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I know of no other loudspeaker that is more beautiful than the AR-3, that is, in my opinion! 

I sent this pair to the San Francisco Museum for the Dolby-sponsored "History of Audio" display a few years ago.  This pair of early 1960's lacquered-mahogany AR-3 speakers, C 78XX, shows the absolute beauty of the AR-3 cabinet, grill and logo placement.  Notice that the logos are properly placed on these speakers and the gold thread in the ivory saran grill material (saran is a Dow Chemical PVDC material very similar to nylon) is evident in this early version.  The gold thread was discontinued a few years later.  These speakers demonstrate the natural look of lacquered-mahogany cabinets -- a satin luster -- and it is very rare to have a pair survive for over 55 years in this condition, but this pair was always pampered and well-kept in air-condition space and storage.  This pair has never had the grills removed, but fortunately, this pair also has strong, clean  midrange and treble output, a very desirable thing for an old AR-3!  The level controls have oxidized, but occasional rotation back and forth cleans the contact surfaces sufficient to keep good output.  

Send pictures of your AR-3 installations and give a description of the sound!

AR-3_Mahogany_012A.jpg

AR-3_Mahogany_013A.jpg

AR-3 lacquered-mahogany mounted in office bookshelf with AR-3a (oiled-walnut finish) below.

AR-3_Mahogany_016A.jpg

Note the satin luster (not a high-gloss luster) of the lacquered-mahogany finish, sort of a piano-lacquer finish.  Note, also, the position of the "3" logo, properly placed, though it should technically be one more vertical level to the right, a bit closer to the molding.  Gold thread woven into the saran grill material.

--Tom Tyson

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Excellent Tom! You're right. I know I look at my 3's daily and wonder if it's the beauty of their cosmetics or the incredible sound I like more. Sometimes not easy to discern. 

 

And thanks for the lesson the logo's. Never knew about the correct positioning of them. 

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Gorgeous example! I always thought the 3 pin was suppose to be in the diagonal corner position, not the same plane as the AR badge. Interesting, and now I'm going to reposition my 3 pins!

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Amazing those beautiful AR's never had the grills removed and the pots still work! Just quality gorgous speakers.

I am on finishing touches on the walnut 3's I have been refinishing. I played them last night and my jaw hit the floor. After having three other sets over the years, these are the best sounding I have heard.

Will share pics when finished.

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3 hours ago, lakecat said:

Amazing those beautiful AR's never had the grills removed and the pots still work! Just quality gorgous speakers.

I am on finishing touches on the walnut 3's I have been refinishing. I played them last night and my jaw hit the floor. After having three other sets over the years, these are the best sounding I have heard.

Will share pics when finished.

It would be great to see many of the AR-3s that are in collections among members of the CSP!

AR_Speakers-Are-Chosen-For-Critical-Use_AR-3_1966_003.jpg 

Here is an AR ad from 1965 showing radio station WTFM in New York (many recording studios and radio stations used AR-3 speakers) and the domestic installation of American composer and music critic, Virgil Thompson, showing AR-3 speakers with the proper orientation of the "3" brass stick pin. There's no hard and fast rule about positioning the "3" pin, but the way AR positioned it was in the lower-right corner opposite from the "AR" brass logo plate at the woofer end.  Typically, the pin is straight up-and-down when the speaker is located horizontally, even if the speaker is mounted vertically.  Since the midrange and tweeter are more nearly vertically aligned when the speaker is mounted horizontally (as in these examples here), the dispersion in the horizontal plane is not affected, but the vertical dispersion is somewhat attenuated, reducing floor and ceiling bounce.  In hard-cold actuality, it makes little difference since the sound is predominantly reverberant and "blended" by the time it reaches the listener's ears, once back 5 or 6 feet or so.  

--Tom Tyson

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Tom, thanx for the lesson. I will be unveiling this set this calendar year for sure, as well as my Citation II to drive them.

This is precisely how I received them and apparently the 3s were still in the right place and orientation. The further 3 does seem a little too close to the what would be vertical edge, was there a precise positioning?

day1_topofcabs.jpg

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Wow, Tom - talk about a coincidence.

I recently bought a really nice copy of Stereo Review from January, 1970, which was all about the upcoming Beethoven Bicentennial, and I just started reading it last night.

The Acoustic Research ad from this issue also featured composer Virgil Thomson, but with his new AR-3a speakers!

What are the odds of this?

ar-3 & 3a.JPG

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I bought these pair of AR3's  from CSP member Minh out of New York 12 yrs ago,both pair still have all original drivers which are performing wonderful,just recently I had to replace the woofer in one cabinet and RoyC help me obtain a original replacement 3 months ago...thanks Roy :) .The crossovers in both cabinets have been totally replace using solen's for mid-range capacitor and Carli for the tweeter capacitor,both level controls were also replaced using the Lpad controls with also the Dayton 25 ohm 10 watt audio grade resistor across the mid-level control and tweeter-level control,These AR3's were made in 1968 and the mid-range .06mh coil was omitted from this production run  as well as the crossover phase change with the mid & tweeter with respect to woofer polarity.The grille frames and new replacement saran were installed by the outstanding PDF document in which Jkent developed...thanks Jkent for that and the good tips he also provided.IMG_0099.JPGIMG_0100.JPG 

 

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Here is the walnut 3's I just finished. This is three coats of satin poly and no wax yet..:) The darker area you see on the one top was a the famous plant stain. It has been sitting there for a long time as the particle board was bubbled kinda bad underneath the veneer. Working some magic, I got it looking pretty good and only the slightest hump under the veneer. This also has the 3/8" shallow walnut front and seems to be a 3a cabinet with no slot on top for grill. It has the 65K serial number so even Roy was scratching his head on this one. Still has the huge mid and crossover was the 24-6 dual only. The other weird thing was the stuffing was wrapped birdnest like around the woofer and up to first level of bracing but nothing in upper cabinet.  New poly caps and pots cleaned and work pretty well. The grills were cleaned as well as badges............The sound is simply incredible.

IMG_3249.JPG

IMG_3246.JPG

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So beautiful, in fact, that it is a shame to follow the placement guidance!

 

On 4/16/2016 at 4:42 PM, tysontom said:

The idea is to have the front face of the speaker flush with the wall.

 

On 4/16/2016 at 2:59 PM, tysontom said:

Bookshelf mounting for the AR-3/AR-3a is certainly an ideal way to do it if possible.  

AR-3a_Bookshelf-Mounted (02).jpg

 

On 4/20/2016 at 11:58 AM, tysontom said:

AR-3_Mahogany_013A.jpg

 

The 3a pair that my father bought new so many years ago is prominently displayed in my living room.  The black grille cloth that I used to replace the original (which I apparently employed as a canvas for crayon art as a toddler in the early 70s - doh!) really accentuates the beauty of that gorgeous wood.

IMG_0470.png

 

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20 hours ago, ar_pro said:

Wow, Tom - talk about a coincidence.

I recently bought a really nice copy of Stereo Review from January, 1970, which was all about the upcoming Beethoven Bicentennial, and I just started reading it last night.

The Acoustic Research ad from this issue also featured composer Virgil Thomson, but with his new AR-3a speakers!

What are the odds of this?

ar-3 & 3a.JPG

That is great!  Virgil Thompson, one of America's all-time leading composers and music critics, used AR-3 speakers for many years until he replaced the 3s with AR-3as, shown in this great ad.  His reflection is shown in the mirror in this ad just as it was in the other ad!  Note, too, that AR began using this slightly different "AR" logo with the black square background.  This started around this period.

It is very interesting that AR never paid anyone for an ad of this sort.  These were done gratis by the artists, but of course, the speakers were provided at cost to the artists.  This started back in the 1950s, and this tradition remained until the mid-1970s, I believe.  Insofar as AR was a very prestigious and highly regarded brand, the artists typically felt good about doing the ads for free.  Even Miles Davis and "Satchmo" were never paid for doing ads for AR!

--Tom Tyson

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20 hours ago, rjr513 said:

I bought these pair of AR3's  from CSP member Minh out of New York 12 yrs ago,both pair still have all original drivers which are performing wonderful,just recently I had to replace the woofer in one cabinet and RoyC help me obtain a original replacement 3 months ago...thanks Roy :) .The crossovers in both cabinets have been totally replace using solen's for mid-range capacitor and Carli for the tweeter capacitor,both level controls were also replaced using the Lpad controls with also the Dayton 25 ohm 10 watt audio grade resistor across the mid-level control and tweeter-level control,These AR3's were made in 1968 and the mid-range .06mh coil was omitted from this production run  as well as the crossover phase change with the mid & tweeter with respect to woofer polarity.The grille frames and new replacement saran were installed by the outstanding PDF document in which Jkent developed...thanks Jkent for that and the good tips he also provided.IMG_0099.JPGIMG_0100.JPG 

 

You could not have picked a better "AR" person than Minh when you got these AR-3 speakers!  Minh is a perfectionist and an expert regarding AR speakers, especially the AR-LST, AR-3a and the Mark Levinson LST the "Avanti."  I think Minh is somewhat less active in the historical/restoration part of AR now, as he is very busy raising his family.  Those AR-3s are very handsome and I think well-placed in that room, placed at the correct minimum height off the floor to prevent boominess.  With the left channel fairly close to the corner, I suspect the bass is quite powerful!  I see the right-front corner of a pair of AR-LSTs barely in the picture.

--Tom Tyson

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19 hours ago, lakecat said:

Here is the walnut 3's I just finished. This is three coats of satin poly and no wax yet..:) The darker area you see on the one top was a the famous plant stain. It has been sitting there for a long time as the particle board was bubbled kinda bad underneath the veneer. Working some magic, I got it looking pretty good and only the slightest hump under the veneer. This also has the 3/8" shallow walnut front and seems to be a 3a cabinet with no slot on top for grill. It has the 65K serial number so even Roy was scratching his head on this one. Still has the huge mid and crossover was the 24-6 dual only. The other weird thing was the stuffing was wrapped birdnest like around the woofer and up to first level of bracing but nothing in upper cabinet.  New poly caps and pots cleaned and work pretty well. The grills were cleaned as well as badges............The sound is simply incredible.

IMG_3249.JPG

IMG_3246.JPG

Those are beautiful AR-3 speakers, and as you note above, the cabinets are the "AR-3a-style" front molding.  That is, AR began to build AR-3s in the late 1960s, after the AR-3a was introduced in 1967, using the new-style molding with USM hot-melt glue holding the grill frames in place.  However, the AR-3 grill material is more difficult (it doesn't stretch) to attach to the AR-3a-type grill frame, and it causes some slight sagging if too much pressure is applied when attaching the material.  There is also the tell-tale gap around the edges.  Nevertheless, the end result is always very handsome.

--Tom Tyson

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On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2016 at 5:22 PM, bjmsam said:

So beautiful, in fact, that it is a shame to follow the placement guidance!

 

 

 

 

The 3a pair that my father bought new so many years ago is prominently displayed in my living room.  The black grille cloth that I used to replace the original (which I apparently employed as a canvas for crayon art as a toddler in the early 70s - doh!) really accentuates the beauty of that gorgeous wood.

IMG_0470.png

 

Nice AR look with the black.....but you must tell me about that chair! I love...love that thing!

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7 hours ago, tysontom said:

Those are beautiful AR-3 speakers, and as you note above, the cabinets are the "AR-3a-style" front molding.  That is, AR began to build AR-3s in the late 1960s, after the AR-3a was introduced in 1967, using the new-style molding with USM hot-melt glue holding the grill frames in place.  However, the AR-3 grill material is more difficult (it doesn't stretch) to attach to the AR-3a-type grill frame, and it causes some slight sagging if too much pressure is applied when attaching the material.  There is also the tell-tale gap around the edges.  Nevertheless, the end result is always very handsome.

--Tom Tyson

Thank you for the education on the 3 cabinet and your compliment. The grills were actually worse than what shows with the bowing so I laid them in the sun and clamped them to get a lot of it out. I was thinking if I keep these over the cherry pair I have also, I might glue thin metal strips to the grill backs and let them dry with them clamped again. I will glue small magnets to inside of cabinet where grills go to hold them. Might work to keep them looking decent.......

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4 hours ago, lakecat said:

Nice AR look with the black.....but you must tell me about that chair! I love...love that thing!

Thanks!  Info here: http://www.artesanosdonbosco.com/

I just asked my dad about his purchase of that 3a pair:

Quote

’68 or ’69, in Chapel Hill, NC. I ordered a pair of AR3s, but right then the AR3a came out. So I sent the AR3s back unopened and bought a pair of 3a’s. Until then I only had a pair of AR4 bookshelf speakers.

It looks to me like the age of super speakers may be over, except for a few extremely high-end products. The millennials are saddled with debt and will find it hard to buy homes that could have big sound systems. Hard to have those in mom’s basement or a thin-walled apartment/condo. Anyway, they’re addicted to their phones and ear buds, hear big sound by going to theaters and concerts. I just read that music producers are now tailoring their audio profiles/curves to sound good as possible in ear buds, which means they’ll sound like crap through accurate high-end speakers. Then again, an awful lot of music now is just layers of synthesizer noise, so it hardly matters what you play it through. AR used to do demos behind a curtain with a live string quartet vs. a recording. Carnegie Hall was one place they did it. It was all about accuracy of reproduction, a concept that has become less and less meaningful, at least outside of classical music.

Ridiculously low prices on CL seem to support that view; I bought AR9, AR90 and AR94 for next to nothing (but agree that AR-3 and AR-3a are more beautiful).

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What is a beautiful AR3s speakers and a nice bookshelf set up Tom.  There are space limitations in a room so I temporary place a speakers in the cabinet.

j95zr8.jpg

DSC03189.JPG

14125034_1798925373720298_4919525947401889512_o.jpg

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, lakecat said:

Nice AR look with the black.....but you must tell me about that chair! I love...love that thing!

Those AR-3s look great with the black grill!  That is a unusual rocking chair, obviously hand-made!

--Tom Tyson

1 hour ago, Liangshan Marsh said:

 

 

What is a beautiful AR3s speakers and a nice bookshelf set up Tom.  There are space limitations in a room so I temporary place a speakers in the cabinet.

 

DSC03142.JPG

 

 

One interesting thing about the AR-3's grills is the ability to see a faint image of the midrange and super-tweeter through the grill.  I always thought this was a great look.

AR-3_Dealer_01Jan1963_002.jpg

Picture from January 1, 1963, showing an AR dealer demonstrating speakers to a customer (and multiple other lines, such as Electro-Voice, JansZen and University).  I think this was one of the many New York City hifi dealerships that were around the area that eventually became the site of the ill-fated Twin Towers.  These dealerships vanished as the city authority bought up the land in that area to build the towers.

--Tom Tyson

--Tom Tyson

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Here are my AR 3's second pair, bought in 2013, C 61224 - C 61229. I drive it with Marantz model 33 preamp and a QSC ISA 280 power amp. My first pair, classic oiled walnut bought in 2009, C 24335 / C 24371 , not shown here, are driven with a totally refurbished EICO ST40, and Altec Valencias with the tiny Knight KA-25 , also totally refurbished. I' m planning to buy another QSC power amp to drive four AR 3 all together! Best wishes to You all, Adriano

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image.jpegThat' s me with the oiled walnut pair. The sound? The best speaker ever made , regardless price and time. 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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I feel very privileged and honored to have been to Adiano's home twice and heard his great systems, especially his beautiful AR-3's. We've also shared a few fine meals together in Rome. Our daughter lives in Italy about two hours north of Rome with her husband and 2.67 children (# 3 is on the way, obviously!) and I make it a point to stop off and see Adriano whenever I'm there.

Adriano--I hope to be there sometime this summer. As my plans finalize, I'll be in touch.

Steve F.

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Hello Steve! I' ll be very happy to meet You once again. This time I need Your opinion about QSC pro amp vs. old tubes drivin' AR 3. And You have to listen my second pair ! Cheers, Adriano

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Beautiful AR3's Sonnar and look in great shape. If I may ask for the unknowing, what is that small speaker? on the side of the horn on the Altec Valencias? Thank you for any reply.

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Hello lakecat, it' s a JBL 075 " bullet " tweeter, I use it to extend high frequency response. I upgraded my Valencias replacing original 806 Symbiotik drivers with  802 8g Tangerine aluminum , but the horn is too big to support frequencies over 10 Khz, so I need a tweeter with great sensitivity to match the 98 db 1w/4 feet of the Valencias. The old ( 1957 ) JBL 075 with its flat response until 15 Khz and 110 db sensitivity it' s the ideal. I have a friend who has also Valencias and he uses a Stephens Trusonic 5KT ring tweeter , very similar to JBL 075. I use toeing it because of its directivity . Anyway, these are old theater-type loudspeaker, not hi-fi speakers. Cheers, Adriano

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On 4/23/2016 at 9:37 AM, Liangshan Marsh said:

 

 

What is a beautiful AR3s speakers and a nice bookshelf set up Tom.  There are space limitations in a room so I temporary place a speakers in the cabinet.

j95zr8.jpg

DSC03189.JPG

 

 

 

 

One of the things I've always admired about the AR-3 was that you could see the very faint image of the "fried-egg" midrange and super-tweeter through the grill.  Note that the term "fried egg" belongs to the AR-3, but it has been used for other speakers, even the Advent tweeter!

Tyson_AR-3_006.jpg

Tyson_AR-3_007.jpg

This pair of AR-3s was ordered by an MIT professor back around 1963 or 1964.  I bought them out of an estate sale years ago, and I sold them around 1995 or so.  Care to guess which finish?

--Tom Tyson

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