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Old 16th April 2010, 12:29 PM   #1
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Default We555 + we16a

hello

there is a small, but quit enthusiastic community of Western Electric stuff.
Recently there was a event in Paris, where Jean-Michel participated, presenting a Wesern Electric horn system, using WE16a horn, and WE555 compression drivers.

Retour de Rueil, avril 2010 : WE15A & Co

Why are these kind of horns and old technology so highly aprechiated, if modern research of electro acoustics has much advanced in the last 80 years, and we should get better results with more modern stuff ?

Angelo
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Old 16th April 2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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Because, like so many people and things (Tesla, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eric Laithwaite, Ettore Bugatti, JBL) they were so much advanced for their time.
My favorite, the Western Electric 757A SPEAKERS

Last edited by Inductor; 16th April 2010 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 16th April 2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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Same thing with so many of the older things. Think cars, boats, motorcycles, planes - anything that could be consider guy toys. Way more expensive and appreciated than when they were new.
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Old 16th April 2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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the WE 555 is actually an extraordinary driver.
one reason that it was "replaced" is that it actually is somewhat limited as to SPL output, and the main goal back in that day was making things loud. that was what the business was, playing sound in large venues to lots of people. today we are looking at "hi-fi" which is a completely different application. looked at from that perspective the 555 and associated horns perform extraordinarily well. keep in mind that the 555 will run down to 75Hz.!

and, they sound good.

why not make them today?
good question, it would be very pricey, and expensive to tool up.
that's probably why no one has tried to do it so far - it's unclear that there is enough of a market to support such a venture. the folks at the "new" Western Electric tube plant ran into this very problem with their venture...afaik.

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Old 16th April 2010, 09:11 PM   #5
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angeloitacare View Post
Why are these kind of horns and old technology so highly appreciated, if modern research of electro acoustics has much advanced in the last 80 years....
Because it sounds so good. As Bear says, remarkable stuff. In the past 80 years we have made it smaller, louder, cheaper and more convenient. But not better.

I'm proud and happy to see that the Paris WE15A/Onken-W demos continue to this day. I organized the very first one back in 1987. Many jaws were dropped on the floor that day. The demos became legendary - and are still going strong. There is a lot of magic in that old stuff.

I'm lucky to have been a part of it. (right place, right time)
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Old 16th April 2010, 09:36 PM   #6
ScottG is offline ScottG  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear View Post

why not make them today?
good question, it would be very pricey, and expensive to tool up.
that's probably why no one has tried to do it so far - it's unclear that there is enough of a market to support such a venture.
_-_-bear

The 594 is being reproduced. (..and it is expensive, from both sources I could find - but the lower cost source is about half the price of the more expensive one).

BTW, the 555 and 15a were considered something of a disaster.. too-limited a higher freq. response and way to much time delay between that coupling and the bass driver. (..of course they didn't have digital eq. back then.) If you are looking for more of a benchmark then look to the 594 in the Mirrophonic (produced more than a decade later). Note that WE used the same bass drivers as in the older set-up, but loaded it differently. (..the compression driver didn't play nearly as low in freq. though, and probably doesn't have as fantastic a mid-range as a result.)

Something perhaps more comparable to the 555, AND better built, is offered by Josh from electronluv.

Btw, the thread title states 16a for the Horn (incorrectly), not 15a.. note the difference of the 16a:

http://www.silbatoneacoustics.com/WE16A.html
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Last edited by ScottG; 16th April 2010 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 17th April 2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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I may be wrong, but wasn't the next WE driver the 394?
Pretty sure it was 3XX...

I'm thinking Wente designed it??

Been a long time since I read up on it...

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