2 plus 2, Various, some questions

Read more on the Acoustat 2 plus 2 in our home audio section

Roger Crowe2004-02-23 22:21

Andy, I wonder if you could help me please. I am looking to acquire a set of Acoustat 2+2\'s and would like to ask a few questions if I may:

1. What should I be paying for a good used pair?
2. What sort of upgrades/modifications should I be looking for? (I assume the medallion ransformer upgrade is one)
3. Any years/series to stay away from?
4. What about amplification for this particular model. I am currently running a set of magnaplanar with a SUMO amp and it all sounds pretty well.

Thank you for your expertiese, Roger Crowe

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Andy Szabo2004-02-23 22:21

I can\'t think of any reason to avoid a 2+2 made during any particular period. This is true even for speakers made during the few months prior to Acoustat\'s bankruptcy (1987): I have never seen any evidence that quality suffered during that period. However, since that model was produced for many years, there are evolutionary improvements that will make late-model 2+2\'s more attractive to the buyer.

The very last 2+2\'s manufactured will have these characteristics:

The Medallion ”C” modification, indicated by both the Red Medallion Transformer label, and a serial number label that says MK-121-C. Having a ”C” on the serial label indicates that the interfaces were originally built with the latest electronics. Serial labels with ”MK-121-2” or ”MK-121-B” (and the Red Medallion label) indicate that the interfaces are older but have been upgraded to the latest electronics.

The higher resistance coating on the diaphragm, indicated by a bias wire that is yellow with a red spiral stripe. (The old, lower resistance coating will be indicated by a bias wire that is solid red or white with a red stripe.) The higher resistance coating allows higher dynamics from the speaker before ”crackling” noises occur.

If you can\'t find a speaker with these characteristics, then at least try to find a pair with a Blue Medallion Transformer label. This version contains the improved transformers, and can be easily upgraded to the ”C” or ”Red” version with commonly available parts.

A speaker with no Medallion label indicates the older transformers, which cannot be upgraded, because the transformers are no longer available. However, these are still mighty fine speakers, and can probably be obtained at very reasonable cost.

How much to pay for a used pair? You can probably expect to pay as low as $500/pr (USD) for non-medallion speakers in good condition, and up to $1000 for a pair of late-model speakers in excellent condition with original packaging. Depending upon the location of the seller, packaging and freight costs can add considerably to the acquisition cost.

You might also consider a pair of Spectra 44 or 4400\'s. The same size as the 2+2, these speakers offer the additional advantages of the Spectra Series.

Amplifier considerations are always a subject for debate. The magnaplanars that you have been using are probably an easier amplifier load than esl\'s. I do seem to remember that Sumo amplifiers were popular among Acoustat owners, so give it a try!

Roger Crowe2004-02-23 22:21

Dear Mr. Szabo, Thank you for answering my original inquiry regarding the Acoustat 2+2\'s and acquiring such. I received some information from a seller I cannot make sense of. These particular 2+2\'s that I have come across are designated ”MK-2146” and have the serial number #32079005.

1. Should not all transformers for 2+2\'s begin with the designation ”MK-121.....”.
2. Are these earlier models, late models, what/where?
3. Are these units in possession of the medallion upgrade or did they come with that originally?
4. Can they be upgraded to the medallion specification?

Thank you for your patience, you have already proven to be a very helpful and terrific source of expert information on a rather complex and confusing topic.

Andy Szabo2004-02-23 22:21

This is another example of the confusion caused by the lack of model numbers on Acoustat speakers. How I wish I could go back in time and fix this problem!

You are correct: all 2+2\'s used the MK-121 series interface. Since the speakers in question have the MK-2146 interface, these are not 2+2\'s, but either Spectra 44\'s or 4400\'s. The only difference between the 44 and the 4400 is cosmetic: the 4400 has wood strips with brass trim running vertically along the edges of the frame.

The Medallion Modification does not apply to these speakers. All of the advances in transformer construction learned in the Medallion program were employed in all Spectra speakers.

I can\'t be sure exactly when these speakers were made, but the Spectra 44/4400 was produced for only a few years at the end of US production, so it is a fairly late model. These are great speakers, and I think most listeners would agree that they outperform the 2+2\'s in all respects.

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