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Message from AR UK Production Manag


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I am reposting the following email I received with permission from Terry.

> From: Terence WILKINSON [mailto:terry@tuswilkinson.fsnet.co.uk]

> Subject: ar speaker enquiry 361 angelo


> hi my name is Terry Wilkinson I was the production manager at AR > UK when the UK was closed down


> The AR142 was manufactured in the UK during the late 80's using

> Tonegen drivers and crossovers imported from Taiwan.


> The 142 as I remember was a 1 1/4" tweeter liquid cooled plus an

> 8" polyprop mid and an 8" polyprop woofer, I have no details of

> xover network as I am not too technical. The reason they do not

> sound like the originals is that all the original AR product i.e.

> ar2, did not use polyprop drivers. some of there

> drivers i.e. ar15,16, and 14 used Danish tweeter which were poor

> in sound and reliability these 1" tweeters were later produced in

> Taiwan by Tonegen. Possible source of information is a company

> called Culver Tonegen based some where in California.


> if I can help on any other matter please do ot hesitate to contact

> me

Thought you guys would find that interesting!


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Hey, thanks for the new, un-moderated format. I hope it works out.

Just a quick note regarding "Tonegen," a name unknown to many audio hobbyists. For many years, Tonegen (Japan) was perhaps the most esteemed high volume driver manufacturer in the world. In particular, their QC and production control were way ahead of their competitors, both in Europe and Asia, and their R&D was impressive, too. Being in the QC control room of a large Tonegen factory, with chemists running around with the hourly adhesives sample tests, and engineers charting machine telemetry, was a speaker designer's wet dream. Finally, the marriage of modern electronics manufacturing with the old-fashioned world of driver making! When AR decided to shut down their driver production in Norwood, MA, Tonegen took it over in full.

Unfortunately, Tonegen fell upon hard times in the 80's. Many of their biggest customers were stuggling, others were investing in their own driver production lines. The yen was high, etc. Tonegen was purchased by Foster (Japan), by far one of the 2 or 3 largest driver companies in the world. (Who's on top varies all the time, depending mostly on how the model sales of different cars go.)

Anyway, Foster continued to market under the Tonegen name for a time, preserving the R&D and production facilities centered around Osaka. Over the last several years, however, the Tonegen brand has disappeared, and related activities have been absorbed into the giant Foster facility in China (somewhere near 10,000 people, last time I was there...) Some engineering still going on in Tokyo, too, I think.

The loss left many professional designers really missing a supplier who could deliver a $6 tweeter that was really as good as anything before or since, and whose performance rarely varied by 1/2 dB.

Ah well, back to real work...

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