Quantcast
Vintage Altec 604c speakers - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Vintage Altec 604c speakers
Old 1st March 2014
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Vintage Altec 604c speakers

A friend is donating a pair of Altec 604c speakers to me. They are currently in transit. I'm wondering if anyone would ever consider using these in a studio, or should I just use them for my home stereo?
Old 1st March 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yes and yes. Great speakers.
Old 1st March 2014
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
If you don't have anything else in your studio that will get loud, you might want to try them. They won't be pretty, but they can get loud. Are they coming in cabinets, or raw? The Altec boxes weren't put together with anything like modern science -- if you make cabinets using the correct math they'll sound way better. This will help:

Speaker Box Volume Calculator / Designer
Old 1st March 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
They're going to be in the cabinets, but need re-coning. I have some good near-field monitors and was considering using these as a second pair of speakers in my home studio..
Old 1st March 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Make sure you go to Great Plains Audio to get them re-coned. They are the only guys who still do original paper and dope, and also re-magnetize which I think the 604-C will benefit from. The owner also has lots of info for cabinets also.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio ➑️
Make sure you go to Great Plains Audio to get them re-coned. They are the only guys who still do original paper and dope, and also re-magnetize which I think the 604-C will benefit from. The owner also has lots of info for cabinets also.
Thank you for that info. I had planned to re-cone them myself, but hadn't considered the magnets
Old 1st March 2014
  #7
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
wildly wildly envious.

i use 414's and horns for home listening, and they're freakin' glorious... i would love to have 604's in 614 cabinets to monitor with.. pair them with a decent eico tube power amp, and you'll be in heaven for recording... or attach 'em to a 2a3 amp and just sit agape at the midrange glory.... enjoy!
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newholland ➑️
wildly wildly envious.

i use 414's and horns for home listening, and they're freakin' glorious... i would love to have 604's in 614 cabinets to monitor with.. pair them with a decent eico tube power amp, and you'll be in heaven for recording... or attach 'em to a 2a3 amp and just sit agape at the midrange glory.... enjoy!
That's great news because my near-fields have a bit of a hole between 1.2 and 2K

I'd love to have a nice tube amp to pair them with. I'll likely be using a Yamaha P-2200 for now and will be getting some NS-10s in the future. When I do, I'll probably use the P2200 on the NS-10s and save some money for an amp that's better suited for the 604s.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
If you don't have anything else in your studio that will get loud, you might want to try them. They won't be pretty, but they can get loud. Are they coming in cabinets, or raw? The Altec boxes weren't put together with anything like modern science -- if you make cabinets using the correct math they'll sound way better. This will help:

Speaker Box Volume Calculator / Designer
I took a quick look at that calculator. It's missing a few important parameters. If I decide to use a different enclosure, I have some speaker design software that I can use.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's been a long time since I've used them, but I remember loving them every time that I did. A pair of Altec 604 "Big Reds" and a pair of Auratone 5Cs, that was state of the art!
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross ➑️
It's been a long time since I've used them, but I remember loving them every time that I did. A pair of Altec 604 "Big Reds" and a pair of Auratone 5Cs, that was state of the art!
Big Reds were definitely nicer than the stock Altec version. Better crossover (Mastering Lab) and a tuned enclosure. Those were 604E's, while the OP's getting 604C's.

The Altec boxes I'm accustomed to looked like this:

Old 2nd March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Thanks for that Brent. From what I've read online the E's are supposed to be a better speaker. There seemed to be some phasing issues as that camera moved around.. I suspect that I'm going to have to do some experimenting to find the best placement for these speakers.

One thing that I'm realizing is that these are 16 ohm speakers. I can add a resistor, but since I have to re-cone them I'm looking for suggestions about weather or not to see if I can get cones with 8 ohm coils. Which route would be best?
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter Trash ➑️
I took a quick look at that calculator. It's missing a few important parameters.
Like what?
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
Like what?
Qts, fs, excursion.... I think the software that I have requires that information to calculate the box dimensions and port size.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter Trash ➑️
Qts, fs, excursion.... I think the software that I have requires that information to calculate the box dimensions and port size.
Cool. Keep us all informed on how they turn out!
Old 2nd March 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
 
KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would keep them 16 ohm. These are extremely efficient speakers so not much power is needed. If you are using a SS amp even a small amp is loud as hell. If you get a tube amp, especially an older one 16 ohm is the way to go. Also your crossover (hopefully in the cabs) is a 16 ohm unit.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #17
Deleted User
Guest
Be sure to recap the crossovers if it's never been done. Use good polypropylene caps rather than the electrolytics they came with.

The 604 is a Hi-Fi speaker that sounds best in a big room (the 605 was designed for smaller rooms). It's not a nearfield and would probably be one of the worst nearfields I could think of because they are a two way coaxial speaker with a built-in horn tweeter that can peel a few layers of skin off your eardrums if cranked too loud while your ear is close. You need to stand back from the horn a ways before they begin to sound normal.

I suggest you set them up the way they were intended with an L-PAD on the horn tweeter which allows you to adjust the volume of the tweeter to match the woofer to your liking.

They're not bad speakers. I have a pair here in the original Altec Boxes and they sound good, but not quite up to today's standards. They find favor with the low power single ended DIY crowd in Hi-Fi circles because they are super efficient and will play very loudly with just a watt or two of audio. And they have gotten pricey for that reason.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio ➑️
Also your crossover (hopefully in the cabs) is a 16 ohm unit.
Ah! Good point! I had forgotten about the passive xover!! Thanks!
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case ➑️
Be sure to recap the crossovers if it's never been done. Use some good polyprylene caps.

The 604 is a Hi-Fi speaker that sounds best in a big room. It's not a nearfield and would probably be one of the worst nearfields I could think of because they are a two way coaxial speaker with a built-in horn tweeter that can peel a few layers of skin off your eardrums if cranked too loud.

I suggest you set them up the way they were intended with an L-PAD which allows you to adjust the volume of teh tweeter to match the woofer to your liking.

They're not bad speakers. I have a pair here in the original Altec Boxes and they sound good, but not quite up to today's standards. They are often used by the low power single ended crowd in hi-fi circles because they are super efficient and will play very loudly with just a watt or two of audio.
Thank you frank, I had planned to use them farther away. I'm in a decent sized room. I haven't received the speakers yet - so don't know if they have L-pads on the xovers. If not, I'll add them. Would orange drops be suitable for re-capping?
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #20
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter Trash ➑️
Thank you frank, I had planned to use them farther away. I'm in a decent sized room. I haven't received the speakers yet - so don't know if they have L-pads on the xovers. If not, I'll add them. Would orange drops be suitable for re-capping?
No. The caps will be in the range of several uf at about 100v, and orange drops will be two small in value. Any good speaker crossover cap like Solen or Rel-Cap would be my choice. Parts-Express sells suitable caps of various brands.

When I recapped mine, I remember it being a very tight fit, meaning small size is more important than specific brand.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case ➑️
No. The caps will be in the range of several uf at about 100v, and orange drops will be two small in value. Any good speaker crossover cap like Solen or Rel-Cap would be my choice. Parts-Express sells suitable caps of various brands.
Thanks Frank!
Old 2nd March 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Altec 604c

The stock crossover is encapsulated in wax. You may want to think twice before trying to take it apart. There are taps on the dividing network for HF attentuation. Adding a 16 ohm L-pad on the HF output is not only acceptable, it will help tame the crossover.

Great Plains is offering passive dividing networks for the 604 series, they appear well thought out.

The "C" version's LF has considerably higher self resonance than the later versions, bass is punchy but not deep.

Kletts list is a excellent resource.
Index of /pdf/Duplex_Speakers_related_to_Altec_604

Regarding cabinets, don't rely too much on software design. The software will tell you what to expect after plugging in a given set of variables. For the 604 and other similar LF drivers, bigger is better, whether vented or sealed.
The 612 cabinet is bass deficient.

Any 604 will benefit from a tube amplifier.
Attached Thumbnails
Vintage Altec 604c speakers-top.jpg   Vintage Altec 604c speakers-604c.jpg  
Old 2nd March 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Great info Cathode! Thank you very much.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
Big Reds were definitely nicer than the stock Altec version. Better crossover (Mastering Lab) and a tuned enclosure. Those were 604E's, while the OP's getting 604C's.
Ah, thanks for the clarification.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
Big Reds were definitely nicer than the stock Altec version. Better crossover (Mastering Lab) and a tuned enclosure. Those were 604E's, while the OP's getting 604C's.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross ➑️
Ah, thanks for the clarification.
The Big Reds were better than the stock Altecs. But when the Urei 813s came out, seems like the Big Reds mostly vanished. In Manhattan, anyway.

As it happens, there are soffited 813s in both our rooms in N Hollywood. God, they suck, but they'll blow your face off. Hard to imagine they were ever The State of the Art.

Sometimes gear is vintage, and sometimes it's just old.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
I'm very anxious to hear how these sound, and curious about how something mixed on them will translate to modern consumer systems. If nothing else; I'll have some kewl vintage speakers that will probably sound awesome in my living room - especially if I can find a deal on a good tube amp. I'll keep y'all posted when they show up.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Big Reds

There were 2 versions of the "Big Reds".
The larger version, aka,
"Super Red" that included the extra woofer, was more popular especially on the West Coast.
No question, when the UREI system came out, the Reds vanished overnight.
Attached Thumbnails
Vintage Altec 604c speakers-sigma77.jpg  
Old 3rd March 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 
O.F.F.'s Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Abbey Road used Altecs when the Beatles were there and I think Hendrix used them in his studio.

That can't be bad!
Old 3rd March 2014
  #29
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
while i understand the 'correct it with a better crossover and a better box' argument.. part of the awesomeness of altecs in their original boxes is their underdamped-ness. don't do them the disservice of making them 'better' modern speakers.. seriously. i wouldn't use them as nearfields, pretty much ever, but as glowingly euphonic boxes to actually ENJOY music with. not that you couldn't work with them... but some things are best left alone. there's plenty of great modern critical tools-- personally, i like to savor Altecs for what they are.

to hear that the 612 is a bass deficient cabinet is sorta hilarious if you hear them. i never really thought reaching to 38 hz was 'deficient'.. but i guess some people might think so. use your ears-- don't start reengineering them before you hear them, no matter what simulation data will tell you.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Scooter Trash's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Wow! You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for all the info.

In the early 80s I had a PA system that was all JBL in horn-loaded boxes. The Martin bins were loaded with 2220 and 2225 15s. The 2225s were more rigid and worked well with sub frequencies, and the 2220s worked better with the higher low frequencies... Anyhow, the final stage in my outboard rack was always an Altec 436c tube compressor. I often paired it up with an EXR psychoacoustic projector to restore some of the highs that the 436 robbed, but that old Altec compressor sounded like nothing I've ever heard. I understand that a modified version of It was used extensively Abbey Road studios to record the Beatles. I would imagine a lot of people look at this old green stuff and think that it's old junk. I know that when I got rid of my old Altec compressor, I didn't think much of it, but now I'm keeping my eyes open on eBay for a pair of them, and even considering building a pair using some DIY schematics. My old one is sitting in a friend's guitar amp repair shop gathering dust. I'm hoping I can convince him to sell it back to me.

Anyhow, you all have me very excited about the 604s. I can't wait to hear them! I don't want to do anything to them until after I hear them, but I'm thinking there's a good chance that the crossovers will need to be re-capped. Since the xover components are encapsulated, I'll likely be using newer Xovers with L-Pads, but I have a feeling I'm going to leave everything in the original cabinets
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 74 views: 34331
Avatar for Squids
Squids 19th June 2012
replies: 50 views: 17418
Avatar for embrionic
embrionic 12th October 2009
replies: 302 views: 77819
Avatar for Oldone
Oldone 26th April 2021
replies: 4 views: 1234
Avatar for Crash
Crash 9th November 2013
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump