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AR-3a - slow restoration

Guest winters860

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Guest winters860

Hi all,

I'm an Audiokarma poster and longtime CSP lurker. This post will be long, but please bear with me. New England speakers are the cream of the thrift crop around here and after an extensive restoration of a pair AR-2ax, they became my new favorites.

In some horse trading, I acquired a pair of AR-3a. They're from 1968 and have the original cloth-surround woofer. Unfortunately, the cabinets have been beat to hell and the MDF has swelled, requiring major surgery. I've finally decided that as much as I like walnut, these speakers are going to be black when I'm finished - like I've seen some other (overseas?) ARs came from the factory.

The project is held up by not having a needed tweeter or much money to spend, but that's okay because it's given me a lot of time to think about what I want to do. My 3as won't be stock, so I'm not worried about doing some benign modding.

My plan is to completely re-build the crossover with new caps and silver wire, being more or less faithful to the original design and utilizing the original inductors. I plan to use four high quality binding posts to make these speakers truly bi-ampable, but beyond that I need some guidance.

I bought Dayton polypropylene capacitors to replace the originals, but I'm thinking of trying GE motor run oil capacitors for the mids and highs. Has anyone tried it? Can anyone predict how it might sound?

I've decided I'm keeping the controls for the tweeters and mids, so I'm planning to restore the potentiometers on the 3a, like I did for my 2ax. If I decide to go for the JVB Electronics stepped attenuator kits, though, does anyone have any idea when they'll be available or how much they'll cost?

If I for some reason have some extra coin and get impatient with finding an original tweeter, can anyone share their experiences with the AB-Tech replacements? I'm certainly of the impression that there's some room for improvement in the top end, original voicing be damned. If the modern replacements won't give me any additional satisfaction, though, I'll hold out for the originals. My understanding is that Ken Kantnor is working on a crossover mod that helps them fit in better, but if I buy these tweeters and perform this mod, will they actually be better than stock? Does anyone have any idea when to expect the schematics on the mods or want to share an early draft?

My babies won't be stock, but they'll look gorgeous I want them to sound as good as stock or better. Thanks for any help you can give.

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