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tysontom

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  1. Dear Ella, We are all heartbroken by this sad news about Steve! Steve was an integral part of the knowledge-base of The Classic Speaker Pages, and his contributions over time were invaluable. He knew not just about AR, Bose or Boston Acoustics, but he knew all about the high-fidelity industry, and he contributed a great deal on many subjects that simply enrichened the site. He had a broad view of the industry, grounded in years of experience. We send our condolences and will miss Steve very much! —Tom Tyson
  2. Jeff, I think this uncommon speaker was an AR-1W “custom cabinet,” with Altec 755A and AR-1 crossover components added to make it an AR-1 “custom cabinet.” This is the first time I’ve ever seen this cabinet style, but I’ve heard and read about custom cabinets being offered by AR in the past. It was very likely a one-off prototype built in 1955 by Henry Kloss in his Mt. Auburn, Massachusetts loft—the first home of Acoustic Research. It has the earmarks of a Kloss-built cabinet; for one thing, he liked the square shape, and he later built several KLH speakers (Model One, Two, Seven, and Twelve) in that general configuration, though most were floor-standing models. It may well be the only one ever made. On your speaker, one corner of the 755A inner-box cutout is rounded and custom-fabricated because it is too close to the edge of the baffle board and is practically on top of the woofer opening, demonstrating how tight and impractical this would have been for a production version and impractical for a production model. In other words, the 755A box could not comfortably fit on the front panel in this configuration. Other cut marks for the 755A sub enclosure are obviously hand-cut. In addition, the crossover-component placement is much cleaner and neater than normal—depicting careful hand fabrication—and the wiring is different (heavier) from typical AR-1s from this very early period. Insofar as this speaker has a standard AR label on the back, standard components (perhaps except for the crossover wiring), front-molding material and so forth, it was most likely built alongside the first AR-1s and 1Ws fabricated by AR in the Mt. Auburn location. The handwriting on the label appears to be Kloss’ handwriting, very similar to my AR-1 #0006 prototype. According to the December, 1955 price list, “cabinets to custom dimensions available for models AR-1W and AR-1WU only.” This might have been a one-off prototype or one-off special for a specific customer. I remember hearing that a point of contention (there were several) between Villchur and Kloss was to offer “specials” from the factory, and these were eventually reduced in number over time. The two men did not get along well and finally parted in February, 1957. Kloss was a cabinetmaker of sorts and more into custom fabrication; Villchur was not and did not want to get into building specials, especially after production began to ramp up, causing the small company to be very busy in the late spring and summer of 1955. Insofar as the AR-1 was introduced to the public in October, 1954 at the New York Audio Fair, AR-1 production units didn’t begin shipping until March of 1955, and the factory began building around 50 speakers/month during the summer and fall of that year for a total of 450 or so AR-1s and AR-1Ws in 1955. There were only six employees during the beginning of that first year, and production was limited to the confines of Kloss’ small loft (around 2000 sq. ft.) at 23 Auburn Street in Cambridge. As production began to rapidly expand, employment ramped up to around 50 by the time the company moved from Mt. Auburn Street to the four-story building at 24 Thorndike Street in 1956. Building custom cabinets just wasn’t even remotely practical. Also, the square shape of this cabinet was not considered as practical, attractive or convenient as the rectangular cabinet shape for placing on bookshelves, and the original AR prototype—which was also square at 19" x 19" x 11"—was not put into production because of the awkward square shape. —Tom Tyson
  3. Oh definitely! So did I, and I'm sorry they weren't AR-2axs. Likely studio props anyway, but still it's fun to see these old speakers appear in pictures or on the screen.
  4. Hard to know for sure, but they do seem to be KLH Sixes or Fours just by the appearance of the grill and logo. It seems a bit ironic to have a pair of stereo loudspeakers shown in the background of a hearing-loss commercial, and perhaps they are just props in a studio setting, but it caught my attention. Tom
  5. Yeah, you are right, the logo *should* be on the lower-right when mounted vertically. Could possibly be KLH Sixes, but the box shape is not quite right for the Six, and the Six has a silver-colored aluminum logo, which would be brighter. Hmmm....
  6. William Shatner (tender age of 91) shown in hearing-aid commercial (!) with a pair of AR-2ax or possibly AR-5 speakers flanking the fireplace. This commercial first appeared in December 2022 and is still current. The AR-2axs (or AR-5s, less likely) are nicely positioned on each side of the fireplace, back against the fireplace wall. Even the logo plates are straight. William Shatner developed tinnitus filming some sequences of the filming of Star Trek episode "Arena." AR-2axs or AR-5s? Tom Tyson
  7. Michael, great images! You do have a rare set of early AR-3s; there are very few this old that are still in this condition. As for your grill, allow the grill material to go beyond the grill panel itself since the grill is tucked-in under the molding. This was a complicated way to do this, and AR did later change the method to the later AR-3a style, but frankly, the early AR-3 grill (when properly installed) was a much more elegant-looking grill than the later AR-3a grill with the noticeable gap around the edges of the molding. The older ARs with the gold thread were very handsome, in my view! Note that the grill tucks in flush within the grill panel, and it's usually best to use a kitchen knife or putty knife to gently tuck the grill in under the molding. AR actually applied glue under the molding, but it's not always necessary to do that, but the grill need to be carefully positioned to line up the threads and the panel, and to remove any creases or wrinkles. Properly done, the grill should lie flat without any creases or bows, and so forth, of course easier said than done. The "3" stick pin is always in the lower right corner, spaced away from the corners the same distance as the logo badge itself. I sent this AR-3 to the San Francisco Air Port Museum for their exhibit on high-fidelity sound in 2006. Another view from an old WTFM radio ad: Notice the location of the "3" stick pin in the lower-right corner. Tom
  8. “In terms of the missing screw, I do still believe that was a factory boo-boo since the sealing putty that had filled the hole was painted over (just like the screws) and the t-nut underneath worked great fine once I got a new screw. I can see how it might have been missed as it was the screw that is closest to the top of the case, almost under the overhang where the grill mounts. These have also been in the family since they were new and have not been opened or taken for repair in my memory (40+ years). I checked with my mom and she doesn't remember any service either (her memory goes back somewhat further.” Michael, it definitely is possible (as Roy suggests, too) that this screw was missing from production when the speaker was produced. Most of the screw-ups (NPI) occurred during repair; but no one is perfect, and the factory was under pressure to build a lot of speakers during early 1959 when this speaker was manufactured. Looking back, the AR-3 prototype was first displayed to the public in the summer of 1958 at the Chicago Hi-Fi Show. In October of that year, the AR-3 was officially introduced in its “production” form at the New York High Fidelity Music Show. To say it was the “hit” of the show is an understatement; by November, Acoustic Research had received 500 firm orders for the brand-new speaker system! Because SN C 0997—definitely finished in lacquered walnut—was manufactured in the early part of 1959, mistakes would have been more prevalent even with several quality-control inspections along the way. It was common to fix air leaks with Mortite putty anyway, so a screw was somehow left out and the screw hole filled it in with Mortite. The big machine screws were overkill anyway, so a single missing screw would hardly affect performance if there were no air leaks. No big deal, but QC probably missed it or ignored it at the time since AR was rushed to fulfill a high order rate at the time (AR was growing quickly, as employment had grown from around six at the beginning in the summer of 1954 to 50 employees in 1956 when the company moved into the four-story building at 24 Thorndike Street in Cambridge). Can you show some images of the other AR-3 (#C 0978)? I didn’t see it anywhere, but I may have missed it. Note that AR didn’t add an additional “0” to the serial-number range until 1960. It is also unusual to have consecutive serial numbers with early AR speakers, as they were never produced in “pairs” until the AR-7. It’s more happenstance than intentional to find a consecutive pair, so it is not as though AR matched-up speaker pairs. —Tom
  9. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Yes, wouldn't it be great to hook that Schwinn "AirDyne" exercize bicycle to a generator-battery system to help air-condition the space! It has a blower blade attached to the big wheel, and it blows air into your face (whether you want it or not), so perhaps a generator could be attached. It would require some heavy pumping on those pedals to make enough electricity to handle the HVAC load, however! Go back in your previous posts and remove some images to regain some file space (I think it will work; that is what I did).
  10. >I did seal the cloth surround with the solution devised and it made things much more airtight based on the time for the displaced woofer to return to rest (went from maybe 1 second to at least 2 seconds) but the low end response remains the same. All testing above has been done with a single speaker at a time on the floor (so they are not cancelling each other out) and a calibrated microphone connected to a DATS v3. The speakers are currently being driven by Dynaco Mark IIIs. I don't have any other full-range speakers to try with the Dynacos and also only have an AV receiver as another amp which I am not sure is up to the task for these low-impedance speakers." "One of the screws mounting the tweeter to the enclosure was missing (so only 2 of 3 present). The screw hole was filled with the sealing putty and so probably looked OK to the builder." Finding a screw hole patched with putty clearly suggests that someone has worked on the speaker in the past and probably stripped-out a T-nut and just simply caulked the hole. T-nuts can be temperamental after many years. I am confident that the speaker never left the factory in 1959 (early serial number) that way originally, as there were too many QC checks and inspections to have allowed that to happen. It's possible, of course, but highly unlikely. There are several things that can affect the roll-off in deep-bass measurements, and it could involve your microphone, test setup, amplifier/preamp and so forth, but more importantly, the speakers should be measured facing into a 2-Pi environment. Your measurement appears to resemble a 4-Pi measurement as if in an anechoic chamber, if the response begins to fall off long before resonance of around 43 Hz In a sense the floor measurement is close but probably not ideal, but its likely that something else is at play. Another possible issue may be the damping of the speaker, and you mentioned that it had "squares of pink fiberglass" in it, which suggests that someone has definitely been inside the speakers in the past. Many of the early AR-3s used a rock-wool insulation, and it was in ramdom pieces of a specific weight. I don't remember AR using squares of fiberglass (KLH did at one point), but some may have had "squares." The important thing, however, is the correct weight (amount) of fiberglass/rock wool in the cabinet, as this will directly affect the damping ("Q") of the acoustic-suspension system and thus the output down close to resonance. An air leak will also affect damping, so there other issues at hand here. The roll-off suggests more a problem with the measurement solid angle. The response of a properly working AR-3 (or AR-1 or AR-3a) would be very close to this (below) if measured correctly into 180 solid angle: This is what happens when the same loudspeaker is measured when facing into full space, looking into a 360 degree solid angle: This measurement was taken of an AR-3 measured in Harvard University's large anechoic chamber, with the speaker measured into full space (360 degrees). This would be akin to attaching a rope to your AR-3 and lowering it into the center of your listening room so that it was away from all surfaces. The bass response would be thin. This anechoic-chamber measurement shows the reduced output, starting at the frequency of ultimate air-load resistance (Lambda) down to resonance, where the 12 dB/octave begins to occur. The speaker will have flat output down to resonance when it is faces a 180 degree solid angle, as against a wall and up off the floor a foot or two, so that it looks into the proper angle. Tom Tyson
  11. I would have loved to mount the LSTs lower in that room, but it wasn't possible. They were just barely above head-height walking into the den from the right side, so it was not possible. There was also the wife factor: it had to look presentable, and this installation was satisfactory. The main reason for "not-great" sound was the room itself: it had lots of casement windows around each side, and a lot of window glass -- particularly pane-glass windows -- will usually harm sound reproduction somewhat, but the high mounting position caused a lot of interference effects from the ceiling, etc., which hurt the sound. Speakers such as the AR-LST and LST/2 (and even MST) are room sensitive and need to be carefully mounted for best performance. Space is needed on the sides without too much obstruction, with the speakers well up off the floor, such as on a shelf or stand. They need to be placed relatively close to a front wall (back against the front wall is fine and actually desirable) for proper bass reproduction (2-Pi). When I first got the LSTs, I mounted them in on a shelf about three feet off the floor, three or four feet from the room corners and about eight feet between each other in a fairly large room. The sound was great, it seemed to me, at the time. The tower speakers such as the AR9 and AR90 are somewhat less restricted, at least from the viewpoint of forward radiation, but they, too, should be placed fairly close to the front wall and away from the corners, if possible. They take up very little space considering the massiveness of the speakers themselves.
  12. Those appear to be the solid-walnut AR Speaker Base(s) designed originally for the AR-3, AR-2-series and AR-3a, AR-5, etc.
  13. The little wrench that was included with the sale of each AR Speaker stand:
  14. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Glitch, isn't it incredible that I just happened to see your post tonight (rather, this early AM), January 27th, 2023! I just happened to check out on this site to see how many people have visited this topic, and it was a surprisingly high 106k or so! That says a lot about this remarkable loudspeaker, many consider to be the best speaker ADS ever designed! In any event, I apologize for not seeing your post; you alluded to this possible problem. So, it has been months, and I apologize for that! I also am glad to hear that you consider those speakers your "go-to" speakers: the 1590 is a very accurate loudspeaker! I really enjoyed them very much during the years I owned them, and I'm very happy that they are in such good hands now! I would never have considered not keeping shipping cartons for anything as important as loudspeakers, and I have always kept cartons for any new audio product I have purchased. These cartons offer protection should you have to move or need to store an item. I realilze that storing cartons can be a problem, but I've always found a place in the attic or basement or a closet; not everyone has that luxury, of course, but keep them if you can. When you see the original cartons with a used item, you generally can feel more comfortable that the owner cared a lot for that item enought to keep all of the original literature and shipping cartons, etc. This basement is probably the definition of "sick." Lots of old Acoustic Research shipping cartons, some for even the oldest AR-1. Notice that hygrometer on the shelves. I keep the basement around 50% RH. Fortunately it is a very dry area with a lot of space for storage. By the way, I wrote an article about the development of the AR9, another tower speaker very similar in performance to the ADS L1590. I loved them both! Here is the article: https://www.audioholics.com/editorials/acoustic-research-ar9 Tom
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