Looking for some help in Orange County CA

Greetings everyone. This is my first post and very happy to be a new member. Thank you for having me.
I’m looking for some help. I don’t quite have a audiophile system but I believe I have the potential to.
I live in Orange County California and was looking for a individual or company that makes house calls that could asses what I have and suggest and possibly implement improvements to my current system or actually two systems that consist of the following.
Right now my system(s) consists of a MAC mini as a source plugged into a Topping DX3 DAC via USB cable then from there it goes out of the DAC via RCA Interconnects to a Mackie 1202 VLZ4’s mic pre-amps (I know it’s not the ideal preamplifier but it’s what I have for now.) Out of the Mackie’s XLR main outs I go into a Crown Com-Tech 410 amplifier that go to a set of Altec Voice of the theatre speakers (Magnificent’s) stock crossovers then to the tweeter and woofer. I also have the 1/4 main outs on the Mackie going out into a Mackie 404 VLZ4 mixer’s mic preamps that have its main outs going out to a Crown D75A amplifier that go to the stock crossovers for a set of Altec 605b duplex or coaxial speakers.
The reason I run the second set of main outs to the 404 is so I can adjust the trim on the preamps to match the gain between the Com-tech and D75A so I can run all four speakers at the same volume. I realize this is probably not the correct way to route things.
I have been told that I should only be using one set of speakers at a time. And have also been told that it’s okay to do so. As it is I think it sounds good but believe it could sound a lot better if somebody that knew what they were doing was able to take some measurements for proper room correction.
I have also been told that a DSP is the way to go. And others have suggested having somebody take measurements and having custom crossovers built to match the room.
Then there are the questions about what type of amplifiers to use. I have been told that a proper tube amplifier is what I need. And others have said the amplifiers I have are fine just add a DSP. I was going to go the DSP route and actually have an extra set of matching amplifiers to bi-amp the speakers.
As you can probably tell by the description of what I have going right now I don’t have much of a clue of what I’m doing.
I’m really hoping there’s somebody out there that is local that would be willing to come by and make an assessment, make suggestions and help implement them. I am more than willing to pay for someone’s time and experience.
Also all the speakers are from the sixties and 16 ohms. I don’t know if that matters for the amplifier selection.
There are some things in the picture of the rack that are not being used like the regulated output amplifier, lexicon effects processor, Shure mic mixer and dbx graphic equalizer’s.

If there’s anybody out there local and willing to take a future Audiophile under there wing I would greatly appreciate it. And pay for it.

Thank you,

Jerry
 

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Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Thank you!
If I was local I’d definitely lend a hand. From afar I’d suggest a 300b or 2a3 tube amp of good quality/build (Budget dictates where you go but don’t waste your money on anything under 2k; unless used and at a bargain rate). These amps have an uncanny synergy with Altecs of that era. A passive or active tube amp is equally important. There will be others that will chime in soon with more detail.
On the DSP and modern front @Pat McGinty is one of our go to gurus.
 
I have 2 pair of Altec speakers (605b OB and 414z/32c/902 OB) that I listen to together at times with 2A3 SET amps fed from a 300B/6A3 preamp. So I second @Audionut’s suggestion of trying tube amps...on loan if possible.
I end up going back to my all DHT Stereomour on the 414z speakers.
In the end, the sound of your system only has to please you...so, try different things.
 

gable

Senior Member
Welcome to the Haven.

I would try to find someone near you to loan you a good tube amp, as others have mentioned they tend to sound fabulous with the old Altec gear.

There is an endless rabbit hole of fun with tube amplification and crossover tweaks on the VOTT and 604's.
 
If I was local I’d definitely lend a hand. From afar I’d suggest a 300b or 2a3 tube amp of good quality/build (Budget dictates where you go but don’t waste your money on anything under 2k; unless used and at a bargain rate). These amps have an uncanny synergy with Altecs of that era. A passive or active tube amp is equally important. There will be others that will chime in soon with more detail.
On the DSP and modern front @Pat McGinty is one of our go to gurus.
Thanks for the advice. I’m really flying blind. I’ll do some research on the tube style amps you suggested and try and educate myself a bit.
I think I already know the answer to this but what do you think about running the two sets of speakers together? Do they even make a tube amp that would support 4 speakers. I’m not trying to do surround sound or anything. Just two channel. I just happen to have two sets of vintage Altec’s.
I should probably split them up and just set up another system in another room.
Just curious what others in the know thought.

Thanks again for your help,

Jerry
 
Welcome to the Haven.

I would try to find someone near you to loan you a good tube amp, as others have mentioned they tend to sound fabulous with the old Altec gear.

There is an endless rabbit hole of fun with tube amplification and crossover tweaks on the VOTT and 604's.
Thank you for the suggestion. That’s pretty much why I just joined the group. I’m hoping to find some people in the know that are local to me to show me the ropes. As you can probably tell by the description of my setup I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m pretty sure using a mixer as a preamplifier is not a ideal solution.
When you say crossover tweaks are you talking about having custom crossovers built? Reading through the forums that seems like a popular thing to do.
What is your preference? Passive crossovers or a DSP?

Thanks again for your help,

Jerry
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Hello Jerry, welcome to the Haven!

You will find there are quite a few Altec owners here. I started with Model 19’s and then 605b’s. The point source imaging from an Altec duplex driver really is something special. They also work really well in most rooms.

There certainly is a synergy with single ended tube amplifiers. I’ve run mine off both 2a3 and 300b SET amplifiers with really enjoyable results.

I’ve also enjoyed them immensely with some Nelson Pass class A solid state designs as well. Right now I have my 604-8g’s driven by an Aleph J and the pairing is very enjoyable.

Bottom line is this, with these Altecs being so sensitive, your options for amplification are nearly endless. Anything from mega watt to flea watt will drive them with aplomb.
 
I have 2 pair of Altec speakers (605b OB and 414z/32c/902 OB) that I listen to together at times with 2A3 SET amps fed from a 300B/6A3 preamp. So I second @Audionut’s suggestion of trying tube amps...on loan if possible.
I end up going back to my all DHT Stereomour on the 414z speakers.
In the end, the sound of your system only has to please you...so, try different things.
Thanks for your reply. I have to admit a lot of what you said went over my head. I really know very little about amplifiers especially tube amplifiers but I am here to learn from whoever is willing share the knowledge. I’ll be rereading your post and doing some research.
Just to give you an idea of how little I know. I had to look up OB speaker. I didn’t know what open baffle meant. Now that I know what they are and have seen them I’m curious as to what the advantage is as opposed to a enclosure. Especially with your 605’s. Feel free to educate me if you have the time.

Thanks again,

Jerry
 
Hello Jerry, welcome to the Haven!

You will find there are quite a few Altec owners here. I started with Model 19’s and then 605b’s. The point source imaging from an Altec duplex driver really is something special. They also work really well in most rooms.

There certainly is a synergy with single ended tube amplifiers. I’ve run mine off both 2a3 and 300b SET amplifiers with really enjoyable results.

I’ve also enjoyed them immensely with some Nelson Pass class A solid state designs as well. Right now I have my 604-8g’s driven by an Aleph J and the pairing is very enjoyable.

Bottom line is this, with these Altecs being so sensitive, your options for amplification are nearly endless. Anything from mega watt to flea watt will drive them with aplomb.
Thanks for the reply,

I have to admit. I know nothing about amplifiers. I don’t know what 2a3 means or 300b. If you happen to have a link to a site that will break it down for me I would love to do the research.
I was very lucky and given my first set of Altec’s. The 605B’s from the original owner. I fell in love with them the first time I heard them. I tried doing some research on them but have found very little compared to the abundance of information that is out there on the 604’s other than they were not very well received in the studio setting. But everything I’ve read from people that have them seem to admire them very much. I was wondering how you would compare your 604’s to the 605’s?

Thank you again for your help,

Jerry
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the reply,

I have to admit. I know nothing about amplifiers. I don’t know what 2a3 means or 300b. If you happen to have a link to a site that will break it down for me I would love to do the research.
I was very lucky and given my first set of Altec’s. The 605B’s from the original owner. I fell in love with them the first time I heard them. I tried doing some research on them but have found very little compared to the abundance of information that is out there on the 604’s other than they were not very well received in the studio setting. But everything I’ve read from people that have them seem to admire them very much. I was wondering how you would compare your 604’s to the 605’s?

Thank you again for your help,

Jerry
I’ll be happy to walk you through this with at least my (admittedly) limited understanding. ;)

So, 2a3 and 300b are two different tube types that are commonly used in Single Ended tube amplifier designs. They are two of the most popular tubes used in this application and are “directly heated triode” tubes or DHT.

These single ended designs are very simple with the lowest amount of parts to make a complete circuit. So, with that said since there are a lot less parts, it’s typical that these designs are built with very high quality parts. Kind of a best of the best mentality. The challenge is, they are very low power so not many speakers can be driven to sufficient volume levels with them.... Altec speakers such as yours however are an exception.

As for the 604 vs 605 question, I actually posted a thread about just that!

 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Btw, here is a link to my 2a3 amplifier build. Some of this may go over your head for now, but it should illustrate what I said in my last post about simplicity of the circuit.

 
I’ll be happy to walk you through this with at least my (admittedly) limited understanding. ;)

So, 2a3 and 300b are two different tube types that are commonly used in Single Ended tube amplifier designs. They are two of the most popular tubes used in this application and are “directly heated triode” tubes or DHT.

These single ended designs are very simple with the lowest amount of parts to make a complete circuit. So, with that said since there are a lot less parts, it’s typical that these designs are built with very high quality parts. Kind of a best of the best mentality. The challenge is, they are very low power so not many speakers can be driven to sufficient volume levels with them.... Altec speakers such as yours however are an exception.

As for the 604 vs 605 question, I actually posted a thread about just that!

Thank you for breaking it down. Your cabinets came out beautiful.
Is building new crossovers something somebody with absolutely no experience should attempt? Do you happen to have a ballpark figure on what the parts to make a pair might run me?
 
Btw, here is a link to my 2a3 amplifier build. Some of this may go over your head for now, but it should illustrate what I said in my last post about simplicity of the circuit.

Thanks again. I’ll just keep soaking it up till it sinks in.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you for breaking it down. Your cabinets came out beautiful.
Is building new crossovers something somebody with absolutely no experience should attempt? Do you happen to have a ballpark figure on what the parts to make a pair might run me?
That depends, how comfortable are you with a soldering iron? There isn’t much to these crossovers.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks again. I’ll just keep soaking it up till it sinks in.
Great idea. I would suggest you read as much as you can in the high efficiency forum as it will all be applicable to your Altecs. There are alot of folks here with knowledge of the subject which has been shared in those threads.
 
That depends, how comfortable are you with a soldering iron? There isn’t much to these crossovers.
I used to be a plumber. I know how to solder copper pipes. As far as electronics go I’ve made some guitar cables and soldered on 1/4” jacks that’s about it. But I’m not scared to try if screwing it up doesn’t cost me to much money.
 
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