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Just put together a Altec two way system



Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2009
Navi Mumbai
Hi all,

Just put together a Altec two way system a fms uncle. The uncle is a hifi enthusiasts, owns a lot of vintage and highend gear. He is also an accomplished DIYer.

The system consists of 811B horns, 807-8A compression drivers and 803A woofers. I had the woofers reconed as the original cones were completely damaged. The recone job has been done with paper cones and cloth surrounds that are near identical to the ones available from great plains audio. The coils have been custom wound on kapton formers, they are of 8 ohms impedance. Xover is at 1000Hz with a 6db 1st order network.

Uncle shall make the cabs himself, may opt for OB.

Some Pics.



Well-Known Member
Feb 27, 2012
What started as a casual trip for me to Mumbai turned out into a pleasant experience to savor for long.

I was fortunate enough to be able to hear this setup.

I must confess that I myself am a vintage lover so there was this aura of magic around the word "Altec" in my imaginative mind! Considered by many as the holy grail. So I was quite expectant and eager to hear the same.

The host of the evening was kind enough to plugin multiple speakers as it was intended to be more of a mini meetup.
After listening to multiple speakers connected some sounded more promising that others.

In the middle of the rack were placed these unassuming 15 inchers which we eagerly looking at like a kid in a candy store (with greedy eyes ;) )
Then the inevitable happened to connect them and fire them up!

Horns sitting on top of 15 inchers in a very unassuming setup like seen in this very pic.

I am an "emotional" listener and I like anything that connects to me without getting into too many technicalities. I believe over analysis kills the music. I am otherwise a fiddler with my own setup and keep changing all parameters to no limit. But we know when a setup is good from the first note itself. The promise it quite evident in a capable component of the system.

From the very first note it was very clear that there is some promise in these drivers and more.... The highs come out with utmost clarity. The horn is doing its job wonderfully!

The 15 incher is enough to move enough air to make the Bass presence felt.
The mid-range is to die for! I am used to listening to 12 inchers in a OB setup of my own. The bigger drivers just make the experience more grander.
The sound stage of the 15 inchers with the tweeter is very wide!

We played Jagjit Singh Live in Albert Hall spinning on the humble Lenco 75 (pun intended). The ambiance that is created is to be heard to be believed.
Almost felt like we were sitting in the very hall (Theater). No wonder the intended purpose of these speakers! "Voice of theater" and Altecs are synonymous. Now I know why.. No more questions asked ;)

At lower volumes things sounded good but once the volume was pumped up a little the real genius of these drivers came out to cover the entire room in pure musical bliss.

It was quite evident to me why Altecs are considered a desirable set.
My musical genre is mostly vocals and how can any good 15 incher fail in delivering on these! :)
The revelation for me were the horn tweeters. The first time I head them in this configuration. The highs are like I have never heard before.
I believe the 15 inchers and the horn would do better with more breathing space in a bigger room. In this setup they were placed quite close due to space constraint but still were performing amazingly well!

Side note: IMHO I feel the overall setup can benefit immensely with a good interconnect swap.

In the middle of the listening session I was just wondering how would it sound when properly setup.

I am really happy to have had the opportunity to be able to hear these drivers. I really don't know if these are the holy grail or the end of the road. There can be differing opinions about that, subject to personal taste and genre preference. But even a half def person can tell between a good, bad and ugly sound and then a sound that has a sparkle of magic and what I can confidently say is these have immense promise and the class and finesse to reproduce very high fidelity music even when setup in a temporary arrangement.

I walked away with a renewed appreciation and respect for the quality of components that our earlier generation engineered and produced and have passed on their legacy to us.
The learning for the day is a system that sounds good today will continue to sound good always in the future as well!

This very chain had two great examples. The "Lenco" and the "Altec".

Salute to the great engineers and companies that made such iconic products and also the newer generation that finds not just worthiness in preserving them but also in reviving them and bringing them alive in full glory.

Long live good music!
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New Member
Dec 1, 2012
Charlotte NC, USA
Awesome. I am a huge fan of the 811 as well as the 80X driver.

Now I dont know why, the inside finish on the 811 is absolutely horrible.
My 511's nice and smooth.
The 811, absolutely terrible, like made of clay.

I dunno if it was a feature, or they couldn't make them smoother cos they are smaller or what.
Anyway, a nice round of sand blasting, and smoothing as much as you can reash with a wire brush rotary tool and putting on wrinkle finish powdercoating will probably take care of it being too visible.



Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2014
Kudos and Thanks for sharing. The Altec bandwagon will never get crowded. It will always be well respected and to be proud of.

Never ever listened to horns in my life. Hope to have them soon in my life.

I wish Altecs were still there today, weaving more magic in their rooms.

Would have filed in my resume, even if it was for the mail-boy !