Altec Lansing A7: 1950s Studio Monitors for $6100 Each; CRaaaaaZAY

Altec Lansing's A7 speakers were hot shit in the 1950s through the 1970s. It was then that they were known as the "Voice of the Theater", distinguished by being the only commercially-available speakers approved by the Research Council at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I totally cut and paste that, and I feel dirty for it. Anyhow, in 1973, Billboard mag claimed they were the most popular studio monitors in the country.

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The crazy-looking horn speakers have a fan thing-a-ma-bob on top, I'm assuming for high frequency, and a 15-inch unit for rumble, and maybe a bit of mid-bass. The 200-watt speakers are handmade, cost $6100 each, and take 8-10 weeks to deliver. They've been designed to accoustically match the originals.

Match the originals?! WTF!? Wouldn't you say speaker design has advanced since 1950? Someone clue me in. Why are these fugly monitors worth this kind of money? I'll apologize if someone can edu-ma-cate me to the farks. But for now, I'll say this: Altec, face it, you make computer speakers for Dell now. Don't try to make us pay five-figures for a pair of 1950 speakers from your better days.

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Altec Lansing A7 Speakers [Altec Lansing]

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DISCUSSION

Strictly speaking, speaker design has not, in fact, advanced a whole lot or changed significaantly since the 1950s. Loudspeakers still use whopping great magnets to drive a coil or wire, which is wrapped around, and moves the cone or tweeter. Whether the cone is made from cardboard or hemp or the tweeter from steel or diamonds, they're pretty much operating on the same principles.

In fact, professional speaker manufacturers (such as L Acoustics in Europe) are now going back to 'line source' speaker designs, creating 'line arrays' which are a completely different way of making and arraying speakers in concert configurations, which dates back to the original high-output loudspeakers made in the early 1900's. So you might say loudspeaker design is moving backwards, not forwards.