Legend Reborn: Altec Lansing Reintroduces Legacy A7 ‘Voice Of The Theatre’ Speaker

Altec Lansing® is joining the movement to revive and re-issue classic audio gear. This one really is a blast from the past: Altec has reintroduced the legendary A7 sound reinforcement loudspeaker, also known as the “Voice of the Theatre®.”

The new reproduction is named Legacy A7, and Altec is positioning it as an esoteric item for audiophiles and collectors who appreciate classic audio, as well as for the pro audio and studio applications filled by the original A7.

The Legacy A7 is available direct from Altec Lansing online, priced at $4,000 (US) per speaker, plus $300 (US) each for shipping. It is available immediately.

Altec Lansing’s “Voice of the Theatre” was the first and only speaker series to be approved by the Research Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making it the worldwide standard for motion picture playback. Introduced in the early 1950’s, the A7 was the pinnacle of the “Voice of the Theatre” line, defining an era of sound reproduction for movie theaters, recording studios, even rock groups lasting nearly 40 years.

The A7 was the culmination of Altec’s Voice of the Theatre line. It was soon in demand for use as a studio monitor and home reproducer. Over the years, the A7 established itself as an almost universal standard against which engineers and audio lovers judged the quality of recorded sound.

Altec Lansing says the new Legacy A7 is a meticulous re-issue of this classic speaker, precise in every engineering detail and offered in the most refined cabinetry the speaker has ever seen.

“The new A7 is a meticulous re-issue of our original product,” says Mark Lucas, president and CEO of Altec Lansing Technologies.

“Every detail, every specification is based on historic research and painstaking design analysis. For anyone from vacuum tube amplification fans to modern-day digital system lovers, the new A7 is a piece of history they can enjoy right in their own music room or home theater.”

For many audio engineers and other discriminating audio lovers, the A7’s unique sound was unmistakable: completely memorable, and totally unique. It quite probably has become the most listened-to speaker system in the world, thrilling millions of theater goers and others over its long and distinguished reign.

Manufactured in the USA using the same materials, the same specs and production drawings, even the same tools used in the original product, the A7 is once again ready to grace the homes and studios of consumers and other collectors who can appreciate an audio classic.

Meticulous Reproduction

Nothing has been left to chance in the re-issue of the A7. In fact, the company’s Golden Sample – the product “mother” upon which all manufacturing is based – was acoustically matched to an original A7 to ensure the distinctive “Voice of the Theatre” sound is re-created in its full expression.

Boasting outstanding efficiency as well as incredibly dynamic and accurate performance, the A7 features a number of components that were breakthroughs in the field. The product’s low frequency Model 515 Lansing(R) woofer, for example, is specifically designed to maximize the performance of the A7’s bass horn cabinet, and was one of the industry’s first drivers to use an edge-wound, copper-clad aluminum ribbon voice coil. Flat wire coils are a cornerstone of accuracy and efficiency, and were originally developed in 1924 by the group of Western Electric engineers who went on to found Altec Lansing. The Model 902 high frequency compression driver, also a part of the A7, features a 100% aluminum diaphragm for extended high frequency performance.

In some ways, performance of the A7 has actually been improved. Frequency response in the new product is now 35 Hz to 22 kHz (the first A7 achieved 20 kHz, generally regarded as the limit of human hearing); the crossover, while a match of the original, uses better components and techniques to accommodate modern media such as SACD or DVD-A.

Housing the A7’s drivers is an individually-numbered speaker cabinet constructed of 13-layer Baltic Birch, finished with the signature “Voice of the Theatre” black splatter finish. The durable, acoustically refined enclosures are handmade to the highest modern standards.

More Features & Details

Outstanding Efficiency

  • Perfect for the vacuum tube amplification lover or enthusiasts of the latest digital amplification technology – anyone who appreciates the benefits of truly classic audio engineering.
  • The A7 drivers contain powerful magnetic structures, precisely spaced magnetic gaps and optimal material selections.
  • Model 515 LF driver features edgewise wound copper-clad aluminum ribbon wire in its voice coil. Model 902 HF driver uses copper ribbon wire. Flat wire voice coils, a cornerstone of accuracy and efficiency, have been used by Altec longer than anyone else.

No-Compromise Design

  • Incredibly dynamic and accurate… the new Voice of the Theatre effortlessly achieves performance that will move you.
  • Only the finest American made components were qualified for the latest A7.
  • The 902 HF driver uses the Altec Tangerine™ Radial Phase Plug.
  • Hydraulically formed aluminum HF diaphragm with tangential compliance.

Handmade Construction

  • Durable, sonically excellent 13-layer Baltic Birch plywood cabinet, manufactured to the highest modern standards.
  • Combinations of the bass reflex and horn enclosure offer proven superior quality in sound reproduction. The advantages of the extended bass response of the bass reflex enclosure, coupled to a short, radiating exponentially formed front loaded horn without folds, further extends the low bass range.
  • Completed with a Voice of the Theatre rugged black splatter finish.

Faithful Engineering

  • Careful attention to the smallest details, capturing all the sonic excitement that made the original a legend.
  • Altec Lansing relied on original cabinet drawing.
  • Drivers and sectoral horns are cast off of original Altec Lansing tools.
  • Altec’s Golden Sample was acoustically matched to an original A7. All of our efforts were focused on achieving the same signature sound for which The Voice of the Theatre is famous.

Altec Lansing Web Site


  1. What speakers would you recommend for an outdoor pavilion?

  2. John Miller says

    Had a pair years ago, sold because of lack of space – a truly outstanding design

  3. Bob (moppie) says

    We had four of these in our band.I was the sound man,they are out standing nothing comes
    close (Gary Skillings band) New Hampshire…

  4. Rodney Harrison says

    I own a pair of model 19’s which are a sort of modern descendent of the A7 and in 30 yrs of listening I haven’t heard any speaker system come close to their realism. I have listened critically to many expensive speakers in that time but none of them seem to “get it just right” the way the Altecs do.

  5. Chuck Irwin says

    Those aren’t a7’s
    The crossover frequency is different
    The high frequency horn is a 511B
    An A& had an 811B horn.
    –Chuck Irwin

  6. I have seen many Altec products that were called A7’s. It appears to me that there were variants of this model which included the use of the 511, 811 and even some MantaRay horns. From what I know of Altec’s history, calling it an A7 is appropriate.

    I have heard and used these speakers from time to time and they are good, but you should really hear the older and much larger 210 bass horn cabinets paired up with a 1005 multi cell horn, 515’s and 288’s for drivers respectively. It is a lesson in true speaker cabinet efficiency. The bass projection and control is truely shocking. Everyone that I have had over to hear them, (outside setup of course), have said that if they hadn’t heard it they wouldn’t have believed it.

    -Ed King

  7. Terry Bellows says

    I would like to mention that the two high freq horns mentioned above, the 511b and the 811b had some differences. I had a pair of A7-500’s that had the larger 511b horn that crossed over at 500hz. Also, I remember that the 811b horn was a little less expensive, though more commonly used in smaller spaces. And to think I bought the pair new in 1972 for around $800. Sometimes I still miss them.

  8. a friend of mine had a pair of voice of the theater speakers in his 1965 ford van. louder than anything people use in there cars and trucks now. lucky not to be deaf.

  9. Outstanding Efficiency
    Perfect for the vacuum tube amplification lover or enthusiasts of the latest digital amplification technology – anyone who appreciates the benefits of truly classic audio engineering.

    lets see 2000 dollars for a high power vacum tube clean amp— you need efficiency

    with these A 7 you now have a true vintage sound


  10. My set-up uses four A-7 500’s and an Altec “Super Duplex” 604-E in a 620 cabinet. My listening area is 35′ long x 28′ wide x 22′ tall. It is well damped with acoustic absorbent panels. I built all but one of the speaker cabinets strictly according to Altec Lansing plans from 1966.

    Two of the A-7’s are 15′ above the floor and spaced 15′ apart. Directly under them are two more A-7’s.
    In the center, at floor level is the “Super Dupolex” 604-E. I use a McIntosh MC-275V and sometimes a Van Alstine Omegastar 240 and it goes through a Dynaco QD-1 to provide for the three extra speakers. I also use my original Dynaco st-70 that I built in 1966. They all sound real good. Probably a system that costs $100,000 will sound better, but that’s way out of my range. Anyway, I like the connection to my equipment that I have with the poor man’s approach.

    I like to listen to different kinds of sound; all kinds of classical from Monteverdi to Xenakis and beyond. Some jazz. A bunch of organ music, especially Bach and others. The sound is very nice. You can really feel it.

  11. KING of speakers…

    Had few in 80’ies for prori use and kept one as “SUB” (!) for my home system….


  12. James Whited says

    I have 4 sets of A7 Voice of the Theater …with 500hz horns and drivers but no crossover networks because the electronic crossovers are now gone. I sure would like to know where I could locate 4 sets of 500hz crossover networks. I think the altec model number for them is N501-8A (not sure).
    I asked Altec if they could help me but they seemed to not even recognize the fact that they sold the A7s. They are into computer speakers now. All of the old guys must be gone.
    James Whited retired old fart, Long live Maynard Ferguson
    Radford Va
    email me at SidsGrill@verizon.net
    thats SIDSGRILL

    • Sebastian LBT says

      Dear James Whited,
      Write to Altec’s pro-tech support.
      You may order the crossover network direct from them but would be expensive. Or

      Search the web for speakers reconing Suppliers sites for mail order.

      I used A7s in recording studios in the late 70s and have model 19 (35 years old now) at home. Nothing came near except the now JBL Everest DD66000 (45,000USD plus for each) and 20,000USD of hardware to drive them.

      Good luck.

    • Marchand Electronics makes customized crossovers as well as other audio components. They’ll design it exactly as you need it to be. Check them out…

  13. PAYE Keryeh says

    Thanks for the good work .
    But I want to know how much it cast to get this speakers

  14. ROBERT C COSTEN says

    in 1967, I purchased an A7-500, which had an impedance of 16 ohms. Although I placed it in a corner, I was disappointed with the deep bass. Norwood Robison, a NASA engineer, told me that the high efficiency 416A bass speaker was being electrically overdamped, and that placing a series resistor in the external speaker line, of resistance about equal to the speaker impedance, would solve the problem. So, I tried his suggestion with a 15 ohm resistor of power rating 25 watts. The improvement in deep bass response was impressive. Of course, the amplifier load was now 31 ohms, and half of the power was absorbed by the series resistor. However, this four-fold increase in required amplifier power was not a problem, because the A7-500 was only rated 25 watts.
    Also, I found that the 511B sectoral horn focused the extreme high frequencies into a thin horizontal beam, which I found annoying — especially when I sat down or stood up, and my ears passed through this beam. When a short 500 HZ Manta Ray horn and a throat adapter to the 804D driver became available, I switched out the 511B. The Manta Ray horn was free of annoying focusing effects, and I found my modified A7-500 much more pleasant to listen to.

  15. ROBERT C COSTEN says

    Correction: 802D driver.

  16. I owned four 511B Voice of the Theater speakers that I bought for 700.00 in 1976. I owned them for 30 years, listening to them for 30 years. They were the best speakers I’ve ever heard, by f”‘!*ng far!!!!

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