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Loudspeakers Are JBL Cinema Speakers Worth Anything?

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

  1. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Great Plains Audio was a great resource, and my understanding was they had bought all the production machinery from Altec when they dissolved. They also were selling a compatible line of products and offered full service on Altec. It is disconcerning that their website has not been updated since 2010, hope they are still in business.

    On the JBL's, if they are the old foam suspension and the foam rotted, it is easy to replace the suspensions. Done a bunch of them, usually in the winter while sitting in front of my wood stove. Kind a relaxing work like painting. Once you know the model, you can get the replacement suspensions here: http://www.simplyspeakers.com/jbl-speaker-repair-foam-edge-kits.html
     
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  2. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Today I decided to go remove the woofers from the A7 cabinets that I already have. I already knew that one was a 515E and was hoping the rest were matched but they are not. In fact, each one has been different so far.

    Altec 515E:
    image4 (1).jpeg
    image5 (1).jpeg

    Altec 515B:
    Unfortunately, this is the one with the Gorilla Glue repair
    image1 (4).jpeg
    image2 (3).jpeg

    This speaker has taken some research, but I *think* it is a 416-8B
    image3 (3).jpeg
    image4 (2).jpeg

    Any guesses as to the value of these? The 515E looks like it goes for anywhere from $400-500. The 515B is a big variable since it has what appears to be a poorly-conceived DIY repair.
    I still have 6 more A7 cabinets to pick up. Hopefully they will be matched and in good condition.

    I also removed one of the JBL woofers to get a closer look.
    Several of these have some amount of damage - one (so far) with a puncture in the cone and a few others with punctured dust caps. Hopefully still worth something, to somebody, if I list them on eBay.
    image7.jpeg
     
  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    The antique collectors go wild over the old 515B's. I would not do anything other than clean them up before posting to Ebay. Check out how others have listed the antique Altec first, as there are dog-whistles in the titles and descriptions that attract the collectors.
    Technically, the 515E is a better speaker with a stronger magnet. They are also 16 inches, although they will fit a 15 inch cutout. (wider gasket flange.) Both are light cone speakers that have very high efficiencies and work best in bass reflex enclosures. They sound like a gem in the A7's.
     
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  4. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Excellent, any advice on cleaning them? I'm assuming just a dry, lint free cloth on the cone/surround. I've been noticing that many sellers post pictures of the DCR readings. I have almost no knowledge of that although I can say that the ones I've metered so far have been similar to values reported elsewhere.

    As tempted as I am to start listing them right now, I'll probably wait until I get the rest of the boxes. That way, maybe I can sell like-models as pairs, sell damaged ones together, etc. Along that line of thought, it's looking like I should sell the woofers on eBay and offer the A7 boxes locally. Might get more bang for my buck that way, and I can mention availability of the boxes in my ad without listing them just in case someone is really interested and willing to pay for freight without limiting myself to only those buyers.

    I have no idea what the cabinets are worth. They're the MDF type (apparently acoustically preferable than the plywood ones) and while structurally sound, they are a little dinged up. I've been seeing them from $150-200. I'm not anticipating getting that much for them due to the logistics in shipping.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  5. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Well, as I am sure you know, speaker voice coils are inductive, so a DC reading will give you a much lower reading than the rated impedance. For a 16 ohm, probably between 9 and 12 ohms DC.
    DC is how all the sellers read them. Inductive impedance is the average loading when supplied an AC frequency across the range of the speaker which is way too hard to deal with! For the most part, I think they are assuring buyers that the coils are good, but there might be some Ohm-snobs out there, who knows!
    For cleaning, start with compressed air, then a cloth. Some really go at them and even spray paint them, which actually doesn't affect the performance, but might be shunned by some of the potential high end buyers.
    The Altecs all use a cloth suspension, which is pretty durable. The JBL's -might- use foam, and when that's old it falls apart when you touch it.
    Everything about these units sounds like they were made near the time of the demise of Altec. 515E, "G" style drivers, MDF cabinets. Quite modern by theater standards! The exception is the 515B which may be the 50's or 60's!
     
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  6. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I finally got all the Altec gear. Here's the final tally of the major gear:

    Altec 515E: 5
    Altec 515B w/glue repair: 1
    Altec 416-8B: 1
    Altec 416-8C w/damaged cone (1/4" hole): 1
    Altec ??? (probably cheap - was marked "spare"): 1

    Altec 1005 Multicell: 6
    Altec 288-16: 6
    Altec A7 Cabinet: 3

    The other six A7 cabinets had large chunks cut out of them with what looked like a sawzall - no idea why. I just took the drivers out and told them to toss the rest. Didn't look like there was much to work with and it's kind of a relief – I'm running out of room for big stuff.

    JBL
    2360 horns w/throat and mounting bracket: 9
    2445H Drivers: 9
    2226HPL (from dual cabs*, some cones/dust caps damaged): 18
    *I will probably sell the drivers and toss the empty cabs.

    Plus a few subs and dozens of wall speakers. Most are JBL 8330, but there are some larger versions as well as newer models made by QSC. I still have to go through and research those.

    Current situation in my bedroom, because I ran out of space in my storage unit (and I want to keep the Altec gear nearby since it will be the first to get sold.) If anyone ever asks, 6 Altec 1005's are about the limit of what will safely fit in the bed of a Toyota Tacoma.
    IMG_1298.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  7. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    What a treasure trove! And the horns really do look unblemished! Since it is a nitch market, I would only list a couple of pieces at a time. When people see a large supply, they get cheap. I had a few rolls of the older cloth covered wire from the telephone industry. For some reason, a lot of people in Japan love the stuff (something to do with antiques, but who knows.) First roll sold for $84. So I put 4 more rolls up. Average sale was $19. Waited a few months and then went back to putting one roll up at a time. They each sold for around $60.
    Would also sell the Altec horns and drivers on separate auctions. As you probably know, Ebay is as much about strategy as it is about the idem being sold!
    If only the wife wouldn't kill me, I'd probably be bidding too! ;)
    Pretty safe bet on the unknown one being a 416-8B. Altec was the only one making cast baskets with the wide flange that I know of.
     
  8. funkcity

    funkcity Member

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    The JBL System depicted here became the THX approved system.
    See
    http://www.jblpro.com/ProductAttachments/4675c_48.pdf
    The woofers are 2226 4" voice coil 15" accordion surround vented gap cooling ...the whole 9 yards.
    The actual box is made of MDF pressed-wood...It will not stand up on the road but great for permanent install.
    The JBL Horn is still in use behind many film screens....sometimes with Sony drivers, TAD drivers, TrueExtent, Radian or BMS.
    Those Horns were made in 3 horizontal coverage profiles. 90, 60 and 45 degrees. Cinemas used the 90 degree version.
    The standard heavy Ferrite driver used a Titanium diaphragm.
    Remove the woofers first, then the compression driver (it's heavy!). Then lower the box and the horn separately.
    Should be easy.
    Happy New Year!
     
  9. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for the reply, @funkcity ! I actually have almost everything in my possession. Well, I still have one JBL box and a handful of the surround wedges to go pick up. They're sitting in a hallway, so that won't be too much trouble.

    Lately I've been going through and organizing everything I have so far - had to get a 10x15 storage unit just to accommodate all of it!

    The horns take up so much space, so I've been disassembling all nine of them and hope to sell them on eBay - or something. The horn lenses will be difficult to ship (and may not be worth much?), but I think the throats w/drivers/mounting brackets might be an easy ~$150 a pop. I had a local audio shop in Garland (45 minutes from me) offer to 'take a look at them', but wouldn't give me a ballpark offer through email. I found them because they're selling the same 2445H HF drivers for $150 each on eBay. I can understand their position, but I'm also afraid of them low-balling me after I go through the trouble of hauling the horns up there, so I'm leaning towards selling on my own and following up with them if I get desperate to unload them.

    The boxes have been interesting to deal with. Unfortunately, I have encountered only one 2226HPL woofer. The rest have been 2035HPL which are apparently the "economy" model. That said, I still have 3 boxes to get in to, so I might still get lucky on some of them. The cabinets themselves are pretty banged up, so I'll probably toss them after removing the woofers/crossover unless I can find some local interest. I should probably just put them on Craigslist and see if there are any bites before I just go throwing stuff away. The woofers will probably be sold one pair at a time on eBay. It's gonna be a painstaking process!

    I also need to find something to do with two full-size movie screens...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  10. Amiers

    Amiers Custom Title of Awesomeness

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    I wish you lived closer.
     
  11. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Me too! I'd give you two for free. Too bad they're so big and heavy - would cost a fortune to ship :(.

    If it's any consolation, the construction workers folded/wadded them up in to a ball, so I have no idea how they'll look once unfolded. Might not be pretty.
     
  12. Amiers

    Amiers Custom Title of Awesomeness

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    Wow... tears shed.
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    The throats are specific to the horns, whereas the driver is a standard 3 bolt Altec pattern. Although the sheet metal is light, the "Aqauplas" (or whatever they called it) that coats them is a lot of the weight. When Altec used to ship them, they would come face down on a block of foam, with a thin (~1/4 ply) piece of wood, in a large cardboard box. There was then a thick cardboard plate at the back bolted on to the throat. These days, I would do the foam at the bottom, face down, cover in plastic and fill the box with injectable foam, or a ton of peanuts.
    If you get sick of looking at them, I could give two a nice home ;)
     
  14. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Idle curiosity. Are these perforated for sonic transparency?
    Do they require a four sided frame to stretch them flat?
    Are they coated in an even layer of yellow nicotine from the days when people smoked during films?
    Do they require lacing and / or springs on all four sides?
    Just in case anyone's seriously interested, do you have any idea of their basic sizes before masking?
    And that's going to be the next questions; do you have automated tracks for their masking legs and borders?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  15. Senorfish

    Senorfish Member

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    Used to use those JBL 4675's at the Skirball in LA. Good speakers... THX approved like funkcity said. Far as I know... they're still using them. In fact when I redid the sound in that space I added an L-acoustic Kiva line array for live events, and kept the JBL 4675's as is for film screenings.... particularly classic film screenings. The reason that the horn is so big is that it helps give the upper midrange and treble like a 5-10db bump that those frequencies need to push through the perforated movie screen. The low end frequencies from the cabinet go through the screen without a problem. So yeah... those are totally legit movie speakers for any medium or large size movie theater. Probably worth finding the right buyer for.
     
  16. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Not to worry JD - the horns I was discussing above are the JBL's, which are even more enormous than the Multicell's. The 1005B's... Well, I am getting tired of tripping over them. I'd make you one heck of a deal on my two nicest ones - I'll even include Altec mounting brackets! The drivers are 288-16mhz. Apparently not the most preferred model, but not terrible either. I can say that at least one has an aftermarket diaphragm installed.

    Yes, they are perforated, and actually are pretty clean from what I have seen. The theater these came out of was a cinema from the 70's to the 90's and then sat vacant for a while. In the early 2000's, it reopened as a Movie Tavern. Corporate has been slowly upgrading the facilities, hence the renovation. I'm not sure if the screens date back to the original cinema or when Movie Tavern bought it. I know the sound equipment must date back. They were mounted with springs on all sides, and I'm still finding those springs stuck to my speakers every once in a while. I'm not sure of the sizes – one is from a smaller room, but the other is huge and was curved like a cyclorama. I'd guess at least 60' wide and 20-30' high. It's the one that hid the 6 A7's and Multicell's.
    Unfortunately I have no masking. The theatre teacher friend of mine who introduced me to this deal actually took as many black curtains and tracks as she could find. There was a wall panel upstairs with open/close controls, but the motors must have been removed much earlier; perhaps when Movie Tavern took over, or maybe when they switched to digital about five years ago. From what I saw, they just had pull-ropes dangling. That said, I am concerned about the condition of these since being folded and allowed to crease. I'm not sure how well the material handles that kind of stress. I thought about cutting them up and selling the pieces as home theater material, but I don't know how well it would work for near-field viewing since they are perforated. It seems like they wouldn't have replaced the screens had it been easier to remove/store/reinstall them without folding them up. The manager said that the new screens come tightly rolled up in a large tube and once you open it up, that's it. Kind of a Pandora's Box.

    Thanks for the info! I need to join some AVS forums, although they may have rules for posting in the classifieds like we do here. If anyone knows someone, let me know and I'll try to get in touch. As a clarification, you mentioned 4675's. My horns are (9) 2360 with 4445H drivers. What's the difference? I know the trend usually leans toward lower model numbers = lower end. All this (JBL) gear seems to be good, but perhaps on the "economy" end of the spectrum (2035HPL woofers, 4445H HF drivers, etc).
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  17. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    I actually have a good supply of the Altec drivers. Right now, they are bolted to Community Light & Sound BRH90 radial horns. (Now know as just "Community") Use them about once a year. I once had a pair of multi's back in the 70's and sold them when everyone changed over to the radials. Now, with the whole "Steampunk Retro" going on, I have the strange desire to go backwards in time for no technical reason whatsoever, other than they look wicked cool. ;)

    With Altec, the 288-16 would indicate 16 ohm with a foil suspension. However, pretty sure the "Mhz" might be a miss-read. Usually it's "C" for the older style, or "G" for the monster magnet version. Couple of other letters were used, but only one character long. 288 is the preferred theater driver, the 291 is the preferred concert model. Only difference is the diaphragm, which is interchangeable. The 291 diaphragm is suspended with a red-ish colored plastic, the 288 is a thin foil.

    There was also a 288-24, which was 24 ohms. No idea why, but I've seen them out there!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  18. Senorfish

    Senorfish Member

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    Yeah I don't know what the difference is between JBL 4675's VS 2360's but from the outside they look identical. I used to get advice for my film stuff from this forum... http://www.film-tech.com/main.php and if Sam Chavez is there, he was one of the head designers for Dolby/THX stuff and could answer any questions. But all those guys are film gear nuts and can help you find a buyer if it's worth selling.
     
  19. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Without looking up the specs on those two, I can say that as with "Imax" qualifiers, they don't test every product. They want to keep things relatively uniform, so a limited list is easier to control. Of course, that means there are many products that would perform as well, but don't get tested and therefore don't get rated.
     
  20. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks - I have seen that forum in a few searches and the people there seem really knowledgeable. I might create an account and poke around a bit.

    @JD - you are right about the "16mhz" nomenclature. I don't know how I got that in my head. They are 16K.
     

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