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Observations on refurbished AR-7's

Rich W

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I've completed refurbishing a pair of AR-7's acquired at a yard sale, and after some listening sessions, had to share my enthusiasm. So here it is . . .

The following issues were addressed as part of the refurb:

- Refoam of both 8" woofers

- Recap with 6.2 uF Solens capacitors

- Cleaning of tweeter level switches

- Woofer re-installed and sealed with plumber's putty. As an extra precaution to ensure a good seal, Mortite was plugged in around the perimeter of the woofer frame (there's always a small gap there). Fs of both woofers tested prior to installation, 27 and 31 hz repectively. After installation, enclosed resonant frequency 68 and 70 hz respectively.

- Vinyl-clad cabinets saturated with Armor-All until no more absorbed.

- Brass logos cleaned polished with a Dremel tool. The only remaining task is painting in the inset orange-red logo (any suggestions on how to do this neatly? With a brush?)

I am so impressed by the sound of these speakers! They are positioned 30" from the floor, 43" from the back wall and 17" from the side walls (they play into the long part of the room), ensuring that any room boundary effects are minimized (based on Allison's writings). Additional corrective equalization for room acoustics is provided by a DBX 231 one-third octave equalizer, adjusted using a calibrated AKG microphone placed at the prime listening position, and RTA software. EQ setting are all within +/- 4 db from 40 to 6k, with the highs permitted to roll off naturally. Speakers are driven by a vintage Marantz 2240.

I've spoken a few times on this forum of my fondness for the AR-18. The AR-7's image just as superbly, but they have a bit of magic that the 18's don't have. Side by side, the AR-18's are somewhat brighter, but AR-7's are more natural sounding, especially in the mid-bass region. The most incredible thing about the AR-7's are their ability to reproduce low bass. They will put out a credible 32 hz tone with a strong fundmental and minimal upper harmonics. I can't get over the fact that this is coming out of a .35 cubic foot enclosure! The sound is completely effortless and transparent, in fact, all sense of listening to speakers disappears, and the music seems suspended in space beyond the speakers themselves. The AR engineers really knew what they were doing!

Just a brief note in closing. I'd been an AR enthusiast and in fact owned a pair of AR-3a's in the mid 1970's. Unfortunately, I sold them, for as much as I loved their sound, I was constantly blowing mid-range and tweeter drivers (cheerfully replaced by AR at no cost to me), not realizing how badly I was underpowering them (I as using a 45 watt Harman-Kardon 930). I didn't learn until much later that too little power was much worse than too much. Somewhat disillusioned, I replaced the AR-3a's with a set of Large Advents. In spite of all the good press the Advents were getting back then, I never felt that they had the smoothness of the AR-3a's, especially in the lower treble where the Advents seemed somewhat harsh. Shortly thereafter, a friend had purchased a pair of AR-18's, and I always preferred their sound over the Advents. Recently, when the Advents were due for a refoam, I dumped them and got a pair of AR-18's!

I'm really hooked on my AR-7's, but I wish I had those AR-3a's again, along with a nice powerful Adcom amp!

Best to all,

Rich W

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I have AR3a, AR7 and Advents.

I agree with you on the Advents. So far, I can't het the harshness out of the Advents highs and the midrange is weak. The AR3a's are significantly superior (to me) although I haven't tried the "stacked" Advents.

One night, I set up th AR7s. On top of the AR3as. Your description is exactly as mine would be, unbelievable bass and a certain magic that's really hard to describe. My guess is that magic is how the AR7 renders the room ambience. Another evening I set them up in my garage with an old Harmon Kardon 430. Same results. So I have only spent a couple of hours with the AR7s.

Because of your post, I'll be looking for stands so that I might spend more time with the AR7.

What are your room dimensions? The room is the most overlooked component.

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Room dimensions are 50' by 18', with various openings to other parts of the house. It's a family room/kitchen combo, with a 3' ft high room divider at approx. 25' (with a passageway of course!). Since the speakers are located at the end of the long side, they are separated approximately 15'. Best listening area is 30' from the speakers, on the kitchen side. This is where frequency response is flattest without any eq, although there's "not a bad seat in the house". It the best listening space I've ever had.

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