RCA LC-1A Loudspeaker


Elvis listening to the playback through the RCA LC-1A Loudspeaker at McGavock St. - Apr 14, 1956
Photo Don Cravens

The RCA LC-1A Loudspeaker series was designed by Harry Olson in the late 1940s, initially as the MI-11411, though the term is often used to refer to both the speaker and its cabinet. With a wide frequency range the wide-angle, low distortion loudspeaker was ideal for high-fidelity sound reproduction. Olson's duo-cone design consisted of two coaxial direct-radiator cones individually driven. It featured a paper cone tweeter inside the voice coil of the paper cone woofer which avoided phase and lobing problems associated with other coaxial/concentric drivers. The design of the speaker itself went through different variations though the cabinet's look was fairly consistent.


Working out arrangements for the session at McGavock St. in Nashville (LC-1A in the back) - Apr 14, 1956
Photo Don Cravens


recording at McGavock St. in Nashville (LC-1A in the back on the left) - Apr 14, 1956
Photo Don Cravens


listening to playback through the LC-1A at McGavock St. in Nashville - Apr 14, 1956
Photo Don Cravens

They were installed in the MI-11401 bass-reflex cabinets with power attenuators and options for mounting RCA's BA-4 series monitoring amplifiers. At 50 lbs., 40.5 inches high, 27.5 inches wide and 15 inches deep each the cabinets were generally seen with a two tone umber gray finish, a very common sight in radio and television broadcast and recording studios in the 1950s and 1960s. The MI-11401A cabinet came finished in walnut.  As stereo became popular they were usually seen in pairs.


the front and rear of a RCA LC-1A Loudspeaker (MI-11401 cabinet in Umber gray)
Photo courtesy ebay


an RCA LC-1A speaker mount in the an MI-11401 cabinet
Photo courtesy Canuck Audio Mart


The MI-11401 umber gray cabinet with crossover, sans speaker
Photos courtesy Sound Up


The MI-11401 umber gray cabinet with crossover, sans speaker
Photos courtesy Sound Up

RCA 'Living Stereo' recordings were mastered through LC-1As. They can be seen in the backgrounds of many photos with Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ in the studios in Nashville and New York, and with Elvis listening intently to playbacks.


relaxing between takes in Studio A in New York with a LC-1A in the background - July 2, 1956
Photos Al Wertheimer


Elvis listening to playback through the LC-1A in Studio A in New York - July 2, 1956
Photos Al Wertheimer


Elvis listening to playback through the LC-1A in Studio A in New York - July 2, 1956
Photo Al Wertheimer

The loudspeakers remained common in many facilities until around the early 1980s when hi-fi buffs and audiophines started buying them up for home use and/or to export overseas.


Equipment auctioned as Sun  Records Original recording Equipment (1951-1955)
Photo courtesy Bonham and Butterfields

Several years back some studio equipment said to be from Sun Records was offered for auction by Bonham and Butterfields that included an RCA loudspeaker though one would be hard put to find it in use in any photo from the studio at 706 Union Ave. The mixer offered also was not one that was ever pictured there.


A refinished pair of MI-11401 cabinets, sans amplifier (regrilled?)
Photo courtesy AudioAsylum


A pair of MI-11401-A Cabinets (Walnut finish)
Photo courtesy ebay

page added April 21, 2015

Much of the information pertaining to the RCA LC-1A and MI-11401 cabinets presented here was collected from several sources, including Audiogon, Steve Hoffman Music Forums and the LC-1A Engineering manual.

 

 
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