Voice of the Theater
I met a guy yesterday with a pile of vintage SAE amps, preamps, parametric equalizer, etc.
He's got six (!!!) Altec Voice of the Theater speakers. Reminds me of the Klipschorn-like corner horns I had thousands of years ago, except if anything...bigger.
Are these VotT speakers any good for music, or just loud for commercial use? Any market for them? Some are 8-ohm, he says some are 16 ohm.
The ones I used were for for stage sound ....That SAE was very good stuff in the early to mid 80's
What model amps and pre are they? I might be interested!
I believe there were different versions, but they are fairly well regarded. Any idea which models?
There were a few different models, but they are all fairly well regarded. Any idea which models?
there is a big following for those VOT's the drivers bring premium dollars.
Yes they are although they are (by design) quite midrange-forward and they don't go low - but they're still fabulous at conveying the real presence of music.
I am more than a little biased (owning two of the domesticated cousins of the VOTs and, of course, my Altec Duplexes) :-)
A little judicious crossover work and some LF augmentation will yield magnificent (pun intended - the home version of the A7 VOT was called "The Magnificent"!) results.
EDIT: The VOT family ca. 1975... hey, kids, collect 'em all! :-)
your single best one-stop shopping destination for Altec (and JBL) info: www.lansingheritage.org
Here's a photo of an 846A (16 ohm) Valencia (this one sans its rather delicate fretwork grille). This is essentially the guts of an entry level A7 VOT but in a smaller vented box. The VOT has an interesting box design which is vented but also horn-loads the woofer. The LF extension of the Valencia is rather limited (my guesstimate is ca. 70 Hz, realistically) - as is the HF extension - but in between, hoo-boy, do they sound nice with appropriate quality source and amplification :-)
The ultimate VOT family member for home use may have been the Altec Nineteen. My own experience with the Nineteen is fairly limited, so I am still a little skeptical... but they do probably do better than the Valencia at both ends of the audio spectrum, and they may have generally better HF dispersion, too. They're big, heavy, and expensive, though (even compared to a pair of Valencias).
Finally, and FWIW: I am rather partial to the Santiago - which is in essence a Valencia with a less-sensitive, sealed-box woofer alignment (and, of course, a different woofer) and a countour network on the HF driver to match its sensitivity to the sealed-box woofer and smooth/flatten its HF performance a bit. The best thing about the Santiago is that Altec fanboys eschew them :-) so the cost is much more modest compared to any of the above-mentioned VOT family members!
Oh, and here's another useful Altec forum for information:
About 38 years ago I had a pair of Voice of the Theaters in my bedroom. The room was only 11 by 11.
The VOT's were custom made by a friend of mine, Mike Sanders that now makes Quicksilver amps.
They were custom made out of one inch marine grade plywood. All internal dimension were exactly the same as Altec VOT's.
They had all JBL componentry. D-130 for the bass and electrodynamic powered magnet 075's for the top end. You could adjust the balance by adding or removing voltage to the high end, increasing or decreasing the gauss at the voice coil. It was powered by a JBL SA660 integrated amp. And I used a Thorens TD125 turntable with a Rabco linear tone arm.
The best thing I can say about it was that it would go so loud it could drown out sirens out in the street. And the cabinets absolutely did not rattle.
As a kid my father would tell me about how good VOTs are I have yet to meet a pair.
JBL drivers - there's your problem right there ;-)
Electromagnet 075s, eh? I never knew of such a thing. Were they JBL products or custom?
VOTs are very colored loudspeakers of quite limited frequency range - but they have dynamics to die for and they can recreate the sense of flesh-and-blood reality in musical reproduction like almost nothing else.
OK, I like my Altec 604E Duplexes better... but if I had a much larger space and more money to spend - I'd love to have a pair of A5 VOTs with multicell horns on top - and 288 drivers in 'em, of course :-)
I don't want you to think i've abandoned this thread. I saw the speakers packed together, surrounded by car parts and tool boxes. I didn't get a good look at them. I don't remember seeing any multicell tweeters. Perhaps built-into the cabinet??? Maybe this guy removed all the tweeters for storage?
He told me they were VotT; and stupid me, I didn't realize until this thread that there were different models, all called VotT. They had partial horn-loading on the bass, so likely some variation of A7 or A5.
He told me that they came from some university theater in Pennsylvania.
If there's actual interest in his SAE equipment, I can ask for the model numbers again. Seems to me there were at least two amps, and perhaps a preamp and equalizer for sale. He hasn't advertised this stuff except on Craigslist as "High end audio equipment", and I don't know if he is willing to ship.
...the A7 didn't have multicell horns. The A7 has an 811B horn like the Valencia, Santiago, Nineteen, etc.
The A8 had a funky 90 degree horn (like the domestic Model Fourteen... or was it the Fifteen.. or both?).
I can go on and on about VOTs all day, so don't feel bad if you wandered away ;-)
An 811B sectoral horn (image source http://www.wardsweb.org/audio/Altec/Altec95.html)
The 511B is a similar sectoral horn but larger (nominally 500 Hz cutoff instead of 800 Hz) - these may have been used on some VOTs, too(?) - yeah, looks like some A5 used the 511B.
An A5 with a 511B:
EDIT^2: Here's a multicell Altec horn - 1505 (15 cells, 500 Hz cutoff... I think).
These are marvelous :-)
The HF drivers were James B. Lansing, from before there was a JBL. Even before he was working for Altec.
Originally Posted by mhardy6647
I found them at a surplus store in Burbank called APEX in the late 60's. They were both blown out and I repaired them. They both needed diaphragms which were no longer available. So I used a pair of 075 diaphragms. With a little grinding and filing they fit and I could adjust them for concentricity. For the power I just made use of a big Variac I had lying around. I don't know how much power you were supposed to use but I just cranked it up until it sounded right and didn't get hot.