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Anyone interested? I just received two AR-3a used woofers I purchased on EBay, took 3 weeks to get here. The foam is completely gone, they appear to be from the 1971 to 1973 period, just as I was looking for as I feel those issues had the best sound, although I never listened to for any long length of time one from prior to that period. I must report they have the very visible medium brown ‘masonite’ ring and ‘looked at closely’ small cris-cross type of pressed-paper cone material. After unwrapping the very dangerously ‘done-by-apes’- wrapped in bubble- plastic packing material, which of course tore off any remaining foam surround upon unpacking, they looked O.K. I then tested them both using a 1.5V, AA battery test to the leads to see if even the voice-coil was intact, thank goodness both were. The cone moved up a couple of times and I believe that was an indication that the VC is not burnt out and intact. The ‘spiders’ seem to look pretty level with no apparent sags in any direction. There isn’t any year or ID numbers on the magnet or basket, although there is a 1-inch red-cross paper stamp indicating positive, similar to all of my originals that I’ve listen to since day one in 1972.

My obvious intent is to re-foam the surrounds and install them in my ‘new’- from purchase 1972 AR-3a’s listened to back then with a “Dynaco” ‘self-built’ kit PAS-3X with a ST-35 and later with a self built, constantly blowing out ST-120. Later I will repair the other pair of ‘mint’ 3a’s I bought a month ago and set up a ‘stacked’ array of four AR-3a’s and two Phase Linear 400 amps and a Carver C4000 pre-amp.

But first I must listen to two as a pair at a time to become ‘familiar’ with their individual characteristics. After that if not before I must mount several ‘ABTech’ replacement tweeters in my ART-LST’s, along with 2 or 3 foam replacements on those big guys. I have to admit my mood, time, stress and any other human condition always keep me from ‘getting-a-move-on’ with all of these projects. I do it all a little at a time, like a turtle, because I must admit I just love the sound my ears get with every listening session I’ve ever done since ‘way-back’, so I drag it out. Almost as if their sound were an ‘Absolute-In Life’, I trust my ears and mind to the AR sound, especially the 12 inch woofer’s bass. That’s because of a musical perception and conditioning that I’ve been attracted to, was taught, believed, and loved all of my life, as to how bass and deep notes should and must sound to me and the world. Maybe that’s the same reason other AR aficionados prefer this ‘bass’ also, as to the knowledge of the musical phenomena and as 'sound' should sound like. I’m not sure, but it all kinda sounds correct and makes sense to me.

‘10 Minute pause by me’.

O.K. Let’s get down and dirty and speak plainly! I’m not gonna cut-out and remove the voice coil caps no matter what anyone says about VC alignment. Those little, over glued caps are part of my love affair with these woofers, as strange as that sounds. Lord knows I’ve stared at them all these years watching that woofer pump out bass notes I couldn’t believe I was hearing and seeing back then up to now and I guess I never will stop, looking at those ‘cones a pop’in’ through the tiny holes of their grille cloth! And although I may be ‘splitting-hairs’ here, I for some odd reason feel AR woofers need to have that very original VC cap undisturbed. I believe its part of their sound. Besides over the years I’ve done my share of foam jobs and find if you’re careful and conscientious, you’ll see to it that that cone rides perfectly!

I will say this: In a very min-ute, small detail’s, minor sort of way I will look forward to listening to the new foam surrounded woofer going through its 3 or 5 day ‘breaking in period’. By that I mean for all you guys who dream about what these AR’s sounded like when the were brand new way back when? They sounded ‘hollow, horrible, and ‘not worth my money’ for the first three days or so way back in 1972 when I bought and ever so gently brought home and hooked-up my first pair of 3a’s! I couldn’t believe their sound, they sounded bad, and I was disappointed with what they cost me at 22 years old and strapped for cash as I was.

This min-ute, but all noticeable lack of quality sounding of an expensive speaker is something I look forward too as it’s happened every time I’ve done a ‘re-foam’ job, as they all go through that same bad period every time.

I ask if any of you out there have a similar tale to tell in your experience of ‘AR-dom’?


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>>I ask if any of you out there have a similar tale to tell in your >>experience of ‘AR-dom’?

It was several years ago, right after a bad drawn out divorce and I almost put my AR90s on the curb for trash. The surrounds were rotted and at the time, I believed the speakers were well beyond affordable repair. once in my new home, they sat in an unheated garage that late spring waiting to be thrown away, and I couldn't bring myself to do it; to much sentimental value and they weren't cheap when I ought then new.

Finally, after several months; almost mid summer, I decided I needed to make a decision, throw them away and replace them but with what? My fist stop was a small business called "Sound of Peoria" located in Peoria Heights. The first thing the owner wanted to know was what I was looking to replace so he could recommend something comparable. When he heard AR90, his first question was "Why do you want to replace them?" I explained the condition of the bass and lower midrange drivers and he next asked "Why not just repair them?" I was dumbstruck, I had no clue they could be repaired. We talked a bit more and he finally told me that he would be happy to sell me new speakers, but new didn't always mean better, and I would be better off repairing what I had.

The man lost a sale due to his honesty and saved me quite a bit of money. He even referred me to another local business that did reconing and a few internet sites that sold recone kits. I ended up reconing the 6 drivers myself and nearly cried when I heard them sing once again, and in repayment, I've referred several potential customers his way.

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