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Thread: Mystery Large Format Monitors

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Mystery Large Format Monitors

    Does anyone remember the Fostex monitors from Interlake Audio in the early 80's? They were based in Winnipeg... go figure.

    I picked up this brochure at the 1980 AES Convention after hearing a very impressive demo. The Interlake Audio folks had a suite set up with a small board and an Ampex ATR 100 playing first generation dupes through their mid sized monitor and also had the Urei 811s (about the same size as the Fostex) set up for A/B comparisons.

    The Fostex monitors were outstanding with significantly better range and midrange clarity. The beautiful midrange horn would make owners of Westlakes take notice. I have never seen one of these since. Does anyone know anything about them?

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    and more...
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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    and the specs...
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  4. #4
    Steve Gonzales
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    Beauties

    Those are sharp! I get the idea that they are time aligned too

    Edit: we posted at the same time on the second batch-Steve

  5. #5
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Gonzales
    Those are sharp! I get the idea that they are time aligned too
    They had to be. Urei was in the process of ending JBL's studio monitor reign with their "Time Aligned" monitors.

    Widget

  6. #6
    Steve Gonzales
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    19hz

    I'm the kinda guy that CAN put up with HUGE enclosures if 19 friggin'HZ is what I'll get in return!

  7. #7
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    This pair has been for sale for a while:

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1115406971

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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    "They had to be. Urei was in the process of ending JBL's studio monitor reign with their "Time Aligned" monitors."

    Widget

    Hey Widget

    What was the deal with that. JBL just purchased the competition?? Always wondered about the whole Altec 604 Urei 604 based timelines. Figure Urei did the "Time aligned" bit on the Altec drivers so the majority of Urei's manufactured had a 604 variant. The last Urei's were JBL's and sold along side the 4343's.

    Nice looking speakers. I wonder if they actually did there own drivers or not. Reminds me of the Time Aligned Technics speakers with the set-back mids and tweeters.

    That's not that much cash for the pair?? He's in CA.

    Rob

  9. #9
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    From my foggy memory the 813 was THE monitor around 1980. This was pre-JBL and even with the rather crappy auxiliary woofer the 813 was the hands down favorite in all new studio construction and was replacing many an Altec and JBL.

    Thanks for the tip, Mr. Street.

    Widget

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    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    I had no idea they were based in Winnipeg, but in hindsight, this was the only place I ever saw them. The following is the limited information that I can remember, and be warned, much of it is probably of interest only to fellow Winnipegers.

    These systems were sold through a local retail store in Winnipeg called Oakwood Audio, starting around 1977. Oakwood Audio was originally and primarily a pro audio shop that briefly got into the home audio market during the 70's consumer audio boom. They were an offshoot of a local recording studio called Century 21 and the retail outlet originally carried this name. Both firms were founded by a local musician named Ron Paley and he is still associated with the surviving company. Given the small incestuous nature of the local pro audio market, and that Oakwood/Century 21 was also into custom equipment, there is a chance that they were affiliated with Interlake Audio. Certainly, no one else in town carried that product line. Oakwood still exists in a manner as OMT and I'm going to see if I can make contact with Ron Paley, who is still listed as part of their management team.

    In mid writing, I just looked at the spec sheets Widget posted and just saw the address for Interlake Audio. It is the same address where Oakwood/Century 21 was located at that time. They were obviously one in the same. Even more reason to try and contact Ron Paley.

    The Oakwood showroom in 1977 had all of the models shown in the spec sheet. I remember being really impressed with the LS4. However, if memory serves, they were priced around $5,000/pr when JBL 4350's were around $3,000/pr. My initial visual impression was that they were a Japanese rip-off of a JBL monitor, or at least the drivers appeared to be. However, they sounded very good. The mid horn left a striking visual impression with me as it was the first wood horn that I had ever seen. I'm pretty sure the same company later produced a bizarre ribbon/dynamic hybrid that used a large ribbon panel on top of a Fostex bass driver.

    Regarding competing with UREI, there is no question that they dominated the studio market in the late 70's and early 80's. JBL monitor sales were probably still greater because of the huge number they were shipping into Japanese homes. However, for domestic studios, UREI built up a near monopoly. I remember George Augspurger telling me that in the early 80's, you could walk into virtually any studio any find youself staring at a pair of 813's in the control room. It's no accident that the JBL 4430/35 was designed right off the top to be time aligned. Their own white paper made reference to the target they were attempting to hit - the UREI 813.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  11. #11
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606
    What was the deal with that. JBL just purchased the competition?? Always wondered about the whole Altec 604 Urei 604 based timelines.
    Hi Rob

    Below is an August 2001 post from our old forum that I wrote that outlines the history and timeline of UREI monitors.

    UREI stands for Universal Recording Electronics Industries. It was founded by Bill Putnam in the 1960ís as a small manufacturing arm of his larger recording studio business Ė Universal Recording Company (later United Recording, United Western and currently Ocean Way). Bill was one of the most respected recording engineers in the business. He was Frank Sinatraís favorite engineer and worked on many of his most renowned recordings.

    Bill was instrumental in developing many of the technological innovations that have become standards in the recording history. A detailed profile of his life can be found at:

    http://www.uaudio.com/history/BPsr.html

    Word of Billís innovations in developing homebuilt equipment for his studio spread throughout the industry and resulted in demand for him to manufacture and sell his products. This was the genesis of what would ultimately become UREI. One of Billís homebuilt products that gained significant word-of-mouth was a customized monitor that was the prototype for the 813.

    The original prototype was based on the Big Red monitor developed by Sherwood Sax of Mastering Lab and manufactured by Audio Techniques of Stamford Connecticut. It was based on the Altec 604. The major innovation of the Big Red was to replace the standard cross-over with a customized design that tamed a ragged midrange response that plagued all 604/605ís of that era. It resulted in a much smoother response that addressed the long standing reputation of the 604 as being a ďfatiguingĒ monitor.

    Bill Putnam worked with Dean Austin, Ed Long and Dennis Fink of UREI to further improve the 604. The multicell horn of that driver had relatively poor directional control and poor loading at crossover which contributed to the harsh and ragged response. The 813 was developed with a customized, flared horn that had tighter pattern control and a revised cross-over. The cross-over was designed by Ed Long and introduced the patented Time Align (R) concept that allowed the 604 to operate as a time-coherent point-source.

    The original 813 was installed in Putnamís own United/Western recording studios in the mid 70ís. Outside mixers and engineers that booked time in these studios were very impressed with this new monitor and pressured Putnam to manufacture and sell the 813. In 1976, UREI expanded its field of operations and entered into the monitor business.

    The original 813 used a modified 604-8G along with an Eminence helper woofer and Ed Longís Time Align crossover. Interestingly, the main purpose of the Eminence woofer was not to extend bass response but rather increase overall output. The 604 was prone to failure at high output levels. The helper woofer allowed UREI to increase the power handling of the 813. To this day, unless soffit mounted and equalized, the 813 has a reputation of being somewhat bass shy.

    In 1979, Altec introduced the 604-8K as the ferrite replacement of the Alnico 604-8H. The new driver was found to sound quite different leading Putnam to make further revisions to the 813. A new horn was introduced that added foam padding to the interior of the horn and a foam extender on the horn mouth to soften the cutoff frequency characteristics. Putnam also included small Helmholtz resonators on the internal side walls of the horn to trap the persistent 3 khz spike in the 604 response. The network was redesigned to accommodate the driver changes and the new system became the 813A.

    During the late 70ís and into the early 80ís, Altec was experiencing significant quality control problems. At the time, Altec was headed towards bankruptcy and the eventual closure of the Anaheim facility. It resulted in such poor product consistency that UREI was rejecting as much as 95% of the incoming Altec drivers. UREI became an authorized Altec repair center just to ensure they would have enough stock on hand to build the 813. It led UREI to ultimately seek a replacement for the 604.

    UREI initially tested Tannoy, Emilar and Gauss products, but none would meet their requirements. Ultimately, they became interested in PAS drivers which had a unique 15Ē bass driver that could accept a high frequency compression driver of the userís choice. UREI was favorably impressed with JBLís 2425 compression driver and tried mating it to the PAS transducer. This became the basis of the 813B introduced in 1983. Again, an Eminence helper woofer was employed. This was a very successful design and led to a very healthy upgrade business for UREI in converting 813Aís to 813Bís. The 815 was also introduced at this time which was a monster monitor that contained two Eminence helper woofers for a total of 3-15Ē drivers.

    During the development of the 813B, there was a very interesting problem with the production 813A. All of the sudden, new 604ís exhibited a deep, narrow hole in their response at 3 kHz. A phone call to Altec established that the long known issue of the spiked midrange response had finally been addressed by a new engineer and a design change was made without informing their customers. UREI addressed this new development by substituting closed-cell foam of the same color as the original open-cell foam in the resonating holes, which disabled the resonators without changing the product cosmetics.

    In the early 80ís, Bill Putamís wife died and he began to lose heart in the business. Harman International expressed interest in the firm and UREI was sold in late 1983 to become a division of JBLpro. Dean Austin moved over to JBL and became responsible for the ongoing design of UREI monitors. In 1984, the 813C was introduced as an all JBL product. It used a new coaxial called the 801 and replaced the Eminence helper woofer with the 2215H (pro equivalent of the LE15). This was the most successful 813 yet and replaced the 815B as well since it had higher output than that 3 driver system. Dean went on to design the very successful 12Ē 809 which was the last UREI monitor that was sold when Harman International discontinued the brand in the mid 1990ís.

    And there you have the 813 story as relayed to me by Garry Margolis.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Widget,

    Fostex were available in Australia years ago, they also has some HiFi models like the beta 8.(Maybe I am getting confused with another brand).

    They were/are highly regarded by the hi sensitivity people.

    Ian

  13. #13
    Senior Member Guido's Avatar
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    I there any small, might be, eventual chance to get network schematics?
    BLS Reference on Passlabs XA 30.5 + Everest DD66000 clone on Pass XA 100.5

  14. #14
    Senior Member dancing-dave's Avatar
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    Check out:

    http://www.fostexinternational.com/d...ec_enc_1.shtml

    and look at:They show the modern equivalents of those early monitor systems including cabinet dimensions, port size, lining, and crossover networks.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    In case anyone is wondering, that Audiogon seller, Jeff's Sound Values, is a good seller. I bought my 240Tis from them, they arrived well packed, with no damage.

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