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tysontom

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  1. tysontom

    AR LST Stand

    Two types of AR-LST stands I have used in the past, one a wall mount and the other a floor mount to get the LST up approximately 36" or so from the floor: Tom Tyson
  2. tysontom

    AR3 - repairs performed by AR?

    No, those are not Acoustic Research tags. Those look like some military tag of some type, probably unrelated to the speakers themselves. Finding the original shipping cartons is not common, but not unusual either. Most responsible owners (those who had storage room) did retain the shipping cartons -- as requested by AR with the original instructions -- so that if the speakers needed to be returned for service, these boxes were the safest way to do it. Finding original cartons with these speakers usually indicated slightly greater care by the owner, and it always adds to the value later on. I think that by the 1980s, factory service was not the usual form of field repair, and many speakers were referred to "authorized service stations" for fixes. In any event, all of the original-type drivers were no longer available by that time anyway. The serial-number range of these AR-3s would put them in the mid-1960s period for production in Cambridge. Send some pictures of the drivers for better identification. All AR-3s had the grill material attached to the molded-plastic grill frames after about the first year of production back in 1959. The pressboard frames were only used with the earliest version of the AR-3, and are characterized by only one side of the bottom of the frame (woofer end) having the "triangular" section at the point of the AR logo plate. Plastic frames had the triangular shape on both sides of the bottom of the frame. Insofar as the frame has to be "flexed" to put into place before gluing, the plastic frame was originally better suited to this purpose and would hold its shape better than the earlier frame. As time wore on, however, the plastic became a bit more brittle and prone to snap or break when trying to remove the grill. Great care must be used in removing and replacing the grills on AR-3s, and you can invariably tell when a grill panel has been removed. The factory, however, glued the frames in place, and the frames did not move or allow stretching of the material. --Tom Tyson
  3. tysontom

    AR3 with no finish. Where to start?

    Richard, Congratulations on your very lucky "find!" These are definitely first-generation AR-3s (notice the pressboard grill frame with only one side with the angle support at the woofer end). These would also have the midrange drivers without the later white butyl-latex around the voice-coil gap, and thus these midrange drivers likely haven't lost efficiency as the white material hardens later in life! The white material was added by Roy Allison after he joined AR in late 1959. This is perhaps the most "famous" loudspeaker system ever built during the 1950-1980 period, so you should be proud of your find. If I had these speakers, I would not even attempt to remove the grills. It is actually very rare to find a pair as unmolested as these. First of all, it will not be easy to get the the grills off, and once you do, you'll never get them back on like it was done at the factory. There will always be a sag here or there. If all of the drivers work okay, you are actually in good shape. The one tweeter that sounds like it is distorting might likely have "popped" slightly, a condition whereby the dome separates at an angle from the foam suspension because of the pressure of the fiberglass pad under the dome and the presence of excessive amplifier power somewhere in time. This occurred in a pretty good number of tweeters, so it's not uncommon, considering the very low sensitivity of these special loudspeakers. Most amplifiers just don't perform well with AR-3s, but the McIntosh transformer-coupled amps love the AR-3s, so you are lucky to have that Mac amp. These 3s likely also have oil-filled capacitors in the crossover, so the capacitance values have likely not changed over time. The level controls are always the culprits in poor midrange and tweeter performance, so the only way to tackle this (without ripping into the speakers) is to use some contact spray down along the shafts of each level control (with speakers face-down) and then begin the routine of "twiddling" the controls backward and forwards several hundred times. Then you leave the room and return in a day or so only to find that some contact has mysteriously returned! If you can get the controls to function, I would not try to go in and change crossover pieces. As for the Ponderosa Pine "utility" cabinets, I would leave them 100% stock and don't put any finish on the wood at all. You could sand the wood and wax them lightly, but if you finish them, they will look worse. The black paint isn't pretty, but you could sand some of it away and not worry about the rest! It doesn't actually detract from the true value of these speakers. The utility cabinets were originally not designed to have anything on them, thus the "utility" moniker. Utility speakers were to be the "workhorses" of the industry, and many were used in professional applications. The grill molding is solid birch, and it should be sanded and lightly waxed only as well. You are lucky to have found these speakers. That serial number range indicates that they were built in the first three or four months of production, around February or March of 1959. The AR-3 was officially introduced to the public in July, 1958 at the Chicago audio fair, and this was the only time the prototype was shown to the public (only one ever made). By the Fall of 1958, the AR-3 was officially introduced at the New York High Fidelity Music Show. In the first day, AR received 500 firm orders from dealers. The AR-3 speaker began to ship to dealers in the early months of 1959. Beautiful speakers! --Tom Tyson
  4. tysontom

    The Venerable Bose 901 Discontinued After 50 Years

    The Bose 901 may not have been the best-selling loudspeaker of all time; that honor probably goes to the Dynaco A25 or perhaps even The Advent Loudspeaker (original version), but the Bose 901 was—with the exception of the low-production Klipschorn—in production longer than any other commercial system, nearly 50 years. It’s interesting that the 901 was extremely maligned over time; for one thing, it could make some other speakers in a showroom seem very anemic, and many dealers “bad-mouthed” the speaker unmercifully. The 901 had equalized deep bass down to nearly 30 Hz, albeit accompanied by an increase in 2nd order (generally less objectionable) harmonic distortion, and few speakers could reach down that low. With an appropriately huge power amplifier such as Bose’s own 1801, the 901 could play at volume levels approaching ear-bleed, and few other speakers could come close without damage. But in terms of generally good overall sound quality and unsurpassed “spaciousness” in the sound field, the Bose 901 was a fine loudspeaker, and it was more than good enough for most high-fidelity audiophiles. It always sounded effortless playing classical music. It was certainly the product that energized the great Bose Corporation to become one of the very largest, and most-successful, consumer-electronics firms in the world. Bose revised the 901 over time to make it easier to mass-produce to improve quality, up the efficiency (one major problem with the early sealed systems) and improve profitability by eliminating much of the hand-labor involved with the original versions. —Tom Tyson
  5. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Yes, better late than never! I didn't realize that I could edit the actual subject line itself, but the originator has some slight latitude. What files do you need? I think I dropped some files after my file load approached maximum. I can replace any that are needed for download. --Tom
  6. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Also, check the number of "views" on this one topic! More than 72,000! There are very few topics that have been viewed this often. This shows the popularity of ADS' L-series tower speakers, especially the L1590. --Tom Tyson
  7. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Notice any difference in this topic? I corrected my early logo mistake: "a/d/s/ L1590 to the correct version, ADS L1590!" ADS didn't change to the more avant garde "a/d/s/" until the late 1980s with the M-series. --Tom Tyson
  8. tysontom

    Book: The History of Acoustic Research

    Hi Mike, Thanks for your message! Any information (particularly images) would be great as I plod along with my project. I would love to see what you have collected. I notice a couple Hewlett-Packard instruments stacked together in the background. Send me a message offline, too. Thanks, --Tom
  9. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    lakecat, I think your comments about the ADS L980 do reflect a common sentiment about the spectral balance of the ADS woofer, midrange and tweeter. These are accurate and analytical dome drivers, but they have a lot of output, and this sometimes comes across as being a bit forward-sounding. Also, some ADS woofers tend to be slightly over-damped in some instances in an effort to avoid "warmth" in the sound, and this makes the speakers seem dry and lacking in bass in some respects. I don't sense this dryness when I listen to my 1290s, but it may be that the 980 is that way since it was intended to be used in recording studios and high-end installations. Also, you are going to be hard-pressed to find a woofer that can surpass the AR-3a in the region from 500 Hz down to 30 Hz or so; it is nearly perfect in this range with very uniform output and extremely low harmonic distortion. I would love to see the measurement curves on the L980, but I'm sure it is excellent, nonetheless. I don't know the Q of that system or its actual bass resonance (fc) frequency, but I think the latter is around 41 Hz or so, similar to the AR-3a. I suspect that the Q is somewhere between 0.7 and 0.5 judging by the "dry" sound. The AR-3a is 0.7 to 1.0, approximately. I have found that the best place to listen to ADS speakers (in general) is in a large, well-padded living room with little slap echo. A "live" room can be difficult sometimes, but in the right room these speakers can sound great! In any event, ADS always tried to get the most accuracy from their products, and their design and production-control methods for the dome tweeters was outstanding, and there is rarely any variation in the sound. It is unfortunate that most of the ADS (and later a/d/s/) models did not get widespread critical acclaim and reviews in the way that AR speakers did through the years. Julian Hirsch did give the 1290 very high marks, and Julian was basically very fond of Acoustic Research products through the years. Overall, AR received many glowing reviews and tests, and ADS was not tested as much for some reason, yet each design was superb in its own way. Consider this interesting tidbit: ADS manufactured (for the most part) their drivers for the 1090, 1290 and 1590 in-house in the Wilmington, MA facility; the cabinets were made in Germany and shipped to the US! It's amazing that this could be considered economical, but somehow it worked for ADS at the time. --Tom Tyson
  10. At one time there was a very nice Marantz 10B FM tuner in EV's system, and the speakers were AR-3s upgraded by Roy Allison to replace aging original midrange and tweeter with the Allison: Three midrange and tweeter. EV also had a beautiful rosewood harpsichord among other things. It was a very nice home in a sleepy area of Woodstock, NY. Did you get an pictures while there? Thanks for your report.
  11. tysontom

    AR-XA in box?

    Frank, I can see you are fully committed to LPs and vintage vinyl, and that’s wonderful—to each his own, of course. And you're right, there is a resurgence of vinyl (although miniscule in the grand scheme of things) with collectors. This is good to know, because I have many hundreds of LPs that I am going to sell soon. I listen to an occasional LP, and I really enjoy some of the early LPs that I have—mostly classical and jazz, but I prefer CDs to vinyl simply because: · CDs have much wider bandwidth · CDs have more accurate, lower-distortion reproduction · CDs have much lower noise · CDs have much greater dynamic range · CDs don’t have record noise, scratches, pops and clicks that are present to a small degree on even the best-preserved LPs. · CDs don’t gradually wear out over time · CDs don’t require a lot of personal intervention to start and stop, etc. For casual listening when I’m not fixated on sound reproduction, I listen to HD FM broadcasts. However, I will say one thing, I have had a number of manual and automatic turntables over the years. I had a Thorens TD-124 with an SME tonearm and Ortofon cartridge. Later I owned a Linn Sondek LP12. I later had a very nice direct-drive Denon table with another SME tonearm. But through it all, I had my two-motor and my later single-motor AR-XA turntable (with the AR arm, which I consider excellent) and a variety of Shure V-15 cartridges. I never ever saw any advantage to any of the Thorens, LS or Denon (although the Denon direct-drive setup came up to speed almost instantly!). The AR Turntable tracked about as well as any of them, had perfect speed constancy and virtually no acoustic feedback, which the others had to some degree or another. The biggest compliment to the AR-XA was the complete and unabashed imitation of the AR-XA by the Linn Sondek LP12, with the only difference being the price. The LP12 was probably 10X as expensive and offered absolutely no improvement in performance. —Tom
  12. tysontom

    AR-XA in box?

    This is definitely not "new-old stock," but rather an AR-XA (or TA) that "has a box with it." Most responsible AR Turntable owners held on to the boxes. What this seller is trying to do it convince potential buyers that this turntable has never been used and has been in the box forever. One look at the way the inserts are arranged on top of the platen (obviously, the seller wasn't familiar with the way the turntable packed into the original box), and it's clear that the turntable has definitely been out of the box. This is my old AR two-motor turntable, and how one should look if well preserved. I displayed this one at the AR "40th Birthday Party" in New York in 1994, too. The pictures below were taken a couple months ago, the turntable was build around 1963. --Tom Tyson _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  13. tysontom

    Filled Fillet Foam on AR-9 8" LMW

    ________________________________________________________ That treatment ("bead") just inside the surround was a machine-applied butyl-rubber compound used on nearly every AR stamped-basket, foam-surround woofer beginning with ferrite woofers used in AR-3as, LSTs, later AR-5s, AR-6s AR-7s and so forth. It was there as an edge-damping and termination point on the cone and as part of the attachment. I don't think a newer filleted surround -- other than its compliance advantage -- offers that much improvement in edge damping. Even the bead has only a minor effect, but it was a small enhancement. An early version of that was the pre-1964 AR-3 Alnico woofers with its foam inner damping pads and the foam ring just inside the cloth surround. This outer ring was later discontinued, as it did very little to improve performance. --Tom Tyson
  14. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Glitch, Thanks for your interesting comments and for the part numbers as listed. The L980 and AR-3a are very similar, of course, in layout and function. Both are low-resonance acoustic-suspension designs with dome midrange and dome tweeters (both ¾-inch) and similar crossover characteristics. A direct A-B comparison would be very interesting. I've never read a report on a comparison between these two fine speakers, but I think there were far fewer L980s out there than AR-3as or its later iterations (AR-10, AR-58, AR98Ls, etc). On the other hand, I did compare my L1290/2 and AR-3a speakers, and I can comment a bit on that comparison. It was difficult to compare them, as the optimal spot for the 3a is flush in a bookshelf, and the 1290 has to be out slightly from the front wall, toed-in a bit, to be positioned optimally. I am fond of both the 1290/2 and the AR-3a; unfortunately, the 50-year-old AR-3a dome tweeters are beginning to deteriorate, causing lower output from the domes. Perhaps a better comparison for the L980 would be an AR-10π, AR58 or AR78 with their cloth-dome tweeters. In the bass, the AR-3a has a slight advantage in low-frequency extension, but the differences are subtle and only noticeable on organ or electronic music or jazz with prominent kick drum or orchestral bass drum. The 1290 isn't deficient, but it's slightly less prominent and less "warm." Part of this difference, too, is the relative balance between the woofers and high-range drivers in the ADS vs. AR speakers. AR's midrange and treble are more reticent, on-axis, and the output is slightly downward-sloping in the higher frequencies; this is not the case with the 1290, as it is quite uniform throughout the midrange and treble. Therefore, the 1290 is more "forward" and brighter-sounding than the AR-3a; however, well back in the reverberant listening area, where the predominant sound is reflected, there are fewer differences in the balance of the sound between these two systems, mainly because the dispersion of the 3a's hard-dome tweeter is somewhat wider than that of the soft-dome ADS tweeter. Therefore, the excellent power response of the AR-3a makes up for its on-axis reticence. The AR-3a's 1½-inch dome midrange also has better dispersion than the 2-inch dome in 1290, but the clarity of the output from the ADS tweeters is just about unsurpassed. Both of these speaker systems are so good that it would be hard to find too much fault with either system. Therefore, I never found a favorite. The ADS seems to bring you a bit closer to the music and there is that outstanding midrange and treble clarity. The AR-3a is more laid-back, but it has a smooth, very natural reproduction of midrange and treble. In the bass, the AR-3a is more solid, but the differences are subtle. Perhaps a draw. —Tom Tyson
  15. tysontom

    ADS L1590

    Hi Glitch, Great message. Regarding the L980s, I wonder how it would compare, ultimately, with the AR-3a? There would be a fairly close resemblance in terms of bandwidth and spectral balance, except that the ADS speakers would have noticeably greater upper-midrange and treble output in comparison with the AR-3a. As for accuracy, it would be a close call, with both speakers representing a very high level of smoothness and low distortion. I am quite surprised that at least one of ADS's later designs didn't make it to Stereophile magazine's "Best Top Speakers of the Past 40 Years." You just never know how these things will go, but there were several ADS speaker that could easily have outmatched several of the magazine's top picks. Of course, Stereophile magazine (much like TAS) reviews and articles were heavily weighed on subjective evaluation and judgment, and the results were usually more emotional than objective. https://www.stereophile.com/content/40-years-istereophilei-hot-100-products-page-7 By the way, you are exactly right about the different part numbers for the ADS 1590 and 1290! For some reason I thought the tweeters were identical, but it's not the case. According to what I found in my files: L1290: tweeter 206-0117, mid 206-0211, woofer 206-0349 L1590: tweeter 206-0119, mid 206-0213, woofer 206-0350. I'm not positive that these are the Series 2 part numbers or the original series, but I think so. You may know for sure. --Tom
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