Vintage vs Modern speakers.

Most people have wrong belief that modern speaker has more clarity and details than vintage speakers
Recently I got 50 years old Altec A7 which sounds much better than my expectation.

I had kept Lansche 4.1 with plasma tweeter for 16 years which is still regarded as modern speaker.

You judge ths sound of Lansche 4.1 which go down to 20 hz and Altec A7 whcih go down to only 31.5 hz but more robust bass from the following Youtube videos.
Surpising thing is that Altec A7 give as much as details as Lansche 4.1 with plasma tweeter.

Loving you was like party

Way down deep

A touch of sonic madness

The Gate of Dafos

Which do you like better between Vintage(1) and Modern (2) judging from the Youtube videos?
Source is Cocktail Audio X50d music server

Dave and Mscaler Dac

LIne Magnetic 508 amp fitted with RCA 805, EML 300b, Melz 1578(6sn7), RCa 5691(6sl7)

I am also testing Nordost Qkore6 ground control that I picked yesterday for home audition.

Hello Shkong78,

Both pairs of speakers are great, but I tend to favor the Lansche pair. A bit more balanced, I feel.

At my current age, I don't get out much anymore, so hearing what I've just heard has been a bit of a shock for me. Although I love the sound of my custom built Tannoys, your Lansches and the A 7's have shown me what is lacking by my Tannoys.

A good part of it may be the quality provided by the equipment behind the two pair of speakers. Going back aways, I was intending to come visit you, but something came up, and I wasn't able to make it. I wish now that I had.

I kind of hope what I've just heard doesn't stick with me for very long, because it's an itch I can't really afford to scratch.

Hopefully for you, you're able to keep both pair of speakers, and enjoy both in turn.

Do you still live somewhat south of Bellingham?

Best regards,
Hi Dan

it is nice to hear from you!

How is your health?

i am still living in the same house in Bow.

I am paying more attention to source and amplifiers.

By the way one of my tube amp need repair.

If you know nice person to take care of it nearby.

Please send me PM

best wishes

Some folks make the  claim , can't judgea  speaker via YT compression/+ computer cheapo speakers,,guess headphones  would be better,,,but anyway.
Honestly, both have MASSIVE SPL /Soundstage.
My rm is small and I listen at very near field at low/mid SPL, So neither would work for me. But to chime in a  answer, honestly I hear some over hang in the upper bass/low midrange, that notorious section where most speakers get all hung up.
I mean if you like huge GIGANTIC SPL,, soundstage, then yeah either one will work. 
Here give mine a  listen. 
Clean/clear, zero over hang /bloating in neither  upper bass nor low mid section
The upload cam is a cheap Sony, all I could afford.
So suffers from the cheap upload, But you get a  vague idea anyhoot

Be honest, if you don't like it, just say so.
ain't gonna hurt my feelings. 
Music starts at 1:25

Great post. Wonderful sound and space. The Altecs sound huge but seem to have a boxy/shouty coloration.
@mozartfan Sounds good. Plenty of presence and detail. It's late and maybe I missed it but which pair were you playing? 
I’d never seen the A7 in black before. The ones we had in the lab used the larger 500 sectoral horn, were an industrial looking bluish green, and open at the bottom. I used one at home as a graduate student in the early 60s. It was great for the horns in Aida, a bit less so for voices.
I do not have experience with the Altec or Lansche but generally prefer modern over vintage speakers for sound quality, looks and new/clean condition.
Altec A7 does sound much better than i expected.

I picked it up only three weeks ago.

It give effortless dynamics and nuanced bass with wide and deep soundstage.

Although Altec does not sound boxy, I could notice more holographic imaging through my modern speaker Lansche 4.1 which I had been using since 2006.

I am happy to have both.

I will play each depending on music and my mood.
Altec seems to work better with Jazz and rock music although it is not slouch with Classical music.
I think Altec A7 sounds more like live music.

The holographic imaging through Lansche 4.1 may be exaggerated effect which can not be heard at live concert.

But audiophiles tend to enjoy such holographic imaging.
I am happy to have both.

I morphed both low sens and high sens together, Best of both worlds , separate cabinets  but one   cohesive meshed soundstage.
Best of both designs. 
Could I be happy with only 1 single WBer,
Sure i could,
 Could  I be happy with a  single low sens speaker?
No never again.
 I could not, will not.
But both together, provided the low sens midwoofer is very well behaved. 
This is the caveat, the lone condition. 
Lansche 4.1 is also high efficiency speaker (99db/w spec but real no is around 94db) which can be drive by low power tube SET amp

Thus I am driving two speakers with tube amplifiers.

But they sound slightly different.

Altec with 99db/w efficiency give no strain even if I raise the volume to ear aching level.
What I hear in both speakers is called
Most folks , as yourself, have absoluetly no issues with resonances.
All speakers have soem degree of resonances. 
Some more, others less. I tend towards the very lowest possible resonances throughout the entire midrange say 200hz-5khz-6khz.
This is where my ears perk up intensive and alert to this mid zone. 
Place you speakers in a  smaller room and then you will be able to more detect  these  resonances = aka The Nasties.

As i say, most audiophiles fall in love with a certain speaker and have no issues with the resonances, they somehwo block these nasties out or just accept the good with the bad. Or they have not heard a spaeker with very low resonances thus have no reference point to compare.
I have past reference speakers thus I know what  designates acceptable level of resonances and what should be a  reject. 
Few speakers qualify for my acceptable level of resonances.

My speaker system still in development has shown extremely low level of resonances and I have futher developments to work out over the comming 6 months. 
It will  be the finest speaker on the planet, within the parimeters of this size and design and in most categories of critque.
If we give points to each quality ina  speakers voice, I think my design will come out top dawg.
Your 2 speakers have more SPL,  and so, you get high points there.
Mine will offer slightly less SPL but will have superior midrange etc etc.
All due to  thanks to recent developements  in WBer  designs. 
No I could not come around to either of your speakers.
The Altec has more immediacy, more presence, more you are there (or is it, they are here?) feel to it.  But then when heard against the Lansche, the Lansche make the Altecs sound a little lean (i.e. not full-bodied) in the timbre department.  The Lansches sound to me as if they would be more forgiving on poorly recorded music.  Fascinating comparison.  Congrats.

Thanks a lot for your kind comment.

You are spot on!

Now I t drive Altec A7 with Rogue Cronu Magnum II fitted with Telfuken and Amperex Nos tubes.

It give more full bodied and relaxed sound.

Quality is just that. No coorelation to creation date.
Not interested in YouTube compares.
I have vintage (discontinued) but I'm impartial.
I find the Altecs slightly spotlit in the upper mids and treble. I prefer the Lansche in those areas. Is the bass adjustable on the Lansche? I hear too much mid and upper bass on them. Not a lot, but enough to obscure / cloud the mids a bit. The Altecs are better in that area. If the bass can be brought down a touch, I would take the Lansches in a heart beat. Both are nice as is.

Lansche can adjust bass.

I may lesson the bass volume as you suggest since I also felt that the bass is a little bit too much.
I paid 50K$ for new Lansche 4.1 16 years ago.

It was like buying luxury German car (Lansche is also made in Germany),

But I got Altec A7 four weeks ago at 1000 CDN(750 USD).

Despite the price difference Altec A7 give more effortless sound with nuanced details.

Lansche give more refined sound with holographic imaging.

But with Michael Jacson and large scale orchestral music , I prefer Altec to Lansche.

You got a hell of a deal on those altec speakers Thomas if you paid 750 usd! 

  I pulled the trigger without audition.

It was gamble.

Also, I have to cross the border to BC, Canada from Washington state.

Thus I need to take Covid test.

Also my suv could take only one of them.

Thus I drove 50 miles down to borrow my friend's truck.

It was a lot of hassle.

But it pays.

Have you ever heard a pair of Altec Madrid 872B’s by chance? I’m guessing the A7’s are an all around better speaker compared to the 872B’s, but they were the first real speakers I ever heard and the speakers I grew up listening to. Paired with a marantz 2270 (which I still have), that was truly a match made in heaven. The lows were so full…I miss those speakers. There’s just something about a big 15” woofer that cannot be replicated by multiple smaller woofers. 

Nice setup!
The a7 can run with a 50k audiophile loudspeaker but I knew that already and it only gets better an a2-4 -a5 all are far better than an a7. Shearer designs even better than those. I have had jaded audio designers rethink life's work after hearing Shearer horns. One doesn't need to spend 50k if wanting great sound you can just buy an Altec or other similar vintage theater horn and lite modify it. A big difference between 1-2k and 50k you could build a dedicated audio room with a pair of modified Altec a5s for 50k.

I heard that A5 has more powerful driver than A7.

But I will be happy with A7 for the time being.

My dream is to get Western vintage horn wth field coil driver some day.
Billie Holiday sounds GREAT.  It sounds as if we're in a fairly small jazz club.  Impressed.
Altec A7-8 components bought new directly from Altec in 1974 and installed in custom cabinets to Altec specifications. Driving them with Luxman Neo Classic 10 wpc Amp with upgraded Mazda of France power tubes and Telefunken Preamp tubes. Great clarity and presence, detail is also great. You are pleasantly rewarded when the recording is clean, but a bad recording or scratched vinyl, not pleasant to the ears. Everyone who listens to them are impressed, the only negative is how big they are  and how much space they take up. Price for 4 drivers, two horns, and two crossovers in 1974 was $462, and 4 sheets of AA marine grade 3/4" plywood was less than $100. Efficiency is 97db measured. 
The A7s were made for large spaces like movie theaters, recording studios, live theaters, outdoor concerts, while the Lansches are more suited for the home. Both sound excellent, the Lansches are more refined while the A7s have a bigger sound and presence. No bad choices here. 

Thanks for useful experience of you.

My listeing room (actually living room on the second floor) is large

17ft wide 30ft deep 20 ft high and open to the third floor attic.

That may be the reason why I get good sound from Altec A7.

Lansche also sound well in small space too.


Billie Holiday’s voice sounds warm and sentimental through Altec A7.
     That’s Ella Fitzgerald not Billie Holiday!

Altec A7s need to be in 8-10,000 ft3 room minimum, otherwise the 2K bump will drive you crazy, likewise they really are at their best with a tube amp. Those big 515 woofers kick back a lot of EMF that most solid state amps weren't designed to handle. That back EMF can trigger current limiting, or leak into the feedback loop, neither of which helps sound quality.

But, in their place, and with a proper amp, their dynamics and clarity will amaze you.

Thanks a lot for your valuable opinion.

My room is kind of marginal although it could be regarded as big.

I use only tube amplifiers except driving subwoofers.

Accuphase DG-68 Digital Voicing Equalizer

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. A great conceptsound enough to serve as the foundation for an independent democratic nation.

It seems that JVS had been fascinated with Accuphase DG-68 Digital Voicing Equalizer .

I had been usin DG-28 model since 2001.

I set up DG-28 last night after 11PM.

Using the mike, it scans 64 frequencies and then adjust the spectrum in the digital domain.

It has 4 pre sets so that I can choose the adjusted results for 4 different speakers.

Lansche 4.1 tends to sound sweet and warm but after room equlaization, it’s sounds get sharper and crispy.

The result with Altec A7 is very satisfactory.

A7 tend to be a little bit too aggressive in the treble.

I mean it give slight harsh edge from time to time.

But room correction and equalization through DG-28 seems to ameliorate such harsh edge.


After equalization, Heifetz’ s violin sounds warm and full freshed.


But without equalization, his viloin sounds somewhat metallic.


After equalization, the bass seems to be little bit tighter and more extended but not a day and night difference.

To conclude, I am happy with equalization on Altec A7.

The most pronounced effect is to get the treble clean and make violin sounds warm and full freshed.


I also tested frequency extension using Stereophie test disc tracks.

Before Eq, useful signal until 31.5 hz, only faint rumbling at 25hz and 20hz.

After Eq,   useful signal until 31.5 hz and at 25hz , only faint rumbling  20hz.

Thus I do not need subwoofer with A7 in my room.

  Her voice sounds clear and gorgeous.

It sound much more clear and open after adding Fostex supertweeter to Altec A7.

I may not need Western Electric after all unless i am greedy.

This system sounds good enough to me with clean treble and effortless dynamics.
I also loaded similar information on other audio forum.

Another person could not have Altec A7 because of WAF.

Personally I’d love to have a pair of Altec A7’s or something similar with tube amps in my living room system, but I’m married and plan to stay that way. Something about the presence and immediacy of these systems makes them so engaging.
The previous owner of my Altec A7 had to sell this because of WAF.

After renovation of beautiful house in West Vancuouver BC overlooing down town and bay, his wife want to have neat looking modern speakers in their living room.

But A7 rocks with suitable source and amplifier although it may look like a big refrigerator box.

Thomas, I don't know what you did from the first time I listened to the A7's, but this time, they sounded much better, smoother that the first time. That I could live with untl my time runs out here on this Third Rock.


Hi Dan

Equalization did a lot to smooth out A7.

thanks a lot for your kind comment.

Congratulations on the great find. Now on to the $64,000 question. Which one do your ears prefer?  I would love to sample large full range speakers,but they just wouldn’t work in my house. I think your listening room is larger than my house. :-)
If you are interested in Vaughn, I am willing to part with it since I have Altec A7 and Lansche 4.1.

I can part with it at reasonable price, please PM me.




Altec Lansing’s Voice of the Theatre Speakers - What You Need to Know

A design by John Hilliard, Altec Lansing Voice of the Theatre systems originally targeted movie theaters. The entire series was gradually expanded for use in general sound reinforcement and later converted in extreme high-end audio segments for hi-fi home use. Dorsey knows cinema sound inside...

After reading the above article, I had decided to go for active bi amplification without using internal network.


I use Lyngdorf 2170 which has speaker output, analog output and digital output with highpass or lowpass options.

I set the highpass at 500hz on digital output and going through my dac and integrated amp to drive treble horn.

Initially, I had tried to use speaker output of Lyngdorf 2170 with lowpass at 500hz to drive bass unit of Altec A7.

But bass sound is lagging behind the sound from treble horn.

Thus I had used analog output with lowpass at 500hz to Crown XLS 2502 which drive
bass unit of Altec A7.

But bass sound is still lagging behind the sound from treble horn.

Then I had used analog output with lowpass at 500hz to Rogue Cronus Magnum II which drive
bass unit of Altec A7.

Now it is working fine with treble horn.

Many people may think that SS amp sounds faster than tube amp but it is on the contrary.

I had used Telefuken ECC 83 and Amperex ECC 82 in Rogue, but after replacing Amperex with GE 12bh7a tubes, Rogue sound more robust on bass.

After getting rid of internal network, Altec A7 sounds more transparent with clean details.

Since I am happy with sound out of Altec A7 after active bi amping, I retired Lansche 4.1 to attic on the third floor.

Please note that I had been using Lansche 4.1 since 2006 after buying it new at 50k$.

P. S. ticking noise is from my chair while I reord the music sitting in the sofa.



Now I use Cayin 300b PP for treble horn and Rogue Cronus Magnum II fitted with Telefuken ECC83 and GE 12bh7a for bass driver.


It seem to sound very musical with nuanced details.


Bi amping is effective in giving clean and transparent sound.