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Norman Nicolai

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About Norman Nicolai

  • Birthday August 13

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    Bloomfield, NJ
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    Keeping my family alive during the pandemic. Vintage Fisher receivers; AR and Pioneer turntables; KLH, AR, Advent, and EPI loudspeakers.

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  1. From what I have both read and experienced first hand, it’s not unusual for the 2-ax tweeters to go bad. Most of them are over 50 years old. My tweeters produced no sound after I purchased a pair of 2-ax’s last year. What color are the domes on the tweeter, brown or black? The brown domed tweeters can be rebuilt at this site: https://www.ebay.com/itm/193473033903?hash=item2d0be436af:g:fRcAAOSwCNpaw-sP I’m not sure if anyone offers a service to rebuild the tweeters with black domes. The other option is to replace the tweeters with a non-AR aftermarket tweeter with similar sound, which is what I did since my tweeters were black domed. It’s a little less expensive to go this route, and it’s documented in this thread from the Classic Speaker Pages site. You have to get half way through the thread before it talks about the replacement tweeters, but the beginning is instructive if you plan on reworking or replacing the L-pads: Good luck, and don’t hesitate to come back to this site if you need help! I got much needed assistance here.
  2. One thing you can do to prevent water spotting in the future is to add a layer of finishing oil to your cabinets every year or two. AR speakers were usually oil finished, meaning they used some sort of oil/varnish combination as the finishing agent on top of the wood stain used to finish the cabinet. Oil finishes don’t last forever. That is they start to dry and lose some of their protective capacity every year. That’s the bad news, as you discovered when your 2ax’s got wet. The good news is that you can add a layer of Tung, Teak, or Danish oil to the surface every couple of years to keep them looking new and keep some level of water resistance. If you don’t want to bother with that, simply add a few layers of urethane varnish to the surface of the speaker cabinets. Three layers of urethane varnish will last for many years, and will make the cabinets pretty water mark resistant. But once you have done that you can never use an oil finish on the cabinet again. You’ve pretty much sealed the wood with a layer of plastic and it will be incapable of absorbing any oil finishes again.
  3. I fashioned a set of speaker stands for my pair of KLH Model Six speakers out of some recycled wine crates. Each stand was sanded and finished with three coats of satin finish spar urethane. There are 25 lbs of play sand in each crate for rigidity. A little crude, but it combines three of my favorite retirement pastimes: wine, audio, and furniture refinishing.
  4. LouB, I would try using balsa reinforcement on the old grills before going through the effort of fashioning new grills. The balsa makes the old grill considerably stronger than the original grill. You can also add balsa preemptively to reinforce the area around the tweeter if you are concerned about that area giving way.
  5. "You make it sound like owning these speakers is an investment. Neither speaker is particularly valuable, in spite of being very popular. In my market, neither of them would bring much over $100 to 150 unless they were in pristine condition. But they are an easy sell considering their popularity." It's not that they are an investment, but I am a collector with over 13 different sets of speakers, so value is one consideration among many. I really don't expect them to gain much in value considering that there are so many for sale on eBay and Craigslist, especially the Model 17 which is widely available. I've already sold 1 set of Model 17's and a set of 22A's. Right now, the keepers in my collection are the KLH Model 6, AR-2ax, and a pair of stacked OLA's, all rewired, recapped and refinished by me. I also have a couple of sets of Paradigm bookshelf speakers which are in the LR and DR because of their small size and WAF. As I said in the original post, I really don't want to get rid of anything, by my basement is beginning to look pretty cluttered and somethings gotta give. I guess I'm looking to outside input to help me make a decision. (I'm also very aware that if this qualifies as a difficult decision in my life, I'm a pretty fortunate guy, especially during these difficult times...) I'll probably wind up parting with the M17's if only because the M100's are the only set of EPI's that I own. BTW, I've never heard any of the EPI/Epicure multi-directional speakers. They certainly look intriguing. Thanks for your input, RTally.
  6. I need to make space in my basement because it's getting too crowded with sets of vintage speakers. I've decided to part ways with either a set of KLH Model 17's or a set of EPI M100's. The EPI's are an early edition with Walnut cabinets, rubber woofer surrounds, and the first generation tweeter. The KLH speakers are probably from the early 1970's and are in good shape, refinished, recapped, and sealed recently with Roy's goo. The EPI's are also recapped, refinished, with new binding posts replacing the original EPI garbage. The EPI's have better bass response, even though the woofers are smaller. The KLH Model 17's sound a bit more neutral, although they do not go as deep, and they are a bit rolled off on the highs. Before I make up my mind I was wondering if anyone had an opinion about the long range value prospects for either speaker. I'm kind of torn and don't really want to get rid of either, but I have some new stuff coming in and I need the space. Any opinions? Thanks.
  7. Just wanted to resurrect this stream in order to find out if anyone has yet heard the new KLH Model 5 speakers? I’ve read and seen positive reviews online but I’m wondering if anyone with “Classic Speaker Pages” ears has listened to them first hand? A couple of reviews: I’ve called a number of audio stores that normally stock the KLH brand. None of them have the Model 5. I think it’s going to be hard to find.
  8. Thanks for including the thread from that older post, JKent. I had read that the 12’s and the 5’s had interchangeable woofers from more than one site. I was wondering where you got your information, and it looks pretty definitive. That’s why I love this site. I always learn something.
  9. I’ve been using this site for info and have found it very useful: http://aphenos.net/av.htm
  10. JKent knows more about this than I do. I stand corrected and would go by his advice. I was basing my information on this index: http://www.aphenos.net/electronics/speakers/klh/all_klh.htm
  11. Hi AndrewJ. Welcome to Classic Speaker Pages. The Model 5 used the same woofer as the KLH Model 12 and Model 23. If you are looking for replacements you should stick to those models in order to match what you have with the undamaged woofer. There are other KLH 12” woofers, as in the Model 6, but they are different woofers and won’t match your undamaged woofer. You should not have to change out both woofers as long as you can get a replacement that matches what you have. I think you may be able to find replacement speakers on eBay, but there are none listed when I looked earlier today. You’ll find the woofers for the Model 6 and especially the Model 17 are available more often. Unfortunately, the Fives are harder to find. You may need to act fast when a Model 5 woofer is listed on eBay. I think they get purchased quickly since they are somewhat rare. You should also consider sealing the new woofer and your existing woofer when you have found a replacement. You won’t get the bass the speaker is capable of delivering unless the speaker is sealed. The correct sealant is only available from the link listed below. Don’t use anything else or it will eventually harden and reduce the speakers capability. The online store is out of the sealant at present, but it will certainly be restocked eventually. Hope this helped. https://www.ebay.com/sch/vintage-ar/m.html?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEFSXS%3AMESOI&_trksid=p2053788.m1543.l2654
  12. With balsa, as with most other wood, you just have to make sure that the stress will be exerted at a right angle to the way the grain runs, otherwise it's not very strong. I have the grain running with the long length of the Masonite on the the grille. Although it is not clear in the original photo, the balsa is about six inches long. I've included a better photo. Apropos of JKent's Corvette C5 story, during WW2 the British made a high performance fighter aircraft, the de Havilland Mosquito, almost entirely out of wood, much of it balsa that was laminated in cross grain layers. It is incredibly strong for its weight.
  13. I fooled around with using strips of balsa wood glued to the inside of the original Masonite to reinforce the area that’s cracked. It held up pretty well using Elmer’s glue. However, then you have the problem of the grill not sitting flush on the speaker because of the additional thickness of the reinforcing balsa. My solution was to glue a small block of 1/2 inch wood on to the speaker front, and then attach the Velcro to the block. It’s an offset pushing the grill slightly forward allowing for the thickness of the wood on the Masonite. If you’ve ever seen Advent speakers they always have that block and that offset because of the depth of the tweeters. To be honest, I never used this on a Model 6, just a set of Model 17’s that I’m currently working on. It will change the look of the speaker grill ever so slightly, but it seemed to work. Some photos illustrating my solution:
  14. If they are the orange domed tweeters you can send them to “vintage-ar” on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ACOUSTIC-RESEARCH-AR-3-AR-2ax-TWEETER-REPAIR-SERVICE-LOW-VOLUME-NO-OUTPUT/193473033903?hash=item2d0be436af:g:fRcAAOSwCNpaw-sP If they are the black domed tweeters from the later model AR-2ax speakers you may need to replace them with an aftermarket tweeter with a similar design and sound. “vintage-ar” also sells them on their site.
  15. This is a real puzzler. I don’t have an explanation for why one speaker is testing at 4 ohms and another at 8 ohms. That’s definitely off and perhaps something was replaced incorrectly as another member indicated. I think that some of the other anomalies are probably more easily explained. For one thing, as you indicated, the speakers are definitely not a matched set. The serial numbers are far apart and one speaker is badged as Epicure and another as EPI. As far as the dust caps, if the woofers were refoamed, which they probably were given their age, the dust caps from the speakers in one cabinet might have been replaced with different sizes during the refoam process. BTW, I’m assuming that the surrounds are foam, given that they appear grey, not black as most EPI rubber surrounds appeared. Did you know that the M250’s were rated at 4 ohms? The EPI M202’s, a very similar model, were rated at either 4 or 16 ohms. Here are links to the Human Speakers site for both models: https://www.humanspeakers.com/e/epi202.htm https://www.humanspeakers.com/e/epi250.htm Is it possible that the tags identifying the models are counterfeit, stuck on there after the fact? Could you in fact have 202’s? The 250’s were made from 1976 to 1979. I think by that time EPI had moved on to the 2nd generation tweeter with ferrofluid. The tweeters on your speakers are first generation tweeters from the early 70’s. Also, the first generation tweeters were usually, but not always, matched with woofers with rubber, not foam surrounds. Perhaps I have been reading too many conspiracy theories lately, but something is off with your speakers. Please let us know if you figure anything else out. I’m really curious as to how this turns out.
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