Do Altec 604 hold up with modern music?

I’m curious about what folks think about this question: do Altec 604 (any version) perform well with denser, more modern music? They have a huge following and legendary status but are these opinions formed around users that prefer sparser music and perhaps more vintage tastes? Aside from known limitations on very deep bass can they be considered “do it all” speakers? They are regarded as very dynamic so it’s perhaps it is wasteful to use such a pricey speaker for more compressed music. I’m wondering if people who are experienced with well maintained and set up 604s would go so far as to say they are a step down when talking about certain genres even if they are the best at other things.

Regards,
Brian
 

schiirrn

Member
2018-11-18 9:13 pm
If you are listening to modern(?) elevator music exclusively and want that to be reproduced as soft as possible a 604 might be a step down.
A 604 in a proper enclosure and a good crossover will sound good with any kind of source material. Every proper speaker should sound good with any kind of source material. Speakers that only sound right with a specific type of jazz or audiophile zero demand thingies like Patricia Barber but fail at different volume levels or various types of music need more work.
 

Pano

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-10-07 6:05 am
Panama
Nothing performs very well with denser, over compressed more modern music. OK, maybe the speaker on your phone. :p

IME, the 604 and 605 retain all of their advantages on more recent music. If you like thumping bass, you can add a peaky subwoofer and have a lot of fun. But maybe other people will have more experience. Mine is more with larger horn systems, tho I do really like the Altec coax drivers.
 
do Altec 604 (any version) perform well with denser, more modern music?

I have 604 variant with a extra 15" woofer (UREI 813). It's a fine speaker for older music or classical, but I would not recommend it for bass + kick oriented current pop music. IMO, 604's strength is its midrange, not bass nor high frequency extension (and resolution).

I don't really know what you would exactly mean '"dense modern" music. Beethoven's symphonies sound much denser than most of the hiphop to my ears...:eek:
 
Midrange clarity is a priority for me. Playing pop music is not, but I have to share the space and I think we all know how big 604 cabinets are so I want to consider if they would be a downgrade for tastes that include kick and bass pop music. Low end extension can be worked around but I would shy away from them if they were “unbalanced” for lack of a better term. I’m using Alpair 10p pensils right now and they just don’t hold up at high volumes. I’m looking for a little more bandwidth but much more spl without giving up the midrange clarity and coherent point source experience.

Beethoven may be denser in orchestration but at least it still has some dynamics to speak of. Some music these days is .1db shy of clipping for 70% of the track - assuming it wasn’t mastered to be in clipping deliberately!
 
i use Alpair 10M gen 3's in sealed boxes with a Scanspeak 26W/8534G00 subwoofer in a big ported cabinet tuned to 25Hz, and that setup can handle it all, even at loud volumes. I from hardcore jungle and breakcore (very dense aggressive breakbeat music), to dub (bass heavy instrumental spacy reggae), hiphop, big classical orchestra's and jazz and much more. Using a subwoofer that take care of the lows makes the fullrange much more versatile and it sounds better. Use for this a low crossover point (100-300Hz) between the two to keep the fullrange sound.
 

Pano

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-10-07 6:05 am
Panama
Some music these days is .1db shy of clipping for 70% of the track - assuming it wasn’t mastered to be in clipping deliberately!
And you'd be wrong! Yes, much to my dismay and surprise, I found out that digital clipping is now a thing. An effect. It's used to make music louder (of course) but also to add edge and bite. Sad, but true.

Don't worry too much about bass extension, it's the 50-60 Hz area where the kick and punch are. The 604 by itself will give you some of that -along with good snap, but a separate woofer with a peak around 50-70 Hz will add that rock/pop bump. Flat response is likely not ideal for the genre.
 
i use Alpair 10M gen 3's in sealed boxes with a Scanspeak 26W/8534G00 subwoofer in a big ported cabinet tuned to 25Hz, and that setup can handle it all, even at loud volumes. I from hardcore jungle and breakcore (very dense aggressive breakbeat music), to dub (bass heavy instrumental spacy reggae), hiphop, big classical orchestra's and jazz and much more. Using a subwoofer that take care of the lows makes the fullrange much more versatile and it sounds better. Use for this a low crossover point (100-300Hz) between the two to keep the fullrange sound.

In the mean time while I plan my next project I do intend to high pass my current speakers and add a sub. I have a KRK 10s that I just dug our. The basement that should be enough for me to see if the difference alleviates most of my issues at higher volumes. Thanks
 

K.A.B

Member
2005-11-24 3:44 pm
Sweden
Midrange clarity is a priority for me. Playing pop music is not, but I have to share the space and I think we all know how big 604 cabinets are so I want to consider if they would be a downgrade for tastes that include kick and bass pop music. Low end extension can be worked around but I would shy away from them if they were “unbalanced” for lack of a better term. I’m using Alpair 10p pensils right now and they just don’t hold up at high volumes. I’m looking for a little more bandwidth but much more spl without giving up the midrange clarity and coherent point source experience.

Beethoven may be denser in orchestration but at least it still has some dynamics to speak of. Some music these days is .1db shy of clipping for 70% of the track - assuming it wasn’t mastered to be in clipping deliberately!

Answers to your question about 604 can handle modern music, yes they do, but because newer music is poorly recorded (most) it is heard immediately when you listen.
I own a pair of 604E sd and I listen to all kinds of music from classical to heavy electronic music in my big 300lit boxes I the bass is good enough for me. I had plans to amplify bass with one more driver per box but chose not to do it now, I estimate that the bass is somewhere between 30-35Hz and I do not miss anything right now the speakers are so good that you accept that there is a little missing.

If you want more bass then I suspect it can be difficult with the synergy but it can still be done, I asked our bassmaster what to choose if I want to add a bass driver after some thought he recommended a PPLOB that would harmonize better than a "regular" sub.

I do not understand why many are fanatical when it comes to bass I feel that it should just be bass and nothing else to me balance throughout the frequency range not the bandwidth I can be wrong but I like it that way.
 

K.A.B

Member
2005-11-24 3:44 pm
Sweden
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Midrange clarity is a priority for me. Playing pop music is not, but I have to share the space and I think we all know how big 604 cabinets are so I want to consider if they would be a downgrade for tastes that include kick and bass pop music. Low end extension can be worked around but I would shy away from them if they were “unbalanced” for lack of a better term.

When I say 604 midrange, it's all about the warmth and intimacy, not about clarity. You would find a better speaker if midrange clarity is your top priority. Also, 604 bass doesn't stop quickly, and this behavior is not preferable for modern pop music arrangement with tight and fast bass with poor overtones. It's not about low frequency extension.

If you're just interested in 604, I would recommend to get a pair. I'm sure you'll know why a lot of people still love it. A lot of limitations, but very musical compromise. It will be neither downgrade nor upgrade since FR and 604 are different animals, and you may end up keeping both. (And I have both) :)

I think you probably will get a good idea in this following popular thread for the speakers that can play complex music at high volume.

Is it possible to cover the whole spectrum, high spl, low distortion with a 2-way?

If I were you, I would check something like ATC (Large), JBL M2 (large), or Kii (Small), modern speakers that can handle almost anything very well, and their low frequency handling and midrange clarity is absolutely top notch. Those speakers do not sound like 604. Less warmth, more analytic.
 
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My bad. I’d meant to cut some pieces out to line up with my questions but got lazy because I was on mobile and editing is imprecise.

I’d still like to hear more from folks if there is any more to be said. For the most part I think people’s descriptions of the bass match my understanding and won’t be at all restrictive for my purposes. I am surprised about the recent comment on midrange given how unassailable the clarity and midrange had been described everywhere else but it’s certainly good to know because that is a priority for me. The full range experiment changed my expectations on how guitars should sound and I don’t want to lose that.

I’m going to try a social media group and see if anyone in my region has a pair I can check out. There’s too much $$ on the line to go in blind.
 

Pano

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-10-07 6:05 am
Panama
That's a great idea but it can be difficult to judge from one implementation. A bad crossover, a bad room or a bad box might lead to sub-par listening.

On the other hand, if you hear a really killer rig, you'll have the challenge of getting it to sound that good at your house. :p Best of luck finding a system to listen to. It's the smart thing to do. :up: