When I first started out in vintage audio, I knew I needed to upgraded my speakers. I began researching vintage speakers and one pair kept popping up as legendary, the JBL L-100 speakers. I was thrown off by the price, often over $800 a pair, and mentioned to a friend that I wanted JBLs but they were too expensive. He suggested I look for Pioneer HPM-100 speakers instead. They were designed by the same person who made them for JBL but the Pioneers were an improvement from his original design. Even better, not many people knew this so the Pioneer speakers often sell for much less.
I began my search for Pioneer HPM-100s locally but could not find anyone selling a pair. Our family took a spring break trip to Nokomis, FL, and while there I searched for Pioneer speakers on Craiglist and found a pair of HPM-100s for sale in Tampa for just $400. I jumped at the chance to buy them and we picked them up on our way to a spring training game in Tampa between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees.
My first surprise was just how big the speakers were. I had not researched the size before buying them and was nervous they would not fit in the SUV we had rented to drive down to Florida. Thankfully I was able to squeeze them in the back and we were able to fit all of our clothes packed around the speakers (yes, we took them out of the suitcases so it would all fit). My son rode 13 hours home sitting next to a giant speaker. It’s one of those great family stories we have now.
The photo above is me hauling the speakers in to the house when we got home. Man those things were heavy. I immediately hooked them up and was very happy with how they sounded, at least at that time.
Fast forward a few years and my understanding of home audio has grown enough to realize one thing about these Pioneer speakers, they are too big for my listening room. I have my main stereo set up in our living room which is only 280 square feet. It’s not a very large room. I began to notice that the Pioneers were overpowering that little room, especially with too much bass. Not to mention, they were impossible to properly place in the room due to their size.
If I wanted the best possible sound for my listening room, it was time to let the speakers go. I listed them for sale yesterday on Facebook and they sold before the end of the day.
I am going to miss these speakers but it makes sense to move them on to someone who can use them properly.
I don’t want to be one of those guys who hoards gear and never uses it. The speakers should be enjoyed by someone else instead of sitting in storage.
Once they are physically gone (the buyer is picking up later this week), I will not have the same emotional attachment as I do now. Out of sight, out of mind.
I’ve replaced the huge Pioneers with some very small Emotiva bookshelf speakers which I plan to write about after I break them in properly.