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Thread: Altec 846A or Model 19 possible purchase

  1. #1
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    Altec 846A or Model 19 possible purchase

    Hello,

    I am just new in this forum, thanks for accepting me.

    I am familiar with many kind of speakers, monkey boxes, planars, electrostatics, transmission line, coaxial, Heil AMT, KHL Nine and even Dr. Hills' Plasmatronics but for various reasons I have never listened to a horn loaded loudspeaker.

    I listen to classical music and have a chance to buy either a pair of mint Valencia or a pair of model 19 in good condition. I also found other speakers that have been restored with new cones and/or surrounds and upgraded crossovers. This bothers me a little bit because I have the feeling that the magic is gone because of the mods.

    There are many experienced members on this forum and I would really appreciate any advice you can give me.

    Cheers,

    Horacio

  2. #2
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Welcome to the LH Forum!

    Between those two I would go with the 19s, especially for classical music. Both of them do have a bit of that classic horn sound that some love and others... don't. If at all possible, I would suggest listening before buying.

    Others may chime in with other opinions.


    Widget

  3. #3
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    I would agree with Widget. If the 846A’s are bone stock, the 19’s should outperform them by a wide margin.

  4. #4
    Junior Member macsic's Avatar
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    Agree,
    Go with the 19 if they are original, the important thing will be the amp that will feed them, try if you can with good amp tubes.
    I have had some of these through the years
    Music is emotion.

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    Greetings Horatio from the Northwest,

    I'm fairly familiar with the 846A which was a 16.ohm system, the M19 not so much. I'm certain that the M19 will out perform the 846's so that might be your best bet. You do need listen to both of them with recordings you are to familiar to. I'm a classically trained musician and that is the bulk of my listening. I owned a custom made (I built them actually) 878 system and they were terrific. I wish I still had them.

    You didn't say what you are listening to now but my guess is that you would grow tired of the 846's because of the "horn shout" Way too much upper midrange with not too much in the highs. That can be easily fixed but that is for another time. You might try going to audiophilenirvana.com where they modified a pair of 846b's to good effect. It's an interesting read.

    As a classical music listener, I;m always searching for something that sounds like the Seattle Symphony in Benaroya Hall. Altec and JBL speakers come closest so far.

    Happy listening'

    Ed
    Sawdust is my co-pilot

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    FWIW ( all ),

    I think that "Horacia" went with the 846a's .

    Over at AK he is ( apparently ) currently looking for inexpensive crossover upgrades


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    Thanks Earl. Hope he's happy

    Ed
    Sawdust is my co-pilot

  8. #8
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl K View Post
    FWIW ( all ),

    I think that "Horacia" went with the 846a's .

    Over at AK he is ( apparently ) currently looking for inexpensive crossover upgrades

    Not sure that’ll get there sonically, but there are always other considerations too.


    Widget

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    [QUOTE=Earl K;425147]FWIW ( all ),

    "I think that "Horacia" went with the 846a's".

    Horacia does not exist. Quinto Horacio Flaco​ (Venusia, Venosa, Basilicata, today, 8 December 65 a. C.-Rome, 27. Do you think that I am a kid?

    Cheers

    Horacio

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    Hi Ed,

    I went with the Valencias, original owner and in absolutely mint condition purchased in 1967. There were a few Model 19s available at this time. Some have bad cabinets and/or drivers in poor condition. The better ones, pretty expensive, have re-coned or new GP Audio drivers, they are not original, some have been modified, disassembled and refinished.

    I bought these speakers because they were designed and built during the Glory Days, the true golden age of hi-fi, from the late forties through the late sixties. Sweaty Yankee iron workers no longer purify the iron as they once did, cobalt, a constituent of the metal-magnet alloy Alnico, is now a strategic and costly element, wonderful PCB-capacitor dielectric material is now banned as carcinogen. It's hard to say if our knowledge and technology over the past 50 years have actually improved anything.

    I remember some of the classics, EV Patrician, Jensen Imperial, JBL Hartsfield, Tannoy Monitor silver or reds. They were easy, more natural, more mids, often (but not always) a better sense of detail an depth, more of the rich sound that characterized the things I grew-up with. Imaging suffered in the old ones, especially the behemoths. No attention was paid to items like phasing, diffraction or time alignment. Grille cloths were occlusive. Lovely furniture quality with a patina only time can add. Unfortunately, they are mostly available in Japan at exorbitant prices but original, no mods, no upgrades, nothing. If you pick up one
    of the beautifully done Japanese stereo magazines, you'll find prices 2½ to 20 times what the dealers here will pay you.

    I did read the article about Bill Henderson's Valencias posted on the Audiophile Nirvana website. I am not the kind of chap who likes replacing caps and resistors just for the sake of it. The only thing I had in mind was to use a dividing network that crossed around 1.3KHz. GP Audio sells a Model 19, 12-dB/octave, dual-section, passive crossover network, with a center frequency of 1.2KHz but it costs $240 a piece. I do not have the technical knowledge to design one, it would cost no more than $50 for the pair.

    In my car I may listen to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc., but at home it is only classical music, I am a fan of large complex orchestral works. The QUAD 63s are fantastic speakers for chamber and baroque but Wagner... I have Joseph Keilberth, live recording of the 1955 Bayreuth Festival Der Ring and also the 2012 Solti's Ring and neither the 57's or 63's could do them justice... the dynamic range is astounding!* Franz Liszt The Battle of the Huns, LA Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta on Decca is out of the question for electrostatics.

    By the way, I went to elementary school with Daniel Barenboim. I have met him and his son, a great violinist, several times when I lived in Vienna.

    Cheers,

    Horacio

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    Sorry Horacio for misspelling your nom de plume .


  12. #12
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by f456gt View Post
    It's hard to say if our knowledge and technology over the past 50 years have actually improved anything.
    I don’t agree with this premise, but I share your appreciation of vintage systems am glad you shared your thought process and goals. If you can, please keep us posted on your system, how they work out and if you do move forward with any tweaks.



    Widget

  13. #13
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    I still don't understand this sentence

    >> "I do not have the technical knowledge to design one, it would cost no more than $50 for the pair."

    if you don't have the technical knowledge to design a quality 1.3kHz dividing network,
    how can you presume it to only cost $25 each? $50/pair

    Copper alone has gotten pricey -
    4 Quality air core copper chokes would probably hit that number without any caps, solder point boards, etc.


    2ch: Oppo, JoLida 502CRC, JBL L212, 18ti,240ti; Heath AS101, Von Schweikert VR4
    7.1: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    I still don't understand this sentence

    >> "if you don't have the technical knowledge to design a quality 1.3kHz dividing network,
    how can you presume it to only cost $25 each? $50/pair
    ."

    I have built, not designed, several kit amps and preamps, I still have a box full of Wondercaps, Vishays, Solen, inductors, L-pads, etc. Instead to nitpick, like you also did on Audiokarma, why don't you offer a solution.

  15. #15
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by f456gt View Post
    I have built, not designed, several kit amps and preamps, I still have a box full of Wondercaps, Vishays, Solen, inductors, L-pads, etc.
    Instead to nitpick, like you also did on Audiokarma, why don't you offer a solution.
    The crossovers I built for mine did not have a 1.2k crossover characteristic, so I did not share that schematic.
    I did share the picture showing the russian teflon cap the size of a small juice can, and asked how you could figure cost would be $25 each.
    Thats not nit picking, it was genuine curiosity. Sorry you perceived it as an attack, it wasn't meant as one.

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    2ch: Oppo, JoLida 502CRC, JBL L212, 18ti,240ti; Heath AS101, Von Schweikert VR4
    7.1: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

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