Zenith 49CZ1064 10 inch wide band drivers

I don’t know what magic the Zenith engineers employed on the design floor back in the late 50's and early 60's, but their antique Alnico speakers are sublime. Here we have the Zenith 49CZ1064, a 10 inch full range driver with a smooth cone and a nice horseshoe Alnico magnet. Dating to the mid 1950's, this driver came in a Zenith console like my favorite driver, the bigger Zenith 49CZ852. Like the 852, this antique speaker sounds amazingly good, with a clear rich tone, detail to die for, and in this case bass response that is out of this world good for a full range driver.

10 inch drivers are the largest size that I can fit in my Telefunken open backed cabinets, so these drivers went straight into those. The big Telefunkens have a penchant for making pretty good bass, and that is in abundance here. In fact, these drivers make the deepest room-vibrating bass I've ever experienced with the Telefunken cabinets, even eclipsing the Rullit field coils. Didgeridoo is amazingly palpable with this speaker setup. But bass is not all these CZ1064 have to offer; they also have a wonderfully rich and detailed midrange that is more focused, more forward but slightly smaller in scale than the bigger CZ852 drivers in the simple open baffles. I would estimate these to be 94 db/wm based on perceived volume, so they work fine with the smaller single ended amplifiers. All in all, I do still prefer the 12 inch CZ852 drivers in the open panels, but this is easily one of the best sounding full rangers I’ve experienced, and these are a bargain in comparison to almost anything else. Nothing about these drivers sound 60 years old!

343 is the code for Zenith, and these were made in the 52nd week of 1955 (552). Its possible that 5 could also denote 1965, but I think because of the simplicity of the cast frame and the similarity in magnet to the CZ852 that this is a 1950's driver. More info on speaker codes (courtesy of Ted Weber, who created some of the best guitar speakers made today) is here and here.

Here are the 1064 and the 852 side by side for comparison.

Very similar drivers in many ways.

Toby enjoying his daily hifi.