1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

Model 14s first day

Discussion in 'The Lansing Legacy' started by Sam08861, May 17, 2018.

  1. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Picked up a mint pair of Altec Model 14s off craigslist for a fair price. Has skanky (but brand new) looking replacement pyramid woofers (PW1248USX-8ohm), but he has kept the originals in the boxes for the pyramids and stored in an indoor closet facing up, so just need new foam surrounds. Surround replacement kit arrives Tuesday.

    Not a scratch on this puppy and the grill cloths are perfect. Almost a time machine. In the photo below, the one on the right I hit with 0000 wool and Howards mahogany and the one on the left with danish oil on top. Trying to see which one I like better. The speaker on the left is a Wharfedale W60D Mark II, which I've pulled out of rotation to test these guys. Think I'll hook up my selector to a/b test these guys. The previous owner really took care of these guys and said he hardly used them since new.

    model14.jpg

    Haven't pulled the crossovers behind the attenuators yet, but will do that this weekend. Listening to them as is, they sound a bit mid-heavy, but tone controls on the receiver, along with fiddlin' with the attenuators helped a good bit, but I think she needs a recap. The mantaray horn and attenuator section below.

    horn.jpg

    Guy also gave me some original brochures.

    brochure.jpg

    I'll dig into the crossovers to recap and rehab the attenuators.

    The sound is detailed and is far more modern sounding and deeper bass than the W60s, but the tonal balance on the W60s is wayyy better right now. Played with the attenuators for just a few seconds, but thought I'd wait for the recap before I try anything else. My first horn speaker, but at this early stage, the wharfies do horns better than horns, lol. I'll see again when the stock woofer is back in as I don't think the pyramids have as high of a sensitivity as the originals, but will look that up.

    I'll take pics of the guts and the refoaming effort/woofers so we can see which type of crossovers these had.

    Any advice on what else to look for, other than a loose tangerine plug?

    Also, any 'off the bat' mods I should consider, after refoaming and putting back in the original drivers and recapping? Resistors too?
     
    x3workshop and bob smog like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. epifanatic

    epifanatic acoustically suspended

    Messages:
    3,646
    Location:
    Omaha, NE.
    Nice! Looking forward to the refurb. :lurk:
     
  3. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,198
    Location:
    Central CA
    Super cool. Congratulations!!
     
    Harvestor likes this.
  4. SPEC2man

    SPEC2man Are we there yet? Subscriber

    Messages:
    886
    Location:
    Vancouver Washington
    I have had a pair for about 15 years now ... it was a love/hate relationship but I hooked them up to my old Pioneer SPEC system and they are amazing. I went to sell them once and the fella talked me into taking the horn apart. The tangerine plug had come unglued, causing a rattle. I cleaned it up and very carefully epoxied it back into place, using the other speaker as a guide. The guy told me it was a common problem. The other catastrophe was when my daughter blew out the original woofers. I had to get them rebuilt and it seemed to change the sound but I never followed up. I tried (in vein) to contact GNSC but I never got a response. I still need to have the woofers redone by someone who knows Altec and rebuild the crossovers - not much to the crossovers but the attenuators are smoked - maybe just need to be cleaned out. They are a great match with the Pioneer system ... I decided to keep them.

    Looks like you found a gem. The 14's seemed to like my garage - those horns need a bit of room to sound sweet.
     
  5. x3workshop

    x3workshop AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,983
    Location:
    Harlem

    Great Plains Audio can redo the woofers. They ARE Altec for all intents and purposes.
     
  6. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Looks like the woofers in it now are automotive speakers and have an efficiency of 89db, while the stock ones are 95db. Hope that change and the recaps will balance these out better.

    After listening some more as is and dialing the attenuator knobs to the recommendations per the recommendations at the 'audiophilenirvana' site, I thought it sounded OK and I walked away to start cleaning up the 12" drivers so they're ready for the foams. Spiders, dustcaps and wires look to be in very good condition, having been in plastic bags inside the cardboard boxes seems to have kept the moisture out. The woofers cleaned up easy and got the last bit of glue off with some 91% isopropyl.

    Going back into my listening room, I put on the Fleetwood Mac Rumors record and 20 seconds in I was blown away! I see what people are talking about with the manta ray horns and surprised by the bass extension, after reading all the posts about the model 14 being bass shy. Stevie, Christie and Lindsey were in the room!

    Perhaps the speakers had been sitting a really long time and got stiff or something, but even with the crappy pyramid drivers, the highs, lows and upper mids sounded amazing. Sweet, sharp and smooth at the same time. A bit lacking in the upper bass/lower mids, but I'm thinking that's due to the pyramid drivers not being able to perform as well as the original Altec 34633 woofers up to the relatively high crossover point in the altec 2-way. Getting crazy amounts of bass so thinking the original driver will fill out the lower mids/mid-bass hole but might give up some low end compared to the pyramid.

    Will see soon enough, and it sounded good enough that I'm going to give it a few days after getting the original drives back in before messing with the crossovers, just to see what a difference that makes on it's own.

    Looks like surrounds have shipped and I'm giddy like a kid at Christmas!
     
    Zonker92 likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. DavidF

    DavidF Active Member

    Messages:
    343
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Yeah, there is no need to rush to any conclusions until the OEM woofers installed.
     
    savatage1973 likes this.
  8. gmc

    gmc AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    595
    Location:
    Southern California
    That surprises me, as my Model 14s have great bass, and are very full sounding (BURLY), in a good way.

    I agree with DavidF, until the proper woofers are installed, what you are hearing is not the Model 14.
     
  9. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Thanks all, while waiting for the surrounds..

    Cleaned up the cabinets and went with Howards raf mahogany, which gave the cabinets a rosewood type look.

    Removed one of the crossovers to see what type it is... Looks like a coating of cadmium on the coils and white funky coating on the big resistor. Caps are 6uf and 2uf. Will order some now that I know the sizes.

    crossover.jpg

    Back of crossover board

    crossover back.jpg

    Here's a shot of a woofer, cleaned up and waiting for the surround...

    cleanwoofer.jpg

    Back of woofer...

    woofer back.jpg

    And the mantaray horn, which had to be removed to unhook the cables so the crossover could come out. The 'tangerine phase plug' can just be seen from the front behind the silk screen at the vey back of the throat of the horn (opposite view than below picture). Looked like no play/movement.

    mantaray.jpg

    By the way, with front mounted hex head screws (4mm), this unit is very easy to work on.

    Here's a shot of the woofers that are in there now. Seems the frames where a bit smaller than the originals, so were screwed in with new holes at a lesser diameter, but thankfully the original screws/threaded inserts are all present and accounted for. Will have fill the other screw holes with bondo before putting the original woofers back in.

    junkwoofer.jpg

    While I will be taking it step by step, I'm going to go ahead and order the caps. Any suggestions on what brand to get? I've seen a few write up with Solens?

    Also, anyone know what that white stuff is all over the big resistor in the protection circuit? Should I replace that too, or check anything else?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  10. x3workshop

    x3workshop AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,983
    Location:
    Harlem
    Where did you order foams from?
     
  11. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Foam surrounds arrived earlier than expected and fit so well, the alignment practically fell into place. Followed their instructions from the video to first place upside down and use the bulge in to visually inspect alignment and running a 50hz signal to listen for any rattles while the glue dries, so that you can position it on center with an audible guarantee there isn't any rubbing.

    The surround mated perfectly with the lip of the paper cone and the area where the old surround was glued, which was very faintly visible. Highly recommend making your glue lines using the bottle and no more than 1/16" wide, but continuous, exactly in the center of the lip of the cone and the center of the shadow line on the basket.

    Ran it down to 20hz, and could see about 1/4" or so of travel at listening volumes coming from the home theatre receiver.

    Pretty straightforward, but a bit of work, getting everything set up. Used a sine wave tone generator app to play a 50hz signal through the home theatre system. Here it is after gluing the inside of the surround to the cone.

    setup.jpg

    Here it is after gluing to the basket and original gasket re-installed. Old woofer, for comparison. Cone size is about the same.

    Playing with the tone generation app while centering, the speakers seem to playback tones with no distortion well past the 1.5khz crossover point. Didn't pay attention to volume though or couldn't judge if the pitch was correct, but it seemed smooth and very responsive.

    Gasket.jpg

    And the extra little screw holes bondo'd.

    bondo.jpg

    By the way, front mount speakers that have the speaker terminals on the bottom are very easy to work on, because you can lay them on their backs onto a pillow with no risk of disconnecting. That makes everything easy to get to, manipulate and see. Also, kudos for them using 1" hex head machine screws. Zero risk of stripping and a pleasure to work on.

    Assuming since it's well built and vented, I won't need to worry caulking the cabinets.

    Letting 'em sit 24 hrs before installing.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
    Zonker92 and EarlK like this.
  13. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Looks like the caps arrive Thursday. That will give me some time to evaluate the changes from just this. Will likely also bypass the protection circuit after that, as I'm reading that's an audible benefit for several folks.
     
  14. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Woofers installed this morning and not only sound much better but are a better match for the cabinets dimensions visually.

    Lower mids/upper bass filled in nicely. The speakers are FAR more balanced now and sound pretty good. The attenuators are now in their 'optimum' position. As everyone says, very smooth mids. The lower end is still nice an punchy, and also much crisper. Less of a subwoofery sound and much more cohesive with the music. Voices are fuller and I'm hearing light guitar strumming that I'd never heard before on a particular track. Now these speakers seem promising.

    original woofer.jpg

    Will give a critical listen after work today and will do some a/b comparisons with and without the protection circuit in play. From what I understand this is easily done by moving the white wire at the top of the circuit board to the 'tp2' labeled leg of of the gray speckled resistor (R9) in the 1st photo in post #9, and disconnecting that leg of the resistor.

    Wish I had a schematic, but I think I can accomplish the same by jumping that white wire to the lower (in the photo) leg of the resistor (R9, TP2).

    Tracker says that Solen caps are in NJ, so almost here and will be on time for Thursday, unless they arrive early. I understand the black caps with red ends are PIO, so hope this isn't a downgrade. Given the low uf specs, I might give some russian KBGs a go, but I haven't seen many folks doing that for Altecs.
     
    62caddy and UncleBingo like this.
  15. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    After listening to a few albums, I thought these speakers were done. Sounded really good. Very clear and much better timbre. It was early enough, so I thought, what the heck, let's do the caps and bypass the protection circuit and see what happens.

    Boy am I glad I did. As all those folks before me who've recapped Model 14s, was clearer, highs go higher and mids/lows hit much harder. Like the top end when I first listened to these, the full spectrum is in your face with loudness on. The lows went a bit lower, but not as low as the pyramids. However, very nice tight cohesive and musical bass. The pyramids in this setup, sounded like a cheap home theatre in a box type sub sound, if you know what I mean, a very much a ported sounding low only character, not a melodic rhythm. While these don't go as low, they do seem to punch harder.

    Very happy with these speakers now. The wharfies are now on craigslist. These aren't the best speakers, but the best I've owned. I've not had great ones, but did have L100Ss and a few others. (L100S are the same as L100T 3s, but with a plastic instead of wood veneer, sold at PXs in the 90s)

    Here are the organs, prepped for surgery. Note the white wire next to the big resistor and the red ended caps (6uf and 2uf, in my case, I guess there were at least 4 variants during their 2-3 year production run. Others are 10uf/2uf and 12uf/2uf, I think and some had 2 inductors like mine and some had one. Anyone please feel to correct anything I've gotten wrong)

    inpatient.jpg

    After the procedure.... As you can see, I got a little smarter with the one on the left and installed them labels up.

    outpatient.jpg

    Grafted into patients.

    naked.jpg

    And with the hospital robes on, ready to be discharged!

    clothes on.jpg

    Once again, these were very easy to work on. The crossover networks came out easily and I wasn't struggling over a back panel with wires that are too short, etc. Plenty of room on the circuit board for the slightly bigger caps and the old solder flowed easily.

    I'm 'all ears' for any other advice for getting the most out of these, simply. I didn't think I needed to do the caps, so open to suggestions.

    Ok, enough of my chit chat and time for me to spin some records and reels!
     
  16. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    PS... Wifey thinks they look awesome. When I showed her the completely finished walnut book-matched veneer backs, she decided they sounded better already, lol.

    edit... for those who've not seen these in person. A bit more attention to detail than the battleship grey theatre models...

    back.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
    Zonker92 likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,198
    Location:
    Central CA
    Nice! Those look wonderful. And bigger than I'd realized (that's what she said).
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
    Sam08861 likes this.
  18. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,809
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    IMHO, you have to go to a much higher tiered Altec to best the 14s. My 9846-8A bested mine by a significant margin while my 19s did not ...

    Have fun! and enjoy!
     
    Sam08861 likes this.
  19. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    Thanks fellas!

    Btw, lots of the studio and theatre Altecs on craigslist. Putting altec in the search box and then deselecting heavy equipment gives a good listing, then you can keep changing the city drop box to where you're willing to drive. Easier and much faster than the tempest searches, etc. So many models I'd never heard of and offshoots like seeburg that use the horns but different woofers.

    Damacman, I can't imagine how good those 9846As must sound! I'll make a point to listen to one of the higher end altecs when I get the chance.

    I had always thought about getting some VOTTs and veneering them and painting the horn some funky metallic flake, but was intimidated by their size and worried they would be limited by my listening space. I see someone ebay is doing just that with model 19s + mounting the horns on top and offering for $10K all day long with several listed.

    I paid $600 for these and maybe another $50 for the surrounds, caps and howards so it's hard to imagine springing $1-2k+, but maybe someday! A pair of M14s sold on ebay for $2350 on 4/14, which is crazy because a set sold for $512 on 5/18. Seems like 5-700 is the going price with mint items on the higher end of that, but a few $1k sales here and there and some $50 bargains once in a great while.

    Did see some VOTT cabinets w/o horns/speakers for $200 that looked in great condition, but not sure how dear all the drivers would be from GPA. There's also a full set local to me for $2300 and a set of Khorns for $2k (these were not original cabs and were decorators turned into the type b cabinets)

    I guess this is how the altec addiction/dependencies start, lol!
     
  20. Sam08861

    Sam08861 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    Northwestern NJ
    ps... was thinking of switching up the speaker cloth to a burgundy or brown color. What do you guys think?
     

Share This Page