ADS Tower Speakers (M9)


New member
Username: Jim_whelan

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-15
My midrange speaker in each of my (2) Towers are failing. I believe they are 20-25 years old.
My questions are : are these speakers (a/d/s 206-0219) still available as "new" or only as rebuilt?
If rebuilt, are the ADS parts still available?
Are there any re-builders in the NYC metro area?
Thanks for your assistance.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18006
Registered: May-04

Certain parts of an electronics system will eventually wear out. Rather oddly, some parts wear sooner than others when they are not in use. If you could find a "vintage" midrange driver, I would consider that part to be as likely to fail - and soon - as I would the drivers in your own speakers. I know of no one rebuilding drivers specifically for the ADS models.

Which brings us to the overall improvements you should perceive by stepping into 21st c/ technology. ADS was a bit of a cult line of speakers and I understand many owners are reluctant to take their old speakers out of the system. Yet, in most ways, consumer loudspeakers are much better and generally so at lower cost than at any time in the past 50 years. There are a few classic speakers which should be remembered and, possibly, even maintained in a good system. However, parts for most of those classics are no longer available and, when they have problems, they too will be best remembered as a good speaker you once owned.

The ADS towers were rather bass heavy to my ears and, if that is the sound you prefer, there are several lines which might suit your desires. Depending on your room's suitability to larger, open baffle speakers you might check out the Hawthorne line;

Klipsch has been under different ownership for several years now and has been producing speakers which will appeal to those preferring a tower type design. Though the current Klipsch line and the vintage ADS line are not to be considered equals in overall character.

Sonus Faber, also under new ownership, is also building high quality speakers designed for a slightly more discriminating ear. Remeber though the speakers can only produce what they are fed and, if the rest of your system consists of 25 year old mid-fi gear, you might find the current SF line merely shows you the quality of your system's age.

Pioneer, which actually began as a loudspeaker/driver manufacturer after WWII, is also a line to be considered IMO. Their small stand mount design, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, has been designed by the head engineer of their TAD line of very high quality systems. It has received overall exceptional reviews for what a small box can turn out at minimal cost. The SP-BS22-LR system - available at many chain stores - and a good subwoofer - not available at the chain stores - can make for an incredibly good system given decent electronics and a listener who isn't out to raise the roof.

Stereophile produces a list of recommended audio products each year. Here's a link to the 2014 list;

There are more than a few moderately inexpensive lines which offer excellent performance nowdays. You might discuss repairs to your ADS towers with a company such as PartsExpress. They retail both new and replacements parts though I know of no one producing dome mids for your ADS's. They also sell kit systems which might suit your needs.


New member
Username: Jim_whelan

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-15
Thanks for the reply.
I have found an ADS speaker re-builder.
RICHARD SO, Phoenix, AZ 85040

Do you know if he is reputable?
He states that he will rebuild my midrange speakers for $55. each using ADS inventory that he purchased from ADS before they were taken over.
I believe you are saying to just go and replace my ADS tower speakers rather than rebuild.
I'm definitely not "speaker tech" savvy but I believe I need to match my amplifier (100w max cap) to any new speakers I may buy.
At this point I'm still considering whether to rebuild or buy new.

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 3218
Registered: Oct-07
there is 2 kinds of 'match'.
Electrical match is such things as not having speakers with huge impedance swings mated to a tube amp. Some amplifiers are not capable when driving loads grouped as 'reactive'. This is when a speaker looks either like a capacitor or inductor TO the amp. All speakers have that characteristic, but some more than others and a select few WAY more than others. Inductors and capacitors are part of the crossover, which is how different frequencies get sent to the correct driver. So, there is no getting around at least some reactance.
The other part of electrical is impedance. This is basically resistance, but as AC, not DC. Depending on the amplifier, you should NOT go lower than 4 ohms 'nominal'. Some home theater amps will NOT drive such a load and you should stick with 6ohm or more commonly, 8 ohm speakers.
BOTH reactance and impedance vary as to frequency. Some speakers have unfortunage combinations which means a very low impedance dip at the same time as high reactance.
The OTHER measure of speaker performance is 'sensitivity'. This is a measure, in general, of how well the speaker in question turns amplifier power into volume. Highly sensitive speakers of say, Greater Than 97db 1watt/1meter will drive you into the next county with 100 watts. Less sensitive speakers will use more power to reach nose bleed levels. You need to evaluate your available amp power with listening habits. If you are a head banger, you'll typically need or like more power. A small room with modest demands? You'll be perfecty happy with your current amp, even should you end up with slightly less sensitive speakers. With moderate habits, anything over maybe 87 or 88db should work. 3db of speaker sensitivity is roughly equal to 2x the amp power.

LISTENING and learning what you value is key to speaker happiness. A properly set up room with all facets of setup addressed from speaker and listener location to paying attention to room accoustics will pay BIG dividends.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18007
Registered: May-04

I am not familiar with Richard So. As I said, I am unaware of anyone rebuilding ADS systems. It's certainly not impossible to rebuild the dome midrange drivers. Most of the parts required would not age and I wouldn't be bothered by their use. You don't say what is actually wrong with your system so it's impossible to guess how successful a rebuild might be. I'm rather afraid that, if you go the rebuild route, you'll be doing so going in blind.

I think I would be asking myself, how valuable are the ADS to me? People rebuild 100 year old electronics and do use them. Some parts simply have a long life span and don't require much in the way of maintenance. Other parts are susceptible to age and, if you want to keep a system running, you'll either have to do the maintenance yourself or trust someone to do it for you. Then you have to decide whether rebuilding or replacement is the best decision.

Typically, when one part begins to go, there are others also waiting for their opportunity. Speakers? not much to actually go wrong. But ask yourself, if I spend the $110 on the mids, will I want to spend another, say, $200 on the woofers should they go out? If you did, you would probably have speakers that worked for another good number of years.

However, ...

"Worked" and "gave good value" are two different things. Value is a personal assessment of worth and I can't do that for you. You also know your available funding for this issue and I can't say how much you would have to spend to equal your idea of your ADS speaker's strengths. I don't know how you listen and which values you find to be important. Buying speakers, guitars and shoes are the sort of things that, IMO, you can't easily recommend for another buyer and probably just aren't that easy to buy without first hand knowledge of the product.

Are you in or close to a city where you could audition a few speakers? That makes the task a bit simpler than having to drive 100 miles just to find a decent audio shop.

Overall, speaker quality has gone up over the last few decades. Unfortunately, there are many more manufacturers and most won't be familiar names if you've not shopped in a few decades.

I think I would make an attempt to listen to music through a few modern speakers before I decided to go this way or that. That said, what you hear with an audio system is greatly influenced by the listening room. So what you hear at a dealer's isn't always the speaker you hear at home.

Personally, I hold on to gear for a long time but I think I have a point where a change is just the best way to go.

If your ADS are not in immediate need of repair/replacement, why not ponder for a while and try to listen to some new speakers. If you use the Stereophile list as a recommendation to start a search, the reviews are rather good about explaining the character of a product. And the measurements section will tell you whether the speaker is easy or difficult to drive by an average amplifier. With 100 watts available, you can likely drive any speaker in a reasonable price range.

That's about the best I can do at the present time. Consider your options and let us know if we can be of further assistance.


New member
Username: Alkaloid

Medford, MA. U.S.

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-15
Use him Jim. I had him rebuild 2 tweeters and 2 midranges for me and they came out PERFECT. He is the MAN for all ADS products. He has original parts and has over 20 years of practice. He used to work in the factory in Wilmington MA. Trust me you will be very happy. I have owned L1230s L1090s L810/2s and now am using 4 L1290/2s in a hometheater setup. I am going to build a center channel that is on Rich So's website in his gallery section of pictures. Unless you have a ton of money you won't get a new pair of speakers that will sound as good as yours.
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