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AR 2ax Speaker Replacement Questions


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I recently picked up my father's old AR 2ax speakers that he purchased new in the early 70's. They are functional, but after 30 years, they need some help.

One woofer was replaced by the factory (now a square magnet type with a red sticker) after it stopped working and now has holes in the surround, and the other was replaced with a Radio Shack driver after the surround disintegrated about 15 years ago (I blew it when my parents were away and needed a quick replacement...). So I now have two unmatched woofers. I'd like to replace both so they match, but can't justify $79/ea from Layne. Can anyone suggest a reasonable alternative woofer in the $20-30/ea that fits the cabinets and sounds OK? Another possibility is to find a used factory woofer and have surrounds replaced on both so they match.

Same issue with the supertweeters. Neither work (both measure open). I'd like to replace these too, but again $60/ea from Layne is out of my league ($280 for woofers and tweeters seems far more than the speakers are worth). Any suggestions for replacements, even used?

If I can find reasonable replacements, I don't mind spending $100 to get the speakers going again. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.


Jeff Maling

Grand Isle, VT

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We have $30 tweeters that are better than the $60 factory units, but they do require a bit of tinkering to get them to fit [angle drilling holes, etc, not too hard]. $20 for a good 10" woofer.....only if you can find something used in decent shape. Wide range drivers that will work well in the tiny sealed AR boxes are practically extinct today, basically the stock type drivers from AR and Advent, plus one or two from Peerless and SEAS. Cheapest of these is still going to be $60+.

Believe me, you get what you pay for when it comes to drivers. We could easily sell el-cheapo import junk woofers that cost $30....but don't want to deal with complaints about why they sound so bad. A set of classic AR speakers upgraded with new parts is worth many, many times the cost of the parts. If you go out and spend that same $200 or $300 on whole "new" speakers, all you're going to get is pretty new boxes with cheap junk drivers inside [see math below]. You'd be much better off buying whatever Radio Shack has on sale then saving up to do a proper rebuild on the AR cabinets at a later date.

If the 2ax was in production today, with the same furniture grade wood cabinets and US made drivers, they would retail for a bare minimum of $800-$900 per pair. Just making the wood veneer cabinets [in huge bulk] would cost $160-$180 per pair, then you'd have $150+ in the drivers/crossovers, add in the typical 70% mfg. cost to retail cost markup and you've got an easy $900 msrp. Do that math backwards and find what you get in a set of new $200 speakers....not much.

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