I’ve got today off from work so I’m playing hi-fi games with my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre project loudspeakers, and I have a ton of fun things to tell you about!
Facebook also informed me that today is my one-year anniversary of starting my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre project, and guess what, it’s (almost) finally done!
First of all, the photo above is now out of date, as I started my morning by moving my mighty A5’s into my ‘home theatre room’. When I say ‘home theatre room’ it’s in jest as I’m about the least credible home theater guy of anyone I know.
In reality my ‘home theatre room’ is my smallish ‘guest’ bedroom that has an aging Philips television hung up on the wall so I can watch on occasional movie or TV show.
It’s a small space with the dimensions of 11-feet x 12-feet x 9-feet (ceiling), with a 6′ x 3’5″ x 9′ foyer on one end.
Secret #1: Altec A5’s & A7’s work fantastic in smaller rooms. Who would have thought? It’s a myth that Altec’s have to be used in large rooms, so if you have a small room and you want to experience that vintage Altec magic, you’re in luck.
In fact my guest room is such a small space that I couldn’t fit my jumbo-sized breadboard crossovers in the room with the speakers and the rest of the gear at the same time. What to do?
Fortunately for me, Pete Riggle volunteered to reconfigure my A5’s crossovers to a smaller footprint so I could place them on top of my 825B bass horn cabinets, so they would be out of the way, but still accessible so I could fiddle around with them some more as the mood strikes me.
In order to keep things accessible and compact, Pete split the crossover board in two, with the high-frequency crossover section mounted on one board, and the low-frequency crossover section mounted on another.
It’s kind of hard to tell from the photos, but my crossovers are an adaptation of Jean Hiraga’s superb 16-Ohm crossover design for the Altec A5’s, but with a few modifications in order to tame the 1005B high-frequency horns I’m using instead of the 3dB less sensitive 1505B horns that Hiraga-san used.
It’s kind of hard to see it in the photos above, but underneath the crossovers and the 1005B horn supports I’m using some exotic vibration damping material from The Soundcoat Company that I wrote about way back in November 2013 and January 2014, called Soundfoam.
Soundfoam can be used anywhere isolation is required, preventing vibration from passing from one surface to another, and it works perfect to isolate my crossover boards and 1005B horn supports from the top of my 825B bass horn cabinets.
I’ll go into the details of the crossovers in a future post, as they’re still in a bit of a state of flux.
After I got the A5’s moved into my TV room I positioned the crossovers on the top of the 825B bass horn cabinets, then wired everything up.
Speaking of wire, for speaker cables I’m using single runs of Duelund DCA16GA tinned-copper wire, and in the crossovers I repurposed the Western Electric WE16GA tinned-copper wire used in the breadboard crossovers for use in Pete’s compact crossovers.
The Altec 515B bass drivers and Altec 288C compression drivers are wired with Western Electric WE16GA, as before.
I’ve been using my now older Oppo BDP-83 Blu-Ray player for watching movies on DVD and Blu-Ray, along with my trusty Leben CS600 integrated amplifier to provide the juice.
My plan is to move my Harbeth Super HL5 loudspeakers and Leben CS600 into my bedroom to create a system there, and by doing so I will have approached the goal of being more like Ron and having a hi-fi rig in every room of the house! 🙂
But for now I just wanted to make sure everything was working correctly so I hooked up the Leben CS600 to the Altec A5’s and let ‘er rip!
Good news on that front, as everything was wired correctly and working fine, and I started getting the high-frequencies dialed in better via the notch filter control and L-pad.
For interconnects I’ve got a set of Belden 8402 microphone cable interconnects from the Philips to the Leben CS600 for when I’m watching movies, and I’ve got a pair of the Duelund DCA16GA interconnects going from the Oppo BDP-83 to the Leben for listening to CD’s.
Secret #2: Digital sounds better than it has any right to with Altec’s, as I found before with my Stokowski A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers, and now with my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.
I have been using the stock power cord on the Oppo, but in a wild hare moment I put one of Mark Coles’ Sablon Audio Gran Corona power cords on it, and it was completely transformed to a level a level of musicality & sonics that I never thought it was capable of. Just wow!
I’m having a ball going through my old CD collection this afternoon, which I’ve hardly listened to for years, and I’m amazed at how good CD’s sound on the Altec’s and transformed Oppo.
My next step is to finish moving my Harbeth / Leben system into my bedroom, as I’ve been wanting a system in there forever.
I’m not quite sure yet, but either my vintage McIntosh MC240 stereo amplifier or MC225 stereo amplifier will go into this system, along with one of my Leben line stages.
Update: I couldn’t stand waiting until later so I got out my Leben RS100 line stage and vintage McIntosh MC24o stereo amplifier and put them in the system to see what would happen.
I used a spare Belden 8402 microphone cable interconnect to connect the Leben RS100 and MC240.
Update # 2: I just put my vintage McIntosh MC225 in the system with the A5’s, and what a great match!
I’m really enjoying the combination, and am signing off now for a little more music listening.
There will be more fun & games to come, and as always, thanks for stopping by!