The final (Altec) frontier?

ICTWoody

No longer a junior member
I'm curious, Woody - do you think a single F8 would be sufficient in a medium-sized room? I have the single 1259 right now, but I'd *love* to have something that takes up less real estate.

Maybe. I don't consider myself a big "bass head." So I don't need concert level chest pounding bass, ymmv. What the Rythmik did for me was just fill in enough to make it sound richer and much more full range. It brought more weight and satisfaction. You hardly know it's there until it's not.

I got lucky with that sub. I set it where I wanted it aesthetically behind my speaker and near a corner, switched the damping on the amp to high, picked the 20hz low extension and turned it on. It's sounded good and I really haven't touched it since.

- Woody
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
Maybe. I don't consider myself a big "bass head." So I don't need concert level chest pounding bass, ymmv. What the Rythmik did for me was just fill in enough to make it sound richer and much more full range. It brought more weight and satisfaction. You hardly know it's there until it's not.

I got lucky with that sub. I set it where I wanted it aesthetically behind my speaker and near a corner, switched the damping on the amp to high, picked the 20hz low extension and turned it on. It's sounded good and I really haven't touched it since.

- Woody
My NHT 1259 sounds quite good, but it's pretty big for a subwoofer. I'm sure I'd gain some WAF if I replaced it at some point.
 
I'm curious, Woody - do you think a single F8 would be sufficient in a medium-sized room? I have the single 1259 right now, but I'd *love* to have something that takes up less real estate.
Not Woody, but you quoted me: the 1259 and the F8 are two different animals. The 1259 is a deep bass subwoofer. The F8 is a wide range powered subwoofer, comfortably running to the upper bass (250hz). Each 8” driver has its own 300 watt amp. It excels in the really filling in the Low to midbass. In terms of output, the two 8” drivers are roughly equivalent to a single 12“ driver. If a single 12” can energize your room then a single F8 should as well. I got a good deal on two so I run a stereo pair.
 
Wow—this thread has featured some really inspiring Altec projects, which I’ve appreciated seeing. Lots of creative ideas, including a 3D-printed H808 ... what?!? For some reason, I’ve always assumed the H808 was the missing link. Maybe because those little horns have always eluded me.

I can share with you all the bits that haven’t eluded me, though—a few stops on my own Altec journey, which has been the source of such enormous pleasure and frustration, probably in equal measure.

I guess lots of folks start with a pair of Carmels or similar. Those are what I had, anyway, and I loved them until the desire to rip them apart overcame me. (Not to be self-congratulatory, but that was a good instinct.) I sold a couple of the 414s, had GPA restore the other two, followed “the recipe,” and ended up with these. (I always preferred the Joe Roberts single-cap option BTW. I also liked the Edgar 650 Hz tractrix: it’s present. I can’t remember which 1” drivers are hiding here after trying so many. Probably 802-8Gs, which I liked for their HF extension. Many others worked well, though, including some offbeat Fostex and some even more offbeat TOA with their fancy magnesium diaphragms. Always alnico, though.

09BF635F-C3EB-48C5-8698-1A6D3DA2614A.jpeg

I loved these even more than the Carmels (much more)—and so did everyone who heard them. In the end, I had them perched on some atrocious paving-stone-and-pink-insulation sandwiches, which worked very well. And then I read something on Audio Asylum that really devastated me: Brother Jeffrey Jackson preaching that, “the very first thing that should be horn-loaded is the bass.” That phrase just wouldn’t let up. It kept echoing (and still does). Was I really going there?

Yup. I found a pair of Edgar’s 100 Hz Tractrix midbass horns (the model he was building circa 2000), followed quickly by a pair of Altec 203B multicells. (Of course they’re minimally “multi,” but they still qualify. They’re also wonderful.) I believe there’s a pair of 288-8H drivers hiding back there. And Yamaha JA4281B tweeters up front.

23FF185A-E1AC-45C4-83C7-E850C058F664.jpeg

So, OK—I had midrange but not bass. I had already started down the road with small sealed subs, but I wasn’t crazy about the results, so I turned around and started scheming down the path of, “let’s see how low we can push horn-loading—maybe low enough.”

A dozen systems followed, each one morphing into the next, until I arrived here with a 65 Hz hypex bass horn designed by John Hasquin and built and gifted to me by a diyAudio friend. (It’s spec’d for the JBL 2220A, though—massive faux pas right about now, I know.) Lower-midrange is GPA-restored Altec 290E on Altec 803B; upper-midrange is TAD TD-2001 on Altec 32C; with same Yamaha tweets.

E5C9855B-33BC-4A82-B109-D09C345D01B1.jpeg

If you’ve wrestled with big horns and large-format drivers, you know how difficult it is to fit everything together in a way that works both sonically and aesthetically. (OK, none of your domestic companions would ask you to adopt my sense of aesthetics ... but it worked.)

Incidentally, this system required significant digital delay to get all four drivers time-aligned. So important, though, that I was willing to accept the significant downsides, not least of which was an extra A-to-D-to-A conversion. Also, as I look at this photo, those aren’t 290Es back there; this must have been taken when I was using Yamaha JA6681Bs (more elegant, less gutsy).

F62B25FB-FADC-4972-854D-014D9B6F6372.jpeg

Those speakers were the best I had (and have) done—at least up to this point. I tore them apart, though, when I got interested in some other horns. 1505s have always been on my wish list, and the right opportunity came along. While 329As have always been on my lust list, and the only opportunity I’ve ever had came along. (Together with a third-class ticket to the ramen aisle, but that’s a separate issue.) So, I’m back to a 2-way with serious interest in the Hiraga crossover massaged for the 288-8H and something other than the 825/828 LF section. Not sure it will work, but I’ll build it (or at least model it) and see for myself.

1ACBBE74-7506-41F6-A050-D9DAB19755F8.jpeg

Incidentally, the 329A was the horn that Altec used to “introduce” the new 288-8G/16G and 290-4G. Hard to argue with this.

5ED88834-57F3-4BC8-A83A-2459F94819C6.jpeg

So looking ahead, I wonder how kinky this can get? (Damn, they fit together so beautifully.) I’ll likely try sooner rather than later.

930FEE29-E9AD-4B2F-8FC3-F6F5EF8FF707.jpeg

My little kitchen is pretty freaked out ... it feels like Sound Practices exploded in here.

68C0D52E-BDB2-4E3B-A138-79CE80C5D7F6.jpeg

And looking even further ahead, I’m not sure what’s left except the 1803? That could be it, and I actually do have a line on a pair ... but moderation, right? Besides, they might be excessive in a 12’ x 12’ room.

Final Altec Frontier? I’m not sure, but I did have a vision along the way. The last time I listened to the 414/614, 802/32 combo playing with my Jeff Korneff 76 pre and 45 power, I caught a mental glimpse of myself as a very old man. (Lugging around large-format horn gear must massively speed up the aging process.) I saw myself in some horrid assisted living place somewhere, with an afghan on my lap like in the movies, but extremely content with this deceptively small and simple audio system. It’s not the most extravagant, but it may be the most right ... beautiful, sophisticated, manageable, useful. And again, deceptive: you may need to experience everything else in order to fully “get” it, I’m not sure. Sometimes truth has that character.

While I’m doing all that, though, I’m enjoying the long detour, because high cell counts and drivers the size of melons are awesome—in the literal sense of the word. It’s BIG SOUND even when it’s low volume—rich and dense with an honest-to-God trustworthiness that makes me skeptical of just about everything else. No doubt I’ll keep exploring the territory for a while yet.

Alright! That’s enough audio shit-talking from me, even though it’s good to share with you Altec people. At least I know y’all understand. Wishing you the best with your projects, which I look forward to seeing and learning from. I’ll try to drop back in if I come up with anything good.
 
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Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Wow—this thread has featured some really inspiring Altec projects, which I’ve appreciated seeing. Lots of creative ideas, including a 3D-printed H808 ... what?!? For some reason, I’ve always assumed the H808 was the missing link. Maybe because those little horns have always eluded me.

I can share with you all the bits that haven’t eluded me, though—a few stops on my own Altec journey, which has been the source of such enormous pleasure and frustration, probably in equal measure.

I guess lots of folks start with a pair of Carmels or similar. Those are what I had, anyway, and I loved them until the desire to rip them apart overcame me. (Not to be self-congratulatory, but that was a good instinct.) I sold a couple of the 414s, had GPA restore the other two, followed “the recipe,” and ended up with these. (I always preferred the Joe Roberts single-cap option BTW. I also liked the Edgar 650 Hz tractrix: it’s present. I can’t remember which 1” drivers are hiding here after trying so many. Probably 802-8Gs, which I liked for their HF extension. Many others worked well, though, including some offbeat Fostex and some even more offbeat TOA with their fancy magnesium diaphragms. Always alnico, though.

View attachment 28044

I loved these even more than the Carmels (much more)—and so did everyone who heard them. In the end, I had them perched on some atrocious paving-stone-and-pink-insulation sandwiches, which worked very well. And then I read something on Audio Asylum that really devastated me: Brother Jeffrey Jackson preaching that, “the very first thing that should be horn-loaded is the bass.” That phrase just wouldn’t let up. It kept echoing (and still does). Was I really going there?

Yup. I found a pair of Edgar’s 100 Hz Tractrix midbass horns (the model he was building circa 2000), followed quickly by a pair of Altec 203B multicells. (Of course they’re minimally “multi,” but they still qualify. They’re also wonderful.) I believe there’s a pair of 288-8H drivers hiding back there. And Yamaha JA4281B tweeters up front.

View attachment 28046

So, OK—I had midrange but not bass. I had already started down the road with small sealed subs, but I wasn’t crazy about the results, so I turned around and started scheming down the path of, “let’s see how low we can push horn-loading—maybe low enough.”

A dozen systems followed, each one morphing into the next, until I arrived here with a 65 Hz hypex bass horn designed by John Hasquin and built and gifted to me by a diyAudio friend. (It’s spec’d for the JBL 2220A, though—massive faux pas right about now, I know.) Lower-midrange is GPA-restored Altec 290E on Altec 803B; upper-midrange is TAD TD-2001 on Altec 32C; with same Yamaha tweets.

View attachment 28047

If you’ve wrestled with big horns and large-format drivers, you know how difficult it is to fit everything together in a way that works both sonically and aesthetically. (OK, none of your domestic companions would ask you to adopt my sense of aesthetics ... but it worked.)

Incidentally, this system required significant digital delay to get all four drivers time-aligned. So important, though, that I was willing to accept the significant downsides, not least of which was an extra A-to-D-to-A conversion. Also, as I look at this photo, those aren’t 290Es back there; this must have been taken when I was using Yamaha JA6681Bs (more elegant, less gutsy).

View attachment 28048

Those speakers were the best I had (and have) done—at least up to this point. I tore them apart, though, when I got interested in some other horns. 1505s have always been on my wish list, and the right opportunity came along. While 329As have always been on my lust list, and the only opportunity I’ve ever had came along. (Together with a third-class ticket to the ramen aisle, but that’s a separate issue.) So, I’m back to a 2-way with serious interest in the Hiraga crossover massaged for the 288-8H and something other than the 825/828 LF section. Not sure it will work, but I’ll build it (or at least model it) and see for myself.

View attachment 28050

Incidentally, the 329A was the horn that Altec used to “introduce” the new 288-8G/16G and 290-4G. Hard to argue with this.

View attachment 28058

So looking ahead, I wonder how kinky this can get? (Damn, they fit together so beautifully.) I’ll likely try sooner rather than later.

View attachment 28049

My little kitchen is pretty freaked out ... it feels like Sound Practices exploded in here.

View attachment 28051

And looking even further ahead, I’m not sure what’s left except the 1803? That could be it, and I actually do have a line on a pair ... but moderation, right? Besides, they might be excessive in a 12’ x 12’ room.

Final Altec Frontier? I’m not sure, but I did have a vision along the way. The last time I listened to the 414/614, 802/32 combo playing with my Jeff Korneff 76 pre and 45 power, I caught a mental glimpse of myself as a very old man. (Lugging around large-format horn gear must massively speed up the aging process.) I saw myself in some horrid assisted living place somewhere, with an afghan on my lap like in the movies, but extremely content with this deceptively small and simple audio system. It’s not the most extravagant, but it may be the most right ... beautiful, sophisticated, manageable, useful. And again, deceptive: you may need to experience everything else in order to fully “get” it, I’m not sure. Sometimes truth has that character.

While I’m doing all that, though, I’m enjoying the long detour, because high cell counts and drivers the size of melons are awesome—in the literal sense of the word. It’s BIG SOUND even when it’s low volume—rich and dense with an honest-to-God trustworthiness that makes me skeptical of just about everything else. No doubt I’ll keep exploring the territory for a while yet.

Alright! That’s enough audio shit-talking from me, even though it’s good to share with you Altec people. At least I know y’all understand. Wishing you the best with your projects, which I look forward to seeing and learning from. I’ll try to drop back in if I come up with anything good.
Umm....wow? 😳 You didn’t hijack this thread, you adopted it and raised it as your own child! 😉 Amazing gear and journey! Kudos!
 
Final Altec Frontier? I’m not sure, but I did have a vision along the way. The last time I listened to the 414/614, 802/32 combo playing with my Jeff Korneff 76 pre and 45 power, I caught a mental glimpse of myself as a very old man. (Lugging around large-format horn gear must massively speed up the aging process.) I saw myself in some horrid assisted living place somewhere, with an afghan on my lap like in the movies, but extremely content with this deceptively small and simple audio system. It’s not the most extravagant, but it may be the most right ... beautiful, sophisticated, manageable, useful. And again, deceptive: you may need to experience everything else in order to fully “get” it, I’m not sure. Sometimes truth has that character.

As I grow older and contemplate my “final” system I accept that it will have its limitations but must play music. It is difficult to resist the temptation to build an “ultimate” system, but that path often leads to never ending improvements, and ever present itch that can never be scratched. I’m finding myself increasingly attracted to relatively simple speakers used within their limitations. For the average sized listening room (or living room) the Altec two-way is a difficult act to follow. Used full range, the 414A behaves like a single driver speaker up to 4khz or so. I use a 32A/802 to fill in the highs. It sounds seamless. The 414A is rated for 99dB and I have no reason to doubt It. It is a big speaker by today’s standards, but it is still a monitor and does not produce prodigious bass below 50 hz or so. There is something about the way a 12” high efficiency driver energizes the room that a smaller driver cannot, even at the same SPL.
 
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Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
The 414A is rated for 99dB and I have no reason to doubt It. It is a big speaker by today’s standards, but it is still a monitor and does not produce prodigious bass below 50 hz or so. There is something about the way a 12” high efficiency driver energizes the room that a smaller driver cannot, even at the same SPL.
Actually, that 99dB rating is at 1W / 4', so the actual rating is almost 101dB @ 1W/m (100.7dB, to be exact). :)

And I loves me some 414A/414z run at full range - especially when paired with a decent sub. Using mine with 808-8B / 32C for the highs, so fairly close to what you're running.
 
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Actually, that 99dB rating is at 1W / 4', so the actual rating is almost 101dB @ 1W/m (100.7dB, to be exact). :)

And I loves me some 414A/414z run at full range - especially when paired with a decent sub. Using mine with 808-8B / 32C for the highs, so fairly close to what you're running.

You mean like a stereo pair of Rythmik Audio F8s?

Speaker sensitivity ratings are not completely straightforward. Unlike every high end speaker company today, Altec specified their sensitivity ratings using EIA standards from 500hz - 3,000hz. We know the 414A has a rising response. That means the sensitivity in the 50hz - 500hz region is lower than the 500hz - 3,000hz region. A bass reflex enclosure will help support the low end but this speaker will tend toward a leaner, faster low end. The vocal region will elevated relative to the midbass, highlighting vocals. I would expect a very detailed yet smooth treble.

I also have a pair of 414-8Cs. They are rated at 94dB at 4 feet (96dB/w/m) in contrast to the 414A at 99dB at 4 feet (101 dB/w/m). I’ve seen response graphs for both drivers that show similar response up to about 500hz. From the midrange up the 414A takes off while the 414-8C levels off in a mesa-like plateau. The 414A falls off smoothly on the high end whereas the 414-8C drops off a bit more abruptly. The less efficient driver may work best with a second order low pass a la 9849A.

The end result is the 414A has the tendency to sound like the efficient, wide range driver it is. I think the driver sounds faster and has a full range driver sound when the HF horn is properly integrated. The 414-8C sounds a bit flatter in response and more in line with modern frequency balance. The midrange is less prominent. The 9849 monitor that use this driver and the similar 414-8B used modern tuned ports ( 2 x 3”dia x 6”l) instead of the simple 2” x 7” port of the similarly sized 614. Interestingly, the port area of both enclosures is 14 square inches.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
You mean like a stereo pair of Rythmik Audio F8s?

Speaker sensitivity ratings are not completely straightforward. Unlike every high end speaker company today, Altec specified their sensitivity ratings using EIA standards from 500hz - 3,000hz. We know the 414A has a rising response. That means the sensitivity in the 50hz - 500hz region is lower than the 500hz - 3,000hz region. A bass reflex enclosure will help support the low end but this speaker will tend toward a leaner, faster low end. The vocal region will elevated relative to the midbass, highlighting vocals. I would expect a very detailed yet smooth treble.

I also have a pair of 414-8Cs. They are rated at 94dB at 4 feet (96dB/w/m) in contrast to the 414A at 99dB at 4 feet (101 dB/w/m). I’ve seen response graphs for both drivers that show similar response up to about 500hz. From the midrange up the 414A takes off while the 414-8C levels off in a mesa-like plateau. The 414A falls off smoothly on the high end whereas the 414-8C drops off a bit more abruptly. The less efficient driver may work best with a second order low pass a la 9849A.

The end result is the 414A has the tendency to sound like the efficient, wide range driver it is. I think the driver sounds faster and has a full range driver sound when the HF horn is properly integrated. The 414-8C sounds a bit flatter in response and more in line with modern frequency balance. The midrange is less prominent. The 9849 monitor that use this driver and the similar 414-8B used modern tuned ports ( 2 x 3”dia x 6”l) instead of the simple 2” x 7” port of the similarly sized 614. Interestingly, the port area of both enclosures is 14 square inches.
As mentioned a few posts back, I'm using an NHT 1259 in a 3.5 cu. ft. sealed box with a 200W plate amp with my 414z / 808-8b speakers. I am intrigued by the Rythmik Audio F8s but for now, I'm getting pretty good integration with the current setup. I've got a daughter starting college next year (and a son three years later) so I'm heading into what could be called "the lean years" so it may be a while before the sub gets upgraded.
 
Wow—this thread has featured some really inspiring Altec projects, which I’ve appreciated seeing. Lots of creative ideas, including a 3D-printed H808 ... what?!? For some reason, I’ve always assumed the H808 was the missing link. Maybe because those little horns have always eluded me.

I can share with you all the bits that haven’t eluded me, though—a few stops on my own Altec journey, which has been the source of such enormous pleasure and frustration, probably in equal measure.

I guess lots of folks start with a pair of Carmels or similar. Those are what I had, anyway, and I loved them until the desire to rip them apart overcame me. (Not to be self-congratulatory, but that was a good instinct.) I sold a couple of the 414s, had GPA restore the other two, followed “the recipe,” and ended up with these. (I always preferred the Joe Roberts single-cap option BTW. I also liked the Edgar 650 Hz tractrix: it’s present. I can’t remember which 1” drivers are hiding here after trying so many. Probably 802-8Gs, which I liked for their HF extension. Many others worked well, though, including some offbeat Fostex and some even more offbeat TOA with their fancy magnesium diaphragms. Always alnico, though.

View attachment 28044

I loved these even more than the Carmels (much more)—and so did everyone who heard them. In the end, I had them perched on some atrocious paving-stone-and-pink-insulation sandwiches, which worked very well. And then I read something on Audio Asylum that really devastated me: Brother Jeffrey Jackson preaching that, “the very first thing that should be horn-loaded is the bass.” That phrase just wouldn’t let up. It kept echoing (and still does). Was I really going there?

Yup. I found a pair of Edgar’s 100 Hz Tractrix midbass horns (the model he was building circa 2000), followed quickly by a pair of Altec 203B multicells. (Of course they’re minimally “multi,” but they still qualify. They’re also wonderful.) I believe there’s a pair of 288-8H drivers hiding back there. And Yamaha JA4281B tweeters up front.

View attachment 28046

So, OK—I had midrange but not bass. I had already started down the road with small sealed subs, but I wasn’t crazy about the results, so I turned around and started scheming down the path of, “let’s see how low we can push horn-loading—maybe low enough.”

A dozen systems followed, each one morphing into the next, until I arrived here with a 65 Hz hypex bass horn designed by John Hasquin and built and gifted to me by a diyAudio friend. (It’s spec’d for the JBL 2220A, though—massive faux pas right about now, I know.) Lower-midrange is GPA-restored Altec 290E on Altec 803B; upper-midrange is TAD TD-2001 on Altec 32C; with same Yamaha tweets.

View attachment 28047

If you’ve wrestled with big horns and large-format drivers, you know how difficult it is to fit everything together in a way that works both sonically and aesthetically. (OK, none of your domestic companions would ask you to adopt my sense of aesthetics ... but it worked.)

Incidentally, this system required significant digital delay to get all four drivers time-aligned. So important, though, that I was willing to accept the significant downsides, not least of which was an extra A-to-D-to-A conversion. Also, as I look at this photo, those aren’t 290Es back there; this must have been taken when I was using Yamaha JA6681Bs (more elegant, less gutsy).

View attachment 28048

Those speakers were the best I had (and have) done—at least up to this point. I tore them apart, though, when I got interested in some other horns. 1505s have always been on my wish list, and the right opportunity came along. While 329As have always been on my lust list, and the only opportunity I’ve ever had came along. (Together with a third-class ticket to the ramen aisle, but that’s a separate issue.) So, I’m back to a 2-way with serious interest in the Hiraga crossover massaged for the 288-8H and something other than the 825/828 LF section. Not sure it will work, but I’ll build it (or at least model it) and see for myself.

View attachment 28050

Incidentally, the 329A was the horn that Altec used to “introduce” the new 288-8G/16G and 290-4G. Hard to argue with this.

View attachment 28058

So looking ahead, I wonder how kinky this can get? (Damn, they fit together so beautifully.) I’ll likely try sooner rather than later.

View attachment 28049

My little kitchen is pretty freaked out ... it feels like Sound Practices exploded in here.

View attachment 28051

And looking even further ahead, I’m not sure what’s left except the 1803? That could be it, and I actually do have a line on a pair ... but moderation, right? Besides, they might be excessive in a 12’ x 12’ room.

Final Altec Frontier? I’m not sure, but I did have a vision along the way. The last time I listened to the 414/614, 802/32 combo playing with my Jeff Korneff 76 pre and 45 power, I caught a mental glimpse of myself as a very old man. (Lugging around large-format horn gear must massively speed up the aging process.) I saw myself in some horrid assisted living place somewhere, with an afghan on my lap like in the movies, but extremely content with this deceptively small and simple audio system. It’s not the most extravagant, but it may be the most right ... beautiful, sophisticated, manageable, useful. And again, deceptive: you may need to experience everything else in order to fully “get” it, I’m not sure. Sometimes truth has that character.

While I’m doing all that, though, I’m enjoying the long detour, because high cell counts and drivers the size of melons are awesome—in the literal sense of the word. It’s BIG SOUND even when it’s low volume—rich and dense with an honest-to-God trustworthiness that makes me skeptical of just about everything else. No doubt I’ll keep exploring the territory for a while yet.

Alright! That’s enough audio shit-talking from me, even though it’s good to share with you Altec people. At least I know y’all understand. Wishing you the best with your projects, which I look forward to seeing and learning from. I’ll try to drop back in if I come up with anything good.

Man. I’d been traveling a lot and pulled away, return to see this epic post. Outrageous stuff here.

“Rich and dense with an honest to God trustworthiness” is probably the best description I’ve ever read of the Altec sound at its best and it’s exactly what I’m after.

Which explains why my Model 19s are on CL locally right now. I’m getting by with 604s in 620 cabs for the time being.

They sound super right, and I still like them enough to hold onto them, but I’ve got a ways to go still.

Hasn’t @billfort experimented with horns atop his 620esque cabs? I’m about to try out some EH500s on the 620s until I can get Onken’d 416-8bs made....

I managed to get a pair of the Iconic ‘Supercrossovers’ a while back, which I’m running on the 604s. No L-pads!

Edit: OR, I may try replacing the 811b with EH500 in the Model 19s. The two horns are remarkably close in width and height. The EH500s are actually slightly smaller, so I’d need to fabricate new baffles, mount the EH500s to the outside of those, then mount the new baffles onto the Model 19s using the existing 811b T-nut locations. Surely others have been down this path with the 19s....

7D1E02FB-A91D-4755-9C1D-D86BAEAF2C76.jpeg
 
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mhardy6647

Señor Member
Hasn’t @billfort experimented with horns atop his 620esque cabs? I’m about to try out some EH500s on the 620s until I can get Onken’d 416-8bs made....
I dont' know if @billfort has... but Marky has :smoke

DSC_8282 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

At this point, the 604Es have been packed up and supplanted with (or is that by? danged prepositions are hard...) a gorgeous pair of "on approval" 515Bs. The EH-500s are... umm... good. :o

I've actually re-wired and reconfigured things a bit more since the rather crummy photo above was taken, and - at least for now ;) - things are in a stable conformation upstairs, FrankenAltec-wise.

PS (FWIW) I like, and ascribe to, Gary Kaufman's assessment of The Altec Sound: "Effortless", said he. (Even with three-ish watts, which still strikes me as extra-cool).
 
Being lazy, I’m going to first try the EH500s on a pair of RCF N480 (phenolic) 1” exit ferrite drivers I’ve had lying around for a while. I need to replenish the Altec parts supply.
 
Quick update... I’m about to embark on an Onken build with a fellow Altec nut who lives nearby.

Moving from the 416-8b to the 515ish drivers in the 604s makes me feel conflicted about these two legendary 15” alnico drivers.

Like @ICTWoody, I’m no bass head. But as good as the 515ish section of the 604 is in the low mids (and it’s very very good - close to the textural excellence of the 414z), it has nowhere near the impact of the 416. They energize the room in completely different ways.

I’ve got RTA curves of both somewhere of the two - maybe the 515 is flatter, or righter - but I think I find the 416 more satisfying.

So on that note, I’m embarking on an Onken build for the 416-8a (or B). I’ve been running the Emilar EH500 on top of the 604s.

Hard to compare them to 811/802-8g combo, since I’m running them with a pair oF RCF N480 I picked up somewhere along the way.

Once the Onkens are done, I’ll get another pair of 802-8 somethings and run them with the Emilars crossed at 800 or so. Then eventually large format 288g.

For what it’s worth, in addition to a big Onken/multicell setup crossed low I’d love to one day make a 3 way pair of Altecs with 416/414 and 802s, crossed at something like 400hz and 2-3k.

Has anyone tried this?

Something that combines the best of the 416, 414 and 802 (on what horn, I’m not sure - Emilar 800?). Hell, do it with dual 414s arranged horizontally.

It’s hard to describe the sound of dual 414z making up the meatiest part of the midrange.... glorious would be a start.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Agree wholeheartedly, the 414z (a) is a remarkable driver! Spent a good bit of the day today listening to my 414/802/32 setup. It never ceases to impress.
 
@Baaronj : I’ve enjoyed your Altec adventures on other forums. I have four 414As from 9844 speakers and followed your experiments to see if I wanted to follow the same path (I won’t - I don’t have the space). You have been consistent in your desire for the 414 magic AND better bass. You are correct in the 416B is the much better bass speaker.

I would personally be hesitant to use a 416 and 802 with an 800hz crossover. I own three really great speakers: Omega single driver monitors, Altec 414/802/32A two-ways, and Proac Response 1SCs. None of them have crossovers in the critical range of 300hz to 3,000 hz. The 414 runs full range and the Proac crossover is at 4khz. They all have midrange magic.

I would be curious how a 416B/414/802/32A 3-way or 2.5-way would sound. I would think putting the 414 in the factory-recommended 2.5 cubic foot sealed sub enclosure would roll it off on the low end. A 416B could be brought in 2.5-way in its own ported enclosure, probably at around 100hz - 150hz. Alternatively, we cold try a true 3-way 2nd order on all three drivers.

I think that if we want something to get that 414 magic, we will need to use a 414. I would not want to compromise in the midrange to get better bass. I am not willing to listen around bass limitations than the region containing the entire vocal range and most of the fundamentals for many instruments. Due to space and financial limitations, my choice has been to use servo-controlled powered subwoofers to augment the low end.
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
Moving from the 416-8b to the 515ish drivers in the 604s makes me feel conflicted about these two legendary 15” alnico drivers.

Like @ICTWoody, I’m no bass head. But as good as the 515ish section of the 604 is in the low mids (and it’s very very good - close to the textural excellence of the 414z), it has nowhere near the impact of the 416. They energize the room in completely different ways.

I’ve got RTA curves of both somewhere of the two - maybe the 515 is flatter, or righter - but I think I find the 416 more satisfying.

I went through a bit of the same years ago; the 604-8G/Markwart crossover/SET pairing did almost everything just right to my ear - I was very satisfied and pretty much done searching. But there was something missing in the bass; those big, fast, effortless dynamics I remembered in my model-19s was not there in the same measure - I was missing what the 416 can do in the bass.

So the idea of a 'helper woofer' system took hold, but the LAST thing I wanted to do was mess with the mojo I'd stumbled upon with the 604s, so I decided to leave them completely alone, other than backing off some of the subtle things I'd tried to squeeze more bass dynamics out of them. Things like corner placement, certain amp circuits and tube mixes - things that actually created compromises in other areas could go, but there would be no EQ, high-pass crossovers, active crossovers, digital...anything...going between the amp>markwart>604s - that already worked very well to my ear and would stay that way.

But those helper woofers? Lets throw technology and the better parts of modern audio at it - I was all in on a separate system loop fed by a second set of analog outs from the pre-amp (leave the 604s alone being my rule) to deal with lower bass; mostly < 80Hz. A solid state low-pass crossover, highly customizable digital EQ and a big (in efficient speaker terms!) SS amp was used to deal with all those bass compromises like room bass anomalies, non-optimal woofer cabinets & blending with the mains.

What I think was the secret sauce in getting this all to work though? Using Altec 416As as the heart of the bass augmentation system. I've heard many modern-tech magical bass boxes (usually small and domestically friendly) with huge amounts of power, digital signal manipulation, wildly pumping drivers and impressive specs, but none of them 'gelled' with the high-eff speakers I like, and they didn't work to my ear with the 604s.

The 416A though, with a little help from modern tech to reach a touch lower and 'flatten the curve' so to speak - this was working, and the further I tweaked around the edges the better it got. Even re-visiting those subtle 'get more bass' things on the 604s like positioning and amp compromises elevated the over-all performance of the mains, so the whole system - this was GOOD!

Compromises, all about compromises, and I've made a bunch here like big, hard to source (call them antique) drivers in big boxes used in a room that was already heavily modified to work in an analog world. But I think the very similar flavor, tone, and dynamic capabilities of the alnico 515ish 604-8G and 416A drivers straight up, makes for the best chance of getting a blending like this right.
 
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