Gad I remember those and have heard them. In the late 60's the Palace Theater in Dallas, Texas was being torn down and my office building was next door to the Palace. I remember the workers taking six of these out to the huge trash container, as well as other items. Basically gutting the place before demolishing the building. I had always thought about getting a couple of them, but where was I going to put them. I am glad you posted this as I never knew what they really were, now I know - Thanks Bill.
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Thanks for the kind comments.
Back in the '80's, the Orpheum Theater in Memphis was being renovated, and I was asked if I was interested in the '40's-vintage RCA sound system. Being one of those idiots who thought only WE gear was worthwhile, I turned down the offer.
More dumpster fodder. Ah, the things that'll give you indigestion at 3 in the morning....
Thanks for taking the time to write, guys.
A-1 Audio in Las Vegas, NV used arrays of these bass bins in their concert PA systems from the late 1970's through the '80's. At the time, A-1 was the main audio contractor for the Vegas casinos and sent systems out on tour with entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand and The Doobie Brothers. I heard their systems several times in different venues and I was always impressed with the overall coherence and clarity they had.
If you view the credits in any of the thousands of Hollywood movies made from the late 1920's through the mid 1960's you will see either the Westrex or RCA logos prominently displayed in them. As far as film sound was concerned, they were the "only games in town". These two companies manufactured all the parts of the recording and playback chains used for each and every one of the major studio releases of the time, from the microphones, preamps and film recorders used on the sound stages to the playback amplifiers and speakers the public heard in the theaters.
While Westrex's California location gave them a local connection to film industry people, RCA's New Jersey based design team had several significant advantages of their own. First, RCA engineers had access to feedback about their work from world class musical talent through both a national radio network (NBC) and a major record label. Secondly, RCA had sold millions of their radios and phonographs to the general public.
Thanks for the thoughtful posts.
In terms of resources and number of technological developments, I view RCA as the audio/electronics equivalent of General Motors. Both had the opportunity to produce absolutely world-changing products but for the most part, didn't. Like GM, RCA some incredibly arrogant and just plain bad marketing decisions.
The difference is that GM still has a certain amount of life to it. RCA? What they heck do they do, these days?
A qualification to dbcat's reference to Philo Farnsworth, which I suspect dbcat is aware of but others may not be. Farnsworth invented ELECTRONIC television, as opposed to the spinning disk technology which preceded it (with limited adoption of course).
Here is what appears to me to be a good overview of the Farnsworth/Zworykin/RCA controversy:
Bill, thanks for another great article!
Because you seem to be a stickler for details, I would prefer that you abbreviate my screen name properly. In the engineering world, the word "Decibel" is abbreviated as dB, so my name would be shortened to dBcat.
However, the real Decibel the Cat is watching me as I post my comment so I have to mention that he prefers dB__^..^__
Those are my Ubangis in the photo. I live in Charlottesville Va. and would welcome anyone interested in hearing them to get in touch. I have them loaded with 4 EV 15W speakers and am using a Tratix type horn with a pair of Altec 288-K drivers. Power is with 2 Altec 1570's rebuilt and improved by Tom TuTay. Far and away the best audio Ive heard anywhere at any price including Wilson Alexandria's (awful), Magnapan 20.1's (nice but difficult load and setup), Klipschhorns (nice but somewhat fatiguing highs) These thins do it all and do it well. Howard