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sarals

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About sarals

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  • Birthday February 14

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Monterey CA
  • Interests
    Former FOH mix engineer, OLA former owner, AR3a lust after-er, Ohm F former owner, Scan Speak current owner, AR5 interested.

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  1. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    I've been letting the AR-2ax's play for several days now, the idea being to allow them to perhaps "break in" the new surrounds. Today I did some extended listening to them with Pandora through my iPhone 6 as the source. Now, don't scoff too loudly! The signal from the headphone jack is quite clean, and even though Pandora uses a compression scheme (I don't know which one), the sound is still very good. I listened to a series of random songs featuring cello pieces, as well as small ensembles such as Kronos Quartet, Pale White Moon, The Piano Guys, etc. The 2ax's were absolutely in their sweet spot with that music. With intimate cello, such as Zoe Keating, they were simply stunning, I mean stunning, and produced a very involving experience. Music that I connect to can take me to a very emotional space, and the AR's let me do that today. I was simply swept away, involved, and had a wonderful time listening. With the right program material, these are simply wonderful speakers.
  2. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Hi @philip Salisbury! Thank you for the well wishes and the tip! Are you currently an FOH engineer? I'm a former FOH mix engineer, from way before it was even called that. I do only recording these days, very sporadically, an on my terms. I like it that way!
  3. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    That was very, very nice of you @ra.ra! Thank you! I LOVE audio and the associated gear. I grew up, as many of us did, as the home audio world was maturing, and I became enamored with the wonderful gear of those formative days, and the people behind it. I have respect for it, yes - as well as love! It's genuine, believe me. I'm still struck, to this day, how close to "right" the gear I had as a young woman fifty years ago really was. It's a joy to be able to revisit that!
  4. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Heartfelt thanks! Very sweet of all of you! I know you wonder what I did to injure myself. I'm a little embarrassed to explain, I don't want to sound disingenuous. I'm a competitive track cyclist. I was in a training session at the velodrome in Carson, California, VELO Sports Center, on the 4th of April, and I was caught up in a crash. A rider above me went down, slid down the banking, and took the rider ahead of me me out, and I had no where to go except hit them both - at 28 miles an hour. I broke five ribs, non displaced, thank goodness, and had a myriad of skin tears and bruising as well. One of the other riders was knocked out and concussed. Thank goodness for helmets, that saved her, and it did me, too. I had a large dent in my helmet, and there was paint from the track surface on the top of my helmet, as well. I'm on the mend, in fact, I just finished an hour of "spinning" on my trainer for the first time since the mishap. I have a very large support system of friends and fellow athletes, who have looked after me. Their help made life much more bearable, because as some of you may know, broken ribs are difficult! But, I'm feeling very good at this point in time, and my healing is progressing nicely.
  5. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Thank you for that, Thorne. It's possible, and worth investigating. And thank you for the well wishes! Broken ribs take time, unfortunately....
  6. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Sorry I've been away, folks. I've been dealing with an injury. It's had me out of pocket for almost ten days now. I'm just getting back on my feet. In the interim, I asked a friend to move my AR's to my mantle piece for me, which puts their backs against the wall. It's not the most ideal position for any speaker in this room, because the acoustic at that end does nothing to help the woofers couple to the room. But, the speakers are ear level when I'm standing, and I can get close or far from them, whichever. They're up there now, connected to my newer electronics (not the Marantz), and they're not bad. They still have a degree of "fuzziness" in the upper bass/lower mid (woofers?), and some of the smearing that they exhibited was corrected by giving the level controls on the back a good working out (thanks to @jessiAV for that tip!). Still, there is some fuzz there. I'm becoming resigned to the cold fact that the woofers are the source, which means they're unhappy. Well... The Marantz 2270 is now driving my small Advents. With a good source playing through that receiver, they are pretty darned impressive (and they're only four years younger than the AR-2ax's, 1975 is their build date). That Marantz is perfectly happy. It's not injecting any artifacts that I can hear into the signal. It's a very nice piece. Smooth, sort of rounded in it's presentation, not a lot of slam, but just really, really nice. So. At some point I have to explore what's going on with the woofers in my 2ax's. But, not yet. I'm going to have some medical bills I'll need to attend to first. Once I get my life back on track, I'll get back to my vintage speakers. I have a pair of OLA's that I promised I'd buy from someone here, as well, and that will come right after my medical obligations.
  7. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    I'm pretty sure my 2270 needs a restoration. I'm not familiar with the "Marantz Sound", all I have is a notion based on what I've read. I did listen to a friend's Marantz based system way back when I was in school, which consisted of a Marantz pre and power amp driving a set of AR-3a's. Back then I tended to listen with loudness engaged and bass turned up, so my aural memory of that experience is not what I'd term accurate! I have on hand a Harmon Kardon 630 "Twin Power", which I've mentioned. It's okay, but not great, tending to sound kind of hard. I also have a Pioneer VSX something home theater piece, and with all of the DSP settings that thing has I'd hardly term it reference! What I'm trying to say (poorly) is that I'm not familiar with the sound of either classic receivers or modern ones. My 2ax's need tweaking. Not electrically or physically, but they need to be properly placed, wherever that might be, and I do need to experiment with the level controls once I've found that proper placement. It's all part of the fun, isn't it? My bottom line is that I am quite impressed with the quality and accuracy of the sound of those old dudes. Sure, modern speakers are "better", but only in some ways. AR had it close to right back then. IMHO, of course (and I don't care what Stereophile reviewers say...)
  8. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    I haven't yet placed the 2ax's properly, so they've been hindered a bit by where they're sitting. However. Because I can't yet move them, I moved me, a little closer to them, and my goodness do they have a sweet spot, which I have, much to my delight, fallen into. I removed the grills and listened in the dark a couple of evenings ago, and those old speakers, like old me, just disappeared. They're a different beast with the grills off, and combined with my better listening position, I have decided that they are very good!!!
  9. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Hi all! I did listen to my 2ax's through my SCS 2150 power amp (it's a commercial version of a Muse MOSFET design, 150W/Channel). The preamp was my Audible Illusions Modulus 2, with my Schiit Mani phono preamp providing gain for my VPI Scout/Shelter 501 combination. I listened to a gamut of LP's through the system, and came away impressed overall. They're pretty remarkable speakers given the era they come from! First, the "congestion" I heard with the 2ax's being driven by my Marantz 2270 was not there, so that answers that question. Second, the 2ax's are obviously inefficient and quite power hungry. They seemed to like that high current SCS amp, and believe me, I was very judicious with the volume control(s), keeping the level in check at all times. I need to step away from the speakers for a few days to allow some notions to clear, however, early impressions are as follows. As I told a couple of folks here via email, to me the overall sound of the speakers is veiled, I described it as "smokey", as if they were light diffused by smoke. They really roll off on the bottom and top. The tweeter seems to be the best driver in the cabinets, even though it does little more than overtones. The midrange has a nice balance, but it doesn't start and stop very quickly. The speakers exhibited very little impact, even with some power behind them. They also seemed to smear the music, not in huge way, but it affected their overall articulation. I found the mids to have a distant/dry character, which correlates with the warm presentation the speakers give. I am impressed with how well they throw a left/right image. It's stable, and it presents what the recording intended. Its pretty flat front to back (that has to do with the slow response of drivers, not a lot of nuance, in my opinion), but side to side? Wow! They're easy to listen to, they don't do anything terribly wrong. They have definite sweet spot in so far as the music they do well with...jazz, piano, orchestra. female voices. Complex, vibrant, and powerful they don't do. I feel they'd present better in a fairly live listening room, which I do not have. I may try them in the near field one day to see what I think there.
  10. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    I did some extended "lights off" listening last night. There were things I loved about the 2ax's, things that were surprising and frankly just stunning, and then other things that were a little disturbing, where I found myself thinking "what was that?". I listened to Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" through my Oppo DVD player (my Marantz SA8260 SACD refused to play the disc, what a surprise), followed by some Telarc symphony offerings, and then Joni Mitchel "Ladies of the Canyon". First and foremost, they are a very smooth sounding speaker system. They roll off at the bottom and top, but they do it gracefully. Their tonal balance is quite neutral, especially through the midrange. Piano and brass are gorgeous through them, female vocals are, too. And goodness, can they throw an image! The "what was that?" came when I played some program material that contained impact and massed instruments (Telarc CD). They didn't do so well on that. They presented very little to no "attack", and they tended to get very congested when the music got complex. I'm not 100% convinced that was all the 2ax's, some (or much) may have been the 2270. That receiver IS unrestored, and the old caps in it may slow it down, perhaps quite a lot. I'll have to try them with a modern high powered amplifier to see if they can keep up. And no, I do NOT play them loud! They don't care to do that, and they are just too old and too valuable to push around. I have way too much respect for them to risk harming them.
  11. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    @lakecat, thank you! Oh, I have been bitten by that AR bug. There will be others!!
  12. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Bob, beautiful job! I'll post a photo of how I dealt with the capacitors. I removed the old wax caps from the cardboard box and hot glued the poly caps inside, running the wires out of the open end. It would have been tidier to do it the way you did. I did squirt some Deoxit into the controls for good measure. I reused all of the fiberglass as well as the paper cloth behind the woofers, used new "duct putty" for the woofers, and buttoned them both back up. Before putting the woofers in, I made sure the controls worked and that the midrange and tweeters were both working in each cabinet. I initially hooked them up to the SCS power amp I have which is driving the Advents. Once I was sure they were (more than) fine, I connected them to the Marantz 2270 and placed them where they are in the video. After the video, I moved them further apart. One of the things that strikes me about them, other than their (lack of, a good thing) sound, is how BIG they really are! I've had larger speakers over the years, but they were floor standers. These speakers are just plain big for "bookshelf speakers". I plan to get some short stands to place them on, I'm thinking a foot to eighteen inches tall. I've noticed already that they like being near a boundary to reinforce their bass. Oh, I'm using really crappy zip cord for speaker wire. I need to get my hands on something better, and a bit heavier to boot. So this thread doesn't die quite yet, I still need to do some sprucing up in the cabinets. I haven't decided if I'll clean the grill cloth. I kind of like the patina. They're not abused/wrecked/damaged, just aged, and it lends them sort of a civility in their old age, and speaks to their long lives and heritage. Now, only a woman of a certain age would say such a thing, but, hey!
  13. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Here's where I am right now (recorded with an iPhone): So, that's what classic AR speakers sound like! They're much, much better than my memory serves. The tweeters do work, but my, they don't have a lot of output. Unless, that's normal. The top end is somewhat soft, yes, but they have a very, very neutral midrange. No forward mids, here. The lows are punchy, but they do lack that last octave. They image surprisingly well, just as well as any modern speaker I've heard. Top to bottom, I classify the overall sound as very smooth, very even. Warm? No, not really. Maybe a little dark. They're gorgeous sounding things! They're a nice match for the Marantz 2270. If you're wondering what that piece of particle board on the floor is, I use it for my bicycle rollers. They tend to drag on the carpet when I'm riding them, this stops that from happening. Next - the cabinets!
  14. sarals

    Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    @AR55, those certainly are some pretty speakers! I hope, down the road, I can get mine to look close to that. Bringing back the finish and the cleaning the grill cloth is still down the road a ways, so I'm not going to go into speculating on how I'll do it just yet. I refoamed the second woofer last night. I was aware that I was confident enough after doing the first one (and fretting about it the whole time) that if I didn't pay attention and get a grip on my cocky self I'd screw it up. I didn't. It came out easily as well as the first. The cone, from the factory, was not centered in the basket. The glue residue, and "shadow" from it, showed that after I got it all cleaned up. After shimming the VC and test fitting the new surround, it was apparent that the new surround was going to be slightly offset. The speaker worked that way for probably 40 years? So, I glued it all together, manually moved the cone up and down after the glue had set up, and not a single undue noise. I glued the dustcap back on, and this morning I tried the woofer. It works perfectly. I tackled the pots in the second speaker today. I left them in the cabinet, and took them apart in there to preserve the wiring (I did cut the capacitor wires, at the capacitor). Aside, I wish I hadn't cut the wires in that first speaker! Those pots were just as nice as the first set. I used some emery cloth the clean up the wiper and the center contact, and then put them back together. Being a small person with little hands pays dividends! I plan to put the new caps inside the old caps wax paper box. I got them unfolded and took out that wax blob of a pair of capacitors. I plan to hot glue the new caps to the bottom of the boxes and then fold the things back up. I don't care if they're open at the end where the wires emerge. It will host a little bit of the originality, and it will hide those new Dayton caps. I have that Marantz 2270 playing right now through my Advents. That is a lovely sounding piece! And, it is sure beautiful to look at. I can NOT wait to hear those 2ax's through that receiver. I have no allusions as to what they'll sound like. I know they'll be "New England Romantic", which means different things to different people. To me, it's "laid back". I admit I prefer a more forward sound (NOT JBL forward!). I own neutral speakers, forward speakers, and now, laid back speakers. Contrast is a good thing. Besides, Absolute Sound not withstanding, I gave up on the search for "musical truth" ages ago and settled into just enjoying the music. That's what it's all about, right?
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