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Old 15th March 2012, 04:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by bear View Post
...LafeEric, the Atwater Kent (was that it?) isn't terribly representative of the WE capabilities, so it remains at least to me to be a poor example.
Again, not arguing... just pointing it out as an example of an old audio technology that sounded pretty good, all things considered.
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Old 15th March 2012, 04:15 PM   #22
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Yes, phenol resins... but the resulting materials properties are rather different?
Depends how you're using it. It can be combined with a filler such as wood flour for molding solids, or it can be used with paper and fabric to make laminated sheets, rods and tubes. But it's all effectively "Baktelite" as Bakelite was just the trade name. Just as "Ebonite" is a trade name for hard rubber.

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Old 15th March 2012, 04:20 PM   #23
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I've never heard a Western Electric speaker. I know they get obscene money for them and I also respect the engineering and construction quality that went into them, but do I really think they would surpass anything similar from today? No way!

Its hard to make the point on a nostalgia driven forum such as this, but there has been slow and steady progress throughout the era. I collect cameras and have measured lenses and you see the same. The Japanese outdid the Germans and slow progress is evident if you look at one decade's best vs. the next.

I may have mentioned that, at Snell, we pulled out a pair of Snell A's that had just been serviced (working perfectly) and set them up next to some XA90's. When we A/B-ed we were shocked at the differences, the type A's were clearly more colored.

I've heard Klipshorns and, in spite of some positive qualities, I wouldn't want a pair. I've heard JBL Paragons and they were laughably bad. Bose 901's? AR3s?, certainly dated.

If we are talking a WE theater speaker then we would have to set it up against a modern theater speaker, such as a JBL 4675 or 4632. The objective performance differences that would be apparent are the JBL's CD performance would give hugely better uniformity across an audience setng area. The compression driver would pick up an Octave of high end and the power handling throughout the range would be tenfold better. LF extension from the direct radiator woofers would be at least an Octave lower. I'm guessing the Octave to Octave balance would be better and I know the horn colorations would be significantly reduced.

As for "everything leading up to"... we are talking about that era's source material that came from 78s played with ounces of tracking force or optical soundtracks, plus power amplifiers that, in spite of nostalgic view to the contrary, really do perform much better today.

Sorry,
David S
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Old 15th March 2012, 04:40 PM   #24
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Copies of the WE555 are being made.
Some in China, some in Japan.
Nobody seems to think that they sound as good as the original.
I have not personally been able to hear the copies.
Those who I know personally that have heard both concur that the copies do not quite
have the same qualities as the originals.

I am reasonably sure this is due to more than mere "aging".

There are copies of the horns as well.

Look, I'm not a crazed WE guy at all, but it's important to recognize just how good this stuff is and was.

_-_-bear

PS. I do own an etched, stainless steel genuine 2 foot long Western Electric Company ruler. In the interests of full disclosure. Also a few WE tubes.
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Old 15th March 2012, 04:47 PM   #25
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Dave!

"I've never heard a Western Electric speaker."

Geez mon!

Get thee to a place where they are!!

You can take ur extra octave and better coverage and have fun with it!!
Heck, you can get a Danley sub and get an octave on the bottom too... and?

It's not in the "coverage" or the "octaves", or any other parameter.
Where the holy grail lies is in effortless and natural sound.

Fwiw, there is a *movie theater* that I know of - a true hole in the wall - that has a 100% WE sound system behind the screen! You can go see a movie there! Today. Well, later today anyhow.

Effortless and natural. That's the whole game as far as I am concerned. I have yet to hear a "PA/SR" anytime in the last 40 years that came close to that. Loud, clean, sure. Not natural and invisible, as in "are there any speakers that are playing?"

And obviously there are much louder speakers and systems today.

_-_-bear
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Old 15th March 2012, 05:01 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post
Or to put it another way, Bakelite was just a trade name for phenolic.
Bakelite was just a trade name for one of many phenolics.
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Old 15th March 2012, 05:06 PM   #27
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I was told that one of the reasons why WE equipment has proven to be so reliable is that as their equipment was leased to cinemas they WE were themselves responsible for maintenance and repairs as part of the lease agreement. They ensured that they were seldom called out by insisting from the outset on the best design and implementation possible. For financial and legal reasons they latterly operated in the UK under the name Westrex, but the bulk of the actual equipment was imported from the States and finally assembled here.

I have had several of their amps at home, most of which had languished unused in old cinema storerooms. Nearly every one started up first go and sounded respectable. In top order they still take a lot of beating for the pure enjoyment of music.

Speakers were a big problem as the sheer size of a minimal set up was not possible to contain in the average living room - the wife acceptance factor, not only of the speaker set-up, but of the owner also - was nil. I had about 14 555 drivers under a spare-room bed for many years but simply had to give these away as - at that time - no-one in the UK seemed to want them....no doubt they went straight to Japan. I also had two pairs of pancake 10" drivers which I would kill for now!!!
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Old 15th March 2012, 05:20 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Cal Weldon View Post
Bakelite was just a trade name for one of many phenolics.
Bakelite is and has been a trade name for many phenolics.

se
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Old 15th March 2012, 05:37 PM   #29
Flaesh is offline Flaesh  Russian Federation
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.. to copy..

????????
page loading slooooow..
Attached Images
File Type: png 5555555.png (158.6 KB, 793 views)
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Old 15th March 2012, 06:08 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post
Bakelite is and has been a trade name for many phenolics.
OK, I was not aware. I thought it was simply polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride and that's it.
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