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Thread: Pioneer CS-99a Restoration

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    Default Pioneer CS-99a Restoration

    So my Dad is moving house in the next few months, he's lived in the current place since 1973. He's had for the whole period (actually think he got them the year before) a lovely old pair of Pioneer CS-99a speakers:



    Despite sounding quite rubbish they do look great, there's something about old hi-fi that makes me all fuzzy and nostalgic. They're a part of the family for sure.

    When I lived at home I remember them sounding quite epic and loud, it's possible that I just didn't have anything to compare them to or they're suffering from old age, but he loves them nonetheless.

    He's asked me to refurbish them whilst they're unplugged and he's settling into the new house.
    There's not a huge amount that I can do beyond recap the crossover, rewire it and replace the terminals. Give them a good clean and polish, they have an MDF case so polishing options might be limited but will see what I can do. Might experiment with porting. But anyway I thought you lot might be interested and have a few ideas so will post progress once I've started.

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    70s retro How many drivers can you cram into a small box lol. And the grilles were designed to not make them look like speakers. What would the neighbours say over a glass of sherry?

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    Yeah I liked how that if you spent more money on your hi-fi it was a better piece of furniture.

    The bass-driver is huge 15", all a bit daft really. Looking forward to seeing if I can improve them though.

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    We had a record player that folded up into a cabinet so it looked like a brown wood cabinet. Not sure why things were disguised in those days.

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    They look amazing, I'd also consider turning the drivers through 180 just in case there has been some sag over the years, a recap and polish may be all they need to make them sing again.

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    They look absolutely awsome!! Proper man-cave speakers.

    I wonder if building some sort of plinth or stand might be beneficial?

    For fun I found this comment on another forum,

    "...The Pioneer CS-99A is a superbly constructed vintage speaker.
    It looks beautiful with the grills on, looks impressive with the grills off, and sounds like complete ass."

    I also found this where someone has tinkered with the innards.

    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.p...grades.330805/
    20 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please God, don't take Kevin Bacon

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    Great thread. Looking forward watching the progress and final results (and hoping that you are successful in making an improvement to the sound).

    I'd be keen to see what's sitting on the pedestal to the right of the speaker in the photograph? LOL (What's the other vintage kit?).

    G
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    I would reckon they are more of a case of form over function. I take it they are sealed enclosures? If so the bass driver suspension is probably pretty floppy allowing the driver frequency to roll off naturally and the enclosure to act as "suspension" ie the bass should be more "smooth" than deep. Porting sounds like a plan but personally, i would leave them as they are and just change the caps.

    Keep us posted.

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    They do look awesome . That is real walnut vaneer and they have a sensitivity of 97db .

    the forums are full of mixed messages about them ranging for them being awesome to crap . There is a pair on ebay at the moment for 550.

    Under no circumstances would I cut a hole in them .

    1. IMO no properly designed bass reflex is better than a properly designed sealed enclosure
    2. I would guess that cutting a hole in them will make them sound ponderous and slow
    3. how are you going to calculate the hole size and the pipe . Joe Ackroud of Royd used a detailed mathematical calculation to figure out the length .

    If it were me , I would do as the prof says - plus

    clean the contacts in and out - look at the internal wire and see if replacement is in order .
    place them 6 or 9 inch stands and listen again .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Quinn View Post
    They do look awesome . That is real walnut vaneer and they have a sensitivity of 97db .

    the forums are full of mixed messages about them ranging for them being awesome to crap . There is a pair on ebay at the moment for 550.

    Under no circumstances would I cut a hole in them .

    1. IMO no properly designed bass reflex is better than a properly designed sealed enclosure
    2. I would guess that cutting a hole in them will make them sound ponderous and slow
    3. how are you going to calculate the hole size and the pipe . Joe Ackroud of Royd used a detailed mathematical calculation to figure out the length .

    If it were me , I would do as the prof says - plus

    clean the contacts in and out - look at the internal wire and see if replacement is in order .
    place them 6 or 9 inch stands and listen again .
    1. Define better in this context? Being as one sounding better than the other is subjective I'd say there are more important things at play here than wether it's ported or not, most ported speakers are poorly designed, the whole thing is poorly designed, and the ports chuff etc Wilson Beseech are a case in point, Tiny ports, that can move the curtains behind them so much is the force of air coming out, a well designed port should be inaudible and any air exiting out should be of low volume and low speed, i.e. you should not really be able to feel much air moving on your hand when you place it near the port (diameter and length are paramount and have to be factored in at the design stage, not tacked on at the end, driver manufacturers often specify different driver specs for ported vs sealed use)

    2. Cutting a hole in them won't necessarily make them sound slow and ponderous, you are surmising that because you've heard ported speakers that have poorly designed ports, but it's still the wrong thing to do mainly because the driver and in particular the crossover have been designed with sealed enclosure in mind.

    3 I agree with point 3 kind of, to use a port the speaker would need a complete redesign.

    Something to raise them up a little I agree with, some cheap concrete blocks and a nice piece of material to cover them might be a great way to try out different heights before committing to stands, that are probably going to have to be made by your local blacksmith.

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    the photo isn't of my Dad's they're just ones like it. I'll tackle all the electrical items first, that bit is easy. The reason I mentioned porting is because the huge 15" driver is very slow, if you put dance music through it instead of a the heavy kick that you'd expect the whole thing is massively rounded off more of a 'ruffff' instead of a 'duffff' noise. Given that it's air-tight in there I was interested to see how it would sound with the back off.
    He's always had them sat on the floor also, it's a deep suspended wooden floor at the current house so he's never had very good imaging. Don't know if the new house has a solid floor. I don't want to change the appearance of them. I do think they're lovely looking things but 6-way speakers are a bit daft

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    Quote Originally Posted by qube View Post
    the photo isn't of my Dad's they're just ones like it.
    I gathered that due to the vase and books being placed there. It's obviously a brochure-type pic. The unit on the chromed pedestal looks like a music centre.
    Last edited by TIU; 30th April 2016 at 00:53.

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    How about some internal bracing in the cabinet. Might that help?
    20 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please God, don't take Kevin Bacon

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    You could also experiment with the internal wadding. If there is only a small amount, try adding some more. Also make sure the cabinets are air tight when you put them back together.

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    my advise was premised upon keeping the original integrity on the basis if you sold them then they would be original .

    if you do not care about that , I would

    a] line inside the cabinent with steel or other mass loading material cyramic tiles
    b] remove all wadding .
    c] find a setting on the variable output drivers you like ,remove them and hard wire the x-over

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    Was thinking of bypassing the switches on the crossovers, easy to put back. I don't think they're worth that much in the UK, seem to go for daft money in the US, don't think they were really sold over here. My Granddad used to be an international rep for Pioneer in the 70's we got a lot of their high-end stuff via him back then.

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    Did one of the first boy racers design them? He was ahead of his time.

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    They might sound slow because 1 they need the driver away from the floor, and 2 the crossover caps are probably toast. Me I'd return them to standard, or at least perhaps upgrade the crossover components, but keep the values the same.

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    Update, right finally have these speakers to play with.

    The cabinets are a bit beaten up but the drivers and internals are very clean. Was expecting some level of oxidisation at least but looks like new. I've replaced the terminals as they were horrid push-fit jobbies. Ordered a new set of capacitors, some of them are odd values which meant I had to parallel some up to get there, cost me 80 so far. Emailed a few local furniture resto places to see if they'd be interested in tidying up the box, if not or if they want daft money I'll take a crack myself.

    A look at the tired boxes: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ck8358d4di..._4953.jpg?dl=0

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    Dropped the boxes off this morning to be refinished, my caps arrived also, to get some with a decent tolerance I had to buy much higher voltage ones so they're HUGE compared to the original, going to make them more of a challenge to mount but it's not like they'll be on show.
    All gotten quite interesting

    On the look out for some old Pioneer grilles to rob the little metal clips from as my old man's are missing about 6 or 7 of them.

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