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Rich W

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About Rich W

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 09/17/1954

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Long Island, New York
  • Interests
    Classical Music, Vintage Audio Restoration, Amateur Astronomy

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  1. I know I'm just reiterating what I've stated on these pages before, but given the context, I feel it bares repeating. Back in the day, as a 19 year-old "nerd", I was, even in that early time, most interested in what it took to simulate a live musical performance in a home setting, with the state-of -the-art gear at my disposal. I had combed every audio magazine of the day looking for information, Stereo Review, High Fidelity and Audio, and came to the conclusion that AR speakers, at least from an advertising standpoint, seemed closest to my stated goal. With a thirst to learn more, I visited the AR exhibit at Grand Central Station in early 1973. I quickly realized that all the advertising hype was in fact true (at least to my ears), and set out to purchase a pair of AR-3a's. I then visited an audio retailer on 6th Ave, NYC (adjacent to the aforementioned 45th Street conglomerate of retail audio stores). I was quickly shunted away from the AR products and introduced to the "Fairfax" (house) brand of speakers, for which I fell hook, line and sinker, in most likelihood more to the sales person's hype than to my own ears. Several months later (and after "donating" the aforementioned Fairfax's to my parents), I revisited that same audio salon and insisted that I wanted to buy a pair of AR-3a's. After much dis-suasion, I did leave with a pair of 3a's, and the rest is history. Whatever the relationship (or lack thereof) existed between AR and its retailers, I can only vouch to the superiority of their product. Call it snob appeal, elitism or whatever you choose, AR knew what they had. To this day, I am a total shill for their vintage offerings. Rich W
  2. As a follow up to my previous post, it's pretty incredible how a pair of diminutive AR-7's respond to a substantial boost in the 31 hz range with a graphic equalizer. Just don't expect to play them at anything higher than room-conversational volume levels!
  3. Steve, interesting post. From my experience, the difference between the AR-3a and its lesser brethren is a matter of amplitude in that lowest octave relative to the upper bass/mid-range and the ability to reproduce it at substantial volume levels, and not from the inability for the 5/2ax/4x to reproduce frequencies in that range. My 4xa's will rattle the windows in my living room with a 27 hz tone, but only to a point volume-wise and of course, diminished relative to higher frequencies. That's where the 12 inch ARs show their authority - with flat frequency response extending that sub-contra octave and ability to reproduce it at high volume levels. - Rich W
  4. Rich W

    Questions: AR-3A or AR-5 or AR-2AX?

    The early AR-2ax has totally revised my opinion of ARs mid-sixties offerings. At first, I thought it was simply a poorer and wannabe brother to the AR3 and 3a, until I happened upon a pair at a yard sale for the undesputable price of $50. Saving the details for a future post, the early cloth-woofer and phenolic tweeter 2ax demonstrated, in my listening space, superior sound to my restored AR-3a's. This reinforces my view that the AR3/AR-3a's need a large room in which to "bloom". For smaller, more modest sized rooms, an AR-2ax or AR-5 will likely yield better sound. Waiting for the universe to reveal a pair of AR5's to me! Can't wait! Hope this helps. Don't think you have to pay 3/3a prices to get superior sound. Rich W
  5. Rich W

    1965 High Fidelity AR-4 review

    Ra.Ra, thanks so much for posting this. It's wonderful to read the superlatives used to describe the AR-4 "back in the day", while at the same time having the direct experience we collectively have of these classics right now in the current age. I just restored a pair of first-generation AR-2ax's and I've been totally beside myself for the last few weeks with how these things sound. I don't think I've ever experienced such superb sound in my listening room (with my 23 years of tweaking) ever. And that includes my prized AR-3a's! But I digress . . . That's for a future post! Anyway, thanks for sharing that review. Rich W
  6. Rich W

    Found AR90s in a FREE pile near the road

    Wow . . . congratulations!. it doesn't get much better when it comes to curbside finds. Been there (and it feels really good!), with a pair of AR-11s found curbside a few years back. Just needed new woofer surrounds.
  7. Good question, and I have to admit this was a purely subjective test. I never ran a frequency response curve on the A-25 in order to do a true "apples to apples" comparison with my ARs. But the roll off below 50hz must be much steeper than the typical acoustic suspension speaker. While it is true that the A-25 is a 10" design, its magnet is smaller and lightweight when compared to AR 8" woofers. Its excursion range is less as well. Again, I'm not disparaging the A-25 - it is a fine speaker. It just doesn't deliver quality low bass when compared to AR's even most modest models. Also, "sins of omission" at frequency extremes are far preferable to a speaker which adds higher harmonics when it can't reproduce fundamental frequencies.
  8. Notwithstanding the inaccuracies in the Stereophile review, I'm a bit nonplussed by the glowing descriptions of bass response from the Dynaco A-25. While the review compares the A-25 favorably to the venerable "AR-5A", my own tests confirm that even budget AR-4x has superior bass response, forget about models higher up on the food chain. . Here are my comments from a forum inquiry awhile back, where a forum member was curious about the AR-4x vs, the Dynaco A-25: "I recently did just such a comparison (AR-4x vs. Dynaco A-25). I would characterize the Dynaco A-25 as having one of the most neutral and uncolored sounds of any speaker I've come across. By comparison, The AR-4x has a noticeable roughness in the midrange. However, in the lower bass region, it's a different story. While the A-25 lends absolutely no coloration to the bass it can reproduce, it does not have any usable output below about 50 Hz. The AR-4x however continues to respond well, albeit with reduced output, all the way down to around 30 Hz. In fact, I ran a 31.5 Hz test tone ( a sub-contra 'C') through both speakers. The Dynaco responded with upper harmonics and virtually no fundamental tone. The 4x's responded well enough to rattle glassware on a wall-mounted shelf about 10 ft. away from the speaker (I ran the same test with an AR-7 with similar results). So again, it depends on what's more important to you" Those of you who have read my posts know of my oft mentioned "sub-contra C" test, which no AR speaker, even the 8" woofer models, has ever failed. That's why I love ARs! Rich W
  9. Rich W

    AR7 upgrade or not

    Hi Vincenzo, Believe it or not, that second curve has no equalization whatsoever. You'll notice that my previous curve, (which has the superimposed response of the 3a) has a broad crest in the lower midrange and a peak at 1.6k. My 31-band equalizer can easily correct this, with the resulting response as flat as my most recent curve. However, I was wondering whether more could be done to improve the frequency response curve without resorting to equalization. The broad crest is ubiquitous with all AR 8" models since the inception of the AR-4, the so called "house curve ". The peak at 1.6k seemed more out of character with the AR philosophy of flat response in real world listening situations. I don't know if this deviation is specific to the AR-7 design itself, or the result of aging drivers. I will be posting a detailed post with my solution to further flatten the response of the AR-7. Basically, it involves upgrading the AR -7 crossover to an amalgam of 1st and 2nd generation AR-6 crossovers. These modifications have no effect on bass response. Any minor differences you see are the result of my positioning the speakers slightly closer to the room boundaries. After 23 years, I'm still making refinements to get the best listening experience in this room! Rich W
  10. Rich W

    AR7 upgrade or not

    Another incredible testament to the AR-7. I've attached two relevant documents. The first is Julian Hirsch's review from the March 1973 issue of Stereo Review (I'm not certain if its appeared in this forum). It underscores Steve F's post re: AR-7 vs. AR-LST. The second is a free-field frequency response curve from my own primary listening room. Note the incredibly uniform response, +/- 5dB from 38 hz to 7.5k hz. This curve is smoother than an earlier one I posted several years back, owing to some crossover modifications I made which I will be posting about soon. All this talk about the AR-7 has made me place them back in rotation in my main listening room. They are truly my "desert island" speakers, notwithstanding the rest of my AR collection. Rich W AR-7 JHirsch review.pdf
  11. Rich W

    The Perils of Stacking Speakers

    I think your horizontal placement is exactly what makes your setup work. I didn't try that with my AR18s. Are your woofers lined up vertically, or staggered to left and right?
  12. Rich W

    The Perils of Stacking Speakers

    Excellent post. While stacking seems like a good idea, the interactions it creates amongst various drivers, especially in three-way systems, yields a haphazard and unintentional positive result at best, and a blurring and loss of resolution and timbre at worst. While I haven't had any experience in stacking high-end AR speakers, such as the LST and 3a, I have on several occasions attempted to stack pairs of AR 8" woofer models (in particular the AR-18), and consistently experienced less than ideal results. The stereo image and sound field didn't seem plausable as a reproduction of a live event (note my bias as primarily a classical music listener), being somewhat indistinct and unfocused. Much has been written in these pages about driver interaction and lobing effects within a single speaker. especially with our beloved classics. We're really in uncharted territory when these interactions are increased exponentially as a result of stacking. In addition to driver interaction, the room, and its accompanying boundary interaction with the speakers themselves plays a large part in whether the stacked approach will yield positive results. This is not meant to disparage the practice of stacking speakers - just my own experience and what I believe to be the potential sources of problems. It's a practice that has to be evaluated on a case by case basis, with the listener being the ultimate arbiter. Rich W
  13. Rich W

    AR7 upgrade or not

    Hi Vincenzo, The AR-18s is a later incarnation of the AR-7, with identical cabinet sizes and from a functional standpoint, virtually identical woofers. So you wouldn't be gaining any low frequency performance over your 7's. From your description of your mono source imaging test, I'm certain there are no phasing issues. In fact, the tweeter in the AR-7 is intentionally wired out of phase with the woofer, part of the crossover design. It sounds like your room dimensions, along with your listening position is causing the deficiency you hear in the 40 to 60 hz range. While a graphic equalizer can be of corrective assistance, I would hesitate to add more than a 3dB boost, which is very modest and may not compensate enough to satisfy you. Since you want to build on what you already have (that superb sound stage and lifelike quality), I think Michiganpat's recommendation to add a subwoofer makes the most sense. You can then vary the placement to get that extra boost you need. Remember that low bass is non-directional, so the sub doesn't even need to be near your 7's. Just play with its position until the balances seem right. Also, make sure you use a low crossover frequency to ensure you don't cause problems with your mid-bass response (100 - 200 hz). That's the foundation of the good sound you're getting now. Rich W
  14. Rich W

    AR7 upgrade or not

    Hi Vincenzo, Happy to help out best I can. Regarding the AR-17, my experience is that they image at least as good as the AR-7, and better than the AR-3a in near-field listening situations. This is no suprise since rhe AR-17 uses essentially the same woofer as the AR-7, and an updated version of the 1 1/4 inch tweeter with a slightly larger magnet and ferro fluid in the voice coil gap to aid in cooling. As you can see from the graph your referring to, its high frequency response is more extended as well. Low bass is more extended due to its larger cabinet size. The AR-17 exhibited the flatest response I've ever measured in my listening room. The AR-17 is the next generation version of the AR-6/AR-4xa, as the AR-18 follows the AR-7. It is likewise a superb speaker. As far as producing a "you are there" sound field, there is something to keep in mind with the AR-17 - it is an extremely accurate speaker, but it is on the bright side when compared to earlier generation AR offerings. Therefore, and especially when listening in the near field, you should decrease the tweeter level and probably also roll off the highs a bit at your amplifier. For classical music, this will give you more of an "6th row" concert hall experience. This illusion is easily destroyed by a hot treble, which many of today's classical music recordings exhibit due to close micing techniques. Speakers with flat treble response only exacerbate this quality, even though they are technically more accurate. I even run my AR-7's with the tweeter set to "Normal" rather than "Flat", along with a modest additional roll off from my graphic equalizer. As far as the AR -17 compared to an AR-6, I would consider them equivalent, with the above caveat regarding the hotter treble. Aesthetics is another matter. I prefer the beige linen grills of the classic series to the acoustically transparent foam of the next generation ADD series. Regarding the bass quality of the 7/17/3a, I would say that the 7 and 17 are "tight", and may almost seem bass-shy - until you play a recording with real bass! They will not add anything to the sound, especially in the bass region, if it isn't on the recording. In contrast, the AR-3a has a tendency to sound a bit "thick" on occasion. In my room, I use a graphic equalizer to tame the bottom octave. Don't get me wrong - I love the AR-3a. But its bass can easily overpower a smaller room. I've been having some fun with a restored pair of first generation AR-2ax's (cloth surround alnico woofers). I've found that they sound better (i.e. present a better sound stage) in the near field than my 3a's. In the far field the 3a's still reign supreme. I haven't come to any conclusions whether they sound as good as or better than the 7's and 17's closer in. It's a closer call. Best Regards, Rich W
  15. Rich W

    AR LST Review

    Thanks for posting this review. It's one of the more informative ones I've seen on the LST. Since the drivers are the same, much of the test data can be extrapolated and applied to the AR-3a.
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