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Thread: Altec Bolero 890B Speakers Advice and Opinions please

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    Bolero
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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    I remember reading a particular person writing with such fervor about his experience with the Bolero I was sure he must have been weeping with gratitude as he typed. I believe that in the same time period he always also has had modern speakers completely unrelated to anything Lansing and suspect that he now rarely if ever listens to anything else.

    Was that a passing enthusiasm? Or was he shrewdly exploiting the nostalgia market in old audio. Who knows?

    We've all read reviews in hifi magazines and become convinced we knew what particular gear sounded like and the important differences between it and some other model. With regard to literature Coleridge called the investment of money, time, energy and empathy to give, say, a five hundred page novel a chance to get off the ground "a willing suspension of disbelief as an expression of artistic faith." We are doing much the same thing when we read about hifi gear. Professional reviewers develop reputations and either grow professionally or get hooted of the rostrum. Random people in audio forums? A healthy dollop of "show me" always seems advisable.

    In the liquid gear market that has been created by the Internet I've bought things just to hear what they sound like, because with a little self-control you can pass things on and not get hurt too bad. I've also bought speakers with serious interest without ever having heard them, based on what a couple of pros said about them, and I was not disappointed, but that wasn't a key experience for me in the hi fi journey. Those have always come with hearing something first. In the end I think you'll find that's a more efficient process.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Quote Originally Posted by speakerdave View Post
    I remember reading a particular person writing with such fervor about his experience with the Bolero I was sure he must have been weeping with gratitude as he typed. I believe that in the same time period he always also has had modern speakers completely unrelated to anything Lansing and suspect that he now rarely if ever listens to anything else.

    Was that a passing enthusiasm? Or was he shrewdly exploiting the nostalgia market in old audio. Who knows?

    We've all read reviews in hifi magazines and become convinced we knew what particular gear sounded like and the important differences between it and some other model. With regard to literature Coleridge called the investment of money, time, energy and empathy to give, say, a five hundred page novel a chance to get off the ground "a willing suspension of disbelief as an expression of artistic faith." We are doing much the same thing when we read about hifi gear. Professional reviewers develop reputations and either grow professionally or get hooted of the rostrum. Random people in audio forums? A healthy dollop of "show me" always seems advisable.

    In the liquid gear market that has been created by the Internet I've bought things just to hear what they sound like, because with a little self-control you can pass things on and not get hurt too bad. I've also bought speakers with serious interest without ever having heard them, based on what a couple of pros said about them, and I was not disappointed, but that wasn't a key experience for me in the hi fi journey. Those have always come with hearing something first. In the end I think you'll find that's a more efficient process.
    I'm

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonester View Post
    After everything was buttoned up I found the sound was frankly, unacceptable. Anemic bass, little definition in mids, tweeters sound great, just not in these cabinets with these woofers. I"m exaggerating on the sound a bit, but I have nowhere near the experience with these Boleros that I've read such glowing reviews on here. Any hope here or should I just chalk it up to experience, lesson learned, sell the drivers on the auction site and move on? I uploaded a photo, not sure if it loaded.
    I think speakerdave was commenting on the "glowing reviews" you've read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bedrock602 View Post
    I think speakerdave was commenting on the "glowing reviews" you've read.
    . I guess I really need to look elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonester View Post
    . I guess I really need to look elsewhere.

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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    The midrange is supposed to be one of the high points of that speaker. If you are hearing muddled midrange and no bass, it might be worthwhile checking to make sure the woofers are not connected out of phase.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Hello Tonester,

    I own a pair of 890c Boleros which uses a different HF unit than the B. I can tell you that the mids in that speaker are exceptional, especially tor the time they were made, so I don't understand why you find them "muddled".My Bolero's even do well compared to my 4410's, although not in the bass
    What are you comparing them too? Are both of them Muddled or just one? Have you tried swapping the leads? is there an air leak? An air leak would ruin the bass in a PR design like the Bolero.

    BTW the B uses the 3000 HF unit. which is exceptional also

    Have Fun

    Ed
    Sawdust is my co-pilot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Kreamer View Post
    Hello Tonester,

    I own a pair of 890c Boleros which uses a different HF unit than the B. I can tell you that the mids in that speaker are exceptional, especially tor the time they were made, so I don't understand why you find them "muddled".My Bolero's even do well compared to my 4410's, although not in the bass
    What are you comparing them too? Are both of them Muddled or just one? Have you tried swapping the leads? is there an air leak? An air leak would ruin the bass in a PR design like the Bolero.

    BTW the B uses the 3000 HF unit. which is exceptional also

    Have Fun

    Ed
    Ed,
    I"m not sure why the bass is shy. At first I thought I was connected out of phase to my amp. There's a tiny stencil mark next the left binding post which I'm assuming is + positive. I reversed the connection and it didn't seem to help any. The crossover is original with the Green LF driver's wire going to the speaker binding post and black going to the other. I sealed up the cabinets pretty tight. I checked polarity on the LF drivers just in case. It seems something is amiss. Any ideas if my crossover is correct. I'm posting a photo
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    Cloth Accordion Surrounds

    The woofers and passives have cloth surrounds that could be leaking air. When the woofers are gently pushed in by hand, do the passives move out the same amount? Holding the woofers in, do the passives stay out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bedrock602 View Post
    The woofers and passives have cloth surrounds that could be leaking air. When the woofers are gently pushed in by hand, do the passives move out the same amount? Holding the woofers in, do the passives stay out?
    The passives move out and hold steady when the woofers are pushed in. Any comments on the crossover? It looked original to me, I replaced the old caps with 2.7 uf + 0.33 uf poly caps for a total 3uf 250V.

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    Synergy?

    It's possible the Marantz (in the photo) is not a good match for the Boleros.


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    [QUOTE=bedrock602;422347]It's possible the Marantz (in the photo) is not a good match for the Boleros.

    [
    /QUOTE]The 2235B is rated 35 wpc, also tried the boleros with a Sansui AU-717, and Kenwood KA-7100, all 3 amps completely restored, working perfectly and sounding great on any other speaker type I've tried. I thought it was more a case of what content I played. They seem to wither with rock and roll. Passable with vocal and purely instrumental recordings.

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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Not sure when the 406 was originated, but it might be basically a design from the tube era, that is, higher impedance amp output.

    Also your expectations for the Bolero to be a rock monitor may be misplaced.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    longshot

    This is just a guess on my part. I'm no expert, but in my limited experience with solid state amps (I use mainly tube amps), direct coupled amps sound leaner than capacitor coupled amps. I believe the amps you mentioned are all direct coupled.

    I have a top of the line Marantz 1200 (100 wpc, dc) and a middle of the road Marantz 1060 (30 wpc, cc), both from the same era. The 1200 is very clean sounding, but I prefer the sound of the 1060 which is "fuller" for lack of a better term.

    If you have access to an older SS (cc) or tube amp, it may be worth trying them out with the Bolero's.

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