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Thread: Please help me decide what to do with my 846As

  1. #1
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    Question Please help me decide what to do with my 846As

    Next week, I am getting some 846A Valencias. I heard them in the sellers setup, which was very different than mine, but obviously not in my system yet. They are in great operating shape, but a little cosmetically challenged. He rescued them from a radio station and replaced some wood parts, crossovers (factory replacements) and had the woofers reconed with GPA parts. I'll list a few thoughts below and you can comment on any you have thoughts on:

    a. Which amp to use them with? I think the most likely candidates I have are either my Scott 222c or McIntosh MC225. I also have a Mac MC2105. What would be the ultimate to get the best from them? Shindo or SET?

    b. Listen to them as is for a bit.

    c. Raise them off the floor (I think I will have to do this, especially if they go in my "main system"). How much? Just enough to get the horn at ear level? I am worried about losing any bass.

    d. Crossover upgrade? I know I can just get the factory potted ones recapped and I know about Zilch crossovers, mast mutter and other custome jobs. What's the best?

    e. Upgrade the horn diver? GPA?

    f. Add a supertweeter? What kind?

    g. I will either build/get a new enslosure or refinish these. What is the ultimate enclosure? A7 style? Onken? Model 19 style?

    I know all this talk is pretty crazy before I even hear them, but I have wanted to try some old Altecs for a long time and have done a lot of research. Actually these are my first horns, so a whole new world for me.

    Thanks for any input and I look forward to what these teach me.

    -Bart

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    Quote Originally Posted by bart1 View Post
    Next week, I am getting some 846A Valencias. I heard them in the sellers setup, which was very different than mine, but obviously not in my system yet. They are in great operating shape, but a little cosmetically challenged. He rescued them from a radio station and replaced some wood parts, crossovers (factory replacements) and had the woofers reconed with GPA parts. I'll list a few thoughts below and you can comment on any you have thoughts on:

    a. Which amp to use them with? I think the most likely candidates I have are either my Scott 222c or McIntosh MC225. I also have a Mac MC2105. What would be the ultimate to get the best from them? Shindo or SET?

    b. Listen to them as is for a bit.

    c. Raise them off the floor (I think I will have to do this, especially if they go in my "main system"). How much? Just enough to get the horn at ear level? I am worried about losing any bass.

    d. Crossover upgrade? I know I can just get the factory potted ones recapped and I know about Zilch crossovers, mast mutter and other custome jobs. What's the best?

    e. Upgrade the horn diver? GPA?

    f. Add a supertweeter? What kind?

    g. I will either build/get a new enslosure or refinish these. What is the ultimate enclosure? A7 style? Onken? Model 19 style?

    I know all this talk is pretty crazy before I even hear them, but I have wanted to try some old Altecs for a long time and have done a lot of research. Actually these are my first horns, so a whole new world for me.

    Thanks for any input and I look forward to what these teach me.

    -Bart
    The talk is not "crazy"
    But most all of the questions are a waste of time
    You already have the answers there
    They are questions that only you can answer (your amps, your speakers, your room, your sources, YOUR EARS)

  3. #3
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    You'll want to listen with your ears somewhere near on-axis to the horns. You could lift them, or simply tilt them back a bit.

    Sometimes the old caps in the crossover are bad and need replacing. I'd use modern polypropylene film capacitors as replacements. Parts Express is a good source. The Zilch crossover might be a good improvement if you want to put in the effort.
    Oppo BDP-95 DCX-2496 RMX-850 Parasound A21 First Watt J2 Dayton RSS390HF-4 MTM Quads of SEAS W18E001 511Bs TAD TD-2002

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bart1 View Post
    Next week, I am getting some 846A Valencias.

    a. Which amp to use them with? I think the most likely candidates I have are either my Scott 222c or McIntosh MC225. I also have a Mac MC2105. What would be the ultimate to get the best from them? Shindo or SET?
    I only picked one of your questions... but this applies to most of them. The answer depends on how you listen, what your expectations are, what your listening preferences are, and of course your room and budget will come to play into the equation too.

    First question I would have for you is why vintage? (For both speakers and amps.) Is it due to necessity for budgetary reasons, because you simply dig vintage for vintage sake, because you've heard that's the way to go, or for some other reason?


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    I only picked one of your questions... but this applies to most of them. The answer depends on how you listen, what your expectations are, what your listening preferences are, and of course your room and budget will come to play into the equation too.

    First question I would have for you is why vintage? (For both speakers and amps.) Is it due to necessity for budgetary reasons, because you simply dig vintage for vintage sake, because you've heard that's the way to go, or for some other reason?


    Widget
    Maybe I'm a luddite? I would like to have a sleek modern looking speaker, but from what little experience I have, I think there is something magical about those old horn systems. Budget is pretty flexible. I am not going to spend $20k on speakers, but I could afford something modern if I found what I loved. My newest speakers, Dynaudios, have been relegated to a garage system, whicle my 2 main music systems use Bozaks for 1961 and ADS from 1980.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    I only picked one of your questions... but this applies to most of them. The answer depends on how you listen, what your expectations are, what your listening preferences are, and of course your room and budget will come to play into the equation too.

    First question I would have for you is why vintage? (For both speakers and amps.) Is it due to necessity for budgetary reasons, because you simply dig vintage for vintage sake, because you've heard that's the way to go, or for some other reason?


    Widget
    Because you and I are getting older and more and more of the questions showing up here now are more of the Steve Hoffman forum variety

    "Which one should I buy, the U.K. or the U.S.A. pressing" sort of thing

    Typical answer would be something along the lines of, "well, I don't have the U.K. pressing but my U.S.A. one sounds great" and on and on for 15 pages

    Using one's ears (and even measurements!) to make certain decisions has in large part been replaced with group consensus; i.e.: what's "trending" or who's opinion carries the most weight

    A Radio Shack SPL meter, some furniture moving followed by a little listening could answer about half of them

    No offense intended to the OP, but responding to a "what amp should I use" question when a person has the two (amp) candidates available to them to try is really a losing game...................and a waste of typing energy

    Not the same thing as asking a knowledgeable person for example "what will I need/how much power" to drive a given system to "x,y,z" levels and avoid clipping etc

    It's devolved to a "what'll sound better" sort of a thing, or even "what'll taste better" and then following through without even tasting/trying the available options first

    People making buying/set up decisions from reading articles and forum threads rather than actually trying different things (hands on) and trusting their own ears

  7. #7
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    It sounds like someone has been following Art Dudley.

    I think the Scott amp would be the most fun if it's working properly.
    My idea of fun might not be aligned with anyone else's.

    Make sure the diaphragms are working properly ... might try
    a newer GPA 902 series (still short, vs 802 which will not fit)
    tangerine-plug driver if you get a chance.

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    If you get in the mood to try a newer amp, the First Watt F5 is supposed to be an excellent match with old Altec horn speakers.
    Oppo BDP-95 DCX-2496 RMX-850 Parasound A21 First Watt J2 Dayton RSS390HF-4 MTM Quads of SEAS W18E001 511Bs TAD TD-2002

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bart1 View Post
    Maybe I'm a luddite?...
    Naw, if you were we couldn't have this conversation.

    Interesting comment on Dynaudio. I love the aesthetics of their speakers and really respect the design and quality of their drivers, yet I have never heard a pair of their speaker systems that I really liked.

    Will you like the Altecs more? Maybe, maybe not... will amp choices make a significant difference? Maybe, maybe not.


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    It sounds like someone has been following Art Dudley.

    ............that, and sometimes a little too much "Mad Men"

    A LOT of that going around lately

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Hi Bart,

    It might help us to help you if you can explain where you are in your audio journey?

    i.e what did you have previousl? Why did you buy the Valencia's?

    I would stick with B for a while.

    A lot of people go back to Altecs because they feel they were missing something in their previous loudspeakers.

    This is no surprise if the user had been using a contemporary decor friendly loudspeaker which has a few generic limitations namely low sensitivity and dynamic range.

    It's a fact that while the sleek beautiful box may sound tonally correct it simply won't sound life like or deliver the reverberant feeling of a piano player in your family room.

    I did a simple test a while ago with JBL book shelf monitor and compared it to large format JBL monitor.

    The bookshelf monitor sounded compressed despite the brazen marketing claims that it was a highly accurate monitor.

    The large format monitor was simply more enjoyable to listen to.

    There is a following of the earlier 2 way Altecs because they were designed with less compromises from the beginning but they are physically large . Today the JBL statement systems are based on these earlier system but use state of art drivers and are more refined technically with sophisticated crossover networks.

    As old as the Altecs are you will possibly like what they do well and have a small set of HiFi speakers for the moments when you want more zing in the HiFi diddly dee.

    It will take a while for you to re learn what you are hearing form the Altecs so try and resist making any modifications.

    Try some different amps and sources and ask friends over for their impressions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    It sounds like someone has been following Art Dudley.

    I think the Scott amp would be the most fun if it's working properly.
    My idea of fun might not be aligned with anyone else's.

    Make sure the diaphragms are working properly ... might try
    a newer GPA 902 series (still short, vs 802 which will not fit)
    tangerine-plug driver if you get a chance.
    I know about the Dudley Stereophile article, but no.

    I also guess that either the Scott or Mac would be the best fit. I'll find out after tomorrow.

    They do. I had read about the GPAs (mentioned in e) and may go down that path at some point.

    Quote Originally Posted by fpitas View Post
    If you get in the mood to try a newer amp, the First Watt F5 is supposed to be an excellent match with old Altec horn speakers.
    I'll look into those at some point. My guess is if I were to buy something new, I would look at Shindo, Audio Note or some SET amp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wagner View Post

    ............that, and sometimes a little too much "Mad Men"

    A LOT of that going around lately
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie View Post
    Hi Bart,

    It might help us to help you if you can explain where you are in your audio journey?

    i.e what did you have previousl? Why did you buy the Valencia's?

    I would stick with B for a while.

    A lot of people go back to Altecs because they feel they were missing something in their previous loudspeakers.

    This is no surprise if the user had been using a contemporary decor friendly loudspeaker which has a few generic limitations namely low sensitivity and dynamic range.

    It's a fact that while the sleek beautiful box may sound tonally correct it simply won't sound life like or deliver the reverberant feeling of a piano player in your family room.

    I did a simple test a while ago with JBL book shelf monitor and compared it to large format JBL monitor.

    The bookshelf monitor sounded compressed despite the brazen marketing claims that it was a highly accurate monitor.

    The large format monitor was simply more enjoyable to listen to.

    There is a following of the earlier 2 way Altecs because they were designed with less compromises from the beginning but they are physically large . Today the JBL statement systems are based on these earlier system but use state of art drivers and are more refined technically with sophisticated crossover networks.

    As old as the Altecs are you will possibly like what they do well and have a small set of HiFi speakers for the moments when you want more zing in the HiFi diddly dee.

    It will take a while for you to re learn what you are hearing form the Altecs so try and resist making any modifications.

    Try some different amps and sources and ask friends over for their impressions.

    I bought the Vals because I wanted to try some horns. I have listened to a few horns before, but never owned any. I also feel like "something is missing" and based on what I have read and what little I have heard, maybe horns is what I need.

    I plan to try the speakers on a couple amps as is, but I figured I would throw out several ideas on this forum and see what the collective experience here would advise. Apparently, some see my post as annoying and a detriment to the forum. Obviously you don't all know what I hear, but I know the group here has a lot of experience with these speakers, so I was hoping for some common knowledge to guide me on my experiments with them.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any audio friends nearby.

    Thanks to all for providing any ideas or guidance. I get the speakers tomorrow and will provide some opinion on tem after I do some listening.

    -Bart

  13. #13
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    "Apparently, some see my post as annoying and a detriment to the forum."

    Sorry about that. It can be a fun/educational place and there's some good
    folks here, if you can ignore the seemingly higher-than-normal level of internet
    forum crapola/whining/bitching and lack of manners that this place seems to
    attract and sometimes feed on. (yes, I have one eye in the mirror when I say this)

    Hope the Valencia's bring you some joy. Will be interested in how it goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    "Apparently, some see my post as annoying and a detriment to the forum."

    Sorry about that. It can be a fun/educational place and there's some good
    folks here, if you can ignore the seemingly higher-than-normal level of internet
    forum crapola/whining/bitching and lack of manners that this place seems to
    attract and sometimes feed on. (yes, I have one eye in the mirror when I say this)

    Hope the Valencia's bring you some joy. Will be interested in how it goes.
    No worries, grumpy. Abide...
    We shall see. They are at least a good intro to horms and maybe all I'll ever need. Hope to learn a lot from the experience and the group here.

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    I initially hooked them up to the MX110/MC225 and played vinyl and FM. Initial thoughts were that they had absolutely no bass. After playing them a while and adjusting the HF level a bit, they got better. I'll have to listen to them some more to see if I want to try to take them further.

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