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DIY Speakers

Altec-based, 3-way Speaker system

Updated: June 24, 2007

I had my speakers go into a makeover. This is how they look like now.


I was pretty much pleased with the sonic improvement as well. So this is an unexpected bonus.

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After hearing a speaker the size of a personal ref with Altec drivers, I thought that I'd like to have the same too.

This is where my quest for Altec drivers started. While I was successful in acquiring the 2459A, I thought it would be too small being an 8-incher for any seriously big cabinet. Fortunately, a pair of Altec vintage speakers appeared in a local forum marketplace, so I immediately took the opportunity to buy it.

The 10-incher I acquired is a pair of Altec 406-8Y, which information about it is scarce. With the limited information I found and after some correspondences with Nilo Mapa, I finally settled on the Altec 614 cabinet plans.

Joseph Esmilla once more, was instrumental in getting this cabinet right, and tuned. We've exchanged a couple of emails to sort out some minor problems with the cabinet and its interaction with the 406-8Y.

The information gathered about the 406 suggested that it was originally used in the Altec Bolero 890 speaker system, and a tweeter picks up from 2kHz onwards. While looking for a suitable tweeter, I initially installed the Altec 2459A, being a full ranger, in a 2-way configuration.

After a while, one of my usual sources tipped me that he has a pair of Oxford mid-horns. So I immediately saw him and took home the Oxfords. However, being a mid-horn, I was told it won't extend beyond 8Khz and because of that, I still needed a "super tweeter."

I don't have that much funds, and since I've studied the Fostex FT-17H somehow, I thought it would be good to use this as an augmentation from 6kHz and up.

In the end, the "speaker system" has the following specifications:

  • Cabinet based on Altec 614 plans
  • Woofer: Altec 406-8Y
  • Mid-horn: Oxford, unknown model
  • Super-tweeter: Fostex FT-17H
  • Crossover: 1kHz, 6kHz
  • Here's a closer look on the mid, high drivers and crossover-

    The sound I'm getting from this speaker keeps me away from commercially available ones. It's a great match with my flea-powered amplifiers and can be driven to party level by as small as 1W from my type 10 amplifier. I have not made any measurements, and I don't even know the effective sensitivity, but nevertheless I'm satisfied with what I achieved.