Red dots ?

The mysterious western electric red dot diaphragms….blogs, websites, forums discuss this matter. Some claim it’s superior sound when paired with the ringing sheet steel western electric 16a horn. That red dots are more suitable for bass than the “non red dot” versions. Some are keen to pay top dollar to have “red dot diaphragms “


It’s in black and white. We can read on the original technical drawing of the western electric 555 :

“1/16” Dia spot painted red approx centrally located on diaphragms which are shipped loose to customers”.

In other words a replacement part to change the original factory mounted ones.

I advise my clients to focus on the version of diaphragms and not the red dot! Indeed various versions exist with subtle influence on the sound. The latest ones, some supplied by altec, have straight flat voice coil leads and are the ones I recommend the least. They were made for higher power. This comes at the cost of sound that one can easily hear in private installations where it’s all about listening pleasure.

I cannot stress enough that condition, correct values and alignment are not be neglected. I’ve heard fully original 555 drivers that sound less that satisfactory. We are talking about compression drivers that are mostly 90 years old….they need some TLC…

13Audio sources original 555 drivers and fully services them for use with 13Audio made horns.

13Audio horns can be delivered with original and fully serviced western electric 555 drivers.

All fun….

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