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frankmarsi

Power to the people, or lets get crazy instead.

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2-15-09,11:30PM EST Regarding: "Optimum amplifier wattage for 3a", the previous post.

First off; “soundminded” is correct about all he said and I’m no electronic genius, nor am I ‘A-K-ing’ him. Now my turn.

To everyone here, and as childish as this may sound; I’ve posted on CSP before talking about amp power and AR-3a’ and AR-LST’s and I have blissfully existed, silently with no reply from this forum- or was I, I can’t remember. I just finished another ‘room-pressurized’ listening session so I’m kinda numb, so pardon my attitude catching if you’re that overly sensitive to my candor and form of diatribe.

Let’s start with my past experiences and systems cause that’s what I have besides top showrooms and some fortunate as me, friends who had larger AR’s back in the early and mid to late 70’s. Then I'll cover the present, which ain't much different regarding necessary power to drive these 'power-hog' speakers.

My first 3a’s (fall’72) were powered by a Dyna ST-35 tube rig (17.5WPC) for about one year and then ‘the-bug’ got me about having more pleasure in my listening life as it were, enter a Dyna ST-120 at 60WPC. I had built it in kit form, well that piece of crap repeatedly went back to the factory in whole and in parts, but nonetheless when it did work allowed me to feel a taste of some bass, mid and high-frequency sparkle, from LP’s of course. That went on for about two years until I became further infected and needed more power to help my disease and wanted to approximate in hearing (at that time) about ‘what-da’ hell Julian Hirsch was talking about in his testing of AR-LST’s when they first arrived on the scene in ‘72. You know, that thing about using a Phase Linear 700 and him feeling that they could sound even better with more power than the near 700WPC@ 4ohms that a PL700 can put out, good-gosh man, what was he speaking of? In ’72 I could never dream about having such power. I must admit I was listening to this all in a relatively small room, however things changed when I bought a new ‘miracle-drug-amp’ to help my ailment, a Phase Linear 400, but I had to wait till ’74, that was two yrs. of 60WPC-boringness with the ST-120. Badda-Bing! A new world had opened up! And now in that small room not only did the floors vibrate but the door and windows too, and the water in my glass rippled like throwing a rock into a still pond. My 3a’s were wall mounted and in a horizontal position as they were always mostly shown.

Well fast-forward to 1979, my first photo-studio in NYC and the main shooting room was 36L X 25W X 12H feet in size, and this is where I was treated to an amazing phenomena in listening pleasure using that very same system. I had learned from the very beginning all that I could in terms of speaker-placement and my better judgment told me not to place my 3a’s mid-room along the long dimension on either side and sit 8 to 10 feet from the speakers as a ‘sweet-spot’ at the almost, but not quite back of the room.

Da-hell, I shouldn’t break conventional wisdom? I can gladly admit I never heard AR-3a’s, (along with ‘Micro-Statics’ on top, cause those damn AR-HF were always blowing on me), sound better in my life, and probably only much more costly and larger box and electrostatic/box types such as larger Apogees (in ’90) and lets throw in Altec-A7’s (in ’72) maybe as a reflex type, gee, I never did get to listen to “Patricians” by EV, or the M.L. Grand Strat- something that at least could challenge what I heard from "my little friends' the 3a's.

O.K. I’ll finally get to my point; I roll with 4 LST’s and 2 PL400’s, I love it so much its redundant to mention it one more time. (Last week I was hating myself for not getting the money up to buy those four LST’s a member was offering about 4-5 yrs. ago, God knows I have the amps to go around). So, three weeks ago I started to live one half of my dream. I purchased a fully restored and up-graded Phase Linear Series Two amp, all with 40 thousand macro-farads in caps and fully complementary MJ15024/25 trannies and a 9/10 in cosmetics. I placed it to power the two LST’s on the bottom of the stack and a PL400 to power the upper half of the stack as I await another 700 amp being sort for up-grading, once it comes it will replace the upper PL400, more on that then.

Using a AT150MLX cartridge (which is extra highly recommended, as a MM unless you want to pay 6 to 8 hundred plus $’s for a MC?), on new and good condition vinyl it’s easy to hear the differences plainly. At any given level, from low to high volume it (the PL700) displays more ease in its more refined bass and increased effortlessness in the mid to high frequencies than the ‘400, even though I have them balanced, the differences are noticeable.

Now mind you, all you ‘AR fanatics, I’m not in that huge room I mentioned early, but a substantially smaller one so that’s why I’m a little numb now, you know, that ‘sound-pressurized-room’ thing again.

This thing about losing ones hearing and using a SPL meter and stuff (I ride the subways everyday), hell I’m driving the PL700 and PL400, and when cranking and feeding my AR-LST’s and when that ‘big amp thing’ is about two-thirds power on the 700’s peak reading LED’s and having the PL400 play ‘catch-up’ differences are even more clearly heard.

It’s interesting to note that the ‘700 coasts while the ‘400 sounds almost as if it’s ‘running out of steam’, although not it’s struggling.

So what’s the point?

I’ll say it again, but I promise I won’t post saying it again; AR’s are, almost as if they were unwittingly built for the high-power crowd, you know that power in-efficient thing again.

Now, anyone can say this, that or the other thing about low-level/high-level listening and the like, your mood is just that, but strength in ‘watts’ has no substitute, period! Most fortunate enough to have will agree.

Sure, when I listen at really very low levels I may as well have smaller amps, that goes with-out saying, however it's common sense to know that most AR's 'come-alive' at higher listening levels.But how fuddy-duddy does one want to be, turn the damn thing up if you're really into listening to music as it was meant to be heard. By the way, that old and mostly forgotten phrase ‘head-room’ comes to mind when speaking of amps and that of course pertains to its ability to play correctly the loudest of the loud and the softest of the soft in so many words, at moderate to ‘realistically-high’ levels with any type of music w/o running out of steam. If one does not listen to their AR’s at those levels, then one might want to consider AKG240 headphones instead, which with their open design I have found in ‘79 sound much like a ‘highly-powered’ larger AR speaker, but somewhat higher ‘tweaked’ in the upper frequencies.

I’ll be back when I get that second PL700 and we’ll go from there, for now, wish me luck. My amps have dedicated fans and are in mint to rebuilt condition, everything is properly protected by fuses, but I always drive hard and take chances. On another note, if one wants to test bass power besides the Telarc 1812 CD, try the “Eagles”, ‘Business as Usual’, track 7 on their ‘Out of Eden’ CD, or Eric Clapton’s, “Come Back Baby” a real bass challenger. If that doesn’t do for the power and bass crowds, try “Super Tramp's” ‘Breakfast Over America’, an oldie but goodie and is re-issued on 180gm vinyl, it’s bass and so much more.

FM, the ‘man-amp’, or is that ‘amp-man’? Bang-Zoom!

Did I ever tell you about the time I used eat lunch at a coffee shop on 3rd. Ave. & 16th. St. for many years way back when? I would order so much extra cheese on my burger they named me “Cheese-Man”, later on my friends knew me as “Man-Cheese”!

Man-Amp. Man-cheese, it’s all the same, but amps aren’t!

Respectfully, FM, the AR ‘bass-slam’ nut-job.

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:( Listen here you AR ‘bass-slam’ nut-job I've just about has enough of.........

Just kidding Frank :wacko: . Always enjoy your view point. May not always agree but still enjoy the read. As of this time my AR's may be a little underpowered but that doesn't detract from my (or the wifes) listening pleasure. One pair of 3a's are currently doing service in my living room via a ST-70/Pas-3/FM-3/XA setup that I mostly play jazz from a local college station or jazz and classical via the TT. The other pair is in the master bedroom coming off a Yamaha CR 2020. Plenty of power there (not as much as your PL of course) but the wife and I still prefer low to moderate levels. She has sensitive to loud volume ears but still enjoys what she describes as warm sounding the music that we listen to. If I ever get a chance to get out to the east coast from the west I may have to co0me by to let you demo your LST's for me. Heck, I've never even seen a pair in person yet.

Until then keep enjoying yourself and the music.

James

BTW I have no idea of what I am talking most of the time

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"I may have to co0me by to let you demo your LST's for me. Heck, I've never even seen a pair in person yet."

I was the same way, never saw an LST in person until I bought a pair on Ebay! This even though I was a huge AR freak in the mid-60s through mid 70's. Used to go audition speakers all the time but none of the shops I used to frequent ever had a pair. But I do strongly recommend them if a pair in restored or restorable condition - NO replacement drivers other than original ARs - shows up...

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:( Listen here you AR ‘bass-slam’ nut-job I've just about has enough of.........

Just kidding Frank :wacko: . Always enjoy your view point. May not always agree but still enjoy the read. As of this time my AR's may be a little underpowered but that doesn't detract from my (or the wifes) listening pleasure. One pair of 3a's are currently doing service in my living room via a ST-70/Pas-3/FM-3/XA setup that I mostly play jazz from a local college station or jazz and classical via the TT. The other pair is in the master bedroom coming off a Yamaha CR 2020. Plenty of power there (not as much as your PL of course) but the wife and I still prefer low to moderate levels. She has sensitive to loud volume ears but still enjoys what she describes as warm sounding the music that we listen to. If I ever get a chance to get out to the east coast from the west I may have to co0me by to let you demo your LST's for me. Heck, I've never even seen a pair in person yet.

Until then keep enjoying yourself and the music.

James

BTW I have no idea of what I am talking most of the time

Frank's Response:

2-19-09 CSP

Hello James, O.K. you can bring your wife, but she'll have to make the concession that when men sit and do some listening, they ‘do’ some listening. Come to speak of this, this has never been discussed on these pages before.

Women, girlfriends, or a wife must and need to understand the special aspects of a man's love for his stereo system, and in doing so she needs to allow such an indulgence with-out interruption. In the past I had a girlfriend for many years who never interrupted me ever, cause, I also played her requested folk music along with my rock stuff, but mine was the ‘lion's-share’. Together we enjoyed classical and opera too. My ex-wife was a total 'turn-off', literally and figuratively and totally disrespectful of my 'sixties' head bopping motions. She one time lowered the volume from loud on my best friend & I as we were ‘floating’ away from the effects of the music. I think he & I had ventured back to August ’68 and she ’blew-our-minds’ with that action.

Now as far as your possible visit, please understand the following: each person will not be allowed to come closer than 5 feet of the LST cabinets, no poking, groping or 'touchy-feely' stuff. No spouse, girlfriend and certainly no pets/children are allowed with 10 feet of the LST's and none are permitted to join in. There will be no conversation during any music playing, unless I initiate it, (I am the ‘Master’). Comments, opinions and the like will be saved for after the listening session. I don't take requests for any particular musical pieces, songs or arias. The program will be discussed prior to your arrival and a play-list will be handed out. There will no bending one’s shoulders or head near or above the turntable and certainly no speaking near a vinyl disk. There will not be any playing of anyone's ‘program-material’ except mine. Unless I change my mind your tastes don’t matter and even then your requests will go unanswered. You will sit where I place you, no walking around doing the 'finger-nail-tapping-test' on the speaker cabinets or any other component. No 'cheap-shot' comments about 'your' feelings about the way I stroke a 'carbon-fiber' brush to wipe my vinyl. Flatulence will be addressed out of doors and released prior to the listening session, any slip-ups will be firmly dealt with a can of 'Country-Gardens' spray room freshener. If alcoholic beverages are consumed, there will no getting-up repeatedly for personal relieving of oneself.

Loud is a relative term and I’m not your relative, so I will define all aspects of how loud a musical piece is played.

Lastly, if guests have never seen or enjoyed AR-LST’s you have my sympathies, but, there will be no picture taking and no borrowing of any program material media, no exceptions.

Guest list includes but is not limited to: Minh, RoyC, JohnieO, Bret, Tom Tyson, Dynaco-Dan, Soundminded, Carlspeak, VintageAR, MexicoMike, Draftmonkey, Ken Kantor,…

*URGENT MESSAGE JUST IN*: Frank Marsi’s ‘ultimate system’ is still not ready for prime time listening. Please stay tuned for later announcements.

One reason why his system is not ready is because the poor slob is so boggled as to which tweeters to use in his speakers he feel asleep kinda like sleeping beauty. Is it the HiVi Q1R, or the AB-Tech, or the P.E. generic or something he found in street?

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I was the same way, never saw an LST in person until I bought a pair on Ebay! This even though I was a huge AR freak in the mid-60s through mid 70's. Used to go audition speakers all the time but none of the shops I used to frequent ever had a pair. But I do strongly recommend them if a pair in restored or restorable condition - NO replacement drivers other than original ARs - shows up...

I actually got to hear LSTs when they first came out. They were glorious in the space they were being demo'd in, but it was obvious to me at the time that I'd be throwing my money (which I didn't even have at the time) away on performance I'd never be able to duplicate in my listening environment. 25 years passed before I moved into a place that could have done them justice.

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Women, girlfriends, or a wife must and have to understand the special aspects of a man's love for his stereo system, and in doing so she needs to allow such an indulgence with-out interruption.

One reason why his system is not ready is because the poor slob is so boggled as to which tweeters to use in his speakers he feel asleep kinda like sleeping beauty. Is it the HiVi Q1R, or the AB-Tech, or the P.E. generic or something he found in street?

When I was refurbing my 3a's and not looking forward to the task of lifting them up onto the entertainment wall shelves where my lighter 2ax's currently reside, my wife suggested I just put them on stands and pointed out that taking the speakers off the wall would free up shelf space for more audio gear. :wacko:

If these are your only choices, I'd opt for the HiVi. Carl and Roy have determined that they are equivalent in performance to the AR tweeters that PE was carrying (I got a pair of those from Carl, and they're not bad if you can live with the reduced dispersion), and will fit the cabinets without needing the adapter plates the PE tweeters require. The consensus on the ABTech replacements seems to be that correct cabinet fit is their only good point.

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Frank,

I actually have a VERY UNDERSTANDING wife. Otherwise there is no way she would allow me to have the following toys:

Receivers 22

Amplifiers 7

Pre Amps 5

Int Amp 2

Tuners 7

TT 5

Cassette deck 15

R2R 4

8Track 1

CDP 6

EQ 2

Reverb 1

Speakers 35 pair [AR's 14 pairs- 10pi(1), 3a(2), 2ax(5), 4x(5), 94s(1)]

If I found a pair of LST's she would allow me to have them also.

'53 Jag XK120DHC

'67 Dodge Charger

'74 Dodge Charger

'01 Dodge Ram 2500 QC LB

'05 Dodge Magnum R/T

M1911-A1

I take all of the garage, multiple systems in every room. Must be love as we just passed 16 years married last week. As for your rules, of course I would strictly follow all of them, after all I was a very squared away Marine and know how to follow orders, oh Master of Listening, Director of The Play List, Great OZ, etc etc....

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2-19-09, 8 P.M. EST

Dear members, I hope the silly dialog I presented above was taken in jest, as that’s how it was meant. When I first luckily encountered this enthusiastic site about five or so years ago I dreamed that one-day I would become the CSP communities’ court jester, I was at least on that path, just do a search of some of my famed characters, such as “AR-Basket-Hat Man”. It relates to my being a ‘nuvo’ designer who uses speaker-baskets to create fashionable hats, quite stimulating. However, it took some time to realize that certain members laughed and enjoyed my silliness, whilst others may have felt there was no room for such chicanery when the prevailing mood here was technical and serious about our guarded possessions. Well in the last year or so I’ve noticed a little ‘loosening-up’ of moods on this site and for various reasons I must be absent at times and I can’t join in. Maybe there’s just no room for it? Now I can’t promise that I’ll always be the clown, but I’ll try, I’m just full of all kinds of surprises.

In another light I can be very serious, especially when it comes to being in love with my hobby of AR-dom, PL-dom, vinyl-dom and more than anything, feeling and enjoying the music I love.

In terms of my pleasure of actually getting together with members which I have every intention of doing, present times and other distractions prevail and I’m unable to do so just yet, but I do promise that sure enough the big day that I ‘show-off’ my ‘stuff’ will come. I know, I know, I’ve said this before, but it will happen and I insure you my AR’s will knock your socks and shoes off! Or perhaps viewed differently maybe this proposed day to come might be a ‘train-wreck’ waiting to happen? What if my amps blow, the cantilever on my cartridge gets bent, or all the tweets, mids and woofers blow at one time? What if there’s a power failure in the area?

I fear not, I know that any and all of you brave AR souls will assist me in the rebuilding of my little empire of greatness in collecting and enjoying vintage equipment

Now what’s going on with this tweeter deal, it’s like a plague that’s come to infest and wipe out all of the AR freaks in this country. Just when I finally finished reading all of the glowing reports here from some of the more knowledgeable members, I decide to buy, and what happens, they all disappeared. I could install my ‘waiting forever to be installed’ AB-techs I’ve stashed (I mostly relying on my steadfast Micro-Statics), crazy I know. But then I read here about the ‘latest and greatest’ “it” tweeter this side of the Mississippi. I don’t know anymore, it seems the more I know the less I understand. I just read today they’re on their way though, the cavalry is coming, just give me a chance to stock-up too, I’m an American, I believe in excess because it’s here for all of us to enjoy, (or is it?). Da-da ta done……..

FM

P.S. Right now, I realized that I'd better 'put-up' or 'shut-up'!

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One thing that is clear Frank, is that you enjoy your music and your gear and that is what I like about reading your posts. Also, your amusing posts about wanting to add to your collection of spare woofers, etc. ...

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