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About Diamonds&Rust

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  1. Diamonds&Rust

    Carl Richard (Carlspeak) RIP 11-11-2017

    I have not been around much for years, but was told of Carl's passing and just wanted to pay my respects here.
  2. Diamonds&Rust

    Roy's listening 9 vs NHT 3.3 vs 10Pi

    Harry, of course I never got the chance to listen to the NHT 3.3 using vinyl, although I suppose I could do it now..., but... now is "too late" for me. I rarely have time to spend a full 45 minutes in front of my stereo without interruption and I can't see spending the kind of money they are asking for turntables, tonearms, and cartridges these days to be able to listen to my LPs from 40 years ago. My opinion of the outcome... I don't have an opinion. My guess is that the outcome would have been the same. The differences between the two speaker systems are not subtle and they aren't really subjective. The 3.3 would play what was on the vinyl with more accuracy than the 9. Which someone might "prefer" would be up to them.
  3. Diamonds&Rust

    Roy's listening 9 vs NHT 3.3 vs 10Pi

    Steve et al. I've just dropped-in to agree with almost everything that has been said in this discussion. My points of contention are small, but then, maybe not. My "basic" point would be this: The NHT 3.3 has benefited from advances in driver technology, the MTM-type driver arrangement, and its purely functional physical shape. It does not suffer some of the challenges AR had with crossover design and so has less "stuff" to adversely affect the signal getting to the drivers and fewer areas of crossover overlap to cause lobing and other undesirable things. You've seen the experience of the AR-9 referred-to as one a listener might prefer. I cannot comment on that. What I can say is that the NHT 3.3 will play sounds that you can't force the AR-9 to reproduce by fooling around with tone controls or an equalizer, so it isn't a matter of flat vs emphasizing one part of the audio spectrum or another. I chalk this up to advances in driver technology and the aging of the AR drivers. You asked about bass impact. It depends on what you mean by that. The AR-9 seems (to me) to be able to more easily produce that over-pressure sensation you get sitting in a church with a powerful pipe organ. These frequencies are as much felt as heard and it should surprise noone that four of AR's woofers located more or less at the junction of a wall and floor are capable of projecting really extremely loud, almost sub-sonic, clean bass energy into a room. If I am looking for a someone-has-hit-me-in-the-chest "BAM!" from a speaker, I have to confess to finding the single NHT 3.3 driver entirely up to the task and more convincingly than the AR-9 does. That was unexpected. If you look at the driver configuration of the 9, you would think that the 8" would give the impact "sound" while the 12" would give the physical impact. My guess is that the crossover's being so high in the AR-9's bass section means the crossover itself may be reducing the "effective" "BANG!" associated with the "BAM!". For rolling thunder, though, you have to smile at what the 9 does, almost as a physics trick. Having said that... I have to believe that the NHT 3.3 is more accurate in every respect. After spending a great deal of time with both (more with the 9), I have settled on the NHT 3.3 as my "listening experience of choice," due to its highly, highly articulate nature (having nothing to do with "brightness"). The 3.3 will simply reproduce details in the music that the AR-9 cannot. I am getting older. My high-frequency hearing is diminishing. If either speaker makes noise above 14k, I can no longer hear it. You or someone mentioned electrostatic speakers. You know how articulate they are. Human voice, particularly female voice, is amazing on electrostatics. I find the NHT 3.3 to give me an experience as though I am in front of electrostatics, but without the high frequency roll-off of an electrostatic, and without the loss of power in the upper bass registers. In short, I'm saying that the 3.3, to me, sounds like a "perfect electrostatic speaker." The experience of listening to the 9 and the 3.3s is very, very different. Speaking for myself only, I find it easy to move from listening to an AR-9 to the NHT 3.3 and *impossible* to move the other direction. Well, that is, I used-to. Not long after this listening-experience was shared I relegated the 9s to another room. Lest you think it is my opinion, only: My wife, on inspecting the 3.3s, asked if I intended to leave "those things" in the living room (with disdain). After hearing them she asked if I had to move them out. As to the concert-hall experience of the AR-9, I would say, "Yes," I can hear less detail in a marimba from sixty feet away than I can sitting next to it."
  4. Diamonds&Rust

    AR9's got my fingers crossed.....

    I'm so jealous. Restoring the AR9s I bought new was such a good experience that I'm just jealous of you guys still getting to do those fun things. I just dropped in to see who was still around and if there was still any interest in these old girls. First thing, I run across something that makes me nostalgic for the old fun and old friends. I keep my eyes open for unloved examples to restore, one day, when I get time again. If I get time again. I'll be doing it mostly just for love, and not for either money or listening. My youngest is about to become a junior in high school, and so I guess in August of 2014 when she goes to college I will finally have some time again. Then I'm hoping to join you again. Bret
  5. Diamonds&Rust

    Fourth of July Steal of the Century

    One last little bit of input, then. The only shipping damage I've had to this era speaker has happened twice - If they are "jolted" on the top or bottom (dropped from a few inches or pounded in the very back of a large truck over a big bump), the upper midrange magnets like to shear off the drivers. They are big and heavy. I'm not suggesting you would want any driver to be damaged, but the upper midranges and tweeters are probably the two drivers you least want to be damaged because they are hard to replace and for all practical purposes impossible to repair. I've never had a tweeter come apart like that. Those are usually "poked" by not being held firmly away from the sides of a box.
  6. Diamonds&Rust

    AR-3a Crossover Resistors

    We've talked and argued this just about to-death over the years. Here's what I've "decided." "Deciding" a thing isn't necessarily the same thing as "knowing" a thing. What possible difference could it make to put a resistor on a capacitor that's attached to a potentiometer? Heck, just move the potentiometer, and voilla!, more resistance! So why is there even any debate? I *know* this is insane. "Knowing" a thing is the same thing as "knowing" a thing. The difference in resistor on / resistor off CAN be heard. Why? I'm not getting involved, but the only sane guess is an effect in the crossover region where two drivers are playing the same frequency. Don't ask what effect because, as I say, I'm not getting involved. Tempers flair. Accusations fly. Faiths are shattered. Why do I recommend you simply forget the resistor? It's easier to leave it out AND most importantly we are talking about a difference you really have to listen-for like you're trying to hear the position of a tiger crouching in the dark just out of your eyesight. You may be able to tell the tiger's there by hearing its breath frighten a cricket into hopping to a different leaf of grass, but man... you gotta really be listening like your life depends on it. And it doesn't. The tiger's gonna eat you whether you know where it is, or not. Okay, so maybe it's a little more obvious than cricket-hopping, but the truth is that you cannot possibly know that unless you take the time to do one speaker with, and one speaker without, the resistor, then carefully set-up an A/B listening-test, then set the knobs so that they are both as sonically much alike as possible (meaning you have to increase the pots on the one with the resistors), and then do your A/B test with music you know like the back of your hand. Whether you can hear it lurking or not, there is no sonic tiger that's gonna jump-out of the dark and eat your face. I'm not saying that resistance is useless, I'm just sayin' that there is no way you could walk into a room with a pair of 3as playing and be able to discern if there were resistors on the caps or not. You'd have a 50/50 chance of guessing, but you would never know for sure unless you pulled the woofer out and looked.
  7. Diamonds&Rust

    ar 10pi versus ar 9

    The tweeter was a new beast BEFORE ferrofluid. The 10pi/11 got the first of the ferrofluid tweeters, but there was a "new" tweeter in them before the introduction of the ferrofluid models. Yes, the tweeters were of different material and different construction, *before* the ferrofluid. Ferrofluid tweeters were black. The original "new" tweeters for the 10pi / 11 were "cream colored" and can be seen in the literature in the library. The midranges got a new number and a new case, but I don't know how much different they were electrically or sonically from the 3a. The woofer was new. The cone was of a new, fuzzy-feeling, material and was different than anything before or since. The second generation of the 10pi / 11 got the ferrofluid tweeters and a more rigidly coned, stiffer-compliance woofer treatment. The second generation 10pi / 11 did not have the extended top or bottom frequency response of the first generation (which was short-lived). I won't pretend to know why, but the 10pi and the 11 sounded much the same, but not exactly the same. If I had to guess I would say the additional crossover components in the 10pi either caused or prevented something. I found the 10pi to be pleasant, but I don't pretend to know if it was technically better or worse (from a lab measurement perspective). The 11 and 10pi sound almost nothing like a pair of 3as. The octave-to-octave "balance" (voice) being noticeably skewed upward in the 10pi / 11 compared to a 3a. You can't force a 3a to "get in your face" and you can force a 10pi / 11 to do that trick. I get the sense you'd burn a 3a tweeter up very quickly if you forced this new "voice" with an EQ. As you say, and for the benefit of others, the 9 and 10pi share very little except for ARs exceptionally clean and extended bass response which the 9s have in spades.
  8. Diamonds&Rust

    AR 2ax vs. Large Advents?

    The 2ax and the Advent have different strengths. I own 2axs and do not own Advents, I also like the 2ax... --- in the interest of full disclosure. If I were going to choose one or the other as temporary "main" speakers, I would choose the Advents, not only for their good sound and extended bass, but also because of their tweeter and 2-way design. The 2ax tweeter is *great* so long as it isn't full of rotted foam and still works. I don't think they are as pretty, if that enters the equation. I'm just saying that if I were to choose something for temporary use that is less likely to present restoration problems, I would choose the Advent. Bret
  9. Diamonds&Rust

    Speaker Wires

    But I have all the recordings. Seriously, you're preaching to the choir, sort-of. I use Home Depot 14 gauge wire. I liked the "thick-to-dollar" ratio. I'm repeating myself from years ago by reporting this, but there is a paper Nelson Pass wrote about wire comparisons and he was of the opinion that "short and fat" was the best combination most of the time. He also went-on to explain about "fixing" a problem by using skinny wire (raising the resistance on purpose to stop an amplifier oscillation). And then there's this whole Crown paper on amplifier damping factors and how easily they can be destroyed. And there's this other whole issue of the AR 12" woofer being particularly prone to dipping into "little of nothing" impedance-wise and being a current-sucking hog. But maybe you're right. Maybe even with a thirty year old unstable amplifier driving a pair of AR-LSTs with 2500uF capacitors in the crossovers, with only a 15' run of wire I couldn't affect the situation whether I was using 8 or 18 gauge wire. Bret
  10. Diamonds&Rust

    Would this work to improve AR9 bass?

    I couldn't not come-back and make an addendum to my "monster amp" post. You know, I'm not sure that "a monster" is necessary anymore. There are new amplifier designs which are "load invariant" and can operate safely, apparently, with a constant 2 Ohm load. The fella we're talking to in this thread made it sound like maybe money was an object, so I assumed we'd be talking about a "vintage" amplifier of some sort. But you know, my Sunfire (that seems pretty "gutsy") isn't that large or that heavy. I wonder about the Wyred 4 Sound and PS Audio amps. My Sunfire was about $1,200 (street) or so when I bought it new, but I'll bet they can be picked-up much cheaper in the used market now. And if it weren't for the stupid fans in all the big pro amps, I'd be tempted to at least try one of the newer high-output Crowns. I'm not sayin' that a row of 24 output devices on a heat sink the size and weight of a melted-down dreadnaught has stopped impressing me. But all that metal really might not be necessary anymore. Can you imagine the distortion that *must* be caused by a small failure to match all of those output devices? But then again... who cares? As I'm worrying about "switching distortion" and amplifier bias adjustments, and while some still argue the merits of vinyl L.P.s over CDs, the Virgin Megastores are being closed because the world is going to downloadable MP3s. And here I am still lamenting that I never got one of the solid state Dynaco amplifiers with the neat-o VU meters on the front. Bret
  11. Diamonds&Rust

    Speaker Wires

    Do you happen to recall what was connected to the ends? (amp / speaker combination) Do you recall what you were listening to for the tests? Bret
  12. Diamonds&Rust

    Would this work to improve AR9 bass?

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic or terribly clever when I say, "It depends." The Pioneer receiver of the early 80s at 125w/channel into 8 Ohms, something more into 4 Ohms, would make the 9s play at earsplitting levels. There was no need for more "power" from that standpoint. I suspect, strongly, that if I were listening to Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" at background noise levels (where I could comfortably speak over it) the Pioneer would have been as good as anything else. And a "Close and Play" record player would make noise that sounded enough like a guitar and Eric Clapton that at those levels you could tell who and what was being played. I'm not being funny or mean-spirited; it's just that where YOU draw the line of "adequate" is up to you. Thus, "It depends." If I'm listening to Bizet's "Carmen Suite" at levels anywhere near adequate (not painful), I'm going to notice the improvement with a mighty, mighty amplifier. Since I didn't do scientific tests I'm afraid to say (or guess) what it is about these big amps that "changes things." I don't even know if this is true, but there is some urban legend that Dr. Bose found it took a kilowatt to accurately reproduce the sound of a pin dropping. In AR's own live vs recorded demonstrations (I'm thinking the drum comparison) huge amplifiers were used. I suspect the scientific argument is the dreaded "operating outside the parameters of linear performance" explanation, which might be scientific as all hell but hardly makes a difference when you and I are trying to decide which box, A or B, to purchase. I'm not prepared to get into one of "those" discussions. I've owned my AR9s since late '78 or early '79 (I don't recall) and I've gone through times of feast and famine with available amplification; I'm just reporting my experiences. Your mileage is very very likely to be very close to mine.
  13. Diamonds&Rust

    Would this work to improve AR9 bass?

    When you can, put a monster of an amplifier on them. It's a "next level" experience. I ran mine on 160w/channel Kenwood receiver, a 270w/channel Pioneer, a 60w/channel Yamaha, a 125w/channel Pioneer, a 500w/channel ESS professional amp, and various 150w+/channel Adcom, SAE, Sunfire, Threshold and I know I'm forgetting something, amps. About the only ones of those things that just would not get-it-done with the AR-9 were the late-model Yamaha and Pioneer receivers. They are currently (no pun intended) on an N.A.D. C372 and that combination is "fine" (even "plenty") although maybe not quite as "effortless" sounding as the "big iron" amplifiers. I'd be a liar if I were to try to identify what it is about the "big" amps that's important. I used to think it was just the ability to provide current. I don't know if it is the type or number of output devices, the size of the power supplies, or a combination. I can't say whether it is damping or the ability to provide current or if it is just the "overhead" power or some other magical effect, but the amps that are so heavy that you hate the thought of lifting them have given me my favorite results. Why would a Pioneer 125w/channel receiver (used only as an amp, the preamp section being by-passed) give a very different impression than a Threshold 150w/channel power amp? It can't be the 25w/channel difference in the amplifiers' ratings. After years of goofing-around and having various people accuse me of being idiotic in my sometimes "thinking" one thing or another I've arrived at that place where I understand their arguments. Once you get enough juice, enough being defined as "a lot of power," then hair-splitting is pointless. So, I repeat; When you get the opportunity to purchase an amplifier with silly amounts of over-kill power, you probably want to do that. 40w/channel isn't even close to getting them to sound like they can. Bret
  14. Diamonds&Rust

    NHT (Now Hear This)

    Well, of course it is; now that I own three pair! I've been listening mostly, almost exclusively, to NHT Classic Fours and a great old pair of 3.3s for some time now. The two speaker systems share almost nothing, certainly not designers or design goals, but the thing they have in common is midrange detail. The 3.3s are to die for. The Classic Fours aren't anywhere close to the 3.3 in terms of, well, anything, but they, too, have a very nice midrange (comparatively speaking). I'm not saying I lost my love for AR. I don't think I could ever do that.
  15. Diamonds&Rust

    AR9LS "i" crossover upgrade?

    You don't have to get the wattage (power handling) exactly right. Newark sells a 1.5Ohm 55w resistor for about $12 (Ohmite brand, expensive). Once I found that one I didn't "shop" for you - I just wanted to be sure someone was making resistors in that range - so I have no clue if there is also a 2.5 Ohm version, but anything from 20-55w should be fine. If you have no luck, don't give-up hope. Come back and report that you've had no luck. Bret