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Model 19 vs 604

Discussion in 'The Lansing Legacy' started by danrclem, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. danrclem

    danrclem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm wanting to get a set of Altec speakers and unless I can find a pair under market value I'll probably have to build a pair to keep the cost down. My question is which one of these are the best. A Model 19 clone or a variant of the 604.

    I've read that the 19s like a big space so my room size may come into play here. My room is in a finished basement and is 15'x18' with a hall and stairway on one end that is 6 1/2' wide. My ceiling is 7' 8" tall. The speakers would go on the long wall where the hall/stairway opening is.

    I like listening to different music genres but usually prefer music on the softer side that is more detailed and I don't listen to my music very loud.

    Any thoughts?
     

     

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  2. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    There's no wrong choice.

    The Nineteen is a fine loudspeaker, the most refined version of the classic iconic 2-ways.

    That said, in any normal room with a dedicated listening position, properly tuned and set-up 604's are likely to render your favorite recordings more precisely and more intimately.

    604 in the largest possible box practical for your space, Markwart phase corrected crossover at minimum, active DSP shouldn't be overlooked if it fits your upstream gear and direction of motivation.
     
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  3. danrclem

    danrclem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks bowtie. I've read many of your posts and regard your opinion highly. I'm glad that you replied.

    If I built a cabinet the size of a model 17 how would that work with a 604 or maybe even build it taller. Maybe 48". I know that box volume comes into play but how much could the actual dimension of the enclosure change things.

    I'll have to do some reading and find out what these refer to. Markwart phase corrected crossover at minimum and active DSP

    What is the pecking order of the 604 series?

    Edit: I found Markwart's site. I read some and went on to find out what active DSP is. I will probably stick with a passive crossover for the time being but the active DSP looks like it could be doable in the future. Should an Altec 605 be considered?

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  4. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    Let's pare it down this way. Between the 604 and 605 there are compromises and advantages.

    Advantages of the 605 are that it naturally has slightly better phase coherence due to the voice coils being located closer to being on the same vertical plane. The 605's less powerful woofer motor will allow it to play a bit deeper in the same alignment as 604, IOW it can get away with a smaller box.

    The compromises are few in number, but significant in scope. The smaller motors render the 605 3db less sensitive, more if the magnets need re-charging. If you have more than twice the power you need to drive a 604 to satisfaction, the sensitivity becomes a non-issue in that regard. Where the sensitivity issue doesn't go away so easily is with HF extension, there isn't enough motor strength to support it, nor enough overlap in sensitivity to use passive EQ in the network.

    In a nutshell look at it like this, 605 is essentially an 806 stuck on the back of a 416 while 604 is an 802 stuck on the back of a 515.
     
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  5. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    The answer to this question will vary with who you ask.

    IMO, at the very top you have early 604/604B at 1khz XO, i think the original N1000's that remain are getting long in the tooth at this point and one is well advised to scratch build clones.

    Those early 604's are not without their compromises. The early style paper hinged cones do not allow the excursion necessary for truly palpable lowest octave bass. However, they use a larger, true multicell horn which works much better at 1000hz XO. The midrange and seamless transition of these early models is simply the best, hence the 5 or 6 grand price tag for a proper working pair.

    All 604's are plagued with the fundamental problem that they ask the woofer cone to play too high, and then transition to a horn thats far too small to play well down to the XO point. Then, to put the icing on that cake the horn sits right there in front of the critical midrange region of the woofer cone acting as a phase plug at some frequencies, and a wall at others.

    I have easily spent the most listening time with 604-8G's on clean solid state power, literally hundreds of hours. The 8G's brought about my Altec epiphany and were probably the first speakers that rendered bass the way it is supposed to sound. My favorite demo was the original Casablanca release of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" with SPEC4's meters remaining in the right hand side of the scale for the duration of the tune. Most of the flea watt guys probably have no clue what the 604 can and was designed to do, a couple minutes of high level monitoring will send them running for the hills. By the end of the 70's the 604 found it's way into side fills, stage monitors and high end FOH sound reinforcement. They would become the heart of fully horn loaded, 3-way, sound reinforcement systems.

    So, at the end of the day, and to make a short story looooong, the pecking order is really up to the individual doing the pecking. My personal preference would still probably be for one of the sectoral horn models, either the 604E(16 ohm and happy with a variety of tubes) or the 604-8G(8 ohm and right at home with a couple hundred clean, quality watts). These models use a small sectoral horn that is the least physically obtrusive to the LF cone, and still perform reasonably well for any dedicated listening position. The factory crossovers for these models are poor, don't waste your time/money with them if you can avoid it.

    The only bad 604 is a broken one.
     
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  6. danrclem

    danrclem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Lots of good information here.

    I'm leaning toward the 604 over the 19 at this point. A 604 cabinet would probably be a lot easier for me to build which would be a plus. I need to research cabinet shape, cabinet volume and what would be the best materials to use. I'd rather use a good grade of plywood but I'll use whatever will give me the best sound.

    Thanks again because there's no replacement for experience and if you should think of anything else that would be pertinent I'd appreciate if you would add it to this thread.
     

     

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  7. carpe-diem

    carpe-diem tubes and tubes Subscriber

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    Interesting discussion here. Thanks. I am also looking at 604 too but don't know if I have time to build one yet. :(
     
  8. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    FWIW, more 604 musings from the faithful (and the curious) at:
    http://www.hifihaven.org/index.php?threads/billforts-altec-604-ramblings.47/

    I guess at this point I am kind of a Duplex apostate, since, at least for the past year or two, I've kind of turned my back on the coaxial treble driver & horn in what I at least have convinced myself is a worthwhile quest to widen the sweet spot and to lower the XO frequency -- and I am too cheap (or maybe too poor) to buy a proper pair of 515 woofers :)

    [​IMG]DSC_9984 (3) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
     
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  9. WntrMute2

    WntrMute2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey Mark, what horns are you running there? Lovely room BTW, I am a follower on HFH but I don't think I've seen your listening are posted before.
     
  10. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That is remarkable :p I've posted about a zillion of them :confused:

    They're EMILAR EH500-2 horns, currently bolted to a pair of JBL 2441 2" exit drivers.

    [​IMG]DSC_7248 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    http://jelabs.blogspot.com/2018/02/altec-32a-32b-emilar-eh1210-eh800-eh500.html
    http://db.audioasylum.com/mhtml/m.h...score&sortOrder=DESC&sortRank=Forum&forum=hug
     
  11. danrclem

    danrclem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the link Mark. Nice setup.
     

     

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  12. danrclem

    danrclem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have tube and SS equipment so if I chose a 604E that is a 16 ohm speaker would there be a problem using it with a SS amp?
     
  13. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Not a problem, however the the amplifier's maximum output will likely be reduced, possibly cut in half of its 8 ohm rating.

    Fortunately these are high sensitivity speakers so the lack of extra power will probably never be missed.
     
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  14. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It (the amplifier) will be very happy with a 16 ohm load -- although, as stated above, the power output will be halved relative to an 8 ohm load (i.e., nominal 16 ohm, nonreactive load vs. nominal 8 ohm nonreactive load). Since almost no actual loudspeakers are pure resistive loads (althoughh some of the Magneplanars come very close), that nominal difference isn't probably worth a second thought. And, don't forget, a factor of two difference in power is only 3 dB... and, given 100 plus dB sensitivity (1 watt @ 1 meter) for the Duplexes, you're likely to have more issues overpowering rather than underpowering 604Es.

    Don't, don't don't get carried away with power input to a pair of 604Es -- the cost of exuberance will be rather substantial ($). :)
     
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  15. danrclem

    danrclem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That's pretty much what I was thinking about the 16 ohm speakers but wanted to make sure since I haven't ever had any dealings with them before.

    I definitely won't be punishing a pair of 604Es or anything else that I get. I usually only use a few watts to power the Chorus I speakers that I have now.

    I may wind up building something very similar to what you have now Mark.
     
  16. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    Honestly fellas, if you break a healthy duplex built after 1960 from simply overpowering/playing it too loud, then you should really consider another hobby that doesn't involve your ears because you CANNOT HEAR! ;)

    They were made to handle power, the same power handling as a 515/802 based system with a high XO point.

    604E simply stated it's power handling as 75 watts, that's 75 watts @ 16 ohms, that's a LOT of power.

    Altec's recommendation for the 8 ohm version(604-8G) was for amplifiers up to 350 watts, long term broad band power rating was 65 watts.

    At the same time the A7-8 And the A7-500-8 were rated for amplifiers up to 250 watts with a 50 watt long term broad band power rating. In 1978 they refined things a bit introducing the A7X and moved the crossover frequency up to 1200hz, recommended amplifier power increased to 350 watts maximum, and the long term broad band power rating was increased to 100 watts.

    I've lived with 4 different pairs of duplex Altecs over the years, i have never broken or damaged one in any way. They will take LOTS of clean, dynamic power, and they will start to make obviously troubling sounds well before you break them, the women, children, and pets will have already fled the area. The HF will begin to cry and exhibit unnatural sibilance as the horn doesn't provide enough acoustic load to control diaphragm motion. The bass will become tight and abbreviated, losing it's natural air and palpable feel.

    I mean this with the greatest respect, most of you fellas running flea powered systems will experience fear of scale and SPL before you begin to run into the physical and electrical limitations of this very deliberate loudspeaker design.

    The danger of breaking a healthy duplex under normal home listening conditions, including parties, is almost non-existent. The odds are about identical to those of breaking a model Nineteen or an A7 under the same circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  17. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    The 604 is a 416 with a MR 902-16hf basically. The advantage the model 19 has is the crossover is an octave lower and the crossover designed to take care of HF losses. The 604 has the advantage of being a time aligned point source if used with the right crossover and a modified sectorial horn versus the multicell type of the earlier models. The 904 with the mantaray center horn is the most efficient but the least linear. If we weren't on a budget I would be at Great Plains audio to get their latest version of the 604 and a pair of 0f 416's and looking for schematics of Urei 813 time aligned crossover.

    I have a friend who might be able to build the cabinets. The only thing is no matter how much I worked with Altec over the years, I don't like Altec bass and upper midrange. But then I have the same issues with JBL. I'm a line array fan, thru and thru. So having a pair of 604's with 416's will be a dream un-fulfilled. So probably will be my owning a pair of XR 290's, but I can dream. Good luck with your dream.
     
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  18. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    Respectfully, 604 is a 515 LF section.

    The 605 at 3db lower sensitivity is a 416 in the LF.

    The later ferrite 604's(H, K models) HF is very similar to an MR 902 HF except it has a longer throat which means attenuated VHF to some degree.

    Model 19 crossover is nominally 1200 hz, the 604 family all cross at 1500/1600 hz, that's less than half an octave difference.
     
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  19. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for clarifying -- it's good to get these things right, so that misinformation doesn't proliferate.
     
  20. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    Depending on which version of the 604 the cones of of the 604 performance more resembles a 416 in performance. no matter which magnet structure is chosen. Some 604's the crossover was higher than 1500, and I was thinking of the fact the horn is an 811 and will always have that 811 sound. The only sectorial horn I liked the sound of was the 311-90. Nice projection with out that hollow resonant sound. I also don't like the fact that the acoustic centers of the 19 are so displaced. Though the 604 had throat and horn issues which JBL had to fix when they took over UREI, I still prefer the 604. Its colored of course, but having heard the Great Plains 604 briefly I was favorably impressed. I ,much preferred Cornwalls we sold over the Model 19's we sold. I know Klipsch is a dirty word on a Lansing site., but I preferred the Cornwall. Like 604's it seems Klipsch was always updating the Cornwall. Some times positively sometimes not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018

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