12 April 2011

anti-kabuki speakers - technics sb-a70

Yesterday I was flippin around craigslist and saw this ad for some speakers.
I should have saved a picture of the ad, it was kinda funny.
After looking at the picture of the speakers on my little droid phone,
I was expecting some typical medium sized bookshelf speakers.

not bookshelf speakers

These things are ridiculously huge.
The size of a 9 year old boy.
The woofer is a real 15" wide.

holy chit

They were in such clean condition,
I couldn't pass them up for $30!
Last night I hooked them up to that Kenwood ka-7600 receiver (85wpc)
which is now in the house garage
and holy chit...

In a cool coincidence the radio station (94.9FM) started playing this song.

(This was the only studio version without any ads!)
A friend Matt was over and he had to walk 2 houses down the alley to talk to his wife on the phone.
At 9:30PM though in our dark alley had to cut it short though.

monster speakers

The speakers are rated to 200W,
but the Kenwood seems to push these new speakers
and those (now) little ones on that top shelf just fine.

To give you a sense of how huge they are...39" tall...

dryer sized speakers

...as tall as our dryer!
Funny chit.

Even though they sound good now,
they are made about as cheaply as possible.
They are vinyl covered particle board that's about 3/8" thick.
It seems like the paper speakers themselves are OK though, for now,
typical late 80's/early 90's plastic goodness.

plastic engineering

This is what they are replacing...

Sansui sp-1500 speakers

These are a true representation of "Kabuki Speakers"
Back in the day, 60's & 70's,
the big japanese manufacturers were able to make some mean amplifiers and receivers,
but they were lost at the actual sound reproduction, or speaker engineering.
The idea was to throw as many speakers and crossovers in a sturdy wooden box.

5-way kabuki speaker

They reproduced the sound in a real "tinny"style,
which, according to legend, is what kabuki music sounds like.

This is what that Toadies song above sounds like kabuki style

And yes this is what those speakers sound like but worse.
I thought the speakers were broken at first,
but thats just how they were made, 40 years later anyway.

This is basically the reason why North American speaker only companies were able to thrive,
just by building a simple 2 or 3 way speaker system - big woofer, tweeter and midrange,
with a "bass reflex" hole in the front to let it breathe.
Definitely not a tough recipe to copy back in Japan!

So if you're scrounging around and come across some of these for cheap,
grab them!


(funny, my wife just came home and saw them in the garage,
thinking I was gonna put these in the house.
She said it was ok if I get rid of all the other clutter!
Cool Wife XOXO!)


  1. That is a cool wife. I'm going to keep an eye out for a pair of them now on CL.

  2. Only if they're cheap chris!