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Dan_swe

Restoring a pair of AR98LS

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Hi folks,

First post on the forums, and first time AR owner.

I recently got a hold of a pair of AR98LS speakers.  I found them on facebooks marketplace for 150$, a rather cryptic listing without pictures. I asked google what model it actually could be and i ended up with search results saying it was AR98LS. The seller later confirmed that they were AR98LS with the pictures he sent me. I thought they looked interesting, and since i know AR Always has had a good reputation, i decided to give them a go even if the surrounds would be all rotten, wich they basically should be after all this years. Anyhow i continued to ask the seller about the state of the speakers, allthough he couldn't give me all the answers that i wanted a the moment since he didn't store them at his own home, but when he finally brought them back home he sent me a message saying the foam surround were all rotten, so he would either turn them in to firewood :o or give them to me for free.  Needless to say, i took them.  But that wasn't all, he did also throw in a pair of AR8SE for free. :D

The story behind them is that they were for show in a local HIFI-store during the -80s ,and when the store faced bankruptcy, one of the employees put them away instead of selling them. The guy who gave them to me was the actual employee who put them away.

So they are  basically unplayed, but stored in a few different locations since new. Unfortunately they have been stored without boxes. so there is nicks, dents and there's even missing veener in some places. The bottom corners of the cabinets are a bit roughed up, not to bad though. The grill fabric has a few holes in it.

Otherwise all the drivers are in grate shape (no dents or nicks in the dual drivers) and will work properly after a refoam.

 

So here is what's going to be done:

New foam surrounds

Crossover recap (+LSi "upgrade")

Re-veneer, all sides including front and back.

Add an "edge" to the front and make a custom recessed grill (AR-4 style with lambswool and brass badge), mounted with hidden magnets.

Build of two ~10" speaker stands, just to get them of the floor.

 

This will be a long term project, since were doing home renovations at the moment, but i'll try to post as the project progress.

I'm a bit short on pictures at the moment so i'll add one of the "sellers" pictures.

 

I hope you guys have a lot of expereince with AR speakers that you're eager to share! ;)
 

AR98LS.jpg

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Nice did the seller mention the name of the Stereo Store 

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22 minutes ago, nefertem said:

Nice did the seller mention the name of the Stereo Store 

No he didn't, the store was located in a smaller Town in Sweden.

Allthough he mentioned that is was all the bigger "Home Electronics/appliance super markets" that caused the bankruptcy. As in many other cases.

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Hi Dan, and welcome to the forum. Those look like some very nice speakers and you'll find some good threads here about this model. 

You've got a very enthusiastic agenda planned for your restoration. That last one about building an "edge" frame has me a bit perplexed - - it will entail some careful detailing and forever change the appearance of these speakers, but it sounds like you wish to re-create the look of the earlier AR Classics? Did you get original grilles with this purchase?

When possible, please post info and pics of the AR-8SE speakers, too. 

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6 hours ago, ra.ra said:

Hi Dan, and welcome to the forum. Those look like some very nice speakers and you'll find some good threads here about this model. 

You've got a very enthusiastic agenda planned for your restoration. That last one about building an "edge" frame has me a bit perplexed - - it will entail some careful detailing and forever change the appearance of these speakers, but it sounds like you wish to re-create the look of the earlier AR Classics? Did you get original grilles with this purchase?

When possible, please post info and pics of the AR-8SE speakers, too. 

Thank you ra.ra!
 

I like to give my projects a personal touch, it doesn't matter if it's speaker/car/home/furniture restorations. As long as i won't affect the original function that is. I do always strive to give my new ideas a look that will make you say "Hey i thought that was how the speakers were delivered from the factory". The changes should be subtle but noticeable if you compare with a completely original set. 

I realised that i wouldn't be able to save the cabinets keeping the entire original look, this is partially because i will have to add some filler to the bottom corners to get support for the new veneer on the sides. Since the back of the speaker isn't veneered originally you will be able to see the filler at a closer look. But who will be looking at the back of the speaker? I'll might just give the back a new coat of black paint, depending on how i'll manage to repair the bottom corners.

Regarding the edge frame, it could be integrated with the new grill held in place with magnets, so that it wouldn't affect the original look if you decide to use the original grills. I'm inspired by the AR classics but i would like a slimmer edge, lets say 10-12mm?

See the picture below as a reference.

 

Yes i got the original grills with the speakers, amazing actually, the red plastic holding the fabric in place isn't even faded it' still RED.

 

The 8's need new surrounds as well. i haven't got to testing them yet to se if the drivers work. If there is anything specific you want to know about them please let me know

 

 

grill.JPG

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So i finally found some time to make something happen to this project!

Today i removed the surrounds from one woofers and one of the lower midranges. What a pain removing the surround from the LMR when it's glued to the back of the cone. Hopefully it's easier to glue the new one back. 

A pleasant surprise is that the cabinets got wood veener on the inside as well.

AR1 Front.jpg

AR98 Front 1.jpg

AR98 Front 3.jpg

AR98 WF.jpg

AR98 WB.jpg

AR98 WC.jpg

AR98 LMF.jpg

AR98 LMB.jpg

AR98 LMC.jpg

AR98 cab 1.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Dan_swe said:

So i finally found some time to make something happen to this project!

Nice images.  Will you be removing the crossover?  If so please take photos of how it is done.

Aadams

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26 minutes ago, Aadams said:

Nice images.  Will you be removing the crossover?  If so please take photos of how it is done.

Aadams

Yes, i have ordered new caps for the crossovers, so they'll be redone.

But everyone still seems to be on vacation during the summer so i won't ge them untill week 34. I'll remove the original crossovers from the cabinets as soon as i get the caps. And there will be photos! :) 

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Hej Dan

Trevligt med en svensk till på detta förnäma forum.

Välkommen i gänget

mvh. Birger

 

Hello Dan

Nice to have another swede on this famous and respectet AR forum.

Welcome

Regards Birger

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Thank you Hoffenbauer! What i can tell from your location we’re practically neighbors. 

So i continued with the second speaker today. I just got some finishing touches left on the woofers and lmrs before i get to glue the new surrounds in Place.

 

Aadams, i got you a picture of the crossover as you requested. I’ll give you a more detailed one as soon as it’s out of the cabinet.

4EEB6835-A033-4F8C-A666-78A3DFDDEA66.jpeg

823D1920-B271-4695-B0AB-651EB8E521F3.jpeg

83725D4C-C8F7-4195-BBDF-02D53D215FEB.jpeg

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52 minutes ago, Dan_swe said:

Aadams, i got you a picture of the crossover as you requested. I’ll give you a more detailed one as soon as it’s out of the cabinet

You are fortunate.  My 98s have the caps mounted on a PC board and facing the back side.  Nothing can be seen of the caps. Only the backside of the green board is visible along with what appears to be hot melt glue over flow. The board is somehow soldered to the binding post screws and I cannot see how to extract it, in pieces or in total, without risking damage to, or destruction of, some difficult to repair items.

Good work.  I will continue watching.

Adams

 

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On 8/11/2019 at 9:33 PM, Aadams said:

You are fortunate.  My 98s have the caps mounted on a PC board and facing the back side.  Nothing can be seen of the caps. Only the backside of the green board is visible along with what appears to be hot melt glue over flow. The board is somehow soldered to the binding post screws and I cannot see how to extract it, in pieces or in total, without risking damage to, or destruction of, some difficult to repair items.

Good work.  I will continue watching.

Adams

 

Aadams,

Do you have a all metal Floor - Shelf switch? Or is it a black plastic one?

As it happens, i have two pairs of 98LS. I bought a second pair "for spares" after i got the first pair. Allthough i guess they will also be brought back to full working order in the future, one tweeter is unfortunately shot on the spare pair, but the cabinets are in good condition.

However, my spare pair has a all metal switch for Floor - Shelf, and the pair im restoring has a plastic one. I haven't opened the spare pair yet so i don't know what the crossover looks like, it might look like yours.

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7 hours ago, Aadams said:

Metal Toggle Switch for Shelf/ Floor. 

Just to show the difference between the two pairs. Binding posts and toggle switch.

 

 

66859DB0-B4F3-49E3-AD90-269EDF4EE547.jpeg

19904297-CDBF-4D0A-8E87-80BB5BD58BE4.jpeg

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So i finally got to the glueing part.

Started off with the surrounds on the LMRs. I thought it would be hard to get the glue on the back of the paper cone, it wasn't. I bought a couple of glue syringes (1,2mm needle) and they made it easy to apply the glue.

Well two LMRs will be it for today, as the glue/cement has som serious fumes to it. 😰

AR98 LMCG.jpg

AR98 LMG.jpg

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Re-foam looks very good - - - did you use any method for centering voice coils? For future reference, there are water-based white glues that work just fine for re-foam process, and they have no objectionable fumes and liberal set-up time. 

Your photos in this thread are terrific. Thx.

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22 minutes ago, ra.ra said:

Re-foam looks very good - - - did you use any method for centering voice coils? For future reference, there are water-based white glues that work just fine for re-foam process, and they have no objectionable fumes and liberal set-up time. 

Your photos in this thread are terrific. Thx.

Thank you, i'm quite pleased as well! To be honest, i haven't glued the surrounds to the baskets yet. I'm going to glue the surrounds to the woofer cones and then glue the LMRs and woofers to the basket at the same time, as i will be using a 50hz sine wave to center the coils. I've never tried the method before, but according to the pros it's the way to do it. And as i bonus i get to keep the original dustcaps.

I'm familiar with the white glue, but i like the instant grab this glue gives you when you have aired it for a minute or two. The white usually tend to slide around a bit more.

Well when you got your phone in an arms reach at all times during the day, it's quite easy getting som good enough photos!

 

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No glueing surrounds today.

But i managed to buy something to power the speakers with when they’re done:

One owner since -78

 

AA2C5B35-DAF2-40A7-8AA8-A1ABFF73604F.jpeg

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Today i made some knitwork! With 7mm bambu ones to be precise! 😁

All drivers glued and done.

And as always i learned some things:

 

Put the glue bead on the woofer cone, as close to the edge of the cone as possible.

Give the woofer surround a thin layer of glue on the surface thats going to mate with the cone.

Put the surround in place, and press the glue on the edge of the cone inwards (towards the center of the cone) forcing it under the surround.

 

Now when the drivers are done i might have to put them back in the cabinets and give the speakers a listening sesssion with the Hitachi gear. Just to hear them in one piece before i recap the crossovers and turn them into the LSi version.

 

AR98 WCNFK.jpg

AR98 WCNFKD.jpg

AR98 WLMRCNFKD.jpg

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You sure do pretty work. That can't be your first re-foam job. Professional looking all the way. 

I personally use the Aleene's Tacky Glue. Like RaRa says (no fumes). It takes 15-20 minutes for the glue to set. Lots of time for adjustment. But you have to keep going over the glue seal. Recently I have tried the Fast Tack Aleene's. It grabs right away but you still have a couple of minutes for adjustment.

3supGQY.jpg  

Looking forward to seeing them together and what your thoughts are on the performance.

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22 hours ago, lARrybody said:

You sure do pretty work. That can't be your first re-foam job. Professional looking all the way. 

I personally use the Aleene's Tacky Glue. Like RaRa says (no fumes). It takes 15-20 minutes for the glue to set. Lots of time for adjustment. But you have to keep going over the glue seal. Recently I have tried the Fast Tack Aleene's. It grabs right away but you still have a couple of minutes for adjustment.

3supGQY.jpg  

Looking forward to seeing them together and what your thoughts are on the performance.

Thank you! It's actually my second refoam, i did two woofers about 6-years ago. It's just a lot of elbow grease until you're happy with the result.

Since i'm in sweden, i have never even considerred Aleens, allthough i gave google a try, ands it's availible in a lot of different kinds in swedish stores. I might have to try i bottle of the fast grab one. Does the glue harden when it dries? Or is it still sticky when dry? Like contact glue?

 

I got the drivers back in the cabinets today, and i could not resist bringing them downstairs to the living room area to give them i try. I hooked them up to my Hitachi HMA-8300 power amp using my DSPeaker AntiMode 2.0 Dual Core as a pre-amp (in bypass mode, so no adjustments made), as for a source i'm using my HTPC and spotify, not so HIFI i know but it's good enough for a test run. I might have to buy a turntale later on..

So i've never owned a pair of AR-speakers before, let alone heard a pair. I've tried to get an idea of what the 98s would sound like, so i've been reading here and different forums where they are mentioned (thank you google). There does seem to be this "They lack bottom end", "East coast sounding", "Harsh midrange, do the LSi upgrade". And did also in my head think they would lack bottom, since it's a enclosed cabinet (duh!)

Was i wrong? Was the the comments i've read wrong?

I was way off regarding the closed cabinet idea, do the have som serious bass output? Yes they do! And they also have at low volumes. It might be my idea about the cabinets that makes me impressed with these speakers, but wow do they sound nice! I would also say i had a different idea about the east coast sound, these speakers just sound smooth and a bit cosy, the overall sound has a warmth to it, i honestly thought they were going to be analytical and a bit bright (nothing wrong with that though). Regarding the comments about the LSi upgrades, i can see why you would want to do it, i've tried a lot of different music this afternoon/evening, and i would say that if you're in to rock/blues/male vocal/ a lot of electrical guitarr they might sound a bit harsh. But if you listen to everyday pop i cant see that this would be an issue. I've been a bit restrictive with the volume today, since they're newly glued, but i would like to say that they play without any signs of getting harsh or starting to compress the music at 90db in my listening spot.

I believe it's the midrange dome that would need to bet cut a few db to get rid of the harsheness, i don't know if you actually would have to do anything to the LMR in this case. I will, when i recap the crossovers, also turn them in to LSi versions, but i'll make the resistors on the mid/lmr easy to swap, in case i would like to try some other combinations.

So i'll continue the restoration now when i know what i'm getting. New veneer is on the list, and also custom built speaker stands.

 

 

E32C3ED3-6B14-4246-A303-111D755BEA07.jpeg

EBDDC845-D94C-4F1A-9DE9-B2EC08D2A862.jpeg

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On 8/18/2019 at 1:54 PM, Dan_swe said:

Thank you! It's actually my second refoam, i did two woofers about 6-years ago. It's just a lot of elbow grease until you're happy with the result.

Since i'm in sweden, i have never even considerred Aleens, allthough i gave google a try, ands it's availible in a lot of different kinds in swedish stores. I might have to try i bottle of the fast grab one. Does the glue harden when it dries? Or is it still sticky when dry? Like contact glue?

 

I got the drivers back in the cabinets today, and i could not resist bringing them downstairs to the living room area to give them i try. I hooked them up to my Hitachi HMA-8300 power amp using my DSPeaker AntiMode 2.0 Dual Core as a pre-amp (in bypass mode, so no adjustments made), as for a source i'm using my HTPC and spotify, not so HIFI i know but it's good enough for a test run. I might have to buy a turntale later on..

So i've never owned a pair of AR-speakers before, let alone heard a pair. I've tried to get an idea of what the 98s would sound like, so i've been reading here and different forums where they are mentioned (thank you google). There does seem to be this "They lack bottom end", "East coast sounding", "Harsh midrange, do the LSi upgrade". And did also in my head think they would lack bottom, since it's a enclosed cabinet (duh!)

Was i wrong? Was the the comments i've read wrong?

I was way off regarding the closed cabinet idea, do the have som serious bass output? Yes they do! And they also have at low volumes. It might be my idea about the cabinets that makes me impressed with these speakers, but wow do they sound nice! I would also say i had a different idea about the east coast sound, these speakers just sound smooth and a bit cosy, the overall sound has a warmth to it, i honestly thought they were going to be analytical and a bit bright (nothing wrong with that though). Regarding the comments about the LSi upgrades, i can see why you would want to do it, i've tried a lot of different music this afternoon/evening, and i would say that if you're in to rock/blues/male vocal/ a lot of electrical guitarr they might sound a bit harsh. But if you listen to everyday pop i cant see that this would be an issue. I've been a bit restrictive with the volume today, since they're newly glued, but i would like to say that they play without any signs of getting harsh or starting to compress the music at 90db in my listening spot.

I believe it's the midrange dome that would need to bet cut a few db to get rid of the harsheness, i don't know if you actually would have to do anything to the LMR in this case. I will, when i recap the crossovers, also turn them in to LSi versions, but i'll make the resistors on the mid/lmr easy to swap, in case i would like to try some other combinations.

So i'll continue the restoration now when i know what i'm getting. New veneer is on the list, and also custom built speaker stands.

 

 

E32C3ED3-6B14-4246-A303-111D755BEA07.jpeg

EBDDC845-D94C-4F1A-9DE9-B2EC08D2A862.jpeg

you will find these are very accurate and offer alot of detail you never heard in other speakers.

 

I highly recommend putting a 2.5 to 3.0 resistor in line on the mid dome and see if you like them more.(orange wire)   this is part of the LSI upgrade, but you can do a simple test and see....

 

the caps are old, but arent as bad as the older 90-9-91 series with black caps.   the jap unicon caps are ok.....but do sound better with a regular NPE dayton cap.  dont get carried away with caps.  I see some blue ish caps on yours?

 

enjoy....these are tremendous speakers.....far more detail than ar3a's and will produce very high levels of sound without distortion with a proper amp.

 

 

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