Jump to content

Early AR-2ax restoration from TX


FabRik8r
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, this is my first post here. I was pointed in this direction after starting a thread about my Dad's speakers. I have most of his original system and that is part of the reason I'd like to get these back to my place to restore. First, a little background on these.

My dad bought these on base with an AR XA turntable that I have fully modified and enjoy. I have his Sony R2R, but it's last in line. I have an Akai GX-635D that is restored so no urgent need in that medium. These AR-2ax's have been up in the attic in north Texas for decades. One of the tweeter domes has popped out, and I think the TX heat has probably dried these out more than most other places in the country they could have been in hibernation.

I have attached pics to show you the condition. Overall, they are pretty nice. I won't be able to physically check these out for a month. My thought is that I need the tweeters rebuilt and it might be smart to remove those before shipping the speakers, and just send the tweeters to whoever will do the work. This will at least lessen the possibility of additional damage if the speaker shipping boxes are dropped.

I am aware of a seller on the auction site that sells various parts for restoration on these, including the doping solution for the cloth surrounds on these. I have time to fine tune my plan of attack, but I don't have access to my "repair" gear/stuff there, and will wait to check drivers out when I'm back home. However, any advice or suggestions you guys can offer while I wait to fly there, will be appreciated. 

One question I have is about the grills. They are actually pretty clean and I may not clean them at all, just vacuum carefully. But what about those crazy staples? I pulled what felt like 30 out of each speaker grill. As a general rule of thumb, do you guys use velcro or a modern way of reattaching? Or do you source similar type staples? It just seems to me that if there is a chance that I'd have to pull these off in the future, why make it that difficult. Plus, I'm guessing that in the late 60's, they were limited to good solutions.

As for refinishing. I will clean up the badges with Brasso, if that is ok. The wood will get a light sanding. I need to deal with the stain, but am fine with it being a part of the final restoration. I may leave the front baffle as is. I am not going to remove any of the markings as to me they honor the history. I'm leaving all the paperwork attached to the back of the speakers, so when I refinish the wood cabs, I'll protect the back panel as well as the front baffles.

Did I miss anything that is important at this early stage?

IMG_1877.jpeg

IMG_1871.jpeg

IMG_1875.jpeg

GTFP0707.jpeg

IMG_1881.jpeg

QCGL9670.jpeg

IMG_1885.jpeg

IMG_1880.jpeg

IMG_1883.jpeg

IMG_1882.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Except for the big moisture stain on the one speaker, these don't look very bad at all - you should be able to keep them in essentially original condition, which would honor their history. Are the cabinets otherwise undamaged?

The "AR" logo is painted on the badge, and using Brasso might damage it. There are brand-new reproduction badges available for very little cost.

No need to replace the staples, as velcro strips will hold the grille panel in place and allow for easy removal should you need to get back in.

There are members who've had their tweeters rebuilt, as well as several who are experts at dealing with the cloth-surround woofer, so wait for their responses.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That dark circle looks too perfectly round and centered to be a stain. My guess is that the speaker had something round like a lamp sitting on it for years and years and the dark circle is an area of original color that hasn't faded from exposure to sun and oxidation.

But if the grills are on correctly in the first photo, the speakers are upside-down and the dark circle is on the bottom of the cabinet, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, yours are a wonderful pair of early AR2ax!
In my opinion the woofers are okay (the only problem could be the only detachment of the masonite rings between suspension and basket and of the spider, which can be solved with new i8gluing), in my opinion they do not need Roy's drug.
Regarding the tweeter, it is possible to fix it again by replacing the internal rock wool of the dome, for example with suitable felt, then re-glued the four drops of urethane in the same position.
New capacitors, restoration of the 4 pots and you will get a splendid pair of early AR2ax !!
Final cleaning of the cabinets and grilles restore the exterior as new.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey guys, thanks for the responses! I need to check my post settings, but I didn't get notifications, so sorry for the late reply. I'm usually right on it.

genek, the grills in the first photo are correct. My dad may have had these upside down and not thought much of it. He has never considered himself an "audio guy", so I can see him doing that. The dark ring was probably from an ornate Japanese brass lamp with felt pad on the bottom. It looks the right size.

ar_pro the cabinets have no damage, which is part of why I was so excited to see the condition when we pulled out of the attic last year. I don't need the badges shiny to enjoy, so I'll avoid damaging them with Brasso or the like, thanks! Good to know on the velcro / grills ... that would be my first option.

Giorgio AR thanks  :)  I guess I'll need to pull the woofers to inspect after I get these home in August. I rebuild turntables and have experience with speaker surrounds, crossover upgrades and electronic repairs. Although, electronics for preamps and amps is one thing I limit myself to my own stuff, and only when I can get some help from smarter people.  :)   All to say that if it turns out that I can fix the tweeters on my own, I'll do it ... but only if it's the best course of action. As mentioned, these are a historical gem for this model and I'd like to honor that. I have better speakers, but for me, these will be fun to own and use. I may even decide to pair up with my Dad's old AR XA and maybe give me an excuse to get an old Fisher 400/500 ....

Just for context, here is my Dad's old AR XA. By the way, I have the original box and all paperwork. He never filled out warranty cards, and doesn't throw anything away. Nice for me.

 

ARXA_beauty.jpg

AR XA_reboot_rearcorner.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, FabRik8r said:

Hey guys, thanks for the responses! I need to check my post settings, but I didn't get notifications, so sorry for the late reply. I'm usually right on it.

genek, the grills in the first photo are correct. My dad may have had these upside down and not thought much of it. He has never considered himself an "audio guy", so I can see him doing that. The dark ring was probably from an ornate Japanese brass lamp with felt pad on the bottom. It looks the right size.

ar_pro the cabinets have no damage, which is part of why I was so excited to see the condition when we pulled out of the attic last year. I don't need the badges shiny to enjoy, so I'll avoid damaging them with Brasso or the like, thanks! Good to know on the velcro / grills ... that would be my first option.

Giorgio AR thanks  :)  I guess I'll need to pull the woofers to inspect after I get these home in August. I rebuild turntables and have experience with speaker surrounds, crossover upgrades and electronic repairs. Although, electronics for preamps and amps is one thing I limit myself to my own stuff, and only when I can get some help from smarter people.  :)   All to say that if it turns out that I can fix the tweeters on my own, I'll do it ... but only if it's the best course of action. As mentioned, these are a historical gem for this model and I'd like to honor that. I have better speakers, but for me, these will be fun to own and use. I may even decide to pair up with my Dad's old AR XA and maybe give me an excuse to get an old Fisher 400/500 ....

Just for context, here is my Dad's old AR XA. By the way, I have the original box and all paperwork. He never filled out warranty cards, and doesn't throw anything away. Nice for me.

 

ARXA_beauty.jpg

AR XA_reboot_rearcorner.jpg

That turntable looks “futuristic” compared to my 1969 XA!

 I think that weight on your platter would have been heavy enough to stop that little midget motor that drove mine! LOL

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, newandold said:

That turntable looks “futuristic” compared to my 1969 XA!

 I think that weight on your platter would have been heavy enough to stop that little midget motor that drove mine! LOL

 

Haha, well, yes. I stopped using the weight and removed the poly/cork mat to go for a thinner rubber/cork mat from Pathewings. These pics are from different iterations. I installed a Merrill motor in it using the wall wart, and it runs nice. I have installed the new Hurst 3001-001 motor and it works just dandy.

IMG_0905.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, FabRik8r said:

I'm curious about the mid's ... all I see is a "sponge", and I don't hear about people discussing those.

I'll look around the forum to see if I can find threads that are helpful, but feel free to post links.

There is nothing I can think of regarding the 2ax that someone here doesn’t have an answer for. I’m sure you’ll find out what you need in short order.

 It’s a little scary when I think how long it’s been since I let the 2ax go! 44 years!

To put that into perspective I had problems with those potentiometers only around a year or two after getting them brand new. So my hats off to guys who are handy and knowledgeable to fix here in the 21st century.

 I never knew what the drivers looked like behind those stapled grills until I got involved here!

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That dark circle gives you a pretty good idea of what the original tone of the cabinets was, in case your restoration plans include any wood refinishing work.

For not being an "audio guy," your dad seems to have made quite an investment in a modded AR turntable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, genek said:

That dark circle gives you a pretty good idea of what the original tone of the cabinets was, in case your restoration plans include any wood refinishing work.

For not being an "audio guy," your dad seems to have made quite an investment in a modded AR turntable.

I had the mods done ... I got the table stock from my Dad with a Shure M44 cartridge. I had hum issues with the stock arm and was going to have to rewire the arm. At that time, I didn't have the experience to do a rewire, and I was encouraged to consider a new arm. Found a steal on a used "bad wire" Rega arm and had it sent to Johnnie at Audio Origami for a wire and other custom stuff like the brass stub and counterweight ... I wanted that as a nod to the original counterweight.

As for the darker wood being the original wood color ... I know there are a few ways I can approach the finish, but I'll choose the best solution to achieve originality. My normal finishes include shellac (hand mix blonde flakes), lacquer, danish oil, or in some cases Howard's Feed N Wax works wonders.

IMG_5479.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, FabRik8r said:

I had the mods done ... I got the table stock from my Dad with a Shure M44 cartridge. I had hum issues with the stock arm and was going to have to rewire the arm. At that time, I didn't have the experience to do a rewire, and I was encouraged to consider a new arm. Found a steal on a used "bad wire" Rega arm and had it sent to Johnnie at Audio Origami for a wire and other custom stuff like the brass stub and counterweight ... I wanted that as a nod to the original counterweight.

As for the darker wood being the original wood color ... I know there are a few ways I can approach the finish, but I'll choose the best solution to achieve originality. My normal finishes include shellac (hand mix blonde flakes), lacquer, danish oil, or in some cases Howard's Feed N Wax works wonders.

IMG_5479.jpg

Yes that original arm was prone to hum and resonance issues.

After years of storage my XA did not fair well and was negated to last years trash pile. 
I did however, rescue the Stanton 681EEE-S that was on board and turned it over to an electrical engineer professor friend of mine who in turn, transplanted the thing into his player. Turns out by checking out EBAY that cartridge still has good value and quite a following. It sure as hell looks sweeter in his machine than it did in mine!619660E6-E3B5-4C6C-B6E8-18D680E819B3.thumb.jpeg.7c4821ed4b8cae81d4136da8cec6f798.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, FabRik8r said:

Stanton ... a blast from the past.  :)

The first cartridge I used in the XA was an Empire 999VE. 
Sounded harsh….just couldn’t get it right. Then to the Stanton….Like night and day. 
I recall the Shure V15 was the popular choice back in the day. I don’t recall what prompted me to the Stanton.

Interesting note about the monies….The cartridge was equal money to the turntable 75.00 each. Then of course I bit the bullet twice on the cartridges!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/17/2021 at 3:16 PM, ar_pro said:

Except for the big moisture stain on the one speaker, these don't look very bad at all - you should be able to keep them in essentially original condition, which would honor their history. Are the cabinets otherwise undamaged?

The "AR" logo is painted on the badge, and using Brasso might damage it. There are brand-new reproduction badges available for very little cost.

No need to replace the staples, as velcro strips will hold the grille panel in place and allow for easy removal should you need to get back in.

There are members who've had their tweeters rebuilt, as well as several who are experts at dealing with the cloth-surround woofer, so wait for their responses.

 

I need to get in contact with some of these people that are experts in dealing with cloth surrounds on the 2ax.

I bought the pair from the auction site and they are deformed.

I'm wondering what I can do to get them back into the proper shape or profile.

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...