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ar 2ax and the competition.


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hello all.

i recently stumbled across this page and have only glowing comments for the deapth and quality of information provided. i am fairly new to the world of classic audio and have a great disadvantage in that i missed this golden era ( born in 1979 - just during the last gasps.)

i have a pair of ar 2ax's i lovingly rub with linseed oil whenever excusable. i run them with a marantz model 26 receiver, the little guy, love the sound of the duo but wonder if the 26 really has enough gusto. i now know, courtesy of this page, that ar suggests a minimum of 20 watts for the 2ax's. i believe the model 26 is rated at 10 or 15 but understand that marantz underates. any input from those more informed?

also, i have recently come across pairs of marantz imperial 6g's and imperial 7's. how would these compare with my ax's? is it sacralige to even ask? what reputation does marantz have for speakers? i want to believe the ar's are superior, really i want to. my only basis for comparison is that of the 2ax's vs. my pair of old wharfedale w70's. wharfedale seems to have an edge in the low range but dosen't match the beautiful high end of the the ar's

can anyone impart the wisdom of years, or correct the unfounded claims of this squirt, conceived after his own speakers?

respectfully, noah.

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Ha, ha...welcome aboard, Noah. My first *real* speaker was the 2ax when I was a bit younger than you are now, and they served me well through college and my first official paycheck. You are correct in assuming that you could use some more power for your speakers - if you want to stay "vintage", a bigger Marantz receiver like the 2265 or 2275 would be a fine choice. If you really feel like plunging into what AR was about in the late '60s and early '70s, take a run at the original AR Amplifier or Receiver - they were designed to power the 3a (I had that system, too!), and would be something with the 2ax.

Your observation about Wharfedale is pretty darned accurate, from what I can recall - my first experience with their speakers was at a Lafayette Radio store, at Christmas time. They were demo-ing a big Wharfedale with Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy", and the bottom register of the piano was *right there*. The Wharfedale's had a somewhat full low end, but lacked the absolute extension of the 3a...they could never match the mids and highs of the 2ax, 5, or 3a, though.

The only Marantz speakers that I can recall had some sort of weird, removable sponge-like "port plug" that when "unplugged", converted the sealed acoustic-suspension cabinet into a ported design. I can't imagine what they had in mind!

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I bought 2ax’s in the very early 70’s while I was still in high school. It was my first “real” speaker. I had compared it at length to the Large Advent, the KLH-6, the Scott S-15, and the Infinity 1001. Those were the speakers that the area stereo stores in central CT were pushing at the time. However, it was really a forgone conclusion that I would buy the 2ax’s, since my Dad had 4x’s and my older cousin had 3a’s, and I was so impressed with their sound. (Someone in another thread mentioned the cross-generational brand loyalty that AR engendered, and this was certainly true with my family.)

I am not specifically familiar with the Marantz speakers you mention. I do remember some of their designs having a removable port plug, which seems kind of gimmicky. Chances are that those Marantz speakers, like many other brands of that time period, had a fairly bright or forward sound, in an effort to attract attention during a quick showroom demo and sound “exciting.”

The 2ax, like all AR’s, was not a spectacular, flashy, attention-getting speaker. Instead, it was a truly neutral, smooth, listenable speaker that accurately presented the program material with a minimum of coloration and distortion. My 2ax’s were satisfying, wide-range, authoritative reproducers when I brought them home, and that satisfaction didn’t change or diminish as the years went by. If the recording was good, I knew it. If the recording was bad, I knew it. The speakers simply “got out of the way” and let the music and the recording speak for themselves, good or bad.

Like all the classic AR speakers of that period, a pair in excellent working condition today, fed with a clean signal and powered by good electronics will still be, as High Fidelity magazine said in their review of the 2ax, “…an eminently honest, musical reproducer.”

Steve F

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>(Someone in

>another thread mentioned the cross-generational brand

>loyalty that AR engendered, and this was certainly true with

>my family.)


That was me! I am 16 years old, and I am the new owner of the family AR-2's. They were my Grandfathers first, when my Dad went off to college, he took them, now about 20 some odd years from that, Im here, I now use them for monitors in my recording studio. Grandpa bought these speakers in 1960, that makes them 43 years old! They still sound fantastic! I drive them with a 60 watt per channel Hafler amp. As for our main system, I have restored a pair of AR-3's and I drive them with 100 watt per channel tube monoblocks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

>i now know, courtesy of this page, that ar suggests a minimum of 20 watts for the 2ax's.<

I loved my 2ax's. I loved 'em when I first heard a pair in a Lafayette store (I think that was where) when I was young(er). I wanted them. I wanted them bad.

Years later I got a chance to acquire a used pair. They were wonderful. I drove them, for many years, with a 22w/channel Realistic STA-80 and later a Yamaha 65w/channel receiver and still later a Pioneer Audio/Video receiver at 120w/channel. Their "last" amplifier was a 250w/channel ESS amplifier with all sorts of "ummmph".

They made the STA-80 sound pretty good. ;-)

Frankly, the more power I gave them the better they sounded with the possible exception of the Pioneer receiver that has some sonic "issues."


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