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AR gentina, New Proyect, 1958 AR-2

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Greetings to the members from Buenos Aires. New project, my third pair of AR, recently acquired. When I bought it, I asked for its origin, and the answer was "directly from the American Embassy in Buenos Aires", that is, I am the third owner. AR-2 1958, unfinished pine, impeccable condition. Crossovers new inside, as newly manufactured, tweeters in very good condition. When I listen at home, their sound was spectacular. Neither my AR-2ax, nor my AR-6, have the medium and treble response of these boxes. I only decided to send the woofers to refoam, in order to equalize them the same.

To begin the work, I removed the emblematic warranty labels from the back, which are retained to be glued again.

I attach the first photos. Treatment with lemon salt in gel, to remove dirt marks on the wood. The first results showed a wood in excellent condition, considering that they are from 1958.
As the work progresses, I will upload more photos. Comments are always welcome.

 

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1 hour ago, Nes said:

I only decided to send the woofers to refoam, in order to equalize them the same.

Beautiful! And a great find. My question concerns the woofers. They had foam surrounds? I thought the AR-2s all had cloth surrounds.

Good luck with this project.

-Kent

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It is rare for the original AR-2 cloth surrounds go bad in most cases, and it is best not to replace with urethane-foam, as this was not original.  Foam surround may possibly change the free-air resonance slightly as well.  Test the woofer first for air leaks, and if the woofer isn't bad, don't modify it.  Leave it alone, but be sure that the cabinet does not have air leaks (use a stethoscope and 30Hz to listen for air leaks). 

This speaker also has the WWII-surplus, mil-spec (Army-Navy) oil-filled capacitors and the high-quality A-B level control.  Therefore, it is rare for the crossover to ever give trouble, and it's probably good for 100+ years of unchanged, reliable service.

This old AR-2 was very early (what was the serial number?), and it is unusual with some excellent pedigree!  The 2 was an exceptionally fine old speaker (designed by Edgar Villchur and partially executed by Henry Kloss before he departed AR in February 1957).  The first AR-2 went out the door in March, 1957, and the little speaker was, at that time, literally unsurpassed in sonic accuracy by any other loudspeaker at any cost except for the mightier AR-1, quite an accomplishment.  

These are rare, perhaps as famous as the AR-2s that belonged to Richard Nixon in the White House (you may not like his politics, but at least he knew good sound), JFK, Buddy Holly, Miles Davis, Nelson Rockefeller or even Ann Margret Olsen!  It had been rumored for many years that that Rockefeller -- a notorious philanderer -- died of a massive heart attack (rip) while listening with his AR-3s to the thunderous final movement of Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony No. 3, while in the arms of one of his lovers at his west 54th street town house (not his main residence).  We will never know for sure, but Nelson loved his AR speakers (he had various pairs) as much as his extra-marital girlfriends.  Nelson could afford anything, but he always chose AR speakers and beautiful women.  As a side note, one of Nixon's AR-2a speakers developed a problem and had to be repaired.  Because of the nature of this customer, a secret-service agent accompanied the speaker back to Cambridge and witnessed the repair before returning to Washington. 

By the way, the Ponderosa Pine cabinets on the utility cabinet were never finished, but rather left in unfinished condition.  So, if you want them to be original, don't mess with the woofer unless is is bad and don't apply finish to the cabinet unless it is an opaque finish.  After all, these were work horses. 

--Tom Tyson 

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Beautiful 2's, Nes! Congratulations on your great find. Looks like you're the right guy to do the restoration job, too.

 

And thank you Tom for again providing such great and interesting history. I got my set of 2's (serial # 61825 & 61932)a couple years ago and have been rotating into the system with my 3a's ever since. I was fortunate enough to find a minty pair of JansZen 1-30 external tweeters not long after, and together with the 2's it's hard to believe such amazing sounds coming from a speaker set that is as old as I am(Also March '57). All original, too! 

 

 

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The unfinished utility ARs were originally intended for buyers who were going to insert them into other cabinetry (consoles) or to paint them. The issue with leaving them unfinished and not enclosed is that they'll eventually end up in the state Nes' speakers were in when received, dirty enough to require some extreme chemical treatment to clean. And even after the cleaning Nes is performing, there will probably still be things the wood has absorbed over the years, such as tobacco residues, that may outgas under the right (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) conditions.

If you want unfinished wood to continue to look the way it does over the long term and to seal contaminants in, then you should plan on giving it a shot of clear, matte finish or regularly applying some clear paste wax to it.

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I.M.O.

Paint them black, it's the only way to go, if not, it's lipstick on a pig. Pine is not an attractive grain pattern and is rarely used and,  in most every case never cosmetically attractive.

Did another call them beautiful, really?   They're a  far cry from that.

If painted black and additional mids and tweeters are added, they have a chance. Otherwise, present a low desirability factor unless positioned horizontally as they were intended to be used by AR hiding the unfinished side.

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My mother and my father in 1959, AR-2 on the shelf. I still have it, finished on three sides, light color wood, golden thread grille.

Low left, Heathkit FM 3A tuner. 

I 'm listening through AR speakers before my birth ( 9/1/60 ) ! 

 

Adriano

 

 

20170115_183733.jpg

20170305_094852.jpg

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Hi Kent you are right, one was in good condition with cloth, the other seemed repaired a long time ago, and the rubber was damaged, my decision was drastic, removing the two woofers and sending to repair with the need for both to have the same equalization.
You were indeed right, one of them had the cloth ring.
I appreciate your comments, as the project progresses I will be uploading more photos.
The process of washing the boxes has left them practically new.

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On 7/23/2019 at 10:38 PM, tysontom said:

It is rare for the original AR-2 cloth surrounds go bad in most cases, and it is best not to replace with urethane-foam, as this was not original.  Foam surround may possibly change the free-air resonance slightly as well.  Test the woofer first for air leaks, and if the woofer isn't bad, don't modify it.  Leave it alone, but be sure that the cabinet does not have air leaks (use a stethoscope and 30Hz to listen for air leaks). 

This speaker also has the WWII-surplus, mil-spec (Army-Navy) oil-filled capacitors and the high-quality A-B level control.  Therefore, it is rare for the crossover to ever give trouble, and it's probably good for 100+ years of unchanged, reliable service.

This old AR-2 was very early (what was the serial number?), and it is unusual with some excellent pedigree!  The 2 was an exceptionally fine old speaker (designed by Edgar Villchur and partially executed by Henry Kloss before he departed AR in February 1957).  The first AR-2 went out the door in March, 1957, and the little speaker was, at that time, literally unsurpassed in sonic accuracy by any other loudspeaker at any cost except for the mightier AR-1, quite an accomplishment.  

These are rare, perhaps as famous as the AR-2s that belonged to Richard Nixon in the White House (you may not like his politics, but at least he knew good sound), JFK, Buddy Holly, Miles Davis, Nelson Rockefeller or even Ann Margret Olsen!  It had been rumored for many years that that Rockefeller -- a notorious philanderer -- died of a massive heart attack (rip) while listening with his AR-3s to the thunderous final movement of Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony No. 3, while in the arms of one of his lovers at his west 54th street town house (not his main residence).  We will never know for sure, but Nelson loved his AR speakers (he had various pairs) as much as his extra-marital girlfriends.  Nelson could afford anything, but he always chose AR speakers and beautiful women.  As a side note, one of Nixon's AR-2a speakers developed a problem and had to be repaired.  Because of the nature of this customer, a secret-service agent accompanied the speaker back to Cambridge and witnessed the repair before returning to Washington. 

By the way, the Ponderosa Pine cabinets on the utility cabinet were never finished, but rather left in unfinished condition.  So, if you want them to be original, don't mess with the woofer unless is is bad and don't apply finish to the cabinet unless it is an opaque finish.  After all, these were work horses. 

--Tom Tyson 

Hi Tom, thanks for your comment. As I would like to have you in Buenos Aires to hear more about these stories, as you can imagine they never arrived in Argentina, I appreciate sharing them with me.
I tell you that the numbers are 31169/31170 and the year is 1958. The boxes are like new. Imagine if they were from the US embassy, and then had only one owner, they were very well taken care of.
Unfortunately I sent the two woofer for repair, I prefer that they be measured with the same graduation. I send you warm greetings from Buenos Aires, and if you come one day, I would like to receive you. Hug.

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2 hours ago, samberger0357 said:

Beautiful 2's, Nes! Congratulations on your great find. Looks like you're the right guy to do the restoration job, too.

 

And thank you Tom for again providing such great and interesting history. I got my set of 2's (serial # 61825 & 61932)a couple years ago and have been rotating into the system with my 3a's ever since. I was fortunate enough to find a minty pair of JansZen 1-30 external tweeters not long after, and together with the 2's it's hard to believe such amazing sounds coming from a speaker set that is as old as I am(Also March '57). All original, too! 

 

 

Thanks samberger 0357 for your comment

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1 hour ago, genek said:

The unfinished utility ARs were originally intended for buyers who were going to insert them into other cabinetry (consoles) or to paint them. The issue with leaving them unfinished and not enclosed is that they'll eventually end up in the state Nes' speakers were in when received, dirty enough to require some extreme chemical treatment to clean. And even after the cleaning Nes is performing, there will probably still be things the wood has absorbed over the years, such as tobacco residues, that may outgas under the right (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) conditions.

If you want unfinished wood to continue to look the way it does over the long term and to seal contaminants in, then you should plan on giving it a shot of clear, matte finish or regularly applying some clear paste wax to it.

ndeed Genek, but the wood of these was in perfect condition, without moisture or stains, and when finished cleaning them, I will apply a special opaque paint to preserve them.

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1 hour ago, frankmarsi said:

I.M.O.

Paint them black, it's the only way to go, if not, it's lipstick on a pig. Pine is not an attractive grain pattern and is rarely used and,  in most every case never cosmetically attractive.

Did another call them beautiful, really?   They're a  far cry from that.

If painted black and additional mids and tweeters are added, they have a chance. Otherwise, present a low desirability factor unless positioned horizontally as they were intended to be used by AR hiding the unfinished side.

Hi Frank Marsi

I.M.O.

They are BEAUTIFUL

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48 minutes ago, Sonnar said:

My mother and my father in 1959, AR-2 on the shelf. I still have it, finished on three sides, light color wood, golden thread grille.

Low left, Heathkit FM 3A tuner. 

I 'm listening through AR speakers before my birth ( 9/1/60 ) ! 

 

Adriano

 

 

20170115_183733.jpg

20170305_094852.jpg

Ciao Adriano Immagini molto belle di papà e mamma. Tre anni fa ho iniziato con il mio primo AR 2ax e continuo ad ascoltarli, sono entusiasta di questo nuovo progetto, i saluti da Buenos Aires.

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Thank You, Nes! 

Your AR-2 are very beautiful , and they're very good sounding speakers .

I still use it, they have good sensitivity and are easy to drive . Excellent woofer, fast , full, clean sounding. 

I have also AR 3 and 3a , and sometimes I 'm thinking about a better extension on AR-2 highs, just adding a supertweeter , just like in AR-2a. 

Some Seas 1" soft dome probably will fit.

Godd luck with Your project and enjoy it! 

My best wishes 

Adriano, Rome, Italy

 

  

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On 7/25/2019 at 4:44 PM, Nes said:

Ciao Adriano Immagini molto belle di papà e mamma. Tre anni fa ho iniziato con il mio primo AR 2ax e continuo ad ascoltarli, sono entusiasta di questo nuovo progetto, i saluti da Buenos Aires.

Greetings, Adriano!  I love your pictures of your family's AR-2s.  They were almost perfectly placed on the shelf, and the sound would definitely have been very clean and smooth!  An early picture of Ann-Margret Olsson adjacent to her left-channel AR-2ax speakers, somewhere out in Hollywood in the late 1970s. 

267223884_Ann-Margretathome_AR-2axLeft-Channel1978.jpg.158929a31065a50fadcadf8439585721.jpg

Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith were music-lovers, and Ann-Margret was an accomplished singer and dancer, not to mention expert in high-fidelity sound reproduction!  This extraordinary actress could ride a motorcycle well, too!

--Tom Tyson

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