some not?
Perhaps these were more of the Kevin Voecks design and to be used away from the walls with the rear tweeter for more of an atmospheric airy presentation. Interesting!

MarkM

Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #9 on: 28 Jan 2012, 02:56 am »
 What a coincidence, I just got a pair of new 8" factory Snell replacement woofers today in the mail for my J's.   The E/III were the first Snell's I owned when I started to gravitate towards "high" end speakers/components. The E's have a great mid-range, are smooth and pair very well with tubes I found.   One of Snell's real strengths are the reproduction of voice.  I currently own C/V's, D's, M's and a pair of J/III.

As for re-foaming,(I have done about 6 woofers) as long as the woofer remained centered and did not get pulled one way or the other when the glue setup, you should not be able to tell much of a difference.  There is no real need to pull the dust cap and shim the voice coil.

C/V's are in my two channel room and the D's/M's handle home theater duty. 

You have a very nice set of speakers IMHO.

Enjoy





Quiet Earth

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #10 on: 30 Jan 2012, 06:40 pm »
I know that the Audio Note Speakers which are basically Snells but very tweaked out with high grade components and wire, are always demoed with them being in the corner. The demos I've heard of them have been fantastic, with great imaging, sound stage and the bass for being in the corner is not over ripe or bloated. I've never tried putting my E III's in the corner but was wondering about this.

tonyjack,

If you have two available corners that you can use with your Es then it will be well worth your time to try it out for yourself. Typically, the AN-E speakers start out by being placed directly in the corners and then gradually move their way out from the back wall while staying very close to the side wall. The tow in is aimed somewhere between the speakers pointed in your lap to just in front of your feet. This is the way that I have mine set up at home and it is the way that I have seen Mario (of AN UK) set them up for shows. (Mine are probably out from the back wall a little bit more than typical, but just as close to the side wall.)

If you keep your Snell E as close to the side wall as possible (2-4 inches) but move them as much as 18 inches away from the back wall of the corner, then your rear firing tweeter might have something to fire against with enough breathing room to be "ambient". Try turning the tweeters all the way down at first and then slowly bring them up until they become audible.

FWIW, here is a little bit of info on placing the AN-E : http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/speakers/speaker_placement.shtml, and a little more of the same starting on page 3 of the owner's manual : http://www.audionote.co.uk/downloads/an-e_manual.pdf

colekaye1,
Nice catch man! Enjoy. :thumb:


Æ

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #11 on: 30 Jan 2012, 06:48 pm »
Lastly, Audio Note UK still sells the original Type E design under their own brand as the AN-E with four different price levels, from memory about $3500 to something under $10k?, or something insane like that.  They are improved designs, but I didn't think that improved when I heard them.

Did you ever read this Stereophile review? Kind of an eye opener. Look at the frequency response graph, Fig.4.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/audio-note-e-lexus-signature-loudspeaker-measurements

Letitroll98

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #12 on: 30 Jan 2012, 08:07 pm »


Ref the above two posts, I have to correct myself, memory being what it is, I have a picture from the show I was referring to and lo and behold, the little suckers are in the corners.



I believe these are the are one of the Signature Series with the hemp woofers.  My notes say $16,000 a pair!   :o   I love Snell speakers, and I thought these sounded splendid, but I would spend my $16k on Joseph Audio Perspectives, YMMV. 

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #13 on: 30 Jan 2012, 08:19 pm »
I believe these are the are one of the Signature Series with the hemp woofers.  My notes say $16,000 a pair!   :o

Nice pic.
So how much do you think it would cost one to build their own? Maybe $1000?

Letitroll98

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #14 on: 30 Jan 2012, 09:47 pm »
Nice pic.
So how much do you think it would cost one to build their own? Maybe $1000?

I don't know, that's so hard to say because you don't know if you could even source the exact drivers.  But saying you could get a reasonable facsimile, maybe ScanSpeak Revelator for woofer, Morel MDT33 tweeter, you could be into $800 for drivers easily.  Outboard crossover so I'd assume some big oil caps and high quality inductors, maybe another $500 there.  Furniture grade woodwooking, assuming you can't DIY, another $600.  So parts cost, a bit under $2k a pair guesstimate.  Your time is free because you're keeping them, and assuming anyone taking this on would have the test equipment on hand.

Manufacturing for a market, way different parameters.  You get wholesale purchase of parts, whether drivers or parts to manufacture your own, Audio Note UK may have many of the internals manufactured in house, wiring and coils for sure.  You have to add in all the multitude of fixed and variable costs, but this gets spread out over your economy of scale.  Not all that large with a cottage industry like Audio Note UK, but not insignificant.  Wildly guessing, but maybe 40% more to get it to market than what you could build it for yourself (including your profit), then add a 20% distributor markup and then a 40% retail markup shows you could get on a showroom for under $5,000 retail.  Then of course, I could be wrong.....   

tonyjack

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #15 on: 30 Jan 2012, 10:59 pm »
QuietEarth: Thanks for that info. That's great. I can't really do proper corners due to my room configuration, but I can follow some of the guidelines indicated on the site. I'm getting very good results with the positioning they are in now but things are a bit compromised because of a set of drums in the middle of the room between the speakers. It actually helps in the ambiance department because the drums are tuned wide open, so you get a little of that with the sound of the system which is all tube. Other systems in the house are more precise from an imaging perspective. One more with drums and another without! I guess you could call it a natural tweak.
I'm still curious about the toggle switches that letitroll98 mentioned,as my model E III's do not have them.
The system in the photo is very much like what I heard at a VTV Audiophile Expo held here in New Jersey maybe 5 years ago. I remember the Audio Note room having the most inviting, natural sound at the show.
Thanks again for these great posts!

Quiet Earth

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #16 on: 30 Jan 2012, 11:29 pm »
Your welcome tonyjack.  Have fun experimenting but take your time and try to live with each little change for a while before you move on or move them back.

Yes, the speakers in that picture look like the AN-E Lexus Signature, about $16K without the stands. I think that particular pair belongs to Dave Cope who helps them with the shows and other promotional stuff. (He used to be the AN US distributor a few years ago.) That pair is placed a little further back into the corners than I remember, but that is the gist of it. If you slid them forward about a foot along the side wall axis, but kept them just as close to the sides and with the same toe in, then that would be how I have mine set up. It works for me.

If someone can make those exact speakers for 1000 US dollars, and I mean make them exactly the same with the same parts and materials (or better), I will gladly pay you 4000 dollars for them. Does that sound fair? PM me when they are ready and I will come over and listen to them before I write you a check. Or if you prefer cash . . . .  :D

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #17 on: 31 Jan 2012, 12:55 am »
Your welcome tonyjack.  Have fun experimenting but take your time and try to live with each little change for a while before you move on or move them back.

Yes, the speakers in that picture look like the AN-E Lexus Signature, about $16K without the stands. I think that particular pair belongs to Dave Cope who helps them with the shows and other promotional stuff. (He used to be the AN US distributor a few years ago.) That pair is placed a little further back into the corners than I remember, but that is the gist of it. If you slid them forward about a foot along the side wall axis, but kept them just as close to the sides and with the same toe in, then that would be how I have mine set up. It works for me.

If someone can make those exact speakers for 1000 US dollars, and I mean make them exactly the same with the same parts and materials (or better), I will gladly pay you 4000 dollars for them. Does that sound fair? PM me when they are ready and I will come over and listen to them before I write you a check. Or if you prefer cash . . . .  :D

I have an AudioNote dealer in my town, I've seen and listened to some of the AN loudspeakers. I wasn't impressed one single bit. Not even.

Letitroll98

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #18 on: 31 Jan 2012, 02:23 am »
Just an FYI that the OP has these speakers up for sale.
http://www.snell.no/forum/index.php/topic,2180.0.html

Quiet Earth

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Re: Snell Type E/III Speaker Pair
« Reply #19 on: 31 Jan 2012, 04:07 am »
I have an AudioNote dealer in my town, I've seen and listened to some of the AN loudspeakers. I wasn't impressed one single bit. Not even.

I guess this means that you won't be building me a pair then.....  :D

Just kidding. There are plenty of people that don't like Audio Note or their products. Sometimes I wish I were one of them. (My wallet sure does.  :oops:)