Altec BIAS 550

1 9 8 7 1987
1 9 9 1 c.1991

ALTEC's attempt to crash into the home market, a few years short of Altec's gradual goodbye.
A huge effort built like a professional monitor with features galore, the list price must have been... quite discouraging.

BIAS means Built In Amplification System btw.

The BIAS 550 is, naturally, an active loudspeaker system : five Class AAB amplifier power each transducer, each designed to meet the other - 700W per channel in pentamplification, with a maximum of .05% of distortion per amplifier.

The drivers themselves are carbon fiber for the bass and mid and polyimide diamond-coated for the high-mid and tweeter domes - rigid, lightweight and costly.
Polyimide is a thermoset plastic coated with a vapor-deposited layer of titanium.

The upper mid dome which covers the 1,5Khz...4,5Khz region has a 2" voice coil, double damper spider and bigga strontium magnet.

Adding to this is the active equalization : plus or minus 6dB for each amplifier/transducer changed either off the BIAS 550 itself or.. with an IR remote !

The enclosure itself is in fact four in one : each bass, sub-bass driver and filter/amplifier is enclosed in its own A.C.R.S. (Acoustical Cabinet Resonance Suppression) sub-cabinet.
Each cabinet is separated from the others with big damping foam rubber bars and all sub-enclosures are sealed acoustic suspensions.

The high/mid vertical array is condensed into another cabinet which can also swivel around 15° for better positioning - Kenwood (and others) had tried that in the late 1970s with the LS-1900.

All in all a big 400kg wow which however didn't help Altec staying afloat, let alone keep the competition with the once in-house JBL men.

I have no idea how many of the BIAS 550 were produced - probably a model "made to order" ?

Altec BIAS 550, image 1 Altec BIAS 550, image 2 Altec BIAS 550, image 3
Altec BIAS 550 specifications
Title Value
Enclosure type : drivers individually housed in their ACRS
acoustic suspension enclosures
Dimensions : 71" x 19 " x 24"
Weight : 437lbs
Frequency response : 20Hz...20Khz (± 2dB)
Sensitivity : 100mV input for 90dB SPL @ 1m
Maximum output : 120dB @ 2m (40Hz...20Khz)
Input impedance : 22kOhm
THD : 0,3% (100Hz...20Khz ; 90dB SPL / 1m)
0,8% (35Hz...100Hz ; 90dB SPL / 1m)
1,2% (20Hz ; 90dB SPL / 1m)
Sub-woofer : 2x 10" woven carbon fiber
80Hz - 24dB/octave LPF
250W amp (4 Ohm load)
Bass driver : 1x 8" woven carbon fiber
80Hz - 12dB/octave LPF
450Hz - 12dB/octave HPF
125W amp (8 Ohm load)
Mid driver : 1x 6" woven carbon fiber
150Hz - 12dB/octave LPF
1,5Khz - 12dB/octave HPF
125W amp (8 Ohm load)
Upper mid driver : 1x 2" polyimide/diamond dome
1,5Khz - 12dB/octave LPF
4,5Khz - 12dB/octave HPF
125W amp (8 Ohm load)
Tweeter : 1x 1" polyimide/diamond dome
4,5Khz - 12dB/octave HPF
75W amp (8 Ohm load)
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page online since : april 2008
page updated : october 2010
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