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AR-4x's


tourmax
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Ran across a gent selling 2 pair on the local buy and sell. 100 bucks a pair.

I went to have a look and one pair was fairly "unmolested", ser no 361017 and 361431. The other pair had a tweeter replaced and the box was refinished very poorly, the brass name plates were also long gone and the grills were held on with sticky tack (like a clay/paste/adhesive).  He hooked 'em up and they at least made sound. He was in an apt building so he kept them on low (it would soon become evident that wasn't the only reason he didn't turn them up). So I passed him a hundy and headed home with my new find.

I hook them up to my Sansui 350, give them a little power and.......yeesh, they sound like crap!

Not just your garden variety crap either, huge steaming piles of something that came out of the south end of a dog that was sour and foul before it even went in!

Buzzing, scratching, muddy and muted everywhere! You name it, it all sounded just....well, wrong.

So, thinking I might have just flushed a hundred bucks, I get into them (sorry, didn't take inside pics).

Ok, someone has been in here before, that much is obvious. I CAREFULLY remove the shroud material. Then the fiberglass. Yep, smushed in there pretty tightly and some of it right up against the cone. There's a jumper wire clipped across the potentiometer for the tweeter. More sticky tack smeared over the retaining clips (someone really likes this crap!). Yep, good bet the pots are dirty. So de-solder and pull the pots. Corroded pretty good, but it's all intact. I give 'em a soaking and a good cleaning. The drivers check out on a visual inspection and meter good. So back in the pots go, followed by the fiberglass (nice and loose), then the shroud followed by the main drivers.

Hook them back up to my Sansui, quick nod to the gods, flip the power on and.......NIrvana!

Sweet, smooth, full, rich and satisfying hifi sound!

Now THIS is what I was expecting. You can tell they're still cold and stiff from years of non-use/neglect, so I'll burn 'em in overnight and try some "energetic" music once they're had a chance to wake up properly and give their throats a good clearing.

Maybe I paid a little more than I should have, but vintage speakers are hard to come by around here and I usually go through all my "new" gear when I get it anyways.

Next up will be a light restore on the boxes. They're actually in pretty good shape, so just a cleaning and finish refreshing will likely fix them up nicely. They're the oiled walnut boxes.

Now I'm wondering if I should go back and "rescue" the other pair......LOL!

37035589_2300078083343648_7606719193857130496_n.jpg

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Hi tourmax, congrats on your recent find and welcome to the CSP forum. Great first post here - - I found some of your descriptions rather amusing....thx for the humor. The 4x is a great little loudspeaker and your pair appears to be in very good condition. Next time, perhaps you could snap some pics of the innards, too - - - it's always helpful when trying to describe some of the circuitry conditions. In your specific case, seeing the wiring you describe and the type of capacitor employed might be useful in establishing a more thorough diagnosis. If the "sticky tack" you refer to has the color and consistency of dark grey moulding clay, it is not unusual to find this material covering the spring clip on the pots. Are there other reasons why you think these speakers have been opened up before? 

If the only work you performed on these was cleaning the pots, it's pretty easy to spot the culprit in this crime scene. But assuming the caps still measure within spec, I am surprised that you were unable to find a "sweet spot" with the pot control before beginning the surgery. Nonetheless, your efforts with the corroded pots seem to be paying off as hoped for.

Info just FYI - - - my first pair of 4x's date from 1971 with serial numbers just a little later than yours (383XXX), and the original components were: woofers with black ribbed cones;  #5 coils; 20uF silver can-type Sprague Compulytic caps; and white foam driver gaskets. Due to the detection of an inexplicable dead tweeter, several years ago I converted this pair to essentially become AR-4xa's by adjusting the cap value (10uF) and installing later 1-1/4" cone tweeters.  

About that second pair of available speakers you mention, it's too difficult to comment further without additional information, especially pics.   

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On 7/14/2018 at 8:14 AM, tourmax said:

Now I'm wondering if I should go back and "rescue" the other pair......LOL!

Congratulations on you nice AR4x pair. There are many names describing these speakers, but I like the acronym "giant killers" best. It appears that you maybe prone to finding that one pair of AR's is not enough .I currently own two pairs of 4x's, one pair of original 4's and a nice pair of 4xa's. They all have the smooth cone woofers, but I have had a pair of 4x's with the ribbed cone woofers. Check out the damping art on my original 4 woofers.

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By far the 4x version was the most prevalent. I found this pair in a thrift store in northern Indiana serial numbers FX162411 and FX162199. They still had the original warranty cards attached.

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The original wax cap block was disconnected and replaced with a Dayton 20uf capacitor. The original pot was replaced with a L-pad with a 25 ohm resister installed as suggested in many post here. New grill 28 count Charles Craft linen from Michales's on the grill frames. The drivers have a 1968 date stamped on them.    

As far a other AR 8 in two way speakers you might find the late 70's early 80's 18 series to be quite interesting. Not quite the low end of the 4x, but the tweeter makes up for that. Here is a pair of 18s speakers hooked up in parallel with the 4x's. They really play well together. No real walnut veneer, but the tweeters really shine. Middle picture is AR18s, AR18, and AR18b. these are the three models to look for. Not so much the bx and bxi models.

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For the picture you posted the cabinets look pretty good. There are two ways I would go. If scratches are light a good cleaning and application of Howard's Restore a Finish and some good wax will do amazing things.  If the veneer need repaired and there are other issues(deeper scratches)  then a light sanding and re-oiling may be in order. I like the Watco Danish oil finish products. The last three pictures are some 2ax's done with the Watco.

 

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Good luck with your 4x's and welcome to owning some vintage AR speakers. You are in the right place because many of the members here are very knowledgeable about these speakers. If it was not for this site and Audiokarma.com I would still be scratching my head on many things.

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The AR-4 series are AR's perennial favorite speakers. As long is there is something available to power them they will be playing for many years to come no doubt. And they make great projects if you have time to kill... Here a few that ended up as projects
AR-4x.pine.001.jpg

 

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Yes, by all means go back for the other pair and welcome to CSP.

 

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