View Full Version : AR2a speakers WHY do these sound so good?


bloodrock
01-12-2007, 06:00 PM
Just picked up a pair of AR2a speakers the other night. Never owned a pair before, but have heard some good things about them. Anyway, my question is why does this speaker this age (approx 35 years old) sound so good. I couldnt believe the sound of these after I got them home and hooked them up. Using a Sansui QRX 5500 receiver. The seller had them running off some bpc, so I couldnt get a good feel about their sound, other than to make sure the drivers were all working. Since I only have 20.00 dollars into them, I figured it was worth a shot buying them. Thanks

tcdriver
01-12-2007, 06:38 PM
The AR2a's sound good because the people who designed them were talented and had good ears. AR really got the balance right on these. I much prefer them to the more expensive AR3 or AR3a. You got a good value for your $20. :thmbsp:

bloodrock
01-12-2007, 06:50 PM
Thank you tcdriver. May I ask who were the designers of these speakers and are there other speakers (brands) that were designed by them. Thanks

Nakdoc
01-12-2007, 06:54 PM
OMG Bloodrock??? The band everyone is embarrased to have listened to?

The AR2a bass has much lower distortion and a flatter, deeper response than most speakers found today. You may have owned ported speakers or ones with passives which boom efficiently but usually don't sound like the music.

ozmoid
01-12-2007, 08:35 PM
MOST of the early AR speakers are exceptional! Very flat response, bass goes deep, highs are not "bright", well balanced sound. They were trying to replicate the sound of smooth jazz or classical in a good hall. One of the "demos" they used to do was record music live in a venue, then immediately play it back through the AR speakers - kind of a "Is it live or is it...?".

Lots of good speaker designers came through AR (Like Henry Kloss - KLH speakers!), and several went on to start their own companies. Check out http://classicspeakerpages.net/ar/history/history2.htm for more info.

I have 2 pair of 2ax, and 2 pair of 4x. They're not going anywhere any time soon. :D

Urizen
01-12-2007, 08:42 PM
I have 2 pair of 2ax, and 2 pair of 4x. They're not going anywhere any time soon. :D

Greedy sumbeach.

:D

Congrats on your speakers, bloodrock! Post some pics when you get a chance.

Eunomians
01-12-2007, 08:46 PM
I have 2 pair of 2ax, and 2 pair of 4x. They're not going anywhere any time soon. :D

Cheers to words well put. :thmbsp:

Aage
01-12-2007, 08:57 PM
Thank you tcdriver. May I ask who were the designers of these speakers and are there other speakers (brands) that were designed by them. Thanks

Well, Edgar Villchur and Henry Kloss (the "K" in KLH) started it all off with the AR-1 in 1954. Roy Allison worked there for a good while.

Here's a story on the Stereophile website: http://www.stereophile.com/interviews/105villchur/

I like the AR-2ax very well, but don't agree that it's the best one they made. That distinction belongs to the AR-3a, IMHO.

To my mind their best speakers were the models 1 through 5. They all still stand up very well today.

ozmoid
01-12-2007, 09:35 PM
Greedy sumbeach. :D
In all fairness, one of my pairs of 2ax have non-stock replacement tweeters :nono: .

OTOH, I gave away a pair of AR-3's before I got into the vintage scene (Honestly, I was using them for end tables :sigh: ). Guess that tipped my speaker Karma in the right direction. :yes:

ozmoid
01-12-2007, 09:45 PM
Well, Edgar Villchur and Henry Kloss (the "K" in KLH) started it all off with the AR-1 in 1954. Roy Allison worked there for a good while.

Here's a story on the Stereophile website: http://www.stereophile.com/interviews/105villchur/

I like the AR-2ax very well, but don't agree that it's the best one they made. That distinction belongs to the AR-3a, IMHO.

To my mind their best speakers were the models 1 through 5. They all still stand up very well today.I haven't heard the 1, 5, 6, or 7. I'm most interested (based on comments by others) in the Models 5 and 7. (And it should go without saying that I'd like to hear an LST, either model! :D )

bloodrock
01-30-2007, 05:40 PM
These are the AR2a speakers. Not sure if pics uploaded. A question I have is how to remove the grills to replace grill cloth. Any links or owners who have these that can help with this. These sound fantastic!! Also, do these have the cloth surround or the type that breaks down over time?

robobxman
01-30-2007, 05:46 PM
Bloodrock - Take a little time to research ARs here on AK and you will, like I did, quickly find answers to all your questions above (and more). Welcome to the "AR club" ... we are all in love with ours. I keep returning to a phrase someone else penned ... that ARs provide a "sonic hug." They are really special.

[Btw, I second the vote for 3a's being best, at least until LSTs fall into my hands]

ozmoid
01-30-2007, 07:04 PM
A question I have is how to remove the grills to replace grill cloth. The grills are glued on, and the speakers are QUITE ugly underneath. Get a wide putty knife, and work it around the edge, prying up. Go easy, and you won't mark up the veneer. Be patient! It can take a while. The grill is a masonite panel, the cloth is stapled on the back. Put the panel back on with velcro, and add a little loop of grosgrain ribbon at the top that sticks out just enough to hook with something like a fork tine. Makes it super easy to get them off again, and no one will notice the little black tab sticking out.

rocdad
01-30-2007, 07:20 PM
If the badges are still on, you will have to remove them. Just unscrew them. I ruined a perfect one trying to pull it off.

The 2a's that I aquired had the AR badge and a seperate "a" hat-pin. Mine are a retro kit into ax's. I am looking for the perfect hat to use one of the hat-pins on. One has to be careful here in Texas. You can't just put a big ol "a" on any hat.

Dan

bloodrock
01-30-2007, 07:45 PM
Thanks alot for the tips. Should give me something to do this weekend. By the way, since the pics did not load, maybe someone can tell me if by way of serial numbers when these were produced. 5398 and 5400. Also the cabinets are an unfinished pine. Thanks again guys!!

ozmoid
01-30-2007, 07:49 PM
You'll have to search around for the serial number database, I think it's over at classic speaker pages. Unfinished Pine? Maybe raw plywood? That would make these a little more desirable, IMO, as they are a bit rarer than the veneered - at least, I have found that to be true for other AR makes.

rocdad
01-30-2007, 07:49 PM
Not sure of when, but it is my experience that there are very few pairs that have such close sn#'s.

bloodrock
01-30-2007, 07:56 PM
Yes, now that I look more closely, probably unfinished plywood. In any event, I will check the database and see what information is available on these. Thanks again.

cfoster
01-30-2007, 08:08 PM
These are the AR2a speakers. Not sure if pics uploaded. A question I have is how to remove the grills to replace grill cloth. Any links or owners who have these that can help with this. These sound fantastic!! Also, do these have the cloth surround or the type that breaks down over time?

Depending how old your speakers are, be very careful! The early AR 2 series grills were glued onto heavy cardboard, not wood and then stapled to the front of the cabinet. Look closely for staples!, if there are none then assume the frame to be wood and there should be six large clue spots holding the grill on. They are usually in each corner as well as between the woofer and the mid/tweeters, near the sides. But, I will bet your grills are stapled so be careful if you want to reuse the frames! One easy way to tell if yours are the old style is if the cloth has gold threads running through it. If so, the grills are stapled and the cloth can not ever be matched. I ended up getting AR 2ax grills for my AR 2's on the bay after destroying my grills getting them off to make repairs.

My advise is that unless you absolutely must take the grills off because of needing to make repairs or if the grills are just that bad, don't do it. I wish I hadn't needed to take mine off.

Clyde

bloodrock
01-30-2007, 08:21 PM
My grills are not real bad, but unfortunately, there is some tearing about 4 inches long on one of them. It is something I can live with really, considering the time and expense of repairing these. By the way, there is the gold threading in the material. also a straight pin. Must have been someones pin cushion for sewing:scratch2: lol Anyway, does this website have a speaker database? Maybe I am not looking in the right spot. Thanks again!!

kfa888
01-30-2007, 08:34 PM
I have AR2ax's and although I do like them I like KLH 23's and even 17's about as much and in some respects more. I also think my Wharfedale W60's are better, yes better, than my AR2ax's.

All good speakers.

ozmoid
01-30-2007, 09:59 PM
My grills are not real bad, but unfortunately, there is some tearing about 4 inches long on one of them. It is something I can live with really, considering the time and expense of repairing these. By the way, there is the gold threading in the material. also a straight pin. Must have been someones pin cushion for sewing:scratch2: lol Anyway, does this website have a speaker database? Maybe I am not looking in the right spot. Thanks again!!
No database here that I'm aware of, I tried over at classic speaker pages and could not find it there, either. I know there's a serial number list out there somewhere that will give you the year of manufacture, I just can't seem to lay my finger on it at the moment.

steelhead97
01-31-2007, 03:03 AM
I picked a pair up myself tonight. They sound good but i don't hear the tweet or mid? How are you testing to see if these are still working or is it strictly by ear?? I like the sound from the woofer but i can only imagine how it may sound even better with a full compliment of mids and highs. I sounds great now.

Just picked up a pair of AR2a speakers the other night. Never owned a pair before, but have heard some good things about them. Anyway, my question is why does this speaker this age (approx 35 years old) sound so good. I couldnt believe the sound of these after I got them home and hooked them up. Using a Sansui QRX 5500 receiver. The seller had them running off some bpc, so I couldnt get a good feel about their sound, other than to make sure the drivers were all working. Since I only have 20.00 dollars into them, I figured it was worth a shot buying them. Thanks

onplane
01-31-2007, 03:34 PM
I picked a pair up myself tonight. They sound good but i don't hear the tweet or mid? How are you testing to see if these are still working or is it strictly by ear?? I like the sound from the woofer but i can only imagine how it may sound even better with a full compliment of mids and highs. I sounds great now.


The low cost fix to the mid and tweeter is to:

1. By-pass completely the tweeter pot
2. Cut the lead to the mid-pot wiper and solder to the top of the pot

This solves the huge problem of corrosion of the pot wipers. It's that corrosion which blocks current from reaching those sensitive drivers.

Regards,
Jerry

misterearl
02-03-2007, 12:29 AM
Not to threadjack, but I too just acquired a pair of AR2ax speakers. They were in a storage facility, and could not be tested - so of course there are problems. The VCs in both woofers, to a greater or lesser degree, are fried. It's a shame, as someone has nicely refoamed these woofers (or did they screw up the alignment and the VCs in the process? hmmm) Original replacements seem to be hard to come by, so any recommendations on a decent substitute? I have 2 ADS 10" woofers that were going into another project...

rocdad
02-03-2007, 12:46 AM
It would be worth it to try to re-center. The replacements are out there and you can catch the originals on ebay.

ozmoid
02-03-2007, 01:08 AM
It's a shame, as someone has nicely refoamed these woofers (or did they screw up the alignment and the VCs in the process? hmmm)
That's where I'd put my money. Cost you about $25 for a re-foam kit shipped from wooferrepair.com. If in doubt, cut the dustcaps out and use the shims in the kit to make certain the alignment is perfect - I just used the dustcaps in the kit on mine, and no ill effects on the sound to my ear, or anyone else's that's heard them. If you want to go original, AR Guy here on the forum might have some OEM dustcaps, or at least a more accurate replacement.

One of the most attractive things about the AR's is ZERO fatigue - you just never seem to tire of them. :music:

pmsummer
02-03-2007, 08:17 AM
Not to threadjack, but I too just acquired a pair of AR2ax speakers. They were in a storage facility, and could not be tested - so of course there are problems. The VCs in both woofers, to a greater or lesser degree, are fried. It's a shame, as someone has nicely refoamed these woofers (or did they screw up the alignment and the VCs in the process? hmmm) Original replacements seem to be hard to come by, so any recommendations on a decent substitute? I have 2 ADS 10" woofers that were going into another project...

First, try rotating them 180 degrees (or the whole speaker) to see if it's "sag".

Second, I have a spare pair of AR-2ax foam-surround woofers with new foam.

misterearl
02-03-2007, 01:10 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'm debating the diminishing returns aspect of working on these. The cabs are a little beat, the grilles show the outline of the cut-outs, they came from a smoker's home, and my wife hates them (fairly significant factor as far as placement in the house.) OTOH, they're original (except for the re-foam), have the AR emblems, and I want them!

I'll try rotating them and see how that works. (BTW, these are currently stored in the quite cold - but dry - garage; I just pushed in the woofer cones and there was no VC friction apparent.) Then maybe look at re-doing the surrounds and re-aligning the coils. My guess is I can't afford your replacement woofers, pmsummer, but what sort of ballpark price would you like to get for them?

Thanks again.

fotno
02-03-2007, 02:10 PM
OTOH, I gave away a pair of AR-3's before I got into the vintage scene.

Yes he did!:D

As to serial numbers, I don't think anyone has ever gone to the trouble to set up a data base of AR products, and If the factory ever had one it's long gone now. Of course I'd be happy to find out I was wrong! AR's are usually dated inside the cabinet, and often on the back of at least one of the drivers.

My 3's (yep the ones Ozmoid gave away - The ones he'll get back when I've died or gone deaf) have mids labelled '63, and the box is labelled '63, but even then I'd be surprised if that proved they were actually built in '63.