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AR-11A Restoration


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About 10 years ago when I was looking for a set of AR metal stands for my AR-11B’s, I came across a pair of AR-11A’s selling for $350 on Craigslist that included the stands, as well as a set of replacement foam grilles.   It was an all or nothing deal, so I agreed to include the 11A’s in the purchase even though they were not in the best of shape – I figured I could always part them out.  The stands were put to immediate use, but I put off doing anything with the 11A’s themselves.  Both of speakers had blown tweeters (one of the blown tweeters was a Tonegen replacement with an unfamiliar model number - 121130-0B).  The midranges were good, but the woofers needed new surrounds and the crossovers were questionable.  The owner had stored the speakers in his garage where they sustained significant water damage – buckled & peeling veneer on the bottom of the cabinets with some staining & delamination of the veneer on the sides.  The rest of the cabinets were in fair shape with numerous nicks & scratches. Fortunately, the foam grilles were in their original box and were in excellent condition.

Recently I picked up a pair of crossovers and tweeters from a parted out an AR-11B on eBay.  I now had the time & the parts to restore the 11A’s, so I pulled them out of storage.  

Crossover restoration: Instead of trying to deal with the existing crossovers in the bottom of the 11A’s, I just removed them & replaced them with the eBay sourced, 11B crossovers.  I kept the 11B’s original 120uF Sprague capacitor, but replaced the other capacitors (10uF & 40uF) with Dayton 1% tolerance capacitors.  All the original red/black capacitors in the both 11A & 11B crossovers were out of spec, measuring between 19% & 55% over their original rated value.  The 122uF (50uF+72uF) capacitors in the two 11A’s were close to their +/- 10% spec at 136uF & 140uF. 

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Existing Crossover                                  Existing Crossover Removed                 11B Crossover Installed with new Dayton 10uF & 40uF Capacitors

Cabinet Restoration: Removed and replaced the existing buckled veneer on the bottom of the cabinets.  Re-glued & ironed flat the veneer that had delaminated along the bottom of the cabinets’ sides.  Sanded off the existing finish (the exposed, unfinished walnut veneer was lighter & redder in color than I expected) and refinished the cabinets with 3 coats of Watco Danish Oil.  The initial sanding had removed the water stains & all but a few of the deeper nicks/scratches.  Wet sanding after the initial coat of Danish oil helped hide most of the remaining blemishes.  

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Water Damaged Veneer on Bottom of Cabinet            New Veneer

Driver restoration: Installed the eBay sourced, 11B tweeters, adding new felt blankets over the tweeter face plates.  The woofers were re-foamed curtesy of Millersound & the woofer’s rotted “outer gasket” trim was replaced with 1/8” x 1” adhesive backed, black foam.  The finished product turned out looking better than I hoped & they sound just like AR-11’s should – detailed with tight, deep, undistorted bass.  Flim & the BB’s can tell you a lot about your speaker's capabilities.

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Restored Speakers

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Really nice restoration on the cabinets.  It's wonderful to see how something so beat up, water damaged, and degraded can be brought back to such lovely condition.  Kudos to you on the restore.

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