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Thanks so much frankmarsi. I have a couple of questions about your insights on high power amps with AR inefficient speakers. After some thinking about it, the tube amp route may not be the best way with the 3a's. Am now looking at McIntosh MC312 (300W per channel) or a MC462 (450W per channel). A couple of questions:

Will the 450W be a risk to the original tweeters?

Any thoughts on double stacking the 3a's and how would you wire them? I would love to have a pair of LST's but realize that finding a pair is going to be really difficult, so wondering if double stacking 3a's would be close.

Where and how would you place the fuses?

I listen to classical, vocal, etc in a large room (16x30x10).

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9/23/2021

“Will the 450W be a risk to the original tweeters?”

Any amplifier will be dangerous to any tweeter if driven too hard with ensuing clipping and distortion. Too much power fed into a delicate tweeter can easily take out a voice coil. In fact a woofer would blow also if over powered. The key to using a high power amplifier is judgement of when one is pushing a speaker and not go beyond its ability to clearly make sound. I’ve done it years ago and the fear of doing will always be there if I get carried away.  The use of high power has many virtues and should at the same time be respected and understood when to draw the line on volume.

One precaution is to use the correct size fuse, in fact fuses should always be used in any situation. Though you could damage a tweeter even with a fuse in place it would all still depend on ‘user’ diligence and knowledge of when they are pushing too hard and too much. Common sense is key. However, what I found out years ago in 1971 was that even using the recommended correct size fuse of 1&1/4 amp fuse on the AR-3a, volume level  can’t be that loud as they weren’t designed for auditorium use. I went through tens of boxes of "FuseTronS" in their little yellow boxes. It’s why by mid ’74 I purchased a pair of “Micro-Static” tweeters and decided against the use of AR’s tweeter which simply cannot handle high-power. On the other hand, AR’s midrange and 12” woofer can handle huge amounts of power. I first tried the double AR-3A'S  by 2005 or so and sound wise it was a no-go for me.

 

"Any thoughts on double stacking the 3a's and how would you wire them? "  

Several years ago I hooked up two sets of AR-3a’s with two Phase LInear PL-400’s. Typically, these amps will offer up 400 watts per-channel @ 4ohms and a singular pair of AR-3a’s will sound amazing. I used this combo since I purchased my first set of Micro-Statics in mid or so 1974 till 1983 when I realized I rather use high-power than settle for low volume highs missing and the for the excitement of realistic sounding audio across the audio band that high power gives to me.  Years ago in 1972 when the AR-LST was first released, I remember wondering how would a singular 12” woofer would keep up with all those extra drivers as compared to the AR-3a. Gratefully, I quickly learned that the AR 12" woofer is very hearty and could handle it with no problem. I hooked up the double set of 3a’s and I felt a thickness to the sound, bass heavy and over-all not as well balanced as I would expect them to sound and decided for me, it wasn’t accurate enough.  If you do try this, I highly recommend two identical equally matched amplifiers. 

"I would love to have a pair of LST's but realize that finding a pair is going to be really difficult, so wondering if double stacking 3a's would be close."

The AR-LST was designed with the knowledge of the AR-3a so, AR had much to accomplish even though it was a nearly perfect model to emulate. As a result AR had in effect ‘upped’ their stance on what a speaker should sound like and they gloriously announced a new-standard for the world with the AR-LST. In my experimentation as I mentioned above, there was no comparison as the LST  clearly is on another level, period.

"Where and how would you place the fuses?"  Using the correct fuses, fuses are mounted ‘in-line’ on one leg of the speaker cables. Fast-Blow fuses are not recommend but, instead Slo-Blow are required. Generally, AR suggested mounting the fuse clips in the back of cabinet using short wood screws.

"I listen to classical, vocal, etc in a large room (16x30x10)."

Regardless of the type of music listened to, speaker placement is paramount. You have a large room and it would require much amplifier power to fill. Your room’s dimensions are actually very good if not almost ideal. Generally, most sealed and acoustic-suspension speakers would sound their best close to or against the ‘front’ wall, especially the AR-LST. Other different designs would require different placement if not the same or, could be moved more forward into the room, experimentation is necessary and certainly helpful in learning what’s best. This crap that amateurs spew out all across the net that trusting ones ears is a common pitfall. First off, the folks who use that phrase are generally amateurs and wouldn't have qualifying ears. Learning the established rules first and by experimentation with established norms as you go along. Listening impressions should always be weighed along side established rules of thumb in as a starting point and also to confirm whether or not things are going correctly.  I too have a long room of 26 feet, though one wall opens up to the dining room at about 20 feet, while the actual room itself is 26’ X 12.5’ X 8’.

When I first moved into my present home, I was already fully aware that the AR-LST was designed to be used against the front-wall and decided to try it at various distances in mid-room during initial set-up.  The sound of LST speakers mid-room was dreadful with empty hollow bass that was not being supported by the front-wall and a somewhat scattered output for the rest of the audio-band.

I would say to you that reading and learning some of the basic principles should be part and parcel for any listener/hobbist and is always in order in any area of endeavor so, I highly recommend you hit the books and the afforded new benefit of videos online. Bear in mind that there are concrete basic rules of placement that should be adhered to and used as initial guidelines but, like I say, experimentation is and can be useful and educational. You won't be reinventing the wheel but, actually making things easier for yourself with less frustration if the basics are followed as starting point.

I’ve had a few battling discussions with some new comers who insisted their speakers were “sounding great” on floors, in corners and or driven by too-low amplifier power. Weeks later the ‘unknowing-ones’ started broadcasting on other sites their eureka moments/new deep-experience of correct placement coupled to high power as ‘if’ they knew it all along, a typical plagiaristic move many  people on the web live by. In short order the ‘perps’ now have their speakers on stands and have bought into appropriately higher amplifier power and now strut around on other sites just like peacocks advising others of their deep and qualifying knowledge of high power usage. It’s a big laugh to me. In reality, I liken it to that one cannot expect anyone freshly out of ‘boot-camp’ to be a leading commander in a real battle, or, a newcomer to set-up a proper sounding stereo system. It takes time in learning through attentive trial and error and using already established proven information as the proper foundation of setting-up. One's ears must be trained in order to discern and learn differences and that can only come with time and experience. However, being prepared with the correct tools is key, like having an open-end to new and different aspects about setting up, open to admit if the set up really does sound like the real thing or a dull attempt at reproduction that many are content with?

UPDATE:  It just came to mind that from 1977 to 1982, I also had my 3a's in a similarly size room like yours. It was 35' X 25' with 12' ceilings. The extended length of speaker wire was over 50 feet per-side because I ran the wires across the ceiling to maintain a clear floor.  My AR-3a's sounded excellent and much bigger than their actual size because the room's large dimensions assisted in that. The AR tweeter was not operating as usual so, the Micro-Static tweeters did the job admirably, besides those small AR domes would not carry a room of that size well. If your listening habits are 'loud' or even close to loud, I'd strongly suggest external tweeters and disconnect the cabinet's tweeter.  I used my first PL-400 and felt anything of less power would definitely sound strained as the amp ran at '0' db often when the mood insisted.

 FM

https://community.classicspeakerpages.net/topic/10649-do-ar-speakers-really-sound-that-good-more-new-video/

870

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hello everyone my experience with AR11A and 10pi

I powered it with a Sansui AU11000a 12watt 8 ohm with great sound results IMHO great match.

I tried an CARVER amplifier at the moment I don't remember which one I think Carver PM-1200 450 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

the sound was not interesting without life.

I am currently running AR11 and AR10pi with Firstwatt 16watt 6ohm amplifier and I can say that I am more than satisfied, huge sound image strong deep bass.

These are my experiences and I wanted to share them with you.

I wish you the best in finding best match amplifies that go well with AR.

 

Dick Olsher famously remarked that “The first watt is the most important watt.” This sentiment has also been expressed by others as “Who cares what an amplifier sounds like at 500 watts if it sounds like crap at one watt?” With this in mind, I created First Watt in 1998 as a "kitchen-table" effort, exploring unusual low power amplifiers with an emphasis on sound quality.

Small amplifiers have a number of advantages over “big iron” in that very high quality can be achieved with simple Class A circuits using little or no feedback.

There is no such thing as a perfect amplifier. All audiophiles and their associated equipment have specific needs, but in each case there is such a thing as a best amplifier - the one that makes you happy.

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The difference in sound quality, detail, etc was night and day when I upgraded from a Dynaco Stereo 80 to the Stereo 400.   Eventually, I did blow a tweeter but I don't know how it happened.   Perhaps 200 watts per channel was too big of an amp.  Perhaps the fuses I was using were too big.  Perhaps the low impedance speakers were difficult for the big Dynaco amp.  Perhaps the AR tweeter of that era simply did not have adequate power handling capacity.  There are just so many variables.

That equipment eventually went to my cousin.   After a number of years, the tweeter in the other speaker blew.

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13 hours ago, vintagemiha said:

hello everyone my experience with AR11A and 10pi

I powered it with a Sansui AU11000a 12watt 8 ohm with great sound results IMHO great match.

I tried an CARVER amplifier at the moment I don't remember which one I think Carver PM-1200 450 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

the sound was not interesting without life.

I am currently running AR11 and AR10pi with Firstwatt 16watt 6ohm amplifier and I can say that I am more than satisfied, huge sound image strong deep bass.

These are my experiences and I wanted to share them with you.

I wish you the best in finding best match amplifies that go well with AR.

 

Dick Olsher famously remarked that “The first watt is the most important watt.” This sentiment has also been expressed by others as “Who cares what an amplifier sounds like at 500 watts if it sounds like crap at one watt?” With this in mind, I created First Watt in 1998 as a "kitchen-table" effort, exploring unusual low power amplifiers with an emphasis on sound quality.

Small amplifiers have a number of advantages over “big iron” in that very high quality can be achieved with simple Class A circuits using little or no feedback.

There is no such thing as a perfect amplifier. All audiophiles and their associated equipment have specific needs, but in each case there is such a thing as a best amplifier - the one that makes you happy.

I absolutely agree with vintagemiha. Most of my favorite "sounding" amps over the decades were not "high powered", with perhaps my favorite having been a sub-50 watt/channel class A amp. High volume levels in a larger room may require more power, but that is not at all the case for many people.

Hey frankmarsi, have you gotten around to replacing all those blown LST tweeters, or are you still using those non-AR add-on Microstat tweeters? My offer still stands to get you back to listening to actual AR speakers again. 😉

Roy

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11 hours ago, RoyC said:

I absolutely agree with vintagemiha. Most of my favorite "sounding" amps over the decades were not "high powered", with perhaps my favorite having been a sub-50 watt/channel class A amp. High volume levels in a larger room may require more power, but that is not at all the case for many people.

Hey frankmarsi, have you gotten around to replacing all those blown LST tweeters, or are you still using those non-AR add-on Microstat tweeters? My offer still stands to get you back to listening to actual AR speakers again. 😉

Roy

I'm interested, we'd have to discuss the logistics and particulars. In any event, this sounds like lots of fun.

 

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On 9/18/2021 at 11:54 AM, frankmarsi said:

 

“Power to the People, Power to My Speakers” or: AR speakers are best Listened and Enjoyed with High-Power Amplification.

About 50 years ago when I was a young man doing everything I could do to reach the level of better and higher fidelity in my listening, I purchased in kit form, what at the time was considered almost high power. At the time I was barely enjoying my brand new AR-3a’s because although musical instruments and voice never sounded more realistic in sound-quality because of their quality, something was sorely missing.

One interesting aspect that I noticed was I had to almost make a concentrated effort to hear cymbals and though they were seemingly there occasionally, they still weren’t vivid or crashing tingly sounding as I knew they sounded in person in the bands I had played in from 1964 onto ’73 or at concerts I had gone to. Nor did cymbals or higher register frequencies from different musical instrument’s leading and trailing edges in those ranges as I typically heard in a live performance. So, I obviously knew that in order to get more sound in the treble range I needed to turn up that tone-control but, that raised the noise-level and wasn’t very natural sounding and off balance to the overall sound. I lived that reality for a number of months all the while I was continuously reading more and more information on the benefits of good sounding balance music systems. Every chance I got, I also continued taking trips to the too few stereo stores in the boro in which I lived and on many a good day traveled by boat and subway to visit the numerous stereo stores in the boro of Manhattan, NYC which I actually started doing in 1967. This afforded me the run-in’s with eager and sometimes pushy salesmen who were more than willing to use the ‘switching’-boards’ that had the fun ability to switch between different amplifiers and speakers, turntables.  My approach was to specifically hone in on my favorites of components and speakers and to immediately request what I wanted to hear.

 

‘What it was like in the early '70s’:

In those early years there was a new ‘phenom’ creating a stir in the then glorious world of high-fidelity. It was something that was creating somewhat of a stir for some folks while still creating a degree of confusion and I’ll tell you why.

As far back in 1971 and before, the general public was still relying upon anywhere generally speaking from 15 to 35 watts per-channel to power their stereos. That amount of watts was pretty much the going number for most folks. If someone had 75WPC which was not common, that person was big-timing-it. The knowledge of the benefits of higher-fidelity due to higher watts was relatively unknown to the masses. Besides, even though AR Corp. a number of years earlier had reached the amazing status of holding almost one-third of market-share in consumer speakers sales, the awareness or even the known necessity of high-power amplifiers was something most had no concern of even though in that and earlier period AR’s were grossly listened to with under-powered amplifiers. Much like some do today, many raise their chins in a posturing defiance insisting that their stereos sound "great" as is and certainly there is no need to play their music any louder than they do at home already. Or, not unless it was New Year's Eve and the neighbors and family were over tearing up the rug and spilling drinks on the living room floor, who needed more watts?

I’ll never forget the moment I finished building my new and not common to most, transistor amplifler (back then it was: "gee, no tubes for once").  I was now rolling in the upper echelon of ‘real’ high-fidelity because everything I read before that moment indicated that to reproduce the lower registers of bass, it required more watts and to render cymbals cleanly and clearly along with other high frequencies would all sound better if an amplifier wasn’t struggling to make the power necessary to reproduce those frequencies. An under-powered amplifier would tend to clip or distort, and sound thin therefore, modifying the original reproduced sound and not sounding realistic. With a small amp, and this apparent ’small-ness’ of sound, I wasn’t a happy listener. Mind you, I’m not implying loud. I’m talking bigger, fuller, more emotionally involving, where music has the ability to touch the heart and inspire but, with the small amp all that wasn’t there and fully realized.

 

‘With the hope of the future, better things will come’.

By approximately the close of the ‘60s the Crown Corp. who, known for excellent professional-studio 10-1/2” tape recorders came out with an improvement on the 1960s entry of the D-60 amplifier except,  for their new entry the D-300 produced a huge (at the time), 150 watts per-channel RMS @ 8ohms. This new revelation was great except for the sometimes evident audible grainy-ness and at times stringent high-frequencies that seemed to be by-products of the ‘new’ solid-state devices being used known as the transistor. Consequently, that Crown amp was one of the only of it’s type and for a short time notable in the spread of a new dimension of stereo at the time. That was the ability to make the stereo-typical (pun intended) stereo to come-alive and reproduce and present music in a more realistic fashion. With-in a years time, a young enterprising physicist from this county’s west coast devised a similar newer design with even more power of 350wpc @8 ohms. With a fair amount of advertising Bob Carver had unleashed upon the world a evolutionary giant step in the furthering of stereo sound to offer even more realism and coming closer to the original musical experience.

 

‘One Thing for Certain’

With-in less than 24 months Mr. Carver introduced a 350 WPC ampliflier and later a 200WPC amp and a very innovative and excellent sounding pre-amplifier. Shortly thereafter other major companies from the USA and abroad came out with their versions of high-powered amplifiers and more flexible pre-amps, better turntables, improved phono-cartridges and cables. It was considered part of the “Golden-Era” of high-fidelity. The “Power-Wars”  ensued and the race was on. More and more consumers were buying into high-power. Many other speaker manufacturers were coming out with acoustic-suspension speakers because now, the higher power necessary to realistically reproduce sound was available . And, these same manufacturers also up-ing their game by manufacturing higher power amplifiers also.

 

“Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do

There are some individuals on this forum and other forums that will and do either dismiss and dispute most of what I’ve said here. Though to me, I've  been a major proponent (AKA fanboy) of AR speakers judiciously powered with high-power amplification since 1974,(what were you listening to?).  I firmly believe that anyone who disagrees with my rants is primarily due to the fact that they themselves don't use anything over 200WPC.

Back In 1971, I hooked-up my brand new AR-3a speakers with a low watt Dynaco ST-35 amplifier @ 17.5 WPC hoping for the best and I was very disappointed until a few months painfully went by and I bought into another amp. Hey, great sound was all pretty new to me, I was in the process of learning, even if I knew enough already to buy AR-3a’s.

So, in less than a few months, I excitedly purchased and built a Dynaco ST-120 kit that promised 60WPC RMS with a pedal to the metal and balls to the wall 67WPC RMS at clipping. In a very short time I realized my satisfaction level was only ever so slightly elevated. This newer purchase only gave me slightly bigger bass and only slightly more realistic sounding higher frequencies in terms of ‘size’ or volume. However, that lousy amp was a mistake of a purchase. I ended up tearing it down and rebuilding major parts of it several times. By mid-late 1974 I bought my first Phase Linear PL-400 and was extremely happy ever since. In 2009 there came two PL-700's and there I rest to this day.

 

‘Afraid of the Watts?’ ‘Why?’

The ‘pushers’ of anything lower than 150+WPC @8 ohms with an AR-3a speaker are with-in the group of non-cognoscenti who more than likely have never spent adequate time intently listening to a system that approaches the realistic musical levels and excitement that the use of high-power with inefficient speakers affords. You’ll have nothing to fear but, the ‘new’ level of enlightened enjoyment.

Below a popular advertising piece right around the same times that I’ve spoken of. By 1972 through the end of and beyond into the early 1980’s many folks were to become believers and are certain of the ways of achieving a higher degree of reproduced musical quality because of higher amp power.

P.S. To JKent, I recall quite a few years ago a few folks using the term “Big Watts” or last week someone said “Mac-watts” when referring to their amps but, in all seriousness, there is no valid measurement either electrically or otherwise that can be measured and called ‘Big-Watts’. And if this misleading expression is valid, please explain to me and others what is meant by big-watts? Is the bass bigger, fuller, the treble higher, brighter, is it a particulat flavor or color? Do other amps get the participation award just for being there also? Beyond amps sounding different by design, I find that ‘big-watts’ term bogus and should be left to the unknowning.

It is nothing more than misinformed with misleading statements. Because, otherwise that connotation would define ‘colored’ or an editorialized sound quality and is not desirable to me.

 

https://community.classicspeakerpages.net/topic/10649-do-ar-speakers-really-sound-that-good-more-new-video/

 342794015_arplcopy.thumb.png.dd98363df03897da2f4af11d20a1e943.png

369

I was one of those who went from the 60 WPC AR to the phase 400/2000 preamp back in 77. Everything about not enough juice came to an end, requiring only a common sense level of discretion. I’ve stayed with Bob Carver designs right up to the here and now with Sunfire Signature. I swapped the 400 after over 11 years of service for Carver’s 1.0t

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7 hours ago, newandold said:

I was one of those who went from the 60 WPC AR to the phase 400/2000 preamp back in 77. Everything about not enough juice came to an end, requiring only a common sense level of discretion. I’ve stayed with Bob Carver designs right up to the here and now with Sunfire Signature. I swapped the 400 after over 11 years of service for Carver’s 1.0t

That's good to hear.

I have retained every piece of audio equipment I bought since 1967.  Including the Dynaco PAS-3X, kit I built, a ST-35 tube amp, ST-120 kit I built and all of the Phase Linear amps and pre-amps I bought when I retired in the early 2000's. I even have the new then Shure cartridges from the start in 1967. Though I started fooling around with old radios found in the neighborhoods trash cans or the ones my father messed around with. A Shure M3D, M55, M91ED, Empire SE/X , a Shure Type III, Shure Type IV.

Let's not forget every AR speaker also. Of course every vinyl disk I bought since including the first disk I had to have because the tune was so catchy back in 1961-62 of the Ventures, 'Walk Don't Run', a few 45RPM in much played condition like Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen, Green Onions by Booker T and the MG's, Heart and Soul by The Cleftones,  etc. At the age I was at of 11-12, my weekly allowance was all of 10 cents, I to save up for weeks to afford a "AMT" model car to build. It did take time to save up unless I was thrown  .25 cents to a .50 by a visiting relative or my parents had a little to throw my way every once in a while like a couple of dollars but, that was very rare. Coming from a family that began in 1930 living in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn there was never any extra money. Money only went for necessities primarily and living expenses, gas, electric, food and car fare though we all walked where ever we had to be. Mother made my pants and suits and my 3 older sisters skirts, blouses and dresses. We did not accept GOV. hand-outs.By the early 1960s things were changing for the better carrying over from the fifties in this country.

Life was very tough for depression time immigrants and everyone before that, some did well, some barely recovered afterward. Mother worked in a sweat-shop on a sewing machine in a factory making blouses, coats and other clothing, my father worked on 125th. Street and Lenox Ave. as a 'timber-man' shoring-up the building's sidewalks and basements on either side of the street as the steam-shovel dug the subway tunnels right down the middle of the street. The sidewalks and curbs and actual buildings on either side of the street/hole had to be supported with 12"X12" timbers so the buildings would not collapse into the huge hole they were digging as NYC continually expanded it's subways. Luckily for me I was born in 1949 four years after WW II had ended and the country was on a roll during the 1950's so, my life was made better for me by my older siblings and my parents and a flourishing economy. We all loved AMERICA dearly.  Life back then for mostly everyone was difficult and certainly very different than it is today and it was before my time. We didn't have a car until the oldest sister finished college and started working at a private school in Brooklyn.  First car in 1959 that she bought a used 1955 Chevy Belair 4 door in the popular turquoise and white paint scheme. Family left Brooklyn in 1961. It's been for some time the fourth largest city in the country with just over 4 million in population. Ah Brooklyn, with-out it, NYC would never be NYC. The story goes that the Dutch named it originally as the area of 'broken-land' henceforth Brooklyn.

I have a couple of early photos of my father using a two-man handled saw because chain saws were probably rare and or a new, yet to be manufactured tool. He had two huge two-man saws however, someone stole them out of the garage. Call me a hoarder in todays terms but, back when my family began, one repaired or repurposed objects when broken or kept them for parts and I was taught those same things. Metals were always held onto especially. All of the family's food was made from scratch, left-overs saved for tomorrow's side dish.

And "newandold" coming from small discarded kitchen tube radios, junked TVs with one 12 inch speaker as most had back then was the 'norm' for me as my starting point.  When I decided to go solid-state in 1972, of course S.S. really wasn't wide-spread like today. Transistors were still not so widely used or even known of by most of the general public. Even the phenomenal Bob Carver was forced to use Delco transistors that GM was using in their truck ignitions as many transistors were yet to be develpoed that could handle high voltage as those did. Luckily, my rebuilt PL-700s use more modern "On-Semi"/"Motorola"  power-transistors with a larger "SOA' and the two amps were rebuilt by one of the last PL gurus in Washington state.

The way I talk, one would think it not out the realm of possibilities for me to buy a larger burial plot so I could take my LST's with me. I don't know what others feel about their speakers but, what I own was a long time in coming to me and the attraction has never left me. Though I have to admit, this whole present issue of the virus, political unrest and the discourse of many things through-out the world has really set me back where I rarely do any listening these days- I sure hope that passes soon. Music has always been a saving grace for me with rock to speak my mind and classical to express my deepest emotions.

BELOW: My father is on the right wearing the plaid shirt, over-alls and cap cutting a heavy timber around 1927 to 1930, just before the depression hit hard.  He was 18 to 21 year old and fresh off the boat a couple of years before that. Notice construction clothing was very different back then. He told me stories of when fellow workers would become injured and then they were finished as workmen's comp and insurance for the working class was non-existent. 

820061770_Poppa21927subwayworkcopy2.jpg.56361cfc0dfec0062fb68ab3beef3d25.jpg

FM

 

 

1k

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36 minutes ago, frankmarsi said:

That's good to hear.

I have retained every piece of audio equipment I bought since 1967.  Including the Dynaco PAS-3X, kit I built, a ST-35 tube amp, ST-120 kit I built and all of the Phase Linear amps and pre-amps I bought when I retired in the early 2000's. I even have the new then Shure cartridges from the start in 1967. Though I started fooling around with old radios found in the neighborhoods trash cans or the ones my father messed around with. A Shure M3D, M55, M91ED, Empire SE/X , a Shure Type III, Shure Type IV.

Let's not forget every AR speaker also. Of course every vinyl disk I bought since including the first disk I had to have because the tune was so catchy back in 1961-62 of the Ventures, 'Walk Don't Run', a few 45RPM in much played condition like Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen, Green Onions by Booker T and the MG's, etc. At the age I was at of 11-12, my weekly allowance was all of 10 cents, I to save up for weeks to afford a "AMT" model car to build. It did take time to save up unless I was thrown a .50 cents to a $1.00 by a visiting relatives or my parents had a little to throw my way every once in a while of like a couple of dollars. Coming from a family that began in 1930 living in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn there was never any extra money. Money only went for necessities primarily and living expenses, gas, electric, food and car fare though we all walked where ever we had to be. Mother made my pants and suits and my 3 older sisters skirts and blouses. Life was very tough for depression time immigrants and everyone before that, some did well, some barely recovered. Mother worked in a sweat-shop on a sewing machine making blouses and related clothing, my father worked on 125 Street and Lenox Ave. around 125th. St. as a 'timber-man' shoring-up the building's sidewalks and basements on either side of the street as the steam-shovel dug the subway tunnels right down the middle of the street. The sidewalks and curbs and actual buildings on either side of the street/hole had to be supported with 12"X12" timbers so the buildings would not collapse into the huge hole they were digging as NYC continually expanded it's subways. Luckily for me I was born in 1949 four years after WW II had ended and the country was on a roll during the 1950's so, my life was made better for me by my older siblings and my parents and a flourishing economy. WE all loved AMERICA dearly.  Life back then for mostly everyone was difficult and certainly very different than it is today.

I have a couple of early photos of my father using a two-man handled saw because chain saws were probably rare and or a new, yet to be manufactured tool. He had two huge two-man saws however, someone stole them out of the garage. Call me a hoarder in todays terms but, when family began, one repaired, repurposed objects when broken or kept them for parts and I was taught those same things. Metals were always held onto especially. All of the family's food was made from scratch, left-overs saved for tomorrow's side dish.

And "newandold" coming from small discarded kitchen tube radios, junked TVs with one 12 inch was the 'norm' for me as my starting point.  When I decided to go solid-state in 1972, it really wasn't wide-spread like today. Transistors are still not so widely used or even known of by the general public. Even the phenomenal  Bob Carver was forced to use Delco transistors that GM was using in their truck ignitions as many transistors were yet to be develpoed that could handle high voltage. Luckily, my rebuilt PL-700s use more modern "On-Semi"/"Motorola"  power-transistors with a larger "SOA' and the two amps were rebuilt by one of the last PL gurus in Washington state.

The way I talk, one would think it not out the realm of possibilities for me to buy a larger burial plot so I could take my LST's with me. I don't know what others feel about their speakers but, what I own was a long time in coming to me and the attraction has never left me. Though I have to admit, this whole present issue of the virus, political unrest and the discourse of many things through-out the world has really set me back where I rarely do any listening these days- I sure hope that passes soon. 

BELOW: My father is on the right wearing the plaid shirt cutting a heavy timber around 1927 to 1930, just before the depression hit.  He was 18 to 21 year old and fresh off the boat a couple of years before that. Notice construction clothing was very different back then. He told me stories of when fellow workers would become injured and then they were finished as workmen's comp and insurance for the working class was non-existent. He told me that if you got hurt, you and your family were finished. 

820061770_Poppa21927subwayworkcopy2.jpg.56361cfc0dfec0062fb68ab3beef3d25.jpg

 

 

 

1k

Frank,

That is an amazing story and historical accounting (I loved the photograph!) I do “travel” quite a bit lighter than yourself, especially because we are contemplating a move possibly in the next year or so.

My gear constantly evolves and when it does, the older is either used up, sold off or both.

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9 hours ago, frankmarsi said:

Life was very tough for depression time immigrants

Wonderful tale of a story of two generations, nice to see dad Marsi working manually in construction: let's remember the effort of those who built the cities we live in now and the sacrifice made to give a better life to future generations, how much sacrifice and effort they have made our parents.

Frank, from the history of your family I understand why you keep everything you have bought in HiFi in over 50 years of passion: each purchase cost effort and sacrifice (at the time also the objects, in this case HiFi equipment were built to last decades and be easily repaired to work again giving new satisfaction for years): people now quickly replace any item either because it soon becomes "old" or breaks and needs to be replaced or is out of date!
We preserve and appreciate what other people designed and built years and years ago: these objects have exceeded the life of those who built them as a testimony of the goodness of past projects!

To top it off my currently running pair of AR3a play with McIntosh Mac4280: 100w X 2 at 4 ohms, AR LSTs are provisionally paired with a 40w x 2 tube amp.
I often change the electronics in rotation, however satisfied with all the combinations, the sound pressures obtained change, the quality and AR sound always remains!

Mac4280 & AR3a

920531109_AR3al31.thumb.jpg.e9a180adf8adc33aed8a7574cbd34efc.jpg

Pioneer C21, Nuova Elettronica tube amp. & AR LST

1447782911_AR3al23.thumb.jpg.ede0cfc06380066e7f87080beff34551.jpg

AR speakers: AR10TT MK2 are related to McIntosh Mc2105

640899925_AR3al28.thumb.jpg.ab033206aecf2ee06d796a36f60d1bf2.jpg

 

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On 9/26/2021 at 3:25 AM, Giorgio AR said:

Wonderful tale of a story of two generations, nice to see dad Marsi working manually in construction: let's remember the effort of those who built the cities we live in now and the sacrifice made to give a better life to future generations, how much sacrifice and effort they have made our parents.

Frank, from the history of your family I understand why you keep everything you have bought in HiFi in over 50 years of passion: each purchase cost effort and sacrifice (at the time also the objects, in this case HiFi equipment were built to last decades and be easily repaired to work again giving new satisfaction for years): people now quickly replace any item either because it soon becomes "old" or breaks and needs to be replaced or is out of date!
We preserve and appreciate what other people designed and built years and years ago: these objects have exceeded the life of those who built them as a testimony of the goodness of past projects!

To top it off my currently running pair of AR3a play with McIntosh Mac4280: 100w X 2 at 4 ohms, AR LSTs are provisionally paired with a 40w x 2 tube amp.
I often change the electronics in rotation, however satisfied with all the combinations, the sound pressures obtained change, the quality and AR sound always remains!

Mac4280 & AR3a

920531109_AR3al31.thumb.jpg.e9a180adf8adc33aed8a7574cbd34efc.jpg

Pioneer C21, Nuova Elettronica tube amp. & AR LST

1447782911_AR3al23.thumb.jpg.ede0cfc06380066e7f87080beff34551.jpg

AR speakers: AR10TT MK2 are related to McIntosh Mc2105

640899925_AR3al28.thumb.jpg.ab033206aecf2ee06d796a36f60d1bf2.jpg

 

Nice! To This day I’ve never had the chance to compare the LST’s to my IC20’s

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When making minimum power recommendations, I think AR assumed that the serious listener would be in a quiet room, with the speakers and that equalizer controls would be used judiciously.   In fact, all decent full- range speakers for the home, sound the same when you listen from abnormal distances or from the next room, or listen through walls.  Nuance is gone.  The only difference left is loudness per watt.  Abnormal listening requires more watts. Another significant variable is the difference in our hearing acuity and musical taste which could lead to overemphasis of certain frequency bands using an equalizer; for example, bass boost that enhances percussive effects can seriously increase wattage peaks but does not increase the actual dynamic range of the recording.  I agree more watts are better, but the actual amount needed is not nearly what we frequently imagine.

AR LST Power handling - long term average watts at 4 ohms with FNM 2 fuse- 23 watts; 64 watts for 30 seconds.

AR3a - Power handling < LST

 

AR LST and 3a

Electrical efficiency – Identical @ .8%

Sensitivity – Identical @ 89.5 db

Recommended minimum amplifier 25 Watts

 

AR LST and 3a

Average SPL at listening distance @ 1watt   

89.5db @ 3.25 ft   (Lawnmower)

84.0db @ 6.5 ft  (Borderline hearing damage)

78.0db @ 13 ft  ( Long term safe SPL)

72.0db @ 26 ft  (very loud conversation)

Dynamic range of 32 watt @ 4ohms amplifier driven at continuous average

.5 watt  = 18db  or 107.5 db @ 1 meter

1 watt = 15 db   or 104.5 db @ 1 meter

2 watt = 12 db   or 101.5 db @ 1 meter

Dynamic headroom of a 32 watt @ 4ohms amplifier driven at continuous average

.5 watt  = 18db  or 107.5 db peak @ 1 meter for 89.5db sensitivity

1 watt = 15 db   or 104.5 db peak @ 1 meter

2 watt = 12 db   or 101.5 db peak @ 1 meter

Dynamic headroom of a 32 Watt @ 4ohms amplifier with 3db to 6db of room gain

21 db to 24db

Other reference points

-          - Max peak above reference level of recorded music 15db.

-          - Maximum continuous average SPL without damage to hearing - 80db

-          - Minimum average SPL at which hearing protection is required in the workplace -85db

-          - Average SPL of a 5 hp push mower @ 1 meter – 90db

-          - Average SPL of normal conversation- 68db

 

 

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Just to be a little contrary…. I’ll bet the Bob Latino tube amp currently offered in our For Sale section would be very nice with 3a’s. “Only” 60wpc but those amps get a lot of praise.

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2 hours ago, Aadams said:

“When making minimum power recommendations, I think AR assumed that the serious listener would be in a quiet room, with the speakers and that equalizer controls would be used judiciously.   In fact, all decent full- range speakers for the home, sound the same when you listen from abnormal distances or from the next room, or listen through walls.  Nuance is gone.  The only difference left is loudness per watt.  Abnormal listening requires more watts. Another significant variable is the difference in our hearing acuity and musical taste which could lead to overemphasis of certain frequency bands using an equalizer; for example, bass boost that enhances percussive effects can seriously increase wattage peaks but does not increase the actual dynamic range of the recording.  I agree more watts are better, but the actual amount needed is not nearly what we frequently imagine.”

Lots of interesting conjecture here, most of which I respectfully part company with

 

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As a kid, my friends' fathers who dabbled in hi-fi ran their AR speakers with either Dynaco or McIntosh amplifiers, or some flavor of Fisher or Scott. By modern standards, these were modestly-powered systems, on the order of 25-75 watts/ channel, with the 35/35 Stereo 70 and 60 watt mono Mark III Dyna amps being ubiquitous. I can't recall any of those AR-3a systems as sounding under-powered; in fact they sounded pretty darned good.

I've personally found the AR-3a to be a fairly easy system to power, using a variety of amplifiers from AR, Dyna, Adcom, Crown, and McIntosh, with each manufacturer having their merits. The most powerful would've been a Mac MC2205, rated at 200 watts/channel, and providing an accurate pair of power meters with a peak-hold function; I can't ever recall the meters ranging anywhere near the top of their scale, with readings of usually below 20 watts at normal playing level, and frequently even below 2 watts.

Perhaps of interest is the noise-free nature of amplifiers from Adcom, Crown, and McIntosh who all managed to build a product that produces an absolute minimum of hum or hiss; at idle, Crown and Mac amplifiers can be dead-silent to an ear pressed against the grille cloth. For assorted reasons, even the best tube amplifiers have trouble with this test, although they certainly have their own benefits.

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7 hours ago, newandold said:

""Lots of interesting conjecture here, most of which I respectfully part company with""

Yes, I would concur with you "newandold'. Perhaps that confusing list was incorrectly copy&pasted, in either case not much sense of which speaker is being referred to.

I also know the AR-LST can handle/absorb much more wattage than the smaller AR-3a.

 

1.3

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