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Rediscovered LSTs


Perry Muscelli

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Hello, I am new to this forum but respectfully request access to your collective wisdom. I am the owner of a pair of lightly used LSTs since the early 1970s. I was given the speakers by a family friend having been overdriven and damaged in a bar. I was very pleased (actually thrilled) to find that AR would gratuitously completely refurbish them for me for merely the cost to ship them. They even put brand new grills on them for me.

They were my favorite throughout the 70s and the early 80s. Since then I have been sitting in a closet unused. They appear in excellent condition and play but not with the range they originally had. I suspect the original woofer surrounds are in need of replacement.

I was pleased and pleasantly surprised to read online that they still have an enthusiastic following and may have some considerable value to the right person. It seems a waste to let them just sit so I would like to know the following:

- How to evaluate them for whatever information would be desired by a prospective new owner.

- Should I do any of the refurbishment or should it be left for the next owner?

- What pictures should I take and of what?

- How to estimate the value?

- Where they should be offered for sale?

Thank you in advance. Please understand that I am not trying to sell them here, I merely want to know what you would do if in my shoes.

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I'm prejudiced, but I think the best place to get LST information - and to try to sell them - is right here. We have a For Sale section down near the bottom of the forums list.

You can get estimates of value for units in good condition at Audiogon, but membership is required. If there have been any sold on eBay in the last 30 days they will show up in a completed listings search. Well-restored usually sells for anywhere from 50% to 100% higher than unrestored, but if you're not experienced at speaker restoration, I think most knowledgeable AR enthusiasts would probably prefer to buy as-is and would probably pass on a high-priced "restored" offering by an unknown seller..

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Hello, I am new to this forum but respectfully request access to your collective wisdom. I am the owner of a pair of lightly used LSTs since the early 1970s. I was given the speakers by a family friend having been overdriven and damaged in a bar.

I was very pleased (actually thrilled) to find that AR would gratuitously completely refurbish them for me for merely the cost to ship them. They even put brand new grills on them for me.

comment ... Outstanding support for AR owners as you will read if you follow the AR posts.

They were my favorite throughout the 70s and the early 80s.

comment... My favourite also.

Since then I have been sitting in a closet unused. They appear in excellent condition and play but not with the range they originally had.

I suspect the original woofer surrounds are in need of replacement.

comment... Woofers usually need re-foaming about every 15 years or so and they require a special size and quality of foam surround.

I was pleased and pleasantly surprised to read online that they still have an enthusiastic following and may have some considerable value to the right person. It seems a waste to let them just sit so I would like to know the following:

- How to evaluate them for whatever information would be desired by a prospective new owner.

- Should I do any of the refurbishment or should it be left for the next owner?

- What pictures should I take and of what?

comment... Usually each angle and front without the grille cloths on plus rear.

- How to estimate the value?

comment... In pristine condition you may receive over $1,000.00, if all drivers function and cabinet in minty condition.

They have gone for much more and they have gone for less.

The quality of photos will certainly help you maximize your sale.

- Where they should be offered for sale?

comment... The wanted/for sale at the foot of the opening screen.

Thank you in advance. Please understand that I am not trying to sell them here, I merely want to know what you would do if in my shoes.

Hi Perry

Gene offers you very good advice.

If you sell them, some serious packaging is required to protect the nearly 100 pound beauties.

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Hello, I am new to this forum but respectfully request access to your collective wisdom. I am the owner of a pair of lightly used LSTs since the early 1970s. I was given the speakers by a family friend having been overdriven and damaged in a bar. I was very pleased (actually thrilled) to find that AR would gratuitously completely refurbish them for me for merely the cost to ship them. They even put brand new grills on them for me.

They were my favorite throughout the 70s and the early 80s. Since then I have been sitting in a closet unused. They appear in excellent condition and play but not with the range they originally had. I suspect the original woofer surrounds are in need of replacement.

I was pleased and pleasantly surprised to read online that they still have an enthusiastic following and may have some considerable value to the right person. It seems a waste to let them just sit so I would like to know the following:

- How to evaluate them for whatever information would be desired by a prospective new owner.

- Should I do any of the refurbishment or should it be left for the next owner?

- What pictures should I take and of what?

- How to estimate the value?

- Where they should be offered for sale?

Thank you in advance. Please understand that I am not trying to sell them here, I merely want to know what you would do if in my shoes.

Hi Perry, site member Frank Marsi here, glad to make your acquaintance. If you're with in driving range of me and your price is fair, I would consider the purchase of your AR-LSTs should you decide to sell. My email; frankmarsi@verizon.net

I am the proud owner of a number of these speakers and if you have questions, I may be able to answer them. I'm not certain of the actual number produced when they were in production, but I speculate it wasn't too high. In terms of the pricing, that's a tough one, and of course will be decided by the seller and the buyer. As "genek" mentioned; I agree, I myself would prefer an un-restored pair compared to 'restored'. Why AR discontinued their production is interesting also, however one may theorize that their design construction, appearance, price and weight, may be a factor. Although I may very well be wrong, I don't believe they sold such a large number as I feel they were and still can be considered an oddity of sorts. Four of the six that I own were used in NY's theatre district. Personal I don't think they would've made a good 'PA' speaker due to their fragile tweeters, however I've learned they were also used in a major music hall in England, as per AR's advertising brochures.

Good luck to you in what ever you decide to do in this situation, but like I said, should you decide to sell, I am a potential buyer.

Frank Marsi

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Hi Perry, site member Frank Marsi here, glad to make your acquaintance. If you're with in driving range of me and your price is fair, I would consider the purchase of your AR-LSTs should you decide to sell. My email; frankmarsi@verizon.net

I am the proud owner of a number of these speakers and if you have questions, I may be able to answer them. I'm not certain of the actual number produced when they were in production, but I speculate it wasn't too high. In terms of the pricing, that's a tough one, and of course will be decided by the seller and the buyer. As "genek" mentioned; I agree, I myself would prefer an un-restored pair compared to 'restored'. Why AR discontinued their production is interesting also, however one may theorize that their design construction, appearance, price and weight, may be a factor. Although I may very well be wrong, I don't believe they sold such a large number as I feel they were and still can be considered an oddity of sorts. Four of the six that I own were used in NY's theatre district. Personal I don't think they would've made a good 'PA' speaker due to their fragile tweeters, however I've learned they were also used in a major music hall in England, as per AR's advertising brochures.

Good luck to you in what ever you decide to do in this situation, but like I said, should you decide to sell, I am a potential buyer.

Frank Marsi

Hi again Frank

My guess is only a few thousand were produced.

The cost of the enclosure was probably escalating along with the other items.

AR did prepay LST shipping charges which we all know is expensive and likely started cutting into their profit margin.

Some commercial sales and those owners that could afford the extra amplification costs were likely early buyers.

I am certain more than one AR speaker system caused a divorce.

update 20110708 11:35 AM

The shipping prepay for the LST's was when you bought the AR-LST's from a dealer in the USA they were shipped direct from AR, they were not store stocked.

You received factory fresh speakers direct and the selling dealer was sent their commission.

In Canada, AC Simmonds and Sons shipped to Canadians.

There was a number of returned LST's early on, either to AR direct or their authorized warantee depots.

They found that when the fuse blew there was still a substantially reduced output, rather than dead silence.

This must have cost AR a few dollars to find and fix this issue and to notify their service techs.

The AR 5 year warantee including shipping and free cartons was probably a back breaker for AR when under warantee.

They probably lost money when a repeat problem came up or even a one time repair with shipping.

They did include one new spare fuse with each speaker.

I don't believe that they produced a revised manual advising of this issue.

If I remember correctly they sold at retail for $600.00 US.

I do not remember the dealers commission or dealers net price.

I saw several local stores with a pair or two on demo, they would have probably received them at either a substantial discount or free.

I do remember that they were not to sell them.

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Hi again Frank

My guess is only a few thousand were produced.

The cost of the enclosure was probably escalating along with the other items.

AR did prepay LST shipping charges which we all know is expensive and likely started cutting into their profit margin.

Some commercial sales and those owners that could afford the extra amplification costs were likely early buyers.

I am certain more than one AR speaker system caused a divorce.

Dear Vern, thanks for the reply. I do agree about AR's shipping costs for I as a new veteran at that time couldn't understand why AR was generous in paying to ship both ways back and forth on a few occasions of my AR-3a's to Mass. for repairs, when my tweeters blew out. And yes I also agree about the real need for a higher power amp to power them. I'm presuming that's why Bob Carver did so well, by offering a high power PL-400 and PL-700 which really made AR's sing in addition to providing stadiums and concert halls with, clearer and more life-like sound. As a side note in 1973 when I had just returned from a two month tour in a run down 1967 Dodge van with another close friend,tour of the mid-west of this beautiful, beautiful country(even hiked clear across the Grand Canyon and I hitch-hiked 250 miles thru the Painted-Desert on my own, thank goodness for honest truckers, I was 23 yrs. old with a pony-tail and mustash and beard) another close friend had bought tickets for me and my gal and him to see Pink-Floyd at a out-door concert for the promo of "Dark-Side-of the Moon" in Jersey. In short I had never heard such a powerful and cleaner sounding sound system, and to boot it obvious needed much higher power power to be out doors. Forty years later I learned that it was Phase LInear amps that had been used solely. If one looks at ebay, there always seems to be a over abundance of AR-3a's and PL-400 for sale indicating the benefits of using both 40 years ago. I truly believe it changed the consumer world of accurate listening from 1972 to 1974 on, which I can proudly admit that I was there and enjoyed the benefits of the mentioned combination. In fact when I realized that my PL-400 was so enjoyable with my AR-3a woofer and mid-range drivers. I gave up on constantly replacing my tweeters and solely relied upon my Micro-Statics to enjoy for the long-haul.

Be well.

FM

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I'm going to guess that the main reason for the end of the LST was the departure of Roy Allison and his generation of designers and the onboarding of a new team that took the company in a different design direction. If the LST's price, power requirements or shipping costs had played any significant role in AR's decision to discontinue, I don't think we would ever have seen the AR-9.

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Hi again Frank

My guess is only a few thousand were produced.

The cost of the enclosure was probably escalating along with the other items.

AR did prepay LST shipping charges which we all know is expensive and likely started cutting into their profit margin.

Some commercial sales and those owners that could afford the extra amplification costs were likely early buyers.

I am certain more than one AR speaker system caused a divorce.

update 20110708 11:35 AM

The shipping prepay for the LST's was when you bought the AR-LST's from a dealer in the USA they were shipped direct from AR, they were not store stocked.

You received factory fresh speakers direct and the selling dealer was sent their commission.

In Canada, AC Simmonds and Sons shipped to Canadians.

There was a number of returned LST's early on, either to AR direct or their authorized warantee depots.

They found that when the fuse blew there was still a substantially reduced output, rather than dead silence.

This must have cost AR a few dollars to find and fix this issue and to notify their service techs.

The AR 5 year warantee including shipping and free cartons was probably a back breaker for AR when under warantee.

They probably lost money when a repeat problem came up or even a one time repair with shipping.

They did include one new spare fuse with each speaker.

I don't believe that they produced a revised manual advising of this issue.

If I remember correctly they sold at retail for $600.00 US.

I do not remember the dealers commission or dealers net price.

I saw several local stores with a pair or two on demo, they would have probably received them at either a substantial discount or free.

I do remember that they were not to sell them.

Hi Vern!

I think you are mostly correct about the store policy of AR dealers regarding the LST, with a couple of exceptions. AR marketing policy was that the LST was originally designed for professional use, but AR decided to make the speaker available to audiophiles -- at standard non-discounted list price of $600 each. AR consumer-stereo dealers were not required to demonstrate the LST, and only a specific number of dealers chose to handle the LST, so a customer might thereby order the LST (could be ordered from any AR dealer by providing the dealer with a bank or cashier's check, payable to Acoustic Research, Inc., for the full amount of $1200), and the speakers would be shipped, prepaid, directly to the customer. AR's standard dealer discount at that time was either 27% on single orders or 33-1/3% for other orders; therefore, the dealer "cost" for the LST was $400 each, and the dealers would, I believe, get a credit-on-account for that amount. I don't think a check was mailed to them. The dealers who purchased demo LSTs would have paid $800/pair, but the shipping was prepaid. The policy was for the dealer to demonstrate the speaker only, not sell them, for a period of time.

The low-sound output of the LST with the blown fuse was a result of a high-impedance signal path through the crossover, not a defect or problem with the speaker itself. A blown fuse would result in greatly reduced sound output for a given input-power level. I don't know the factory's return rate of the LST, but I suspect that it was not very high insofar as the speaker could handle large amounts of amplifier power without distress; in other words, it was a very durable speaker. It's also doubtful that many LSTs were returned to the factory or service center for blown fuses insofar as the owner (or dealer) had to contact the factory to get a "Authorization-To-Return" prepaid shipping label to return the speaker. The first question asked would be "is the fuse blown?" Nevertheless, AR did have a policy of "Full Warranty," which meant that shipping to and from the factory or authorized service station, plus cost for parts and labor, was handled 100% by the factory for a period of five years from date-of-purchase. Often AR repaired abuse-damage under warranty, even though the warranty statement clearly noted that "abuse, accidental or otherwise," was not covered under warranty. Even though the LST had four tweeters to absorb greater power than the AR-3a, the LST also had an autotransformer to allow much greater tweeter-output levels -- relative to the midrange, with the switch position in the "2" or "1" position, making the tweeters fairly vulnerable to thermal overload with the sometimes very high power levels . In other words, with the spectral-balance switch in the normal "3" or "4-6" position, there was much less likelihood of thermal damage in the LST.

AR's Five-Year Full Warranty program worked very well for AR, and other manufacturers eventually adopted some version of this type of warranty. In the early years the return rate for defective AR speakers was lower than the damage rate for packing materials themselves. While expensive, the AR Warranty accounted for tremendous customer satisfaction and loyalty, and AR's sales grew steadily through the early years for a number of important reasons including the warranty. AR's market share grew to 32% of total domestic loudspeaker sales in 1966.

--Tom Tyson

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