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vasubandu

If you could have just one speaker for the rest of your life . . . .

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Easy answer.....  The Jubilee, even with its behemoth size.  BMS or TAD drivers bolted to the 402's and heaven forbid, an active setup.   I would like to hear a 3 way Jub setup though, just for color. Might even consider a vented bass enclosure since I'm just a 1 watt listener.  If its all I have for life I'm going to be choosy and run the gamut on the various configs.

 

Start lining them up Mr. Roy, I smell some early 2018 orders on the way.

 

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3 hours ago, Gnote said:

I was going to go with MCM's but that is a small community :lol:

 

MWM/402 and with your New Sub !

I don't think you could do any better :D

Maby a little better, TAD drivers and fancy amps, BUT that would cost about as much as I have in them already, not happening. Perfectly happy now so why bother, it's the best I have ever had, by far.

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4 hours ago, dtel said:

Similar to a 13 A, another one that is similar is this double.

museum_first_forty-001_(178).JPG

museum_first_forty-001_(163).JPG

16a compact horn....

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4 hours ago, nitrofan said:

60 or 70th anniversary Klipschorns because of the enclosed backs not limiting placement

Not true.

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2 minutes ago, vasubandu said:

@dirtmudd are those speakers or farm implements?

the first hi fi speakers ! I think their

160db 1watt 1meter...or 30%+ efficient... just the vintage we555 driver is $8000 + if you can find them..

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2 hours ago, vasubandu said:

@dtel you married above your station, or at least above mine.

It seems like it on most days, on a few other days I just get lucky.

 

Really she was like most wives about audio, I would tell her funny things going on here and she started to know some of the "characters" here, eventually started reading on her own. Surprising me one day when I started reading and she signed up. As she read more she got it, and eventually we started looking for our last speakers. 

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27 minutes ago, mach-1 said:

Western Electric 16A  - in the picture with 2 horns it looks like 2 horn bass bins on the floor behind the tin horns.

diagram-262.jpg

Pix 1.jpg

Pix 2.jpg

the above is the compact !

 

Western Electric 12A/13A - Adam and Eve of Horn Speakers

 
 
12aatstore.JPGDecades into questioning the myth of constant progress in audio, I finally get to know the very firsttheater horn speaker system and it is arguably the best of them all. This even freaks me out and I have been working with great antique gear and pimping the timeless quality of the best in vintage technology for a long time.

I grant that that is difficult to understand and impossible to explain that a speaker from 1926 kicks all subsequent *** in a number of fundamental ways. There is nothing I can put into words to convince a skeptic of this mysterious truth and the Western Electric 12A and 13A is so tragically rare that few will have the opportunity to experience it for themselves. But I still have to say it, because I experienced it to be true. This early adventure in horn sound might be the very best of the best.


For the past few years, Silbatone has been demonstrating original Western Electric horns (L9, 16B, 15A) for hundreds of visitors at the Munich HighEnd show, to great popular acclaim and appreciation. Replica WE 15As are in production in several spots around the world and some originals are in audiophile hands, so some lucky people get to hear them and listening reports abound. A 15A system appeared at last year's European Triode Festival. Word on the superb musical performance of WECo Wide Range horn technology is spreading but the 12A/13A, the missing link, is simply too scarce to show up on the radar.

Last week in Seoul, I met with WE experts Mr. Mukai and Mr. Doi from Western Sound Inc. in Tokyo, good friends and two of the top Western Electric scholars on the planet. They came to the Silbatone Collection to hear the 12A/13A because no stereo pair exists in Japan. Nobody has the horns and who has the space to set this system up properly? Doi-san pronounced it "duke level," a Japanese term which I think means fit for royalty and beyond the experience of ordinary audio nuts.
12A_13A.jpg


A hyper-elite collector's item is what the WE 12A/13A has become but it was originally intended as a mass entertainment product, designed in 1926 for movie theaters outfitted with then cutting-edge Warner Bros. "Vitaphone" equipment for the emergent talking picture market.

The 12A and 13A bass horn are both powered by WE 555W drivers and operate without crossovers with considerable overlap in frequency response. An attenuator panel is used to set the input signal to the 13A 2dB higher than the 12A. The 12A horns fly high and the 13A is at stage level, pointed toward the balcony. As the diagram below indicates, the 13A should sit a bit in front of the 12A to account for the longer path length of the LF horn.

 
12_13system.jpg
Typical 12A/13A system diagram


Mesh555d.jpgOriginal equipment for the 12A/13A is the rare early "mesh" 555W driver, replaced by sealed back 555W for the next-generation 15A and 16A Wide Range systems. Amplification was 41-42-43 or, for really early installations, the rare 8-9-10 electronics. 

We use 597A tweeters with the 12A/13A to good effect although this is anachronistic, since they were not introduced for another five or six years.
 
 
Mesh555a.jpg
theateramp.gif
41-42-43 electronics with attenuator panel to set levels
 of 12A and 13A on top of rack





The 12A/13A was only installed for about a year before the much-cheaper to manufacture 15A and 16A took over. Installation instructions for these later horns include directives to destroy the obsolete 12A to prevent unauthorized reuse and throw them away. It seems as though very few have survived, much to the sacrifice of future generations interested in theater horn technology.

To the modern audio ear, the 12A/13A hardly sounds "vintage" at all. The famous WE 15A is well-known for its rich woody character, arising from construction of large areas of thin plywood and the sheet metal 16A has a metallic zing that adds life on strings and vocals. It is fair to say that both have a certain "vintage" character, although they are very different presentations. The 12A is constructed of many intricately machined strips of 1" thick hardwood and it is heavy (180 lbs w/o driver) and solid as a rock. It presents the quick attack of a field coil compression driver with almost no resonant hangover. It is disarmingly fast. Speakers usually do not shut off so quickly when the note is over and hearing one that does it right is a revelation.

To those of us familiar with the other WE Wide Range horns, the 12A/13A introduces an entirely new flavor: fast, dynamic, and clean with a huge, natural and organic presentation. It took me a few days before I stopped saying "Wow" "Whoa" "Holy shit!" on every song. I heard Willie Nelson "Stardust" about a million times but this was different, I swear! 

Some of the unique aspects of the 12A/13A presentation arise from the sheer scale of the installation. It sounds like a concert in a theater and quite unlike a typical stereo, thanks in part to the four large horns set up at corners of an imaginary 25 foot square on the front wall. This system in this 30 foot high wooden walled room is one of the few systems that overcome the scale distortion most domestic installations suffer. Solo violins, pianos. and the operatic voice sound as large as they should in a good hall.

The 12A/13A is not perfect. It does blur and lose the characteristics of individual instruments on loud dense orchestral crescendos, but then so do all other speakers. It doesn't play 20 to 20k, so some well indoctrinated twits would say that it cant be "High Fidelity." But on sheer tonality, instrumental and vocal timbre, dynamic contours of individual notes, and the intangible and unspeakable magic of musical rightness and subjective realism, hearing the 12A/13A was a real lesson for me.
 
 


 
12_13bae.jpg
 Dr. Steven Bae with another 12A/13A in Silbatone factory
12_13_16.jpg

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17 minutes ago, dirtmudd said:

the above is the compact !

 

Western Electric 12A/13A - Adam and Eve of Horn Speakers

 
 
12aatstore.JPGDecades into questioning the myth of constant progress in audio, I finally get to know the very firsttheater horn speaker system and it is arguably the best of them all. This even freaks me out and I have been working with great antique gear and pimping the timeless quality of the best in vintage technology for a long time.

I grant that that is difficult to understand and impossible to explain that a speaker from 1926 kicks all subsequent *** in a number of fundamental ways. There is nothing I can put into words to convince a skeptic of this mysterious truth and the Western Electric 12A and 13A is so tragically rare that few will have the opportunity to experience it for themselves. But I still have to say it, because I experienced it to be true. This early adventure in horn sound might be the very best of the best.


For the past few years, Silbatone has been demonstrating original Western Electric horns (L9, 16B, 15A) for hundreds of visitors at the Munich HighEnd show, to great popular acclaim and appreciation. Replica WE 15As are in production in several spots around the world and some originals are in audiophile hands, so some lucky people get to hear them and listening reports abound. A 15A system appeared at last year's European Triode Festival. Word on the superb musical performance of WECo Wide Range horn technology is spreading but the 12A/13A, the missing link, is simply too scarce to show up on the radar.

Last week in Seoul, I met with WE experts Mr. Mukai and Mr. Doi from Western Sound Inc. in Tokyo, good friends and two of the top Western Electric scholars on the planet. They came to the Silbatone Collection to hear the 12A/13A because no stereo pair exists in Japan. Nobody has the horns and who has the space to set this system up properly? Doi-san pronounced it "duke level," a Japanese term which I think means fit for royalty and beyond the experience of ordinary audio nuts.
12A_13A.jpg


A hyper-elite collector's item is what the WE 12A/13A has become but it was originally intended as a mass entertainment product, designed in 1926 for movie theaters outfitted with then cutting-edge Warner Bros. "Vitaphone" equipment for the emergent talking picture market.

The 12A and 13A bass horn are both powered by WE 555W drivers and operate without crossovers with considerable overlap in frequency response. An attenuator panel is used to set the input signal to the 13A 2dB higher than the 12A. The 12A horns fly high and the 13A is at stage level, pointed toward the balcony. As the diagram below indicates, the 13A should sit a bit in front of the 12A to account for the longer path length of the LF horn.

 
12_13system.jpg
Typical 12A/13A system diagram


Mesh555d.jpgOriginal equipment for the 12A/13A is the rare early "mesh" 555W driver, replaced by sealed back 555W for the next-generation 15A and 16A Wide Range systems. Amplification was 41-42-43 or, for really early installations, the rare 8-9-10 electronics. 

We use 597A tweeters with the 12A/13A to good effect although this is anachronistic, since they were not introduced for another five or six years.
 
 
Mesh555a.jpg
theateramp.gif
41-42-43 electronics with attenuator panel to set levels
 of 12A and 13A on top of rack





The 12A/13A was only installed for about a year before the much-cheaper to manufacture 15A and 16A took over. Installation instructions for these later horns include directives to destroy the obsolete 12A to prevent unauthorized reuse and throw them away. It seems as though very few have survived, much to the sacrifice of future generations interested in theater horn technology.

To the modern audio ear, the 12A/13A hardly sounds "vintage" at all. The famous WE 15A is well-known for its rich woody character, arising from construction of large areas of thin plywood and the sheet metal 16A has a metallic zing that adds life on strings and vocals. It is fair to say that both have a certain "vintage" character, although they are very different presentations. The 12A is constructed of many intricately machined strips of 1" thick hardwood and it is heavy (180 lbs w/o driver) and solid as a rock. It presents the quick attack of a field coil compression driver with almost no resonant hangover. It is disarmingly fast. Speakers usually do not shut off so quickly when the note is over and hearing one that does it right is a revelation.

To those of us familiar with the other WE Wide Range horns, the 12A/13A introduces an entirely new flavor: fast, dynamic, and clean with a huge, natural and organic presentation. It took me a few days before I stopped saying "Wow" "Whoa" "Holy shit!" on every song. I heard Willie Nelson "Stardust" about a million times but this was different, I swear! 

Some of the unique aspects of the 12A/13A presentation arise from the sheer scale of the installation. It sounds like a concert in a theater and quite unlike a typical stereo, thanks in part to the four large horns set up at corners of an imaginary 25 foot square on the front wall. This system in this 30 foot high wooden walled room is one of the few systems that overcome the scale distortion most domestic installations suffer. Solo violins, pianos. and the operatic voice sound as large as they should in a good hall.

The 12A/13A is not perfect. It does blur and lose the characteristics of individual instruments on loud dense orchestral crescendos, but then so do all other speakers. It doesn't play 20 to 20k, so some well indoctrinated twits would say that it cant be "High Fidelity." But on sheer tonality, instrumental and vocal timbre, dynamic contours of individual notes, and the intangible and unspeakable magic of musical rightness and subjective realism, hearing the 12A/13A was a real lesson for me.
 
 


 
12_13bae.jpg
 Dr. Steven Bae with another 12A/13A in Silbatone factory
12_13_16.jpg
transp.gif
The First Loudspeaker System Installation
Now that we have sound signals coming from the projector, what next? Amplification and sending it along to a loudspeaker. Only the developments in the design and implementation of the first pubic address systems made the "talkies" possible.

Everybody knows that when you speak through the small end of a cone, it gets louder on the other end. The early designers of speaker systems tried to solve the problem of how to place some sort of transducer (which would receive audio signals and convert it into a motion of some kind) in the unit at the small end of a cone, which would help make the sound louder. As early as 1915, Edwin Jensen (1886-1961) and Peter Pridham of Magnavox created the first practical moving coil loudspeaker, but the design still in use today was patented in 1924 by Chester W. Rice (1888-1951) and Edward W. Kellogg (1882-1960). Kellogg also worked on RCA's Photophone sound recording system.

What happens in a moving-coil driver is this: you have a donut-shaped magnet, the field-coil, surrounded by a wire wrapped around a tube surrounding the field coil. It is called the voice coil. Under the hole in the donut is a cone-shaped diaphram, which is held in such a way that it can move in a line toward the two magnets or away from it.
 
first-we-555-driver-cross-section.jpg
Cross section diagram of Western Electric WE 555 loudspeaker driver.
So the field coil is always magnetized, while the current passing through the voice coil fluctuates (according to the impulses coming from the soundtrack or record). The resulting magnetic forces cause the diaphragm to oscillate in and out, thereby pushing the air before it, recreating a close approximation of the original sound waves. Attach that to a horn-shaped device to handle the differences in acoustical impedance, and there you have it: a loudspeaker.

Back over to Western Electric, who needed proper speakers if they were to make their Vitaphone system work. Under Edward C. Wente (1889-1972), Albert. L. Thuras (1888-1945) and Stanley Watkins (1888-1975), working to meet the premiere date of August 6, 1926 for Don Juan, developed a driver where the field coil was a very strong electromagnet powered by secondary rechargable lead / acid batteries and connected to a "exponential" horn 12 feet long, curled on itself, like a snail, to conserve space. The horn expands exponentially along its length, giving it a very smooth response. This design could produce louder sounds with less distortion — perfect for the talkies. They called the driver a "receiver;" the WE 555. And since two heads are better than one, two different speakers were developed to use in tandem: the 12-A, hung high above the stage behind the screen, and the 13-A, which typically sat in the orchestra pit pointing up towards the auditorium ceiling.
first-we-12a-13a-plans.jpg
transp.gif
Plans for Western electric 12-A and 13-A speakers. Courtesy of www.itishifi.com.
 
first-we-12a-13a-horns.jpg
transp.gif
Dr. Steven Bae with Western Electric 12-A and 13-A speakers at the Silbatone factory, Seoul, Korea. Courtesy www.silbatoneacoustics.com
first-we-8-a-9-a.jpg
transp.gif
Western Electric 8-B Speech Input Preamplifier unit on top over the 9-A Power Amplifier. Introduced in 1927. Photo courtesy kjq.us.com.
transp.gif
The horns were made completely out of hardwood, with each segment of the curve hand-cut and glued together. If straightened out, the 12-A was 11 feet long, while the 13-A was more like 14 feet long. They were about 200 lbs. each, with the mouth of the 12-A horn being 45 inches square. The 13-A horn at the mouth measures 43.5 x 62 inches. The range of frequencies they were capable of reproducing was from 63 to 5000 hertz (Hz). 

The idea of having two different speakers arranged like this is interesting: at the beginning of Vitaphone, Warner Bros. produced two types of "programs." One type was mostly short films of vaudeville or musical acts. The early Vitaphone feature films were mostly silent films with a recorded orchestra playing along.

The idea was this: for films with mostly dialog, the 12-A speaker behind the screen would be used. In films with only orchestral score, the 13-A with its greater output potential would be used, since it was usually placed right in the orchestra pit — so that the recorded orchestra sound would come from a logical place.

After all of this was set up by the Western Electric people, the projection operator would choose via L pad knobs which setting to use: "A" for vaudeville shorts and talkies with dialog (the 12-A), "B" for orchestral scores (the 13-A), and the "C" setting for films with equal amounts of dialog and orchestra (both 12-A and 13-A speakers). The A, B, or C horn selection is indicated on the label of the record. In our sample above, it is just to the lower left of the center spindle.

Western Electric amplifiers at this time usually consisted of two parts; the 8-B which was the preamp, and the 9-A, which was the power amp. Since there were three 12-A horns behind the screen, and since more than 3 watts would blow out a given 555 Receiver, the 9-A power amp (soon to be replaced by the 10-A), did not have to have huge output capacity. The 9-A amp is rated at 1.69 watts output.
transp.gif

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I realize the benefits of corner placement but the khorns I heard in hope not flush against a corner sounded just fine. Better than fine

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7 minutes ago, Dr Morbius said:

My vote is for Jubilees, but which is the consenses of the better system.........2 way or 3 way?

the ones you like best !

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I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone mention Cornwall's.    In my view it's the largest Klipsch speaker that you could reasonably use in almost any sized room or situation.  

 

I've never owned a pair of Cornwalls, but if I were forced to pick one and live with it forever that's probably what I'd get.  

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Jubilees done right ...

 

TADs

 

State of the Art electronic crossovers ...

 

Great amps ...

 

You get the picture ...

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I hope I never see another amp rack like this again, ever.

We moved some of these out of the Museum basement, they were in terrible shape missing most of the parts. But they were still ridiculously heavy, it took a hand truck/dolly and 3 of us to get them up the stairs. If they would have been 20 pounds heaver we could not have done it, it was that hard, we all almost hurt ourselves.

 

I told Jim If the basement would have been full of these things I would quit helping the Museum.

museum_first_forty-001_(207).JPG

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