NOTE: I haven’t found a definitive source of data on historic Altec Lansing products hence there are known and reported factual discrepancies in the following information relating mostly to dates of production. If anyone would care to provide an amended/corrected version of this I’d be grateful.
Altec Lansing is a company with a rich history in the audio industry. Founded in 1936, the company has a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality speakers and audio equipment. In the early days, Altec Lansing primarily focused on producing speakers for the movie theater industry. The company’s speakers were used in many theaters across the United States, and they quickly became known for their exceptional sound quality.
During World War II, Altec Lansing shifted its focus toward producing audio equipment for military use. The company produced speakers and amplifiers for use in tanks, airplanes, and other military vehicles.
After the war, Altec Lansing returned to producing speakers for the consumer market. In the 1950s, the company introduced a line of home speakers that were designed to be used with the new generation of stereo phonographs. These speakers were known for their accurate bass and clean extended treble, and they quickly gained popularity among music enthusiasts.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Altec Lansing continued to innovate and improve its speaker technology. The company introduced a number of new speaker models, including the popular “Voice of the Theatre” line (VOTT), which featured large, powerful speakers that were capable of producing concert-quality sound at concert volume levels.
The company closed down and its brand name was purchased, and in the 1980s and 1990s, Altec Lansing expanded its product line to include computer speakers, headphones, and other types of audio equipment. The company’s computer speakers, in particular, became popular among computer users as they were among the best quality computer speaker on the market at the time.
Today, Altec Lansing continues to produce a wide range of audio equipment, from home theater speakers to portable Bluetooth speakers. The company is still renowned for its commitment to quality and innovation, and its products are widely respected in the audio industry – though this isn’t the Altec Lansing of old.
Altec Lansing VOTT A7 (Voice of the Theatre) Speakers
The Altec Lansing Voice of the Theatre (VOTT) series of speakers is a line of high-end speakers that has a long and storied history in the audio industry. The VOTT A7 speakers, in particular, are considered by many to be one of the most iconic and revered speakers ever produced.
The VOTT series was first introduced by Altec Lansing in the 1940s. These speakers were specifically designed for use in movie theaters and were known for their exceptional sound quality and power. The VOTT A7 speakers, first introduced in the 1950s, were the flagship model of the VOTT series and featured a large cabinet that housed a 15″ horn-loaded woofer and a powerful horn-loaded tweeter.
One of the key features of the VOTT A7 speakers was the use of Altec Lansing’s proprietary “dual-voice coil” technology. This allowed the speakers to produce a wide range of frequencies, resulting in a more balanced and natural sound. The large size of the cabinet and the use of multiple drivers also allowed the VOTT A7 speakers to produce a powerful and dynamic sound that could fill even the largest of theaters.
The VOTT A7 speakers were used in many movie theaters throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and they quickly gained a reputation as the “gold standard” of theater speakers. They were also used in many recording studios, radio and television stations and other professional settings due to the high quality of sound they produced.
However, as the movie theater industry began to decline in the 1970s, the demand for VOTT A7 speakers also began to decline. In addition, the increasing popularity of smaller, home-based stereo systems led to a shift in consumer demand towards smaller speakers. As a result, Altec Lansing eventually discontinued the production of the VOTT A7 speakers in the early 1970s.
Despite this, the VOTT A7 speakers have continued to maintain a cult following among audiophiles and music enthusiasts. Many people still consider the VOTT A7 to be one of the best speakers ever produced and even today, many people are looking for vintage VOTT A7 to restore and use in their own home or studio.
The Altec Lansing VOTT A7 speakers were a game changer in the audio industry during its time of release and are known for their exceptional sound quality, power, and versatility. Its reputation as the gold standard of theater speakers, and their use in many professional settings made them a favorite among audiophiles and music enthusiasts. Today, although they are no longer in production, their legacy lives on, and many people still hold them in high esteem as one of the greatest speakers of all time.
A comparative analysis of Altec Lansing A7 speakers compared with 5 of its direct competitors from the same era:
– Altec Lansing A7 speakers were introduced in 1946 as a high-fidelity, high-efficiency, horn-loaded loudspeaker system for professional and home use.
– They featured a 15-inch woofer (Altec 515) and a compression driver (Altec 288) mounted on a multicellular horn (Altec 1005).
– They had a frequency response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz, a sensitivity of 105 dB, and a power handling of 50 watts.
– They were widely used in recording studios, movie theaters, concert halls, and audiophile homes.
Some of the direct competitors of the Altec Lansing A7 speakers from the same era were:
– Klipsch Klipschorn: Introduced in 1946, this was the first fully horn-loaded loudspeaker available to consumers. It used a corner placement to extend the bass response of its folded horn. It had a 15-inch woofer (Klipsch K-33), a midrange compression driver (Klipsch K-55) on a sectoral horn (Klipsch K-400), and a tweeter compression driver (Klipsch K-77) on a smaller horn (Klipsch K-700). It had a frequency response of 33 Hz to 17 kHz, a sensitivity of 105 dB, and a power handling of 100 watts.
– Altec Lansing Valencia: Introduced in 1966, the Altec Valencia was a smaller and more affordable version of the Model 19. It had a similar design but used a ported cabinet instead of a bass horn. It had a 15-inch woofer (Altec 416) and a compression driver (Altec 806) on a sectoral horn (Altec 811). It had a frequency response of 40 Hz to 20 kHz, a sensitivity of 100 dB, and a power handling of 50 watts.
– Altec Lansing Model 19: Introduced in 1971, this was an improved and larger version of the Valencia. It had a bass horn cabinet with an exponential flare and an updated crossover network. It had a 15-inch woofer (Altec 416) and a compression driver (Altec 902) with a Tangerine phase plug on a sectoral horn (Altec 811). It had a frequency response of 35 Hz to 20 kHz, a sensitivity of 103 dB, and a power handling of 100 watts.
– JBL Hartsfield: Introduced in 1954, this was one of the first high-end loudspeakers for home use. It had a unique design with an asymmetrical bass horn that curved around the back of the cabinet. It had a 15-inch woofer (JBL D130) and a compression driver (JBL LE175) on an acoustic lens (JBL HL91). It had a frequency response of 30 Hz to 15 kHz, a sensitivity of 96 dB, and a power handling of 25 watts.
– JBL Paragon: Introduced in 1957, this was one of the most expensive and luxurious loudspeakers ever made. It had an elegant curved cabinet that housed two bass horns, two midrange horns, and two tweeter horns. It had two 15-inch woofers (JBL D130), two midrange compression drivers (JBL LE175) on acoustic lenses (JBL HL91), and two tweeter compression drivers (JBL LE20) on smaller horns (JBL H92). It had a frequency response of 32 Hz to 16 kHz, a sensitivity of 94 dB, and a power handling of 50 watts.