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I have managed to secure a pair of AR-5's.  They were one owner speakers.  On initial inspection, they seem to be quite good.  The cabinets are very nice, as is the grill cloth.  The woofers and mids work, I'm not sure about the tweeters.  I need to do the battery check on them.  The controls are iffy, no surprise there.  The woofer surrounds are completely shot, also no surprise.  One has holes in it, the other is solid but very fragile.  I'll hook that speaker up and give it an extended listen before I start restoration on it.
 
I ordered and received a refoam kit from Vintage AR.  
 
I hooked the "good woofer" AR5 up to my "classic good system" and have listened to it for about an hour with it on the right and one of my AR2ax's on the left.  My impressions are what @stupidhead's were in his comparison video.  First, the difference in efficiency is huge.  Not small!  Second, it doesn't sound significantly different from the 2ax.  It is leaner and a little cleaner through the mids, the highs I'm not sure, because I'm not convinced the tweeter is working.  The woofer sounds exactly like the 2ax.  However, there is punchiness through the upper bass that 2ax tends to slur.  It's that midrange!  Overall, the sound of it is very, very similar to the 2ax.  The tonal balance is just about identical.  The controls are super dirty, and fooling with them causes distortion and cutouts.  I know that midrange is fragile, so I'm not going to mess around any more until I restore the speakers.
 
The other speaker has a bad woofer.  I removed it because the surround had holes in it, and I didn't want to do anything other than ensure it worked.  The surround easily pealed off, which was good.  But, not so good was that the voice coil former has separated from the spider most of the way around.  I'm going to have to figure out how to fix that.
 
Both speakers seem to be much newer than my 2ax's.  There was a styrofoam gasket behind the woofers in both, and each cabinet had a small serial number/ID tag on the back.  There was no obvious sign that they'd previously been repaired, although there was a really sticky substance on the surrounds of the woofers.  I don't know if they came that way or they'd been treated later.  The grill cloths had been previously removed, and it was done well.  Based on that, I tend to think they've been molested some how.
 
I'm going to get started this weekend on the restoration.  I've got to get the woofers refoamed.  Hopefully I only need to re-glue one voice coil former!  I have to figure out how to do that.  While they're open, the controls need cleaning and the caps will be replaced (unless they already have been, I don't know yet).  The tweeters may have to be sent out for repair, that's undetermined yet.
 
I will keep you all appraised!

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Can anyone suggest an adhesive to use on the spider to voice coil repair?  Will the glue in the surround kit work (reliably)?

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Nice find Sara!

The VC/spider glue is beyond me. Maybe Roy or some other woofer doctor will comment.

That grille cloth is a replacement. Does it look better in person than in the photo? If not, the linen from 123 Stitch is very nice but a little pricey. An acceptable cheap substitute is CharlesCraft Irish Linen cross-stitch fabric from Michael's. I think it's $8/roll (you need 2 rolls) and there's always a 40% off coupon available.

Keep us posted.

-Kent

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I have used Aleenes with good result. 

Funny Kent, I thought the same about the grill cloth.

Have fun Sara, be sure to get the correct foams for these.

Edited by stupidhead
stupidhead

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I would use Aleene's Tacky Glue on the surrounds definitely. As far as reattaching the spider maybe some form of epoxy may be in order. People that recone speakers would know the correct adhesive. I have a pair with front wired midranges and a pair with rear wired midranges which I believe came later. Could we see a picture of the back side of your woofers and especially the id tag. The 18 count lambswool linen from 123stitch would be perfect for your speakers. 

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Hi gentlemen!

Thank you all!  I think I did find a good score.  

I agree that the grill cloth looks new(er).  If it is, someone did a very nice job replacing it.

Not so good?  When I turned the woofer over to photograph the numbers on the magnet, the cone fell out.  The last photo shows the result.  The spider is partially torn.  It looks to me like the woofer needs a complete recone.  Or it needs another woofer!

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Congrats on finding a pair of AR-5's, but too bad about the woofer. The voice coil appears to be in good condition, but the edge of that spider seems to have suffered from overheating. What to do? Replacement woofers (AR-5, AR-2ax, AR-8...maybe even AR-12 and 14?) are typically available for sale with a little patience, but you might also be interested in contacting Bill Legall at Millersound about repair.

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3 hours ago, ra.ra said:

Congrats on finding a pair of AR-5's, but too bad about the woofer. The voice coil appears to be in good condition, but the edge of that spider seems to have suffered from overheating. What to do? Replacement woofers (AR-5, AR-2ax, AR-8...maybe even AR-12 and 14?) are typically available for sale with a little patience, but you might also be interested in contacting Bill Legall at Millersound about repair.

Thank you, @ra.ra!  

I'm going to try to reglue the voice coil to the spider.  What have I got to loose?  By the way, what looks like charing is glue.  It does make things look like heat!

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10 hours ago, sarals said:

I'm going to try to reglue the voice coil to the spider. 

Yeah, you might as well give it a try - - - I like that spirit!

It might be wise to try to patch in a small piece of reinforcement material where that little flap stayed attached to the cone, and looking closely at the top of that pole piece, was there some type of fluid used in the gap? 

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I always use high temp epoxy for that joint since most speakers I work on have metalic voice coil 

formers and there will be a LOT of heat there.  I most recently used slow drying JB Weld since it is

very high temp and strong glue, HD didn't have anyother high temp type of epoxy.

I would use the old glue line as a guide for the height and the torn tab for rotation and shim the VC.

Apply the epoxy with a toothpick or chopstick, or something similar working it into the joint then

turn the woofer magnet up to try so that if it flows it does not go into the gap.

I also suggest  Aleene's Tacky Glue for the surrounds

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I lucked out and found an AR2ax reconing kit on eBay.  I think it's an old Speakerlab kit?  The cone looked all wrong, and I'm sure the woofer would sound "different" if I used it.  My notion is to use the spider from the kit to replace the damaged spider in my AR5 woofer.  I'll go the complete recone route that way, using the original cone and voice coil.  I anticipate some challenges, but I think I can make it work.

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@ra.ra, I think the substance on the pole piece is glue or something like that.  There is no ferrofluid in the gap or anywhere else on the magnet.

@Pete B, thanks!  I looked closely at the voice coil bobbin and the coil itself, and I can't see any signs of heat distress.  I tend to think that if the speaker was driven hard enough to really heat up the woofer voice coil, then the midrange would be dead.  It works fine.  Then again, I could well be wrong!

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Wow Sara!!  

I am jealous!  another cool project.  I am jonesing for another rebuild myself.  I keep an eye on the local ads hoping to score another deal, something I can go look at before committing, plus, I really dont "need" more speakers. unless of course a deal too good to pass up comes along!

Anyway.  I would look into replacing the whole spider.  if it had heat damage and became brittle whats to stop it from cracking again outside of your glue line. There appears to be a lot of places to pick up spiders. its just a matter of finding the right one.  

or you could pick up a pair of nice looking AR2ax Alnicos that are on the bay right now,  but thats a giant expense.  me personally, I would rebuild the originals.

as for the grill cloth I would go for the material from 123 Stitch.  its worth the extra expense.  I have stapled it , and glued it to frames,  I prefer to glue. I do an edge, cover with wax paper and then use a lot of small clamps and thick rulers to spread the load.  do one side at a time.  then when its all done.  spritz it with a little water, dont have to soak it, or even get all the way to the edges, just get it moist,  then dry it with your hairdryer and it will tighten right up and look like new.  here are a couple picks.  The AR2-ax in the pictures have original cloth, the 4's are 18 ct. Lambswool from 123 Stitch

Bob F

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Your woofer looks very clean. I think you are on the right track for the repairs. It couldn't hurt to check with Bill at Millersound and see what his thoughts are. As far as the 18 count lambswool, it is the real deal and hard to differentiate between it and the original material. Here is a set of mine with the lambswool because the originals were stained and torn.

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Hi Bob!

I'm really thrilled I was able to get these speakers!  I do wish they were a little better than they are mechanically, but, hey, look a gift horse in the mouth?  Not me!

The grill cloth on my AR-5's is fine.  I have no intentions of replacing it.  Now, on my AR-2ax's, maybe.  Although, there is a proper patina to those speakers, to their overall "look", and they are fine the way they are.  I've heard the car buffs say 'it's only original once".  I like that philosophy.  But, I do like the piece in question to work!

I have a spider on the way, I found one on eBay.  I decided not to risk using that original spider, it does appear to be brittle.  I haven''t done any further work on the woofer, I've been researching reconing as well as chasing down parts.

I'm mulling over what to do with the tweeters in my 2ax's and 5's.  It largely depends on whether or not the tweeters in the 5's work.  The tweeters DO work in the 2ax's.  Do they work as they did when new?  Probably not, but I don't know what they sounded like new, and as old as they and I now are, my memory of them - if I'd heard them - would be faulty!

Your 4's look wonderful.  Did you bring them back to original?

@lARrybody, your AR-5's are just beautiful.  Exquisite!

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For me half the fun is chasing down the parts and researching the job. and then enjoying the final product knowing I made them work again!

As for the 4's...  well,  as you recall I had my dads pair that I "improved" 25-30 years ago. after returning them to stock configuration I had those old Soundspeak woofers staring at me from a  shelf,  along with a set of the phenolic tweeters I bought before sourcing a good set of original AR tweeters.   SO..   I was cruising the 'bay and there was a set of empty AR4-x cab's calling my name.  long story short I rebuilt those too but used the poly 8" and the PR tweeters.  still a stock AR4-x crossover, I didnt opt to go with a 10uf cap as suggested only because I suspect at some point I will find more AR4 tweeters and put them in.   for the time being they sound pretty good,  the only thing of the PR tweeter is that it is a bit louder ( more efficient?)  I overcome that by dialing back the tweeter level on the back.   The cabinets were hand sanded using 220 and then 320 grit paper and then finished with Watco Natural Danish oil. 

here is a picture of my non-AR  AR4-x..    for now.   notice the small wood screws holding in the poly woofer in,  the t-nuts are still under there waiting for a set of original woofers! And this time I didnt use RTV silicone to bond them to the box making for easy removal. The PR tweeters are a really nice modern replacement.  They sound great.

Bob

 

 

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Bob, beautifully done!!

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More adventures...

It was not possible to save the spider.  It had a tear that extended well into the pleats from the ripped piece still adhered to the cone.  There was another tear on the other side of spider, as well.  When I removed it, I discovered that it sat on a masonite ring.  Hmmm.  That I wasn't aware of.  Do the 2ax woofers also have this ring under the spider, or is it an AR5 "exclusive"?  Thinking out loud, I wonder if it's there to allow the basket to be used with a longer voice coil bobbin, giving the AR5 more excursion?  Just wondering...

I removed all of the glue from the area of the basket where the new surround will bed.  The cone came away unscathed.  The voice coil and former look perfect.  I see no signs of heat distress, rubbing or bottoming.  Good!  Yes, I have cleaned up the mess from scraping off all of that glue!  Even though the VC gap is taped off, I still intend to clean it thoroughly.

I await the eBay spider.  I do hope it has a 1.5 inch cutout!

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I just did a battery check on the tweeters.  Neither has any output.  Using the multimeter showed one at 16.57 ohms, and the other open.  They both need restoration or replacement.

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well thats a bummer.   but the woofers look pretty good. they should be rebuildable easily.   So..  I would look into getting the tweeters rebuilt. I think it will be worth it in the long run. 

someone on here rebuilds them.    

Dont give up hope yet!!

 

Bob

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Bummer indeed. This is turning into a huge project! Good luck and keep us posted.

The Hi-Vi tweeter may work. Roy's the expert on those so let's see what he says. For rebuilding the tweets contact CSP member Christian (Chris1this1) http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Board/index.php?/profile/179217-chris1this1/

-Kent

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Wow - the restorations on this page look terrific!

Here's an unsolicited vote to have your tweeters rebuilt, check with Millersound on the woofers, and keep your AR-5 as original as possible. 

Due to its low production numbers and AR's use of their best midrange & tweeter drivers, the AR-5 is kind of a special speaker, and there are some who prefer its appearance to that of the AR-3a.

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Midwest Speaker sells a replacement tweeter for the AR-5 on eBay for $69.95 each.  I can't say if it is better than the Hi-Vi tweeter, but it is another option.

 

 

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Fellas, I've been looking at @Chris1this1's posts around the forum, looking at his work.  My goal is to keep these speakers as original as possible, and to hear them as AR intended back in 60's and 70's.  I'm not in a rush to get these AR'5s working, but I will contact @Chris1this1 about having the tweeters rebuilt, hopefully in the next couple of months.  I'm up to my elbows in woofers right now (I just refoamed the "good" one).  Next step is going through the crossovers, measuring the caps (and probably replacing them), and cleaning the pots.  Tweeters will be last.

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6 hours ago, AR55 said:

Midwest Speaker sells a replacement tweeter for the AR-5 on eBay for $69.95 each.  I can't say if it is better than the Hi-Vi tweeter, but it is another option.

The Midwest tweeter is very much like the AR-11/10pi/12 tweeter and, like the HiVi tweeter, requires a crossover modification to make it act similarly to the original AR-5/2ax type of tweeter. Since sarals' goal is to keep the 5's as original as possible, the rebuilt tweeters are the best choice. Chris does a very nice job of bringing the old tweeters back to life.

Roy

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