My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B
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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B



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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B

    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B
    Moving on from the closed cabinet maker thread...Just got the second driver into a box yesterday. Gathering pix and TS measurements to write the 756B project up. I'm finding out some interesting things which I will report on as I gather material.

    The Altec 756B is a unique PM cone driver that only appeared in only one Altec bookshelf system, the Melodist 700A --1955-1956 era. This is the 10" member of the Western Electric/Altec family that included the famous 755A and 728B. The 756B is an 8 ohm version of the Western Electric 756A, a 4 ohm driver.

    The Melodist with a small ported cab and 3000A tweeter sounded pretty good, but I expected that the 10" driver could do more. First off, I would let it run full range and cut in a supertweeter as needed. It is rated 70-10000hz. Like the 728B, it is an ALMOST fullranger. To most modern ears, it might be too rolled off to listen to alone but the special quality of what is there is obvious to me.

    Altec Melodists are getting extremely hard to find although it seems that the high prices of Altec are bringing a lot more rare stuff to market. The cost of such a project in ebay dollars would be prohibitive. I had one of the drivers in a Melodist 700A cabinet for years and saw a few come up for auction, but bids usually went way above my head. I have seen four or five pairs of Melodists in vintage shops in Seoul the last few years and I am sure the average price tag is well above $5000.

    I pulled off the pair thanks to bowtie427ss who kept me in mind when he heard about a beat up Melodist with a replacement tweeter for sale and brokered the deal, submitted my offer, picked up the speaker and shipped me the driver.

    Only had to give up one testicle for that one. Current ebay price is three testicles.

    I gave Bowtie Tom a half-decent deal a few years ago on a pr of 1233s, sold via this board because I wanted them to go to the right home, and he hooked me up in return. Out of the blue...a pleasant surprise. He knew I needed that 756B and put my Altec addict jones/reesearch above export market profit.

    This meant a lot to me because it proves that some of us still understand old-school fellowship and cooperation.

    That's the way it should be among The Brotherhood of Altec Users.

    The above-mentioned cabs that board member delwon built for me were the final piece of the puzzle. Another cool dude to the rescue! WE specified a sealed 2.5 cu ft slant front cabinet (like 618) for the 756B, so that is what I went with. Original design box for a WE/Altec gourmet speaker tasting experience.

    I'm really excited about this because I used the 8" 755A and 12" 728B a lot but never heard the 10" before. 756s were always hard to find relative to the 8' and 12" versions. The 755A goes a lot higher and almost as low in a smaller cabinet and is more satisfying in a single driver music installation, so the WE 10" is a bit of a white elephant.

    I am a big fan of late-40s/early-50s era Altec which includes the 700 series speaker designs inherited from WE and the 1400 series industrial amps, A-323/333, Peerless A100A triode amps, etc. The transition from pro audio to emergent postwar hifi is a subject of great interest to me. Altec is one outfit who bridged that gap and that venture led to a lot of the 50s-60s gear we know and love. The Altec line of the 1950 era was a instructive cross-section of the state-of-the-art technology at the birth of hi-fi and it got worse in many ways before it got better again.

    My favorite Altec is gray.

    I was a hardcore scavenger/researcher 25 years go when it was still possible to obtain rare Altec, WE, Lansing, etc at reasonable cost (with a lot of footwork and networking). Today, I can't afford or even find the stuff I love the most from market sources. It takes luck and friends to find this stuff now, both rare quantities in life. For me, this project is the story of the random events and personal connections that led to my success.

    So at the end of a long road, last night I sat in a kitchen chair 10 feet out and listened to mono with a 10" and one DIY Peerless A100A amp for a few hours, drinking a few cold IPAs. Dock Boggs banjo, Little Esther Phillips. Man, I was in ALTEC Heaven.

    The high tech speakers nerds from DIYaudio would surely think I am retarded... I prefer the politically correct term differently-abled!!
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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B



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    Re: My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B

    In the cone pic above, you can see where my cat tried to climb up the plastic blinds after I chased him from climbing onto the 756B! If you read about my 728B tragedy in the "755A value" thread, you will understand why I am paranoid! Something about that big belly button dust cap really lures in cats.

    Here are a few more pics. The 756B uses a fabric rear vent cover like the WE/Altec 755A rather than a metal cover as found in the 728B (pictured) and the WE 756A.

    The tag on the 728B cord gives the specs for all of the 700 series cones. 2.5 cu.ft. for the 756A. I took the 2 cu.ft. 618 box dimensions and added a few horizontal inches to reach 2.5' cube. The 756 cabinet is pictured atop my factory 618 cabinet.

    I modeled the driver position on the baffle in software and while I could cause all sorts of small amplitude wiggles by moving it around, I could not find a better position than the one I used, which is quite close to the cone edge-top baffle edge dimension of the 618.

    I understand that it is a very dubious proposition to rear mount a driver with a 5/8" baffle due to cavity resonance issues and all that. Back in the 80s, I tried front mounting and rear mounting 755As. I actually preferred the more open sound of front mounting but the rear mount did something cool also. Gave a more hearty and weighty sound. Here I just went with the classic. I'll probably also put screens over the cones like the 618 to protect them from feline attacks.

    Too humid to paint right now. I'm torn between black nitro lacquer and old school gray. Maybe John Deere green?

    One weird thing on the driver in the pictures is that there are two heavy gauge wires coming out of a hole on the side of the AlNiCo doughnut magnet. I think these were used in the charging process. I have dim memories of seeing this before on really old 728s but I don't think the other 756B has it. Already sealed up that cab with 12 screws and I'm too lazy to check! Plus I'm ready to rock and roll in 756B STEREO tonight!! YEE-HAH!

    Yesterday, I did some very interesting surround goop rejuvenating experiments which I will relate in a separate thread.
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    Last edited by Geekstar; August 30th, 2012 at 05:01 PM.

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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B


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    Re: My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B

    Quote Originally Posted by Geekstar View Post
    Only had to give up one testicle for that one. Current ebay price is three testicles.
    FANTASTIC. If only we could find a discarded jar of testicles on the curb...

    This meant a lot to me because it proves that some of us still understand old-school fellowship and cooperation.

    That's the way it should be among The Brotherhood of Altec Users.
    Can I get an AMEN Brother!

    I'm really excited about this because I used the 8" 755A and 12" 728B a lot but never heard the 10" before. 756s were always hard to find relative to the 8' and 12" versions. The 755A goes a lot higher and almost as low in a smaller cabinet and is more satisfying in a single driver music installation, so the WE 10" is a bit of a white elephant.
    Does the compliance of the 756 allow for a sealed box? Or is it really only good in a vented?

    So at the end of a long road, last night I sat in a kitchen chair 10 feet out and listened to mono with a 10" and one DIY Peerless A100A amp for a few hours, drinking a few cold IPAs. Dock Boggs banjo, Little Esther Phillips. Man, I was in ALTEC Heaven.
    I'm enjoying a Sam Adams Latitude 48 as I type these words and listening to the Nat King Cole After Midnight disc on my big ol' 416/808 set up right now. I get it, bro...I get it...
    - Mike

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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B



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    Re: My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B

    Does the compliance of the 756 allow for a sealed box? Or is it really only good in a vented?
    I never saw any of the WE 700 series speakers or Altec descendants in a factory vented box from either WE or Altec, except for the 756B in the Melodist 700A.

    Actually my 618 has a small hole that looks like a hand hold...not sure what they were doing with that. Looks small for a port, too big to call it a well-sealed cabinet...

    WECo recommended sealed slant front enclosures, as pictured below for the 8", 10', and 12". Some of the WE "L" series PM theater systems of the late 40s used one or more 12" with short front horns, but they were still in sealed back cabs.

    Qts is high enough to use in an open baffle, which probably came in handy for various ceiling/wall installs.

    It is also best, I think, to use them in a sealed box because then you get a good LF boost due to boundary reinforcement. These are wall mount speakers after all. Right up against the wall, the LF fills in and some signal is reproduced well below rated response.

    A chart of the 1947 WE speaker lineup is here: http://silbatoneacoustics.com/images...eakerchart.pdf

    I put the entire 47 catalog and related articles here (warning-32mb file): http://silbatoneacoustics.com/images/Western%20Electric%20Loudspeakers%2047.pdf
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    Re: My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B

    Awesome Joe ! Great thread ! Thanks again for the encouragement and kindness ! I will be following this with great interest.. There is a Melodist on eBay right now unmolested with the original 756B + 3000 tweet and network. (Sale price should be in the $3000 range).

    Vintage "Very Rare" Altec Melodist 700A (756B + 3000a) Speaker Cabinet | eBay

    I also agree on the brotherhood... And I have had the pleasure of doing business with Bowtie as well...(Good Peoples) and friend. He also packs his stuff to be bulletproof !

    Looking forward to see how this progresses... I always loved the sound of those early 700 series drivers 755,756B,728. I never had the pleasure of hearing the 728 though,but if the 755 and 756B are any indication,(drooling) .. The 728 I think is almost a non-existent driver these days..If there are any left they are few and far between (Very,Very,Rare)....

    If I can help out Geekstar,let me know ! And Thanks for your understanding !

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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B



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    Re: My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B

    Well, I am probably not helping the price situation by talking these things up but word is out and Altec madness is already global. I see more rare early Altec in Korea than I ever saw here. Money is gravity for vintage audio gear.

    Now that the Japanese population is aging and kids are going to various digital delivery systems, Korean and Chinese buyers scour Japan for good vintage the way the Japanese used to scout in America.

    Back in the 80s, Altec users were few and nothing could be more unfashionable than Altec. Then as now, most Altec guys couldn't care less about "high end audio" and many probably didn't even know what it was. I remember after publishing an article on Altec, a drunk old engineer called me up and cursed me out...he cried that I was "putting audio back 15 years." I told him that I was actually shooting for 40 or 50 years!

    Maybe he has Model 19s now, the old coot.

    Personally, out of everything I have heard, nothing gets into my head like these 40s Western Electric designed cones. Walt Bender's son Early was recently quoted in an Art Dudley article on vintage speakers that the 755A will let you hear things you don't hear on other speakers. I agree.

    Last night I was listening to some old Sun Ra recordings with rhythmic hand clapping. I felt like I could almost see big hands clapping and it sounded like skin on skin in a very eerie and realistic way. Psychedelic!

    These drivers are also very revealing about recordings and it is easy to hear problems in the mix. I played a late 40s/early 50s compilation of Johnny Otis Orchestra cuts, music contemporary with the speakers, that were dubbed from 78s. Every song sounded totally different and I could really hear the quality and condition of the original shellac and the filtering employed to clean them up.

    Yeah, we always hear about detail and transparency in modern speakers, but I have heard many many modern speakers and don't hear anything that can do what the WE cones do. Tizz and brightness ain't resolution.

    I will also note that these speakers are really picky about electronics. Use a bad amp and you will die. Use the "right" amp and they will be open, punchy, crisp, and colorful. My Korean bud says that the 755A is like a 12 cylinder car, a super hot rod. Must be taken seriously. Can't just hook up anything.

    Sure there is a lot of rarity/collector appeal factored into the pricing on these things, but if you shop for modern high-end speakers, there is a lot of very unimpressive junk out there for $3000 or $6000 or any price, for that matter. My main complaint is that I can't afford the stuff anymore and I sold off many units when they were more accessible and more reasonably priced, now unreplaceable.

    But if I had stupid cash and wanted a speaker that I could really be happy with, I'd pay the ticket.

    As it is, I'll just sit back and let a second 755A find me. I will have a pair again someday. In the meantime, I'll listen to the 756Bs.

    Still figuring these ten-inchers out. So far, I am fascinated to hear a new-to-me member of the 700 series clan. Brings back memories of those days of innocence and wonder when I discovered this stuff for the first time.

    That in itself is worth the expense and effort.

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    Re: My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B


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    My big ten inch ---ALTEC 756B
    FWIW There aren't too many Altec products that I didn't like... When I got my first pair of Altec speakers I really didn't want anything else ! And I haven't looked back since. Wish they were still around !

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