View Full Version : A-7 Or L-65???

11-26-2003, 06:40 PM

11-26-2003, 07:03 PM
IMHO they are night and day. Very different animals and hard to compare in the sense that you could very well like both but they are really different. Very different designs and end use. Not very well said but think about it. What are you looking for. You want a great midrange and dynamics then its the A7's.


11-26-2003, 07:18 PM

Don McRitchie
11-26-2003, 07:34 PM
Hi D1784

First a point of order. Please do not type in all caps. It's the internet equivalent of shouting and is difficult to read.

Given your stated preference, I would lean towards the L65 unless you are willing to do a lot of work on a standard A7 to get the sound you want.

Regarding great dynamics, the A7 has that in spades. However, the A7's looks less attractive against your other criteria. They do not have solid bass unless your definition of bass only goes down to 50hz. What's there is tight, but in my opinion, is overshadowed by an overly pronounced midrange. Regarding a clear upper end, a standard A7 just doesn't have much response in the upper octave. After 10khz, the standard A7 HF combo of an 806/811 driver/horn rolls off rapidly. Regarding fatique, I find the 806/811 to be one of the most fatiquing driver combos made. The ringing horn adds a real ragged edge to the upper midrange that I can only tolerate for a limited time.

For all of these reasons I would lean towards the L65. However, as I implied at the beginning of this post, none of the above A7 limitations are absolute. You can swap HF drviers to get extended HF response, modify the horn to damp out the ringing and add a subwoofer to get decent bass response. However, when you are done, you will have spent considerably more than for an L65.

Mr. Widget
11-26-2003, 11:51 PM
Hey Don,

Where were you when a certain fellow countryman of yours got so angry with me for suggesting that the A-7 was anything less that the best speaker ever produced.:D :D :D

Seriously, the two speakers under discussion here are two that couldn't be further apart in sound quality as Rob pointed out. Neither is extremely neutral, they both have their own distinct sound quality, and they both have strong followings.

I would strongly recommend you listen to both speakers, or any speaker before you buy it. I would not buy either of these designs as a primary speaker. I prefer a more neutral speaker. Now that said, I can listen to either of these designs and get pleasure from it, but for my main listening system I would find the lack of deep bass and peaky midrange very troubling with the A-7, and the boomy bass and screechy hard upper mids/low highs troubling with the L-65. While this sounds like a put down, it is meant as my take on their sound. There are thousands of people out there that would violently disagree with me. They love these speakers and that is fine too.


Don McRitchie
11-27-2003, 05:55 AM
Where were you when a certain fellow countryman of yours got so angry with me for suggesting that the A-7 was anything less that the best speaker ever produced.

Was that our friend RM whose presense no longer graces these pages?

Mr. Widget
11-27-2003, 12:15 PM
That would be the one. I hope he is still enjoying his speakers, where ever he is.:)

Don McRitchie
11-27-2003, 12:31 PM
Maybe I missed your dustup, but I was certainly there for another one. In 3 1/2 years, he remains the only person with the dubious distinction of having been banned from our forum.

11-27-2003, 01:02 PM
Interesting comments RE A7's. I used to have a pair of these in my lounge years ago and decided they had no base and no top end.
However in retrospect I suspect the room was to small for the cabinates to produce any base. I recently aquired a pair of A7 cabinates in very poor condition that I am restoring so we will see.

When I dragged out my 511 horns with 808 drivers it became apparant that the High frequency response was very lacking, having them remagnatised caused a dramatic improvement in both the top end and the output level and I am now intending to build a equliser for them.

The 808 drivers have 802 diaphrams in them as supposedly they sound better set up this way and I have never heard another combination.
So this leads me to 2 questions

1 What do you think of 802 diaphrams in 808 drivers

2 Has anyone had any success with building dedicated equilisers for 511 horns either passive or as part of active crosssovers.

1 observation I did make about 511 horns is that if you turn them up and stand a long way back they sound better.

Don McRitchie
11-27-2003, 02:01 PM

The following was told to me by a former head of Altec's professional division. The A7 had a specific design goal that compromizes its use in other applications. That design goal was to deliver good sound reproduction (with an emphasis on dialog) for cinemas when placed behind a screen. The design purposely had what he called a "haystack" frequency response. Visualize a haystack with its sloping sides and peak in the middle, and you visualize the frequency response of an A7. As this person said "what did you expect for a speaker that is intended to be separated from its listeners by a screen that is 60% acoustically opaque".

None of this means that the A7 is a bad design. It is actually a very good design for its intended purpose. However, put it in a home with no modifications and you will get a system that is not too unfairly characterized as all midrange. This doesn't mean that the response can't be changed, and there are many suggestions on how to go about this if you want to search this forum.

With regards to the first of your two specific questions, I'm pretty sure that dropping an 802 diaphragm into an 808 turns it into an 802. The 808 used the identical chasis as the 802, only with a Symbiotic diaphragm as opposed to the aluninum diaphragm in the original. The 802's definitely sound better than the 808's in my book.

Regarding equalization, I think this was one of the reasons that Altec was so successful in getting their cinema sound systems to work in so many applications. If your're not aware, Altec pretty much invented the graphic equalizer, or at least, was responsible for its commercial success. They can do wonders to a 511, such as taming its midrange and extending its high frequency response. For example, I think that one of main reasons that the Model 19 was such a significant improvement over any previous Altec home speakers was due to the equalization of the 811 horn that they built into the network.

11-27-2003, 05:11 PM
HI Don

Thanks for that great reply and what you describe is pretty much what I hear.
I was just putting some JBL 2202 drivers in a box with some Altec 288 compression drivers on DDS flares, in this instance the output of the active crossover for the 2202 has a equaliser to counteract the climbing frequency response of the 2202.
I was hoping to build such a device for the 511 horns and found referance to Altec useing passive equalisers (30392) on their 9846 boxes of which I also have a pair under restoration.
Can you point me towards any circuit diagrams for these as I was quite keen on building some. and copying them as a "active" version.
I always figure someone has done all the Math before me its just a matter of findind it!

Don McRitchie
11-27-2003, 05:46 PM

I have never come across a diagram of the 30392. Unfortunately, there is not nearly as much technical information about Altec products as JBL. This is mainly because the numerous owenership changes led to the loss of most documentation.

For what it is worth, the first speaker I ever owned had the 30392 equalizer. It was the home equivalent of the 9846 with the exception of using the 806/811 combo instead of the 802/511. To be honest, I have yet to figure out what that equalizer did beyond reducing output to the horn driver to match the lower sensitivity of the 411 bass driver. The literature says it was designed to extend the high frequency response. However, I found the HF response on my system to be every bit as restricted as the unequalized systems. As I said above, only the Model 19 equalizer seemed to do justice to the Altec horn/drivers, and for that reason, remains one of my all time favorite vintage systems.

11-27-2003, 08:01 PM
HI Don

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a pair of JBL 4355's and doing a AB with a record and a SACD, the general consensus was the 18oz vinyl still sounded better.
I would buy the 4355's if I could fit them in my lounge.

11-27-2003, 08:20 PM
So it looks like the L 65,s will beat out the A-7's for what I'm looking for. Any other suggestions using JBL's

11-27-2003, 08:36 PM
Hi JKC Is there any chance you could obtain the baffle specs and porting specs on those 4355,s:hmm:

Mr. Widget
11-28-2003, 12:05 AM
Originally posted by D1784
So it looks like the L 65,s will beat out the A-7's for what I'm looking for. Any other suggestions using JBL's

Why not look at the 4430s? They tend to go for just a bit more that L-65s and they are a hell of a lot better speakers. They are not too much bigger than the L-65 and considerably smaller than a pair of A-7s.

11-28-2003, 05:38 AM
okay so how many of you just happen to have an extra pair or two of these lying around???

Don McRitchie
11-28-2003, 06:40 AM
4430's show up quite frequently on Ebay and it's not to hard to find a pair in the $1,000/pr range. I echo the previous sentiments. Of all of the speakers mentioned in this thread, that is what I would go for.

11-28-2003, 07:45 AM
I agree with Don. The price 4430's go for these days puts them in a "best bang for the buck" category. Of course I might be considered biased, as my current 4430 avatar might indicate :D I've been considering picking up a second pair for rears.

John B
11-28-2003, 10:51 AM
I haven't heard the 4430s, maybe someday (if you guys quit driving the price up by recommending them) I can pick up a pair. But I always considered the "best bang for the buck" to be the 240Ti for the under $500 they usually go for.

11-28-2003, 11:02 AM
Yeah, I have 240Ti's too.

I did notice that a few pairs of them recently went for prices bordering on the ludicrously cheap :p

I can actually overdrive the 4430's before I can overdrive the 240Ti's. Those itsy-bitsy 1" throat CD's bust up under heavy use.
The 240Ti's are watt sponges :rotfl:

11-28-2003, 11:21 AM
For what seem like very reasonable prices, what about L112's

Alex Lancaster
11-28-2003, 12:45 PM

Have You tried Ti 2425 diaphragms?, the early 4430's had Al, donīt know about the late ones.


I think We want more than the 112's can provide.


11-28-2003, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by Alex Lancaster

Have You tried Ti 2425 diaphragms?, the early 4430's had Al, donīt know about the late ones.Yes, the original 4430/4435 used the 2421A with the D8R2421 aluminum/diamond pattern surround diaphragm. It was shortly replaced by the 2425H running the D8R2425 titanium/diamond pattern surround diaphragm. Final versions used the 2426H with the D8R2425. I'm currently running D8R2421 diaphragms in my 2425H cores. The D8R2425 diaphragms are packed away for the day I finally shatter the D8R2421's :D I was merely poking fun at the 1" CD's ;) No biggie.

11-28-2003, 01:30 PM
Hi John

I assume you want to copy the 4355's
Here are reasons why I would not bother

The 4355 is really big and complicated to build as it has cut outs for moving the drivers from side to side and rotating them.
It would cost so much to copy them it would be cheaper to buy second hand ones.
They weigh over 300 pounds.

What are they worth as a copy?

The sound field is really diffuse as the drivers are so spread out, if I had all the drivers lying around I would put them in a vertical column as it would most likley sound better.

A lot of the value in this old stuff is the mystic surrounding them.
I know of a person around here who has a pair and they cut the protuding cabinate edge off and painted them black.
what are they worth now, most likley not even the cost of the drivers.

11-28-2003, 03:36 PM
If L112's might not give us what we want, what about 4312's ??

Mr. Widget
11-28-2003, 03:58 PM

I would agree with jkc on the subject of building exact copies of 4355s. That said, I have "improved" 4355 clones that I have been very surprised at just how good they sound. They are most assuredly not diffuse sounding. They image with holographic precision and yet maintain the remarkable dynamics of the original 4355. As jkc suggested the drivers are in a vertical alignment, additionally by getting away from the exponential horn, the speakers have a very smooth sound free from the harshness that can make the 43XX series tiring to some. Of course if you want exact copies of 4355s, I would try to find originals first, failing that expect a pretty big project. Others have already gone there, you might start a thread asking for help.

Here is more info if you want to read about my project:



The L112 or 4312 are both fine speakers, but you need to find some speakers and audition them. You can't expect the opinions of this very opinionated group to lead you to audio nirvana.

11-28-2003, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Widget
The L112 or 4312 are both fine speakers, but you need to find some speakers and audition them. You can't expect the opinions of this very opinionated group to lead you to audio nirvana.That's a fact!

I personally think L112's/L150A's are pretty cool (though not as cool as L96's :D) others definitely have issues with them.