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1977, I saw Star Wars in a movie theater.. The speaker used to fill the theater was a single 12" 15" loaded VOTT with an eight cell horn Altec horn perched on top. FF and RW to a couple of years ago when I bought some EV loaded Khorn design bass bins, a pair of Karlson speakers and scored the very same VOTT that I enjoyed at the movies as a kid.  Yesterday, I traded off the Khorn bass units, went on to move the Karlsons and the VOTT out of the man's storage. The VOTT woofer, that came with the deal, was shot and an unRealistic woofer took its place.   

 

Was the same VOTT cabinet used for the 12" and 15" woofers? 

 

20190526_152222.thumb.jpg.3d2ee7d6b5350067eb507476362998e3.jpg

 

 

 

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From what I remember, 15 inch.  There were several different versions, depending on what you wanted out of them from guitar woofers to A7-A500 with the 511 on top.  Bunch of info here http://www.audioheritage.org

 

Also - https://www.soundandvision.com/content/living-legend-altec-lansings-‘voice-theatre’

 

Depends on year and configuration.

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  The A-7’s were the mainstay of bands working Nashville 40 - 50 years ago. Think most came from either touring bands or smaller studio’s. But I remember toting many that supposedly came out of the RCA studio. Way more than the studio had.

  Eight A-7’s or so filled a venue quite well. Loading, set up, and unloading built character. 

  Most had already replacement drivers, crossovers, or cabinets in the mid 70’s. They took regular beatings.

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They were the mainstay of bands in Cookeville, too!  I can't believe it was that long ago.  🙄 

 

I did not know any A7s used 12" woofers. 

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@Woofers and Tweeters, and others.

 

I was not aware of any VOTT systems with 12" woofers, either, unless they were in the surround channels around the theater, instead of behind the screen.

 

Did you get to see the VOTT yourself, or are you relying on the report of a theater manager? :rolleyes: :smile: Did you see Star Wars in mono during its 1977 run?  In most theaters around the country, it played in 70 mm with 6 channel stereophonic sound, or in 35 mm with 4 channel stereo.

 

The theater I saw it in had "In 70 mm" in huge letters on the marquee, and a silk looking banner hanging from said marquee reading "In Dolby Stereo."  Here's what that theater looked like on the inside.  It produced a sharp, vivid image from the 4th row from the screen ... imagine yourself in the 4th row, dead centerimage.png.4015d0d2f5ba5428e859e921b595de1b.png

 

There were big speakers (looking like JBL C40s) embedded in the ceiling overhead (like Atmos, but several decades ahead of time) to track the sound of the big ship that goes overhead at the beginning. 

 

Altec's VOTT configurations ranged from 1-15" woofer (the "little" A7) to 6 -15" woofers: 

image.png.5093dcc1760dfa8fc7441b1f2dcfa927.png

 

For 70 mm showings of Star Wars, several configurations were possible.  For a theater originally set up, as many were, for 70 mm Todd-AO (1955-1956, Oklahoma!, Around the World in 80 Days by Magna Theater Corp.), there may have been 5 discrete stereo channels behind the screen, with each being fed by a 4 to 6 woofer (15" each) horn ... plus one switchable, blendable surround channel.  If new equipment was brought in, it is possible that there were "only" 4 channels behind the screen, perhaps each with 4 woofers, plus sub and surround.  Another possibility, if the theater was one of the first "4 walled" by Todd-AO, is that JBL speakers like the one below (one for each channel) would have been used.  Todd-AO had contracted with Ampex to provide the sound, and Ampex had JBL build the speakers.  JBL couldn't build enough soon enough, so Ampex was licensed to have others build some of them.  So there were 70 mm theaters equipped with JBL, and some equipped with Altec.

Here is one JBL design, for one of the channels:image.png.8c460efe6ef20b92c9246f70ec66987b.png

If you have a room of typical home size, one or two A7s might sound like an army of 4 to 6 woofer per channel speakers in a large commercial theater.  

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49 minutes ago, garyrc said:

Did you get to see the VOTT yourself, or are you relying on the report of a theater manager? :rolleyes: :smile: Did you see Star Wars in mono during its 1977 run?

In 1977, I was 12 years old. The only report I would have gotten from a manager is that if I did that again he would throw me out. Thank you for the information. I will try to find someone who might know more about the theater to see if there was more. I do know that it is a very small theater and did not have any type of surround sound. So far, one correction I have to make is that it's not a 12" woofer. I have the original woofer that was part of the package I bought. It was in a Realistic box that said 12" but that speaker must have fit something else. The one I have says it's a 515 on the tag. The 8 cell horn is a tar filled 805 with what I think is a 288 driver.  

 

Thanks again

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7 hours ago, Panelhead said:

Loading, set up, and unloading built character. 

🤣

 

5 hours ago, JohnA said:

I did not know any A7s used 12" woofers.

My mistake, it's a 15"

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On 5/27/2019 at 7:24 AM, Woofers and Tweeters said:

1977, I saw Star Wars in a movie theater.. The speaker used to fill the theater was a single 12" 15" loaded VOTT with an eight cell horn Altec horn perched on top. FF and RW to a couple of years ago when I bought some EV loaded Khorn design bass bins, a pair of Karlson speakers and scored the very same VOTT that I enjoyed at the movies as a kid.  Yesterday, I traded off the Khorn bass units, went on to move the Karlsons and the VOTT out of the man's storage. The VOTT woofer, that came with the deal, was shot and an unRealistic woofer took its place.   

 

Was the same VOTT cabinet used for the 12" and 15" woofers? 

 

20190526_152222.thumb.jpg.3d2ee7d6b5350067eb507476362998e3.jpg

 

 

 

Awful small woofer to have in that horn.  Don't think there will be any good load though might be a good wave guide.

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my first real loudspeaker, an A7 with the 811b horn. Too big but I loved them just the same.

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Hang on to those 515's & the 288's. They are some of the best drivers you will ever get. 

 

Best to talk to the Altec Users Board guys to pursue your queries, as they will have all the answers. 

 

Can't seem to get on there at the moment to give you the link, but just google - "Altec Users Board"

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A 12" speaker in the big reflex chamber would have to work harder than the 15 ~ a half octave above tuning.  What did you get for Karlson's??  The original 15 properly loaded and braced is better than most horns of its bulk for clean output power if not sensitivity.    K15 re-tuned with two 3"ID PVC elbows can make a fine subwoofer per John Tucker's Exemplar project.  A 511 or 811 on top of K15 can be fun.  A K12 can punch very well above 80Hz.  (mine has more "grab" than my K-horn on a Rudy Rosa synth passage using heavy plucked string sounds).   A 0.7 scale VOTT might sound OK.,  That would play flatter if the rear chamber volume were cut in halt to about 2 cubic feet.

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It was typical to install eight A7-5s or A7-8s , behind the movie screen, in an average sized theatre.   Most mods I see used by others ( on the Altec User's Board, or say Sound Practices magazine articles ), reducing port size to " play lower", and to add extensive internal bracing,  I do not care for.  I feel the original engineers designed the two-way close to ideal.

 

After several years of experimenting, I find the best result is to use the 515B woofer full range in the 825 enclosure, no crossover ( and just " lay" the 802D in above it. )  I also find the A7-8 responds well to quality internal wiring.  Today I use single runs of 8 AWG to the 15 inch ( m22759/11, Mil Spec) and other silver wiring, Siltech, etc., small gauge, to the 802.

 

I have drastically removed most of the stock ALTEC internal fibreglass, to a very good effect.  Damping needs to be only inside the enclosure, precisely positioned where the back of the 15 inch's cone  plays into the enclosure's rear paneling /wall.  A 15 inch circle of Woman's 1/2 inch quilting / batting material / filler, three layers thick I liked the best.

 

See earlier pictures, here :

 

https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=hug&m=182196

 

 I truly adore hearing a front firing / directly radiating  15 inch... that ALSO has a front loaded horn on that driver.  Its a well built KISS simple two-way speaker. 

 

Jeffrey

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On 6/8/2019 at 5:24 PM, Jeffrey D. Medwin said:

It was typical to install eight A7-5s or A7-8s , behind the movie screen, in an average sized theatre

 

Interesting.

 

With more complete speaker systems than channels (1, 2, 4, 6, or 7 channels unless we are talking D150, or the like) were there multipath problems?  Or is this not a problem, given the distances involved and the fine tuning?

 

I guess I don't know what A7-5s or A7-8s are.   I thought the bigger Altec VOTTs all had a number other than 7, A1 for the big 6 woofer horn, then the higher the number, the lower the number of woofers and the smaller the enclosure, down to the A7, as the baby of the lot.   I did see three very tall and relatively thin VOTTs, each with 4 woofers (IIRC) stacked vertically (rather than the horizontal ones shown in my earlier post in this thread), on rollers, in the old Fox Theater in San Francisco, just before they tore it down.  There were three of them behind the screen for CinemaScope's 4 channel stereo (with the 4th channel the single, switchable surround).  I was told that the A7 was hardly ever used in theaters, other than (small) Art Houses.  My favorite Art House, though, used the much smaller Altec 604 series, in bass reflex, one on either side of their silver 'scope non perforated screen.  Later they took them out and put in Klipsch La Scalas.

 

Other than that, I've seen only:

  • 5 Altec enclosures, each much bigger than the A7,  behind a Cinerama screen, with several around the theater for the 2 channel surround, bringing the total number of channels to 7.
  • 5  very large Ampex/"Jim" Lansing enclosures behind a 70 mm Todd-AO screen, sometimes with several smaller (but still large -- possibly C55) ones for the one channel, but switchable/blendable surround (sometimes automatically cued by a subsonic signal), bringing the total number of channels to 6.  See below.

Timage.thumb.png.bec01c79ce8cbad080ecb2d23b84da75.png

Ampex was assigned the task of providing 70 mm Todd-AO's sound.  They contracted with James B. Lansing to produce the loudspeakers.  JBL couldn't provide all the speaker systems needed in time, so they licensed and tooled Ampex to make some of the speakers to JBL's designs, labled "Ampex by Jim Lansing."  Later 70mm theaters sometimes used Altec.  I don't know what the theaters recently equipped for 70 mm by Tarantino use.  There is an error in the caption to the picture of the Coronet screen; the original curved screen was 52 feet wide across the chord of the arc.  While that may seem small, there was no stage in the way to take up valuable space, nor was there an organ.  The perceived screen size of the Coronet from the 20th row from the screen during the showings of 80 Days, and Oklahoma! was about the same as that in the 4th or 5th row in the main room in Oakland's great Grand Lake theater, which has a screen that is much farther away, but that is physically, but not perceptually, much bigger.   The late, lamented, Coronet, at least from the front 20 rows, was meant for film viewing, not stage events. 

image.png.374a330bba292dd59a8971783d43e172.png

Mike Todd and Dr. Brian O'Brien of American Optical during the development of Todd-AO

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A7-5 is an A7 with a 511 horn, and a 500 hZ. crossover. A7-8 uses a 811 Horn and a 800 hZ. crossover.   

 

My audio Mentor, who spent much of his adult life  in the movie design and movie ownership business, prefers the A7-8 for movie theatres and for audiophile use, as the high end is better, more extension is possible..  The A7 bass enclosure is an ALTEC 825, and later iterations of same with slightly different numbers, that I do not recall off the top of my head.

 

I have a pair of A7-8s in my living room, as shown in the URL by my Moniker,.  I am very pleased to own them.   With newly-installed 8 AWG m22759/11 wiring, and even some Siltech wire,  these speakers now easily take control of the listening room, play into the room with a really-nice musical freedom.

 

Jeffrey

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35 minutes ago, avguytx said:

Is that a putting green on top of your speakers?

 

Very nice job on the Belle Clones in 2017.  Hats off to you.

 

Jeffrey

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