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Frank Marsi


Ever since I first received one of my early AR catalogs, I remember seeing “Judy Collins” in that AR booklet and thought, why does she only have AR-4x’s? I knew back the in ‘67-‘72 that I definitely wanted the 12 inch woofer type, but I was still curious that she only had the smallest AR speaker. I nonetheless loved her because my girlfriend did, and my girl was a ‘folkie’ and I was a ‘rocker’, we did things like that then in order to better ‘find-ourselves’.

Well last week on eBay I purchased a pair that seemed O.K., however the description had minimal information regarding their condition. I simply took a big chance, and blindly bid. As might sometimes happen, I got caught and stuck as the highest bidder of $82. bucks.

I found them today along the side of my house delivered by USPS and left outside (I was out of town) in the day’s before down pour of rain that we received here in N.Y. I certainly knew being left outside they were ruined before I even opened the two boxes, extreme negativity set-in my tired mind. Upon opening the boxes with only feelings of doubt, I saw that the large amount of styro-peanuts had actually insulated them from the obviously wet cardboard boxes. I was really surprised the wood cabinets did not suffer any water damage at all and still possessed that beautiful and excellent AR wood factory quality.

I bought these on a stupid lark of assuming the seller didn’t know about the speakers and he was simply trying to make a buck. I paid $82. USD plus $40. for shipping and these little wonders looked about an eight out of a ten in their appearance upon seeing them on the web and in person. All corners are sharp and the grill is nicely ‘smoked’. I still haven’t tried them and probably won’t until much later in the future. You all know, any of these antiquities are always a ‘labor of love’. I will have to carefully pop off the grills and then begin to accurately access their condition.

My question is with S/N’s of 138236 and 138183 might they sport the cloth surrounds I so desire, or the foam? My age old ‘flashlight-test’ didn’t really allow me to see clearly. I did notice a slight shine on the surrounds, which I presumed was the foam, but with further inspection I did not see any ‘gone’ or hanging foam. I also noticed the tweeters were the little domes, which I believe were used later on.

Does any AR aficionado have a suggestion as to their woofer surround nature by their S/N’s, are they foam or cloth?

My friend and yours, Frank Marsi

P.S. You AR people out there should know and understand that I was only trying to acquire these to ‘put-a-cap’ my AR addiction of already owning 4-LST’s, 4-3a’s and 4- 2ax’s. My intent is to hook them to my originally owned since 1967, “Dyna” ST-35 and PAS-3X tube gear. Which by the way powered my original 3a’s back in ’72, with-in a couple of months replaced by a Dyna-ST-120, later a PL400 in ‘74.

I felt it only befitting that if I had some of the greatest, that I also needed to have at least two of the most minuscule. They’re so….. cute in person, not unlike I remember them in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, I hadn’t seen them since.


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Your speakers have cloth surrounds. All should have cloth. but it may be that some at the very end of the production (serial number > 390,000) might have used the new AR-6 foam-surrounded woofer, but at this point, even that is conjecture.

My numbering data would claim that these have the #5 inductor, crossover at 1,200 Hz, 12 oz Fiberglass with a Q close to 0.7. They were been manufactured in Jan./Feb. 1969.

I see no reason to consider opening them until you first listen. Even then, the only reason to open them would be to replace the capacitor with a unit whose capacitance is closer to the original 20 uF. (C and equivalent series resistance will have increased in the last 38 years; however, that should not stop you from enjoying their sound! (They contain 8-Ohm drivers.)

Try them in a book shelf, or back to the wall near the floor as with the AR-3a. You will be delighted with how well they perform. There is a good reason why this speaker was a best seller. About 400,000 units from 1964 to 1971. Not too shabby!

Tell us how you like their sound.


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Hi Frank,

A couple of things, first, with respect to Judy Collins and why she only had AR-4x's. Keep in mind she is a woman and could have had a number of reasons which make little sense to us. Perhaps the size was right for her cabinets.

I know John is an AR-4x expert, but I think I have to disagree with respect to the dates of manufacture. I have an original owner pair of AR-4x's that I have owned since 1993. They were manufactured in the Feb 1969 timeframe and are numbered 229xxx. I believe yours are earlier models if they have numbers in the 138xxx, perhaps John read it as 238xxx. You have to figure that after 4 years of production at that price point, they should have sold more than 138000. In addition, the AR-4x production run began in 1965 and continued until it was replaced by the 4xa in 1973.

If I am out to lunch John please correct me.

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You are correct. I'm not an expert on any of these--just a data collector. When one is not at home and trying to go on memory, data are useless! ... so much for those neurons! Sorry for the confusion.

sn 225,xxx was Jan. '69 sn 175,xxx was mid '68, so Frank's units are more like March '68 give or take, with #4 coil, 1,400 Hz crossover, and damped to Q ~ 0.5.

However, nothing -- especially my failing neurons -- should prevent Frank from enjoying his new acquisition!


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>intent is to hook them to my originally owned since 1967,

>“Dyna” ST-35 and PAS-3X tube gear. Which by the way powered my

>original 3a’s back in ’72, with-in a couple of months replaced

>by a Dyna-ST-120, later a PL400 in ‘74.

ah! A walk down memory lane! My first set-up was a Dyna ST-35, KLH 18 tuner and a pair of 'phones. When I could afford speakers I got the AR4x's. Those 3a's were way too expensive for a poor college student/newlywed! ;-)

Of course I later added a Dynaco PAT-4 and AR turntable. Later "upgraded" to the Dyna ST-120.

I still have and use the speakers (thanks to help received here). The tuner and TT are here, but not used. The dyna stuff went on ebay.

You may be interested to know that little dynaco ST-35, a rarity, I purchased as a kit for $45. Sold it about 3 years ago on ebay for $450! Wish now I had bought a warehouse full back in the day!

There was an article in one of the stereo mags back in the '70s in which Bascom King (of Infinity at the time, I think) praised the ST-35 and commented that it just needed some minor mods to be the best tube amp available. I wrote to him and he answered with a letter and some notes handwritten on an ST-35 schematic. Here's my point after all this rambling: I uploaded the schematic to Mark to add to the library here, but I'll also attach it to this post.



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