The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Loudspeakers Are JBL Cinema Speakers Worth Anything?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Les, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    I have been gifted these cinema speakers from a movie theater in town. One idea they had was to have me donate them to a community theatre nearby, but other than the wedges, I couldn't see these being very useful to them, and even then, only as backstage/dressing/greenroom monitors or somesuch. So assuming that doesn't work out, are there people who would pay for these things? I was thinking $50 each on Craigslist...
    Anyway, here they are. I think there are about 18 of the wall speakers and 4 of the large cabinets. Looks like there are some amps there too (haven't seen them in person yet but I'm stopping by tomorrow).

    image1.jpeg
    image2.jpeg
    image1 (1).jpeg
    image3.jpeg
     
  2. themuzicman

    themuzicman Active Member

    Messages:
    754
    Likes Received:
    80
    Occupation:
    Audio Engineer
    Location:
    On Tour
    Without models it'd be hard to tell what sort of back-end support you'd need for these speakers (cross-overs/system processing, amp channels). My gut would be if you have the space and the budget to power them eventually, hold on to them or at least some of them. The wall speakers could make usable surrounds if you don't have them in your venue already and want something for cheap. 90% of the time you're piping FX into the surrounds so they don't need to be the best boxes. The larger boxes may be less useful, but I'd salvage the horns off the top and just keep them around as practical props because they are cool looking, and you never know when the scenic designer will ask for (or let you put up) period-appropriate horns in a set.

    I would say they wouldn't function the best for greenroom speakers. You're typically looking at 70V speakers for that, so you need something with a transformer in it. You can pick up cheap 70V speakers for <$50.
     
  3. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    north central OK
    Once you have model numbers, check past ebay sales (maybe gearsource and soundbroker too). I'm thinking the cabinet with horn would make a great texas headphone for drummers and DJ's.
    Oh yeah, open up the cabinets and get model numbers for the drivers. You might have some gems there.
     
    RonHebbard and Les like this.
  4. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    54
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Denver
    These have quite a bit more value than you think both as working speakers and if you were to sell them. The fact that they are used for "cinema" doesn't matter to a speaker - they are the same high-end JBL components you would find in a component cluster for a professional theater (I worked in a 2400 seat road house that used the same horns and MF boxes in a center cluster - we had plenty of touring acts bring their own L/R and plug into our C). Component clusters may not be the most modern design practice, but they were standard from the 50's through the late 90's and can still can sound quite good. The horn holds its pattern to 500 Hz or below, which is much better than modern compact speakers. With the right processing, these would be a high-end solution as permanently installed mains in a small theater.

    The three issues are:
    - They aren't portable
    - They aren't designed to look good, so unless you have an industrial feel to the theater you would want to hide them behind acoustically transparent fabric
    - You likely won't get the LF extension that modern systems demand without adding subwoofers.

    If you don't want to use them, you are significantly undervaluing the cabinets. $50 each is a steal. They may be hard to sell locally, but parting out you could make quite a bit (I would be surprised if you got less than $500, the drivers look pretty high end) . It will depend on what components are in the boxes.
     
    Les and RonHebbard like this.
  5. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    Wow, thanks for the insight! Hopefully I can come back with some detailed information by the end of the day. Whatever the community theatre doesn't want might become available in the classifieds forum. I doubt they'll want anything other than a few of the wall-mounts for their blackbox - or at least that's what I'm going to recommend. The main stage (pictured below) could certainly benefit from the large cabinets, but as previously mentioned, concealing them would be a problem. Rigging would also require a professional, and I would not want to give them something like this knowing they'd try to DIY it, doing more harm than good. And I know they don't have the money to have them professionally flown and tuned.

    Campus Theatre:
    campus3.jpg
    Ironically, there is a similar 2-way box and a couple of narrower horns behind that green fabric thing above the thrust. It has since been disconnected and replaced by those wall-mounted Bose boxes, which resulted in a terrible sounding system. They really need to just have the entire sound system replaced.
     
  6. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    Horns are worth a fortune. (New, about $1k with driver, each.) Probably about 10 to 14k (new value) worth of equipment. Used... well, the trick is finding the right buyer. Still, it's quite a gift!
     
  7. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    941
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    If any of you remember "Analog Tom", the Los Angeles based entertainment lawyer who 'haunted' the ProSound LAB for many years; about six or seven years ago Tom and one of his brothers met me briefly near the Canadian end of the Detroit / Windsor bridge to collect a mint, never installed, old MRI McCurdy Radio Industries commercial broadcast control room console with rotary Daven pots, all internal modules (plus spares) and the original documentation.
    The tie-in to this 'thread' is he was collecting various models of old Altec cinema speakers as he rolled across the U.S. from L.A. to Detroit and back. Tom and his brother were travelling (and living) in a large, 'Day-Glo' orange, used California Department Of Highways truck that he referred to as his brother's 'CHIP-mobile', or something like that, and he had the highway patrol truck, and a decent sized four-wheeled enclosed trailer, packed full of old Altec wooden, behind the screen, cabinets that dwarfed the several A7's and A7-500's that he'd already collected. We never discussed the value of the Altec's but, apparently, they were well worth the cost of the diesel fuel to criss-cross North America twice to Tom.
    Tom left me with his card "Thomas Montague Hall, Attorney at law" and in return I finagled a tour of a multi-story synchronized dancing waters / sound / and light installation I'd then recently helped upgrade in a 3rd level sub-basement deep below the Casino Windsor's lobby. His brother was interested in how we'd approached the fountain's programming and control systems as he was still employed by the Los Angeles Park's Board, or some such entity, while Tom was collecting all manner of elderly pro' audio relics for a museum he was planning to open somewhere in L.A. and thought he'd be putting on line someday. The last I heard of Tom, he became somehow involved in the Michael Jackson case and disappeared from the LAB then migrated to the ProSound Recording forum for a while. Long ago Michael 'Bink' Knowles had an update on Tom but I haven't been in contact with Tom in easily more than five years.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
    Les likes this.
  8. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    Old Altec goes for a fortune, and the big buyers are in Japan for some reason. Sold a bunch a few years back.
    Funny how the bigger and heavier something is, the further away the people are that really want it!
     
    Les and RonHebbard like this.
  9. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Active Member

    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    We actually have a pair of Altec 1207c units that were our house speakers from when the school opened. They didn't sound half bad, and they were about to get a second life as flown stage monitors.

    Unfortunately, one was vandalized just last night, all the cones were sliced open. I'd share the picture, but I'm waiting for the situation to resolve before I do so.
     
  10. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    Well, I just got home after a long day of moving speakers. Here's what I know so far.

    There are at least three of these guys (one of the pictures I posted in the OP). They're still in the process of removing gear from an adjoining room, which has another set of three behind the screen.
    image1.jpeg

    There are nine total horns, and three of them were mounted to this cabinet. Looks like Altec? Edit: possibly Altec A7 boxes, not sure what speaker yet. One of the three has Gorilla Glue as a fix around the dust cap, which is a bit sad.
    image1 (2).jpeg

    Several subs. One is an EV TL35T2 with a dented dust cap.
    image2 (1).jpeg

    The other is a JBL, unknown model.
    image3 (1).jpeg

    As far as model numbers, I haven't been able to get anything off the LF drivers yet.

    The HF drivers on the horns are JBL 2445H. Not the most valuable (seems like $200ea on eBay), but there are 9, and they come with horns and mounting brackets, so that probably brings the value up some.

    The side wedges are JBL 8330. They seem cheap on eBay (~$40), but I have dozens of them. There are several miscellaneous speakers I'm sure I'm missing, and a few rooms I haven't gone in.

    The best for last. In the largest auditorium, which is being redone next week, I found these Altec multicell horns. Can't make out the model number, but there are four of them back there. Not sure what cabinets they're on or how many LF drivers it's holding, but I'm guessing they'd be Altec as well.

    image5.jpeg

    image4.jpeg

    Here was my haul for today. Only about 1/4 of what's there. Most of the time was spent helping my theatre teacher friend transport an old projection screen and some movie poster shadowboxes to her school. She got me hooked up with this, so it was the least I could do. I'm hoping to secure the Altecs SOON. I told him I can go in there and take the horns before they remove the rest in order to "save time". Really I just don't want them damaged. Might make that Priority #1 tomorrow.

    image6.jpeg

    I looked like Marty McFly driving down the road with those horns in the back of my truck... I can only haul three at a time!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
    RonHebbard likes this.
  11. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    The Altec A7 cab looks like it has a Altec 515B woofer in it (Big time Collector's item) Also the 10 cell multicell horns are Altec 1005 (10 cells, 500hz cross) (collector's items as well) and are equipped (probably) with Altec 288G drivers (~ $400@, replacement diaphragms are still available.) Last time I saw unblemished multicells for sale, they were for $1000 without drivers.
    Take the dent out of the dust cover with a vacuum cleaner. Real A7 VOT cabs are also a collector's item. Not as up to speed with the JBL gear, but those radial horns and drivers are not cheap.
    Your best bet on the Altec stuff is to link up with the right collector.
    Those Multicells look unblemished, and although they fell out of favor for sound reinforcement, they are the Cat's meow in the audiophile world.
     
    RonHebbard and Les like this.
  12. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    That sucks. I'll bet you could get them re-coned though. I'm not sure how much that costs and whether or not it would be cost effective. Something to think about though!

    ...Yeah the more I think about it, the more I'm deciding to get the multicell's down before trusting the construction workers with them. Those things alone make this all worth it, and I've always admired the Altec multicell. Looking forward to seeing the front of the cabinets they're sitting on as well. I'm almost hoping they're some crap cabinet but with awesome woofers since I'm not looking forward to hauling them out of there. But they are that "Altec Gray", so odds are they're worth getting.

    Edit: I thought they were one long cabinet per multicell cluster, but I see a seam down the middle. Might be two (four) more A7's.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    The A7 is a unique front horn loaded cabinet designed around using a light cone 15, such as the 515B. Horn loading design covers 150 to 1000hz, below 150 it acts as a bass reflex cabinet. The efficiency is awesome which is why you could get away with a simple 30 watt vacuum tube amp driving them. Audiophiles that build their systems around vacuum tube amps love them. The only downside is the size. Do a google image search with "A7 Altec" and it is entertaining seeing all the home systems these people build!

    Those with a high power urge would often drop the 421-8H in there and make a 1/4 inch Masonite gasket extender so the cones wouldn't bottom out. Heard such a system once and you would have sworn you had 4kw of amps behind in, when in fact it was a Crown DC300 loading at 150 watts per channel into 8 ohms.

    Even today, I would be tempted to buy the Multicells if it wasn't for the fact that my wife would beat me over the head as I am retired! ;) Fun stuff!

    If you're going to pull the multicells on your own, take a wrench and unbolt the drivers first. The drivers are unbelievably heavy, so best to get them off the horns first. There is a small gasket between the driver and the horn that will usually stay with the driver. 3 bolts. I forget the size.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
    RonHebbard and Les like this.
  14. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    Thanks for the tip. I have read about how heavy these are, but I've never lifted one myself. The unfortunate thing is that they're still about 10' off the ground in their original position, and the whole rig sits on a 2x8 plank catwalk. Hopefully I can borrow a ladder. I just don't want them to get dented up when they're removed by others! Might find a rope to lower them down as well.
     
  15. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    Figure on 31 pounds for the driver. The 288, 290, and 291 are all identical except for the diaphragm which is interchangeable between them. Most theaters used the 288 series. They changed looks over the years as the magnets got bigger and bigger! The ones pictures appear to have the largest magnets. They put out 109db four foot on axis, with one watt input. 288 was rated at 15 watts, with a 500hz crossover. Most of the rock systems I saw them used in were running at many times that wattage, but with a crossover at 1800 to 2000hz. Very hard to fry them outside of shattering them with lower frequencies. The 291's were rated at 40 watts but were not as crisp on the highs. 290's were 100 watts but used a phenolic diaphragm, only good for PA or siren use. The horns weigh less than the drivers!

    Take off two of the bolts, then back the third off a bit. You may have to wiggle it a bit if the gasket adhered. Once the gasket is loose, you can get a feel for the weight before fully removing the third bolt.
     
    Les and RonHebbard like this.
  16. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    941
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Depending upon what your options are for overhead points, you may want more than a rope. Possibly two ropes and / or a couple of pulleys, and / or a tidy little 1/4 ton chain hoist with a couple of slings wouldn't be at all out of line plus you really ought to have at least one other EXPERIENCED hand along with you before you find yourself wearing an A7.
    Granted, being blind now, I haven't really looked at exactly the cabinets you're looking at but when I think of an A7, or A7-500, standing up vertically with its bottom 10' in the air on a stout plank and its horn and driver either on top or tucked within, I wouldn't want to be under it when someone unfamiliar with its weight and center of gravity is above me and / or about to feel the full weight of the system on a single rope naively clutched in their hands.
    Please pardon me for stating the obvious, that this is definitely one of those situations where you really need to be aware of the full weight of the load before you find yourself wearing it.
    I feel bad to be stating this to the experienced but I'd rather that than feeling guilty for not stating it for the neophytes.
    I have another of my TLDR tales tucked away for another day which centers around a younger, stronger, person 'chock 'o block' full of good intentions who insisted on helping me with getting my weighty rack full of good old, full of iron, BGW's down to a level flat floor from a rehearsal stage at about 42" above. The rack had an internally rubber padded bonnet style slip-over cover held in place by four locked butterfly latches and four flat folded Sessions handles on the sides, two and two. The deceptive part was the four, ball bearing, Darnel oval-tread casters designed to plough easily through the shag carpets of the day. This also meant they rolled extremely easily on a Masonite rehearsal deck. I had my own method which allowed me to elevate the rack (by myself) all the way from the rehearsal hall floor up onto the rehearsal deck by flipping the 'road ready and buttoned up' rack over and up with the aid of a second, similar, rack as an intermediate point. I would have rolled the rack back down in a reverse manner but, rather than allowing me 30 seconds to roll the other rack into position, young 'Mr. Muscles' insisted he was going to show this 'old guy' how it was done. I made a last minute suggestion that we could at least take one side / two handles each and, without any further discussion, young 'Mr. Muscles' pushed me aside and, with one very quick test roll on the flat and smooth hard surface, my rack full of BGW's and cross-overs was air-born for something like a 1/4 second before it slammed into the floor MUCH to the young guy's astonishment.
    Boy! Was he surprised and apologetic!!
    I was VERY pleased to note that none of the casters tore through either of the two layers of 3/4" Russian birch comprising the caster board. Those carpet-tread, ball bearing swivel and ball bearing rolling, Darnels were REALLY good casters and everything lived to serve me for another many years; the BGW's, the Yamaha F1030's, the rack, the casters and the caster board. Buy once. Cry once and I learned to be far more forceful when it came to letting people help me lift something heavy down if they weren't first involved in helping me lift it up.
    With apologies for another of my TLDR, side-tracking, posts.
    Be careful @ Les C. Deal
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
    Les and Amiers like this.
  17. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    Don't worry, @RonHebbard , I was only planning on lowering the multicells. I'll let the construction crew handle the A7's ;).

    That said, they're not letting me take them quite yet. The manager would prefer having the construction crew handle it all, and he will let me know when they're down and ready to be picked up. This makes me extremely nervous, since I don't want them to get damaged.

    By the way, there are six of them. I only saw two pairs last night, but there are in fact three (L-C-R). Wish he would let me grab them today :/.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  18. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    642
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    Another long day. I managed to get everything of value off the floor, which made for two additional Altec A7's, 2 JBL LF cabinets and 3 JBL horns. The horns are in wonderful condition, but the LF cabinets are not. They're all dual 15" and at least one on each has either a small tear in the woofer or a hole in the dust cap. The hole in the surround looks like a puncture, but I'm not too sure about the dust caps – they look almost like dry rot, but I didn't inspect too closely. They might be worth something to somebody, but they'll probably end up being parted out. The cabinets are pretty scuffed up too - not too sure on the value of those.

    There are still 3 JBL cabinets w/JBL horns installed, hopefully coming down next week. In addition, there are still 6 A7's with 6 1005's, also coming down next week.

    It's beginning to look like the Altec gear is the true find and the JBL stuff is just something I have to deal with in order to get the Altec, even though the JBL horns do look promising.

    A few shots:

    Total of 9 JBL [possibly 2360A] horns with 2445H drivers.
    image1 (3).jpeg

    Some subwoofer - in a very rough cabinet, almost homemade looking. I googled this and came up with nothing. May not be worth taking.
    image3 (2).jpeg

    @JD you have been right about everything so far. I opened the back of one of the A7's to find this gorgeous 515E driver. Would go great with your new 1005 ;)
    image4 (1).jpeg

    @RonHebbard , thank you for your wisdom as well. I am exactly the type of person who would end up wearing an A7 because I got too far ahead of myself. Gawd I just hope the construction crew is friendly to them. I know I've said this about three times already. I will lose sleep until they're in my possession.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
    RonHebbard likes this.
  19. Amiers

    Amiers Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    171
    Location:
    Delavan, WI
    Be present, and talk to the crew pulling them and feed the. Lunch or something. Maybe you will get lucky and they will let you use the crane and pull them down yourself (winky face)
     
    RonHebbard and Les like this.
  20. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    north central OK
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016

Share This Page