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AR Listening Room(s)

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Greetings, fellow AR-coholics. I've been following this site for a couple months now - - - I am a long-time AR enthusiast, but this is my very first post. Living in Indiana, I bought my first pair of AR-4x speakers, which I happen to still use daily, from a Boston distributor (Boston Audio Company) as a teenager in 1971. If I remember correctly, I was probably steered to these speaks via laudatory acclaim from both Stereo Review and Consumer Reports. At the time, I was using a Garrard TT and also somehow acquired a used Scott tube amp. My ears have never had so much fun.

For many years now, I've been complementing my 4x's with an integrated AR amp and an AR-XA TT, but somewhere I still have the Scott amp as well as Dynaco components which I used for a long time. Just fairly recently, I have become re-invigorated with the joys of vintage analog home audio, and largely sparked by the enthusiasm of CSP, am embarking on my first restoration project(s): a pair of long-coveted and recently acquired AR-2ax's ($10, yard sale), as well as two pairs of 4x's (see attached pic).

Having introduced myself, my very first query is quite simple and merely curious: Exactly where was the AR Listening Room located on Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA? Specific address? Pics available? For the past 28 years or so, my life has largely been centered around Cambridge, and even though I once worked on Thorndike Street for several years - - - probably just one block from the now famous 24 Thorndike - - - I've never thought to locate the local listening room. I actually did happen to see the AR Listening Room at Grand Central Station in NYC on probably my first trip there, but I'm certain I never visited the room in Cambridge. Any illuminating info or anecdotal tales would be most appreciated.

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Greetings, fellow AR-coholics. I've been following this site for a couple months now - - - I am a long-time AR enthusiast, but this is my very first post. Living in Indiana, I bought my first pair of AR-4x speakers, which I happen to still use daily, from a Boston distributor (Boston Audio Company) as a teenager in 1971. If I remember correctly, I was probably steered to these speaks via laudatory acclaim from both Stereo Review and Consumer Reports. At the time, I was using a Garrard TT and also somehow acquired a used Scott tube amp. My ears have never had so much fun.

For many years now, I've been complementing my 4x's with an integrated AR amp and an AR-XA TT, but somewhere I still have the Scott amp as well as Dynaco components which I used for a long time. Just fairly recently, I have become re-invigorated with the joys of vintage analog home audio, and largely sparked by the enthusiasm of CSP, am embarking on my first restoration project(s): a pair of long-coveted and recently acquired AR-2ax's ($10, yard sale), as well as two pairs of 4x's (see attached pic).

Having introduced myself, my very first query is quite simple and merely curious: Exactly where was the AR Listening Room located on Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA? Specific address? Pics available? For the past 28 years or so, my life has largely been centered around Cambridge, and even though I once worked on Thorndike Street for several years - - - probably just one block from the now famous 24 Thorndike - - - I've never thought to locate the local listening room. I actually did happen to see the AR Listening Room at Grand Central Station in NYC on probably my first trip there, but I'm certain I never visited the room in Cambridge. Any illuminating info or anecdotal tales would be most appreciated.

52 Brattle St.

I visited there in 1972 when I was up from CT visiting BU on a college exploratory trip.

It was at the Listening Room that i got all the AR technical FR info, and I also heard and saw Black LSTs for the first time.

Steve F.

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Thank you, Steve F - - I've seen many of your excellent posts on this forum and regard you as one of the most knowledgeable Acoustic Research f-AR-ts spewing forth depths of helpful knowledge here to newbies like myself. In 1972, I am sure that those black LST's held you captivated, both visually and acoustically, and it is interesting to know that so much detailed tech literature was dispensed at these rare listening rooms.

Of almost greater interest to me is the specific address/location of this AR room (which currently happens to be a women's clothing boutique). Late 60's/early 70's Cambridge was indeed a heady place, intellectually and culturally, and this corner of Brattle and Story Streets was the epicenter. Just down the street was the famous Club 47, which spurred the careers of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Taj Mahal, Joni Mitchell, and many others. Architecturally, this was precisely where the modern movement was happening - three of the most influential firms in 60's-70's architectural design were within spitting distance of the AR room - The Architects Collaborative (TAC, established by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius), Ben Thompson [founder of Design Research and early (first?) importer of Finnish Marimekko fabric], and Jose Luis Sert, diminutive Spanish architect and collaborator with Le Corbusier. All three of these men once served as either chairman or dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. These guys in bow-ties were probably on the same cocktail circuit as Vilchur and Kloss.

Stop for a moment to comprehend these hugely influential company names: Acoustic Research, Design Research, The Architects Collaborative - - nary a surname among them. All of this brilliant design work was done, within a democratic (?) structure, for the advancement of art and science to reach an appeal to the appreciative masses. Honesty in materials; elegant minimalism in aesthetic. The early AR 'look' (oiled walnut, raw linen) appeals to me nearly as much as the sound - - it was profoundly instrumental in ushering in the idea of Scandinavian modern to the American market.

Alas, this forum makes my head spin when it comes to electronics talk - - - I'm still trying to figure out the differences between potentiometers and L-pads, as well as weighing the nuanced subtleties of Dayton vs. Solens capacitors.

Many thanks for the enlightening tidbits.

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I recently found a copy of the "Acoustic Research Demonstration Record - Volume 1, The Sound Of Musical Instruments. This heavy vinyl disk contains classical music from lightweight to heavy duty. Perhaps they played music from this disk in their listening rooms?

The record states:

"AR has developed this record as a useful listening aid in determining the accuracy of a loudspeaker. The highest level of recording skil has been used to caspture the sound of familiar musical instruments. Most listeners have heard live a piano or a trumpet or a voilinj. If the sound of these instruments as heard through a loudspeaker resembles the memory of the live sound then, chances are it is an accurate loudspeaker.

Understanding the goal of this record, it is obvious that the selections were made with the primary emphasis on the basic sound of the instrument. In some instances, less room reverberationhas been included than would exist in a commercial recording to avois any added coloration. All of the artists are of the highest professional level, and we hope that the music selected will offer pleasure in it's own right."

Selections:

Band 1

L'Historie du soldat, Stravinsky

Band 2

Zapateedo, Sasasate

Band 3

Quartet in D for Flute and Strings, Mozart

Band 4

Iberia: Corpus Christi en Sevilla, Estaban Snanchez

Band 5: Three Pieces for Clarinet, Stravinsky

Band 6: Simple Symphony for Strings, Benjamin Britten

Side II

Band 1: Toccata in D Minor, Bach

Band 2: Sonata for Cello (unaccompanied) Op. 8 Allegro maestro ma appasianato, Zoltan Kodaly

Band 3: Ten to Two Blues, Dusko Goykovich

Band 4: Kalenda maya, Raimbaut de Vaquerias

Band 5: Farrucca, Anonymous

After each band there is a small piece about what to listen for in each track and even in Side One, Band 5 they make it a point that you can also hear the artist breathing while playing the instrument! They also note where any changes were made to the equalization of each piece.

I found this at a used record store still sealed for only $5.99. Strangely enough, there is no date anywhere on this recording. But the cover art shows a totally white AR-6 sitting amongst orchestral instuments.

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The perfect room, 4 channel dynaco A25's ? But in some rooms that wont work well, Seems the room can be either fantastic or challenging. Who lives in the same room their whole life ? I'v never heard a pair of vintage AR's by the response on here i guess they are worth quite a bit, i'v seen a pair at the same resale shop i bought my dynaco A25's from, more then one pair of A25's at same resale shop. I passed on the AR's because the drivers were bad, I have no idea what model they were but i wish i had not passed on them only because they seem to be worth a lot of money and never saw another AR anything at that shop.

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Back in the early 70s, while in high school, i can recall being at a place in Boston that had about a half dozen or so listening rooms. I can recall that it was an old rowhouse and each room was dedicated to one speaker system...no other cabinets in the rooms. If I remember right, the electronics in each room were AR as were the turntables. For sure there were rooms for AR 3's and AR 5s. I think there were a few KLH models represented as well. The one thing that I really liked about the place is that they had one fairly large room, might have been the attic, where they had a couple of iterations of the "sweet 16"

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I recently found a copy of the "Acoustic Research Demonstration Record - Volume 1, The Sound Of Musical Instruments. This heavy vinyl disk contains classical music from lightweight to heavy duty. Perhaps they played music from this disk in their listening rooms?

More on this Record here:

Record

BRgds Klaus

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I plan to begin a new post soon with a few other pics of historic Cambridge AR locales, but here I want to share two pics of the 52 Brattle Street address cited by Steve F as the location of the local AR listening room. This building might not look like much, but its location with the corner entrance is very prominent with regards to heavy local pedestrian traffic. Only a couple hundred yards from the main gate to Harvard Yard, this spot was precisely amidst the leading practitioners of contemporary architecture and purveyors of Euro home furnishings of the 60's. This pic was taken within the last week and the space is currently used for a women's clothing boutique. This area is still a beehive of commercial and intellectual activity.

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post-112624-0-27692500-1331085629_thumb.

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