ads L520 Bookshelf Speakers

5/5 (5 Reviews)


Product Description

2-way Bookshelf speaker with 8" woofer and 1 3/8" silk dome tweeter. Made by ADS in Wilmington, MA.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tony a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I think I can give a fresh slant to this discussion for two reasons: First, while I love almost all kinds of music (and these speakers do all kinds of music very well indeed), I am a lifelong musician, and classically trained. Classical music is my first love. Secondly, I bough mine in February of 1982 - 33 years ago. I have lived with these speakers since day one. How many audiophiles have you known who have never "swapped out" their main speakers in 33 years? And the reason is: to this day, I have never heard speakers I like better. Simple as that. And their response is still "factory spec" as far as my ears go. All of the above listeners are correct: The bass response is unheard of for boxes this size. ADS was flirting with circumventing the laws of physics back then! And as an organist, and especially critical listener of organ recordings, I still thought the ADS were phenomenal in the bass. The crossover is absolutely seamless, and the tweeters are superb.

About 25 years after obtaining these, I bought a subwoofer, a magnificent one made by Athena, with a 100W RMS/400 W peak internal amp, that features an adjustable crossover from the front speakers to the sub. It's lowest crossover point is 40Hz, which meshes perfectly with the ADS boxes. It also assures that all I hear through the sub is the DEEP bass - exactly as it should be, and also (in deep, loud passages) perfectly clear midrange and treble, even above kneecap-trembling bass (again, perfect for digital recordings of pipe organs). Simply put, they are absolutely amazing speakers. There is no "getting used to them". You hook them up, you're delighted with the sound. Period. I am powering them with a late model 100W RMS Onkyo receiver.

So, I'm classically trained musician, who has been at more live ORCHESTRAL concerts than most people ever will be. I know *exactly* what "the true sound" is. The L520's come closer than anything else I've ever heard. In 1982, I paid $200 each for them (in 2015 dollars, $500 each). They were worth it then, and they're worth it now. If you run into these with no major problems, and priced at $500 *a pair* or less, jump on them ! You won't regret it.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by lonerangerll a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 14, 2013

Bottom Line:   
I ditto all the above revious reviews of this wonderful L520 book shelf speaker. I scored the pair a few weeks ago on ebay in Boulder Colorado and drove 400 miles to pick them up. Why you ask? Well the truth is I was going to Denver area anyway and did not want these boxed and shipped. Why you ask again? There in mint condition with only 2 scratches on the bottom of one of the cabinets. The Walnut veneer is perfect. The grills (Bronze) are, well handsome come to mind. Sound is absolutly real real real! Iam a musician of 40 years now Sitar is my 1st love my Ll520's a very close 2nd.
I just ordered some replica stands from a guy name Anthony in Arkansas whom is a master welder. His father, an Audiophile got him to make him some stands a few years back and now hes got a sideline which he may make 30.00 profit. He sand loads each section of the stand then caps it off with a weld and has the finished stands powder coated at a shop whom does Harley Davidson's work. More on them when I get them.
Right now I have the L520's perched on a 7 degree tilt back 7" stand which is spiked on top of 4 12" pavers from home depot. Ends up being 12" off the floor to the bottom of the stand.
Iam running a Hafler 1280 105WPC amp, fed by a Belles XLM Pre-amp, fed by a Rocksan Caspian CD player or my mod Sony Playstation 1 or my B&O CL20 cartridge.
Now heres the interesting part. I bought an A/D/S/ PB1500 Subwoofer a couple of years ago thought it was fine with the L400 (small version). But Now!!!!!!!!!! a match made in heaven!
I cross it over at 72hz with the PB2001 component that is made for the PB1500. Pure majic.
The trip to Boulder as you have read above was so worth the 1 hour out of the way drive not to mention the BONUS I RECIEVED! Ill mention it any way. The guy I got these classy lassies from also had a pair of the L1's in near mint condition. Yes I took both of them off his hands. The L1's for those whom are not familiar with, neither was I ecepting for reading the AudioKarma/asysum forums are another to die for bookshelf pair of speakers. After switching them out a few times over the past 2 weeks I feel that even though they have the same drivers as the L520's in a 1.5" smaller cabinet they posses a majic about them also, kind of like twins maybe only there is no evil here.
Now I see I have 5666 characters left Ill get back to the point of this review.
I was the spoiled owner of the L1530" for 7 years. I sold them a year ago. I have missed them. Ok. I have the Dahlquist DQ 30's. Beauties yes they are. When you have Vanalstine 7's more or less copying the DQ-30's only adding more of the beef to the tune of $25,000.00 in Mustang red. Well all i can say is Well. I listened to them on this trip to Boulder in Fort Collins driven by another 30,000.00 of AR gear +++++ all the other great gear. And? Well I have not been satisfied since my L1530's left home. The L520/L1 speakers have given me back what I have lost. Moral of this review: For Every Loss There Is a Gain.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Beardg a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2012

Bottom Line:   
You guys are gonna die!
I just picked up a pair of these ads l520 speakers at a yard sale for $4 for the pair.....and they sound great (and look like crap) but I can sand them down and with a little lemon oil....
first time I have ever really listened to ads speakers. I am familiar with their reputation as I have been working in the industry for years...and years.
Hooked them up to my 1978 hh scott 390r(85 real watts/channel) ss receiver,which if you are familiar, is a very good quality amp.one of the best amps scott ever produced in the ss years.recently overhauled by vince at audio proz in watertown mass..thanx vince!
These speakers definately are the New England sound,which shocked me at first as I have grown accustomed to a pair of klipsch kg4s and a pair of pioneer hpm 6os that I have recently switched in for a pair of HH Scott 186b bookshelfs(very NE sound).
So when the switch happened, I at first, thought the tweets were blown...but I ran through the frequencies with my tone generator, and no the tweets are working just fine.
I settled in with a drink and a smoke and popped on some dire straits....all I can say is wow!
smooth lows...and deep! Highs are subdued but airy, and there,you just have to listen to them. they don't slap you in the face as my kg4s and the hpms do.nice mids,solid voices,very nice soundstage,well balanced.
you can grow very comfortable with this sound after just a few minutes...
Build quality is awesome,very heavy construction,real wood veneer,rubber surrounds which will eliminate foam rot forever!
I may have to keep these in the rotation rather than sell...these are special speakers.
I may be the luckiest hifi picker in the NE!
If you find these at any reasonable price,or even a little unreasonable...buy them. a real hifi, medium sized bookshelf speaker.

















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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Teddy a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 13, 2010

Bottom Line:   
WOW. Excellent timbre and lifelike presentation! These are some of the best sounding and well made (although not gorgeous looking) speakers I've ever listened to. I favor these more than the 3 ways with the smaller 1.5" midranges (but equal to the 2"s crossed somewhere under 600 Hz). The first reviewer said it well! The amazing -3dB at 35hz from an 8" in a sealed cabinet is unheard of these days! Some L520s have displayed heightened power handling when the tinsel leads were shortened to avoid slapping.

These are the first speakers I've owned that actually sound great even at lower volume levels. I cannot imagine ever improving on this design. The woofer not only looks quick, but it IS incredibly dynamic, fast and light, and is of a very high compliance design. The tweeter is legendary. The crossovers are first rate. The cabinets and grilles are solid. The logo is classy. The ADS company was classy.

If you find these, you have found a gem.

If I were to ever sell these, as of winter 2010, I would get FAR less for them than what they are worth to me. That may change as people are getting privy to the uncommon value all that ADS speakers yield.

These are keepers.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by trisweb a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 4, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Gorgeous flat frequency response, beautiful clear highs and tight bass and accurate mid-range. My holy grail of bookshelf speakers, though the larger ADS with more dedicated midrange might be more balanced. The 2-way design is quite elegant though, there are no deficiencies. I don't hesitate to say these are some of the best sounding bookshelf speakers I've heard short of things I've heard for a small fortune in listening rooms.

Really amazing speakers at any price. The soundstage is expansive and the imaging is immaculate and so realistic. The speakers seem to disappear from the room, leaving only the music. This is simply how speakers are supposed to be.

Again, an incredible value. If you ever come across these or any other ADS bookshelf or floor speaker from 1978-1993, do not pass them up.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995




Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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