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AR38BXi


AR55
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I recently came across a bargain priced pair of 3-way AR38BXi’s.   

The speakers needed restoration.  Most of which was fairly straightforward (the drivers needed re-foaming & the grille fabric needed to be replaced).  There were, however, a few restoration hic-ups.  One of the tweeters was defective & its replacement assembly didn’t immediately fit, plus a jury-rig fix was needed for a broken grille mounting pin.

The tweeter replacement wasn’t costly (found a 48BX replacement on eBay for just $40), but the installation could have gone more smoothly.  The 48BX tweeter was attached to a “Twin Unit” mounting plate, and removing the tweeter would most likely break off its lead wires, so there it stayed.  The problem arose when I tried to slip the 48BX plate into the 38BXi recessed cutout.  It was 1/32” too long!!  Fortunately, the plastic plate was easy to file down & the installed plate shows no signs of being reworked. 

A broken mounting pin (ball) also proved to be more of a challenge than expected.  The existing grille pins are slightly larger in diameter than any of the replacement mounting pins I could find.  I tried expanding the pin’s diameter with some success, but it still wouldn’t grab.  Ultimately, I resolved the problem by slightly drilling out the existing socket and installing a plastic sleeve that matched up with the smaller pin. 

So, how does the restored 38BXi sound?  Better than I expected, considering the BXi series less than stellar reputation on this forum.  I used one my favorite 2-way speakers, an AR-15, for comparison.  Both speakers have 8” woofers in similar sized cabinets, so I wasn’t surprised to find almost no difference in their bass response.  Good, though not extremely deep.  At the opposite end, I found the 38BXi to be brighter, maybe a touch too bright.  Overall, though, the 38BXi’s sound is more detailed with better presentation of both male and female vocals.  The differences aren’t great, but they are noticeable.  Also, I briefly switched out a 38BXi with one of my AR-11’s.  It wasn’t really a fair comparison.     

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38BXi’s sitting on top of a pair of AR-14’s

 

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AR-15 & AR38BXi sitting on top a pair of AR-14’s. The 38BXi Cabinet is OK, but vinyl cladding just can’t compete with walnut veneer.

 

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38BXi Mounting Plate                                           48BX Mounting Plate

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Sleeved socket for new smaller mounting pin

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