Altec A-7 & Electro-Voice Patrician 800 loudspeakers

In the introduction to "Recommended Components" in the final issue in Volume One of what was then called The Stereophile, published in May 1966, founder J. Gordon Holt briefly described his Top-Rated Loudspeaker Systems.

Altec A-7
A highly efficient horn-loaded system for use in large to very large listening rooms (at least 15' from the listening area), or for very high-volume "Row-A" listening. Excellent woofer-tweeter blending, moderately deep (useful 45Hz limit in most rooms) and very taut, well-defined low end. Highs smooth and slightly soft, yielding most natural high-end quality at high listening levels. Middles smooth, rather forward, placing closely miked instruments somewhat in front of the system itself.

A very lifelike, natural-sounding system in most acoustical environments. Stereo imaging good but not phenomenal; system configuration allows placement against one wall, for adjustment of stereo spread.

Electro-Voice Patrician 800
A highly efficient, corner-type horn system for use in very large listening rooms (at least 20' from the listening area) or for very high-volume Row-A listening. Driver blending (five units) moderately good. Bass (in corner location) slightly heavy and "wooly"—not outstandingly well-damped—good to a usable 20Hz in a suitable room. Wide range of driver level adjustment provides choice of very forward, hard sound, dull, heavy sound, or just about anything in between. Individual drivers are moderately smooth, but with some colorations of their own.


With balance set for "Row-M" perspective, sound tends to be somewhat rough and confused. Overall realism improves, up to a point, as balances are set for more forward sound. At optimum settings (dependent on room size and acoustics), sound is "authoritarian"-realistic, fairly natural, although slightly favoring brass instruments, and quite "immediate," yielding a strong illusion of "performers in the room." Disc surface noise slightly exaggerated, with a predominantly "papery" coloration.

Corner placement will generally impair the stereo imaging, but the systems may be placed flat against the wall at the expense of some deep-bass response. Overall low-end sound will often be better when a stereo pair are out of their corners; two of them in corners tend to produce excessively boomy bass in most listening rooms.

Footnote: JGH also included the Bozak LM-310 in his 1966 list. His comments on this loudspeaker have already been reprinted on this website. You can find them here.—Editor

Herb Reichert's picture

(including the Bozak which my friend owns) and I think Gordon nailed it


Jack L's picture



"some colorations of their own." quoted J Gordon Holt

Can't agree more. Most most, if not all, compressor driver horns get
their own unique COLORATIONS. Being kinda sorta next of kin of brass musical instrument, they reproduce brass sound far more real than any dynamic driven speaker drivers - metallic colouration !!

Yet horn drivers get the least distortion as compared to the moving diaphragms of dynamic drivers.

Personally, I just don't go for horn colouration on top of its relatively sharp beam angles when sitting too close from the horn drivers.

My favourite is Rows K-M, never Rows A - C !

Jack l

Kal Rubinson's picture

Altec A-7


A very lifelike, natural-sounding system in most acoustical environments.

I had a pair of these way back when I was running classical music at WKCR. My wife tells me that our 1-year-old daughter (enabled by her baby walker) used to stick her head into the enclosure when I was on the air. One evening, after taping my show, I came home to see that but she was startled to see me and did a double-take. I think she really thought I was somewhere in the that large box. Very life-like, I guess.

partain's picture

How much did they cost then , and now ?

Ortofan's picture

... domestic version of the A7 in a furniture grade cabinet, sold for $500, equivalent to about $4K today.
Couldn't find a price for the E-V Patrician 800, but the similar looking Patrician 700 sold for $800, or about $7K today.

Kal Rubinson's picture

The Patrician 800 sold for $1250 in 1970. It would cost that to ship them today.

Mars2k's picture

How much your wife will like them! Especially the black ones

thethanimal's picture

After reading about Altecs Iā€™d love to be able to hear them in person one day.

clinton burdette's picture

Have had a set since new and still love'em, moved them 4 times and they still sound great!

PeterG's picture

One fun thing about this piece is the number of harsh comments on the Patricians. It would be difficult to find this many negatives in any contemporary review, never mind one for Recommended Components. I guess reviewers were more frank in those days.