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Why No Big-Boy 8" Three-Ways?

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Don't give me any ideas B)...

Ha!

Re-purposing & resto-modding classic AR speakers could be a cottage industry, Roger!

Need to learn how to restore the old tweeters first ... I did grab the orphan 338 on the auction site just to see how well it was done. I'll pair it with the Elwyn 4x just for kicks. Probably not too many 338 drivers around either.

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Sonnar, on 10 Aug 2015 - 8:12 PM, said:

In 40 years I 've never heard a complete speaker ( I mean without a subwoofer ) with similar bass response.

Have you ever listened to an AR-9? ^_^

Just kidding - the dual-woofer, extended LF design of the AR-9 doesn't negate the quality of the AR-3a, or any other AR 12"-woofer system; it's just designed to serve a different need & circumstance.

There are plenty of listening spaces that don't provide an adequate condition to realize the potential of the AR 12" woofer, but a compact system with drivers of equivalent quality, but with a smaller woofer might prove more suitable, and without sacrificing overall sonic character.

Wilson Audio virtually created the market for small, high-quality monitors with the 2-way Wilson Audio Tiny Tot (WATT); a loudspeaker originally designed for superb reproduction in a compact format.

Using their "best-quality" mid & highrange drivers, AR could've established this niche for themselves, and at a price that would've been a fraction of the WATT's.

It's fun to speculate, no?

Interesting no one mentioned NHT 3.3 which was pretty much a mini-monitor plus a side-firing subwoofer configuration. The 12" cast frame subwoofer (1259) has about 13mm(1-way) capability. I have heard them and they had good bass. http://www.stereophile.com/content/nht-33-loudspeaker-measurements#AbWQK87oXIJiQpxq.97

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Yes, I listen the AR 9 very often , my next-door neighbour had it for many years, but I don't like the tonal balance and their " surgical " bass . Many years ago I had AR 10 Pi and Allison:One but I sold them quickly because I ' m not satisfied . In my opinion the AR 3 is the best speaker AR ever made . Probably the reason because I don' t understand a three-way AR speaker with one or two little woofers is that I don't like small speakers , which usually lost fundamental bass .

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I do understand why someone might want a "big boy 8". Listening to the human voice on a 12 inch AR is a compromise. If your music preferences tend toward more intimate or small scale works with little to no material below 50Hz then it certainly makes sense to have a speaker such as the one being discussed here but there is no way that one will sense the impact of a large scale orchestral work or even Lady Gaga with an 8" or even 10" woofer.

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Theoretically You 're right. But I prefer don 't worry about technical theories and listening what is good and what is bad to me. The most fascinating reproduction of Ella Fitzgerald 's voice to me is offered by my customized Altec Valencias, 802 8g aluminum drivers and 075 " bullet "JBL tweeters with a 16" 416 8b woofer crossed at 800 Hz , a very large front baffle .Theoretically bad, practically Ella Fitzgerald's living voice singin' in front of me. Precise, accurate , warm, live.

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Interesting no one mentioned NHT 3.3 which was pretty much a mini-monitor plus a side-firing subwoofer configuration. The 12" cast frame subwoofer (1259) has about 13mm(1-way) capability. I have heard them and they had good bass. http://www.stereophile.com/content/nht-33-loudspeaker-measurements#AbWQK87oXIJiQpxq.97

I guess the price scared everyone off that one plus the OP was about 8" designs ;)

It was a rather unusual looking speaker: http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/1293nht/index.html#R7PuUgodC8hOOxcV.97

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Theoretically You 're right. But I prefer don 't worry about technical theories and listening what is good and what is bad to me. The most fascinating reproduction of Ella Fitzgerald 's voice to me is offered by my customized Altec Valencias, 802 8g aluminum drivers and 075 " bullet "JBL tweeters with a 16" 416 8b woofer crossed at 800 Hz , a very large front baffle .Theoretically bad, practically Ella Fitzgerald's living voice singin' in front of me. Precise, accurate , warm, live.

Agree. That is why I said 12" AR. Horn loaded JBLs were among my first speakers and the "presence" is what sucked me in. The compromise with regard to slightly husky female voices on 12" ARs with 3 drivers is not really a problem for me. Listening to large scale classical I prefer the presentation of the AR3as. Modern popular music I prefer the AR9.

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Another problem could be the balance between AR 3a's midrange and a little 8" woofer . The AR mid, in it its various versions, is incredibly powerful and radiates on a very large angle . To have a correct tonal balance You have to use at least two " 8 woofers , and two lodspeakers operating at the same frequencies often causes problems. Here in Europe there are a lot of column speakers with multiple little woofers and high-tech dome midranges and tweeters. Never heard one of them well sounding. Crisp, glassy, bright, hyper-detailed, with poor bass response and totally unpleasant.

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"Horses for courses", as they say.

I believe that AR did a superb job in blending the dual-woofer system of the AR-9 with the other three drivers; in fact, with one important exception, I feel that the "company sound", or "voicing" of the AR-9 series is very similar to the systems from the Classic era.

In 1979, I was able to switch between listening to two pairs of stacked AR-3a systems, directly to a brand-new pair of AR-9 speakers, all running off the same amplifier.

On most music, the differences were not profound; pieces that had extended low frequency requirements were clearly better-served by the AR-9, but the family resemblance between the two speakers was very much in evidence.

The unique attributes of the new AR-9 design were made clear in its ability to "pressurize" a room with sound - this is something that the stacked AR-3a's simply could not do - and in its ability to establish a more detailed stereo image within a large-ish room, which to me was the biggest practical difference between the two top-end designs.

The 3a sounded wonderful in the right listening space, but it wasn't up to the 9's all-out performance in rooms of more cubic feet - and conversely, the AR-9 sounds like crap in a too-small room! :)

From the Classic series, the AR-5 offered much of the performance of the AR-3a, but without the extended LF response of the 12" woofer.

There have been more than a few people who feel that the AR-5 was the better speaker, but I'm convinced that this opinion is more affected by the listener's room than any unique interplay between the drivers on the AR-5.

And that's why I began wondering about a compact system using the AR-3a tweeter & mid in combination with a quality 8" woofer!

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Am just attaching a few pics here, but as already mentioned by Rlowe in post 2, I'd venture to guess the AR-338 just might be a very fine small three-way - - - perhaps even a "Big Boy". It has nearly identical cabinet dimensions as the 4-series, but a far more complex crossover and updated drivers. Mentioned in a thread not long ago, but it appears they may have been manufactured in both mirrored and identical pairs. I suspect that some speaker models from this series were not big sellers - - - I've never seen a pair of 338's.

post-112624-0-32155200-1439577755_thumb. post-112624-0-44315600-1439577858_thumb. post-112624-0-44985700-1439577888_thumb.

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Am just attaching a few pics here, but as already mentioned by Rlowe in post 2, I'd venture to guess the AR-338 just might be a very fine small three-way - - - perhaps even a "Big Boy". It has nearly identical cabinet dimensions as the 4-series, but a far more complex crossover and updated drivers. Mentioned in a thread not long ago, but it appears they may have been manufactured in both mirrored and identical pairs. I suspect that some speaker models from this series were not big sellers - - - I've never seen a pair of 338's.

I've never seen a pair either but I do have one, left side speaker, since they were mirrored. Didn't get around to hooking it up yet but perhaps tomorrow.

Today I got my old SAE back online and am chilling with a glass of wine and listening to some smooth jazz on the AR-5's. These two go together like peaches and cream :)

Roger

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Am just attaching a few pics here, but as already mentioned by Rlowe in post 2, I'd venture to guess the AR-338 just might be a very fine small three-way - - - perhaps even a "Big Boy". It has nearly identical cabinet dimensions as the 4-series, but a far more complex crossover and updated drivers. Mentioned in a thread not long ago, but it appears they may have been manufactured in both mirrored and identical pairs. I suspect that some speaker models from this series were not big sellers - - - I've never seen a pair of 338's.

attachicon.gifAR-338 black.jpg attachicon.gifAR-338 cherry.jpg attachicon.gifAR-338 crossover.jpg

Well, that's certainly the idea...they must be fairly scarce.

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In a discussion of the AR-338 on AK, this comment by Ken Kantor.

I think the 338's came out pretty well. I never really understood David Rich's review of them, honestly. (Technically, that is... his listening impressions are what they are.)

Also, these currently for sale on CL in the OK state.

post-112624-0-14264200-1439736026_thumb. post-112624-0-82587500-1439736135_thumb.

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I've been listening to the orphan 338 paired with the Elwyn 4x -- interesting combo. I'd have to say AR didn't make an 8" inch 3-way because they knew their market and the 4x just sounded too good in the same size box. The ST series was designed for that market anyway.

The 338 has an edge on the high end but I would probably prefer the 4x voicing overall -- not bad for a 49-year old speaker that has been through hell and high water and was designed without the aid of computers.

I don't have any experience with AR's 8" offerings between these two models, so ...

Roger

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I was reminded of this thread when I began taking a closer look at the AR-38B, and I was surprised to see that this model had not been mentioned anywhere in this discussion. I have no experience with this dual driver component (tweet-mid), and despite my aversion to the styling and cabinet build quality of this series, I have to think this just might be a very good 8" three-way speaker model.

The link below includes a schematic circuit diagram as well as the full crossover assembly drawing. This appears to be a complex and sophisticated design.

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Board/index.php?/topic/6950-ar-38b/

ar-38b v2.jpg

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Never seen in Italy although we were the most important market for AR outside U.S. . I remember a shy three-way , 8" woofer by Avid in mid '70s. In early '80s JBL made the L 86 with the same mid and tweeter of the L 112 and L 150 , but with an 8" woofer instead of 12" : but L 112 and L 150 made big sales while nobody cares of L 86 .  In mid '70s , JBL sold in Italy more L 100 Century and 4311 than L 36 Decades . AR's and JBL's customers probably wants the best bass response their money could buy , and it seems a nonsense to have a speaker with expensive midrange and tweeter and a poor bass response by a small woofer . 

Adriano 

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 Generally speaking, both the sensitivity  and bass extension increase with larger cone area. For the same spl, the smaller cone has to work harder than the bigger cone, so distortion tends to be higher. Therefore there are three strikes against a small cone for sounding big. The big-boy AR9 uses a 8"  for midbass and is high-passed at around 200 hz. so it can absorb a tremendous amount of power.

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On 8/10/2015 at 10:15 PM, ar_pro said:

Using their "best-quality" mid & highrange drivers, AR could've established this niche for themselves, and at a price that would've been a fraction of the WATT's

Its been four years.  At the time this thread was active I did not fully appreciate what it was about.  AR had the product in the 1980s and failed to see it.  Shown below.

image.png.2069aa4f07b4e68df52b0ef790a83a52.png

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1 hour ago, Aadams said:

Shown below.

Speaker model....what are we looking at here? That looks maybe like the top three drivers of a four-way AR speaker, but it's hard to tell from the cryptic pic and description.

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54 minutes ago, ra.ra said:

Speaker model....what are we looking at here? That looks maybe like the top three drivers of a four-way AR speaker, but it's hard to tell from the cryptic pic and description.

The mids and tweeter of the LS range AR 9 and 98. Also the mid and tweet of the 78.

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Thx for clarification - - I kinda thought that was what you were posting. Indeed, all excellent drivers in that pic, but how do we know this combination would surpass the performance of the AR-38b or the AR-338?

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8 hours ago, ra.ra said:

but how do we know this combination would surpass the performance of the AR-38b or the AR-338

I don't know if it would in a meaningful way but the dual dome plate combo sounds like a point source from 1200 to 20k,  unlike any other AR, and it would be perfect for standalone or subwoofer use.

I thought "big boy 8 inch three way" in this thread meant both dome mid and tweeter.  One advantage of the the 38b and 338 is they actually exist as opposed to an imagined LS dual dome 8inch 3way.  The 38b, as you know, was a contemporary of the LS series in the 1980s whereas the the 303 series did not appear until the late 90s.    I believe the 338 was the only dual dome 8inch that AR ever manufactured and appears to be very rare on the aftermarket.   My point was AR had the hardware to make a very high end  8inch three way in the 1980s.  Revel offers one of the few 8 inch three way home speakers on the market today for home use, the Gem2,  for around $4000.

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Looking back on this thread, as Steve F has pointed out, an 8" 3-way system using AR's top shelf mid & tweeter would not have fit into the Classic lineup; the best opportunity would've come with the AR-9 series and thereafter.

The market for smaller monitors of extremely high quality was just about to take off, and AR could've been a part of that event. It might also have required an updating of their speakers' fit & finish if they were going to compete with compact monitor manufacturers like Wilson Audio, ProAc, or KEF; but this would probably have taken the line into the realm of premium-priced loudspeakers.

Utilizing AR drivers, Mark Levinson probably could've done something very cool with a top-quality 8" 3-way design, but it would not have been inexpensive.

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While AR wasn't offering an 8" 3-way with domes, the 'relatives' over at Allison were, and in two flavors, floorstanding and bookshelf. I've always been intrigued by the Allison:Eight / CD-8. This picture from Audiokarma illustrates both versions (in the front row).

 

 

A8.JPG

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On 11/30/2019 at 9:25 AM, JeffS said:

While AR wasn't offering an 8" 3-way with domes, the 'relatives' over at Allison were, and in two flavors, floorstanding and bookshelf. I've always been intrigued by the Allison:Eight / CD-8. This picture from Audiokarma illustrates both versions (in the front row).

 

 

A8.JPG

The original Allison Eight (on the ends) would make for an awesome center channel speaker for the right setup.

 

Bill

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