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Thread: one Altec Lansing Model 15 sounds muddier than other

  1. #16
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    @ Earl: Not being harsh at all. I can take the truth. I'm more of an automotive repair guy than delicate stuff like this. Yes I'll probably send it in the GPA depending on what Bill says when he replies to my message.

    @ Rusty Jefferson: I'm sure the crossover is fine since I switched the complete horn assembly and got great results.

  2. #17
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    Ok Earl K;

    I sent the driver to GPA (which had the new GPA diaphragm that I mangled). I got it back about a week later, tested and sounds just as muddy as before. I was expecting them to replace the diaphragm since I thought I destroyed it by soldiering the wiring direct to the posts. Ends up the diaphragm was still good. Unhappy with those results, and as another test I bought a new diaphragm from a place called Midwest Speaker Repair. Same results; muddier than the other speaker. This diaphragm had the same wiring method as the original; not the push-on, newer style GPA has which made installation much easier.

    One thing I didn't notice until today when I installed this newest diaphragm is the one I got from GPA is 3.5". The original, and the one from Midwest is 3" diameter.

    I called Bill at GPA and explained my situation. I asked if it's possible my driver is bad. He didn't think so. He said he recharged the magnet while it was at the shop. Keep in mind for years I was an idiot and had two amps connected to the same pair of speakers and accidently turned on both amps at the same time which blew one of the amps and blew the same diaphragm from the driver I'm having the muddier sound with.

    What I don't understand, and I think is a major deal is when I switch horn assembly's from speaker to speaker and put the good horn (from left speaker) into the right speaker (which has the muddier sound), I get crystal clear bright highs (and sounds as good as the left speaker) . And conversely when the right-side horn is in the left speaker, it sounds muddier. I think this proves the crossover from the right (muddier) speaker is good.

    Since there are some highs coming from the muddier horn, it passed whichever tests they might do at GPA. But when you hear how much brighter the other horn sounds, it's night and day.

    Bill wants me to send the driver back. Just wondered what else you might recommend? Should I try a new driver? At almost $400 I'd like to confirm that that's the problem.

  3. #18
    Senior Member DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Greetings from a fellow Michigander!

    If I understand your post right, you've already tried swapping the "bad" horn assy with the "good" assy and the poor sound follows the "bad" horn. Since these were your dad's, I'd bite bullet and spend the $400 on a new driver.

    Edit: Another question that just hit me is what parts are in the "good" driver? Are they indeed the same? Because what if a "new" driver shows up and sounds just like the muddy one?? At that point I think all I could do is laugh at myself.

  4. #19
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    Hi DerekTheGreat, also from Michigan nice!

    Yes, muddier sound follows the bad horn. A few tests I haven't done yet are swap horns and drivers (put good driver on bad horn) and install the good diaphragm on the bad horn/driver.

    I do have one more cheap, new, aftermarket diaphragm coming hopefully today. This time the part number is: 26420.The GPA and the Midwest Speaker diaphragm numbers are: 34647.

    When you say to replace the driver, are you thinking because I had two amps connected to the same pair of 15's and had both amps on at the same time which fried one of the amps, and one diaphragm?

    I don't know exactly which parts are in the good horn assembly. I think only the one diaphragm got replaced in 2012 (the same one I'm having issues with now). When I remove the good diaphragm to swap test, I can look at the part number and see if it matches the other side.

    The online price of the driver on GPA's website shows $900. Talking to Bill yesterday he mentioned something about $400. Yes would be a real bummer if I replaced with a $400 part with no difference in sound.

  5. #20
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    If you had two amps connected directly to the speaker as in the outputs of each amp were going directly to the terminals of the speakers that is VERY BAD for not only the amps but the speakers. If you wanted to switch between amps you need to use a selector switch between the amps and speakers.

    Connected like sounds like the amps were each amp is seeing what appears as almost a dead short from the loading of the other amp. Depending on the amp some have the output grounds isolated from the main chassies ground and that could cause issues as well.

    I'm thinking you need to do a driver by driver test and double / triple check the crossovers.

  6. #21
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    @Mike Caldwell:

    Last year I bought an amp/speaker switch box, so the two-amps-to-one-pair-of-speakers debacle is no longer an issue. And I've replaced the amp that blew.

    Today I was able to switch the left driver diaphragm (good side) into the right driver (bad side). Not sure what happened, but the voice coil leads came separated. I really didn't want to mess with the good diaphragm, but I figured it was a great test to confirm if the right-side driver was bad. Earl K. is going to really lose confidence in me now .

    But by taking the left driver apart to get to the diaphragm, I noticed the round center piece (not sure what it's called) is orange and the right side is black. Maybe the right-side driver was replaced back in '12 and not just the diaphragm?

    I still have one good aftermarket diaphragm so I tested that with both drivers, and to my ears it sounds like the black driver (right-side) has a little restricted high frequencies than the orange (left-side). Of course this is about ten minutes between each test so I can't tell if it's my imagination or not. At this point I'm fried. I'm more than happy to dish out $400 for a new driver if that's what the issue is to get matching highs/treble out of both drivers.

  7. #22
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    Post some pictures of the drivers, inside and out and the crossovers if possible.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Caldwell View Post
    Post some pictures of the drivers, inside and out and the crossovers if possible.
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    Please keep in mind when I swapped the good horn assembly from the left cabinet and placed in the right, I got the same higher frequencies that are in the left. I believe this proves the right cabinet crossover is good?

  9. #24
    Senior Member RMC's Avatar
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    Looks to me like you have a Tangerine phasing plug in the left horn but maybe not in the right one?

    Richard

    Name:  ALTEC Tangerine Phase-Plug.jpg
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    POWERED BY: QSC, Ashly, Tascam, Rolls Mosfet, NAD, and Crest Audio

  10. #25
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    Oh wow! This has to be my problem then. Bill from GPA said the new diaphragm is working but he wasn't able to hear both in comparison.

    I dug a little deeper in my checkbook register from 2012 and found I paid for a new diaphragm at $17.29 I don't want to name the company but I wonder if they replaced the Tangerine phasing plug with an aftermarket? But that price wouldn't include return shipping of the driver. Remember the driver had a label with my name and date and that date matches my register so that means I must have mailed the driver to get the diaphragm replaced. Sorry I didn't save any receipts for some reason.

    This Tangerine phase plug must really do what's advertised. I was beginning to lose hope getting matching highs from both drivers. I'm going to try to locate one.

    Thanks Richard (and everyone else) for your help. I'll report back.

  11. #26
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Tangerines

    That was my first thought when I saw the bright orange phase plug, but looking at the black one it is also segmented in the same manner as the tangerine. It is not a traditional style phase plug with concentric slots. I am no Altec expert, but I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that your phase plugs are mismatched.

    I would send both drivers back to Bill and ask him to rebuild them as necessary to bring them both up to spec. I assume he has the capability of testing and verifying performance.


    Widget

  12. #27
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    Ya after doing some research on the phase plugs, the ones that aren't Tangerine look totally different. As you mentioned this black one has the same design. I'm hoping it's aftermarket and not quit the same build quality. I was able to find an Altec Tangerine so hopefully Bill can install. I plan on sending both drivers in for new diaphragms anyways.

  13. #28
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clashradio View Post
    Ya after doing some research on the phase plugs, the ones that aren't Tangerine look totally different. As you mentioned this black one has the same design. I'm hoping it's aftermarket and not quit the same build quality. I was able to find an Altec Tangerine so hopefully Bill can install. I plan on sending both drivers in for new diaphragms anyways.
    Hopefully with both drivers in hand, Bill can sort this out.

    IIRC: Not all Altec "Tangerine" phase plugs were orange.


    Widget

  14. #29
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    For what it's worth the right driver (is that the driver that sounds bad) in the picture with the black phase plug appears to have a shim spacer for the diaphragm.
    Maybe that space is not needed for the new replacement diaphragms.
    Sometimes shims are needed to compensate for either a diaphragm or driver being slightly out of tolerance.

    It may not be needed with the replacement diaphragms.

  15. #30
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    @Widget: Bummer; I was hoping all Altec Tangerine plugs are orange. Then maybe the fact that mine is black might be my problem.

    @ Mike Caldwell: there are in fact two spacers on the right driver. I just figured it was a gasket. I kept them in place when I installed both GPA's and Midwest Speaker's diaphragm. I didn't notice the left driver didn't have this until I removed the diaphragm.

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