It’s almost time for the Duelund-Altec Project to get under way!
Back in November 2015 my buddy Ron Barbee and I did a road trip to Seattle to audition a pair of vintage Altec loudspeakers that were for sale. These particular Altec’s were custom made for conductor Leopold Stokowski by Altec for listening to music at home, back when Mr. Stokowski lived in New York, and not too long before he moved back to London.
A short listen was all it took for me – I liked what I heard – and I bought them. Ron and I then made the long drive home, and moved the big Altec’s into my entryway office/bedroom space until I could figure out what I was going to do with them (below)
The Stokowski Altec’s individual components are generally representative of early Altec A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers, with 803B 16-Ohm bass drivers housed in 825 style bass horn cabinets, Altec 804A 16-Ohm compression drivers on Altec 511B horns, and Altec N-500-D crossovers.
The primary difference between Altec A7’s and the Stokowski Altec’s are the massive wooden cabinets the speakers were enclosed in to make them domestic-friendly from an appearance standpoint.
If I understand the Altec manufacturing timeline correctly, production of Altec A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers did not commence until 1966, so the Altec speakers that were built for Mr. Stokowski would have preceded the release of the Altec A7’s by at least a couple of years, and were probably made during the period when their drivers were produced, 1961 to 1964, which would put them at 57 to 54 years old.
I am almost embarrassed to say it, but I have never even listened to the Stokowski Altec’s in my main system. They sounded so good in the little room I had them in I just let them be and enjoyed them in-situ.
Now, almost three years later, it was time for me to move the big Altec’s out into my living room to start getting ready for the upcoming Duelund-Altec Project that Frederik and I are embarking on.
Lucky for me my buddy Chad dropped in for a quick visit on his way back home to Seattle after spending some time at his cabin on Lake Chelan – so we could celebrate the kick-off of Octoberfest – and Chad helped me move the big Altec’s into my living / listening room.
The Stokowski Altec’s are big speakers, and as you can see in the photo above, they are even bigger than my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers, which are themselves huge.
Chad and I moved my Westminster Royal’s to the side walls, and placed the Altec’s where the Westminster’s were sitting.
I hooked up some Duelund DCA12GA speaker cables from my vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers to the Altec’s, and Chad and I gave them a listen with a number of albums.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the Stokowski Altec’s after hearing my vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers in the same space with their stock Altec crossovers, as they were atrocious sounding!
It took a pair of Hiraga-style crossovers to get my vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers sorted out and sounding good for home listening.
It turns out that the Stokowski Altec’s are a completely different animal than the A5’s for home listening, and they sounded fantastic even with the stock Altec crossovers.
I was actually rather shocked at how good the Stokowski Altec’s sounded in their original trim, and Chad & I had a blast listening to music with them.
Frederik and I will be using his new state-of-art line of Duelund tinned-copper capacitors, inductors, and resistors to build external crossovers for the big Altec’s, which I’ll have much more to say about soon, as the Duelund components are arriving tomorrow.
Stay tuned for more news soon!
As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!