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thiptoman

AR-303 and 3a opinions

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The AR-303 is the newer version of the AR-3a yet the older speaker has a cult like following . The newer speaker seems to be popular also . You rarely see them for sale . I have a pair of AR-303's but I've never heard the older 3a's . Julian Hirsch once did a comparison of these two speakers and the 303 measured better in every way . From the tenoir of the original review it seem like he even preferred the sound of the 303's over the 3a's . Am I missing something here ? What's so special about the 3a's ? If this speaker is better than the 303's maybe I should be searching out a pair . Your comments will be greatly appreciated on this AR-303 and 3a issue . Thanks !

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It may simply be that the AR3 series is one of the "original" classic ARs. It looks like a classic AR and it was originally designed/produced before AR became a Teledyne company. Therefore there's more perceived "tradition" there. I have to admit that until your post, I had never heard of an AR 303 but, as I have stated here before, my AR speaker days ended (wrongly though it may have been) in the early 70's.

As far as sound - as you say, someone would have to directly compare them. But I believe part of the "cachet" of the 3 series (and the other ARs of its time) is its "classic" status, not necessarily that it sounds better than later AR speakers. Though it sounds better than a LOT of later speakers from any manufacturer.

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The AR-303 is the newer version of the AR-3a yet the older speaker has a cult like following . The newer speaker seems to be popular also . You rarely see them for sale . I have a pair of AR-303's but I've never heard the older 3a's . Julian Hirsch once did a comparison of these two speakers and the 303 measured better in every way . From the tenoir of the original review it seem like he even preferred the sound of the 303's over the 3a's . Am I missing something here ? What's so special about the 3a's ? If this speaker is better than the 303's maybe I should be searching out a pair . Your comments will be greatly appreciated on this AR-303 and 3a issue . Thanks !

The 3/3a produce the classic AR bass with the so-called "laid back" New England sound. The 303/303a produce a different bass (not inferior, just different), and seem to have a slightly more forward mid and high balance. If you recall the discussion in which Edgar Villchur's writeup on the 3 said that "flat" was full up on mid and high with a slight boost from your amp's treble control, my impression of the 303/303a is that they produce that sound with their mid and high centered. Villchur said that one day amps would be flatter; I think that Kantor decided that that day had come.

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