Jump to content

AR classics: A+ report card


ra.ra
 Share

Recommended Posts

Nothing technical here, but just wanted to share these terrific images of Grade A specimens from AR's Classic era. It is not my habit to follow the auction site with any regularity, but when taking a peek this morning, these three pairs of beauties certainly stood out and caught my eye for their superb condition and rarity. No personal affiliation, but I do enjoy seeing spectacularly well-preserved specimens, as well as scrupulously spec-grade re-creations, particularly in non-walnut wood species. As far as my own personal visual aesthetic, the "look" of in-home loudspeakers never got better than the natural wood cabinet, raw linen grille, and brass badge that is shown in these examples.

Images attached show: AR-2x in cherry veneer; AR-LST in solid/veneer cherry custom cabinets; and AR-3a in unfinished pine with solid birch trim. In those moments when your speakers are not actively pulsating or emotively swooning, it's always reassuring to know that they are still looking great in your home environment.

AR-2x cherry.jpg

AR-LST cherry.jpg

AR-3a pine.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert,

The 3a pair caught my eye a couple of days ago also. It's not surprising that they sold for the asking price given their stellar condition. My hope would be that an AR collector was the first person to remove the back of the 'time capsules' that they were in. Imagine the excitement! It reminded me of this find from last May:

It seems funny to me that folks would buy AR's in the least expensive finish and insert them into a more elaborate cabinet when, for a few dollars more, they could have an oiled or lacquered finish on the AR's. I'm sure its got more to do with getting all the furniture to match, but who knows, maybe they were thinking of future generations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The LST's are being sold by Vintage AR. I had a hand in the woofer work as well as some of the innards...and they are sporting Chris's rebuilt tweeters.

A couple of years ago, having a large inventory of original AR drivers, including NOS mids, Larry decided to have his wood guy build a pair of LST cabinets to original specifications. The crossover boards were salvaged from a pair of LST's, which were completely destroyed in shipment (wooden crates are the only way to safely ship these unwieldy boat anchors). Being leery of the inconsistent performance of original tweeters, however, we dragged our feet on the project. Due to perceptions regarding "authenticity", we were also hesitant to use aftermarket tweeters. After sampling a couple of Chris's nicely rebuilt original AR tweeters, Larry realized it was a good time to get on with the project. More tweeters were sent to New Jersey for fixin', and the LST's were completed last week. These are as close as anyone is going to get to a "new" pair of AR-LST's.

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, JeffS said:

The 3a pair caught my eye a couple of days ago also. It's not surprising that they sold for the asking price...

JeffS, you are correct that this pine AR-3a story is very much like the AR-5 thread you cited. Both pairs were pristine, and spent their entire lives hidden inside those enormous Byzantine or Baroque enclosures. I must've failed to tag that 3a auction yesterday since I can no longer even find the listing, but it's no surprise that someone jumped on those immediately - - they don't come along very often these days in such superb condition.

5 hours ago, Chris1this1 said:

the Cherry LST's in person .... absolutely stunning!

I couldn't agree more, Chris, and the work that you, Roy, Larry, and cabinet guy contributed is just spectacular. Collecting and/or re-building eighteen original drivers in itself is no small feat, but to place them into brand new custom cabinets with a new species and solid wood edging really does make this a unique and very special pair of loudspeakers. 

4 hours ago, RoyC said:

These are as close as anyone is going to get to a "new" pair of AR-LST's.

Amen to that! Thx for sharing, Roy, simply a great project at every decision.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bid $900 on those pines after emailing back and forth with seller about how I wanted them packed. They were mint and wanted them to stay that way. I was just gonna go ahead and hit the buy it now when they sold to someone else.

I knew I had little time and blew it being cheap. And...was still worried about them making it to Ohio from Texas. It will be a long time again...before you ever see another pair in that shape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ouch...... knowing from my own misses, that's gotta sting a little bit, and I'm trying to learn that if you're wiling to go to 90% of asking price, it can't hurt too much more to go all the way when the unique and rare opportunity presents itself. Sorry you missed out - - let's hope they landed with another CSP member.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, ra.ra said:

Ouch...... knowing from my own misses, that's gotta sting a little bit, and I'm trying to learn that if you're wiling to go to 90% of asking price, it can't hurt too much more to go all the way when the unique and rare opportunity presents itself. Sorry you missed out - - let's hope they landed with another CSP member.

What is funky....he just sent me an email with pics showing his packing process...and it's top notch....lol.

I wrote back and told it looked great and shame they weren't coming here......

And he sheepishly wrote back and apologized as he meant to send those pics to buyer.....smh...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, lakecat said:

I bid $900 on those pines after emailing back and forth with seller about how I wanted them packed. They were mint and wanted them to stay that way. I was just gonna go ahead and hit the buy it now when they sold to someone else.

I knew I had little time and blew it being cheap. And...was still worried about them making it to Ohio from Texas. It will be a long time again...before you ever see another pair in that shape.

I saw the LIST ,,and  I was sure to buy it if It had the cloth surrounds woofers..

6.thumb.jpg.9eacff153b4b90b8e98e7fe6d6f3e94b.jpg3.thumb.jpg.badd56cc2ef4eb3803e7cf4e6aa8ee4e.jpg2.thumb.jpg.f75e6dcb0f665027d0f526abf9528a7c.jpg4.thumb.jpg.804b473c3586e1a3a9c7b3dfb68c01a3.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On April 16, 2017 at 1:18 PM, RoyC said:

The LST's are being sold by Vintage AR. I had a hand in the woofer work as well as some of the innards...and they are sporting Chris's rebuilt tweeters.

A couple of years ago, having a large inventory of original AR drivers, including NOS mids, Larry decided to have his wood guy build a pair of LST cabinets to original specifications. The crossover boards were salvaged from a pair of LST's, which were completely destroyed in shipment (wooden crates are the only way to safely ship these unwieldy boat anchors). Being leery of the inconsistent performance of original tweeters, however, we dragged our feet on the project. Due to perceptions regarding "authenticity", we were also hesitant to use aftermarket tweeters. After sampling a couple of Chris's nicely rebuilt original AR tweeters, Larry realized it was a good time to get on with the project. More tweeters were sent to New Jersey for fixin', and the LST's were completed last week. These are as close as anyone is going to get to a "new" pair of AR-LST's.

Roy

Hey Roy,

I saw the listing for the LST's as well, and immediately figured you had a hand in this stunning project.

Beautifully done on every level. Now that Chris is doing restoration work on the tweeters, one would hope more of these can be built now.

Glenn

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On April 16, 2017 at 9:23 PM, lakecat said:

What is funky....he just sent me an email with pics showing his packing process...and it's top notch....lol.

I wrote back and told it looked great and shame they weren't coming here......

And he sheepishly wrote back and apologized as he meant to send those pics to buyer.....smh...

That sucks, plain & simple. Sorry to hear about that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, GD70 said:

Hey Roy,

I saw the listing for the LST's as well, and immediately figured you had a hand in this stunning project.

Beautifully done on every level. Now that Chris is doing restoration work on the tweeters, one would hope more of these can be built now.

Glenn

 

Hi Glenn,

The tweeters will certainly make repairs easier, but restoration candidates are rare...and they are a nightmare to ship. I know for sure Larry won't be building more of 'em. He would not have tackled this pair if he didn't have drivers set aside and two original crossover boards, each with the required (and unique) transformer.

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, RoyC said:

Hi Glenn,

The tweeters will certainly make repairs easier, but restoration candidates are rare...and they are a nightmare to ship. I know for sure Larry won't be building more of 'em. He would not have tackled this pair if he didn't have drivers set aside and two original crossover boards, each with the required (and unique) transformer.

Roy

Hi Roy,

Completely forgot about the transformers. One can dream though!

At least the tweeters and rebuilt mids can bring new life to the 3a's.

Glenn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/17/2017 at 1:45 AM, RoyC said:

The LST never had cloth surround woofers. It was introduced a few years after the cloth surround woofer was discontinued.

Roy

That statement is partially true, as the AR-LST was designed to use the newer ferrite woofer; however, the ferrite-magnet woofer did not completely replace the Alnico-magnet version in the AR-3a until well into 1970, and the old Alnico woofer was still available for some time after that to be used as a service-replacement part for the AR-3.  The 3 was available until late-1973, early 1974.  

Eventually, AR began shipping (the last of the) AR-3s with the ferrite-magnet woofer and the modified 3a midrange, but this was towards the end of production.  In addition, the AR-LST was introduced in October, 1971 with full production commencing around January 1972, so the "overlap" in time from the end-of-production of the Alnico woofer to the introduction of the AR-LST was "a few months, not a few years."  To put it another way, "things are rarely what they seem in the AR World."  As unlikely as it may seem, there is no way to know for sure if the AR-LST was not produced with the Alnico woofer.  There were special customer requests for it as well. 

The LST was also not specifically designed to use the Alnico #3700 woofer, but the response characteristics of both the old and new woofer was nearly identical, and in fact the old woofer would be interchangeable in the LST with virtually inaudible differences in sound quality.  I even tried it with my pair of LSTs, and I could never detect any differences but changed it back for better protection.  Driving my LSTs -- especially after a couple of scotch and sodas -- I could get caught up in the moment, causing the "Power Guard" red lights to shine on my old MC-2500 McIntosh, so it was prudent to use the ferrite woofers.  Therefore, the greatest downside of having the old woofer in the AR-LST would be the risk of thermal damage to the old woofer. 

--Tom Tyson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me add that the word used in the original message was "LIST" for "listing," not "LST," so Roy misunderstood what the writer was trying to say.  I think he was referring to the AR-3a in the eBay listing having cloth woofers rather than ferrite woofers.  The point I am making is that there were indeed variations along the way in AR's production of speakers.

--Tom Tyson 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Tom,

The two versions of the woofer were not "identical" enough to be able to use the same woofer coil in the AR-3a (#7 vs #9). There are response differences, with the early woofer being smoother in the upper bass and lower mid frequencies. IF the cloth surround woofer had been used in the LST, it would have required a similar crossover adjustment.

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, RoyC said:

 

Tom,

The two versions of the woofer were not "identical" enough to be able to use the same woofer coil in the AR-3a (#7 vs #9). There are response differences, with the early woofer being smoother in the upper bass and lower mid frequencies. IF the cloth surround woofer had been used in the LST, it would have required a similar crossover adjustment.

Roy

Not necessarily.  The difference was approximately a 2dB rise in bass response in the region above resonance that was a problem for the AR-3a, which necessitated the coil change, recognized in free-field tests by Roy Allison and Chuck McShane some point after the introduction of the ferrite woofer.  The first AR-3as with the 200003-0 woofer had the 3700 coil, and this problem was actually recognized in the Consumer Reports' comments on the "thickness" of the AR-3a in their test.  Since the AR-LST has autotransformer adjustments for the level of bass and treble in reference to the constant output of the midrange, the differences are not nearly as noticeable (if at all) in the LST as in the AR-3a.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, tysontom said:

Not necessarily.  The difference was approximately a 2dB rise in bass response in the region above resonance that was a problem for the AR-3a, which necessitated the coil change, recognized in free-field tests by Roy Allison and Chuck McShane some point after the introduction of the ferrite woofer.  The first AR-3as with the 200003-0 woofer had the 3700 coil, and this problem was actually recognized in the Consumer Reports' comments on the "thickness" of the AR-3a in their test.  Since the AR-LST has autotransformer adjustments for the level of bass and treble in reference to the constant output of the midrange, the differences are not nearly as noticeable (if at all) in the LST as in the AR-3a.

Perhaps...but my primary point was that the LST never saw an alnico woofer. Do you have any dates in your files relative to the actual end of 12" alnico woofer production?

For the record, in many decades and hundreds of 3a's, I have never seen an alnico woofer installed as original equipment in a 3a after 1969 (serial numbers around 33,000+/- is the highest, I believe)...so I doubt it was used in the 3a (other than a repair/replacement part) "well into 1970".  In fact, the very first ferrite magnet/foam surround 3a woofers having no masonite mounting rings, and a foam damping ring on the cone, usually have early 1970 dates stamped on them. My guess is that AR simply used up the supply of alnico woofers on the AR-3 (not 3a) after 1969.

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, RoyC said:

Perhaps...but my primary point was that the LST never saw an alnico woofer. Do you have any dates in your files relative to the actual end of 12" alnico woofer production?

For the record, in many decades and hundreds of 3a's, I have never seen an alnico woofer installed as original equipment in a 3a after 1969 (serial numbers around 33,000+/- is the highest, I believe)...so I doubt it was used in the 3a (other than a repair/replacement part) "well into 1970".  In fact, the very first ferrite magnet/foam surround 3a woofers having no masonite mounting rings, and a foam damping ring on the cone, usually have early 1970 dates stamped on them. My guess is that AR simply used up the supply of alnico woofers on the AR-3 (not 3a) after 1969.

Roy

Roy, I think the problem here is that AR produced well over 200,000 AR-3s, AR-3as and AR-LSTs in total over time.  Unless you have looked inside several thousand AR speakers each year over the past decades, there are likely many variations that you have not seen.  I'm not challenging your expertise in working on AR speakers, but your empirical evidence is not historically definitive.  Thus my problem with your statement, "...The LST never had cloth surround woofers. It was introduced a few years after the cloth surround woofer was discontinued...."  You don't actually know this to be true, and the Alnico woofer was still actually around when the LST was introduced.  I do agree with you that AR did not design the AR-LST to be used with this woofer, but we don't know the complete history of the LSTs that went out the door.

AR actually produced—or stocked—the 3700 woofer in Cambridge well into the early 1970s from my notes from many conversations with AR's Customer Service Department, but these woofers were being used primarily to complete production and to provide for service-replacement parts for the AR-3.  As you know, once the 2-inch midrange was gone (first to go), AR did redesign the AR-3 to accept a version of the 200003-0 ferrite woofer and a special version of the AR-3a 1½-inch midrange.  Once AR made the move to Norwood, the AR-3 was essentially unavailable.  

--Tom Tyson

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're correct, I have not been into several thousand of any model, but apparently your files (and conversations) are not actually proving anything different than what I'm seeing. I do agree, however, that using the word "never" in AR-land is not wise. :)

" these woofers were being used primarily to complete production and to provide for service-replacement parts for the AR-3.",  which, as I suggested above, is in agreement with my experience to date. I'm still willing to bet the alnico woofer was not manufactured after 1969.

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know the history of these other than I found them buried under a pile of equipment, where they had sat for years, in a house in 2015. From 1974 with serial #'s 159 units apart. One with a ferrite woofer and this one with an alnico unit. ???

label.jpg

front.jpg

alnico.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, RoyC said:

You're correct, I have not been into several thousand of any model, but apparently your files (and conversations) are not actually proving anything different than what I'm seeing. I do agree, however, that using the word "never" in AR-land is not wise. :)

" these woofers were being used primarily to complete production and to provide for service-replacement parts for the AR-3.",  which, as I suggested above, is in agreement with my experience to date. I'm still willing to bet the alnico woofer was not manufactured after 1969.

Roy

"The LST never had cloth surround woofers. It was introduced a few years after the cloth surround woofer was discontinued."  Subsequently, you said,

"I'm still willing to bet the alnico woofer was not manufactured after 1969." 

The AR-LST came in 1971 and began production in January 1972.  The AR-3 was made in low numbers until 1973, so there was some overlap.  It is unlikely that the LST was made with the old woofer unless someone specifically requested it, but it was of course possible.

On May 13, 1970—after AR-3 serial numbers C70229—AR ran out of the original 2-inch phenolic-dome midrange driver, #4500 (1kHz crossover), and thereafter a modified midrange driver from the AR-3a, the #200010-AR-3 or 200019-3, was used in place of the original 2-inch phenolic driver.  The crossover frequencies remained at 1 kHz and 7.5 kHz., and since the 200003-0 ferrite woofer begins a mechanical roll-off above about 800 Hz (it is crossed over in the 3a a 575 for this reason), it was not desirable to take the newer woofer to the 1 kHz crossover.  It is therefore likely that the 3700 woofer was in production or was available at least for some time after this point.  The ferrite woofer was eventually used in the last AR-3s, I believe.  

This is a tedious and nitpicking argument—boring to most people here—so it is probably best to let it go.

—Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, JeffS said:

I don't know the history of these other than I found them buried under a pile of equipment, where they had sat for years, in a house in 2015. From 1974 with serial #'s 159 units apart. One with a ferrite woofer and this one with an alnico unit. ???

label.jpg

front.jpg

alnico.jpg

Wow Jeffs....that was toward the end of production. Back wired mids and tweeters were in the last phases of the 3a. I would love to see the crossover in the one with the alnico woofer. Someone may have stuck that in there if the crossover is the same as the ceramic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, tysontom said:

This is a tedious and nitpicking argument—boring to most people here—so it is probably best to let it go.

—Tom

 

Yet you're drawing this out with tedious AR-3 history (which I'm well aware of). I agree, I doubt anyone really cares if it was years or months. It was never my primary point, but thanks for your opinion. I'm standing by my opinion for the time being.

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...