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Upgrading AR3 and AR2ax speakers


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Good Morning:

I have just finished reading about the AR3/3a upgrade that you did. I have a pair of AR3s, and a pair of AR2axs. I also have a pair of AR3a dome mid range drivers, one AR2ax mid and one AR2ax tweeter.

I have long wanted to upgrade my 3s to 3as. Although after reading what you have done, that seems like a better way to go. I know very little about electronics. I hope that what I am proposing to do a total neophyte can handle.

I thought that I would put the AR3a mids into my 3s, purchase the AR3a crossover upgrade that Layne's sells, and add the Vifa silf dome tweeter you had used. I would then use the AR3 mids to replace the mids in my 2axs, and then add the AR3 crossover upgrade from Layne's.

I am hoping that these changes will be a welcome upgrade for my speakers, which I pray that you will confirm. I also am praying that all of what I am proposing will not be too difficult, like everything will be color coded and simple enough for a novice to follow.

There was one other point in your article. You had the AR3 woofer redone to be like the AR3a. The woofers on both my 3s and 2axs have the fabric surrounds. They sound fine. Will I need to change them inorder to achive the AR3a sound?

Have I covered all my bases? I connot see why all of this should not improve the sound of thses fine speakers. Please let me know if I am on the right track or not?

Thank You,


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Hi Michael!

I am hoping that Stephen swings by and answers your questions at some point, as he is much more knowledgable than I.

In any case .. you don't have to be an engineer to upgrade the AR-3's. (I'm certainly not!) Stephen has excellent instructions which he includes with the upgrade kits and you can always email or call him for help.

Going from AR-3 tweeters to Vifa (or SEAS, or ..) silk domes will be a major improvement with a corresponding crossover upgrade.

The midranges of the AR-3 and AR-3a are incredible units (yeah, I'm biased) but I think there were some changes made in the AR-3a midrange which also resulted in a crossover modification for that model. I ended up replacing my AR-3 mids with new AR-3a replacements.

Regarding the woofers .. I've been told that replacing the textile surround with foam is the way to go. I guess the compound used to harden the textile surround is not very uniform around the woofer (especially after 25+ years!) and can create "dead" spots. I'm not sure of the other benefits, possibly someone else can expand on this.

Good luck!

(By the way .. I never finished my AR-3 to AR-3a upgrade. After the first speaker I burnt out on the upgrade and let them sit for a few years. When Stephen's business slows down, I'm going to send them out to him to finish. I also do not have test equipment, and I really want them tested ..)


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  • 4 months later...

About the foam surround:

My 3's are too "relaxed" to faithfully reproduce extremely loud low freqs. (the coil actually contacts the magnet, resulting in 'popping' noises ) and I talked to S. Layne about replacing the surrounds.

He said the spider has more effect on the suspension (which makes sense) and that it's a dicey operation at that. At this point I just left things alone, and got a subwoofer!


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