The Aristocrats: Coral Triaxial Driver/Electrovoice cabinet combo

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Here is another interesting estate sale find: these two large cabinets were hidden in the corners of a living room, covered in dust and assorted bric a brac. They looked as if they hadn’t moved in decades. When I pulled them away from the wall to take a look on the back I was greeted with a small brilliance dial and a small grey cord that snaked into the floorboards – these were wired into the house! I pulled up as much of the cord as I could and snipped it off. Both unwieldy cabinets were manhandled into my van and home I went.

There were no outside indicators of the brand or specification of the speakers, or of the cabinet’s provenance. All I had to go by was the brilliance (tone) knob, which was labeled ‘Coral AT-4’. From that I was able to deduce that likely buried inside the cabinet was a Coral triaxial driver, likely made in the end of the 1950s. The cabinet was glued together and the front grilles were nailed in with approximately 20 nails apiece, so there was no quick and easy way in. So I plugged them in and tried them out.

Coral tone pot. My only clue.

Coral tone pot. My only clue.

With my newly-rehabilitated Pioneer SA-6500ii (more on that later), these speakers showed some character. I didn’t give them much volume- I was afraid to blow them, especially as some of the research I’d done online suggested that these speakers could be extremely sensitive 16 ohm models. In any case, they didn’t take more than a 1 or 2 on the Pioneer’s dial to wake up. Jazz sounded wonderful in a hazy retro way. Michael Jackson was less impressive. But they worked, they could take some watts, and had a pleasant if rounded-off sound.

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The cabinets and grilles were in perfect shape. The cabinets had a nice matched maple veneer on the front 2 sides and pine paneling on the back, all stained and covered in a spotless poly lacquer. Nothing was going to hurt these babies.

Electrovoice Aristocrats. This view shows off their 6 -sided corner design.

Electrovoice Aristocrats. This view shows off their 6 -sided corner design.

I really didn’t have anything for these guys to do other than hold up lamps in my basement so I put them on Craigslist. They didn’t sell but I did get some valuable information – these were the home-build version of the Electro-Voice Aristocrat series, built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They would take a number of different drivers, including electro-voice, Altec, and Coral drivers. Mine were the Coral drivers, which I confirmed one day when I took the time to pull all those nails out of one of the grilles and look underneath. There the triaxial driver was, untouched and in pristine condition after all these years. Unfortunately it and the front panel were glued in too, meaning any attempt to re-wire or replace the crossover would require some major surgery. Content in the knowledge of what was inside, I buttoned the speaker back up and put it aside.

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Coral Triaxial Driver

Coral Triaxial Driver

Eventually this pair went home with a nice gentleman who planned to display the in his office – I imagine a sort of ‘Mad Men’ vibe.

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~ by silverfacestereo on December 29, 2012.

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