Over the past week, there appears to be more than just a bit of interest in Altec Lansing. You know, the real ones.
We have had a member selling some. (there was more in that thread after they were sold than before) A member building a system I thought may have been modelled on an Altec, enquiries about cabinets, same raving, and why not! Even a mod got entangled in a hijack. No names.
So how about a thread for Altec Lansing? It can cover anything you want in the way of their speaker range. Cabinets, mods, pictures, data sheets. Even experiences. It could include the MM stuff (they are good for what they are) It doesn't have to compete with Lansing Heratage, however it could compliment it.
For those not fortunate enough to have heard these speakers, most of us that have, even in the long distant past, do not forget the sound. And many will try to emulate it.
So how about it? Show us your Altecs, share the pleasure and the dramas. Lets show the current manufactures some real magnets, cones and horns.
that's fun ...
... I'm just listening to my mono Voice.
I love the sound.
I have 416 bass, 808 HF driver with a radian replacement diaphragm.
Clicke here and scroll down for a pic:
I operate this Voice with a 6dB crossover, just a coil and a cap. Many of the more proficient Altec owners have complex crossies, but I happen to enjoy the simpler sound ;)
Take a look at the spruce horn. This is the biggest improvement to the Voice that I can ever imagine.
I have a 2nd pair of original voices with aluminium horns and I keep the alu horns there, just to switch back and forth and realize how good the spruce horn sounds in comparison.
Does anyone know how the new limited-edition A7s sound compared to the originals?
OK Geoff, I'll play.
Here is a system that I've posted before in this forum. It's the reference system at the "Revue du Son" magazine in Paris. And I helped built it. The system is owned by Mr. Jean Hiraga. These are my favorite speakers of all time. Never heard any other speaker of any size, shape, technology or vintage that sounds more like real live music than these.
Not truly an A7, because of the 15 cell Altec horn on top. The horn is driven by a big 1950's vintage Westrex compression driver. The British version of the Altec 288 - AFAIK. The 15" woofer is now a Westrex basket with EV cone. When I ran them I think it was Altec 515s in the box. Tweeter is JBL2404. .
About 20 years ago I rebuilt these boxes for Mr. Hiraga as a trade for borrowing them for awhile. I used them as an "Audiophile P.A." for jazz and other stuff. Simple passive filter - I didn’t use a tweeter on the road. Never seemed to need it.
The bass box was stock A7 or A5 in not very thick plywood. I recovered all the walls with Nantex plywood - the hardest, densest damn wood I've ever seen! Almost impossible to cut, drill, sand. Internal bracing was added from the same Nantex and I tarred the back of the bass horn flare. 100% wool felt for damping. Vent was reduced in size.
Why do I love them so much? Because they sound so "real." They have no box sound at all, and with tons of dynamics. Imaging is superb – mind blowing. Amazing really, what is on even the most humble CD. These speakers put it right out there for you.
I've heard a few systems (sometimes the same day) with more micro detail, more highs, more lows - even a bigger image than these. But nothing sounds more true to life. It's really like the musicians are right there, and there, and over there. Not “almost”, not “close your eyes and imagine” - they are right there. You can point to them. And they simply sound real.
These speakers also show any change in the signal path. Amps, CD player, preamp, turntable, etc. But they always sounded great, not matter what amp I drove them with.
If I had mine own dedicated listening room, this is what I would have. No doubt about it. Funny thing is, it took me a long time to convince Hiraga and the rest of the crew how good they really are. But 20 years later they are still going strong. Makes me happy. :D
panomaniac, you play so well! Looking at those 15 cells, and thinking about the ability of the 511, I can almost hear them. That's what I was getting at earlier. You just don't forget that sound. I have only heard one Altec horn in the last 20 years, a dual concentric 15" with the 3000 type horn, which I thought was a 515. Your reference to the 515 could have been the 604. And I could be wrong.
I found that above the stage in a venue not far from here, probably used for movies. The owner didn't know it was there, let alone what it was. And not far away was a Williamson amp. I just had to fire it up didn't I, then the owner renegged on giving it to me.
Prior to that, it was Barcelonas, Valencias, Santanas and A7s, being compared to Tannoys, Bard Monitors and a few JBLs. I chose the bass driver from the Barcelona, the 411, as a starting point for my first real system. I had outgrown Peerless, SEAS, Philips, and a few others.
Edit: Just had another look at those horns, and laughed at my plastic TLs. Terry is right, BIG is better.
Re: that's fun ...
Charles,can you share dimensions of your spruce horn?
I like your non-scientific approach in this case ;)
Nice pics Pano. Ahhh... the memories...
As a former Altec employee (1978-1982) I have a real fondness for the Altec sound and their products. This was my first job right out of high school. I worked on the speaker/driver production lines and could do every phase of building drivers - which is why I eventually became a lead person. I guess this is where I got my initial speaker building bug from, and have been building speakers ever since. This is, without a doubt the most rewarding (and fun) job I've ever had. I learned so much, not only about building, but about design and testing. A lot of my friends there were techs, so I was able to learn from them.
We built all the pro/commercial drivers as well as the amplifiers at the Anaheim plant and most of the speaker cabinets and consumer products/speakers were built at the Oklahoma facility.
One of my fondest memories was repairing over 100 of Pink Floyd's speakers (model 421A - yes!, still remember the model). This was done during the Wall tour when they were at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The drivers were somehow damgaged when the "Wall" fell down. Next day, pallets of 421A's entered the facility :D
Yes Charles, please do. It looks to be a driver mounted in the corner of 3 walls, same effect as placing a speaker in the corner of a room.
That is an interesting site of yours. We have similar test gear! Ears.
Re: Re: that's fun ...
Here is a pdf file of what I wanted it to look like first place:
Yes, I wanted it to be square, and after I had sawed the pieces, I found out that you need to cut the borders at very special angle to make it all fit.
That was too much work for the afternoon, so it became kind of a triangular horn.
Here's another pic of the actual outcome:
The driver is attached to the wood block at the end of the horn ...
I lacquered the complete horn with colophony dissolved in turpentine.
What happened to the other side piece ?
I now use it as a base for soldering ;)
this will be great thread!!
tnx Charles ;)
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