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What Have You Done To Own An AR Product?


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I've a hunch that there are some interesting stories out there (excluding felonies, divorces, etc.), and I'm going to bet that more than a few of us have jumped through hoops for an AR speaker, turntable, or amplifier!

On a personal note, I fell (literally, it was in the middle of the sales floor, and I'd backed into it) across my first AR speaker, a 2ax at a Radio Shack clearance sale in the summer of 1970. It had been part of an inventory they'd acquired from Allied Radio, and this little orphan carried a price of 60 bucks. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to own a like-new 2ax for about half price. The only problem was that I was in college at the time, and my sole transportation was a Triumph motorcycle; so bringing my first AR speaker home required a remarkable balancing act, nerves of steel, and lots & lots of luck!

I enjoyed that little 2ax for six months, running a pair of Lafayette home-brew speakers on the other channel, and dreaming of the day I'd be able to afford $125 for a matching AR. As it turned out, I fell into a great after-school job that lasted until just before Christmas, and I was *flush*, baby!

After locating the only store in Philly that would sell a single 2ax, I made plans to pick it up after my final day at work. Naturally, it began snowing in the afternoon, making a ten-block walk to the bus into something like trekking with Shackleton to the Pole. All ended well, though, and both speakers were up and running that night - as I recall, my test records included "Let It Bleed", Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog", and "Truth", by the Jeff Beck Group. Life was sweet.

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My pair of AR-2's were purchased by my Grandfather, in the spring of 1959. Then around 1972 or so, when my father was 15, he became interested in music, and hifi, so my grandfather allowed him to have the "hifi" in his bedroom. My father took the system when he moved out, and used it until around 1993, or so, when I became interested in music and hifi. I was in the first grade when I started playing records on the "hifi". I have used the AR-2's ever since. They are still all original, the only work I have done to them is, regluing the spiders on the woofers. I use the AR-2's in my studio as monitors. They are the finest two way loudspeakers I have ever listened to. I have listened to many new loudspeakers, and I keep coming back to the AR-2's. There is simply nothing made today that can reproduce everything from Aaron Copland to Led Zepplin with accuracy.

I also recently purchased a pair of AR-4x's that I will be bringing to college with me, along with my AR-XB turntable. I must have hifi where ever I go.

However, my dream loudspeakers are AR-3a's. They are defiantly my speaker of choice!

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My love of AR started simply.........I had been strictly a KLH guy until late one Saturday morning last year I did a u-turn to go back to an estate sale but figured everything good was gone. It was starting to rain and unsold items were being tossed in a 30 yard dumpster in the yard. Amazingly, one of those items was a pair of mahogany AR 2ax's in near mint condition free for the taking! (this is the meaning of being in the right place at the right time). Within five minutes it was pouring rain and surely these speakers would have been ruined in that dumpster. Not knowing much of anything about AR, having been so focused on KLH, owning 25 pair. I did AR my research on this website. They are early 2ax's with serial numbers below 10,000 which dates them to late 1964 or early 1965 and was most surprised to find that they are in perfect working order and have replaced my KLH model six's in my living room. AR & KLH are cousins anyway, so it all makes sense to collect both.

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My history with AR speakers.

My dad bought a single AR2ax in the early '60s, using it with a home built Williamson amplifier. That is all that I heard when young, and turned me into an AR fan.

In high school I recall seeing a pair of LST's in store...

I was in college when the 9 's came out - and of course could not afford them....but they were absolutely incredible playing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

After college, my girl friend (later wife, now ex) bought a pair of 91 's. She plays violin in a symphony, and has heard nothing since that is as good. Originally they were driven by a Sony receiver - which really was not up to the task. Now the are attached to an Adcom 545.

About four years ago, I won a pair of 91.5 's on ebay. The shipping cost from Oregon to OKC, was over 1/3 of the total cost.

About three years ago, I won my first pair of 9 's on ebay, and we drove from OKC to Virginia Beach to get them....

And somewhere in here were a pair of AR18S 's, a pair of AR93Q 's and a pair of 8" drivers.

And about two years ago, I won my second pair of 9 's on ebay, from a seller in the SF Bay Area. He dropped them off at my brother's near Sacramento, on his way up to Tahoo. My mom brought them in her minivan back to Utah on one of her regular trips to California. We picked them up in Utah on a trip to visit here.

Now we're in MN, and the 2nd pair of 9's, the 18 's, the 93's and the 8" drivers still need to be re-foamed.

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This is not a pretty story but it does at least have a happy ending.

In March 1984 I was working as a contractor for a large telecom company in central New Jersey and living in a motel while I was looking for house. One day while driving back to the motel on an interstate highway, a semi truck ahead of me had one of its huge tires disintegrate and come flying at me. After a good scare from sailing right over it, I decided to go to a local shopping mall to buy some records to celebrate both me and my car still being in one piece. At Sam Goody's record store in Woodbridge mall, I saw a pair of AR9 demos for sale and negotiated with the manager. It seemed that Sam Goody, a local NY area record and audio equipment retailer had just been bought out by Musicland USA, a Minneapolis based company and was getting out of the audio equipment business. They were sold to me as demo, cosmetically imperfect and as is but under full manufacturer's warrantee in every other way. The manager agreed to replace the drivers with the pushed in dustcaps but the torn grillcloths were my responsibility.

The next morning, I called the AR factory from my office to find out how much the grill cloths would cost to replace and when I found out, I decided to make my own. The guy I spoke to said, oh, you must be the customer who bought these out of the Woodbridge NJ record store, the store manager just ordered all new drivers. Fine, I waited a few days and called the store. "Sorry they haven't come in yet." Back and forth trying to get the guy ont the phone every few days for another week, two weeks, a month, finally after two months, the story I got was Musicland USA doesn't have a credit line with AR so we won't deliver the drivers unless they send us a check which of course they were unwilling to do.

Sam Goody offered me my money back to which I said "nothing doing." Your bill of sale is a contract to deliver these speakers to me in perfect working condition. After some resistance I used my atom bomb of consumer threats on the manager and called the AR service manager with the same threat. And what was that threat? I told them that I would file a complaint with the DAs offices in Middlesex County NJ, Manhatttan, and Cambridge Ma. saying that AR and Sam Goody conspired to sell defective merchandise fraudulently represented as new and under warrantee. The drivers except for the woofers were shipped to the store that day. I was asked to have the woofers shipped to my house directly and install them myself.

I initially didn't particluarly like these speakers. It wasn't until a few years later when I got my hands on a wiring diagram and found out that the store manager had connected some of the replacement drivers out of phase that they sounded the way they were supposed to.

And what was the cost they sold these to me for?


I told you it had a happy ending.

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I recall driving 300 miles to DC and back through a hurricane, in order to buy the only remaining pair of AR-3a's that a going-out-of-business discounter had. They were the last of the line, with the velcro grills. Hooked 'em up to my AR amplifier & AR turntable, and listened for days!

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Guest russwollman

When I factor in the amazing amount of cash I spent for the iBook that allowed me to plumb the depths of eBay for an overpriced pair of 2ax's, an underpriced pair of 2ax's (both of which I refurbished and re-sold on eBay for a pittance), and a bargain-priced pair of 3a's, not to mention the monthly internet access fees, the gas for the trip to pick up the 3a's, the time I spent in vain trying to reach Layne Audio to procure parts, and crazy hunts by Subaru Outback and email for an authentic grille cloth replacement, trips to the lumber yard for oil finish and veneer, and adventures in soldering once I figured out how to wire level controls, with some help from Stan the Man, well, it would have been cheaper to sell my mother for a new pair of 3a's in their prime and just have been done with the whole bloomin' affair.

Devotion oftentimes knows no bounds, right mates?

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Guest Sweden

Interesting topic,

in the beginning of the 70's, my brother in law got the "assignment" to choose an amplifier and a pair of speakers for my parents-in-law.

Mind you that this is on a quite remote place in the world called Gotland (in Sweden). In an ancient town called Visby (look it up on the net, it has a 3.2 km long city-wall from the 13th century together with buildings from the medieval period and lots of ruins). In those days, american hifi was not that common except for H/K and are thus not that common in Sweden.

Anyway, my wife has mentioned these speakers a few times over the years and last year, when we were visiting her parents, we located the speakers in an outdoor garage. We brought them with us and hooked them up and they didn't sound that good. The higher freq where OK, but the bass was completely lacking. But my ears could "touch" the magic, and I thought "what if there were more bass...".

So I removed the grills and I could see that the foams was almost disintegrated. I called a repair-shop and asked what to do, they suggested to exchange the woofers (!). I didn't want to do this so I scouted the net and found out that the foam could be replaced (before this "incident" I didn't know anything about repairing speakers...). I got hold of one speaker-repairs firm and they sent me a kit and I fixed the foams and my wife and I waited for 24 hours for the glue to dry. Then, on the next day, we listened, and the sound was awesome. This was the pair of AR6, which is considered to be not the best of the AR-speakers if I have understand it correctly.

So, this adventure gave me an apetate for something more. After looking through domestic ads for a while, I found an ad for a pair of AR91's. I bought them unheard and we met 300 kilometers from home. According to the seller, this pair was previosly owned by the CEO for the franchising of AR in Sweden in those days.

Then I encountered a sound-issue for both the speakers, which in the end was due to fact that I had the TV and the DVD connected to the amp at the same time, causing a scraping noise to occur. I unplugged the TV and the sound was then almost perfect.

We still considered the bass to somewhat weak, I again turned to the pre.owned ads and found a Denon PMA2000R (which delivers appr 120 ampère). This has turned out to be a good match for the speakers. The sound is clear and the bass is tight and deep.

And they all lived happily ever after....

Cheers Rickard

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