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My AR-2ax Restoration


Vern48
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Even though I have just officially joined the CSP forum, I have been following along for a number of years.  In fact, I printed out the 3a Restoration guide back, I think it was, in 2008. I am quite appreciative of the work put into this site and the valuable information contained therein.

My audio interests developed in the mid-to-late 60’s, while in high school.  I built the Dynaco PAS3, Stereo 70 and FM3 kits….and purchased my first set of speakers, AR3’s. Some years later, I purchased a set of 2ax’s.

Since then, my collection of AR speakers has grown considerably – a total of seventeen – 3, 3a, 2a & 2ax. Believe it or not, a few of these were destined for the trash if I had not “rescued” them. Of course, I’ve collected an inventory of other equipment as well.

Life has a way of changing our plans and I never got around to restoring any of my ARs’, other than changing the old pots. I retired from our family-owned business at the end of 2019 – just in time to welcome Covid 19. Spent much of 2020 tying up loose ends and liquidating business inventory and equipment no longer needed…and catching up on some stuff around the house. After all these years, it seemed to be time to think about down-sizing. So, finally January 2021 the time was available to start looking at all these speakers – really didn’t do anything while running the business.

I spent a considerable amount of time re-reading the restoration guide and many, many 2ax threads in this forum. I found the thread “AR-2ax Project” by Michael T, December 13, 2017 quite interesting as I, too, was mulling over making the “best’ choices.  I actually spent an hour or so a couple days in a row just staring at the inside of my speakers trying to make decisions and finally walked away and worked on my snow blower for a while instead. Roy C’s post on December 29, 2017 - “……owners are wringing their hands over the use of L-pads or pots, the retention of original stuffing, or Solen vs Dayton capacitors...among other geeky considerations.” – helped get me back on track. So, one by one, I just looked at all the options and made the choices I thought was best for me.

The pair in this post started out as empty cabinets and collected pairs of woofers, midranges and tweeters. It turned out the tweeter pair were unusable – output on one was low and practically nonexistent on the other.  Now, do I use the HiVi tweeter or have these repaired? Oh, no, another decision to be made!  [Incidentally, I was not aware until recently that the original tweeter could now be rebuilt.] I decided to use the HiVi’s but left the wires intact to the original posts so I could go back to the original tweeter in the future. That’s what the extra wires are for in the images. I neatened up the wiring a bit afterward. The fiberglass is new. The cloth behind the woofers was reused from an old pair of KLH’s.

I wiped down the front panel with flat black paint, as if applying stain. The cabinet exteriors still need to be done. The top of one cabinet was bad, so that piece of veneer has been removed. Thinking of a piece of pressure sensitive for that. Then using Howard Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax on both cabinets. Need to get grills and badges as well.

I am pleased with the audible and visual results thus far. I had planned on selling these when the restorations were complete, but now, not so sure.

Hope this helps someone else on the journey!

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Thanks for the kind remark, ar_pro.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do next. Initially, I wasn’t really planning to keep these cabinets, but decided to use them as a “getting my feet wet” kind of experience in speaker restoration.

Having to replace the tweeters lead me down an unplanned path. I’ve done about a dozen woofer refoams (not all ARs) and some pot changes, but this was my first complete internal speaker restoration. After investing more time and effort than I expected, I was also quite unexpectedly happy with the end result. So, now I may have to keep them…..

The cabinets need work – the top veneer of one cabinet needs replacing and both need refinishing. I do not have frames, cloth or emblems.

So, these are the decisions I’m contemplating:

1. How to proceed on the cabinet repairs.

2. Grills: do I try to make frames, buy & install the cloth, buy the badges – or just purchase them ready made all-in-one? I’m not sure the time/effort vs savings ratio works.

3. How do the HiVi tweeters compare to the originals? Should I have the original tweeters rebuilt and swap them out? I think the HiVi sound pretty good, although the originals were pretty bad. Then again, my hearing isn’t quite what it used to be. Will I even hear a difference?

So,  in a lull for now, enjoying the sound of my labor thus far.

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55 minutes ago, Vern48 said:

Thanks for the kind remark, ar_pro.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do next. Initially, I wasn’t really planning to keep these cabinets, but decided to use them as a “getting my feet wet” kind of experience in speaker restoration.

Having to replace the tweeters lead me down an unplanned path. I’ve done about a dozen woofer refoams (not all ARs) and some pot changes, but this was my first complete internal speaker restoration. After investing more time and effort than I expected, I was also quite unexpectedly happy with the end result. So, now I may have to keep them…..

The cabinets need work – the top veneer of one cabinet needs replacing and both need refinishing. I do not have frames, cloth or emblems.

So, these are the decisions I’m contemplating:

1. How to proceed on the cabinet repairs.

2. Grills: do I try to make frames, buy & install the cloth, buy the badges – or just purchase them ready made all-in-one? I’m not sure the time/effort vs savings ratio works.

3. How do the HiVi tweeters compare to the originals? Should I have the original tweeters rebuilt and swap them out? I think the HiVi sound pretty good, although the originals were pretty bad. Then again, my hearing isn’t quite what it used to be. Will I even hear a difference?

So,  in a lull for now, enjoying the sound of my labor thus far.

Very nice work, Vern...

Some people find the HiVi tweeters to be too bright.

I noticed your woofers are the later replacement version. When this woofer was used in the later 2ax, the midrange resistance ("DCR") was raised to 9 ohms from the original 6 ohms. If you find the tweeter/mid combo to be forward you could try adding a 3 ohm resistor in line with the mids if their resistance measures 6 ohms, and/or go with rebuilt tweeters.

Roy

 

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Thank You, Roy.

The woofers are a pair I picked up reasonably and had to refoam.  They do have a sticker on the back identifying them as a service replacement.

I removed, disconnected one wire and measured the resistance of each mid: 6.2 & 6.3 ohms.  If I do add a series 3 ohm resistor, I do not change the 25 ohm across the L-pad, as, if I understand it correctly, that just affects the control.  [I did not put a 25 ohm across the tweeter L-pad.]

This may be a question for a new thread: Wondering about the rebuilt tweeters. How long have they been available? How many members have used them? What's a reasonable life expectancy compared to HiVi? What's the consensus opinion between the two so far?  Maybe one of "those" decisions?

Vern

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3 hours ago, Vern48 said:

Thank You, Roy.

The woofers are a pair I picked up reasonably and had to refoam.  They do have a sticker on the back identifying them as a service replacement.

I removed, disconnected one wire and measured the resistance of each mid: 6.2 & 6.3 ohms.  If I do add a series 3 ohm resistor, I do not change the 25 ohm across the L-pad, as, if I understand it correctly, that just affects the control.  [I did not put a 25 ohm across the tweeter L-pad.]

This may be a question for a new thread: Wondering about the rebuilt tweeters. How long have they been available? How many members have used them? What's a reasonable life expectancy compared to HiVi? What's the consensus opinion between the two so far?  Maybe one of "those" decisions?

Vern

You can also somewhat tame the HiVi tweeter/mid combination by simply adding a parallel 25 ohm resistor across the tweeter as well.

There is probably not enough experience with rebuilt tweeters to definitively answer your questions. They have been around for a few years. The modern construction of the HiVi tweeter and the use of the parallel inductor is likely to make it more durable and consistent, but rebuilt tweeters are easier to install and sound closer to that of the original.

Roy

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4 hours ago, Vern48 said:

What's the consensus opinion between the two so far?

If you are an attentive listener you will notice the difference, assuming you have a carefully rebuilt original to compare.  If you usually listen while being diverted and you use the resistors on the HiVi you may never notice the difference,  especially if you don't know how the original is supposed to sound.

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I mentioned in my opening post I had 17 AR speakers. Two of that 17 is another pair of earlier 2ax's that need restoration. Maybe when I get that far along, I'll have the originals in those rebuilt. Then I can make a comparison between the two.

I do plan to downsize my collection at some point, but will probably keep that pair due to a bit of nostalgia - we bought that pair soon after we were married.

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