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View Full Version : Barn Find ... Lansing Iconic?



Akardec
04-09-2014, 03:39 PM
My Godmother is remodeling the home of the late Meredith Wilson's (writer/composer of The Music Man). I salvaged this Lansing from the wreckage.

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There is a part of me, the part that loves vintage gear and old cars, that wants to keep it. But I'd want a pair and then the cost of another and space becomes an issue. Does anyone have any input as to what it's worth or the best place to sell (besides ebay or Audiogon).

The outside is a bit rough with paint and plaster drippings and damaged corners and edges. The inside is pristine and suggests a clean up might be more effective than I thought. I have not tried to play it. I can be contacted privately at beau@louislamour.com

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Valentin
04-09-2014, 03:47 PM
nice find :):)

audiomagnate
04-10-2014, 07:32 AM
They still have barns in LA?

Akardec
04-10-2014, 07:48 AM
Uhhh ... I think I worked in a recording studio that used to be a chicken coop one time.

Actually, the really scary thing is that there may have been an entire vintage recording studio at the site where I got this speaker ... unfortunately all that was left was this one speaker, sitting in the middle of an empty room. It never left the job site because it was so big.

audiomagnate
04-10-2014, 08:08 AM
It's still a great score. Have you fired it up yet?

farleybob
04-10-2014, 09:07 AM
Just ... Wow. :applaud:

audiomagnate
04-10-2014, 10:59 AM
So it's covered in chicken s***? This might be the ultimate barn find. Doesn't it need a power supply for the field coils to work?

Akardec
04-10-2014, 12:09 PM
It's got drips and drabs of paint and plaster on it ... thankfully, no chicken poop!

There are screw holes for the electro magnet but they look like they were filled, I don't know if it's a transitional model or if it was modded to permanent magnet by Mr. Wilson. I'm not familiar enough with the components or the evolution of the model.

farleybob
04-10-2014, 12:11 PM
No, it's covered in chicken patina. Does look like the field coil supply is missing though.

farleybob
04-10-2014, 12:14 PM
Not that I'm an expert, but it doesn't look like it has been converted to permanent magnets. The 415 is a field coil speaker and the 801B is field coil too. As a sort of rule of thumb a permanent maganet speaker would have 2 wires (for the voice coil) and a field coil speaker has 4 (2 for the voice coil and 2 for the field coil).

Akardec
04-10-2014, 12:53 PM
You guys would know better than me, that's why I came to this site! It's likely that whoever hauled away the rest of the old studio apparatus (sob!) may have liked the look of the power supply unit and taken it ... I just found the two wires wound back into the other wires on the top of the speaker and what I thought were filled screw holes was actually dirt and dark goo.

We're figuring out more and more as we go!

It's a nightmare to think of what was there and to think that I didn't get there until two years after the studio was demoed. I knew the house was being worked on but had no idea there was a studio in it!

audiomagnate
04-10-2014, 01:37 PM
You guys would know better than me, that's why I came to this site! It's likely that whoever hauled away the rest of the old studio apparatus (sob!) may have liked the look of the power supply unit and taken it ... I just found the two wires wound back into the other wires on the top of the speaker and what I thought were filled screw holes was actually dirt and dark goo.

We're figuring out more and more as we go!

It's a nightmare to think of what was there and to think that I didn't get there until two years after the studio was demoed. I knew the house was being worked on but had no idea there was a studio in it!

Don't worry too much about you missed. I can't think of anything they took that would be more desirable than a real Iconic, except maybe some Western Electric stuff... Too bad someone snagged the PS, probably thinking it was a TOOB AMP. Keep an eye open for it on ebay.

NickH
04-10-2014, 02:14 PM
Some guys have all the luck. What a find. Yep those are both field coil drivers and highly collectable and rare.

You've got a nice piece of audio history there. If its not something you want to keep you won't have trouble finding a new home for it.


Hopefully the woofer cone is in good shape. Being barn kept it might not be so good. Hopefully its good still.


Nick

Steve Schell
04-10-2014, 09:23 PM
I just wrote to Akardec, but I'll share my impressions here. This is a sure 'nuff early Altec era Iconic, I'd guess 1942 or possibly into 1943. The field supply is missing, but that can be worked around. The 415 was their theatre system woofer, intended for horn loading, with a lighter cone and possibly larger field coil than the usual 815 Iconic woofer. I have seen such substitutions before, though.

All decals and driver types are appropriate for 1942, shortly after the purchase of Lansing Manufacturing Company by All Technical Services (former theatre service branch of Western Electric) in April 1941, forming Altec Lansing Corporation. Before long the cast aluminum basket of the 15" woofers would give way to a stamped steel basket purchased from Utah Loudspeakers, due to the need for aluminum for the war effort. Such drivers bear a "U" designation. The Iconic would disappear altogether around 1945, replaced by the 604 Duplex which was usually placed into the same bass box, the 612. Sorry to 604 fans (I like them too), but an Iconic is to me a much better speaker.

Note the autoformer mounted inside near the woofer. This transforms the 12 ohm impedance of the dividing network to the 6 ohm impedance of the 415's voice coil.

The white gunk on the cabinet and components should clean up easily. I have found that the product Goof Off will remove latex paint without disturbing the finish underneath, and have cleaned up several Iconics this way.

All in all a much better than average condition 21st century Iconic! It is so great that there are still some of these being discovered at this late date, and that this one at least is has found its way into appreciative hands.

Akardec
06-01-2014, 10:41 AM
After a long wait (my life is a series of interlocking deadlines ... it will be GREAT when this year is over!) here are some pictures of the drivers and testing the speaker.

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The back is off the HF driver. It looks good and the little natural fiber 'insulators' seen virtually new ... bear in mind that I'm a total novice at this but Steve Schell was peering over my shoulder pointing out the details.

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The bass cone also looks good. There are no light leaks (you can see the sunlight through the port below) so it's likely the surround is intact. A visual inspection from the front and by peering closely in the back also suggests this.

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2.12k Ohms - the two field coils in series.

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7.9 Ohms - the high frequency voice coil winding.

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18.7 Ohms - high end winding of the impedance matching transformer.

Akardec
06-01-2014, 10:56 AM
Here it is cleaned up

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Center vent bass cone indicates pre 1947 manufacture

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hjames
06-01-2014, 11:49 AM
What a great find!
Kudos on your cleanup job - looks like a lot of fun!

Steve Schell
06-04-2014, 10:56 PM
I have been through this several times. It is great fun to find such a piece of history, clean it up and realize what a find it is... that it survived the molestations of the uninformed mostly intact and remains one of the few survivors of its era. Iconics must have been plentiful in L.A at one time, yet they are ultra-rare now, in any form. Bubble-butt Kardashians are a dime a dozen, but here is a true celebrity!

farleybob
06-05-2014, 08:12 AM
Is that like a bubble-back 375?

1audiohack
06-05-2014, 09:49 AM
No a 375 is something of value.

JeffW
06-05-2014, 10:37 AM
No a 375 is something of value.

Here's a post on the Altec board where a 801B with dented 'phragm went for $2850, so it's got a little value. :D

http://www.hostboard.com/forums/f700/166162-lansing.html

tom1356
06-05-2014, 12:25 PM
Here's a post on the Altec board where a 801B with dented 'phragm went for $2850, so it's got a little value. :D

http://www.hostboard.com/forums/f700/166162-lansing.html

2009 when things were very different.:eek:

JeffW
06-05-2014, 01:52 PM
Fair enough. Say it brings half that today.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-50s-JBL-375-COMPRESSION-DRIVERS-MATCHED-PAIR-SPEAKERS-16-OHMS-w-H93-HORNS-/251520405476?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item3a8fc8cfe4

kn8243
09-15-2014, 10:48 AM
...the inside insulation is kinda similar to the style that is found in my mid 80s cornwalls. Any idea what that fabric is? I use to know what it was but completely forget it now. I assume its stuffed with rock wool or similar. Many thanks!

10 Watt Street
09-15-2014, 08:41 PM
If the insulation is brown and papery/crepey, then it is Kimsul.

kn8243
09-16-2014, 05:54 AM
Not quite kimsul. More pillow like in appearance.

oldsoundz
09-16-2014, 06:34 AM
Muslin?

Steve Schell
09-16-2014, 08:38 AM
Northern California audio dealer Hal Cox knew Jim Lansing in the late 1940s. He describes the insulation as "rock wool wrapped in cheesecloth." Not sure if those words were originally his or Lansing's. Virtually all the Lansing, Altec Lansing and JBL cabinets built during Jim Lansing's lifetime were treated in the same way.

Altec Best
09-21-2014, 02:42 PM
Holy C*** !! By Golly what a FIND ! I still ask myself every time one of these old Beauties appears.. Why don't I find stuff like this ? Lord knows I try. :dont-know:

Congrats on a nice find ! :bouncy: Too bad there wasn't 2 of them..You could start planning your retirement...Just Kidding but would be worth lots a dough.. :rootn_tootn:

Sure wish those photos were clickable (Larger) higher resolution.. Can you upload to like photobucket,flickr,picaso,etc ? And just copy and paste the IMG codes.

audiomagnate
09-24-2014, 07:40 AM
Muslin?

Cambric? It's usually black and is the stuff found on the underside of upholstered furniture.

badman
09-24-2014, 10:11 PM
My finds are usually more "spotted something I knew to be special" than "stumbled upon something cool and googled it", but this thing goes beyond any treasure trove I've encountered- best for me was a quad of nice custom 2-ways from disneyland- 2206h woofers and 2426h compression drivers on DDS ENG90 waveguides, in fiberglass-coated cabinets for $75 per. This find dwarfs that, it'd seem.

Congratulations!

farleybob
10-08-2014, 10:07 AM
Akardec's Iconic is moving to the east coast! :bouncy: Last weekend I was really excited to meet Steve Schell, as well as Akardec, and we powered up the Iconic for the first time in what I'm guessing is decades. That was a great experience! It works and sounds great and is following me home.

audiomagnate
10-08-2014, 04:30 PM
Akardec's Iconic is moving to the east coast! :bouncy: Last weekend I was really excited to meet Steve Schell, as well as Akardec, and we powered up the Iconic for the first time in what I'm guessing is decades. That was a great experience! It works and sounds great and is following me home.

How great? How does it compare to its modern grandchildren?

hjames
10-08-2014, 06:43 PM
Akardec's Iconic is moving to the east coast! :bouncy: Last weekend I was really excited to meet Steve Schell, as well as Akardec, and we powered up the Iconic for the first time in what I'm guessing is decades. That was a great experience! It works and sounds great and is following me home.

That sounds very intriguing -
sounds like we need to talk you into having a local listening party!!

Steve Schell
10-09-2014, 11:06 PM
Saturday was a great day all around. Farleybob is a highly accomplished and interesting fellow, and I am heartened to know that this Iconic has fallen into the proper hands. Both buyer and seller are fine folks, and a good time was had by all on hand that day. I was reminded at what an amazing, neutral, natural, dynamic reproducer the Iconic still represents 77 years after its birth, and what a MIND ROASTING innovation it must have been in 1937 when it first went on sale. There was nothing within 50 miles of it sonically at the time. We listened to a variety of program material and enjoyed the utter naturalness of this fine reproducer in an outdoor, backyard setting. Thank you to Akardek, farleybob and everyone else involved for this peak experience!

farleybob
10-15-2014, 08:20 PM
Hi audiomagnate. I thought they sounded really good. It's tough to compare them without being able to a-b (they're still en route). I guess the first comparison that springs to mind is the Altec Valencia or the 19. It's a similar sound I think.

Hi Heather. I'm up for a listening party. Unfortunately, my officially sanctioned old hifi listening area (the basement) has been gutted to be remodeled. Or at least modeled. As soon as it's done, that would be great.

Thanks for the kind words Steve. I enjoyed my trip out to LA. It was great to meet you!

Alien_Shore
10-04-2015, 07:19 PM
Apologize for resurrecting an old thread, but I just came across this and wondered if you have done anything further with this rare piece of audio history!
How did you power up the field coils? Are you still playing this setup? What an amazing find.

audiomagnate
10-04-2015, 08:12 PM
Apologize for resurrecting an old thread, but I just came across this and wondered if you have done anything further with this rare piece of audio history!
How did you power up the field coils? Are you still playing this setup? What an amazing find.

I'm pretty sure that guy is long gone, but who knows.

farleybob
10-05-2015, 09:26 AM
Hi. No, I'm still here and the Iconic is too. I'm powering it with a very nice reproduction field coil supply that Steve Schell was kind enough to sell me.

audiomagnate
10-05-2015, 12:54 PM
Hi. No, I'm still here and the Iconic is too. I'm powering it with a very nice reproduction field coil supply that Steve Schell was kind enough to sell me.

Well that begs the question...how does it sound?

farleybob
10-05-2015, 04:39 PM
Sounds great! Especially considering it is 70+ years old. If I had to compare the sound to something, a Valencia probably has a similar sort of sound. Which makes sense, I guess, since the drivers are related. I don't listen as often as I should. I haven't finished restoring the second Iconic yet, so it is still in mono (not that there's anything wrong with that). I need to figure out the best cone to use as a replacement on #2.