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Roy Allison


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What's up with Mr. A? I hope he is still with us and doing well.

I am pleased to discover this forum. I have been an audiophile since I was 13 years old (in 1962!) and remember the reign of the Cambridge sound -- all those tasteful ads for AR and KLH, and the AR Listening Room in Grand Central Station, and the Live Versus Recorded concerts, one of which I attended. (I couldn't tell the difference, and my ears were a lot keener then! Of course, solo guitar is less challenging than a 12 piece swing band!) I owned an AR TT and a pair of EPI 110s at one point (evidently less transparent than the smaller 100s...) They were quite good though -- nice midrange and good separation of instruments, if not as good bass as the Advents I bought later.

Best New England speaker I owned was a pair of KLH 17s. There is a thunderbolt of sound midway through the Firebird Suite that used to literally make me jump until I learned to anticipate it. On the 17s, the whole orchestra came in as one sledgehammer blow. On the later, more expensive Advents, also designed by Henry Kloss, the instruments did not come in all at once, nor with such force.

I take it RDL didn't work out. When Sam Tellig gave one of the smaller bookshelf models that positive blurb in Stereophile it probably hurt since, an employee told me, a lot of people returned the speakers for lacking bass. (That's what can happen with a generous return policy.)

The "concept" RDLs (as opposed to the conventional designs they also sold)looked to be really well-made and great bargains. I regret never taking a home trial. It was hard for me to digest that upward-pointing woofer idea, but it probably works fine. There's no denying that woofers like a 90 degree "corner" to work out of. As for firing the midrange frequencies at the ceiling, that caused me to be skeptical, but it probably works just fine, creating a nice sense of spaciousness. I remember the AR series with the woofers pointed up at about 45 degrees and the tweeter mounted below and facing straight ahead. Julian Hirsch raved about the soundstage in Stereo Review, and he doesn't often get excited about such things. The Spica TC-50, also known for its spaciousness, tilted the drivers back. While the stated purpose was to time-align the drivers, it is possible that the reflection of sound off the ceiling also contributed to the effect. Any opinions on this woofer-tilt idea?

It's a shame that you can have a fine idea that looks a bit odd and people will prefer to get something conventional and less good.

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  • 3 months later...

To the best of my knowledge, Roy Allison is alive and well and living in Florida. He is in his mid 80's now, and pretty much retired. My dad, Abe Hoffman, former president of both Allison Acoustics and AR, is still in touch with him, and with Ed Villchur. If I hear otherwise, I will post here.

My system still sports oe of the earliest pairs of Allison 4's made, along with an AR XA turntable (bought used in 1993 for $50 after I dropped my original one). Dad still has one of the first XA's to come off the line, along with an AR receiver and sub-woofer and a pair of Allison 3's.

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My dad went by Ed Villchur's place in the Catskills a few years ago .. He said Ed was sharp as a tack! He graciously signed my pair of AR-3's that have been in a perpetual state of upgrade.

I think my dad also mentioned that Villchur's son was using an AR-3 in his car as a subwoofer? ;)


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