View Full Version : Altec Decendants?.

Mr. Widget
04-21-2003, 12:02 PM
I have a couple of questions for the Altec gurus.

I have been using Meyer Sound speakers in my home theater and I believe the drivers are descendants of Altec.

I believe when Meyer first introduced the UPA-1 they used Altec 414s as their 12" woofers and Altec 288s on custom designed horns. They used an OEM woofer and Yamaha compression driver next and currently make their own compression drivers in-house.

The woofers are rated at 101dB sensitivity with a 12.25 frame and 3" VC.

The compression driver has a 3" aluminum diaphragm and 1.4" throat.

Can anyone give me more info on the original Altec components?

Earl K
04-21-2003, 04:50 PM
Hi Mr Widget !

If my memory is accurate the Ultra Monitor preceeded the original UPA-1 by a good 1/2 year and was introduced in the spring of 1980. This is open to revision if presented with more accurate info.

I have documentation the shows the then "new" UM in pictures ( on the cover of M.I. magazine - May/june 1980 ) . The woofers cone is clearly "ribbed" & pictures from the accompanying article show a woofer that had a dust cap that was in fact "vented" like Altecs . Unfortunately , the basket frame accomodates a 6 bolt hole pattern not 8 like the Altec 414. A 414 had a smooth cone and very low power handling. Fifty watts RMS is about a 1/4 of what John Meyer seems to design around. My guess is the Meyer woofer of that generation is something sourced through ESS Pro ( yes the same people as the Heil Air Motion Transformer ). John Meyer had at least an arms length association with them in 1980 . He built a system for the band "Heart" and used the Heils as tweeters. The mid-cones in this flown system were sixty, 12 inchers of unspecified manufacture. This is all out of the same mentioned magazine . " Musicians' Industry "

Also in this magazine is a full page add for ESS Pro. showing a good looking E120 wannabee - even with a cast basket . First & last time I saw an add for this ( Pro ? ) company .

Somewhere I have documentation that states the Altec 292 was used in Meyers early UM & UPA products. I can't find that info right now to offer any proof. This obscure sibling of the 288 family didn't have the HF response of the 288. Plus I thought the 292 was a 290 ( phenolic diaphragm ) with the back-cap of a 291 . If true, this wouldn't fit the published HF curves. Maybe Meyer got a deal on the 292 motors and dropped 291 diaphragms into them. That would jive with what he used to do with 2441s ( replacing original equipment with Kapton /Mylar surrounded aluminum diaphragms ) . It's arguable that the 808/291 diaphragm design is the precursor to the Emilar and Radian types that abound today . ( Most europeon diaphragm designs also use this suspension model for its power handling )

You could also try to track down someone who worked at Ultra Sound. This sound company seems to have done beta testing for all of the products from MSLI .

- just my fairly foggy historical thoughts

- Ahhh , found my other info source . This quote from "Modern Recording & Music" Feb. 1981, page 56 ; " The Ultra-Monitors were the first joint effort between Ultra Sound and Meyers. They utilize one of the previously mentioned 12" cone woofers of Europeon manufacture, a modified Altec 291 with a conical horn. " A half page later there's this quote . "The consistency in the Europeon 12" drivers is a consideration that lends itself to Meyer's design. The drivers have to be within 1/2 db of other, but MSLI has not found a stateside manufacturer willing to work at this level. Each driver is screened and if they don't meet this tolerance, they are sold as instrument speakers. "
Page 55 has a nice picture of the previously mentioned 60 cone "cluster". It's called the " System 80 " .

<. Earl K

Mr. Widget
04-21-2003, 10:32 PM
Thanks Earl,

That was very informative. I assumed that Meyer was using the Altec components because I had taken a tour of their facility in 1980 and at that time they were using some Altec componets. In the early 90's I toured their factory when I bought my first UPA components and was surprised to see that they were then using JBL and were still getting alnico 2441s even though they were long out of production.

I am not sure who makes their 12 inch woofer today but they are fairly linear with very low distortion and really bomb proof.

Their in house built 1.4" drivers are very good and have a fairly extended top end. My UPA-1 clones are +or - 2 dB from 80Hz to 20KHz in room response with 1/3 octave EQ in a very dead room.