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A pair of very early AR-6's


oldseattleite
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Hello y'all, at the suggestion of an eBay contact calling himself animal37 I just signed up here.  My eBay name is oldseattleite.  I have a pair of very early AR-6's, serial numbers 00682 and 00717, in need of repair.

Back when these speakers were new, I was too untalented to play the guitar and too poor to have a stereo.  Flash-forward to April 2018, I was a low-budget 63-year-old widower about to start a new career as an Uber driver. I walked into a computer recycle shop to purchase a used notebook computer for work purposes and, there, on a shelf alongside the secondhand computers, was this pair of AR-6's, priced as-is at $50 the pair. The shop owner's late grandfather was the speakers' original new purchaser. I've not been much of an audiophile --my stereo consists of a Technics SA-5470 bought in 1999 for $40, --it still works, though I don't get left channel until it warms up-- and a pair of modern powered computer speakers plus a powered subwoofer. However, my Uber vehicle, a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with the GT options package, came equipped from the factory with an OEM Mitsubishi head unit badged as Rockford Fosgate --as a spare part it costs $4,000, and  it drives a six-speaker arrangement plus a 710-watt built-in cargo compartment subwoofer. So, as an Uber driver I guess you could say I've unavoidably become somewhat of an "automotive audiophile."

Standing there in that computer shop 2-1/2 years ago, beholding these AR-6's, I remembered reading the great reviews of the AR-6 in Consumer Reports magazines of the 1970's, I remembered fleetingly dreaming at age 17 of owning a pair of these magical mighty mythical beasts, so I  figured what the hey, if nothing else they'll make good shelf queen conversation pieces, and so I bought them.

I'm a computer Linux hobbyist with a rudimentary understanding of electronics but a lot of patience and the ability to follow instructions and exercise meticulous craftsmanship; formerly I was into the hobby of renovating old diesel Mercedes's, so I feel capable of doing the necessary restoration work on  these speakers, once I have an understanding of what to do.  But a chain of unfortunate circumstance prevented me from assessing these speakers until now. They've been sitting in a heated storage unit since October 2018.

The first thing I did was, I connected them to my SA-5470 and tried playing the Doors, L.A. Woman, off of YouTube, through them, though not at terribly high volume. For a  few seconds there was beautiful, clear treble, midrange, and bass, then the midrange and bass died.

After some initial perusal of the 'Net via Google, last night I opened them up. The grilles were hot-glued on, but careful exertions around the edges with a pair of nut picks got them off. One woofer (on 00682) has  the cone separated from the spider. Upon taking the grilles off, I saw that both woofers have essentially nonexistent surrounds which I believe were cloth, because the remnant pieces behind the grilles at the bottom do not include any shards of foam. Essentially the surrounds-debris is just small lengths of old mucilage or some kind of similar clear-ish brown rubbery compound.  Whatever surround there was is completely vanished. There was no rear gasket on either woofer, the woofers were sealed to the cabinet with putty.  There is no screen on the back of either woofer frame; they are kept separate from the fiberglass by being ensconced in a conforming bowl-shaped layer of crepe paper.

The woofers are the six-ribbed alnico magnet type --see, I *have* been studying this and similar forums for the past couple days-- --they carry no identification labels-- --the tape which seals dust out from the back frame is intact-- I've gleaned that this model of woofer was used only in very early production runs of the AR-6, and was used earlier in the AR-4X. I've read that it might be a good idea to use an AR-4X crossover on such early AR-6's, since essentially what these are is the tweeter and woofer from an AR-4X built into a smaller cabinet. Or, alternatively, I have the idea that it might be a good idea to replace the woofers with slightly newer smooth-cone ones which would be more appropriate to this crossover, which I presume at this point is Type A. However, I have not yet seen the crossovers aside from pushing aside just enough fiberglass on 00682 to get a peek at its Industrial Condenser 10614 wax brick capacitor.

Before I proceed, I invite questions, suggestions, experienced advice, corrections to any incorrect guesswork terminology I'm flailing with, and requests for photographs.

 

AR-6 #1 -- serial 00682 (640x480).png

AR-6 #2 -- woofer with separated spider (640x480).png

AR-6 #3 -- woofer  rear, left side (640x480).png

AR-6 #4 -- woofer rear, right side (640x480).png

AR-6 #5 -- crossover capacitor (640x480).png

Edited by oldseattleite
changed the word inevitably to unavoidably
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I would refurbish those woofers rather than replace them with something else.  If you don't want to do it yourself there is a great guy down in Kent (Paul at theloudspeakerstore.com) who will do a great job for a reasonable price. Good luck with the restoration project!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since my last post I've priced the parts for rebuilding the original passive crossovers, and this has led me to wonder if it might be equally cost-effective to go the active crossover route, with four separate DIY amplifiers, one for each driver.

The original AR literature calls  for a "100-watt receiver" as being capable of powering the pair.  But, does anyone happen to know what the power requirement and power handling capability is, of the individual tweeter and woofer, if fed separately?

 

 

 

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They've already given you some good advice, refoaming woofers, changing capacitors, cleaning the cabinets and you'll find the "magic" and beauty of an early AR6 pair.
They were born and designed to sound good in the original configuration; Regarding amplification, either you set up your amplifier or buy another one with at least 60W x 2 that works well, you connect it to your AR6 and you will have years of good listening.

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As you can tell, I'm a big Supreme lover from the Motor City!!  Anyway, I've owned my AR-6's since the early 70's.  Used these as my rear channel speakers.  Remember Quadraphonic?

I restored these about 10 years ago.  Everything original except the surrounds and grills.

These still sound fantastic!  As I listen to these, it's hard to believe all the wonderful sounds these still produce.

I still wish I could find the grill cloth with the golden threads.

BTW, I'm a Linux guy as well.

Larry

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  • 10 months later...

I own a pair of AR-6 speakers I restored a few years ago. I have AR-3a's and Advent Large speakers, EPI 100's and EPI 250. The AR-6's are my wife's favorite speakers.  They are tremendous. 

They are not hard to refurbish as I remember it. Just put in new caps, clean the treble control's or get some that have been refurbished. 

Do put in new surrounds and get the speakers repaired by an expert. They are indeed long-throw AR 6 woofers and are irreplaceable!  The missing surrounds were made of foam and not cloth. 

Enjoy!  You've got gems on your hands. 

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