Altec 421A, Guitar Speaker?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Intubator, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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    Hey folks, I have an opportunity to pick up a 15" Altec 421a in a cab for a pretty reasonable price. I'd be more interested in using it as a guitar vs. bass guitar speaker which is what it was evidently designed for. I've done some online research and it apparently its well regarded for both bass and guitar. Any thoughts or personal experiences regarding this one? Thanks, and appreciate the input!

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  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Back in those days, Altec A, JBL D, there were no 'guitar' speakers or 'bass' speakers.

    I had one of those, it sounded fine for guitar but being a 15" speaker it's not great up high - for a Tele that's naturally bright it's fine but it may sound dark for hummers or other some other guitars.

    My speaker coner guy said it was not recommended to put big wattages through because of voicecoil and magnet size, but 100 watts would be fine. These would have been primarily used for concert halls or theatres/cinemas of the day.
     
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  3. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Do it! It's Altec. They can handle just about anything. Let us know how it goes.
     
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  4. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    Bass Musical Instrument speaker - I would certainly try it.

    I played for many years with a homebuilt Vox AC-15 copy through a 15" JBL bass speaker in a closed cabinet. I thought it sounded great.

    And that Altec speaker looks very cool!
     
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  5. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    My experience in ALTEC as guitar speaker is limited to the 417-8H Series II. I installed one in my restored Boogie MKIIA :

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    This speaker gives me that "violin-tone" à la Santana... :cool:;)

    There was also 15" Boogie MKI, MKIIA and B, and they probably used ALTEC 421-8H Series II speaker as an option - because MESA offered several speaker options with their amps : Cerwin-Vega, ALTEC, EVM...

    If it was me, at affordable price and excellent condition 421-8H Series II, I would buy it...

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    -tbln
     
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  6. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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    Dacious, thanks for the information. According to my research these are in fact rated at 100W, so may be suitable for a 35W-50W amp I'm thinking... And yes sounds like it might be a good fit for a Tele.
     
  7. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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    Beautiful amp you have there, bet it sounds great! I do need to check on the Impedance of the speaker, not sure if I'd be too keen on getting a 16 ohm, hopefully its an 8 or a 4. I'm taking a look at it tonight so I'll know soon enough. Thanks for the input.
     
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  8. tubegeek

    tubegeek Tele-Afflicted

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    Some of the best (hifi) speakers I ever heard used the 421A in a folded horn configuration. Very high efficiency, good for use with low powered tube amps.
     
  9. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Holic

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    I used to have one in a guitar combo (actually a modifed Watkins westminster) - they are brilliant - I have been looking for them ever since but to no avail
     
  10. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire

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  11. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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    Picked up the speaker and cab today, Looks like it was originally part of a combo amp. The speaker dates to 47th week of '71. Turns out the seller was across my street and a block up, so talk about convenient for pick up! It's an 8ohm version and sounds great so far plugged into a BF Band Master head while playing a Tele through it. I'm really surprised at how well rounded it is and has a better than expected high end range and chime to it for a 15". Now I just have to figure out what cab its mounted in.. Old Ampeg? MW or Sears?

    20200602_154811_resized.jpg 20200602_154910_resized.jpg
     
  12. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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  13. powerwagonjohn

    powerwagonjohn Tele-Meister

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    I don't have any experience with the Altec 421A speaker but I do have a pair of each the 417 and the 418 speaker. I think they are excellent drivers. I have a 418 that resides in my Ampeg Gemini II and it really complements the amp. I think it will work great with a little EQ.
    thanks John.
     
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  14. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I have surrounded myself with my share of Altec speakers back before the prices jumped. They all sound great, but the one flaw I see the most is that they don't handle lots of gain at high volume anymore. They sure did in their day, but age has changed that in most cases. They are fantastic speakers run clean or with a little gain up to moderate volumes, but push them hard and the will fart out. Age will always win with everything.

    Lucky for me, I play mostly clean at no more than moderate volumes at the most....wonderful tones all day.
     
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  15. 5595bassman

    5595bassman Tele-Holic

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    Be advised that these speakers are not easy to mount in a front loaded cab because of the reinforcement tabs all around the flange.
     
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  16. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the heads up on that mounting tip 5595bassman, I see what you mean.
     
  17. 51tele

    51tele Tele-Holic

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    I had 8 of these in a marshall stack killer speakers
     
  18. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have three, doubt I will ever use them, no sense straining the back.
     
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