Skip to main content
Community forums, blogs, song critique, press & more...

Altec Lansing Studio Monitors Opinions

What's your favorite Altec Lansing studio monitors?


RemyRAD Sat, 05/22/2010 - 23:48

But Elwoodblues 1969, surely you are old enough to know that Altec Lansing & studio monitor where the only monitors used in any sentences for many years. Flat? Who needs flat? You need monitors that you can work upon all day, evaluate your work, produce a product and still come back tomorrow and do it all over again. The 604 was the only standard for many years. Some folks did better with those than others. I never cared for them that much. But a good mix always sounded like a good mix on a pair of 604's. Computer desktop speakers? Those aren't even really speakers. They're toys with somebody's name on them that has nothing to do with that person's name. Personally, I hated their crossover. The Mastering Lab cross over was quite nice. I thought it was nicer than the UREI time aligned version was. The Tweeter diaphragm was at the back of the woofer, which I always thought time aligned it from the beginning? I guess they felt they needed more alignment? Getting rid of the cellular horn was a nice improvement. And lots of people used to record music with telephones. It was called the carbon button microphone. Nice flat response to 3000 cycles. We just have to keep hitting them to keep the noise down. And that's what recording engineers were needed for. Keep tapping on your microphone. Voilà!

Hi fidelity telephones are creepy
Mx. Remy Ann David

Profile picture for user BusterMudd

BusterMudd Mon, 05/24/2010 - 07:15

elwoodblues1969, post: 348550 wrote: Studio monitors are linear & flat in their audio performance,such as M-Audio,Adams,Tannoy,JBL etc.,that you would find at a GuitarCenter or SamAsh for instance... [snip]...
Do any of you have any clue how ludicrous this thread is?

It just got ludicrouser.

elwoodblues1969, post: 348628 wrote: I've been a musician for over 20 years,but it was only 5 years ago,that I became serious about recording

Well, there's the problem right there...

RemyRAD Mon, 05/24/2010 - 13:25

Elwoodblues 1969 great minds think alike. I have been listening to JBL 4310/11/12 since they were introduced in 1968. And plugged into CROWN DC 150/300's, all over my house. Not to mention a couple of pairs of KRK's thrown in for good measure. I could never tolerate the sound of cheap speakers which includes Bose & Polk, which are crap and ain't professional. A lot of folks seem to be leaning towards the Adams. They're okay. A little overly bright for my taste. But precision monitors nonetheless. I have been listening to high fidelity television before we ever went stereo in 1984. I was one of the first people to put stereo television on the air. I actually had to teach NBC-TV how to do news again. They thought they were going to do it in stereo. LOL! Today the news remains in mono the way it should be. I suggested using stereo ambient microphones for the reporters on the street so you could hear the buses go by from the proper directions. There has been a lot of problems since television switched over to digital since it's now capable of multichannel Dolby surround. You really can't do the evening news in Dolby surround. It's idiotic. The anchors still need to be in the front center channel. And they really don't sound good with a bunch of artificial ambience all around them. So while we are discussing speakers were also discussing a fundamental change in what people listen to. For proper surround sound you need decent full range speakers all around. But who's using that? No one. They're using crappy little speakers. And why do we have only one sub? Shouldn't we have a sub for every speaker if you want to do it correctly? Personally, I think of Dolby surround as quadraphonic. Cool at the movies. Impractical at home. Certainly not impractical for those with a sizable income that have dedicated entertainment rooms. So you have 5 A7's including a sub in every room of your house? Of course not. You're lucky if you have a pair of those in every room of your house. You would be fortunate to have a pair of just about any decent consumer speaker in every room of your house. That's the financial practicality of it. I just collected a lot of JBL's through the years. I like the consistency. No, they're not all connected to Crown amplifiers. But they are connected to direct coupled output amplifiers. They sound so much different on auto former output amplifiers like Macintosh. They still sound sweet but not my cup of tea on Macintosh amplifiers. The old 604e and its other brethren can still be mixed upon, providing more than adequate results. It's how you get to know your monitor systems. Not what you think is the next best thing. Once your ear has become finely attuned to listening to things that you find pleasant or unpleasant will you be able to produce wonderful mixes on virtually any kind of speaker system. And yes, we all listen and compare on more than one set of speakers through the process. As audio engineers, we evaluate our acoustic surroundings, monitoring facilities, coupled with a thorough understanding of what can be delivered. Some of this requires technical knowledge some doesn't. So now that you are an expert because you have " Heard the Light", welcome to the club. Of course every time you hear something better you will go crazy. And that's where good old-fashioned consistency comes in. One calamity that audio engineers now have to deal with is the constant daily inconsistency of technology versus profits.

There was a time not too long ago when everybody thought (after 1948) that tubes were bad and noisy. Ribbon microphones were not flat in response like those Hitler microphones. What goes around comes around. Tubes are new again! You've got to have a ribbon microphone. Squeeze in your ear, earphones are now more expensive than good headphones. Where will it all end? How does this improve the art we want to listen to for enjoyment, release, fulfillment? If you listen to music entertainment as a clinician/technician? Then you've missed the point. It's not how it sounds. It's how it emotionally touches you. "Clean as a bell", could be looked upon as being hit in the head with a hammer or a pillow. I'll take the pillow any day.

I know I've been doing this for more than 40 years. You learn a few things in that period of time.
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Mon, 05/24/2010 - 17:20

Thanks, I couldn't agree with you more. Compact self powered monitors have truly revolutionized the monitoring world. You get a system that is hopefully well thought out and well designed. I'm always concerned that many of the current low-cost self powered monitors have amplifiers that are actually too low in power. While I certainly agree that bi and/or tri-amplifying does a remarkable job above passes speaker crossovers. I still haven't multi-amped my 4311/4312's in my control room, I'm still thinking about it. Especially since I have a Rane Mo Jo active crossover. I don't know? I might like them too much then? And I never feel that you can have too much power. So I wouldn't mind having 150 W of power for my tweeters. And I just don't have 3 DC 300's for each pair of JBL's I own. So being the nice girl that I am I guess I shall just remain passive.

Not passive when I'm mixing
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Mon, 05/17/2010 - 21:23

I was glad when I got rid of my 604E's with the Mastering Lab crossover. I really wasn't fond of the UREI 813's with their crossover or even bi-amplified. I could never stand that horn black cellular or blue with foam. UG

Of course they were great in their day
Mx. Remy Ann David

Profile picture for user BusterMudd

BusterMudd Tue, 05/18/2010 - 12:12

RemyRAD, post: 348328 wrote: I was glad when I got rid of my 604E's with the Mastering Lab crossover. I really wasn't fond of the UREI 813's with their crossover or even bi-amplified. I could never stand that horn black cellular or blue with foam. UG

Of course they were great in their day
Mx. Remy Ann David

Well yeah, I thought that was the point... "my favorite Altec-Lansing studio monitor" is the one I used back when Altec-Lansing studio monitors were common. The last time I used one would've been circa 1980. And I actually thought the UREI 813 was a step backwards in terms of long-term listenability.

But nowadays neither of those monitors would make my top-20 list.

Profile picture for user BusterMudd

BusterMudd Wed, 05/26/2010 - 08:26

elwoodblues1969, post: 348668 wrote: 5 years of critical mixing & mastering on real studio monitors is 5 years more experience than you have,if you honestly believe that Altec Lansings are usable in a studio enviroment.

Nice try,but no dice.

Ooh look, an internet pissing match! How unusual!

When your 5 years experience turns into 35, come back to this thread and see if you recognize your young upstartness for what it is. Presuming you can survive in this industry that long, I suspect you, like I and a thousand other professional audio engineers before me, will realize that you can mix on nearly any speaker provided you understand how that speaker reacts in that room...i.e., if you learn to predict the monitor system's transfer function, you learn what to listen for. That's how I tracked & mixed on Altec 604s back in the day, and that's what I would do if I had to track & mix on Altec 604s today.

It's okay grasshopper, you're young...

Profile picture for user Davedog

Davedog Wed, 05/26/2010 - 22:54

I will tell you this.....Altec Lansing has been and still is a major builder of professional sound equipment. Their history as a speaker manufacturer goes back before a lot of us were born. Their designs have stood the test of time and are still incorporated in one way or another in modern sound reproduction design. They built high-fidelity amplifiers back in the 50's that still sound great today. I am NOT talking about any consumer level rebadged computer speakers....I am speaking of true sound reproduction. The 604's that Remy talked about were industry standard in MOST recording studios, movie sound stages and television studios throughout the world for many many years.

You should do your homework about the history of something before assuming that your limited knowledge is all there is to it.

As for your apparent attitude towards others opinions about equipment you have some success with, it really doesnt matter what you use as long as it works for you. No one cares that you think the world of a be*&^*%@#ger product. As is true with ALL gear manufacturers, some stuff works well and does so within its price point. and some doesnt. Most peoples beef with aforesaid manufacturer goes deeper than simp
ly building some crap products. A lot of it has to do with reverse engineering. Are you familiar with this terminology?

Its where a manufacturer ignores someones copyrights on a design, goes outside of countries that would support the legalities of said designs and builds a large number of units with this ripped off design and sells them for profit without compensation to the original patent or copyright holder. The manf. in question here has been doing this for years.

I wonder who REALLY designed those monitors? Since they sound good, my guess is it wasnt good old so-and-so.