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A lurker steps out!


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I have been a member here for a year and have been reading the site for very much longer so I thought it might be time to step out from behind the curtains and say hello.

I'm in the UK and bought my first pair of ARs used in about 1986.  I really can't remember which model they were but they didn't last long in the system as I came into a heap of cash big enough to replace the whole thing with shiny new stuff.  Since then I owned numerous AR turntables and I now find myself having somehow arrived at the position of owning 9 pairs of speakers, 5 of which are Acoustic Research models which I have gathered up over the last few years: 

Two pairs of AR 2-ax, a pair of 44bx and two pairs of LST.  

Along with the speakers, I have a mixture of old and older gear from ARC, Levinson, Accuphase, Goldring, Radford, Akai and Uher.  I am also getting some good sounds out of a Raspberry Pi streamer and love the fact that I play this through a fifty two year old amp!  

Music is everything and the kit is a means to an end, but there is no reason not to like the kit too!

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Hi and thanks for the welcome.

I have 2 Accuphase components, the first is an old T-101 tuner, which is great.  I have had a lot of classic tuners in the past but this is the one that I kept to use in my main system over all of the others.

My CD player is an Accuphase DP-67, which I have had for about 11 years now.  I love it and dread to think what I would do if it were ever to fail on me.  One feature I value it for is thd fact that it has 2 digital inputs, so can be used as a DAC to other components, like my Raspberry Pi streamer, for instance.

As you say build quality is superb and inspires massive confidence.

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Hi and thanks for the welcome.

Apart from my first pair of ARs (I've been racking my brains to remember that model number but with no luck so far) I have only ever used a few amps with mine.  There's a caveat about the LST's which I'll get to in due course.

At the moment, in my main system, I am not using ARs but I alternate between a big transistor bi-amp set up and a little valve/tube amp.  

What I have available is a Mark Levinson ML-9 (100wpc), a Mark Levinson ML-11 (50wpc), a Radford STA-15 (22wpc from EL34's) and a Yamaha CR-1020 receiver.  The AR-2ax sound superb with all of the above and I can't choose between the ML-9 and the Radford - they each have their strengths.  I use a pair of 2ax every single day in a second system with the Yamaha

The 44bx sound good with everything.  I was even notably astonished by the results I got from a little Class D Amptastic Mini-T.  They really gel well together.


As for the LSTs...well I have to come clean here.  Neither of my pairs of LSTs are in working condition.

I have admired LSTs for a very long time but never imagined I would get a chance to own any.   Unbelievably, a few years ago,  I missed out on the chance for a free pair of MSTs!  I messed the deal up due to a stupid misunderstanding between myself and the owner.      

Anyway, I was keeping my eyes open for a pair of 3a when last year, a pair of LSTs came up on Ebay for a really low price - £200 ($270):  too good to miss!

The lady I got them from was the original owner and they had become too inconvenient to have around the house.  When I got them home from the 8 hour round trip, I checked out the drivers properly and found that, apart from the expected bass driver surround problem, there was one tweeter out and another with a dented dome.  

I refoamed the bass drivers and one of them was a bit scratchy sounding, so I intended to get that looked at by a professional.  In the meantime I decided to look out for some original tweeter replacements.  Now, last week, after a year of looking, a pair of LSTs appeared on Ebay just an hour's drive away, so I asked the owner if I could go and have a look at them.  He agreed and I went over there where he played them for me enough to determine that all the drivers were OK except for those pesky foam rings.  I made him the offer there and then of his starting bid - £450 ($600)and he accepted it.

So, to date,  I have only ever listened at any length to a single LST - that's OK though, because mono isn't nearly as bad as a lot of people think if it's done well.   I didn't think the Radford would be up to the job so it was being aspirated by the Levinson ML-9 and sounded utterly fantastic and I can't wait to get the new pair repaired.    I have some other financial commitments at the moment, but I fully expect to have one pair up and running fairly soon - I am a co-owner of another hifi forum and I have promised one of the other guys that they will be ready for him to hear at our next forum get together, which is in April.  So there's my deadline!


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Thank you Chris,

When you have your LSTs repaired, I would appreciate it if you could let me know how they perform using  both the ML-11 and ML-9. If I remember correctly these Levinson amplifiers were designed by Tom Colangelo. Unfortunately, I've never listened to the Levinson amps designed by him. I only listened to Levinson amps designed by Madrigal's engineers. 

In any case, if I were you I would also try the "little" Radford STA 15. If its caps, resistors and tubes are OK and if your listening room is not very big or your listening  position is not very far from speakers, it could work very well with LST despite its low power. Once I listened to a pair of LSTs driven by a 35 Watt tube amp (the Unisis by "Tube Technology") and the sound was very good and enjoyable.



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Frank, hi.

I don't speak Spanish (I assume) but Google translate tells me that your video is the same thing as something!

I'm presuming that you mean squeezing large numbers of speakers into small spaces?  Actually there is room for many more, but I don't think I can get away with this number for much longer.

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Hi ChrisB.  No, my example was the absolute foolery of forcing the issue by attempting to operate real, RMS watt sucking speakers like the AR-LST with such low power as some think they can do.

This topic has been discussed here many times. As an owner of LST's for 30 years, I went from using two PL400 amplifiers for a while until it became more than obvious to me that they required much more power to operate and sound as best they could. 

So, I went from using amps rated at 210 watts RMS per channel at 8 ohms, (400 watts per channel at 4 ohms) I learned that to enjoy music fully, I wasn't using nearly enough power to allow the LST's sound the best they could. A number of years later I woke up to the reality that using more powerful application was the route to take. In retrospect, I had put in countless hours and years of critical listening to reach this conclusion so, I felt my motives and desires were correct and I'm not the only one to admit this though, some will dispute the truth.

Fast forward to 2009 and I took the plunge to purchase two pro--built and very minty PL700 Series II rebuilt by Ed Blackwood, an accomplished and well known rebuilder of these amplifiers for me to truly understand, learn  and finally know that LST's grave large amounts of power to sound their best. In common terms, you don't put a Prious engine in a 18 wheeler.

So, that's the point, this constant going on about how some folks are challenging proven experiences of listeners and the basic technology  by squeezing as little watts as possible in to a wattage hungry speaker is like putting the cart before the horse in this situation, it simple won't work nor would anything even close to good sound quality would ever come from it.  I've partaken in numerous posts here regarding the AR-3a's also and it also demands high power regardless of what it says on the cabinet stickers. Sounding just O.K. is just that O.K. but, not as good as it can be and certainly nothing to boast about as some do.

First off AR3's and 3a's were manufactured in a time when a 60 watt per channel amplifier was considered high power but, that was in the 1960's, by 1971-2, the world of inefficient speakers were finally gifted the power they would benefit most by. I know as I was there and I offer my experiences to those who are willing to understand and appreciate. I sometimes get stone-walled by some misguided folks go on their merry way not knowing the gloriousness that can be achieved when using very high power amplifiers, yet they persist. I find it equally sad about folks insisting their use of tubed amplifiers almost as if a tube amp is something new and wonderful to behold. As a child I, like many being 60 years old or more grew up with nothing but tubed units of every sort, radios, TVs, car radios, and phonographs as the world was using tubes because there was nothing else available. I mean what is the attraction, staring at a plate heating up and glowing red/amber colors, if so, then buy a disco light-ball and par lights if one needs lights glowing. Tubes require periodic changing, produce ridiculous amounts of heat, become microphonic and tubes can become noisy with time, while typically offer sightly softer rounded highs and in most cases, lows that lack 'slam' unless one purchases very expensive units and even then, they require the ridiculous expense of tube changing every few years.

So to summarize,  low efficiency speakers require high wattage, high efficiency speakers generally can do well with lower wattage. Historically speaking, before AR came along, most of everything in this world were high-efficiency speakers and lower powered amps and that was good enough because it was all the world had. However, like I said, the world changed by the early seventies opening up a new vista to better listening quality with cleaner musical peaks with faster and undistorted transients, incredible detail, lower faster better defined and tighter bass, more transparency of each musical instrument and an overall sound quality presented with more realism than ever before.

But, I digress, Julian Hirsch proved it in his 1972 test-report of AR-LST's in "Stereo-Review". To paraphrase, in his closing words he stated that in his testing of the AR-LST  speaker he used the first Phase Linear 700 amplifier as he knew the benefits. Again 350 wpc @ 8 ohms and 700 wpc @ 4 ohms, an almost unbelievable amount of power to all of us at the time,  at any rate, he felt that " maybe the big amplifier was perhaps not enough."

I took heed of Julian Hirsch's assessments and have been using 400 wpc@4 ohms since 1974 and that was with my AR-3a's. With my double set of LST's I utilize double 700 wpc@4 ohm amps and even if you tortured me on the rack, I would never deny the obvious truth of all that I've mention about what I learned many years ago.  It's not rocket-science but, merely what I learned from others who knew more than I did.

P.S. What's the expression? "You can lead a horse to water but, you can't make him drink it". Oh, and by the way, that was "Italian" I spoke to the poster

P.S. II, I can assure you that my opinions here will attract a bevy of contrary responses along with much disagreement but, that's what normally happens here by some who have yet to enjoy a better musical experience.

Then, I will mosey on into the room pictured below and smile and say: "if they could only experience this"  then those nay sayers would understand. Sadly, many choose not to agree either because they're being defensive of what they already own and are listening to, or what I call 'system-blindness'.


This is my set-up as it appeared in late 2014. A number of improvements have been made since and have made a world of difference.

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Hi stan461, that foto was taken by a friend who was absolutely impressed by the system's sound in late 2014 with a cell-phone that had a remarkably wide lens. I don't have any such facility though I can tell you that I've added two traps in the corners of the front walls and that the white bags you see under the components containing records have mostly all been cleaned so the white bags are gone. At the time of the foto I was enjoying a Denon DL-301II MC cartridge which was excellent at that time for me. Since, I've upgraded to Lyra Delos and Kleos cartridges which made a world of difference in the sound quality and have upped the sound quality to new heights which must be experienced to be appreciated and enlightened by.

So stan461, you'll have to deal with the older foto. Oddly, I wonder if anyone has actually posted a foto of their set-up here*, have you posted a foto of your set-up?  

I think we should start a thread that shows each and everyone's set-up and maybe have a contest as to which system is the most properly and correctly set-up. Videos would be great but, many folks rely on their computer's tiny speakers and therefore would be pointless.

* well a few have but, it was laughable to see speaker use without any consideration of acoustics or proper speaker placement or anyother important factors being addressed, sad really.  Here, I have seen stacks of speakers resembling factory store rooms or repair facilities, worse yet, like the 'goodwill' places.  Speakers on floors and other incorrect ways of using speakers, stuff that amateurs do. In many cases misguided use and improper placement of speakers doesn't' seem to be of importance for some here. Yet, assessments of same are spoken of as if the opinions are authoritative and valid when there is no adherence to even basic speaker placement or observance of proper room set-up and acoustics while coupled with crappy input sources as a strong point.

 Some folks seem to think that a speaker was made to and will automatically sound correct by merely connecting wires to it, all the while the truth is a speaker must work within the room's dimensions, acoustics and proper placement in order to respond and sound correctly.

And "stan461", I truly hope that I can please you with one more blurry foto of my system as doing so is my highest priority. This foto was clipped out of a video which I hope doesn't displease. Everything you see is fully operational and a direct functioning input source  to the AR-LST's.

Actually, to put it in perspective 45+ years of my having Hi-Fi fun and of AR ownership times 365 days a year would be close to 17,000 days that I've been doing this stuff!   I'm no 'johnny come lately' to the better path and ways of dedicated quality listening of AR speakers.

 Still waiting to see a foto of your system though.



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