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AR-2a vs. AR-2ax, also AR-2 series history


Guest John Faulkner

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Guest John Faulkner

I have a pair of 1962 AR-2a speakers - cloth surround woofer, dual mid, hard brown tweeter. I also have a pair of AR-2ax black 3/4" tweeters - could these be substituted in place of the hard brown ones without a crossover change? AR seemed to use essentially the same crossover for the AR-2a and AR-2ax, except the #1 lug on the mid potentiometer is not attached to the common negative speaker input in the AR-2a, but is attached in the AR-2ax. I suppose I could just get a pair of AR-2ax mids and make a little baffle board to replace the dual mids and their enclosure and have a pair of AR-2ax, or else pick up a pair of AR-5 mids and rebuild the crossover and have a pair of AR-5, Decisions, decisions.. AR seemed to go through quite a few variations in the AR-2/AR-2a/AR-2x/AR-2ax series - has anybody worked out an actual timeline for all the variants involved, along with driver changes and maybe crossover changes? Did AR once make a AR-2ax with the dual mids? (I thought I saw a pic of one on CSP at one time). The AR-2a pair (Mahogany) is now refinished, pots cleaned, ready to go to my daughter's new (old) house in Portland OR so they can experience some vintage sound. Soon will have a pair of later vintage AR-5 4 bolt woofers re-surrounded, Walnut cabinets in nice shape, to compare them to, and also working on a pair each of AR-3 and AR-3a, all 4 pine utility cabinets that were walnut stained many years ago. Pots cleaned, new caps and some new inductors to bring them up to 2.88, the AR-3 will have to use AR-3a mids as that is all I have, but one will have an older hard brown tweeter, maybe both if I change out the tweeters in the AR-2a pair. What to do with so many speakers, but I got a little carried away. I've had the AR-3 pair since the late sixties. Any advice on the 2's, 3's, or history?

thanks

John

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The AR-2 series was indeed a complicated, drawn-out affair.

This is a reasonably accurate chronology of events. The order of model introduction shown below is pretty accurate; the actual dates may be off a little here and there.

1957—AR-2 intro’d as follow-up to 1954’s AR-1.

AR-2 has 10” w, (2) 5” tweeters, x-o 2000Hz.

1960 (?) AR-2a added, includes 1 3/8” dome tweeter of AR-3. x-o is 2000, 7500 Hz.

1964—First-generation AR-2ax replaces 2a. Dual 5” drivers replaced by single 3 ½” midrange. Retains 1 3/8” tweeter. x-o frequencies same as 2a.

AR-2 replaced by AR-2x. Again dual 5” drivers replaced by single 3 ½” driver. x-o still 2000 Hz.

AR offers factory upgrade kit to customers who wish to upgrade their older 2 to 2x or 2a to 2ax status. (replacing the dual 5" drivers with single 3 1/2" driver.)

2x and 2ax live side by side until 1970.

1970—“New” 2ax and 2x replace the first-generation 2ax and 2x.

2ax uses 5’s 10” woofer with foam surround, retains 3 ½” mid, uses new ¾” dome tweeter, also from the 5. x-o is now 1400, 5000 Hz. Logo badge is changed from “AR” square and brass “a” to 3a-styled logo with red de-bossed “AR-2ax” on a rectangular brass field.

2x changes to 5’s woofer and 4x’s 2 ½” tweeter. X-o changes from 2000 Hz to 1200 Hz.

New 2ax and 2x live side by side.

2x quickly fades away, but 2ax lives on until 1975 or 76 when ADD series is intro’d.

Steve F.

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From time to time, High Fidelity magazine published a compendium (called "High Fidelity Test Reports") of their previously-published equipment reviews. There were three editions: 1973, 1975, and 1980. I still have them.

The 2ax review was originally published in the Nov 1971 issue of High Fidelity, I believe. The review was re-printed in both the '73 and '75 "Reports." It was not in the 1980 edition, as the 2ax had been discontinued by then. It's interesting to note that HF's "front hemispherical response" of the 2ax (essentially the 2ax's far-field power response, measured as if the speaker were in a bookshelf, surrounded by books, more or less its intended application) is quite smooth (albiet a little downward sloping) across its entire range.

A great speaker for its day, and quite enjoyable even today.

Steve F.

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2ax lives on until 1975 or 76 when ADD series is intro’d.

I bought my 2ax's brand new in the summer of 1975. All backwired drivers, velcro-removable grilles. I think they actually stopped making them in '75 but the remaining stock lasted until sometime in '76.

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I was just up on this forum looking for some information on the 2ax. My father has a pair that has been sitting fallow for many years, and I'd like to see them stabilized, of maybe even put back into use. I just don't want to see them decay into dust.

These 2axs are 1963-1964'ish vintage. The have the dual midrange drivers.

Where can I go do get information on these? I really like the restoration guide on the 3a. Anything like this for the 2ax??

Thanks!

- SJ

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I was just up on this forum looking for some information on the 2ax. My father has a pair that has been sitting fallow for many years, and I'd like to see them stabilized, of maybe even put back into use. I just don't want to see them decay into dust.

These 2axs are 1963-1964'ish vintage. The have the dual midrange drivers.

Where can I go do get information on these? I really like the restoration guide on the 3a. Anything like this for the 2ax??

Thanks!

- SJ

Hi SJ and welcome

I'm guessing you have the AR2a, not the 2ax if there are dual mids. A pic of the 2a is attached at the bottom of this post. Check this link for shots of the 2ax.

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/library...res_from_jkent/

These are nice speakers and most of what you will find in the 3a restoration manual is applicable to the 2a. Also read through old posts in this section, and ask questions.

I have both the 2a and 2ax. The grilles on the 2a are tough to remove without damaging them--they are stapled on. With patience and care you "may" be able to remove them intact. If you ruin them (as I did) Vintage AR sells new grille panels with or without the cloth. An economical replacement cloth is "Irish Linen" available in Michael's craft stores, but it is not exact. A near perfect replacement is the 1-2-3 Stitch "lambswool" color linen.

Pots will have to be cleaned or replaced (with L-pads). Caps should definitely be replaced with new film caps. L-pads and caps are available from Madisound or PartsExpress. edit: caps may be excellent mil-spec oil-filled and if so should not be replaced.

The orange dome tweeters may or may not still be good. See discussion in these pages re tweeters and replacements (i.e. HiVi). You could start here:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Boar...?showtopic=5014

The woofers should be the terrific aluminum frame 11-inchers (10") with cloth surrounds.

Those dual mids (or mid/his) were the weak spot in the 2a and that is why they were replaced in the 2ax but if the cabinets are decent and you have an attachment to these speakers they will provide enjoyment both in restoring and in listening. edit: after living with both the 2a and 2ax, I retract the statement that the dual mids were a weak spot. They actually sound very good, but they were designed for horizontal speaker placement on a bookshelf.

Ask questions here and you will get lots of advice.

Good luck.

Kent

post-101828-1229745728.jpg

Edited by JKent
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  • 2 months later...
Guest co0perm
Logo badge is changed from “AR” square and brass “a” to 3a-styled logo with red de-bossed “AR-2ax” on a rectangular brass field.

hey what do you mean by "brass 'a'"? ive looked everywhere trying to find what the original AR-2AX logos looked like but cant find them. is this because they are simply the regular AR inc brass squares? what do you mean by "and brass 'a'" tho... i am wondering because i have a pair of AR-2AX's, one is the original type and one is the newer type, and they both have the red AR-2AX logos. so i am curious what type of work has been done to the older one, the wrong logo would indicate at least some work.

thanks for any input - matt

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The AR-2 series was indeed a complicated, drawn-out affair.

This is a reasonably accurate chronology of events. The order of model introduction shown below is pretty accurate; the actual dates may be off a little here and there.

1957—AR-2 intro’d as follow-up to 1954’s AR-1.

AR-2 has 10” w, (2) 5” tweeters, x-o 2000Hz.

1960 (?) AR-2a added, includes 1 3/8” dome tweeter of AR-3. x-o is 2000, 7500 Hz.

1964—First-generation AR-2ax replaces 2a. Dual 5” drivers replaced by single 3 ½” midrange. Retains 1 3/8” tweeter. x-o frequencies same as 2a.

AR-2 replaced by AR-2x. Again dual 5” drivers replaced by single 3 ½” driver. x-o still 2000 Hz.

AR offers factory upgrade kit to customers who wish to upgrade their older 2 to 2x or 2a to 2ax status. (replacing the dual 5" drivers with single 3 1/2" driver.)

2x and 2ax live side by side until 1970.

1970—“New” 2ax and 2x replace the first-generation 2ax and 2x.

2ax uses 5’s 10” woofer with foam surround, retains 3 ½” mid, uses new ¾” dome tweeter, also from the 5. x-o is now 1400, 5000 Hz. Logo badge is changed from “AR” square and brass “a” to 3a-styled logo with red de-bossed “AR-2ax” on a rectangular brass field.

2x changes to 5’s woofer and 4x’s 2 ½” tweeter. X-o changes from 2000 Hz to 1200 Hz.

New 2ax and 2x live side by side.

2x quickly fades away, but 2ax lives on until 1975 or 76 when ADD series is intro’d.

Steve F.

Another great report on the AR-2-series by Steve F! I would only add the following:

(1) The AR-2a was introduced in late 1959.

(2) The AR-2x (in its second iteration with the 2-1/2-inch AR-4x tweeter) was discontinued in the 1973-timeframe.

(3) The AR-2ax (along with the remaining "classic" AR-3a, AR-5, AR-4xa, AR-6 and AR-7) ran concurrently with the newly introduced Advanced Development Division's AR-10Pi, AR-11 and AR-MST/1 through 1975, and were discontinued at the introduction of their replacements in February 1976 with the AR-12 (replacing the AR-5), the AR-16 (replacing the AR-4xa and AR-6). In March, 1976 the AR-14 was introduced to replace the AR-2ax-series. By 1977 the AR-16 was dropped and the AR-15, AR-17 and AR-18 filled the void for the AR-6, AR-4x and AR-7.

--Tom Tyson

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  • 2 years later...

Another great report on the AR-2-series by Steve F! I would only add the following:

(1) The AR-2a was introduced in late 1959.

(2) The AR-2x (in its second iteration with the 2-1/2-inch AR-4x tweeter) was discontinued in the 1973-timeframe.

(3) The AR-2ax (along with the remaining "classic" AR-3a, AR-5, AR-4xa, AR-6 and AR-7) ran concurrently with the newly introduced Advanced Development Division's AR-10Pi, AR-11 and AR-MST/1 through 1975, and were discontinued at the introduction of their replacements in February 1976 with the AR-12 (replacing the AR-5), the AR-16 (replacing the AR-4xa and AR-6). In March, 1976 the AR-14 was introduced to replace the AR-2ax-series. By 1977 the AR-16 was dropped and the AR-15, AR-17 and AR-18 filled the void for the AR-6, AR-4x and AR-7.

--Tom Tyson

Hi there

Very interesting information by all.

Thank you very much.

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Little brass pins with the lower-case letter "a" that slipped into the grille fabric. The 2x and 2ax had rectangular plates.

One correction: The early 2ax--the one with the aluminum frame woofer and the phenolic dome tweeter--had the square "AR" logo AND the brass "a" pin. Here is a thread on an early pair I restored (see post #1):

http://www.classicsp...185

Kent

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  • 5 years later...

There is a pair of AR-2's for sale nearby, $400. Supposedly in great shape. Thoughts? 

Serial number 61825 and 61923. Seller claims these are original, sealed from the late 50's. Would they have serial numbers that high if they are in fact 2's?

1

 

 

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Those serial numbers are not exaggerated - - pic attached shows labels with numbers just a few thousand earlier in the 58XXX range - - and you can tell they are 2's by the 'shadows' of the driver layout seen thru the grilles. The grille cloth and badges look terrific, but there's too much glare in the pic to assess the cabinets. In fact, I can't tell yet if they are stained birch or stained pine or the more common walnut (or even cherry?). Also, make note of the fact that many AR-2's had an unfinished pine bottom surface, and these were meant to be positioned horizontally due to dispersion characteristics of the paired tweeters. 

AR-2 unfinished birch.jpg

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Interesting. So I would need to supply my own tweeters to use these, correct? What would be an appropriate tweeter to use them?

I have enough stuff around here, but these seem like a real piece of history and I'm reluctant to let them go. 

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Not sure what you mean about supplying tweeters. From the limited information available in the one pic you've shown, by all appearances those speakers look original and intact, ready to go. Obviously a closer inspection is required, but there's no reason yet to suspect they are missing any original drivers.

AR-2 underside.jpg

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I'm sorry I was under the impression from some things that I've read online that these were similar to the AR-1W, ie without tweeter. Sounds like I'm mistaken?

Waiting to hear back from the seller, regarding what wood this is, and some pictures of the back and bottom, but I think it might be worth it to get them. Certainly I haven't seen them around here before. 

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No, AR-2's were not typically assembled without the dual tweeters, but of course you can remove the jumper wire on the rear terminals and thereby play only the woofer - - - then becoming sort of like a 10" version of an AR-1W, I suppose. The woofers in these speakers are great, and some people liked to add various electrostatic tweeter arrays to increase the reach of the HF range. The tweeter control will need to be checked out, of course, but they may also have the metal encased oil-filled caps which often measure good to this day. All original AR-2's in really good condition are not all that common, so you may be onto a very nice pair of specimens.  

AR-2nElectrostat3RS1961.jpg

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Thanks ra. Waiting for the seller to get back to me. 

BTW, I was born in Boston and raised in Newton. Went to Northeastern. Spent many of my formative years in the area playing in bands at the Rat and other similar clubs, and working in record stores. Still have a lot of family back there.  Probably one reason I'm so attached to AR. I remember going to their demo room in Harvard Sq an oogling at what I couldn't afford. 

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So do you think in good condition these are worth $400. He's specific that the pots work well, he's been using them regularly, they've never been opened. I'm trying to figure out what I would do with them. Right now, I'd be buying them almost more as a collector piece, given that I'm using 3's and 3'a's stacked as my daily speakers. That said, my Mac 4100 has 3 speaker inputs, so I would be able to have them set up and ready to use to switch off now and then. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, samberger0357 said:

You probably won't like the lack of highs. Hard to unhear a 3.

18 minutes ago, samberger0357 said:

So do you think in good condition these are worth $400. He's specific that the pots work well, he's been using them regularly, they've never been opened. I'm trying to figure out what I would do with them. Right now, I'd be buying them almost more as a collector piece, given that I'm using 3's and 3'a's stacked as my daily speakers. That said, my Mac 4100 has 3 speaker inputs, so I would be able to have them set up and ready to use to switch off now and then. 

$400 is on the high end of their value.

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1 hour ago, dxho said:

You probably won't like the lack of highs. Hard to unhear a 3.

Ask Adrianno -- I think he has a set of 3, 3a and 2's. I'm pretty sure he mentioned the 2's lack of high-frequency response.

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On Friday, November 04, 2016 at 2:36 AM, owlsplace said:

Ask Adrianno -- I think he has a set of 3, 3a and 2's. I'm pretty sure he mentioned the 2's lack of high-frequency response.

Yes , I love the AR 2's bass , the old AlNiCo cloth surround woofer has a great sensitivity and an easy 8-ohms load, but the dual cone mid-tweeter is very obsolete , dull-sounding and not extended . The better way to enjoy the AR 2 is to use it as a woofer with an external tweeter or to find a modern tweeter with 90 - 91 db sensitivity from 2 Khz, mounting it on a plywood base with 6 screws , the modification will be completely reversible. Excellent 1" domes can be found in Norwegian Seas catalog. With this modification, You could have an excellent classic two-way speaker, bass aren 't deep as in Advent Loudspeaker but You have more sensitivity and a very fine mid-high range. Cheers, Adriano

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