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Thread: A-7 Or L-65???

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    A-7 Or L-65???

    JUST LOOKING FOR SOME INFO, IF YOU COULD COOSE BETWEEN A-7'S OR L-65'S WHAT WOULD YOU PREFER??? SIZE, PRICE, ETC. DOES NOT MATTER, JUST QUALITY OF SOUND, HAVE NOT HEARD A-7'S FOR SOME TIME JUST REMEMBER WHAT THEY USED TO SOUND LIKE. HAVE PLENTY OF CLEAN POWER AVALIABLE TO PUSH THESE.

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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    IMHO they are night and day. Very different animals and hard to compare in the sense that you could very well like both but they are really different. Very different designs and end use. Not very well said but think about it. What are you looking for. You want a great midrange and dynamics then its the A7's.

    Rob

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    LOOKING FOR GREAT DYNAMICS, SOLID BASE, NOT BOOMY IMITATION MIDBASE, CLEAN MIDRANGE, CRYSTAL CLEAR UPPER END, SOMETHING THAT WILL NOT FATIGUE THE EARS. LIKE TO LISTEN TO ALSORTS OF MUSIC, OLDIES, 1970'S ROCK, SOME JAZZ, ETC.

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    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Hi D1784

    First a point of order. Please do not type in all caps. It's the internet equivalent of shouting and is difficult to read.

    Given your stated preference, I would lean towards the L65 unless you are willing to do a lot of work on a standard A7 to get the sound you want.

    Regarding great dynamics, the A7 has that in spades. However, the A7's looks less attractive against your other criteria. They do not have solid bass unless your definition of bass only goes down to 50hz. What's there is tight, but in my opinion, is overshadowed by an overly pronounced midrange. Regarding a clear upper end, a standard A7 just doesn't have much response in the upper octave. After 10khz, the standard A7 HF combo of an 806/811 driver/horn rolls off rapidly. Regarding fatique, I find the 806/811 to be one of the most fatiquing driver combos made. The ringing horn adds a real ragged edge to the upper midrange that I can only tolerate for a limited time.

    For all of these reasons I would lean towards the L65. However, as I implied at the beginning of this post, none of the above A7 limitations are absolute. You can swap HF drviers to get extended HF response, modify the horn to damp out the ringing and add a subwoofer to get decent bass response. However, when you are done, you will have spent considerably more than for an L65.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Hey Don,

    Where were you when a certain fellow countryman of yours got so angry with me for suggesting that the A-7 was anything less that the best speaker ever produced.

    Seriously, the two speakers under discussion here are two that couldn't be further apart in sound quality as Rob pointed out. Neither is extremely neutral, they both have their own distinct sound quality, and they both have strong followings.

    I would strongly recommend you listen to both speakers, or any speaker before you buy it. I would not buy either of these designs as a primary speaker. I prefer a more neutral speaker. Now that said, I can listen to either of these designs and get pleasure from it, but for my main listening system I would find the lack of deep bass and peaky midrange very troubling with the A-7, and the boomy bass and screechy hard upper mids/low highs troubling with the L-65. While this sounds like a put down, it is meant as my take on their sound. There are thousands of people out there that would violently disagree with me. They love these speakers and that is fine too.

    Widget

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    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Where were you when a certain fellow countryman of yours got so angry with me for suggesting that the A-7 was anything less that the best speaker ever produced.
    Was that our friend RM whose presense no longer graces these pages?
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    That would be the one. I hope he is still enjoying his speakers, where ever he is.

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    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Maybe I missed your dustup, but I was certainly there for another one. In 3 1/2 years, he remains the only person with the dubious distinction of having been banned from our forum.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

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    Interesting comments RE A7's. I used to have a pair of these in my lounge years ago and decided they had no base and no top end.
    However in retrospect I suspect the room was to small for the cabinates to produce any base. I recently aquired a pair of A7 cabinates in very poor condition that I am restoring so we will see.

    When I dragged out my 511 horns with 808 drivers it became apparant that the High frequency response was very lacking, having them remagnatised caused a dramatic improvement in both the top end and the output level and I am now intending to build a equliser for them.

    The 808 drivers have 802 diaphrams in them as supposedly they sound better set up this way and I have never heard another combination.
    So this leads me to 2 questions

    1 What do you think of 802 diaphrams in 808 drivers

    2 Has anyone had any success with building dedicated equilisers for 511 horns either passive or as part of active crosssovers.

    1 observation I did make about 511 horns is that if you turn them up and stand a long way back they sound better.

  10. #10
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Hi JKC

    The following was told to me by a former head of Altec's professional division. The A7 had a specific design goal that compromizes its use in other applications. That design goal was to deliver good sound reproduction (with an emphasis on dialog) for cinemas when placed behind a screen. The design purposely had what he called a "haystack" frequency response. Visualize a haystack with its sloping sides and peak in the middle, and you visualize the frequency response of an A7. As this person said "what did you expect for a speaker that is intended to be separated from its listeners by a screen that is 60% acoustically opaque".

    None of this means that the A7 is a bad design. It is actually a very good design for its intended purpose. However, put it in a home with no modifications and you will get a system that is not too unfairly characterized as all midrange. This doesn't mean that the response can't be changed, and there are many suggestions on how to go about this if you want to search this forum.

    With regards to the first of your two specific questions, I'm pretty sure that dropping an 802 diaphragm into an 808 turns it into an 802. The 808 used the identical chasis as the 802, only with a Symbiotic diaphragm as opposed to the aluninum diaphragm in the original. The 802's definitely sound better than the 808's in my book.

    Regarding equalization, I think this was one of the reasons that Altec was so successful in getting their cinema sound systems to work in so many applications. If your're not aware, Altec pretty much invented the graphic equalizer, or at least, was responsible for its commercial success. They can do wonders to a 511, such as taming its midrange and extending its high frequency response. For example, I think that one of main reasons that the Model 19 was such a significant improvement over any previous Altec home speakers was due to the equalization of the 811 horn that they built into the network.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

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    HI Don

    Thanks for that great reply and what you describe is pretty much what I hear.
    I was just putting some JBL 2202 drivers in a box with some Altec 288 compression drivers on DDS flares, in this instance the output of the active crossover for the 2202 has a equaliser to counteract the climbing frequency response of the 2202.
    I was hoping to build such a device for the 511 horns and found referance to Altec useing passive equalisers (30392) on their 9846 boxes of which I also have a pair under restoration.
    Can you point me towards any circuit diagrams for these as I was quite keen on building some. and copying them as a "active" version.
    I always figure someone has done all the Math before me its just a matter of findind it!

  12. #12
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    JKC

    I have never come across a diagram of the 30392. Unfortunately, there is not nearly as much technical information about Altec products as JBL. This is mainly because the numerous owenership changes led to the loss of most documentation.

    For what it is worth, the first speaker I ever owned had the 30392 equalizer. It was the home equivalent of the 9846 with the exception of using the 806/811 combo instead of the 802/511. To be honest, I have yet to figure out what that equalizer did beyond reducing output to the horn driver to match the lower sensitivity of the 411 bass driver. The literature says it was designed to extend the high frequency response. However, I found the HF response on my system to be every bit as restricted as the unequalized systems. As I said above, only the Model 19 equalizer seemed to do justice to the Altec horn/drivers, and for that reason, remains one of my all time favorite vintage systems.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

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    HI Don

    I recently had the pleasure of listening to a pair of JBL 4355's and doing a AB with a record and a SACD, the general consensus was the 18oz vinyl still sounded better.
    I would buy the 4355's if I could fit them in my lounge.

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    So it looks like the L 65,s will beat out the A-7's for what I'm looking for. Any other suggestions using JBL's

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    Question 4355 baffle measurements

    Hi JKC Is there any chance you could obtain the baffle specs and porting specs on those 4355,s

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