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Thread: RCA Ubangi

  1. #1
    RacerXtreme
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    RCA Ubangi

    Anyone ever heard one of these?


  2. #2
    JBLGUY
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    I have never heard that name " Ubangi " before. but of course the horn on top is an Electrovoice. I have several of those horns with drivers and they sound very nice indeed. Now at the same time a freind of mine also has a set and they sound awful at his house. Differant setup I suppose.

    That just goes to show you that the same horn and driver can sound so differant when using differant equipment and rooms. This points out the need to tune each horn system after setting it up.

    Anyway I bet that cabinet kicks out some serious bass.....look at the size of the cabinet behind the woofer. Very large volume indeed. These ultra big boxes really put out the low grunt because of the huge volume behind the woofer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    That bass enclosure is an RCA model MI-9462, designed by Mr. A.J. May of RCA in about 1950. Mr. May was the understudy of Mr. John Volkmann, famed RCA speaker engineer and inventor of the radial horn. They were built from the early 1950s through the 1970s.

    The 9462 was the heart of RCA's larger postwar theatre systems. It is a combination front horn and bass reflex enclosure, similar in concept to the large Altec Lansing VOTT enclosures. Where it differs is that it was intended to be used horizontally only, and incorporates a 90 degree radial exponential front horn. This horn closely matched the horizontal pattern of the cast aluminum 90 degree radial mid / high frequency horns typically used with it.

    As to the term "Ubangi", it is a slang term often used to describe the 9462, based on its appearance. Here's and excerpt from a post by Patrick Currie on the Joelist in 1997:

    "...there was an African tribe that went to extreme and, depending on one's perspective, grotesque measures in stretching out there lower lips by punching a hole in the lip and then inserting progressively larger flat wooden discs in the hole. The results ultimately were hugely stretched lips with impressively large wooden discs inserted. So: a) these may have been the Ubangis, and, b) this would account for someone naming a large horn system, perhaps politically incorrectly, after the tribe."

    Now having covered all of that, I have to admit I have never heard a pair of these set up as intended. Many of them have been cut down to more manageable proportions by hobbyists over the years and retuned to a lower resonant frequency. They were originally tuned for maximum efficiency rather than ultimate bass extension, like the big Altecs.

  4. #4
    RacerXtreme
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    RCA Ubangi

    It looks impressive doesn't it ?

    I bet they thump.

    I've searched the internet for more info, but there's not much. A place called Mann's Chinese Theatre in California had them for it's P.A. system but that was years ago. Wish I could find some blueprints..........

    Very, very interesting..................



    Guy

  5. #5
    RacerXtreme
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    Woof, woof........

    How's this for thump?

    My 4WD Jeep Liberty looks pretty small eh?



    Guy

  6. #6
    Dis Member mikebake's Avatar
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    What are the drivers?
    What is this system for?

  7. #7
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Schell

    Now having covered all of that, I have to admit I have never heard a pair of these set up as intended.
    You had one in your garage!!! How could you miss that opportunity???

    Actually, I saw your qualification. I just couldn't resist

  8. #8
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    Hi Don,

    Yeah, ain't it the truth! I had a pair of MI-9462s in my workshop for a year or so. They had been A.J. May's personal pair, with which he used to supply sound for the 4th of July celebration in his home town of Haddon Heights, NJ. He used to enjoy checking the power being fed to the speakers while they were going full blast, and said that occasionally the one watt lamp would flicker.

    I gave that pair to a fellow in Simi Valley, Ca. He restored them to as-new condition and runs them as mains in a hi fi setup. He also has two systems running with Altec 210 cabinets; he likes to do things in a big way.

  9. #9
    RacerXtreme
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    Hi Steve,

    has this friend of yours modified his 210's in any way? Does he have an A2 or A4 system? How does he like the Ubangi's and how do they compare to the V.O.T.T.'s ?


    Thanks,


    Guy

  10. #10
    RacerXtreme
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    Dual 18's

    There were Eminence drivers in the dual 18" sub cabinets. They sounded great. They came from a local nightclub that re-did their P.A. Whoever built them did a nice job. I was using them for x-tra low end in a sound system I'm building in my garage. My neighbors love me......

  11. #11
    Senior Member andywin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Schell
    That bass enclosure is an RCA model MI-9462, designed by Mr. A.J. May of RCA in about 1950. Mr. May was the understudy of Mr. John Volkmann, famed RCA speaker engineer and inventor of the radial horn. They were built from the early 1950s through the 1970s.

    The 9462 was the heart of RCA's larger postwar theatre systems. It is a combination front horn and bass reflex enclosure, similar in concept to the large Altec Lansing VOTT enclosures. Where it differs is that it was intended to be used horizontally only, and incorporates a 90 degree radial exponential front horn. This horn closely matched the horizontal pattern of the cast aluminum 90 degree radial mid / high frequency horns typically used with it.
    The 1958 edition of "Loudspeakers" by G.A. Briggs gives a good description and illustrates the RCA Mid/High horns designed to partner it. There is an obvious typo on the hight dimensions
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
    RacerXtreme
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    Woah......

    Thanks for the cool photos. That's the first time I've ever seen an RCA horn setup on top of a Ubangi. Those cabinets appear to be slightly larger than my Altec 210's which are 7' tall (84"), 39" deep, and 32.5" wide. What did the RCA horns sound like? Are they really hard to find? I think I know the answer...........



    Guy

  13. #13
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    That photo in Mr. Briggs' book depicts the PL-301A system. Top of the line was the PL-301, similar except that it stacked two of the bass enclosures. The horn above the MI-9562 is an MI-9595 90 degree radial horn. Above it is an MI-9594 60 degree radial horn. These were also designed by A.J. May. In this setup, two compression drivers on a Y throat fed a splitter which fed the throats of both mid/high frequency horns. The 60 degree horn was aimed at the balcony in a theatre installation.

  14. #14
    RacerXtreme
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    Ubangi

    How did it sound? Were the mid and high freq.'s bright and crisp or dull and boring? I realize it's 1950's technology, but I had to ask.



    Guy

  15. #15
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    These systems used the RCA postwar style compression drivers, MI-9584 mostly. These have a dome style phenolic diaphragm with half roll compliance. RCA never entered the "specs" war, and only claimed response to 8kHz. This is accurate, and the radial horns dispersed it over the full 90 degrees. This was adequate for these systems' intended purpose at the time. For modern hi fi use these drivers provide a thrilling midrange reproduction on a proper large, low cutoff horn, but a tweeter needs to be used with them.


    As to my friend with the 210s, he restored them to original condition I believe, instead of hotrodding them with additional bracing etc. His system configurations change frequently; he was running dual 288s on H-1803Bs up top the last time I talked to him. I'm not sure how he likes the MI-9462s in comparison to the Altecs.

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