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Thread: RCA ; LC-9A pics

  1. #1
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    RCA ; LC-9A pics

    Hi

    - Here are some pics of RCAs' answer to Altecs', A7 .

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    A couple more
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    Senior Member spkrman57's Avatar
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    Did they make very many of them

    I have not seen any of these in person, only advertising pics.

    Cool vintage speakers!

    Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron
    Cool vintage speakers!
    - Yep, pretty cool . That flowing throat section of the lowmid horn would be a real brute to reproduce .

    - I don't know what quantity these were made in / they are scarce . Steve Schell would likely know .

    - Here are some pics of a likely candidate for the role of the compression driver. These are le175s' OEMed for RCA by JBL .
    - I don't know anything about the 15" woofers' make or model # .

    <>
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    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    Earl posted these images in response to a request over on the Audio Asylum High Efficiency Speakers forum... what a guy.

    The story of the RCA LC-9A is an interesting one, at least to RCA buffs. This model was developed by Mr. A.J. May, who had a storied career in speaker engineering at RCA from 1943 until the early 1980s. It was RCA's attempt to compete with Altec's A7, and to improve on what RCA felt were the A7's shortcomings, most notably the lack of directivity control through the crossover region.

    The LC-9A used 120 degree radial horn flares for both high and low frequency sections, and achieved a very uniform pattern over this angle. Due to the high construction costs of the cabinet and cast horn flares it was not cost competitive with the A7 and sold in very small numbers. RCA was really beginning to unravel by the time the LC-9A was introduced, and it is probably safe to say that it did not receive the marketing effort that the design deserved. I have heard a pair of them with original drivers, and they really are marvelous speakers with a captivating sound.

    The LC-9A was a bass reflex design, with three large ports on the lower front faces of the cabinet. Mr. May had intended to fit passive radiators to these openings. As he told me the story, his managers heard the design at an early stage, found the performance to be "good enough", proclaimed the design finished, and reassigned A.J. to other tasks. Ah, the tribulations of working for a large corporation!

    No one is certain how many LC-9As were built and sold, but it may have been only two or three hundred. The people I know who own them hold them in high esteem and wouldn't part with them for anything.

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    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    Here's a picture of Mr. A.J. May, taken in the fall of 2002. A.J. died in early 2004. He was a sweet, kindly man, the sort you cannot help but like immediately. He designed the LC-9A, the MI-9462 (Ubangi) bass enclosure, the majority of RCA's postwar radial horn products, and much more. He was very humble though, always attempting to assign credit to others. He was John Volkmann's (inventor of the radial horn) understudy in the early years, and helped him to maintain an ever-changing experimental sound system at Radio City Music Hall. He also worked for a time at Princeton with Harry Olson. He frequently said "I was their chief measurer", preferring to be regarded as an assistant rather than the innovator he truly was. He told me in 2002, on the day the picture was taken: "It has been a very interesting life."
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    Interesting read and important bio bit on A. J. May, Steve. Thank you.
    Out.

  8. #8
    Steve Gonzales
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    Very Cool

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks Earl and Steve.

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    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    Here is JBL's sales model drawing for the small format driver they provided to RCA for the LC-9A.
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    Hi

    Steve, that's a great picture of Mr. May .

    Thanks ! for posting that / as well as all your text contributions .

    regards <. Earl K

  11. #11
    RacerXtreme
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    A7 vs. LC-9A

    Very cool story......... thanks for the pics.

    Ever had the opportunity to do a side by side comparison ?

    Which pair of speakers sounded better - Altec A7's or these RCA's ?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    RacerXtreme, I've never heard the two speakers side by side. In fact I've only listened carefully to LC-9As once as a stereo pair. I would have to give the nod to the RCA though.

    The bass sounds extremely smooth and punchy; this is characteristic of the radial horn combination cabinets, including the larger RCA theatre models. The high frequency performance is unique in my experience, though better suited to some situations than others. The radial horn has a 120 degree horizontal dispersion pattern, and this is not just on paper. I carefully listened on and off axis, and at 60 degrees off axis (virtually beside the cabinet) the highs sound nearly identical to the sound on axis- unbelievable! The highs and lows blend together very well both on and way off axis, a very different experience from the beamy highs of the A7. Of course I tend to get all wiggly in the presence of rare speakers, so my exhuberence should probably be factored in.

    Bill Woods measured the LC-9As I listened to, and has published the on axis curve. Check out the smoothness of the highs. You can find his post on this Audio Asylum thread and view the response curve in his picture gallery:

    http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/t.pl?f=hug&m=110255

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    Smile Earl and Steve

    A lot of times I find these vintage threads leave a dusty, dry, choking coating in my throat, so I normally don't post in them or read beyond the first post or two.

    However, I find this thread to be quite interesting and informative. You guys have done a good job to make this more than a mere requiem for a pile of rusted metal and shredded cloth. I'd actually like to see and hear these babies. You've both inspired me. Thanks!
    Out.

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    A Possible Correction.

    I've recently obtained a pair of these RCA enclosures and have decided to do a complete DIY restoration on these myself, as I am able to, but with my back being what it is that will be a long sloooowww process.

    1) Stripping & removing all the white paint.
    2) I'll use wood filler to fill all the uneven edges & sand as needed.
    3) Tighten up everything that can be manuelly tightened.
    4) Fill any remaining open seams & sand again!
    5) Prime all wood & fiberglass.
    6) Paint the upper & lower horns semi-gloss black.
    7) Paint all remaining surfaces that aren't black, burgundy. That color combo will match the Mastersound amp and the stand it sits on! Then all 3 pieces will be black & burgundy. (Basically I'm taking the original color scheme of black & blue and making it black & burgundy)

    My friend Paul Butterfield has even offered me some beautiful burgundy grill cloth to cover the area under the bass horn. I'll take photos of the process as it happens for prosperity...

    The possible correction? I believe it's possible that the enclosures might not have been refered to as LC9A. The reason for my belief is this, while looking at the back of the RCA enclosures one of them said MI-11419 I know this is what RCA relabled the JBL LE175 when used in the upper horn. However below that it said "enclosure for the LC9A" ! I then remembered that RCA made a fullrange 15" speaker called the LC1A. So I now believe the enclosures aren't called LC9A but rather that's the designation of the woofers that went in them!

    Afterall consider:

    LC1A is there 15" fullrange
    LC9A seems to follow RCA's naming convention for 15" woofers.

    Of course I may be incorrect, but it's the only way the words "Enclosure for LC9A" seems to make sense. I've attached a photo of my pair of RCAs and will take some photos of the words on the back as well.

    Thetubeguy1954
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    Congratulations on scoring this very rare pair of cabinets. You've got some heavy duty stripping and sanding ahead of you, but the final results should be beautiful in your chosen color combination.

    I believe that in RCA nomenclature "LC" once stood for loudspeaker cabinet. Somehow it got scrambled up in the marketing of Harry Olson's Duo-cone driver MI-11411 and the various cabinets it was used with, until a later version of the Duo-cone driver was labeled LC-1A. As far as I know the terms LC-9 and LC-9A were only used to describe the complete two way speaker system.

    The RCA literature describes both LC-9 and LC-9A models of the two way speaker; I'm not sure what the differences are.

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