Realistic Nova 8

Realistic Nova 8 Speakers

Realistic Nova 8 Speakers

Two pairs of these came home with my Pioneer SX-1250. They were part of the deal – if I wanted the Pioneer, I had to take the Realistics.

I already had a pair of Realistic Nova 6Bs at home and I knew that despite the lack of brand cachet, I knew that the Nova line could produce. I hauled the four speakers home in my car with the receiver. This was a workout – the Pioneer weighs over 60 pounds and I estimate each one of these big Novas weighs over 40!

The first thing I noticed with the Nova 8s was the deep walnut veneer. These are easily as high quality in build and finish as my KLH Model 6, the Pioneer CS63DX or HPM 100s that I had. Getting them home I also noticed that thankfully these two pairs had almost no dings or scratches. A deep wash with soapy water and 100-grit steel wool pulled off the dirt, and some Howard’s Restore-a Finish and Feed and Wax brought them back to life nicely.

Deep walnut veneer on the Nova 8

Deep walnut veneer on the Nova 8

Wax brings out the shine on the Nova 8s

Wax brings out the shine on the Nova 8s

Internet reviews of these speakers are intriguing. For a lesser-known speaker it has a lot of adherents. Reviews are overall positive, however a few concerns were raised – tweeters seem to die with some frequency in these speakers, and they are sensitive to listener position. More on that in a moment.

So how did I like them?

Well, even before  I cleaned them up I had them hooked up to the stereo for a test. They sounded big, and very warm. Thick could be the best description. Highs were definitely in the ‘vintage’ rolled-off range, and the midrange was very rich. Lows got low however for a 12″ woofer bass wasn’t massive. The sound (or lack thereof) was not due to dead tweeters – I tested every driver individually for response on the workbench.

Nova 8 rear panel. Two tone pots and those little Realistic screw wire inputs. The hole in the center is for a proprietary stereo wire plug.

Nova 8 rear panel. Two tone pots and those little Realistic screw wire inputs. The hole in the center is for a proprietary stereo wire plug.

Sitting dead-center between the speakers with them pointed in your general direction sound and imaging was pretty good. moving off axis however was even more interesting – it seemed that ‘holes’ would develop in the frequency range at certain spots at an oblique angle from the speaker. The effect was slight but noticeable. This tone aberration was mentioned online as well, perhaps a result of the double midrange and tweeter operating in the same frequency ranges.

What?

The Realistic Nova 8 and 8B are 3-way, 4-driver speakers. They have a 12″ woofer, and 3 3″ drivers which produce the mid and high frequencies. Those three drivers, two midrange and one tweeter, are identical, at least in outside appearance. They all also operate in the midrange, with the tweeter extending into t he highs. An interesting system to be sure. And one which evidently produces some tone overlap or cancellation at certain angles from the speaker.

The Nova 6Bs I had woke up like Sleeping Beauty with a recap, and I would only assume that these would be even more amazing with new capacitors. The crossover is simple and easy to work with, and it couldn’t be easier to get to it – the woofer unbolts and after removing some fiberglass there everything is.

The Realistic Nova 8 driver compliment. The midranges and tweeter sure look the same to me, but are marked differently on the magnets.

The Realistic Nova 8 driver compliment. The midranges and tweeter sure look the same to me, but are marked differently on the magnets.

There are others who have built completely new crossover designs for these speakers, with reportedly stupendous results. Others pull out the original drivers and do an Econowave project with the sturdy cabinets. I would be interested in experimenting with either, but given the multitude of other projects in line, I doubt I will ever get to them.

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~ by silverfacestereo on May 3, 2013.

2 Responses to “Realistic Nova 8”

  1. I just found a pair of Nova 8’s that are in very good condition … today at the thrift store for $20. I have them connected to a Kenwood KR-4070, but will try other units, too. I don’t have the expertise to mod this, but read a few articles about doing that, too. I

    Just wondering – since you wrote this article, have you ever re-visited the Nova 8’s and done anything with them – maybe recap? And, second, do you still use these and have any preferences of the 8’s over the 6’s?

    Thank you for posting this and the nice photos of your vintage Nova’s.
    And thanks if you get time to reply, anytime.

    Phil Rubino

    Like

    • Hi Phil,

      Congratulations and enjoy the Nova 8s! the only thing I would do to them immediately would be to confirm that both the midrange and the one tweeter are working properly.

      Unfortunately I don’t have the Nova 6s or 8s any more – they weren’t getting any use at my house so they went on to new homes. The crossovers for the 8s are pretty simple and new capacitors would be pretty easy to do. Judging from the improvement in sound I got when I recapped the 6s I think this would give you a lot of bang for the buck.

      Enjoy, and good luck!

      Like

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