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BigBamBoom
05-08-2004, 09:31 PM
If I may ask, could someone post a photo of an Altec "Big Red" monitor....? As this is the only 604 variation I have not yet seen.
I wonder what most would consider the most desirable 604, since there are so many versions. I may stand corrected but I think the 604-8K was the last version produced. I wonder if the "big red" monitor used this unit.
About a year ago.....an ad in my local want ads listed a pair of Big red monitors, $500.00. I never responded to the ad....at the time I had NO idea that these contained the wonderful 604.
BTW....was that price a score I missed? just curious.

Best wishes & thanks, JBL FOREVER/FOREVER JBL

Don McRitchie
05-09-2004, 01:00 AM
Unfortunately, I don't have any photos. The Big Red dates from the early 70's and originally used the 604E. There were at least two versions. One had just the 604 with the Mastering Labs X-over. The second version added a 15" Utah driver as a helper woofer.

I believe they remained in production until the late 70's when the UREI 813, which also used the 604, pretty much took away their market share. Therefore, the last versions of the Big Red may have used the 604-8K, which was introduced in 1979.

I think the 604-8K is the best version of the 604. However, the UREI 813, with its horn and x-over mods, is widely considered the best 604 based system ever developed.

$500 for a pair of Big Reds is a steal.

Guy L
05-09-2004, 06:41 AM
$500 is a steal. I own a pair of Big Reds and I think that they are amazing.

johnaec
05-09-2004, 08:00 AM
How do those things compare with the UREI 811?

BigBamBoom
05-09-2004, 10:03 AM
Thank you so much for the photo.....
Was wondering what inspired the name "Big Red". Had an image in my mind of some gastly red painted loudspeaker cabinet
Perhaps an Altec engineer was a "redhead".....& said what the hell.
Anyway, NOW I regret not jumping on that old local ad : "Altec big red monitors". $500.00" .....I thought it was some kinda musical instument speaker. So I did'nt respond. Probably never see 604's for that price again. Damn. Oh well.
:banghead: :banghead:

Again, thanks for posting the image .

Guy L
05-09-2004, 11:22 AM
Here's a pic of the driver - 604E2. It looks like a 604-8G but it's a 16 ohm driver. I don't think that the Big Red was offered with 604K driver since the ML crossovers were designed for 16 ohm drivers with the multicell horns and not the mantarey horn.

Don McRitchie
05-10-2004, 09:50 AM
Perhaps an Altec engineer was a "redhead"

Just to be clear, the Big Red was not an Altec system. It was built and marketed by Audio Techniques of Stamford, Connecticut. It used an OEM 604 with a cross-over design that was licensed from Mastering Labs of California.

The genesis of the Big Red was a custom monitor designed by Sherwood Sax in the early 70's for his brother Doug's Mastering Labs studio. The deisgn used an unmodified 604 with a unique cross-over in a custom enclosure. The cross-over was primarily designed to tame a well known 2-4khz peak in the 604's response.

Once this monitor was installed, clients of Mastering Labs expressed interest in acquireing similar monitors. Doug originally approached Altec with an offer to license their cross-over design. Altec felt that their cross-over was perfectly adequate and declined to participate. This was a decision they would live to regret. Doug next approached Audio Techniques who was happy license their cross-over and build a system based on their design.

Audio Techniques was very successful, to the point that they pretty much drove Altec out of the studio market - at least for 604 based designs. However, by the end of the decade, the tables were to be turned on them with UREI's introduction of the 813 in 1977. The 813 also used an OEM 604 as a starting point. However, they completely redesigned the horn, and with E.M. Long, developed a cross-over that time aligned the 604 in addition to equalizing its response. This monitor was regarded as a significant step above the Big Red, and almost overnight, became the industry standard. Audio Techniques could not compete and discontinued the Big Red.

robspierre
02-09-2010, 04:08 PM
:blink: While we're not on the subject: I need a cheep but masterful pair of crossovers for my 604-8G's that are in Model 19 like cabinets. BTW, I am a starving artist and can't afford hardly anything! Help!



Just to be clear, the Big Red was not an Altec system. It was built and marketed by Audio Techniques of Stamford, Connecticut. It used an OEM 604 with a cross-over design that was licensed from Mastering Labs of California.

The genesis of the Big Red was a custom monitor designed by Sherwood Sax in the early 70's for his brother Doug's Mastering Labs studio. The deisgn used an unmodified 604 with a unique cross-over in a custom enclosure. The cross-over was primarily designed to tame a well known 2-4khz peak in the 604's response.

Once this monitor was installed, clients of Mastering Labs expressed interest in acquireing similar monitors. Doug originally approached Altec with an offer to license their cross-over design. Altec felt that their cross-over was perfectly adequate and declined to participate. This was a decision they would live to regret. Doug next approached Audio Techniques who was happy license their cross-over and build a system based on their design.

Audio Techniques was very successful, to the point that they pretty much drove Altec out of the studio market - at least for 604 based designs. However, by the end of the decade, the tables were to be turned on them with UREI's introduction of the 813 in 1977. The 813 also used an OEM 604 as a starting point. However, they completely redesigned the horn, and with E.M. Long, developed a cross-over that time aligned the 604 in addition to equalizing its response. This monitor was regarded as a significant step above the Big Red, and almost overnight, became the industry standard. Audio Techniques could not compete and discontinued the Big Red.

10 Watt Street
02-09-2010, 04:59 PM
An excellent solution is the Great Plains Audio Model N604-8A crossover, priced at $95 each:

http://www.greatplainsaudio.com/downloads/N604-8A.pdf

rgwalker
11-19-2010, 12:05 AM
Big Red cabinets are only 5.6 cu ft and the actual speaker chamber is only 4.5 cu ft. The bottom 5" is a port that goes to the back of the cabinet with a 5.5" opening to the speaker chamber and a 17" x 4" opening on the baffle. It produces big bottom end and I can drive them past my hearing and beyond my next door neighbor's tolerance without breaking up or even sounding distressed. I can easily see working with these at high volumes all day in a studio and not getting fatigued.

Progneta
11-21-2010, 07:46 PM
....The 604 is an amazing speaker. I have 38 of them. Havent heard a bad one!

I really like them in the Stonehenge cabinet. Something about them right at ear level tickles my ears...in a good way!

-G

rgwalker
11-25-2010, 08:03 PM
....The 604 is an amazing speaker. I have 38 of them. Havent heard a bad one!

I really like them in the Stonehenge cabinet. Something about them right at ear level tickles my ears...in a good way!

-G

38 is getting obsessive but I understand. I have 6 right now, which is the most that I've had at one time. I have had a pair of 604Es since 1972 and can't imagine not having any.

My current favorite set up is a a pair of 604Es in 5+ cu ft Barzilay cabinets with a 4" x 11" tube port and Jeff Markwart modified N1500A crossovers. They sounded good with the original crossovers and the tubes produce some big ass bottom end but they really came to life with the JM crossovers.

shaansloan
11-26-2010, 07:50 AM
38 is getting obsessive but I understand. I have 6 right now, which is the most that I've had at one time. I have had a pair of 604Es since 1972 and can't imagine not having any.

My current favorite set up is a a pair of 604Es in 5+ cu ft Barzilay cabinets with a 4" x 11" tube port and Jeff Markwart modified N1500A crossovers. They sounded good with the original crossovers and the tubes produce some big ass bottom end but they really came to life with the JM crossovers.

Thanks for sharin Bob. Tell us, what is the ultimate Altec Duplex driver/cabinet/crossover arrangement that you prefer.... Thanks,Shaan

Progneta
11-26-2010, 02:33 PM
Beautiful speakers! Nice collection!

rgwalker
11-27-2010, 09:27 PM
Thanks for sharin Bob. Tell us, what is the ultimate Altec Duplex driver/cabinet/crossover arrangement that you prefer.... Thanks,Shaan

I've always had and always will have at least one pair of 604Es and today my ultimate 604 system is the one that I described below. However, it's only the best that I've heard. There are still a few things that I'd like to try and my opinion may change.

My current 'ultimate' system is a three way with an Altec 416-8B in a 620A cabinet, an Altec 311-60 with a 288 driver on top, a Heil AMT-1 ES tweeter on top of that and a crossover based on a highly modified Model 19 driven with a McIntosh MX110 preamp and a McIntosh MC240 amp. It was a system that I was almost reluctant to build but after I did I couldn't believe how much that I liked it and two years later I've played with all sorts of systems but this one is still my main one and it's barely changed.

He probably doesn't like the fanfare but it was our own AltecLansingFan (Evert Veenstra) who encouraged and guided me through the three way project and I'll never be able to thank him enough for not only providing the easy to understand diagrams for my poor dyslexic brain but not giving up and keeping on me until the parts became crossovers and the pieces were assembled and wired into a system.

Bob Walker

maxserg
01-07-2011, 06:52 PM
I have a 604 Hpln (one) driver and I would like to have your opinions on the N604-8A crossover from Great plains audio, should it tame the infamous midrange and with a 6 cu inches box with a 5" port(lenght I don't know for now) but they seem to be collaborative witch is a big plus!:)

Use: mostly mono music and center channel for a future home cinema.

P.S.: I already have plans for JBL K-145/2420 drivers for L&R music and dvd stuff

Progneta
01-09-2011, 09:02 PM
I have noticed that the hpln is not as delicate sounding as the other 604s. The GPA xo is indeed very nice and I think sounds better than the OEM xo. However, I think a custom built xo can sound better than the GPA xo.

-G

cohearent
02-02-2011, 10:39 PM
Just to clear up one misconception...
The Mastering Lab did NOT use 604s for mastering monitors. I have seen this repeatedly on the web. They had three-way systems with dual Altec woofers (not sure if 515s or 416s) Altec horns (311s?) with 288 drivers and EV T-350 tweeters. These were all passively crossed over and driven by Sherwood Sax tube amps.
Sherwood just saw a market for crossovers for 604s because there were so damned many of them in LA studios at that time, and they need some help sonically. Many of the Mastering Lab's clients were using 604s and after hearing Sherwood's crossovers around town, quickly switched to the TML crossovers.

rgwalker
02-03-2011, 12:36 AM
Just to clear up one misconception...
The Mastering Lab did NOT use 604s for mastering monitors. I have seen this repeatedly on the web.

I may have missed a thread or two on 604Es, ML crossovers and Big Reds since I've been a member of this forum but I don't think that this is an issue here. I have no doubt that it could be a popular misconception to anyone simply associating the name to the product but it wouldn't carry far in a discussion here.

Bob W

cohearent
02-03-2011, 08:15 AM
I didn't start the discussion, Don did. See post#7 below

maxserg
02-13-2011, 01:14 PM
I have noticed that the hpln is not as delicate sounding as the other 604s. The GPA xo is indeed very nice and I think sounds better than the OEM xo. However, I think a custom built xo can sound better than the GPA xo.

-G

What does make the 604 hpln sounding less delicate compared to others exept for high power application? The mid-high diaphragm?

For custom xover sould I start with the GPA XO and modify it for it's mids fowardness?

GPA suggest me the N604-8A wich is for a 8 ohms hf voice coil and mine has a 16 ohms diaphragm. So they suggest me to replace the 16 ohms for a 8 ohms.

BeOfService
07-27-2011, 03:35 PM
I have a pair of 604s ("B"s I think) that have been reconed. The numbers on the cones are 035400, 36, 97. They have an accordian edge and retained the original 16 ohm impedence of the speakers overall.

Can anybody tell me if these are C, D, or E cones? Something else?

Gary

Progneta
07-28-2011, 09:22 AM
Any pics?