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AR-3a Clone


Pete B

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Gene seems to like the idea of an AR-3a clone so I have started a thread here:

QUOTE (genek @ May 4 2010, 05:14 PM)

So would AR's old drivers be on your list of unusual and unclone-able drivers...?

They are a bit unusual; 1.5" dome and .75" fully exposed dome tweeters are not

very common. Depending on the expectations of what you expect from a "clone"

I'd have to do a feasibility study. I'm fairly certain I could meet this test with

available drivers:

Speakers behind a curtain, switching slowly, keeping the original AR within reasonably

linear limits (the clone would have higher limits) listeners would not be able to statistically

identify the systems with slow switching. Listen as long as you want, switch, pause for 1

min, listen again. It probably should be A/B/X and double blind.

If you plan to send them to the NRC and say that they have to match AR published data

I would say no, can't do it without custom drivers.

What industry are you from Gene? Does writing a requirements spec mean anything to

you? Write a spec and I'll offer an opinion. You can't just take the AR published data and

say here make this. Reasonable tolerances have to be used because we are not going

to have custom drivers made.

Also, consider that if you told me you wanted all the warts including cabinet diffraction,

then I would have a cabinet made to the exact dimensions of the original AR3a. My

plan at this point would be to do something like an AR91 layout to provide the best

possible performance in Updated mode, then provide as close as possible performance

though crossover changes in "3a Classic" mode.

I thought you were only interested in retail products?

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I thought you were only interested in retail products?

I am, really, and not particularly interested in trying to build a clone of the AR-3a (I already have a pair). It's simply that as long as people were chiming in on what their goals for an "ideal speaker" were, mine would be one with a switch somewhere that could make it sonically indistinguishable from a 3a (someone else can substitute whatever other iconic speaker design they prefer). The styling is something I can take up with the builders after they determine that they can actually make the thing work.

Since most people seem to more or less agree that there's no mass market for quality audio anymore, all that's left is designing for market niches. A speaker designed to appeal to the niche of people who feel that quality audio is a thing of the past seems at least as viable as any based on "new and improved" research and design that next year's "new and improved" researchers and designers will be claiming was wrong all along.

If someone's really interested in trying to do this, yes I can write a design spec. But doing one just for the helluvit would be right next to sawing open an old speaker and waveguiding it just to see what it sounds like, and we've already gone down that discussion path before.

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The Seas DXT diffraction tweeter provides the requisite HF dispersion in a modern driver:

http://www.seas.no/index.php?option=com_co...&Itemid=248

Available from Madisound et al.:

http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_i...roducts_id=8322

Studied in detail and built into systems by others on PE's TechTalk forum, yes, I have them, yes, I've heard them; starting with them in AR4x first here soon, then AR3a, maybe.

[Waveguides also do it, of course, somewhat better, even.... :) ]

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The spec on this tweeter bottoms at 2k, which is higher than the AR-4 or 6 crossed. Is the 8" AR woofer still happy at that frequency?

Works at 2 kHz with 2nd order acoustic highpass, 1st order electrical:

http://www.audioheuristics.org/projects_ga...DXT/ER18DXT.htm

Somewhat lower higher order, but no matter, I'm certainly not above swapping out AR4x woofers for alternates that perform.

See my AR4x studies; some of the early cross-hatched drivers could play quite high, but lacked extended bass. I have about 10 pair of varying vintage here to test.

[AR3a, not so many.... :) ]

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Works at 2 kHz with 2nd order acoustic highpass, 1st order electrical:

http://www.audioheuristics.org/projects_ga...DXT/ER18DXT.htm

Somewhat lower higher order, but no matter, I'm certainly not above swapping out AR4x woofers for alternates that perform.

See my AR4x studies; some of the early cross-hatched drivers could play quite high, but lacked extended bass. I have about 10 pair of varying vintage here to test.

[AR3a, not so many.... :) ]

If you're thinking of trying these instead of the original 3/3a tweeter in a 3-way, shouldn't be a problem with the 5k M/H cross. Your chances of getting anything decent out of a 3/3a woofer at 2k, not so good, I think. AR eventually gave up trying to get anything out of it at 1k.

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If you're thinking of trying these instead of the original 3/3a tweeter in a 3-way, shouldn't be a problem with the 5k M/H cross. Your chances of getting anything decent out of a 3/3a woofer at 2k, not so good, I think. AR eventually gave up trying to get anything out of it at 1k.

Pete can clarify, but I assume he is contemplating a 3-way "clone" of AR3a, and already has several suitable midrange alternatives in mind....

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The "Mods, Tweaks and Upgrades" section was opened for the purpose of discussing this kind of topic, which seems to crop up periodically.

I haven't heard Gene express any deep dissatisfaction with the speakers currently available to him. It's one thing to read internet gripes about politicians; it's quite another to extrapolate this into bona fide support of 3rd-party candidates. There have been millions of metric tons of 3-way, 12" speakers sold over the last 5 decades, at all levels of price, at all levels of technological sophistication, with just about any set of design goals one can postulate. Doing another one could be fun, and internet reviews are pretty easy to get. But, I would be very, very cautious about expecting to sell 50 pcs unless you have a full line of competitively-priced product, an advertising budget and established distribution channels. The halls of CES are littered with the corpses of designers who convinced themselves that $1,000/pr is anything near affordable in the real world.

-k

Gene seems to like the idea of an AR-3a clone so I have started a thread here:

QUOTE (genek @ May 4 2010, 05:14 PM)

So would AR's old drivers be on your list of unusual and unclone-able drivers...?

They are a bit unusual; 1.5" dome and .75" fully exposed dome tweeters are not

very common. Depending on the expectations of what you expect from a "clone"

I'd have to do a feasibility study. I'm fairly certain I could meet this test with

available drivers:

Speakers behind a curtain, switching slowly, keeping the original AR within reasonably

linear limits (the clone would have higher limits) listeners would not be able to statistically

identify the systems with slow switching. Listen as long as you want, switch, pause for 1

min, listen again. It probably should be A/B/X and double blind.

If you plan to send them to the NRC and say that they have to match AR published data

I would say no, can't do it without custom drivers.

What industry are you from Gene? Does writing a requirements spec mean anything to

you? Write a spec and I'll offer an opinion. You can't just take the AR published data and

say here make this. Reasonable tolerances have to be used because we are not going

to have custom drivers made.

Also, consider that if you told me you wanted all the warts including cabinet diffraction,

then I would have a cabinet made to the exact dimensions of the original AR3a. My

plan at this point would be to do something like an AR91 layout to provide the best

possible performance in Updated mode, then provide as close as possible performance

though crossover changes in "3a Classic" mode.

I thought you were only interested in retail products?

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The "Mods, Tweaks and Upgrades" section was opened for the purpose of discussing this kind of topic, which seems to crop up periodically.

Mods Tweaks and Upgrades is really more about what people do to original speakers. The site really doesn't have a forum devoted to the design of new speakers. It is, after all, a site devoted to classics.

I haven't heard Gene express any deep dissatisfaction with the speakers currently available to him. It's one thing to read internet gripes about politicians; it's quite another to extrapolate this into bona fide support of 3rd-party candidates.

I wouldn't describe my view of modern speakers as dissatisfaction as much as a lack of enthusiasm. It's the same as my view of cars. Now that cars are designed in wind tunnels for maximum fuel economy and minimal drag coefficients and there are no Raymond Loweys and Bill Mitchells helming the creation of designs that reflect someone's personal vision, everything is alike and nothing seems significantly better than anything else. From the success of modern retro-cars like the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, I'd say I'm not alone in this.

I would be very, very cautious about expecting to sell 50 pcs unless you have a full line of competitively-priced product, an advertising budget and established distribution channels. The halls of CES are littered with the corpses of designers who convinced themselves that $1,000/pr is anything near affordable in the real world.

Pete and I had this conversation before. It wasn't just the speakers and their sound that made the AR out of box experience, it was the company as well. $1000 or more for a pair of speakers can be an "affordable" investment in sound when the product comes from a company you expect to be there to back them up the way AR did under Villchur and even Teledyne. From folks you never heard of before this year's show, it could be the same as taking your cash to the slot machines.

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Mods Tweaks and Upgrades is really more about what people do to original speakers. The site really doesn't have a forum devoted to the design of new speakers. It is, after all, a site devoted to classics.

OK... since I tend to think in terms of design goals, not hardware, it's often hard for me to understand where mods leave stop and new designs begin. But, I understand the distinction in principle.

I wouldn't describe my view of modern speakers as dissatisfaction as much as a lack of enthusiasm.

I think that's what I tried to say.... I'm sure you would love to have speakers that meet more of your ideal criteria, but it probably take more than incremental improvements to motivate a purchase.

Pete and I had this conversation before. It wasn't just the speakers and their sound that made the AR out of box experience, it was the company as well. $1000 or more for a pair of speakers can be an "affordable" investment in sound when the product comes from a company you expect to be there to back them up the way AR did under Villchur and even Teledyne. From folks you never heard of before this year's show, it could be the same as taking your cash to the slot machines.

I'm not sure enthusiasts and early-adopters are as concerned with taking a gamble as the average consumer is. But, no doubt, a successful product's out-of-box experience is crafted long before the actual purchase is made.

-k

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OK... since I tend to think in terms of design goals, not hardware, it's often hard for me to understand where mods leave stop and new designs begin. But, I understand the distinction in principle.

Mark and I discussed creating a "tech talk" forum where more theoretical discussions might live, but concluded that they'd inevitably degenerate into food fights between certain posters. The Kitchen was created instead, and it is the default dumping ground for anything that doesn't fit the other forums.

BTW, moving threads is triggered primarily by requests from other members. So far, no threads about theory or mods have been moved out of the KLH, Advent or other forums because nobody there has asked. Not sure what that says about the discussions going on there or the off-topic tolerance level of other members there.

I think that's what I tried to say.... I'm sure you would love to have speakers that meet more of your ideal criteria, but it probably take more than incremental improvements to motivate a purchase.

Incremental improvements mostly come under consideration when existing equipment must be replaced because its continued ioperation has become unsustainable. I have "incrementally improved" numerous TV sets, CD players and tape decks over the years, but so far everything I've acquired that had an AR logo on it is still here (except for the amp that was killed by some movers). Maybe I should post "30 year product lifecycle" as a goal on the "ideal speaker" thread. :)

I'm not sure enthusiasts and early-adopters are as concerned with taking a gamble as the average consumer is. But, no doubt, a successful product's out-of-box experience is crafted long before the actual purchase is made.

I'm sure they're more willing. More willing enough to prevent a new CES product intro from ending up as litter is the question. :)

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  • 1 month later...
Pete can clarify, but I assume he is contemplating a 3-way "clone" of AR3a, and already has several suitable midrange alternatives in mind....

I'm late here, sorry. I do have drivers in mind, and I

choose them to be as close as possible in physical

characteristics just to satisfy those who think it can't

be done any other way. So my preference is for a

fully exposed .75" dome tweeter, though the one I

had in mind is no longer imported. But I will substitute

as needed to get the job done.

I had selected an Aura woofer that I really liked but it

also seems to be out of production, there are others

that I have in mind.

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The "Mods, Tweaks and Upgrades" section was opened for the purpose of discussing this kind of topic, which seems to crop up periodically.

I haven't heard Gene express any deep dissatisfaction with the speakers currently available to him. It's one thing to read internet gripes about politicians; it's quite another to extrapolate this into bona fide support of 3rd-party candidates. There have been millions of metric tons of 3-way, 12" speakers sold over the last 5 decades, at all levels of price, at all levels of technological sophistication, with just about any set of design goals one can postulate. Doing another one could be fun, and internet reviews are pretty easy to get. But, I would be very, very cautious about expecting to sell 50 pcs unless you have a full line of competitively-priced product, an advertising budget and established distribution channels. The halls of CES are littered with the corpses of designers who convinced themselves that $1,000/pr is anything near affordable in the real world.

-k

I've never expected this to make any money and that

is why I've never tried to start a speaker company.

Edit: I should have said I never expected something like

this to make money as a retail product. I am willing to do

such work at my hourly consulting rate on a very limited

basis but I don't expect any of the regular posters here to

be interested. On the other hand, I might do it someday

just to prove I can in my spare time.

I hear ya ken, and agree with you. Of course I would

expect my version to be better than most but I further

understand that even if it is, it would be hard to sell.

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I've never expected this to make any money and that

is why I've never tried to start a speaker company.

Edit: I should have said I never expected something like

this to make money as a retail product. I am willing to do

such work at my hourly consulting rate on a very limited

basis but I don't expect any of the regular posters here to

be interested.

I think what keeps this from being financially viable is that most of the regulars here either 1) already have their 3a's and don't need any more, 2) are looking for vintage items because they've been bitten by the collector bug, or 3) have the necessary skills and resources to build their own clones if they really wanted to.

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I think what keeps this from being financially viable is that most of the regulars here either 1) already have their 3a's and don't need any more, 2) are looking for vintage items because they've been bitten by the collector bug, or 3) have the necessary skills and resources to build their own clones if they really wanted to.

Really? There are many who say cloning is impossible.

I would say there is no significant market to speak of

for a clone, that is what makes it not financially viable.

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Really? There are many who say cloning is impossible.

I would say there is no significant market to speak of

for a clone, that is what makes it not financially viable.

For the scenario you described (doing it for your hourly consulting rate) you'd only need to connect with one buyer.

http://www.annandaleacoustics.com/index.html

If they can manage to sell Dynaco A-25 clones for $1850 a pair, there must be an AR-3a clone buyer out there somewhere.

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For the scenario you described (doing it for your hourly consulting rate) you'd only need to connect with one buyer.

http://www.annandaleacoustics.com/index.html

If they can manage to sell Dynaco A-25 clones for $1850 a pair, there must be an AR-3a clone buyer out there somewhere.

Who says they are selling any significant volume?

I doubt that they are ...

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