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Stereophile Review of AR3a...


Peter Breuninger

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Hi guys,

I'm continuing the Stereophile vintage series with a review of these three best sellers: AR3a's, Large Advents, and Dynaco A-25s.

We did a controlled panel listening session two weeks ago and as I finish up the review (some of) my notes indicate poorly for the ARs. The pair I have was measured and deemed in proper working condition. Before I go to press I would like to hear a fully restored, but not modified, example. Is there a pair near Phila (Valley Forge) that the owner could spare for a couple weeks?

Please contact me directly, 610 644-5036.

Peter

I added the edit (some of), there are sonic parameters that scored well, I should have been more clear.

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This is really worrisome.

It's good that you're interested in reconciling the AR-3a's historic reputation with the problems indicated in your notes, but shouldn't you have *started* with a properly restored AR-3a (and Advent, and Dyna)?

There's a HUGE resource for restorers on this website, specifically designed to achieve this end, and there are plenty of folks with hands-on experience who might have been able to assist you.

If your subject AR-3a has not been properly restored, then its performance under test is of no value - it's just an old speaker, and God knows how it sounds.

Stereophile (for better, or worse) is a publication of record in the field of home audio reproduction - whatever it comes up with, and prints, will be taken as gospel by many, and it would be good to know that its methodology was sound (no pun).

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This is really worrisome.

It's good that you're interested in reconciling the AR-3a's historic reputation with the problems indicated in your notes, but shouldn't you have *started* with a properly restored AR-3a (and Advent, and Dyna)?

There's a HUGE resource for restorers on this website, specifically designed to achieve this end, and there are plenty of folks with hands-on experience who might have been able to assist you.

If your subject AR-3a has not been properly restored, then its performance under test is of no value - it's just an old speaker, and God knows how it sounds.

Stereophile (for better, or worse) is a publication of record in the field of home audio reproduction - whatever it comes up with, and prints, will be taken as gospel by many, and it would be good to know that its methodology was sound (no pun).

As I stated, my pair was measured and deemed in proper working condition by an industry professional. I have experience with many vintage pieces of audio equipment and the condition of aged capacitors/resistors vs. brand new. It's a pandora's box to be fair. One brand of cap can sound very different from another. I can "adjust" the sound of a 500c at will. So I ask for a pair with some apprehension. Some people swear by the Bozak Tobin mods and become quite religious about it. I belive they alter the character of the speaker away from Rudy's intentions, but they argue back that Rudy was forced to voice his speakers "in an unconventional" way for marketing purposes, please get me away from these arguments.

I will report in the article on the restoration history of each speaker. I have a time window, though short to hear another pair of AR3as. Let the can of worms be opened.

Peter

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This is really worrisome.

It's good that you're interested in reconciling the AR-3a's historic reputation with the problems indicated in your notes, but shouldn't you have *started* with a properly restored AR-3a (and Advent, and Dyna)?

I would guess that depends on the context of the article. If it's "what are you likely to find on the used vintage market," or "let's trash the legendary vintage speakers so we can pump up the products of our advertisers," then using unrestored examples might be appropriate.

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I would guess that depends on the context of the article. If it's "what are you likely to find on the used vintage market," or "let's trash the legendary vintage speakers so we can pump up the products of our advertisers," then using unrestored examples might be appropriate.

I don't think you will find that I have an agenda except that I like listening to and enjoying vintage audio equipment. I simply would like to test another pair of AR3as. The panel has made conclusions that speak very well for the ARs in the context of their time of manufacture.

Peter

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Hi guys,

I'm continuing the Stereophile vintage series with a review of these three best sellers: AR3a's, Large Advents, and Dynanco A-25s.

We did a controlled panel listening session two weeks ago and as I finish up the review my notes indicate poorly for the ARs. The pair I have was measured and deemed in proper working condition. Before I go to press I would like to hear a fully restored, but not modified, example. Is there a pair near Phila (Valley Forge) that the owner could spare for a couple weeks?

Please contact me directly, 610 644-5036.

Peter

Hi,

I don't have AR-3a's but I do have Advents and Dyna A-25s.

These low end US designs are not my main interest and I had intended to spend

minimal time on them, but then wanted to understand all the variations on the Large

Advent. I have many posts in the Advent and Dyna sections that you might have

noticed. Here are some pictures of part of my collection:

http://baselaudiolabs.googlepages.com/PLB_SPKR_PICS.html

I'm more interested in designs such as the SPICA TC-50, DQ-10s, KEFs, B&W etc.

but got a bit carried away with the US designs. Here's a link to work that I've started

on the SPICA TC-50's:

http://baselaudiolabs.googlepages.com/MR-TC50-REB.html

Please let me know if I can help in any way. I don't use my classic collection for everyday

listening, they are for reference and analysis. I'd be happy to loan you the Advents, and/or

Dyna's if you'd like another sample to confirm your findings.

Pete B.

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No agenda is implied, Peter - the concern is simply that the 3a be accurately represented for evaluation.

As per your Bozak reference, there are a host of supporters for vintage loudspeakers - in the United States, certainly AR, JBL, and Altec have a very strong following.

And although approaches to the restoration of these vintage systems may vary, and are certainly open to debate, the AR-3a document that resides on this website is probably the closest thing to a step-by-step endorsement that you'll find anywhere. It might even be unique, in this manner.

That said, a thumbs-up from an unnamed "industry professional" is not equivalent to *knowing* that the loudspeaker under test has seen the improvement brought about through the application of the procedures documented in "Restoring The AR-3a", and (as practically possible) most closely represents the original qualities of that loudspeaker.

And the qualification that these speakers are "of a time" ("The panel has made conclusions that speak very well for the ARs in the context of their time of manufacture") is disingenuous, too - believe me, you won't have to look far to find members of this Forum who find these 40 year-old speakers to offer a quality of reproduction that is more enjoyable than that provided by many, many "modern" systems - price, notwithstanding.

In other words, lets compare the best representative vintage apples extant to each other, and to whichever modern apples that one would wish.

Now that's an article that would be worth reading.

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In other words, lets compare the best representative vintage apples extant to each other, and to whichever modern apples that one would wish.

Now that's an article that would be worth reading.

This is what I indeed do. How many reviewers use and enjoy vintage (in my case, Bozaks) next to MBL101Es. The Bozaks hold their own!

What is very interesting is how the results of the listening tests were skewed by the amps (tube vs. SS) and in which ways for each loudspeaker (not consistant, BTW). It was very surprising.

ar_pro, what is your name? Where are you located?

My best!

Peter

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I actually measure the ESR of the original caps, and do a best estimate to

match the non-polar electrolytic cap with a modern film type in my restorations.

I have measured the difference in designs such as the AR-11 where it is more

pronounced, and can hear a very slight difference in the Large Advent's as

documented here:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Boar...l=capacitor+ESR

I also have Genesis 2's available that I restored as described here:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Boar...?showtopic=3874

They are one of the best of the low cost classic designs in my opinion, and I'd

certainly like to see them reviewed.

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Will these articles include "Measurements" sections?

[by John Atkinson, I hope.... ]

Yes, JA will measure each loudspeaker. The last time we measured vintage speakers they were a wee bit bigger:

http://stereophile.com/historical/1005bozak/

JA had me drag one out to the driveway so as to mimic a semi-anechoic chamber. My neighbors thought we must all be mad!

Peter

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This is what I indeed do. How many reviewers use and enjoy vintage (in my case, Bozaks) next to MBL101Es. The Bozaks hold their own!

What is very interesting is how the results of the listening tests were skewed by the amps (tube vs. SS) and in which ways for each loudspeaker (not consistant, BTW). It was very surprising.

ar_pro, what is your name? Where are you located?

My best!

Peter

Call me Ishmael, Peter.

Yes - I recall your Bozak article, and it was a fun read - and by "fun", I mean the opposite of what currently passes for audio journalism.

Stereophile, more than some publications, has occasionally attempted to bring real-world sensibility to what is not uncommonly, an absurd hobby of fetishism and the never-ending upgrade. Art Dudley's old "Listener Magazine" tried much the same thing, and his current exploration of the Thorens TD-124 and Quad electrostatic loudspeakers puts the lie to the notion that "High-End" involves a hideous price tag.

Such discussions usually devolve to "there's not enough affordable equipment reviewed", or ad hoc comparisons to automobiles ("I may not be able to afford a Ferrari, but I would like to read about one..."), which completely miss the point.

The AR-3a was of a time that allowed Joe Average Wage Earner to aspire to, and ultimately posess the object of his desire - it was the top of its heap, and while sounding *wildly* different from most of its then-competitors (Altec, JBL, etc.) provided JAWE with substantial listening satisfaction, and, as the Limeys like to say "value for money".

AR-3a's tended to stay with their owners for a loooooong time, and before the advent (pardon) of eBay, they tended to remain within families.

This dynamic has changed. The chances of your MBL's being passed down to your grandchildren is probably zip, and that's a shame.

This Forum recalls the "fun" era of audio, with the AR-3a representing an atainable and worthwhile means to an end, and not some sterile & soul-less "product", which, 40 years hence, is unlikley to have a similar following.

And I'll even wager that's the raison d'ĂȘtre for your desire to write this article, no?

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Hi guys,

I'm continuing the Stereophile vintage series with a review of these three best sellers: AR3a's, Large Advents, and Dynaco A-25s.

We did a controlled panel listening session two weeks ago and as I finish up the review (some of) my notes indicate poorly for the ARs. The pair I have was measured and deemed in proper working condition. Before I go to press I would like to hear a fully restored, but not modified, example. Is there a pair near Phila (Valley Forge) that the owner could spare for a couple weeks?

Please contact me directly, 610 644-5036.

Peter

I added the edit (some of), there are sonic parameters that scored well, I should have been more clear.

Because of the deterioration of the materials especially in the tweeters over decades, there are no AR3as in existance which sound the way they did when they were manufactured.

I am certain that in the results of your listening sessions, AR3a will come off as "poor" in the judgement of your contemporary audiophile panel. When it does, keep several things in mind. First, compare your current measurements with those of respected test laboratories who performed measurements at the time they were manufactured, CBS Technology Center and Hirsch Houck Laboratories for example and note the nature of deterioration of performace. Then keep in mind that no other speaker manufacturer I am aware of has even attempted let alone survived the trial by fire of a live versus recorded comparison where there was a direct reference of an actual preforming musician to compare the sound of their loudspeaker to. Most manufacturers today probably wouldn't even know how to go about conducting such a test.

I do not trust the opinions or judgements of a man who claims that he can hear a 0.1 db change in the adjustment to the loudness of one band of a 64 band graphic equalizer, not until he proves it in double blind testing anyway. Nor of those who work for him to help him sell his magazine that gains its revenues in part by advertising commercially sold products he reviews. AR3a will certainly NOT make Stereophile's A list of "the greatest speaker in the world" of the current month.

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Because of the deterioration of the materials especially in the tweeters over decades, there are no AR3as in existance which sound the way they did when they were manufactured.

Cool, we're already rationalizing an indeterminate outcome and slamming the magazine and reviewer for coming here requesting another sample to test? He is offering an opportunity for the forum to provide a known good example to be included. So, kick his ass, right?

I have measured vintage AR tweeters recently, and posted the results online. The results may easily be compared to those published by Allison by the AES in 1970 and 1972, and the tweeters have NOT deteriorated so significantly as you posit. Also, if there are any measurements available from the testing labs you mention, nobody here has ever found them, apparently.

If all we have to offer up in testament to how good AR3as are is the contrived live vs. recorded "shows," it is poor evidence, indeed.

Perhaps Peter will have desire and opportunity to read the debate in more detail here:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Boar...?showtopic=5282

My recent testing is here:

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=215006

Yeah, I've "done" Advents and Dynacos, too... :blink:

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Cool, we're already rationalizing an indeterminate outcome and slamming the magazine and reviewer for coming here requesting another sample to test? He is offering an opportunity for the forum to provide a known good example to be included. So, kick his ass, right?

I have measured vintage AR tweeters recently, and posted the results online. The results may easily be compared to those published by Allison by the AES in 1970 and 1972, and the tweeters have NOT deteriorated so significantly as you posit. Also, if there are any measurements available from the testing labs you mention, nobody here has ever found them, apparently.

If all we have to offer up in testament to how good AR3as are is the contrived live vs. recorded "shows," it is poor evidence, indeed.

Perhaps Peter will have desire and opportunity to read the debate in more detail here:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Boar...?showtopic=5282

My recent testing is here:

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=215006

Yeah, I've "done" Advents and Dynacos, too... :blink:

Somewhere in my basement among literally many thousands of papers, books, magazines, are at least some of the old articles reviewing some of these products. If I ever come across them, I'll scan them and send them to this site. Reviews aren't the only thing missing, there's an AR turntable floating around somewhere in my basement or garage that's been missing for around 9 years. I think Stereophile Magazine has the resources to find copies of those reports if it really wants to. Somewhere someone has copies.

I throw this challenge up to Stereophile Magazine. Rather than waste your time and ours with more self serving "oh what a piece of junk, how could anyone have ever liked these" articles or "what today's audiophiles find lacking in yesteryear's favorites" how about duplicating the live versus recorded demos AR conducted and see if you can get similar results to theirs. You don't need the Fine Arts String Quartet as a source, there are plenty of ready, willing, and able capable fine amateur musicians in places like the U of Penn music department who would be happy to do a couple of short gigs, one to make a recording and another for the L/R demo probably pretty cheap in today's economy. The conditions; use a restored Dynaco PAS3x and a Dynaco Stereo 70 the way AR did, you can use only the tone controls on the preamp and the controls on the AR3a speaker to adjust the tone of the system the way AR did, and no cheating equalizing the source tape with a parametric or graphic equalizer. Tom or Steve can probably fill in details of what microphones and tape equipment was used. If Stereophile can't get comparable results, then either the speakers are deteriorated beyond salvaging for any meaningful comparison or they don't have the smarts they think they do. Then let's see if they can do it with someone else's speakers under comparable conditions. I know the original string quartet L/Rs were compared to AR3 but the drums were compared to 10 pi which is a modified AR3a. Let's see if a 2009 $150,000 speaker can equal the performace of a 1968 $250 speaker using this acid test. A Steinway grand piano would be a good alternate to a string quartet and you only have to pay one musician. Of course dragging a Steinway piano to an anechoic environment for the recording is no simple thing if you are not an experienced piano mover.

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Because of the deterioration of the materials especially in the tweeters over decades, there are no AR3as in existance which sound the way they did when they were manufactured.

I am certain that in the results of your listening sessions, AR3a will come off as "poor" in the judgement of your contemporary audiophile panel. When it does, keep several things in mind. First, compare your current measurements with those of respected test laboratories who performed measurements at the time they were manufactured, CBS Technology Center and Hirsch Houck Laboratories for example and note the nature of deterioration of performace. Then keep in mind that no other speaker manufacturer I am aware of has even attempted let alone survived the trial by fire of a live versus recorded comparison where there was a direct reference of an actual preforming musician to compare the sound of their loudspeaker to. Most manufacturers today probably wouldn't even know how to go about conducting such a test.

I do not trust the opinions or judgements of a man who claims that he can hear a 0.1 db change in the adjustment to the loudness of one band of a 64 band graphic equalizer, not until he proves it in double blind testing anyway. Nor of those who work for him to help him sell his magazine that gains its revenues in part by advertising commercially sold products he reviews. AR3a will certainly NOT make Stereophile's A list of "the greatest speaker in the world" of the current month.

I think if this happens the cause is more likely to be changes in typical listener preferences over the past 40 years or so. We already know these speakers used to be quite populer (because they sold a lot of them) and are no longer (because they're no longer being made). Peter's previous comment that the panel's comments spoke favorably of the speaker "in the context of the time of their manufacture" suggest that they have already made some allowance for changing listener tastes and/or potential age of their test subjects.

As Zilch mentioned, his measurements of raw AR drivers, along with others taken at various times by Carl and other CSP'ers, indicate that even if failure of old 3a tweeters is not uncommon, finding good-working examples still out in the world is also not uncommon. The semi-widespread perception that HF rolloff must the result of "deteriorating tweeters" is probably as much a result of listeners' preconception that "good" sound must be reflected by a flatline on a 20-20k frequency response graph and their difficulty in accepting that what is "good" to them may not necessarily be "good" to everyone else and that people who prefer something different are not "wrong," but just different.

As I said previously, it depends on the context of the article. If the idea is "Interested in vintage speakers? Here's what you're likely to find on the used market and how well-kept but unrestored examples score in contemporary listening panels," then using unrestored examples and making cursory comparisons to restored ones makes sense, if only to help cut down on the number of newbies who make impulse purchases and then post here looking for tips to mod their 3a's to sound like Altecs. Any other context, I'm not so sure about, because all the alternatives I can think of seem like trying to decide if Muhammed Ali was really a great boxer by putting him back into the ring against this year's WBC champion.

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I think if this happens the cause is more likely to be changes in typical listener preferences over the past 40 years or so. We already know these speakers used to be quite populer (because they sold a lot of them) and are no longer (because they're no longer being made). Peter's previous comment that the panel's comments spoke favorably of the speaker "in the context of the time of their manufacture" suggest that they have already made some allowance for changing listener tastes and/or potential age of their test subjects.

As Zilch mentioned, his measurements of raw AR drivers, along with others taken at various times by Carl and other CSP'ers, indicate that even if failure of old 3a tweeters is not uncommon, finding good-working examples still out in the world is also not uncommon. The semi-widespread perception that HF rolloff must the result of "deteriorating tweeters" is probably as much a result of listeners' preconception that "good" sound must be reflected by a flatline on a 20-20k frequency response graph and their difficulty in accepting that what is "good" to them may not necessarily be "good" to everyone else and that people who prefer something different are not "wrong," but just different.

As I said previously, it depends on the context of the article. If the idea is "Interested in vintage speakers? Here's what you're likely to find on the used market and how well-kept but unrestored examples score in contemporary listening panels," then using unrestored examples and making cursory comparisons to restored ones makes sense, if only to help cut down on the number of newbies who make impulse purchases and then post here looking for tips to mod their 3a's to sound like Altecs. Any other context, I'm not so sure about, because all the alternatives I can think of seem like trying to decide if Muhammed Ali was really a great boxer by putting him back into the ring against this year's WBC champion.

"I think if this happens the cause is more likely to be changes in typical listener preferences over the past 40 years or so. "

I can't believe you said that. You are full of.....surprises. :blink:

AR's goal was to produce audio equipment that sounded like real music. "Truth in music," that was their ad slogan. In 1960, $450 was a lot of money for a pair of loudspeakers. What other justification could there have been then that they at least could sound like real music? Today there are speakers that sell for more than a new automobile that has over 20,000 parts in it. More than a new house. What other justification could there be for such a thing? Their game is the same as wine critics were before sheriff Robert Parker and his competitor Marvin Shankin came along. They are "in the know" and anyone who doesn't agree with them is just wrong. Actually most of these people know surprisingly little and they prove it time and again. One contributor here who shall go unnamed had the golden opportunity to hear one of the greatest musical groups, the Boston Symphony Orchestra night after night in what the world's leading expert on Concert Halls calls the best room for listening to music in, in the United States and the second or third best one in the world. Did he go? Not even once. Instead he went down to the Paradise Club where by his own admission, he blasted his ears out. And what did he do for a living? He designed speakers. I met a man at the VTV show a couple of years ago who sells speakers costing then up to about $125,000 a pair. He boasted that he regularly attends live rock concerts. Do you think he has any eardrums left?

We know the AR3as are not going to pass the audiophile screech test. We also know that they will be panned because they don't have good "imaging." As I've posted elsewhere, imaging meaning the localization of where musicians sit in relation to one another and to the audience is not an element of music. It is not important. Not if you are a music lover as opposed to an audiophile, an audio equipment lover.

" Peter's previous comment that the panel's comments spoke favorably of the speaker "in the context of the time of their manufacture""

Have the sound of cellos and violins changed in the last 40 years? The speakers can either sound a lot like them, a little like them, or not at all like them. AR proved at least on a few occasions in public that theirs could sound a lot like them. At least they did when they were functioning within the manufacturer's specified tolerences compared to the prototype.

We could already write the article for them because we know exactly what it is going to say and why it is going to say it. All we'd add that they will leave out is the last sentence; And now a word from one of our fine sponsors.

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I can't believe you said that. You are full of.....surprises.

Well, I didn't say that I thought listener taste had necessarily changed for the better, did I?

There's just no point in questioning the fact that the tastes of the majority of audio equipment buyers have changed. Just look at what they buy. No, the sounds of a live cello or violin have not changed appreciably in 40 years. But the proportion of audio buyers that knows that live sound or even cares to hear it almost certainly has.

It doesn't particularly bother me that I'm in a minority as far as my tastes are concerned. I do grumble a lot about the fact that I need to plunge my arms into boxes full of fiberglass, resolder components and haul woofers out for refoaming to get gear that reflects it because there doesn't seem to be anybody left who shares my tastes building new speakers.

Will it really surprise or bother you all that much to read that your preferences don't conform to those of the majority? It would surprise the hell out of me to discover that mine did, because so far they haven't in most every other aspect of my life, and I can't think of any reason I would want things to come out any differently.

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Well, I didn't say that I thought listener taste had necessarily changed for the better, did I?

There's just no point in questioning the fact that the tastes of the majority of audio equipment buyers have changed. Just look at what they buy. No, the sounds of a live cello or violin have not changed appreciably in 40 years. But the proportion of audio buyers that knows that live sound or even cares to hear it almost certainly has.

It doesn't particularly bother me that I'm in a minority as far as my tastes are concerned. I do grumble a lot about the fact that I need to plunge my arms into boxes full of fiberglass, resolder components and haul woofers out for refoaming to get gear that reflects it because there doesn't seem to be anybody left who shares my tastes building new speakers.

Will it really surprise or bother you all that much to read that your preferences don't conform to those of the majority? It would surprise the hell out of me to discover that mine did, because so far they haven't in most every other aspect of my life, and I can't think of any reason I would want things to come out any differently.

"Will it really surprise or bother you all that much to read that your preferences don't conform to those of the majority?"

How could it when I've known that for a very long time already. My preference is for....real music, not recordings of it. Far too much is lost in the dilutive effect of the electro-mechanical process. I listen to recordings as a "second best" choice because that's all that's frequently available to me. I'm also hoping to get inspired to get back into practicing. I'm still thinking about investing in the sheet music for Wild's arrangement of the Rachmaninoff Vocalese. There's one run in it I don't think I'll be able to manage though. Fortunately I've got "professional" assistance at my beck and call if I need help with it. If I can't learn to play it, I'll get help with faking it (lot of that around these days.) Looked at my poor old clarinet for the first time in about 45 years. It's in sorry condition. Needs new corks among other things. Wonder if I invested in it whether I could learn that opening run in Rhapsody in Blue.

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Hey, this sounds totally fun! Those are all speakers that won my heart at one point or another in life. It will be interesting to see what the panel's reactions are. Any idea when the article will run? I'll keep an eye out for it.

We used to do this kind of controlled listening to competition at AR. Sometimes our stuff would come out on top, sometimes not; sometimes there was learning to be had, sometimes it was very mysterious. But always fun.

-k

Hi guys,

I'm continuing the Stereophile vintage series with a review of these three best sellers: AR3a's, Large Advents, and Dynaco A-25s.

We did a controlled panel listening session two weeks ago and as I finish up the review (some of) my notes indicate poorly for the ARs. The pair I have was measured and deemed in proper working condition. Before I go to press I would like to hear a fully restored, but not modified, example. Is there a pair near Phila (Valley Forge) that the owner could spare for a couple weeks?

Please contact me directly, 610 644-5036.

Peter

I added the edit (some of), there are sonic parameters that scored well, I should have been more clear.

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"Any other context, I'm not so sure about, because all the alternatives I can think of seem like trying to decide if Muhammed Ali was really a great boxer by putting him back into the ring against this year's WBC champion."

Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali make today's fighters seem like amateurs by comparison. They had radically different styles from each other, to be sure, but their skill and precise execution of their craft is something that's long gone in today's heavyweights. Maybe today's fighters have more 'scientific' nutrition and training methods, but the results just aren't the same. Kind of a parallel to '70's speakers and today's......

As far as the Advent being preferred by modern-day Stereophile listeners over the 3a, this should come as no real surprise. Advent absolutely cleaned AR's clock once the two companies competed in the marketplace head-to-head. While this was no doubt skewed by Advent's better marketing/dealer policies (AR was unprofitable at retail and thus they engendered no dealer loyalty the way Advent did), it was also skewed by Advent's better on-axis, narrower dispersion characteristics (it fared much better than a 2ax or 3a in a retail showroom A-B demo, because far less of the Advent's HF was 'lost' and absorbed off axis in the dead acoustics of the typical retail speaker soundroom), those were NOT the only reasons.

They were contributing reasons, but a major factor was also Advent's intentionally 'hotter' upper-mid tonal balance. Advent decided to make their speaker sound a little livlier than the typical AR, while retaining the excellent AS bass end of AR and KLH.

Maybe you could measure 2 or 3% lower THD from a 3a at 50Hz compared to an Advent, but you certainly couldn't hear it. The Advent went deeper than a 2ax (almost as deep as the 3a) for less money than a 2ax (half the price of a 3a) at far more profitable levels to the dealer and it sounded 'better' in a quick retail A-B on the music that that era's listeners were listening to: Santana, Joni Mitchell, CSN&Y, ELP, Mahavishnu Orch, Dead, etc.

Of course the Stereophile listening panel would prefer the Advent to the 3a. Retail customers did in 1972 also. Remember, AR's vaunted 32% market share was achieved LONG BEFORE Advent came on the scene. For the reasons I've touched on here (an gone into at great length in the past), Advent was a far superior market performer to AR, once they competed toe-to-toe.

That being said, as a totally separate issue, I do believe that Stereophile has had a built-in bias against any 'large, established' speaker company. They like to promote the underdog over the established giants, and knocking the 3a would be consistent with that. But this is just a personal impression, whereas Advent's decisive routing of AR in the open market between 1970-76 is historical fact and not subject to question. I personally preferred AR's sound over the Advent's, but my personal preference doesn't re-write historical sales history.

I was a Frazier guy also, but Ali beat him 2 out of 3, fair and square.

Steve F.

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Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali make today's fighters seem like amateurs by comparison. They had radically different styles from each other, to be sure, but their skill and precise execution of their craft is something that's long gone in today's heavyweights. Maybe today's fighters have more 'scientific' nutrition and training methods, but the results just aren't the same. Kind of a parallel to '70's speakers and today's......

That was my point, but also that Ali and Frazier are not exactly at their performance peaks anymore.

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Steve,

It's quite interesting reading your comments on sales. The flash reports I used to get at AR, and the survey data we bought, typically showed Advent as a somewhat smaller competitor. Were we getting/using bad numbers? (Seriously, it happens, for reasons accidental or nefarious.)

What I can tell you is that AR's sales peaked in '78 and '79.

-k

BTW- If you have any speakers that have held up to one round with F, F or A, send pictures. It's gonna take more than some foam and a few caps, I can tell you now...

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