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bfastr

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About bfastr

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  1. AR4x restoration (was a tale of misery)

    Larrybody, my frames were original, however, an interesting note is that one was made from hardwood and the other a thick masonite, my dad had four of these and it could be I took one from each set by accident. back in the day I didn't pay any attention to serial numbers, in fact I scraped off the AR paperwork and painted the backs flat black when I originally gutted them. I painted the fronts black too because I was into the no Grill look for a while. Thankfully I did save the grills, but I had recovered them with black speaker cloth. SO for this round I went with the linen from 123 Stitch. Here is a finished product sitting next to my AR2-ax with what I think are original grills. ( everything else was unmolested ). My wife thinks I should recover those with new cloth, but I cant bring myself to remove the original material since it isnt ripped or badly stained. I will probably make a second set of frames for those and cover them with new material and then save the originals as they are. the more I listen to all these speakers in unison the better they sound. Bob F
  2. I finished the restoration of my old AR4x speakers today. This was previously mentioned in the topic of My Misery. a basic re-cap is these were my Dad's speakers. in the early 70's he bought four AR4x speakers for a multi room setup. somewhere in the late 80's he moved on to Advents and I snagged a pair of the AR4x speakers. Way back when I did the unthinkable and gutted the speakers and put in some Scanspeak woofers and tweeters. I knew better than AR right? The modified speakers served me well as extra units that I didnt pay much attention to. At one time I augmented them with a giant 15" subwoofer that would shake my house. the wife hated that. crank it up!! well time passes and I started to get interested vintage speakers. So I happen across a pair of AR2-ax speakers in really fantastic shape locally on craigslist. So after doing a little work on those ( also outlined on here) I started to think it would be cool to turn back the clock on my non original, but in very nice condition AR4x's. So, after sourcing drivers and tweeters off ebay I decided to restore these to original. Well, I did one at a time and after replacing the whole crossover board in the back ( I had gutted that too..) I cleaned up the mounting flanges and epoxied the holes I had drilled for the other speakers and refitted the original drivers. The original 20uf caps both measured around 21uf, but I decided to use new caps anyway. I also bought a pair of the phenolic ring tweeters, even installed one when I messed with the first speaker, I ended up settling on that tweeter and went back to the Scanspeak woofer. and there they sat for a month, one still as I had "improved" it back in the 80's and the other with an original crossover but still non AR speakers. I tried the old AR tweeter, but it just sounded weak, so I used the PR tweeter. for a month. that brings us to today. I decided the heck with it, I am going ALL AR4x on them. So the only thing new is the Solen 20uf cap, but both speakers are back to original AR speakers. The sound.. VERY Pleased! the woofers seem to have a lower bottom end than the Scanspeaks did, at moderate volumes they sound fuller, The original tweeters sound balanced and much like the AR2-ax speakers I have, with both speakers properly configured and playing I find the overall balance perfect. Playing alongside the AR2-ax speakers they are fantastic. I also noticed the AR tweeter sounds brighter with the new caps versus when I tried using the original wax cap. But the balance once built as designed is very pleasant. I am really glad to now have two variations of AR speakers as designed. Its amazing how good the old AR4x speaker really was, I can see why they were so popular. It would have been cheaper to buy another set of all original AR4x speakers off ebay than what I probably spent on speakers, caps, wire and all the other stuff I bought and didnt use. But thats the fun of doing this sort of thing, plus these cabinets were my dads.. worth more than the sum of the parts to me. Bob F
  3. AR-2ax - pots vs l-pads

    Yes I did, I guess what I am saying is that the thought of having to re-open the speaker and address any pot problems doesn't scare me off, and truthfully, if they go another 50 years they sure wont be my problem!!
  4. AR-2ax - pots vs l-pads

    I am interested ! thanks. I rebuilt my original pots and decided to keep things original in spite of the obvious long term issues the pots will probably pose vs a new L pad.
  5. Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Speaking of speakers. I spent the day listening to a re-issue of Pink Floyd (really Roger Waters) The Final Cut LP thru my various AR's and Adcom setup. Lacking the stereophile thesaurus I can only say that to me it seems that album has a wide dynamic range of quiet to hard hitting passages, maybe not the prettiest vocals to use for listening, but I have always liked Rogers angst and anger. The range of the album gave my re-furbed 2-ax's a work out. I am impressed with the ability of the old speakers to deliver the punch I like with 10" speakers. I also ran the pair of AR4x's in tandem to compare the one basically stock speaker (with the PR tweeter) and my old modified unit with the Scanspeak woofer and Vifa tweeter. I am really liking the AR4x woofer better now, and even as loud as the PR tweeter could be un-restrained, I like to be able to dial it down on the speaker. Suffice to say, I too am impressed with how speakers made in 1968 can still shine. I really think the original AR4x woofer is doing a better job of reaching lower than the modern Scanspeak in this enclosure. I have had systems with subs, even had a giant dual voice coil 15" monster I think was called the Sledgehammer in a giant sealed enclosure once. that was a beast. but as I re-learn to appreciate balanced music and systems I really like the sound of these AR2-ax speakers. These puppies can get loud and still sound remarkable. I am really enjoying my old school AR's regardless of what may be "better" in todays world. In the next week or so I hope to get after my other modified AR4x and return it to more or less original specs. I may try a 10uf cap on the tweeter in that one just to compare the two. In the end its just as Sarals says. its all about the fun
  6. My AR4 tale of misery

    Easter weekend update. First off, yes these are AR-4x. I lazily did not type in the x, and to be honest wasnt really familiar of all the variations of the 4's. but these were/are AR-4x speakers. having said that, maybe someone can shed light on when AR went from the wax cap to the metal can. because mine had the metal can capacitor, so maybe in fact that changes things? not sure. Either way, I sourced nice crossover/backplates with the wax cap ( still measures 20.5 uf) with original pots I was able to clean and use. I found original tweeters and paper woofers with the cloth surrounds. they looked a little thin, so I gave them a pass with a light coat of the Vintage AR surround sealer. what is in that? the smell is very familiar. I used to do something a long time ago with some chemical that smells the same but I cant place it! brought back memories. and like a dummy I took several close up sniffs to try and remember where. maybe all the sniffing is why I cant remember? I built up one speaker as original and left the other with my modified x-over and the Vifa Scanspeak tweeter and poly woofer with a nice rubber surround, a very nice to look at speaker that gets hidden behind a grill. My first impression was, I blew it, the original sounds muffled compared to the modified speaker. not bright at all. the Bass is good, maybe even better , but it was just dull. I had to bias the balance to about 70/30% to get even volume out of the two speakers. I should add that my hearing is obviously not the best given I am not 20 years old, my shoes are tho.. anyway, not really liking the original tweeter I ordered up a set of the phenolic ring tweeters from Vintage-AR. I swapped the tweeter in the "original" or stock AR-4x and wow. yes these can be bright tweeters, maybe even brighter/louder than the Vifa's I had in there. BUT, now that I have an original pot on the back I can dial back the highs to a level I like. Is it a "real" or true AR sound. I couldn't tell you, but playing the 4x's in conjunction with my 2-ax speakers that I just cleaned up and are original spec I can make the original 4x sound very AR-ish next to the 2-ax. the modified 4x of mine now seems to be the loud uncle in the room, the one that is over there saying "HEY LISTEN TO ME, I'm talking here" I cant describe what I hear like Sarals does, but I would say the modified version of the 4x is a bit too forward, it makes itself known compared the the other three AR speakers in the room. The midrange presence is giant, there is more of an overall range of sound out of the original AR speakers without seeming to be right in your face. And I think the music more pleasant to listen to out of the speakers with original woofers vs the poly cone. They served me well for the last 20 years as garage speakers.. they sat on a shelf and played background music while I worked on cars and bikes. but now that they have moved into a space just for enjoying music I think the original design has an easier sound to listen to, even with the Vintage-AR tweeter. I am going to rebuild the modified 4x back into a stock 4x with the original woofer and the Vintage AR tweeter and stock crossover. I have 10uf caps to try, but for now I am going to listen to them as they were made, with brighter tweeters for my old ears. I prefer to have more tweet than I need so long as I can dial it back on the speaker. I will save the original tweeters for now. I should add that my system is an old Adcom setup with a GTP-500II pre-amp and a GFA-535II on the 4's and a GFA-545II on the 2's. I have a GFP-555II but I am lazy and like the remote volume control on the 500. Bob F
  7. My AR4 tale of misery

    ra.ra , you are spot on, the baffle board is junk. I am sure it was a low cost item that AR never intended to be seen again, mine is a borderline disaster. I am planning to re-inforce it from the back with a tack strip of wood and fill the gaps with epoxy or putty. I am being very careful to try not to create more damage than is already there. It is a fine line as this particle board seems especially dry. whoever made it should have taken a lesson from the staple policy at AR and used more glue in the mix. I had the same trouble around the tweeter. IF these weren't original owner speakers ( my dad) and the walnut so nice I would never have even undertaken an attempt to return them to some semblance of originality. You mention holding the t-nuts in with epoxy, a great idea, but I will also add that these are a perfect reason NOT to use a power screwdriver to tighten the speaker screws, too much torque and the T-nuts will spin in their holes.
  8. My AR4 tale of misery

    LMAO.. you guys are funny. OK, so yes, I ordered the same tweeter from Vintage AR, didnt even think to look at parts express, but I am happy to support a forum member for a few bucks more. and I wasn't aware of the thread about mods to make it work or sound better, I will read that next. And if the Vintage AR version has the goop already on it, all the better. yes, the crossover I described was the one I made 20 years ago when I gutted the original AR4's. I was describing all the junk inside the cabinet in the picture. Thats all gone and an original AR crossover with the 0.5uh and 20uf wax cap is in its place. Although not having read the link above I am guessing I need to buy a different cap. no biggy. What is interesting is the crossover I bought has the wax cap, and I can tell my AR4's were the vintage with the metal can cap mounted in the ring. I am guessing its a moot point as the Wax cap will probably end up being bypassed with a new value even tho it is still in spec at 20.5 uf. And YES !! Everything you see in those pics was taken and done thru the tweeter hole.! Since I stupidly RTV'd the woofer in I needed to force it out from inside. So with lots of flashlights, a small plastic survival mirror and a lot of patience I was able to place my mini jacks and work it free. From there the rest of the surgery was thru the woofer hole. edit : so having read the link above it answers a question I was already having, that is a 20 uf cap seems like a high value to me. maybe it was good for the original AR tweeter, but I was already investigating a lower value to move the crossover a bit higher. thankfully its not a big deal ( to me) open up the cabinet and drop in a new cap. I still like the option of originality tho. and if I pick up another original tweeter I can always go back
  9. My AR4 tale of misery

    Decided to give the new-old 4ax a re-listen this morning. Paired with my AR2ax on the left channel I will say it sounds very AR-ish. its warmer than I had become accustomed to with the rebuilds. Turns out those had/have Scanspeak woofers of the Vifa vintage as well as tweeters from the same manufacturer. P21W0 woofers and D25TG tweeters. my rebuild crossover was a .5uh inductor to the woofer and a 2.2uf cap and .5uf inductor on the tweeter, albeit a low quality cap. If I hadn't buggered the second tweeter I think the new-old 4's would have sounded ok. So now I wait for the replacement tweeters from Vintage-AR. I like that they are more of a form fit to the cabinet. These Vifa tweeters never fit perfectly. The Scanspeak woofers definitely have more range than the AR woofers, they carry a lot more mid range, yet the AR's seem to carry more lows and produce better really low organ notes, amazingly. but they are not as efficient sounding.
  10. My AR4 tale of misery

    I succeeded at getting the replacement woofers out of the cabinets that had been RTV'd in place. (by me, many yers ago). I used a combination of techniques. I softened the RTV by injecting a thin bead of Xylene around the edge and let it sit for a few hours. injected some more and let it sit. Then I made a couple of "hydraulic" jacks out of small turnbuckles and set them up under two of the legs of the basket where they met the mounting flange. I slowly cranked then taller and it worked like a champ. the RTV gave up the fight and the speaker was popped loose. Once that was out I set about removing the old defaced crossover board in the back. Can they put more staples in that thing? They must have judged employee performance on how many staples they went thru in a day. I bet there were a few employee evals that read something like "Mable needs improvement in her use of the pneumatic stapler" or maybe some poor fella got fired for not using his weekly allotment of 10,000 staples. anyway, there had to be 50 staples in the back panel, plus the 70's version of gorilla glue. I chiseled that for another half hour. well, the re-install of original AR4 parts went fairly smooth, until I stuck my finger thru a tweeter. dang it. So I completed one speaker, left the other as it was with the replacement speakers and crossover. maybe that was a bad idea since once I connected it all and started listening, I really didnt like the sound of the "original" 4. the tweeter is definitely lacking any sparkle. and the woofer is muddy compared to the modern woofer in the other speaker. I also notice that it takes considerable more power to reach the same loudness. But, now I have original AR connections and tweeter control. So, I ordered up a set of new replacement tweeters from Vintage-AR to try. If that doesnt improve things I will go back to the new woofer. I am leaning towards that anyway. Maybe I was just used to the sound of the 4's the way they were for 20 years. In conjunction with my AR2-ax's the bright modded 4's sounded good. By itself, the "original" 4 does not suit my style. I mean it sounds ok, but I know my hearing is going bad, so the extra sparkle of the highs suits my old ears. Fortunately now that I can remove the woofers without a fight its easy to swap between models until I get the sound I am looking for. Even if I don't use old original AR speakers, I am happy to have the original crossover board in the back. Bob F
  11. Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Sounds great Sara! but You are killing me with the 2270. now I have to find a nice Marantz of my own. As for the sound I had the same conclusion, my tweeters are not super bright, but they are there. the mid is loud by comparison, and overall the speakers have a nice sound so I concur with your review. Mine are paired with my AR4-ax's and between them I have a nice balance of highs and lows. But my 4's have replacement tweeters that have always been very bright. As for mine, I changed course on the caps, I bought a kit of potting epoxy and planned to put the caps in the wax box, but then I decided to leave that alone and mount the new caps on point to point terminals. I used some new style fake cloth covered wire that is really cloth over pvc that I use in old guitar amp restorations. I have a bunch on hand and wasn't about to buy more wire just for a few inches. I cleaned up the original pots and tucked it all back together. I am very pleased with the sound. but I am a little sad the project is done! I still have a plan to restore the old AR4's next, but for now I am just enjoying the sounds. Bob F
  12. Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    WOW !! Sara, The pot looks pretty good, mine were full of crud. I picked up some electronic potting epoxy. I am going to put the new caps in the old "case" and use two part epoxy to seal it all up. The Marantz looks fantastic, I can almost hear it now. I am very jealous. Bob
  13. Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Sara, I am going to guess your pots are green and corroded like mine. after you open them soak them in vinegar. then hit them with a brass brush. HOPEFULLY the wiper isnt worn thru. as for the cap's. those readings are pretty close to what I get on my original cap's. I ordered ( and already received) new caps from parts express that I will be potting inside the old shell. other than that the guts of yours look really good Bob
  14. Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Thanks Tom. that answers exactly what I was looking for and then some. I like knowing the details like that! Bob
  15. Hi, New With New To Me AR-2ax Pair

    Thanks! Simple it is. They will match my AR-4's too. I can live without the stick pin "a".
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