Jump to content

Inherited two AR3s. Need advice.


iJohnEye
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all, 

I’m brand new here and am not that knowledgeable about classic speakers. My uncle died at the ripe old age of 91 and left me his stereo equipment which includes a set of AR3 speakers. I know he bought them new in the mid-60s. They’re all original and sound like they’re under water. Good bass and mid-range but no top end. I think the tweeters are blown. Also, the pots on the back don’t seem to affect sound at all. I’m trying to figure out what to do with these AR3s. I looked up a repair video on YouTube and it scared the hell out of me. Before I go chopping away at the grills and cabinets, I’d like some advice. Should I attempt to repair them or sell them as-is? If repair, then where’s the best place to go for instructions, parts, etc? 

I appreciate any two cents you chip in. 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, iJohnEye said:

. I looked up a repair video on YouTube and it scared the hell out of me

Welcome. I had to chuckle at this.  You can get plenty of help here.  Download and review the AR3 restoration guide.  If you are still intimidated after reading then it depends on whether you are inclined to keep or sell.  Don't touch anything unless you will be doing the work for yourself. unmolested  AR3s in good condition are valuable to collectors. Supply photos please for a better assessment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with Aadams. After you read the restoratio guide, search for 3a threads. There are many with lots of pics and info for the replacement caps needed, instructions on cleaning the the pots, grill repair or replacements as well as cabinet restoration.

First, spin the pots back and forth, a lot! You may eventually find a spot where the drivers come back to life. The grills have plastic frames that sit in recessed channels on top and bottom. They need to be VERY CAREFULLY pulled out from the sides center area they will slide out of the channels. The plastic will be very brittle by now and can easily crack and break. Once removed you'll be able to inspect the drivers. The tweeters domes on the 3's tend to pop out of the voice coil channels, fairly common. The mids output is usually low because the white flexable sealer around the base of the domes has petrified, greatly diminishing their output. Member Roy C. has had success rebuilding them bringing them back to near new performance.

Post pics so we can see what you have for more informed advice.

Cheers, Glenn

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beauties!

As you may know, the 3 is very collectible and valuable. They've sold on ebay recently for $1,000-$4,000. So you need to decide whether to sell them or restore them. If you do decide to restore you'll get a lot of help here but be warned--the 3 is not the easiest speaker to restore. The old drivers (woofers, mids, tweeters) may need work and the mids and tweets are absurdly heavy with tiny little brittle leads. The woofers are excellent but certain Masonite parts may have become unglued. New capacitors are no problem. Pots can be replaced. The grille material, fortunately, is still available but it's a little tricky to work with and as mentioned the plastic frames can be brittle.

Not trying to discourage you. Just bear in mind these are like a vintage Ferrari so proceed carefully.

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, genek said:

If you have no experience, a pair of AR-3s is a bad place to start out.

Considering that they were essentially "free," if you don't intend to keep them your best bet is probably to sell them as-is.

I agree.

John, Where are you located?

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, JKent said:

Beauties!

As you may know, the 3 is very collectible and valuable. They've sold on ebay recently for $1,000-$4,000. So you need to decide whether to sell them or restore them. If you do decide to restore you'll get a lot of help here but be warned--the 3 is not the easiest speaker to restore. The old drivers (woofers, mids, tweeters) may need work and the mids and tweets are absurdly heavy with tiny little brittle leads. The woofers are excellent but certain Masonite parts may have become unglued. New capacitors are no problem. Pots can be replaced. The grille material, fortunately, is still available but it's a little tricky to work with and as mentioned the plastic frames can be brittle.

Not trying to discourage you. Just bear in mind these are like a vintage Ferrari so proceed carefully.

Kent

Thanks. I appreciate the warning. Not sure I want to start repairing a Ferrari my first time trying. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Just checking recent eBay sales, and a pair of AR-3 speakers in condition similar to yours sold for $1535, with local pickup only in New Jersey. 

The seller specified that he wouldn't ship outside of the USA, so the final price might have been affected.

Just as a point of reference, a "restored" pair recently sold for $1785, so not that much of a difference.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They are wonderful and not violated, the value can be high and profitable, the important thing is that at the right selling price these splendid AR3s go to a new home, appreciated and above all used daily to fill with correct and pleasant sound by a new and loving owner. ... I would have kept them with only the restoration of the full efficiency of new capacitors and Pot's restored or replaced with the excellent Pots that JKent offers at a very honest price to us fans ... think about it a little longer and decide to keep your splendid ones AR3 (difficult to find another pair with more unfinished cabinets in excellent condition than the ones you own).

The value in $, currently offered as already written above of $ 1500 and more, is preserved over time, indeed it can only go up, but at least you enjoy a pair of speakers that since they were introduced in the 50s, are one of the world references for sound quality!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Couple things....Ebay will 1099 you now for anything sold over $600. Also....trying to ship those without experience will be tricky.

I have refinished over ten pairs of AR3's. Some of those had mids that were shot. The woofer could have issues now. And the final two things are the caps...and the potentimeters needing replaced. 

Hopefully you can find someone near that could get them. Because of the potential issues....unless someone could test the drivers...is being able to accept less monies than stated above. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi John,

Have you decided what you want to do? I'm in the keep them, and restore them camp.

One, because they were your grandfathers.

Two, they are amazing sounding speakers when properly restored.

Three, they are an investment.

We can easily guide you through the restoration process. Roy can most likely rebuild the mids and tweeters. Modern pots are available and an easy swap. Have you tried spinning the pot knobs back and forth a lot, to se if you can get a signal to the mids and tweeters? Caps are easy as well. There's tons of pics of how to do it. You can get a decent soldering iron to do this. The cabinets can be freshened up to look new. The grill material, called "Saran" can be washed , or replaced with new that matches the original. The other issue will most likely be the grill frames are cracked and brittle due to age, very common. I made new grill frames from 1/2" thick MDF and new Saran and they look terrific!

Cheers, Glenn

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your guidance. While I’m sure it would be a worthy endeavor (or endeavour, for you Brits), I don’t have time for another project right now. I would be happy to pass these on to someone who can love them back to their former glory. I’ll check out the rules for selling things on this site and will likely list them here for local pick up. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There really aren't any "rules" for selling something here on CSP. Describe the items as best you can, tell people where you are and set a price. For a reasonable amount, there will probably be someone willing to come get them who will actually want to restore them and won't just replace drivers with boom box woofers and cheap tweeters to flip them on Craigslist or eBay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...