Feb 032018

It turns out that with my purchase of a pair of vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeakers, that there are now four of us local friends that have vintage Altec loudspeakers with 800Hz (811B) horns that were designed for domestic use (Valencia’s, and now the Corona’s).

~ 1957 vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeakers designed for domestic use.

Altec built a lot of loudspeakers that were designed for professional sound reinforcement use in theaters, studios, auditoriums, churches, etc., like the A2, A4, A5, A7, and others, but Altec also built a lot of speakers for domestic use, like the Valencia, Flamenco, Corona, Laguna, Capistrano, Verde, Iconic, and others.

Vintage Altec A5 “Voice Of The Theatre” loudspeakers.

Pro Altec speakers, like my A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers in the photo above, need a lot of crossover “help” to restore and voice them so that they can be suitable for a domestic listening environment, like my living room in the above photo.

Vintage Altec crossovers’ capacitors tend to get a little tired as the decades stack up on them, as well as not really being the best way to get all the music out of your vintage Altec’s that they’re capable of for home listening.

My favorite way to solve the pro-style Altec crossover conundrum is by using a modified Hiraga-style crossover that is adjustable so you can fine-tune the voicing to accomodate a domestic listening environment.

Vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeaker.

Well, it turns out that vintage Altec loudspeakers designed for domestic listening largely use the same drivers as their pro cousins, which is a good thing.

However, instead of horns that cross over at 500Hz like the Altec 1005B horns used in my A5’s, or the Altec 511B horns used in my A7’s, Altec used smaller horns that cross over at 800Hz in their loudspeakers designed for domestic use in order to keep the loudspeakers’ overall size under control for domestic use.

That means Altec domestic loudspeakers needed an 800Hz crossover point for their horns, which necessitated 800Hz crossovers rather than the standard 500Hz crossovers used in the Altec pro loudspeakers.

Pete Riggle in his Garden of Earthly Delights listening room.

Pete Riggle (Pete Riggle Audio Engineering) told me quite a while back that he has had such good results building modified Hiraga-style crossovers for Altec pro loudspeakers like the A5 and A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers that utilized 500Hz horns, that he wanted to design and build modified Hiraga-style crossovers suitable for use with Altec loudspeakers designed for domestic use that use 800Hz horns, like his Valencia’s, or my Corona’s.

I mentioned to Pete a couple of days ago that I thought we ought to tell all of you about his crossover project for Altec 800Hz horns.

I figured just like with our local group of vintage Altec enthusiasts, there’s a lot of you non-local friends out there with simpatico interests that would be interested in hearing about Pete’s crossovers too.

So I suggested to Pete that I write a series of blog posts about him designing and building adjustable versions of his modified Hiraga-style crossovers for Altec domestic loudspeakers with 800Hz horns, eventually culminating in a feature article for Positive Feedback.

Vintage Altec 832A Corona domestic loudspeakers.

Pete liked the idea so we’re going to proceed.

We’ll test the 800Hz crossovers out and fine tune them on Pete’s Valencia’s and my Corona’s, and we’ll tell you about our thoughts and results every step of the way.

Stay tuned to find out how good we can make Altec domestic loudspeakers perform with new 800Hz Hiraga-style crossovers, there’s lots of vintage Altec crossover fun to come!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you.

 Posted by at 12:32 pm

  2 Responses to “The Pete Riggle Audio Engineering crossover project for vintage Altec domestic loudspeakers with 800Hz horns!”

  1. Jeff and Pete. I m curious if you all have ever tried discarding the passive crossovers for your Altec Horns and substituted a digital crossover that would allow time alignment etc. Reason for my question is that I have a friend who has done this and has no interest in going back to any kind of passive crossover. Joe Fagan

    • Hi Joe,

      I haven’t considered a digital crossover after hearing them. I’ve had two friends who went the digital crossover route and both of them have since abandoned digital crossovers and gone back to passive crossovers, and to my ears that was a good choice.

      While I can understand the allure of a digital crossover, the thought of digitizing my analog signal in a digital crossover has no appeal based on what I’ve heard so far.

      Perhaps in an all digital system that would be ok … but overall a digital crossover elicits the “yuck” response from me.



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