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AR5 restoration - advice needed


Noah
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Hi,

My first post and would appreciate any advice.

I've recently inherited a pair of AR5 speakers from my late brother and ,as you can see in the pictures (hopefully), I need to replace both woofers. Where can I get woofers similar to the original AR ones? There's a chap on ebay.com, "vintage-ar", who's advertising a 10" woofer as a replacement. Would these be suitable?  The cabinets and grilles I can sort out myself. I thought I'd sort the woofers first and then see what the mid range and tweeter are like. Any advice,hints or tips welcome.

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Hi Noah and welcome.

Without a bit more info, serials, dates on other drivers, coil size etc. it is difficult to say exactly what to do. Generally speaking there are many 10" woofers from other AR models that would theoretically work in this application. I am curious (because there are no visible pictures) why you "need" to replace them. If foam surrounds have deteriorated they can be readily replaced.

Here is a thread with much insight into woofer options on a set of 5s I rehabbed a while back.

 

Congrats, this a great set of speakers!

Geoff

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Hey Noah! Croeso!

"Vintage AR" is a good resource and he will ship to Wales but you should be aware that his "replacement" is NOT an AR woofer. Many ARs were sold in the UK and I think you'd be better off checking ebay for an actual AR 10" woofer. We also have some members here from your side of the pond so maybe they will give advice.

-Kent


 
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good work!

again I ask why do you feel you must change the woofers? a proper refoam with the BA 10" surrounds and you are in the game!

the bigger issue is the tinsel wires of the mids and tweets.

some challenges but look workable and would be worthy of reviving.

 

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I agree with Geoff. Unless there's something going on with the woofers that you haven't told us about they can be fixed good as new. I'm assuming you didn't know that because I didn't either until I came to this forum. I threw away some perfectly good drivers :angry: Re-foaming may seem daunting but it's not difficult! My one bit of advice would be to get a refoam kit with water-based white glue. Much easier to work with than the clear solvent-based stuff. If you happen to get a kit with that nasty glue just buy a bottle of Aleene's Tacky Glue and use that. If you are totally intimidated by the idea of replacing the foams yourself try to find a local speaker repair shop or maybe contact one of our UK members.

I'm not sure I agree regarding the mids and tweets. It looks to me like back-wired drivers had leads added to the fronts so they could replace front-wired drivers. That's not a problem as long as the solder joints are good and the drivers work. I assume both the mid and the tweet in that box were replaced at some point. Does the other speaker match?

-Kent

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Hi Noah,

I may be assuming too much here, but after re-reading this thread, it is not entirely apparent to me that you are aware that the cracked and disintegrating foam surrounds on your woofers are fairly easily replaceable, and their deterioration (which is normal) is no reason for discarding the original woofers.

Some might challenge the methods used in this video, but at least it will give you a basic understanding of the process of replacing the rotted foams to make your woofers "new" again. Locate yourself a reliable source in the UK for foam replacements, and members here will walk you though the repair process.

Once you remove one of the woofers, and before you order any  new foam surrounds, post a pic of the crossover and you will get advice about components which may also require attention.

Close-up pic of my 10" AR-2ax woofer (same as AR-5 woofer) with new foam is also attached.  Looking closely, you can see that I preserved the original flat dust cap after cutting it during the re-foam process.  

 

2ax woof detail.jpg

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Thanks for your replies gentlemen. I just thought that getting new woofers would be less hassle than reforming them. I will post some pics of the back of the woofers and the tweeters and wiring later. Great forum by the way.

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For those living in Europe, this supplier comes recommended. I have used them in the past. Your foams are shown in this link with proper white water based speaker glue lower down the page. I took advantage of buying 3 at the discounted price in case I messed up, but even as a complete novice at this I only needed 2.

http://speakerrepairshop.nl/index.php?item=foam-ring-_10-inch_-for-acoustic-research-ar5-woofer&action=article&group_id=10000033&aid=945&lang=en#.Wd3lHLpFycw

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5 hours ago, Noah said:

Thanks for your replies gentlemen. I just thought that getting new woofers would be less hassle than reforming them. I will post some pics of the back of the woofers and the tweeters and wiring later. Great forum by the way.

 

OK Noah, looking forward to some follow up pics. A better in focus shot of the mid/tweet wiring on the face would be helpful as well.

Depending on your motivation/skills/end game will shape the direction you take. If they were mine I would refoam woofs after verifying no other issues with driver (voice coil not blown out etc.) and address the sketchy looking wiring of other drivers. Extract and clean pots, measure and replace caps if needed, spend a bit of time on the cabs and grille cloth and enjoy! All these things are relatively simple and basic tools are all you need.

Geoff

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7 hours ago, Noah said:

I just thought that getting new woofers would be less hassle than reforming them.

Less hassle, yes. But not as good. As Roy said, the original AR woofers are the best ones for that speaker so if you replace the woofers they will no longer be AR-5s (and the AR-5  is a very good speaker). Re-foaming is not difficult. Just take your time and follow the directions. The white glue is forgiving so if you make a mistake just clean it up with water. If you ever built a model airplane you have all the skills you need. And if you're a total klutz you can always have someone else do the work, but hold on to those woofers!

-Kent

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I meant to add this as well, Jeff_C has given an example of "local" to you surround seller. While the link takes you to a set geared for the AR 10", it has been determined that there is a better option. The AR ones listed are probably fine, but look specifically for a filled filet version of 10", often marketed for Boston Acoustic 10".

Your thread title says "restoration" so responses are geared to that approach, not modifying.

These are worthy of restoration. Modifying would be considered heresy by many on this forum! LOL

Geoff

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Noha, those are some fine examples of Euro AR5's. I have two pair that look a lot like yours, except I have the brown grills. I wholeheartedly agree with Stupidhead about using the Boston Acoustic (filled filet) type of surrounds. No my 5's don't have them because they came to me with fresh surrounds installed. Here is a picture of some I used on some 2ax woofers, which are pretty much the same as the woofers used on the 5's.

T3q35fX.jpg

The inter roll edge is sloped allowing low frequencies to exit the cone much easier, thus better sound. 

My first set have front wired tweeters and midranges. The resisters were added by the previous owner to tone down the L-pads he replaced the original pots with. The woofers are the early ones, thus the different dust cap.

0vStjpum.jpgPJwQiExm.jpg

My second set has a rear wired midrange and tweeter (which is a replacement HiVi driver). I plan reverting them back to front wired drivers.

4k4zoKh.jpg

I have found original drivers from a set that was being parted out. The tweeters both test good at 6.8 and 6.9 ohms and have a date of December 7, 1971 stamped on them.  Both have tinsel leads that may be long enough. The problem arises with the midranges. One of the leads is completely missing so I cannot even test it. The other seems ok and test at 5.9 ohms with dates stamped November 24, 1971. It is probably beyond my ability to repair the lead, so I am kind of at at standstill. 

gyFxyWLm.jpgzBat9Iwm.jpg

Let us know what you find out with your drivers. I hope they are the correct 8 ohm versions that the 5's required and not the 4 ohm versions used on the 3a's. The 5's are kind of a divisive speaker, people either love them or are unimpressed. Me personally, well I am a lover. Good luck and remember no question is too petty or complicated. We are all here to help.

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I ended up with a pair of the TC-1028 woofers being mentioned here.

A buddy had picked them up from Parts Express last year.

 Larry is now is the sole source of them.

They will NOT fit the AR cabinets ( too small ) without an adapter ring (Larry sells these too).

These are four screw mount and the adapter ring has holes for this and the six screw AR pattern.

They are not bad drivers but seem to be just a bit stiff and for the less than 2 cubic foot enclosure don't seem to work quite as well as the originals.

I tried them in my Franken-2a ( now 2x{ish} ) and reinstalled the original cloth woofs after evaluation.

If I had nothing else I'd certainly use them, but a refoamed original is in my experience by far the better route.

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some great info here on a few topics and I suspect we are all rooting for you cracking these open and reviving a great set of history.

not sure what you have available to you in the way of resources like craigslist etc. but if you in fact are going to stay oem and refoam (this assumes testing indicates no trouble with them) and I also assume this is a new discipline for you it might be prudent to "practice" on a cheap set of woofers that need refoaming first before doing the 5s. it really is not a difficult chore but having never done it can be intimidating. if resources allow, it would remove all mystery of this and give you confidence to tackle the 5s. 

notice also in Larry's post and first pic, a great visual explanation of the filled filet. notice the foam form at the 3 o'clock position and particularly the outer edge being a sharp 90 degree turn to the flat surface on the basket. then note the inner form of the other side of the roll of the foam is a soft transition (not 90 degree) slope to the inner edge that is affixed to the cone. that is the filled filet style!

anxious to see a better pic of the wiring of the mid/tweet. I wonder if maybe the pots became corroded/defective performance but your brother didn't know what to do and tried making the only visible to outside modification obvious and jumped the connections. in any case, reversing is very probably do-able after a proper diagnosis.

your brother has left you with a wonderful gift here.

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5 hours ago, LouB said:

I ended up with a pair of the TC-1028 woofers being mentioned here.

A buddy had picked them up from Parts Express last year.

 Larry is now is the sole source of them.

They will NOT fit the AR cabinets ( too small ) without an adapter ring (Larry sells these too).

Lou,

They do fit the vast majority of AR cabinets (including all AR-5's and most 2ax's) equipped with 10 inch woofers.  They don't fit the early cabinets (AR-2/2a and early 2ax) originally equipped with cloth surround or very early foam surround 10 inch woofers.

The use of an additional 1mh of inductance (around 3mh total) to the 2ax woofer coil brings it in line with the original sound. Fc is actually quite good.

Still, I recommend the original woofers whenever possible.

Roy

 

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On October 11, 2017 at 11:34 AM, stupidhead said:

Your thread title says "restoration" .......Modifying would be considered heresy by many on this forum!

Interesting thread here, and I may be splitting hairs, but this raises the debatable question of exactly where is this line of demarcation: restoration or mod?

** If you replace original pots with L-pads: restoration or mod?

** If you replace original electrolytic caps with film caps: restoration or mod?

** If you replace original half-round foams with filled fillet replacements: restoration or mod? 

For the record, I'm good with any and all of these approaches, but each of these decisions may indeed impact future resale value of collectible "vintage" merchandise, and of course, there are performance issues at stake as well. My philosophy is somewhat of a mongrel hybrid, since a modicum of affordable practicality normally needs to factor into the equation. With my own projects, I tend to try my best to understand and respect the original intent of the speaker design; understand any "market value" of my modest collection; and then make restoration or modification decisions based on keeping these speakers alive in sync with the limited realities of my wallet.

On October 11, 2017 at 6:54 PM, larrybody said:

I plan reverting them back to front wired drivers.

I find this statement rather perplexing.... 50 years after the fact. In some of my AR speaker 'rescue' projects, I have taken measures to eliminate this particularly vulnerable aspect of the original assembly by making replacements with rear-wired drivers of similar or same characteristics. Please do illuminate: once the wires have been securely located inside the protective and robust cabinets, why would anyone wish to relocate these delicate tinsels outboard again and expose them to unnecessary exposure to damage?       

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36 minutes ago, ra.ra said:

I find this statement rather perplexing.... 50 years after the fact. In some of my AR speaker 'rescue' projects, I have taken measures to eliminate this particularly vulnerable aspect of the original assembly by making replacements with rear-wired drivers of similar or same characteristics. Please do illuminate: once the wires have been securely located inside the protective and robust cabinets, why would anyone wish to relocate these delicate tinsels outboard again and expose them to unnecessary exposure to damage?   

ditto

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14 hours ago, RoyC said:

Lou,

They do fit the vast majority of AR cabinets (including all AR-5's and most 2ax's) equipped with 10 inch woofers.  They don't fit the early cabinets (AR-2/2a and early 2ax) originally equipped with cloth surround or very early foam surround 10 inch woofers.

The use of an additional 1mh of inductance (around 3mh total) to the 2ax woofer coil brings it in line with the original sound. Fc is actually quite good.

Still, I recommend the original woofers whenever possible.

Roy

 

Hi Roy,

Thank you for enlightening me in regards to the 10" woofer diameters.

I have had almost all the variations of the model 2(*)  speaker combinations but all of them were the older cast basket/cloth surround woofer. 

I was blissfully unaware of the diametrical difference with the later foam surround woofers.

In the interest of maintaining the differentiation between the strictly repair /  restore and mods / tweaks subject matter I'll move further discussion of this to the Mods & Tweaks forum.

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