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Thread: Altec Heathkit Speakers, Horn, and Cabinet - ?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Storm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Altec Heathkit Speakers, Horn, and Cabinet - ?

    I have a pair of Heathkit speaker cabinets that each have an Altec Horn and woofer. They both say Made by Altec for Heathkit.

    I am just wondering - was heathkit a do it yourself project or was it a company where you picked out your cabinets and speakers and they did it for you?

    I have a pair of Altec 848U Valencia's and these heathkit components look the same.

    Just looking for some more insight on Heathkit and if the Heathkit components are worth anything.

    I am not going to sell anytime soon *unless I find another pair of Valencia's.

    These speakers are currently being used with the Valencia's as surround sound - and may I add, they sound pretty damn good!

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2003
    Guadalajara, Mexico
    Aren´t them "made by Altec for Heath"?

  3. #3
    Senior Member CONVERGENCE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Yes Heathkit used Altec components. And yes they sold a few Altec cabinets like Valencia. I remember seeing them in their catalogue.
    That was in mid to late 60's.

    My 2 cents worth.

    .................................................. ........................................

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by Storm
    I am just wondering - was heathkit a do it yourself project or was it a company where you picked out your cabinets and speakers and they did it for you?

    Thank you for your help.
    Heath Company marketed quite a few quality lines in their day - they started business, BTW, as a maker of kit airplanes, as in the ones you get in and fly!.

    In the 50s and 60s they were known for their lines of Ham Radio transmittes and receivers and their lines of audio gear, all sold as kits. This included speakers, even though Heath did not manufacture many of the components. In the 50s/early 60s, it wasn't uncommon to purchase individual drivers and cabinets separately. The concept of a completely designed and integrated speaker was introduced with the AR-1, for the most part in the late 50s but the custom continued for a few years after that.

    Heath wasn't that particurlar with who they sold for speakers, so you'll find JBL, Altec, Jensen and the normal vendors of the day represented in their catalogs.

    As a kid, I used to get their regular quarterly full catalog and lust after everything on each page much as I did with the Sears Christmas catalog. I do remember memorizing the specs for each item but never was able to afford any of it being the 8th grader I was.

    Later, while in engineering school and a bench tech at a local stereo shop, I got to work on many of the Heath items I had lusted after. Most of that work, however, was to correct botched assembly - mostly soldering - of the components.

    Still, I have a fond memory of Heath gear, including the ham radio gear, which today commands a value higher than its original purchase price as a kit!



  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    The speaker you are describing (that resembles the Altec Valencia) is most likely the Heathkit "Speaker System Model AS-101." I am the original owner of a pair of these circa 1975. These were purchased at the Heath retail store in Fair Lawn NJ for the "special sale price" of $639.95 for the pair in April of that year. The copyright date on the assembly manual is 1970 so these were in production for at least five years when I purchased them.

    The "introduction" in the manual states "The Heathkit AS-101 Speaker System uses two Altec-Lansing speakers in a bass-reflex cabinet. Together these will provide you with excellent high fidelity sound for your home music center." The "specifications" on page 25, in addition to electrical and dimensional specs state that the "Net Weight" of the speaker system is 101 pounds---hence the Model AS-101 designator??

    As I remember, the cabinet was completely assembled and "building" the speaker system involved wiring the crossover, mounting and connecting the drivers and attaching the cabinet back. I did weld two of the crossover's L pads back in the day (1977) with a Crown IC150/D150 solid-state combo but aside from that mishap I have never had to remove the cabinet backs again and these speakers are in daily use and still sound great. They're not state-of-the art but the imaging is great using an old Stereo 70 with VanAlstine mods and Super PAS 3 with vinyl, CD and radio sources. These have given me great pleasure and service for 32 years so I guess I'll keep them around!

    Here's what they looked like way back when. Enjoy!!

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    May 2010

    The Heathkit AS101

    [QUOTE=Storm;113874]I have a pair of Heathkit speaker cabinets that each have an Altec Horn and woofer. They both say Made by Altec for Heathkit.

    Heathkit started out with amateur radio gear you could build, including some of the finest short-wave radio transmitters, receivers and transceivers in the industry. Eventually they took a brief foray into building brand name speaker systems as well as their own amplifiers, tuners (including the world's first Phase Lock Loop digital FM tuner--the kit cost $1,000 CAD). I bought the AS101 speakers and put them together pretty quick. Also bought the big amplifier, a Thorens turntable, and the FM digital kit. The amp and tuner were a challenge, but the speakers were easy. Wasn't much more of a job than reading the wiring diagram, bolting in the 15" bass and the sectoral horn, wiring them up to the cross-over and the inputs on the back. Made a small mistake with a cold solder joint on the amp and couldn't get it to work, so I did something interesting...cut the wires on my clock radio and ran it through one of the speakers. Was impressed by the efficiency--wasn't high-fi, but it did work. Ultimately, I sold the speakers to a canned music company--they just took up too much room in my apartment. I miss them. They were incredible.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Westchester NY
    In 1974, I purchased a Heathkit 101 kit for $750 which was a lot of dough in those days. I wired the crossovers and installed the Altec VOTT components and the kit was complete. The cabs were very nice and beat the factory cabs Altec sold by miles.

    They were shipped in several boxes by UPS I beleive.

    Anyway, I cherished them for +30 years

    I beleive the Altec components were a 416-a woofer, 806 compression driver and 811 cast horn.

    A few years later I added an 077 JBL tweeter and crossover at 7K.

    ...very nice system....

    Like a dope, I sold them at the request of the wife. BIG mistake! I'm now creating a similar system from a recently purchased Altec Valencia system. These are getting reconditioned drivers with GPA kits, new caps and inductors in the crossovers and new JBL slot tweeters. The cabs will also get a fresh walnut veneer....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    lummi island, WA 98262
    The speakers in the Heathkit are identical. other than paint, to those in the original Valancia, the crossover is different. The Woofer is a 416A, the HF Driver is an 806A, the Horn is an 811B, they have Heathkit numbers and are painted a different color. I do not know how close the cabinet is to the Valencia Cabinet and the crossover has slightly different circuitry.

    Enjoy, Jim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I bought a pair of these for 10 dollars a piece, they came loaded with altec 604's I love them they sound crazy good.
    I wish that Heathkit AS101 manual was available online somewhere.

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