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Ar3a alinco vs ceramic


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Hi everyone I’m about to purchase my first AR 3a.

I never heard them. 
I know what I started with the Alinco And then switched to ceramic. 
all the technical differences I’m not relevant for me because I don’t really understand them. 

what I do would like to know is for your personal opinion which one just sounds better? 

Also if you can refer me to someone in Los Angeles area for some restorations I might need 





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Assuming all the parts are correct and working properly, you will probably hear no practical difference between any version of the 3a that uses rotary mid/ hi attenuators.    Original alnicos are older and comparatively rare. Original tweeters will need a rebuild even if they seem to work. Recommend you down load and get familiar with the images in the restoration guide so you will know something about what you are purchasing.  Beware of any repairer who is not versed in old ARs.  There are plenty of working 3as for sale if you are not going to do the work yourself.  The price to have them properly restored vs purchasing an excellent pair from Vintage AR, for example, won't be much different.


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I did a very uncontrolled test by swapping between the newer (stamped frame) and older (ALNICO with cast aluminum frame) woofers ... I have two pair of AR-3a and these woofers are their originals in each case.  I didn't hear any significant difference and didn't attempt any quantified measurement.  I left the cast (older) woofers in my main pair of AR-3a (the one's in our living room).  If a pair of the newer woofers has had their surrounds replaced with overly stiff surrounds then I'd expect perturbation of the LF response, something one dodges with the older, cloth, surrounds.

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In an application with a lower crossover point such as the AR3a or LST, I can confirm this since I have tried, there is not much of a difference in the audible low end of things. However, when the ceramic is used in a higher crossed over woofer application like the AR3, you can hear a very audible difference. To me, the Alnico, as it was intended to have more upper bass let through than the ceramic version, will blend seamlessly in the system, where when a ceramic woofer was installed in an AR3, it sticks out like a sore thumb with a certain ringing and harshness, not blending well with the midrange components of the system. 


So basically, the alnico is forward comparable with most AR 12" woofer speakers, but the ceramic is not backward compatible with the systems intended for an alnico woofer in my opinion. 

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I would choose to keep the speaker loaded with drivers it was originally intended to use. AR3a's came mainly with the ceramic woofer, and as you know, some early AR3a's had the alnico woofer. 

If i was in the market for a pair of AR3a's, I'd be more interested in the condition and originality of the pair for an  unrestored pair. For a restored pair, the quality of the restoration is the most important thing. 

All that considered heavily before looking for a specific alnico loaded or ceramic loaded pair. On the other hand, if i came across an alnico pair met the above criteria, i would low key be more excited about the purchase since they are more unique and rare. 


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