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Altec Lansing 846B Valencias - First Timer, Advice, Upgrades

Discussion in 'The Lansing Legacy' started by ahartig, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,431
    Location:
    Central California
    Hello all, lurker since 2011, active on these forums for about a year now. Prior to children I was very into 5.1 surround sound, had halfer/NAD amps and a modest paradigm surround system with a SVS sub. Due to life events and small children I sold all of it to purchase a B&W Panorama soundbar, simplicity ruled at that time. I began dabbling with "nicer" 2.0 stereo setups in my office as it allowed me to enjoy music all day while in the office and there was no room at home. Have been doing the garage sale, estate sale, craigslist, goodwill searching for a while now and have been able listen to some nice gear, flip some, sell some to friends at cost, and hoard some at home to mess around with. A recent move to a larger house with a large garage has allowed me to collect and listen to more items at home too, but I have been craving the ability to bring the gear I collect in the house to truly enjoy...... fast forward to a few days ago when I checked out a pair of Altec Lansing 846B speakers in pristine condition with glass toppers, original owner. I loved the simple look and finish and realized they would be perfect for my current living room, have excellent WAF, and would not be magnets for 3 year old curiosity as they look like a big piece of furniture. So out with the soundbar, and in with the Altecs..... they are currently in my truck waiting delivery to home.

    I have read most of the threads on here about them and plan on replacing the caps as that seems to greatly improve quality. I will be pairing with a Paradigm Seismic 15 sub, as it appears they rolloff around 40 / 50 /60 hz (varying opinions). They will be my main speakers for movies and music. The seller of the altecs also threw in a Harnam Kardon PT 2300 pre-amp that I plan on using (mainly due to it having a sub out connection). She also included a non-functional, according to her, Harman Kardon signature series PA 2200 amp. Will have to open up the amp to see what's wrong. They are going in my great room / living area, that is approximately 30' by 25'.

    My main source of music will be digital, either via itunes or tidal hifi streaming, to an airport express/apple tv, and into a DAC. I also plan to hook up my Xbox one to the Altecs via the same DAC and into the pre. All tv and movie watching is done through the xbox. I have been looking at the Cambridge works dacmagic 100, but have only scratched the surface. May also incorporate a Kenwood KD 3055 turntable that I need to clean up.

    As far as power goes, I have some decent options:
    • Acurus 200x3
    • Sansui 9090db
    • Onkyo A10
    • Adcom GFA555
    • get the HK PA 2200 fixed
    Just wanted to share and get opinions, it appears tubes are recommended for these, but solid state works well also.

    I am going to go out on a limb and assume the Altecs will trounce the B&W soundbar once they are properly hooked up, so excited to get it all dialed in. I will post updates/impressions as the install unfolds. Any advice or input is greatly appreciated.
     

    Attached Files:

     

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  2. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Very nice, welcome to the Altec club. I have a set of HeathKit AS101's, basically the same as your Altec's. Your going to love the sound of these compared to your sound bar. Just a guess, but I think they will pair up nicely with the Sansui 9090. Be sure to give us your first impressions once your all set up.
    Lots of info here and at the Altec host board. Warning: Altec's are addicting!

    BillWojo
     
  3. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    +1, the 9090.
     
  4. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Central California
    If I were to use the sansui, I assume I could split the pre amp out and have one set of RCAs running to the sub and the other running to the main in?
     
  5. Audio Fan

    Audio Fan First Class, Second Hand Subscriber

    Welcome, you are among your kind here. :beerchug:

    I think you will find that all but the most demanding speakers will sound great with your Sansui. It has a warm, full sound (to my ears) and gets the most out of speakers.

    Looking forward to seeing them all setup in the house.
     
    btomjvc likes this.
  6. srm51555

    srm51555 Active Member

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  7. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,431
    Location:
    Central California
    Thanks for comments. Got them hooked up in the garage for now. First impression are very good. They are crystal clear.... although I do need the loudness are bass turned up a bit for the low end to kick into gear. A few questions / issues:
    • Horns only work on the 0 setting. I obviously need to open them up and hit the pots with deoxit and faderlube. Is 0 the high point for the horns?
    • Noticed some goop / tar like substance on bottom of woofers. See pics. This normal/ ok?
    • Is it safe to assume the positive is on left and ground is on right? No markings on back.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Yes, cubed. The woofer drool is normal but it's customary to rotate the woofers 180 degrees to even it out.

    I confess to a twinge of jealousy: I still remember the excitement of bringing home my Valencias. I give you joy of yours.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  9. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Got it. I'll rotate the woofers when I clean the pots.
     
  10. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

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    You might note which 416 woofers you have. They're probably the 8C or 8Z models, but maybe 8Bs.
     
  11. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Any model # preferred over the other? Or just an indication of manufacturing date?
     

     

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  12. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Opened one up. Can't tell what the woofer model # is. I have attached pics. The crossover looks a bit worn.

    I assume I should just shoot deoxit and faderlube through the openings in the back of the attenuator shown in the pics?
     

    Attached Files:

  13. elitopus

    elitopus Super Member

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    Woofers are 416-8Z

    Yes just shoot some deoxit in the pot and turn it a few times
     
  14. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Woofers flipped, pots cleaned. One speakers pot is now working perfect but the others is still only working in the 0 spot. There is a bit of increased resistance in that one when I start turning it up. Looks like I'll need to take the crossover out and open up the Potentiometer. Never done this, but from Reading other speaker restoration threads, I should be able to take apart and put it back together relatively easily. Any quirks to the Valencia pots I should know about?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  15. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    FWIW, i much prefer popping the cover off the L-pad and using a Q-tip to apply whatever contact cleaning soup you prefer. The idea here is to treat only the metal surfaces without saturating the fiber core. The construction changed a little over the years with many of the later pads using an insulating material that was woven which stands up a tiny bit better to a little scrubbing. It's still very delicate, and when you open one you will see and understand. The cover is held on by 3 or 4 little "ears" that are bent over into corresponding pockets on the ceramic body, simply pry/bend them up straight and the metal cover will lift rght off.

    The resistive conductor that the wiper rides against is wound around a wire form and insulated with fibers of probably asbestos. If you over saturate it, all kinds of irreversible bad things happen to it's integrity and can nearly immediately render the pad NFG. Ask me how i know. You cannot buy replacement L-pads that have the exact same resistive values, and it will affect the overall sonic character of the speaker.

    Whatever you do to clean your vintage Altec L-pads, proceed with a degree of caution that recognizes that a simple replacement is not immediately available.
     
    royzilla likes this.
  16. elitopus

    elitopus Super Member

    Messages:
    2,477
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    That is definitely the proper way to do it. Don't be lazy like me:D

    And Bowtie is right about those Lpads being special. I replaced mine with fixed reaistors. I didn't realize what the Lpad was actually doing (even when full open) until I removed them. Turns out that full open equals half an ohm.

    I hated how I could never get both speakers HF level perfectly equal and so I put in resistors instead
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017

     

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  17. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good info! Thank you. I didn't use too much lube or deoxit, And the lpad still functions five in the zero spot, so hopefully no major damage. Will remove the crossover tonight and open up the housing of lpad to see what's going on. If it's a major issue, I may swap out both crossovers with the Z19 crossover (recommended by zonkers). I assume the z19 is from the model 19?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That pic you show is a copy of the Altec Model 19 by Great Plains Audio. It should work well. Moves the crossover point up to 1200Hz. Do a search on your speakers, Model 19's and HeathKit AS 101's. Lots of info on this board.

    BillWojo
     
  19. ahartig

    ahartig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Perfect. I think I'll get those then. Might take a little handy work to fit in the current space the Valencia crossovers give, but sounds like a perfect upgrade. Still need to open up the faulty lpad to see what's going on. After comparing between the two today, I definitely prefer the attenuation around level 5, not zero.
     
  20. HyKlas

    HyKlas Super Member

    Messages:
    2,804
    Location:
    SoCal
    So that's why you couldn't come down. You're officially forgiven... :thumbsup:

    If I had the wife and kids playing movies and what-not, I'd probably be after something like a Marantz AV7701 pre/pro and a decent power amp. Then they have the convenience of remote HDMI switching and volume control. Simplicity wins...

    Hard to mix 2ch and HT together in one system. Hell, I'm having a hard enough time teaching the Mrs here how to work the new full manual turntable that some dude just sold me. She's a nervous wreck even thinking about touching the tonearm. ;)
     

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