What's the difference between an AR XA and XA-91?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Z4N5H1N, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Z4N5H1N

    Z4N5H1N Nooblet

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I've been trying to figure this out for awhile now, but it's hard to find much info. I own an AR XA-91 that my Dad bought brand new in '71ish, and passed along to me. It's awesome, and it's...exactly the same as the AR XAs I've seen online.

    Visually, I can't see any difference between the XA and the XA-91. Does anyone know what the actual difference is?

    Anyone who has more info on the XA-91 in general please post it here too! I'm always curious to learn more about this thing. It's still bone stock, taken out of the box a couple months ago after sitting in storage for nearly 30 years, and it sounds fantastic!
     
  2. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,070
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    XA-91 had slightly upgraded tonearm sleeve bearing. Otherwise, normal AR XA. My XA is also XA-91, mine I bought new in 1973. Excellent basic turntable, the Thorens TD-150 and newer and the Linn LP 12 owe their genesis to the AR Turntable by the way.
     
  3. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

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    17,419
    Location:
    Lexington, Massachusetts
    I thought the XA-91 was an AR-XA with a Shure M91ED included. I didn't know there were other differences.
     
  4. grateful

    grateful Super Member

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    Mass
    bingo
     
  5. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    As mentioned, tonearm post is bigest give-away. The XA 91 will not have the contraption at the top of the arm pivot post to control drop. The arm post is also longer on the XA-91. I believe the XA-91 is the only one with caps soldered into the arm wire tree to get the overall capacitance to what the M91 cart wants to see.
     
    Peter G and beatcomber like this.
  6. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    23,070
    Location:
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    Yes, M 91 included as well. Checked my manuals.
     
  7. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

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    17,419
    Location:
    Lexington, Massachusetts
    So that's why you were asking me if my AR was an XA-91!
     
  8. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,953
    Could be :thmbsp: If memory serves me, your pivot post had the small delrin cups (in top shape) that can still be changed out to sapphire ones when you're ready :yes:
     
  9. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

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    17,419
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    I have no idea! :)
     
  10. Z4N5H1N

    Z4N5H1N Nooblet

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Cool, thanks for the info guys. Any thoughts on upgrades for this thing? It's bone stock right now, and it sounds pretty good, but I know these things are popular for modification. I'm thinking a new belt at the very least would be good for it.

    What else can I do to it for not much money that will help it out?
     
  11. loquatious

    loquatious village elder

    Messages:
    740
    Location:
    california
    interesting info. i've never seen an XA91. always curious about the variants. my TA is indistinguishable from any of my XA's. never been able to get a grip on why it has a different model designation.


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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  12. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
    17,419
    Location:
    Lexington, Massachusetts
    Calling Marc Morin to the rescue! He can hook you up. :yes:
     
  13. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The early days, and what things were called was a bit confusing. The TA I owned was the first model to use 1 motor, and the cast subchassis. The original AR turntable was simply called The Turntable I believe.

    Years later (1983) when AR re-introduced turntables, the middle line model was called The Turntable here in the States, and called the Legend in England.

    Anyway, back to topic. I really know of no difference between a TA and an XA in the years when the XA was single motor, cast subchassis, solid walnut base, with the possible exception that my TA top plate was probably left over enventory of the two motor top plates. Finished in gun metal gray paint instead of the lumpy rubbery crap. Oh and it was in like new condition. Really hated selling it.
     
  14. loquatious

    loquatious village elder

    Messages:
    740
    Location:
    california

    my TA is also like new. top plate has the textured surface and its definitely a one motor top plate. i'd been told several times that the TA predated the XA, but studying production serial numbers confirms the models were produced concurrently. my TA came with the original packaging, accessories, and documentation. the AR docs had 1967 dates on them, but as best as i can determine the table dates from 73. also, the box and sticker inside the plinth said "solid walnut" but it was a walnut veneer unit. box serial number and unit serial number matched, so i know it was all original. came with both the regular and "long hair" headshells too. great table, but i do prefer my modded XA to my stock units.

    since there is no difference between my TA and XA's that fall in the same serial number range, i've wondered if the TA's were perhaps units returned for a factory referb. could TA stand for "try again"?



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  15. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Odd, I didn't know the TA was produced with the later XA finishes such as veneer plywood and the lumpy top. Maybe somebody changed out the base with a later venner version. As the bases aren't numbered like the top plate and base board. I do have several bases that have numbers etched into them......anybody in the market for a SSN? :D <~~<< Really that was a attempt at humor, not a sales pitch.
     
  16. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,070
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    A TA was a 33 1/3 only AR turntable. The first AR turntables were TT models, the XA followed as an improvement. The TA could be converted to an XA by changing the motor pulley to a 2 speed pulley.
     
  17. loquatious

    loquatious village elder

    Messages:
    740
    Location:
    california
    my wood base has the original label with the serial number (TA220795) and says "oiled walnut" still glued to the inside of surface of the wood. the packing box has the same serial number and "oiled walnut" stamped on it. mine came originally with a two speed (33/45) pulley. and the original receipt dates it to 1973.

    i was curious about production and compiled some info AR folks might find interesting. it was compiled from ebay auctions over a period of six months in 2011. it documents production changes based on serial number. i cataloged various attributes, but was limited by what could be seen in the auction photos. the info documents that the TA and XA were produced concurrently, and for the same number of years, as you will see, although differentiated by TA or XA prefixes, they both were part of the same serial number sequence, and did not have separate serial number runs. these are arranged sequentially by serial number. its a lot of info. i'll need to split it into multiple posts. first post will document up to the change in base top texture.

    AR turntable production database by serial number.

    XA36261 (ebay, nj)
    motor: double
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA23408 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: black
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA38001 (ebay, ma)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA36924 (ebay, oh)
    motor: double
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA43143 (ebay, oh)
    motor: double
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?

    XA44992 (ebay, pa)
    motor: double
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    t-bar: notched
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?

    -----------------------------change to single motor------------------->

    XA46741 (ebay, co)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?

    XA49408 (ebay, il )
    motor: single
    base: ?
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA51462 (ebay, mi)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?

    XA55180 (ebay, nj)
    motor: dual
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: rust brown
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?
    t-bar: notched

    XA55785 (ebay, ca)
    motor: single (converted?)
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: rust brown (extra holes/tabs)
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?

    XA58379 (ebay, ca)
    motor: double
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year


    XA61904 (ebay, ca)
    motor: double
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: ?
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: brown
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA64333 (ebay, tn)
    motor: double
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: ?
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: brown
    base bottom: ?
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 year

    XA72994 (ebay, wi)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 years

    XA73116 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 1 years
    t-bar: notched

    -------------------------------change in warranty to 3 years------------------>

    XA74801 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA77449 (ebay, pa)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA80174 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA90250 (ebay, nj)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA92873 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: smooth gray
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years



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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  18. loquatious

    loquatious village elder

    Messages:
    740
    Location:
    california
    AR turntable production change database by serial number. part 2 starting with


    -------------------------------change to textured plinth top------------->

    XA95847 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    (nos? blue XB034469 box, XA number altered to 195847, logo on dutcover)

    XA99995 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    t-bar: un-notched
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    (m91ed)

    XA111045 (ebay, va)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA117441 (ebay, tx)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA119378 (ebay, ky)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA120067 (ebay, ?)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA121508 (ebay, il) (1969)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA126262 (ebay, mi)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA128405 (ebay, xx)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: ?

    XA129061 (ebay, mn)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA132566 (ebay, il)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    TA133335 (ebay, ha)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    M91ED
    address: 24 thorndike st. cambridge, mass 02141
    warranty: ?

    TA134128 (ebay, mo)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: 24 thorndike st. cambridge, mass 02141
    warranty: 3 years
    bought 1/30/1970

    XA152492 (ebay, tx)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA152548
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished

    XA160236 (ebay,ny)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA164796 (ebay,de)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XAU165367 (ebay,can)
    motor: single (universal - adjustable motor)
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XAU174219 (ebay,wa)
    motor: single (universal - 2 pulleys)
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st. (10 american dr on blue box)
    warranty: 3 years

    XA183934 (ebay,va)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA186551 (ebay,va)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: slot vents, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA193199 (ebay, ca) '67 docs.
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    blue box

    XAU199113 (ebay, co)
    motor: single (universal, 50/60hz)
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: slot vents w/hole, varnished
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA201690 (ebay, az)
    motor: single (universal)
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: ?
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    blue box

    XA205105 (ebay, in)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: ??
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA205449 (ebay, or)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA206109 (ebay, oh)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA208008 (ebay, md)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA210602 (ebay, ma)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: slot vents, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    --------------------------------change to solid bottom cover---------------->

    XA211828 (ebay, nj)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA214143 (ebay, pa)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA216141 (ebay, ca)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    TA220795 (ebay, colorado) (1973, '67 ar lit)
    motor: single
    base: walnut veneer (tagged oiled walunt)
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown (stamped BG)
    plinth bottom: green
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    M44ED
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    red box

    XAU239455 (ebay, mi)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    (international, 2 pulleies and switchable motor. orig sold in germany)


    XA241428 (ebay, ca)
    motor: single
    base: solid walnut
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years
    blue box

    XA246789 (ebay, ny)
    motor: single
    base: vinyl veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: black
    base bottom: ??
    address: ??
    warranty: ??
    t-bar: unnotched

    XA247162 (ebay, wa)
    motor: single
    base: real walnut veneer
    headshell: black
    plinth top: ?? (covered in birch vemeer)
    plinth bottom: ??
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    XA248769 (ebay, az)
    motor: single
    base: vinyl veneer
    headshell: ?
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: black
    base bottom: solid, waxed
    address: thorndike st.
    warranty: 3 years

    ------------------------address change------------------>

    XA249719 (ebay, can)
    motor: single
    base: real walnut veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: solid, varnished
    address: 10 american drive, norwood, mass 02062
    warranty: 3

    XA256272 (ebay, mn)
    motor: single
    base: vinyl veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: gray
    base bottom: solid, cardboard
    address: american drive
    warranty: 3

    XA260712 (ebay, ma)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: solid, masonite
    address: american drive
    warranty: 3

    XA264517 (ebay, ml)
    motor: single
    base: veneer
    headshell: gray
    plinth top: textured brown
    plinth bottom: ?
    base bottom: solid, masonite
    address: american drive
    warranty: 3




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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  19. loquatious

    loquatious village elder

    Messages:
    740
    Location:
    california
    you might be thinking of the TX, which followed the TT. my TA, and every other i have documented had a 33/45 pulley.


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  20. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,070
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    TX being single speed. Interesting. Some TT and TA were also single speed. My TA was a 3300 ish serial number and single speed only when I got it. I later converted it to 2 speed operation.
     

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