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Allison AL-110/115 tweeter question


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Did Allison change the tweeter design of the AL-110/115s over time? Around 1998, I bought a pair of speakers directly from the factory; it was an unusual pair that they basically put together for me: AL-110 drivers in AL-105 cabinets.  Together with an active subwoofer (different brand), these sounded better than anything else I could afford for the past 18 years. Catastrophe struck a few months ago when a leak in my house soaked the speakers and ruined the cabinets.  The drivers were fine.  I found a pair of AL-115s in perfect condition, luckily, and bought them.  The moment I listened to them, though, I could tell the tweeters were not as sweet as my old ones. Not as transparent, airy or delicate. Narrower sounds stage. More sibilant. Nowhere near as smooth at high volumes. The tweeters looked pretty much the same from the outside, so I took them out of the cabinets...and there were differences between the two sets.  The old ones were heavier (each 27.3 ounces vs 21.3) with bigger magnets (pictures attached). I swapped the tweeters (cutout dimensions etc matched perfectly), and the AL-115s now sound superb....better than the old setup and I am beyond happy.  Added lower end punch and midrange richness.  Can anyone shed light on the tweeter differences?  I can't tell how old the AL-115s are, although I think they are newer than my old hybrid Allisons. Only one of the AL-115s has a label, and the company address is Bellingham, MA; serial # R 3607.  Thanks.

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Old left new right.JPG

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The tweeter on the left in the bottom pic has magnetic shielding on it. Could be the only difference. The magnet might be the same size as the one on the right. Speaker companies were using shielding back then because the magnetic fields would wreak havoc on the video signal that ran though the big and heavy tube television sets back then when speakers were set close to the screen. Remember, this was the beginning of home theater.

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The AL 115s are older. Bellingham, MA was one of the locations of the company when Roy Allison owned the company which was before 1994. He sold it in the early 90s. By 1998 the company was in Kentucky. They sold factory direct which is why you were able to order a "hybrid." Are there any marks on the backs of the tweeters that might indicate the system for which the tweeter was intended? Maybe the tweeter in the AL 115 was not the original but replacement from another Allison speaker system

I belong to the Yahoo Allison Group and they have indicated that it is not a good idea to put a tweeter from a three-way system into a two-way system due to differences in frequency range and the cooling material used. Maybe a former owner of the AL 115s swapped out the tweeter.

 

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On 3/9/2017 at 1:13 PM, JerryS said:

Did Allison change the tweeter design of the AL-110/115s over time? Around 1998, I bought a pair of speakers directly from the factory; it was an unusual pair that they basically put together for me: AL-110 drivers in AL-105 cabinets.  Together with an active subwoofer (different brand), these sounded better than anything else I could afford for the past 18 years. Catastrophe struck a few months ago when a leak in my house soaked the speakers and ruined the cabinets.  The drivers were fine.  I found a pair of AL-115s in perfect condition, luckily, and bought them.  The moment I listened to them, though, I could tell the tweeters were not as sweet as my old ones. Not as transparent, airy or delicate. Narrower sounds stage. More sibilant. Nowhere near as smooth at high volumes. The tweeters looked pretty much the same from the outside, so I took them out of the cabinets...and there were differences between the two sets.  The old ones were heavier (each 27.3 ounces vs 21.3) with bigger magnets (pictures attached). I swapped the tweeters (cutout dimensions etc matched perfectly), and the AL-115s now sound superb....better than the old setup and I am beyond happy.  Added lower end punch and midrange richness.  Can anyone shed light on the tweeter differences?  I can't tell how old the AL-115s are, although I think they are newer than my old hybrid Allisons. Only one of the AL-115s has a label, and the company address is Bellingham, MA; serial # R 3607.  Thanks.

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The one with the can on it is a tweeter used in the NL series of magnetically shielded home theater speakers available in the mid 90s.

I found from my own experience with those systems, the condition of the woofer has a dramatic impact on the overall response of the system.

Bill

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Thanks, Guys.  To summarize then, the AL-115's tweeters (the ones on the right in the pictures) are older than the tweeters on my 1998 hybrids, and are shorter and six ounces lighter only because they don't have magnetic shielding?  (Another difference I didn't mention is that the metal mesh is more domed in the AL-115 tweeters, if that sheds any more light).  The difference in sound may be because the AL-115 tweeters have been swapped out by an earlier owner for tweeters from a three-way set of ALs? There are no markings on the backs of either set of tweeters apart from a red dot or cross mark to show where to connect the red wire.  Please keep the comments/thoughts coming..... Thanks!

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  • 2 years later...

I bought a pair of CD9 from a private seller on letgo that had an unfortunate collision with an unknown object while in the care of its previous owner. One speaker was perfect the other had a tweeter with a missing dust cap and its left wire severed. The midrange had a wire barely hanging on neither had a signal. 

I proceeded to search for drivers and quickly learned that most every driver is the same through most models starting with the One. The Nine, which my CD9 is based on differs in crossover and bi amp-ability but aside from the 10" woofer in the 9, the midrange and the tweeters look identical to one through six, naked without any grilles, all the grilles depend on an exterior grill with these convex delicate paper drivers.

The "big auction site" as they say, had many drivers, most every tweeter and midrange in 2019 cost $125-175 each.

I finally found a guy who had a few hundred new old stock direct from the original Allison company in MA, boxed in formed stock Styrofoam that were designated for mobile auto installations. Theae were the same exact drivers as mine in the CD9 but with metal grilles attached to protect them.

 

Same magnet, same nipple shaped tweeter with the leads running to the edges, same midrange. Also more importantly from the supplied spec sheet, identical magnet weight, frequency range and power handling @ 4ohms

I got the tweeters first then ordered the midrange, both in pairs, both sets cost less than $180 a pair. He may have some left.

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ay6V3DW49WnoZy2VA

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TTZLbPLRahzmwF4r7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/44hceVLH8m8BshuF8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UQVm63t9xurqpErZA

https://photos.app.goo.gl/NvTySJjeXWt1PXJm8

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 11:40 PM, StuBotNJ said:

I bought a pair of CD9 from a private seller on letgo that had an unfortunate collision with an unknown object while in the care of its previous owner. One speaker was perfect the other had a tweeter with a missing dust cap and its left wire severed. The midrange had a wire barely hanging on neither had a signal. 

I proceeded to search for drivers and quickly learned that most every driver is the same through most models starting with the One. The Nine, which my CD9 is based on differs in crossover and bi amp-ability but aside from the 10" woofer in the 9, the midrange and the tweeters look identical to one through six, naked without any grilles, all the grilles depend on an exterior grill with these convex delicate paper drivers.

The "big auction site" as they say, had many drivers, most every tweeter and midrange in 2019 cost $125-175 each.

I finally found a guy who had a few hundred new old stock direct from the original Allison company in MA, boxed in formed stock Styrofoam that were designated for mobile auto installations. Theae were the same exact drivers as mine in the CD9 but with metal grilles attached to protect them.

 

Same magnet, same nipple shaped tweeter with the leads running to the edges, same midrange. Also more importantly from the supplied spec sheet, identical magnet weight, frequency range and power handling @ 4ohms

I got the tweeters first then ordered the midrange, both in pairs, both sets cost less than $180 a pair. He may have some left.

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ay6V3DW49WnoZy2VA

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TTZLbPLRahzmwF4r7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/44hceVLH8m8BshuF8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UQVm63t9xurqpErZA

https://photos.app.goo.gl/NvTySJjeXWt1PXJm8

 

You bought the wrong tweeters, unfortunately.

You CAN, get away with using them in the 9, but you bought 2 way tweeters designed to operate to spec. In models 4, 5, 6, and 7.

They look identical, but use ferrofluid, rather than silicone grease cooling material.

These days, you’re lucky to come up with anything at all.

 

Bill

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  • 6 months later...

I have a pair of Allison LC110s from the late 80s. One tweeter died (no sound, although it looks fine), while the other is slightly crushed in the dome, but still works. I did find a replacement from said “major auction site” for one, which works great. I have since found a replacement for the other from an automotive audio company,  the same as what Stubotny posted, the ACD-2. This has the grill. When hooked up, it hardly produces any sound. I suspect this model is incompatible with the LC110,  perhaps because it is for an automotive system? Thank you in advance for your help. Chris

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10 hours ago, Jordac said:

I have a pair of Allison LC110s from the late 80s. One tweeter died (no sound, although it looks fine), while the other is slightly crushed in the dome, but still works. I did find a replacement from said “major auction site” for one, which works great. I have since found a replacement for the other from an automotive audio company,  the same as what Stubotny posted, the ACD-2. This has the grill. When hooked up, it hardly produces any sound. I suspect this model is incompatible with the LC110,  perhaps because it is for an automotive system? Thank you in advance for your help. Chris

Allison Acoustics was never involved with anything thing “automotive”.

That being said, when the company went out of business MAYBE someone outside of the company decided those tweeters fit another spec. close enough and bought them up for resale (pure speculation).

You probably just got a lemon....try swapping it out with the tweet in the other cabinet and you should have your answer.

Bear in mind those NOS tweeters have been sitting around for 20 years at least and could very well be older than that. Look for signs of corrosion/rust where the screen attaches....some tweeters fell victim to that.

Bill

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48 minutes ago, bboylesjc said:

Bill,

Going to have to disagree with you. There was a discussion in the Allison Group that Allison did in fact make speakers for auto sound. Check the link and look at the first picture.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Original-Allison-Acoustics-2-WAY-CONVEX-DIAPHRAGM-TWEETER-ACD-2-NOS/173020890011

 

Brian

Hi Brian,

That Ebay seller has been out there for a number of years with his NOS inventory of Allison midrange and tweeter drivers with that infamous “automotive” designation.

There was never an Allison full range automotive loudspeaker, or loudspeaker system (example, like a Bose branded system) that ever got off the ground.

Bill
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, all. So, will the ACD-2 tweets labeled for "autosound" sold from (link below) theoretically work in the LC-110 and /or AL-120? I'm trying to determine whether the item I ordered from below is defective or incompatible. It does produce sound but at about 1/2 the volume (or less) than the original tweeter. Before I go through the hassle of haggling with said vendor for replacement/return, I just want to be sure this should work, theoretically. Thanks so much, Chris

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Original-Allison-Acoustics-2-WAY-CONVEX-DIAPHRAGM-TWEETER-ACD-2-NOS/173020890011

 

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13 hours ago, Jordac said:

Thanks, all. So, will the ACD-2 tweets labeled for "autosound" sold from (link below) theoretically work in the LC-110 and /or AL-120? I'm trying to determine whether the item I ordered from below is defective or incompatible. It does produce sound but at about 1/2 the volume (or less) than the original tweeter. Before I go through the hassle of haggling with said vendor for replacement/return, I just want to be sure this should work, theoretically. Thanks so much, Chris

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Original-Allison-Acoustics-2-WAY-CONVEX-DIAPHRAGM-TWEETER-ACD-2-NOS/173020890011

 

Chris,

Have you contacted your Ebay seller to explain to him what’s going on with that tweeter and the system you’re using it in?

 

Bill

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14 minutes ago, Jordac said:

Thanks, Bill. I’m awaiting a response from the seller. We’ll see!

Are there any recommendations for non-Allison replacement tweeters? I’m considering something as a stop gap, until I can get the real thing. I found these... any thoughts?

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/sb-acoustics-soft-dome-tweeters/sb-acoustics-sb26stac-c000-4-1-textile-dome-tweeter/

 

I recall on the Yahoo forum some guys went for the Madisound tweeter as an alternative.

 I personally wouldn’t go there....the Original Allison tweeter and midrange define the “Allison” sound. Without that, it’s no longer an Allison Loudspeaker.

The seller should make good to you.

Putting aside the “autosound” debate, those labels show the point of origin as the Framingham Ma. Location and nothing Allison has come out of there in over 30 years, so you’ve got some seriously NOS on your hands.

Is there any evidence of corrosion around the protective screen? Yours may have deteriorated simply by being in a box for decades.

There are many Used versions Of the Allison two way tweeter  (some without the screens) that are interchangeable with the 110.

They’ve been listed many times before, but I’d be happy to list them again if the seller fails you.

 

Bill

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Thanks, Bill. I would certainly prefer original tweeters. No sign of corrosion...maybe was just a dud. Hopefully can get a return/replace. . BTW, what is “NOS”? Another thought... I have a few Allison tweeters in various states of functionality. Is it possible for someone skilled to restore working units from various cannibalized parts? For instance, can sound paper cones be removed from dead coils to fix other units?

 

 

Thanks, Bill. I’m awaiting a response from the seller. We’ll see!

Are there any recommendations for non-Allison replacement tweeters? I’m considering something as a stop gap, until I can get the real thing. I found these... any thoughts?

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/sb-acoustics-soft-dome-tweeters/sb-acoustics-sb26stac-c000-4-1-textile-dome-tweeter/

 

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46 minutes ago, Jordac said:

Thanks, Bill. I would certainly prefer original tweeters. No sign of corrosion...maybe was just a dud. Hopefully can get a return/replace. . BTW, what is “NOS”? Another thought... I have a few Allison tweeters in various states of functionality. Is it possible for someone skilled to restore working units from various cannibalized parts? For instance, can sound paper cones be removed from dead coils to fix other units?

 

NOS= “NEW” old stock! (30 plus in your case.

The only professional  guy I knew Who attempted tweeter repair with no warranty is Long out of it. 
Some enthusiasts on the forums have done SOME repairs with limited success depending on the issue.

Even Allison Acoustics, in their heyday, did not repair tweeters Or midrange drivers for end users. Replacement only.

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

In case anybody is still watching this thread....  I have a pair of AL-115s and  stumbled on this site/thread when checking to see what the part number for the tweeter is, in case I need another in the future.  I thought I had blown one of mine but managed to fix it.  The problem wasn't down in the voice coil itself but, rather, the wires extending through the dome and to the solder points.   It seems that the black, tar-like goo that they run through is corrosive and after so many years, the wire simply rusted open.  

Using my multi-meter,  the tweeter measured as "open".  The the wires looked kinda green where they went in and out of that black goo-covered channel that runs under the wire mesh cage.  So I dug around the wire cage (same black goo),  pried it off, dug out the wires and measured further in on both sides, where the wires protrude out of the dome.   THAT measured fine (3.5 ohms, if I recall correctly).

I clipped off the corroded parts and soldered in a half inch length of very thin magnet wire (single strand, varnish covered wired for motor windings) that I had laying around... scraping the varnish off both ends, of course.  It works fine now!.  It wasn't TOO difficult to fix but pretty tedious work.

I've attached a picture of the repaired tweeter. If you look closely through the cage, you can see the "loop" of the old wires, soldered to the new length of magnet wire that I re-routed through the channel and sealed with RTV.  I sure hope the RTV isn't corrosive, but if I get another 10 years out of them, I'll be more than happy.

So... if you think your tweeter suddenly blew, and you haven't been abusing it with really loud music,  maybe it's the same issue as with mine.  It's definitely worth checking those lead wires.

- Kayaker2001

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IMG_0443.jpg

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2 hours ago, Kayaker2001 said:

Hi,

In case anybody is still watching this thread....  I have a pair of AL-115s and  stumbled on this site/thread when checking to see what the part number for the tweeter is, in case I need another in the future.  I thought I had blown one of mine but managed to fix it.  The problem wasn't down in the voice coil itself but, rather, the wires extending through the dome and to the solder points.   It seems that the black, tar-like goo that they run through is corrosive and after so many years, the wire simply rusted open.  

Using my multi-meter,  the tweeter measured as "open".  The the wires looked kinda green where they went in and out of that black goo-covered channel that runs under the wire mesh cage.  So I dug around the wire cage (same black goo),  pried it off, dug out the wires and measured further in on both sides, where the wires protrude out of the dome.   THAT measured fine (3.5 ohms, if I recall correctly).

I clipped off the corroded parts and soldered in a half inch length of very thin magnet wire (single strand, varnish covered wired for motor windings) that I had laying around... scraping the varnish off both ends, of course.  It works fine now!.  It wasn't TOO difficult to fix but pretty tedious work.

I've attached a picture of the repaired tweeter. If you look closely through the cage, you can see the "loop" of the old wires, soldered to the new length of magnet wire that I re-routed through the channel and sealed with RTV.  I sure hope the RTV isn't corrosive, but if I get another 10 years out of them, I'll be more than happy.

So... if you think your tweeter suddenly blew, and you haven't been abusing it with really loud music,  maybe it's the same issue as with mine.  It's definitely worth checking those lead wires.

- Kayaker2001

IMG_0442.jpg

IMG_0443.jpg

Yes I have seen many posts about this corrosion problem during the last 24 years or so, that I’ve followed Allison on the web.

 I believe there is no one single factor that makes it happen with SOME of these tweeters that have the metal screens. (I started out in 1977 with no screens). The screens were the “improved” protection that came roughly 10 years after the introduction of the original lineup. High humidity where the speakers are used is the catalyst IMHO. Perhaps that compound like you said, or a touch of rusty corrosion between that screen and the wire, but no one knows for sure. Rust on the screw heads is an indicator of where they’ve been.

 

Bill

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On 6/5/2020 at 9:17 AM, Jordac said:

Thanks, Bill. I would certainly prefer original tweeters. No sign of corrosion...maybe was just a dud. Hopefully can get a return/replace. . BTW, what is “NOS”? Another thought... I have a few Allison tweeters in various states of functionality. Is it possible for someone skilled to restore working units from various cannibalized parts? For instance, can sound paper cones be removed from dead coils to fix other units?

 

 

Thanks, Bill. I’m awaiting a response from the seller. We’ll see!

Are there any recommendations for non-Allison replacement tweeters? I’m considering something as a stop gap, until I can get the real thing. I found these... any thoughts?

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/sb-acoustics-soft-dome-tweeters/sb-acoustics-sb26stac-c000-4-1-textile-dome-tweeter/

 

From the Allison Yahoo group:
 
We have a tech outside Boston who has successfully restored tweeters whose only fault was their wiring.
 
The cost if he is successful is $35 ea + return s/h.
 
To get them to him, pack them v v v v carefully (cardboard cutout collars, lots bubblewrap etc) and pack and ship to 
 
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21 hours ago, bboylesjc said:
From the Allison Yahoo group:
 
We have a tech outside Boston who has successfully restored tweeters whose only fault was their wiring.
 
The cost if he is successful is $35 ea + return s/h.
 
To get them to him, pack them v v v v carefully (cardboard cutout collars, lots bubblewrap etc) and pack and ship to 
 

That’s a really reasonable price considering the time involved!  I’ll definitely consider that if the other tweeter fails.  

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2 hours ago, Kayaker2001 said:

That’s a really reasonable price considering the time involved!  I’ll definitely consider that if the other tweeter fails.  

Here’s a bit of “remember when” regarding that tweeter.

When it first appeared from Allison Acoustics back in the 1970’s, a brand new factory replacement could be ordered and shipped to you from the Natick Mass. factory (along with near bulletproof packaging) for the same price (around 35 bucks)! No metal screens though....they had not come up with those yet!

 

Bill

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  • 2 months later...

I bought my Allison 110's probably 1984. No screen over the tweeter.  My then two year old son managed to get his hands on one, pull off the cover, and poke his finger in the tweeter dome.  I wrote Allison protesting the ease with which the two year old accessed the tweeter.  I got a letter back signed by Roy, suggesting that I glue small blocks of wood to the front panel, and then put screws through the cover into the wood.  He included an order form for replacement tweeters. Perhaps I was responsible for a design change....

Ed

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