View Full Version : AR2 speakers?

09-26-2002, 12:10 PM

I am looking for some information and an opinion:

First the information: I've read a little on-line about the AR2 and the AR2ax speakers, but I don't clearly understand the differences. Can someone explain? Was there also an AR2a?

And the opinion: How does the sound of the AR2ax compare to the AR3's? I have a butt-ugly pair of AR3's that sound really wonderful. I am now curious about the AR2ax's.

Thanks very much for your attention.

09-26-2002, 01:21 PM

The AR2 went through several significant changes during its model life.

The original AR2 was a 2-way using 2, 3" or 4" cone drivers (don't recall the exact dimension) for the high end. These were mounted in a plastic 'cup' assembly located above the woofer. This cup angled the drivers slightly toward one another.

The AR2a retained the dual cone drivers (doing midrange duty)but added a dome tweeter.

Somewhere along the way the dual cone assembly was dropped in favor of a single cone midrange and the dome tweeter was replaced with an improved design. This is the configuration in the AR2ax.

I also think there was a two way AR2x, but I've never seen one.

In my collection of speakers, I have AR2a, AR2ax and AR3a, and in my opinion, if you like your AR3s you'll like the AR2a and 'ax as well. The tonal characters are the similar. The 3's have more bass extension, but the 2's are more efficient .


09-26-2002, 02:18 PM
I love my 2A, 2AX's but one thing I would not call either of them is efficient :D

09-27-2002, 08:50 AM
Thanks for the information. The history of this model is making more sense now. I found a pair of the 2ax's at the town "transfer station" this weekend, but haven't had a chance to try them. The ones I found obviously do not have the original cone MR (or, at least, the metal grille and damping material are not present), but they are definitely 2ax's, with the dome tweeter and a single MR.

It would be interesting to see a photo of the AR2 or AR2a driver array... I haven't found such a photo yet.

Of course the old AR's are notoriously inefficient. I am successful with the AR3's using an EL84pp amp for quite reasonablte listening levels, and those rascals do sound GOOD IMHO.

THanks again.

09-27-2002, 11:57 AM
If it wasn't so much of a pain in the neck to pull the grill off an AR2 I'd snap a digital pic and send it off to you... Maybe this weekend I can crawl up into my attic were I have some old units I use for parts and get a shot...

I'm surprized you have success driving your AR3 with a EL84 amp... I tried driving mine with a Dyna SCA-35 once and it was hopeless at anything above background music levels...


Tonto Yoder
09-27-2002, 02:36 PM
Check out this completed auction for pics

There was also a completed auction in which two metal grilled mids were listed but received no bids: you might contact the seller and make an offer he can't refuse.


I read that Roy Allison was responsible for updating the AR 3 to the 3a. Does "a" mean allison in ALL the model numbers or is it just a coincidence????

10-15-2002, 07:00 PM
Edgar Vilcher was the original inventor of the acoustic suspension woofer. As I recall, his first model the AR1W was a woofer only unit. He added a Western Electic tweeter and called it the AR1. Then he replaced the tweeter with a midrange and dome tweeter and it became the AR3. The AR2 and later AR2a were lower cost versions using smaller diameter woofers and I think different midrange and tweeters as well. AR3a replaced the midrange and tweeters with upgraded versions and the AR5 was an AR3a with a smaller woofer. Yes there was also an AR2ax with different midrange and tweeter drivers. Shortly after AR speakers became popular, some of the engineers including Henry Kloss left and formed KLH producing similar competitive designs. AR3 and AR3a were recommended to be powered by a mimimum of 25 watts per channel and the AR2 series with a minimum of 20. Popular high quality amps in those days capable of delivering adequate power commonly used were McIntosh MC275, MC250, Dynaco MarkIII and Marantz model 9. Most used AR2 and AR3 series sold today and not yet restored need to have their woofer surrounds refoamed and their midrange and tweeter controls replaced. AR3 was noted for very extended low distortion bass but weak treble output. A more advanced system later on using the same drivers as AR3a was the AR LST which used 3 midrange and 3 tweeters. There were angled side panels on each unit each having a tweeter and a midrange. There was also a unit called AR 10 PI which used entirely different midrange and tweeters and had as I recall some sort of adjustment for the woofer output depending on how the speaker was placed (it was a switch, not a removable plug, the speakers always remained sealed.) In the 60s and 70s AR was considered by many people to be one of the best manufacturers of audio equipment and made it possible for people to install high quality stereo sound systems in rooms that weren't gigantic.