View Full Version : Altec Valencia Help Needed

06-29-2005, 09:59 AM

This is my first post here. I just acquired a set of Altec Valencia 846A's. They sound fantastic and the wood is in excellent shape, however, the grills are another story. One is nearly destroyed beyond repair, the other is intact, but the cloth behind it is faded and has finger holes pushed in them between the lattices. It is very doubtful I could repair the one, some of the pieces are missing and the grill cloth is also tore. I maybe able to mend them with some balsa wood possibly and new cloth, but the plastic looks as though it has hairline cracks. I would like to get these repaired or if possible replaced so at least they both look alike. I've read where some have used just grill cloth and foam backer rod or using metal lattice. Now my main problem is how can I get to the grills from behind to try a quick repair? I've taken off the back, removed the four large screws to the woofer, but it seems stuck? How do you remove the grill on these? I need to be explained like I was a four year old, because I'm afraid I'll end up with no grills. I read they are pressure fit and slide into the cabinets....ok, so I try to squeeze them together or is there a trick to it? I need to make these look nice for the very important WAF. These sit banished to the garage until I can fix the appearance, then they will take their rightful place in my living room. Pictures on how to remove the grills would be outstanding and a service to numerous people.

Thanks in advance,

06-29-2005, 10:46 AM
Hi Dan,

When I restored some Altec 846A's a few years ago, I looked and looked for help finding new grilles, since the ones in the cabinets were shot. I couldn't find any, so had them made at a sign shop which has a CNC router. They are expensive (relatively), but quite nice if you care about having original cabinets. I PM'ed you with directions on how to remove the grilles on AK. If you have any problems getting them out, PM me either here or on the AK forum.

Jack Gifford

06-29-2005, 05:15 PM
You can get foam grille replacements as used in later models for $160/pair from me.

06-29-2005, 07:39 PM
I recently received a Pair of his grilles for my L200's, and they are really nice. The 846B used a different grille than the 846A, and to the best of my knowledge, they are flat rather than rounded. They may be a nice way to satisfy the WAF, but they won't look original. Look in the Altec library to see what the 846B looked like. And make sure that they will mount in your 846A's should you decide to try them.

06-30-2005, 08:36 AM
Thanks for your replies, and I was able to get the damaged grill off, unfortunately it cracked more under the stress of removing it. There was a nasty 8-10" long crack right where the woofer is, tearing the cloth as well. Pieces were already missing from it from sitting in a thrift store. I was lucky enough to get them before they were completely destroyed. I very much like the look of the original grills. I was thinking of some type of lattice replacement. I did find out some 1/8" x 24" model airplane balsa wood fit perfectly across it and was flexible to bend and had enough pressure to stay in place. Whether or not this would also hold up some grill cloth I either have to find out or try another idea.

Sonofagun, Can you make the foam grills on a rounded frame that pressure fits inside the 846A slots? I was also thinking of hand making some from wood, but that would quite time consuming, but sure would look nice :)

Also, another quick question. When I got the grill off, I noticed a black glue like substance on the front bottom of the woofer. It doesn't looked to of leaked from anywhere, is this how they mount the woofers to hold them in place? The woofer wouldn't come loose until I took a knife and carefully cut it from the cabinet.

The cabinet is in surprisingly good shape, but there are a couple dents and dings. What do you guys recommend to help restore the finish? I don't think it needs a complete sanding/refinishing, but maybe a nice coat of Miniwax clear varnish?

Tom Loizeaux
06-30-2005, 10:02 AM
The "black glue" is really just the treatment used on the cloth surround. Don't worry about it. When you remount the woofer you might want to rotate it so the collection of glue is in the higher position so it eventually runs down to redistribute onto the rest of the surround. There were no wood grilles when I got my Valencias, so I bought heavy copper mesh and made screens out of it. I stapled some fine screen over the woofer cutouts to protect the cones from stray objects. Then I simply cut the copper mesh to size, soldered it in a few places to keep it square, and slid it into the cracks at the sides. They look great!
The walnut can be treated a number of ways, from simply polishing it with Pledge or rubbing some oil, like thinned tung oil, into the wood.


07-01-2005, 06:59 AM

That's exactly what I was thinking, rotating the woofer 180 degree's. I realize this process took about 30 odd years, would it be at all beneficial, to say, scrape some of this up, liquify it somehow, then gently apply it to the rest of the surround?

I had a scary moment last night, I remounted the woofer, and hooked it up to test. I got this ringing/buzzing/rubbing type noise, like the surround was tore or maybe the voice coil was rubbing. I made sure it was all tight and it still wouldn't go away, finally I removed the woofer and just layed it down on the insulation and tried again, no noise, what a relief!!! I remounted it back and the noise didn't return, all I can think is maybe that little glob of surround treatment was rubbing on the cab and producing the noise.

That's a great idea about the copper mesh, where would I go and what do I ask for and would you have any pics to show how it looks?

I had two wild idea's lately for grills, I stumbled apon a site that sells car grills, and a couple actually looked pretty good. I don't think I want to use stainless steel though, much too difficult to work with, but they had some nice aluminum ones, I could paint them brown then glue black cloth behind them or even leave them as is. Only problem is the sizes they come in, there is a generic size of about 12" by 48" which would mean having to use 2 pieces at least, I could solder them or braze them together I imagine. I wonder how a chrome one would look...lol.

Thanks once again,

07-01-2005, 10:45 AM
www.mcnichols.com (http://www.mcnichols.com)

www.mcmaster.com (http://www.mcmaster.com)

07-01-2005, 11:18 AM
Thanks Zilch!!

Turns out the McNichols is only about an hour from me. I like their decorative expanded metal, I bet that is what Tom has?


07-01-2005, 11:34 AM
Could be. I was lookin' at their offset rounded slot pattern. The net free area isn't real good, but it looks like they'll make just about anything you want, in any material you want. Worth a visit if you're that close, probably....

07-02-2005, 05:32 AM
Aloha DanTana

For your Valencia "A" model wood or plastic grill replacement.

If you want to go with metal, here is a link for a close match
That link came from a post I made on the Altec users board

If you want to go with wood, I had just recently sent a PM to Jackgiff (Jack Gifford) of this forum on asking him how to remove the grills and found out he has had pairs of grills made for him out of wood from a sign shop that routed them...Looking at around $300 or so a pair....

Part of his reply

"There were both wood and plastic grilles produced by Altec, and it is hard to tell the difference between them without close inspection. The grilles slip behind the edges of the cabinet into grooves. A small nail at both top and bottom in the grille keeps them centered. The nails are just below the top, and just above the bottom in the center of the grille. Remove these nails, and slide the grille to one side. Put your fingers into the grill over as large an area as possible in the center of the grille, and pull it away from the cabinet until the short side slips out. The black cloth is glued to the back of the fretwork, and should probably be changed. Stripping off the old cloth will allow you to clean the inside of the fretwork. If they are plastic, you can use water and a brush. If they are wood, take your best shot at cleaning them."

Valuable information.......Thank You Jack!
Hope you don't mind my posting your info.

Hope this helps....


07-02-2005, 05:39 AM
Somehow I didn't see the previous post by Jack Gifford before I posted the last message....even though I used it for my reference days ago.
That'll teach me to post at 2:25 AM...

My apologies..


07-02-2005, 01:04 PM

No problem, any reply is welcomed. I took off the other pair of grills today without managing to destroy them :) The cloth is so badly faded it is now a cream color instead of black. The part that was tucked in behind the frame is still black. I contacted McNichols here in Elk Grove, Illinois and this is what I was told over the phone. The decorative expanded metal was 'gulp' about $700.00 a sheet. The hexagon aluminum with about 80% open area was about $70.00 a sheet of 48" x 36", IIRC. The hexagon is a stock item, the decorated expanded metal is special order. I may give Ametco a call and see what they say. It looks like that "ovalesque" is a stock item so I bet it's far cheaper than the expanded metal one I was looking at.

Thanks again,

07-03-2005, 05:53 PM
Another quick question for you guys, I posted a pic on another site of these speakers, and someone mentioned the orange color inside the horns that meant I had the tangerine phase plugs. I wasn't aware these could be put in the 806A, or that is even what it meant? Maybe you guys can help me on that?

07-03-2005, 06:59 PM
It helps keep dirt and things from getting to the voice coil gap.

The phasing plug is actually at the back end of the driver. If you removed the cover(only if you are careful and confident what you are doing!!!), you would see either the diaphram(or a "plastic" loading cap). If you get to the diaphram and were to remove it(remember the "if it aint broke rule), you would see the phasing plug.

Altec used 2 types(at least to my feeble mind), the tangerine phasing plug, and the "circumfrential" (mispelled I think but you get the idea). The latter(I not going to mispell it twice) is a metal cone shaped and has some smallish holes cut out of it.

Hope this helps. No matter what phasing plug it has, they both sound good.

Hope you DON'T open it up unless you have to repair them. And if you did, send them to Bill Hanaschack at Great Plains to have it done right. He is a old
Altec engineer and employee, the last of the GOOD ones!


07-03-2005, 07:03 PM
I was too busy being a resident expert before I looked again and see that you mentioned "806A", That is not a Tangerine, but a nice driver, 2db less efficient than a 802/902, but sounds good to me still.



07-04-2005, 08:34 AM

Thanks for the replies. I'm a relative newbie when it comes to Altec, but from my understanding the 806A and 802/902 are the same dimensions? Except for the phase plug and alnico or ferrite magnet correct? I do love the way these sound, detail is amazing. Not at all fatiguing bright, at least with my setup. I'm amazed how low the horn goes, I'm curious what a 500hz horn sounds like. Funny after 30 years how well these hold up to modern stuff.


Tom Brennan
07-04-2005, 08:36 PM
The 802 driver is longer than the 806 and has a larger magnet. Otherwise they're mechanically the same.

Tom Loizeaux
07-05-2005, 04:54 AM
...That's a great idea about the copper mesh, where would I go and what do I ask for and would you have any pics to show how it looks?...

Dan, I don't have any photos at the moment but I used a heavy #4 "wire cloth" made from copper. My house is Arts & Crafts style and the copper mesh seemed to fit in nicely. Almost any screen will work, but remember to keep it as open (mostly spaces) as you can. If you go back in this thread and look at the link for perferated metal, you can go to "wire cloth" and find these heavy mesh screens in many materials.
Anyway, your Valencias look nice - and I'm sure sounds good as well. Be sure to protect the woofer cones from damage with at least a fine screen, regardless of what front grille you choose.