View Full Version : Bolero 890C

10-11-2009, 09:31 AM

I have a pair of Altec Boleros, and I think something is not quite right with them. The lower end sounds great, but I notice that the treble seems muddled, especially as I turn up the volume. As a test, I dug out a pair of Polk Monitor 7 speakers that I've had in storage for a long time. While the Polks don't offer nearly the "3D" fullness of sound as the Boleros do, the high end had clarity.

I remember reading that the crossover in the Boleros is less than optimal, and it requires the driver to do too much work. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what my problem may be, or how I might go about upgrading the crossovers?

Also, I've been hearing that 16-ohm speakers work particularly well with smaller tube amps. (I am running a pair of 25w Fairchild mono amps.) I do like the idea of horns, but I don't have the room or the $$$ for refrigerator-sized speakers. Can you give me a suggestion for a large bookshelf speaker that I might consider? The Altec Seville 847A looks great, but I've never heard them.

Thanks for any input/suggestions.

10-11-2009, 12:13 PM
I would call the Seville a small floor stander rather than a large bookshelf speaker, so I'm not quite sure what you are picturing for a speaker.

Generally speaking a bookshelf sized speaker will be less efficient, and 25 watts may not be enough unless you play consistently at low volume.

Aside from those considerations, I cannot think of any large bookshelf type speakers that have a horn tweeter except the Tannoys. For reasonable bass extension I think you would want at least a 10" and maybe a 12" Depending on your budget, that would mean a pair of System 10 or 12, the SRM or SGM 10 or 12 or the Manley/Tannoy/MasteringLab ML10, in ascending order of price. I've not heard the System 10 and 12, but I have heard the SGM 10, which are good, and the Manley, which are an order of magnitude better, but very expensive, $2000 and more used if you can find them, and really need a subwoofer with them for VLF.

A small system with reasonable bass extension requires a specialized woofer which will not carry well into the midrange. That implies a three-way, less efficiency and direct radiator midrange and tweeter. If you think this type of speaker might work for you look for some JBL 4410A's or 4412A's for $350-$550. I find the JBL LSR32 very satisfactory, but again, the price, at say, $900-1500 a pair used, may take it out of your range (which you were not specific about). At that price I think it is a fabulous bargain, although it exacts high quality upstream. Edit: And now that I think of it, not really suitable for your tube amp.

And on that last note, all of the speakers I've mentioned hear are designed for monitor use; not everyone thinks they transition well to in-home use because of their penchant for accuracy over euphony.

10-11-2009, 09:55 PM
Thanks for your input, Speakerdave. I'm curious about the cost & procedure of upgrading the crossovers in the Boleros. Does anyone here have experience with that?

Lucas Membrane
10-23-2009, 12:07 AM
I had just one Bolero that I listened to a little while collecting a pair of the woofers. The horn did not sound lacking clarity to me. Maybe your crossovers are showing some sign of age.

Anyway, 6 octaves is a lot for the woofers to cover (that's almost Yma Sumac), so I put the Bolero woofers into a set of 886B speakers. These cross over at 1500 Hz, I think, which cuts that down to closer to 5 octaves, at least a little better. I then replaces the tweeters in the 886B with some old Peerless dome tweeters that are supposed to go down to 1400 Hz, and the result is not bad. The Morel MDT33 or some old Seas or Scan Speak cone tweeters might work, too.