26 April 2016

Dream Onken Speakers

For a few months I had a dream...
Custom Onken Speaker Cabinet
...to build some high end speakers.

The design was an Onken box,
using Altec Model 19 components,
supposedly one of the better DIY systems.
Altec Model 19
Once channeling the correct sources,
it didn't take long to locate the goods,
or most of them.
Here's the starter kit.
The 15' woofers are awesome.
Altec 515b's with big alnico magnets.
Altec 515b
The dust cone had a little screened hole in it.
Great Plains Audio reconed Altec 515b
These were reconed by Great Plains Audio,
a specialty company of previous Altec techs,
using original Altec factory equipment.
Altec 515b
These had mismatched frames,
but tested the same on the ohmmeter.
This one was most likely 1947 vintage,
when Altec was based in Hollywood.
Altec 515b Hollywood
There's a HOLLYWOOD stamp
camouflaged in there!
Altec 515b Hollywood
Another puzzle piece were these bitchin crossovers.
The knobs spun with professional resistance.
Altec Model 19 2-way crossovers
The crooked stickers advertised real veneer.
One capacitor was smashed,
however a recap is typical anyway.
Altec Model 19 2-way crossovers
These horns copied the model 19 style,
using an altec 811 flared horn.
There's a ton of theories on which horn to use.
Altec 811b horns
Plans for the Onken cabinets are free,
and the build is very square.
No crazy angled cuts like Klipsch La Scalas.
I could pull this off...
Onken speaker cabinet diagram
Well the dream speakers bubble kinda burst.
I snapped out of it
after listening to a previous project.
Klipsch KP302
The Klipsch kp-302 speakers were cheap and quick,
and there sound is decently above good.
Klipsch Cornwall with Altec 511b
Our main house speakers are over the top too.
Klipsch Cornwalls with the 511 horn,
with the La scalas in the rear.
The main problems are the amps powering,
as well as the typical fuzzy grateful dead bootlegs,
are much better with speakers not as bitchin!
Kinda like the very top photo,
the guy is using a multi-$$ tube amp.
That's the trap!
Finding the weak links and the spiral starts...
So off everything went!
Now the plan is to rebuild the engine and transmission 
in the green 40.
It's been slippin and smokin a bit undeserved.
Or really a dozen other projects...
Custom Onken Speaker Cabinet
Monster speakers will be on hold...

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