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Info needed on this version of AR11 speakers!


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Hello everybody. :(

Some guy here is thinking of selling a pair of AR 11.

This is the earlier version vith brass badges on front.

What are the differences between these speakers and the later versions with black front badges and Teledyne front stickers?

Any difference in sound beside the cosmetics?

I attached a photo of one of his speakers.

He painted the woofers with some special liquid that restores and reinforces driver cones. This is why they are so shiny.

What is your opinion on this? Can this have some influence on the sound, making it different than original (changing resonant frequency or something like that)?

And most important, he is thinking of getting at least 500 euros for the pair. This is 635 US$.

This price seems to be too high to me. What do you think?

Do you know what is the average price they usually go for?

Thanks in advance! :)

Aleksandar

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Anybody? :(

I really hoped that I'll learn more on these speakers here, since this is THE Acoustic Research forum...

And yes, I did some searching on the forum, but I couldn't draw the conclusion which model is more desirable (or better). Older or newer?

Also, I couldn't find any fair and realistic pricing info...

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As I wrote in May of 2007:

"The AR-11 was introduced in March of 1975 as part of the first wave of the Advanced Development Division (ADD) product family, along with the 10 Pi and the MST/1.

The 11 was essentially a refinement of the basic 3a design—a bookshelf-sized 3-way speaker, utilizing the 3a’s 12-inch woofer and 1 ½” dome midrange. However, the 11 (along with the 10 Pi) employed AR’s first incarnation of the ferro fluid-cooled ¾” dome tweeter. The use of ferro fluid in the tweeter’s voice-coil gap greatly increased the power handling of the tweeter, allowing the crossover to be redesigned with a greater voltage drive to the HF section. This resulted in much greater HF output from the 11 and 10 PI compared to the 3a, and completely resolved the “not enough highs” complaint that was common to the older speakers. Importantly, the 11 retained the smooth, uncolored, low-distortion character of the 3a.

The 11’s cosmetics were significantly upgraded as well, although the degree of “improvement” is certainly open to question and remains a matter of personal taste.

The ADD products were marketed as a limited-distribution line of goods, where AR was attempting to correct their years of dealer neglect and re-establish a measure of dealer profitability (and hence, dealer loyalty). This strategy was not entirely successful however, as the combination of a decade of ‘dealer-be-dam*ed’ sales/marketing policies coupled with the rapidly-changing 1970’s consumer electronics marketplace meant that AR was not able to reclaim their previous leadership status with the ADD line.

Considered solely as a product, however, the AR-11 was a terrific speaker. Many experienced AR aficionados—myself included—feel that the 11 combined the 3a’s best acoustic qualities (great deep bass and smooth, natural, widely-dispersed midrange) in a good-looking, more modern speaker with truly excellent, no-excuses high-frequency response.

Highly recommended."

[steve F. 12/3/08 comment, continued]

I am not specifically aware of any significant engineering upgrades to the 11 during its market life. The drivers may have undergone minor modifications, as production parts often do, because of different parts suppliers, slightly altered production methods, etc. But to my recollection, there was no major, intentional engineering change to the 11 during its product life cycle. The specs never changed (unlike the 3a, which had its mid crossover lowered from 575 to 525 Hz around 1972-ish), and certainly nothing like the 2ax, of which the original version (1964-69) and the 'new' version (1970-1976) were two completely different speakers, except for the model number.

My gut feel is that you could have a stereo pair of one brass-logo'd 11 and one black-and-silver plastic logo'd 11, and (assuming they were both operating properly, within AR's production QC spec) never hear anything amiss.

Steve F.

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As I wrote in May of 2007:

"The AR-11 was introduced in March of 1975 as part of the first wave of the Advanced Development Division (ADD) product family, along with the 10 Pi and the MST/1.

The 11 was essentially a refinement of the basic 3a design—a bookshelf-sized 3-way speaker, utilizing the 3a’s 12-inch woofer and 1 ½” dome midrange. However, the 11 (along with the 10 Pi) employed AR’s first incarnation of the ferro fluid-cooled ¾” dome tweeter. The use of ferro fluid in the tweeter’s voice-coil gap greatly increased the power handling of the tweeter, allowing the crossover to be redesigned with a greater voltage drive to the HF section. This resulted in much greater HF output from the 11 and 10 PI compared to the 3a, and completely resolved the “not enough highs” complaint that was common to the older speakers. Importantly, the 11 retained the smooth, uncolored, low-distortion character of the 3a.

The 11’s cosmetics were significantly upgraded as well, although the degree of “improvement” is certainly open to question and remains a matter of personal taste.

The ADD products were marketed as a limited-distribution line of goods, where AR was attempting to correct their years of dealer neglect and re-establish a measure of dealer profitability (and hence, dealer loyalty). This strategy was not entirely successful however, as the combination of a decade of ‘dealer-be-dam*ed’ sales/marketing policies coupled with the rapidly-changing 1970’s consumer electronics marketplace meant that AR was not able to reclaim their previous leadership status with the ADD line.

Considered solely as a product, however, the AR-11 was a terrific speaker. Many experienced AR aficionados—myself included—feel that the 11 combined the 3a’s best acoustic qualities (great deep bass and smooth, natural, widely-dispersed midrange) in a good-looking, more modern speaker with truly excellent, no-excuses high-frequency response.

Highly recommended."

[steve F. 12/3/08 comment, continued]

I am not specifically aware of any significant engineering upgrades to the 11 during its market life. The drivers may have undergone minor modifications, as production parts often do, because of different parts suppliers, slightly altered production methods, etc. But to my recollection, there was no major, intentional engineering change to the 11 during its product life cycle. The specs never changed (unlike the 3a, which had its mid crossover lowered from 575 to 525 Hz around 1972-ish), and certainly nothing like the 2ax, of which the original version (1964-69) and the 'new' version (1970-1976) were two completely different speakers, except for the model number.

My gut feel is that you could have a stereo pair of one brass-logo'd 11 and one black-and-silver plastic logo'd 11, and (assuming they were both operating properly, within AR's production QC spec) never hear anything amiss.

Steve F.

Steve,

Thanks a lot!

The only thing left that I would like to now is what is the fair price (for both seller and buyer) to pay for them?

I can do an eBay search, but prices can vary and very often they are not truly representative...

Am I making a mistake in believing that what the seller is asking (500 Euros or 635 US$) is way too much?

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Value, like beauty, is indeed in the eye of the beholder, is it not?

I am an ardent jazz aficionado, and I can remember some 20-odd years ago waiting vainly for some of my more obscure jazz record albums to be released on CD.

If I came across the CD version of a rare album, I bought it on the spot, regardless of price. Who knew whether I'd ever see it again.

How badly do you want these 11's? That's a question only you can answer. I could see myself paying about $250-300 USD for a pair of 11's in excellent condition if I were in the market, but it's really up to you. 500 Euro does seem a bit high, but if you really HAVE to have them, well......

Steve F.

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Aleksandar,

--… What are the differences between these speakers and the later versions with black front badges and Teledyne front stickers?...--

One “non-cosmetic” difference between the brass logo AR-11 and the black/silver logo AR-11 is the diffraction foam on the faceplate of the tweeter.

There is one thing you need to look at with the brass logo AR-11s:

Look at the binding posts and the attenuation switches on the back. If the switches are above the binding posts you have a single board crossover. If the switches are to the side of the binding posts you have a two-board crossover. The two board crossovers were only in the very earliest AR-11s. Since the cloth of the tweeter is black and not an off-white color, I suspect the AR-11 in the picture is not one of the earliest AR-11s produced.

The single board crossover used the same components in the brass and black/silver AR-11s.

The two-board crossovers used different components and the attenuation switches are wired much differently. I posted pictures of these somewhere on this forum. When I restored a two-board AR-11 I changed the attenuation circuit to the later “version.”

--…Any difference in sound beside the cosmetics?...—

Steve F wrote: “My gut feel is that you could have a stereo pair of one brass-logo'd 11 and one black-and-silver plastic logo'd 11, and (assuming they were both operating properly, within AR's production QC spec) never hear anything amiss.”

I totally agree with Steve. The components used were essentially unchanged between the two versions with the single board crossover. I am also in complete agreement with Ken Kantor’s statement in a recent discussion on the AR-10pi, “In my opinion, the addition of the foam to the tweeter faceplate was not a particularly good idea.” In my opinion, once the foam on the tweeter starts to disintegrate, the best thing to do is completely remove the foam and adhesive from the tweeter faceplate.

I have done listening tests with both black/silver logo and brass logo AR-11s single and two-board crossover versions (and written extensively about them in this forum). They sound equally bad with “out-of-spec” capacitors and equally great with “in-spec” capacitors. I cannot hear any sonic effect of tweeter diffraction foam. I do not claim to be a GESR (golden eared stereo reviewer) either.

--…He painted the woofers with some special liquid that restores and reinforces driver cones. This is why they are so shiny. What is your opinion on this? Can this have some influence on the sound, making it different than original (changing resonant frequency or something like that)?...--

I’ve done the same thing on a few woofers I’ve re-foamed. I can’t say I “hear” any difference by doing this. I think it is really not necessary and can’t recommend it as a sonic improvement to the woofer. But, I also don’t think it would significantly change the “sound” of these AR-11s or their value.

--…And most important, he is thinking of getting at least 500 Euros for the pair. This is 635 US$.

This price seems to be too high to me. What do you think? Do you know what is the average price they usually go for?...—

I haven’t monitored AR-11 auctions on e-Bay in a long time. Even so, winning bids vary widely. Things to consider are the condition of the cabinets, condition of the drivers, and whether or not the original foam grills (in good condition) are included. Original boxes and packing materials and documentation can also bring a premium price for a pair of speakers.

Regardless of the above, if your friend hasn’t already done so, the capacitors in these AR-11s will most probably need to be replaced. That has to be figured into what one is willing to pay for these speakers.

What I think -- $635 is probably what your friend paid for his AR-11s in the ‘70s, assuming he is the original owner. If your friend is selling his AR-11s as pictured, the price seems too high to me too. Mint condition cabinets, re-foamed woofers, with no grills, or other items to go with the speakers, I think $200 US +/- may be closer to a ballpark asking price. But, even that may be an ambitious asking price in the current economic environment. As Steve posted, "Value, like beauty, is indeed in the eye of the beholder,..."

Hope this helps.

Rich

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