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Was Roy A. and Ed V. ahead of the speaker cabinet styling curve, or not?


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Was Roy A. and Ed V. ahead of the speaker cabinet styling curve, or not?

As the owner of 3 pairs of AR-LST’s I wonder if either one of those men had been at a function where a band was playing and were using a Gibson guitar amplifier back in 1960 or from earlier years?

Being the curious type like any other young kid, somewhere deep with-in my mind, I may have seen such a radio cabinet of similar design in my travels. My father was a busy ‘tinkerer’ with old discarded radios back in the early 1950s and I was witness to his experimentation in countless attempts to fix small tube radios he had found on the curb. Many RCA’s, Zenith’s, Dumont’s, Philco’s, Admiral’s and on and on had the full treatment of changing tubes and checking if they were any good. If he or I saw a discarded TV or radio on the curb, we'd automatically scavenge it of its tubes, speaker, and knobs.

Years, back before I was born and through out the 1950s and early 1960s as I saw, it seemed that most drug stores always offered 'Tube-Testers'.  A huge console about the size of a early 1980s stand-up arcade video games and also counter models tucked away in some unimportant area of the store.

On any given Saturday morning my father would drag me to the local drug store with a paper bag or two full of tubes and I’d look up at him figuring out which tube could be tested according to the supplied binder listing most types of tubes that required being plugged into the appropriate socket. Most times the tubes were bad or half-bad and he’d throw those out when we returned home but, often times a tube was retained for future use. I still have a few old cigar boxes of his filled with tubes, some odd looking ones also.

By the time I was 7 to 10  or so when I was barely able to keep pace with his fast walking, he’d take me by subway from Brooklyn into Manhattan and we’d walk along Cortlandt Street, aka “Radio-Row” and we walk in and out of the many radio-stores where he’d price out an important tube or mostly we’d stare at the new model radios and TV’s all of which we couldn’t afford. Seeing ‘raw’ speakers and radio related items hanging on the walls and in showcases must’ve left an indelible impression on me as I continued to scourer those same stores by the mid to late 1960’s and on lunch hour of my first job on Wall Street in 1967 to 1968 only to return again and again looking for ‘raw’ speaker cabinets to put together for my first real component system. It consisted of 2 empty MDF cabinets about the same size as an AR-3a and I stuffed those with two 12 Jensen speakers and two exponential horns with a little ‘cap’ in between. For an amplifier, in 1967 I built from the kit, the “Dynaco” PAS-3X pre-amp and the big power amp was a Dynaco ST-35 tube amplifier. It only supplied 17.5 watts per-side and driving those highly efficient drivers, it was able to play loudly, impressive. An entry level Garrard Lab 44B, a Shure M3d cartridge were my go-to system. (Please don’t tell anyone but, I still have those pieces tucked away in my garage.)

Back then in my early formative electronic related item days, time seemed to go by slowly and too slow in my saving of spare change to someday be able to buy those AR speakers I lusted after. The unfinished AR cabinets were seemingly all I’d ever be able to afford but, those dark walnut cabinets were the most desired.

Every nite, I’d fall asleep looking at the usual AR brochures that were common on most store counters and dream about how someday I’d be able to have either the AR-5 or AR-3’s.

With the Nam war never seeming to end, my stint in the US military interrupted everything. The wonderful rock band I was playing in had to breakup because 3 of the members decided oddly enough to be military men also. Yeah sure, we were all afraid to die in that war and never see the rest of our lives. In fact, I lost two high school buddies to that war.

So, getting back to Roy and Ed, did they see these Gibson amplifiers at some town dance nite? Was Roy or Ed doing the “Lindy” when they caught his eye/ear?  I vaguely in the deep canyons of my mind recall that three sided shape somewhere other than the 1972 release of the AR-LST. Maybe it was fate that was speaking to me and that someday, I would be the proud owner of such a speaker as the 'LST'.

Actually, living the above history, I have to shamelessly say, I deserve them!


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