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Finally fixed up the 9844A and really listened...


ben.
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When I got these - almost two years ago - I really had a lot going on with my main system as far as changes and evaluating those changes, so I didn't put any effort into them. I had done some internet searching and had corresponded with Brennan about them so I knew they were excellent quality, but they just kind of sat in the studio & I'd turn em on every now and again when I was cleaning the basement or something. Another reason was the mismatched crossovers.

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I'd never heard of an Altec fixed attenuation network in these, so I assumed it was somthing cobbed together, but upon closer inspection - it does kinda look factory. The stamp just looks Altec. Anyway, I found some spare N-800F (has an L-pad on the horn)on ebay and bought them about a year ago, but just got around to soldering it together last night. The woofers don't match, but sound the same so far. If they don't, I can always swap them around so there's one of each in each cab. Here's a shot of the other speaker w/ the orginal N-800F:

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The gold woofs are 414-Z and the black ones are 414-16B.

These speakers sound really nice - I just threw an old CDP through the Altec 353A integrated (PP 6L6GC) and got some very nice musci happening. It was quite late by the time I had things together, so I'm guessing didn't even hit 80 dB, but the overall presentation is excellent. I demoed with Aimee Mann's Lost in Space and Norah Jones' second record (forgetting the name atm).

The bass extension and tone is great - about the cleanest I've heard from direct radiating woofers. - We'll see how smooth it stays when pushed a little, but so far they give away very little to the Khorn in terms of smoothness - and that's saying a lot.

The area around the crossover freq is problematic, though. 800Hz is not a pretty frequency to have aberrations with, and there is a little problem there which will require some attention for me to be really happy with. I think I may have had the attenuation off alittle so that the horn was running hot in relation to the woofers, but it might be phase issues in the netwrok as well. I'm thinking that a good quality fixed network with offset filters like Jeff Markwart's for the duplexes would be a better bet. Either that orsomething steeper or w/ a little EQ built into it... I haven't heard Markwart's network, but the concept makes a lot of sense to me. I'm thinking of getting some built for the 605B that I have if I can afford to keep them. Anyway, 800Hz is funky and that ain't good, especially if I'm hearing it at low levels. I don't think it'll be too tough to sort out, though.

From 1kHz on up , they are just outstanding. Jones and Mann sound as good as on the Khorn or on anything else. These records are very well recorded for my taste, and I heard some nuances to the character of Mann's voice in particular that escaped me even through the Khorns.

If I can keep these, I'm thinking of recovering the boxes in Fender tweed & oxblood grille cloth - with cream chicken head knobs for the HF attenuation... Right now they're flat black & nasty.

So my initial impression is that these are one of the best values around. If you can find them (they don't seem to be readily available) and avoid shipping, for under $1K these are really tough to beat.

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Ben, dealing with the Altec woofs, I've always seen the Z series as 16 ohm and the A/B series as 8 ohm, unless (like yours) it says 16B, making it 16 ohm.

Altec had some really involved crossovers, dealing with phasing and variate ohm drivers, plus expecting tremendously extended frequency ranges for their woofers. Their quality was a cut above Klipsch as far as the speaker guts. The 9844s are always available for cheap prices, and are a bargain often only bested by Seeburg jukebox speakers that were fitted with the same combination.

Jeff's crossover does a good job on the Malibus a friend has here in town. If you haven't stumbled across the diagram, I think he has it readily available on AA or the Heritage site for DIYs. Hope your job leads are panning out so the $$$ keeps coming in. Good luck!

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Ben, I thought he had pdfs for the 19 and the N800 VOTT as well. If your woofs have the normal setup, they will be a combined 8 ohms to match the 8 ohm 811/802 combo. The only difference you would need to account for is the 600/800/1200/1500 hz cutoff for the 811, rather than the 511. The 511 does a better job going lower, but it also requires a deeper cabinet.

The bass side of the equation would seem to be simple, as long as you are dealing with the same ohm level as the mid. You just hit the crossover point without overtaxing the woofs - and the Altec woofs are famous for their extension!

BTW, the Valenias in a box I have have the crossovers that are designed to handle "between 8 and 16 ohm" drivers.

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I saw the 19 but the download got screwy and failed - problem with Acrobat. I don't recall seeing the N800 up there, but I'll keep looking around.

The comp drivers in mine are 16 ohm 806A and the woofs are parallel - so 8 ohm nominal. The tags on the back of the box say they were "designed to operate from 16 ohm" - I'm not sure if this means that there is compensation in the N800F to get the bass section back up to 16 or if that's just what they recommend for an amplifer tap.

Anyhow I'm not sure I want to build new networks on the old design... I'm going to spend some more time (since I have that for a change) with them to figure out what I'm hearing. I probably shouldn't get ahead of myself - it could be something unrelated to the networks - a bump in the amp's response or a tube that's not right. The upshot of it all is that I could live happily with these if I end up turning the Khorns, which is great news as I had really only envisioned them as secondary. I do love that dang folded horn though...

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BTW, sorry for the overly large pics everyone. That's the lowest setting on my cam, and my computer has no useful image editing software on it. The camera came with some, but I've only got 95MB of RAM and I'm running Windows ME w/ a P2 or 3.

I'm really hoping to get a gig that comes with a notebook.

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Ben, so glad you've got this worthwhile project going on so to take your mind off of other situations at the moment (hope your search is going well). After hearing my brother "chops" modify the family Cornwalls to a two-way design with the 511B horns mated to 902-8B HF drivers (using a Rane AC 22B active crossover set at 600Hz, a Technics SU-8099 integrated amp driving only the K-33E woofers, and a Crown D-75A driving the Altec HF drivers, and equalized to taste with a Behringer Ultragraph Digital DEQ1024), I'm now a believer in all things Altec Lansing! The "Alcorns" are a major improvemet over the stock '79 Cornwalls and equal to (if not better) than the venerable Klipschorns...regardless, the original Cornwalls never sounded this "live" before, and they truely disappear in our familyroom! If your finished product comes out as planned, then you should also find a perfect replacement for your Klipschorns (if the time ever comes that you need to sell them...hopefully that won't ever happen)!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've now listened to these a great deal more, and have found that the funkiness I was hearing was actually the top end of the woofers. When I dialed in a little more of the horns, the problem was much less apparent.

It leads me to think that sliding the woofer filter down might help. I think it's time to play with a basic two way active network I've got sitting around.

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Ist Cav----Interesting. Now as long as you've gone to an Altec top you might as well go the rest of the way and get Altec woofers, 416s say. Much of the midrange magic of Altecs is in the woofers which make stock Klipsch items look pretty sad. Then build a Model 19 compensated crossover and you'll have Model 19s in Klipsch boxes.

Many years ago I had CWs that I modded by replacing the mid horns with tractrii from Klipsch Pro. Then I started using 802-511s. Then I traded the CWs for some proper Altecs.

VOT varients seem to be where many of the people on this forum are headed, in an oblique manner of course.

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Ben, so glad you've got this worthwhile project going on so to take your mind off of other situations at the moment (hope your search is going well). After hearing my brother "chops" modify the family Cornwalls to a two-way design with the 511B horns mated to 902-8B HF drivers (using a Rane AC 22B active crossover set at 600Hz, a Technics SU-8099 integrated amp driving only the K-33E woofers, and a Crown D-75A driving the Altec HF drivers, and equalized to taste with a Behringer Ultragraph Digital DEQ1024), I'm now a believer in all things Altec Lansing! The "Alcorns" are a major improvemet over the stock '79 Cornwalls and equal to (if not better) than the venerable Klipschorns...regardless, the original Cornwalls never sounded this "live" before, and they truely disappear in our familyroom! If your finished product comes out as planned, then you should also find a perfect replacement for your Klipschorns (if the time ever comes that you need to sell them...hopefully that won't ever happen)!

............."The "Alcorns" are a major improvemet over the stock '79 Cornwalls and equal to (if not better) than the venerable Klipschorns"...........

Jim said that, ..........I didn't.......[A][A][;)]

tc

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Ben----No, never did bi-amp them. I was gonna run up to Parts Express and get an Ashly crossover but instead I fell into a set of 1976 Model 19s and I'm so enthralled with them I've lost interest in other things for the time being.

I did put a set of new GPA 902-16s on the Heaths but I'm not sure I hear a difference (if I should). But then the same night I switched out the Jolida that had been running them for my newly tuned up Fisher 500B (tuned up by Terry DeWick in Knoxville, he's VERY good, a certified Mac repairman he does lots of tube stuff including Mac, Marantz and Fisher) and the Fisher sounds SO much better than the Jolida that any changes going from old 806s to new 902s have been swamped.

As for model 800F crossovers, I bought a pair on ebay recently but now I have a sneaking suspician that some 800Fs are for 8 ohm woofer loads and some for 16 ohms. I base this on the fact that some systems using 16 ohm 416 woofers used 800Fs. Which means that either some Altec systems had goofy crossover points or that not all 800Fs are the same.

Now IF you use 800Fs meant for a 16ohm load (IF such an 800F exists) with 4844s that would put the woofer low pass at 400hz which would leave quite a hole. Or maybe it would shove it up to 1600hz, I'm not sure as I sit here now which way it would shift but shift it would.

I'm opening a can of worms I know, which seems easier than opening my 800Fs and actually seeing what the low-pass filter is.

Regards

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I'm opening a can of worms I know, which seems easier than opening my 800Fs and actually seeing what the low-pass filter is.

Trust me it is... Mine are potted.

I get what you're saying about the woofer low-pass. I don't think I'm hearing anything off by an octave. The speaker with the black woofers has the original network in it and they sound the same. Maybe I'll run some tests with the active network before the passives just to make sure the crossover points are about where they're supposed to be before I go changing everything.

It seems like Altec had a lot more changes in their components than Klipsch ever did - and less information readily available in comparison.

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  • 14 years later...

 

The Altec woofers and drivers can be pure magic and I believe I am lucky enough to have the ultimate end result set of speakers to prove it.

 

Originals:

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Jon Anderson 9844 verticals with Yuichi horns

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