Thoughts on Altec 288-16K, horn options, etc.?

Punker X

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Been curious about the larger format Altec drivers for a long time. An have been toying the idea of some non-coax fun. I have an opportunity on a pair of 288-16K's. Data sheet say 450 to 15KHz on for frequency response.

Looking for options on horns I could try with this driver.

Is there an adapter to bring it down to 1" throat?

Would this hurt the performance?

Think a super-tweeter would be needed?

Kind on the fence with this deal because it will probably cost me a pair of 604-8K's in trade. They come with a horn that may sound good, but I don't like the looks of horns that look like a big bugle

Original plans were to hunt down a pair of 802-16G's. Should I stick with original plans or go for the 288's. I know the 802 G's, nothing about the larger format. The couple times I have heard a pair was pretty special, but its been years.

Pros? Cons? I value your guys input.
 
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Call GPA and ask if they have new diaphragms available for 288's.

If not, take a pass on that deal ( you don't want an Altec product no longer supported by GPA ).

:)
 
Call GPA and ask if they have new diaphragms available for 288's.

If not, take a pass on that deal ( you don't want an Altec product no longer supported by GPA ).

:)

A 288 is listed as a current product with 8 or 16 ohm coils. Although nobody is quite sure of the viability of GPA of late.
 
Large format drivers have a presentation that's different from the small to me, more impact or presence.
I would pair them with a multicell horn.
My opinion is a tweeter will be needed.
Same experience here listening to @marantzfan onken setup; more impactful lows to mids, but lacking in the top end compared to 604’s.
 
Call GPA and ask if they have new diaphragms available for 288's.

If not, take a pass on that deal ( you don't want an Altec product no longer supported by GPA ).

:)
I would completely recommend Radian diaphragms if the GPA ones are not an available option. I actually prefer them over the newer GPA diagrams for my 1” 802-8g
 
I would completely recommend Radian diaphragms if the GPA ones are not an available option. I actually prefer them over the newer GPA diagrams for my 1” 802-8g
Btw I loved my 288-16k but had a difficult time with the larger format horn in my listening space. I ended up with a pair of the a808 w/802d drivers. Good luck with the search.
 
Thanks for all the input. After talking with a close trusted Altec guru and friend I've decided to pass these up. I'm sure they could sound great. Going to stick with my original plan and stick with a 1" driver.
 
This thread makes me wonder whether the horn or the compression driver come first. Sort of embarrassed to say that I don’t do a lot of experimentation swapping drivers on different horns.

But, and I think I posted this before, I did get a really good deal on a pair of 805b multicellulars along with a pair of very badly rusted/corroded/seized 288c’s and single 288-16k. Kind of miraculously, I was able to dig out the voice coil gaps, but I have no idea whether they’re as good as new. Just ended up with the inexpensive Chinese diaphragms in them. Did some experimentation with aligning the voice coils without shims, just ran a 1k tone and watched the distortion harmonics, tightening, loosening, shifting until I got a good reading. Had to ream out the mounting holes in the cheap diaphragms to get some range of movement. Made a significant difference as I was getting some audible distortion when I just threw them in.

But, I did do some preliminary listening, just hooking up the horn in lieu of my Emilar eh800/ea175 combo, 416 in 620 cabinet.

The 288 k has a lot of output, louder than the c, kind of a more etched treble sound, and the top end falls away at a lower frequency. One might need a super tweeter with the k, which is surprising since the k has the tangerine phase plug.

The k is massive, by the way. Check this out…

IMG_2439.jpeg

Difference in phase plug size from the large vs small format drivers.

But the 288c, although quieter, struck me as having a more extended top. I was thinking that with careful eq, one would probably not need any help.

Both types, with the Chinese diaphragms, i recall having a boost in the very high frequencies with pink noise…wish I had taken a screenshot of the response. I’ve read that some say it’s due to distortion, not the signal, although, I didn’t see that distortion in that area when running 1k tones through them. What struck me was that there was a dip in the 7k-8k, that bugged me. Then they start dropping in the 13k range…the k more drastically than the c, and then further on up, is that bit of bump in the very high frequencies…don’t recall exactly where. But it gives me hope that with eq, kind of like Hiraga’s article suggested, attenuating the mids below 7k, you could flatten them out and extend them. Seems like it would be a different approach…perhaps more complicated…than the small format, 1 inches.

I don’t know if the sound, making no extra effort on the crossover, with cheap diaphragms was a massive difference from the Emilars, but one could easily hear that it had that effortless quality many apply to it, increased dynamics/slam, so there’s some definite potential. Another step towards not sounding like you’re hearing a speaker.

My plan is to put the horns on my 605a/612 combo, possibly use the small horn on the 605a as a super tweeter, but definitely use the woofer. Probably copy the Hiraga crossover from his article. There was a study mentioned in his article, the study investigated the question “do horns have an identifiable sound?” The multicellular Altecs, apparently in a blind test, no one could identify them as a horn. That was the Hiraga comment and in looking over the study, it did seem to confirm it…I think it was in the footnotes somewhere.

So, perhaps the horn is the star rather than the compression driver? I think if I didn’t get the drivers working, I probably would have bought some cheaper large format drivers than Altecs. I probably would not have traded 604’s for a pair of 288’s, either.

All the Altecs are fantastic, and it probably comes down to your room. The large format horn combos are huge. I’m 11 feet away from my speakers and that’s probably just enough for the large format horns. The duplexes or smaller two ways may work better in tighter places.

Also, the paper diaphragms someone reviewed on this site are on eBay for 288’s, so there is another option.
 
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IMG_7228_Original.jpegIMG_7229_Original.jpeg66397688952__1877D024-FA19-4139-9242-1848E4EEB643_Original.jpeg66397637255__15F41EA1-1FF9-4430-973B-52C256D23691_Original.jpegI agree the horn played a bigger role in my preferred combo. I thought the 31a was better suited for my listening place than the 805 or 1005. Most due to the sound stage dispersion and reflective block walls in my garage.

Trying new stuff is just as fun as listening to a perfectly dialed in system. Good luck on the hunt.
 
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