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Steve F

Should the AR-5 have been a 12" Speaker?

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genek    0
9 hours ago, Steve F said:

Of course, if being successful against Advent in a showroom A-B at Tech Hi Fi or Atlantic Sound or Tweeter Etc. in the 1970-1976 time period was not AR’s goal, then the basis for my having brought up the entire AR-5 12-inch thread in the first place was pointless.

This brings to mind something that Roy Allison said in his Stereophile interview:

" In those five years we doubled sales and doubled profits, but our market share was dropping because the market was expanding. It was sort of like a pyramid, with very low-end stuff building out at the base, but it was building upward, too. Medium and high-end stuff was where the profit could be achieved; a lot of low-end people were flashes in the pan and went out of business after a while. But at the end of five years, Teledyne decided they wanted to exploit that lower end more than we were doing, and they didn't renew Abe's contract. They brought in a president who was very personable but who was totally unfamiliar with the quality speaker market."

So if Tom's comment that Teledyne didn't lean on Allison and co much during their five year contract is correct, it would appear that competing in mass market retail showrooms probably was not AR's goal until the "old guard" left in 1972, and then after that it became the goal of those who replaced them.

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Aadams    0
5 hours ago, Steve F said:

I realize that my opinions are often thought of as lunacy, hogwash and ludicrous, .............................

Not true.  More like ardent

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Aadams    0
17 hours ago, genek said:

It was sort of like a pyramid, with very low-end stuff building out at the base, but it was building upward, too. Medium and high-end stuff was where the profit could be achieved; a lot of low-end people were flashes in the pan and went out of business after a while. But at the end of five years, Teledyne decided they wanted to exploit that lower end more than we were doing, and they didn't renew Abe's contract. They brought in a president who was very personable but who was totally unfamiliar with the quality speaker market."

Thank you.  This raises at least two questions for anyone who knows the answers. 

1. Where was the OLA in the Allison view of the pyramid?  If he saw the OLA as a bottom feeder a la BIC it says a lot. OTH If he saw the OLA as a competitive alternative to AR10 inchers it raises more questions.  

2. We know the formal org chart and who on paper was the Chief decision maker from 1967-1972 but informally who was the alpha dog on the management team?

 

Adams

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tysontom    0
19 hours ago, genek said:

This brings to mind something that Roy Allison said in his Stereophile interview:

" In those five years we doubled sales and doubled profits, but our market share was dropping because the market was expanding. It was sort of like a pyramid, with very low-end stuff building out at the base, but it was building upward, too. Medium and high-end stuff was where the profit could be achieved; a lot of low-end people were flashes in the pan and went out of business after a while. But at the end of five years, Teledyne decided they wanted to exploit that lower end more than we were doing, and they didn't renew Abe's contract. They brought in a president who was very personable but who was totally unfamiliar with the quality speaker market."

So if Tom's comment that Teledyne didn't lean on Allison and co much during their five year contract is correct, it would appear that competing in mass market retail showrooms probably was not AR's goal until the "old guard" left in 1972, and then after that it became the goal of those who replaced them.

Kent, perhaps RA's statement explains AR's 1967-1972 marketing strategy best, "...Medium and high-end stuff was where the profit could be achieved; a lot of low-end people were flashes in the pan and went out of business after a while...."  Teledyne management likely felt that as long as current management continued to grow sales and profits—as RA said they did—Teledyne would abide by the 5-year contract terms. 

Therefore, it's unlikely that the old AR team was willing to dive into the low-end market (or to change their pre-existing marketing plan pursuing the medium and high-end market) while they had management control; besides, according to Allison, sales and profits doubled during this five-year period and several speaker companies fell on hard times, so why rock the boat?  Also, there were several new and exciting Acoustic Research products preparing to enter the pipeline on the heels of the June, 1967, Teledyne/AR agreement: the AR-3a and AR Amplifier in the fall of 1967; the AR-5 and updates to the AR Turntable in 1968;  the opening of the Amersfoort, Holland AR manufacturing facility and introduction of the AR Receiver in 1969, The Contemporary Record Project with DGG in 1970; the AR-6, updated AR-2x and AR-2ax and AR FM Tuner in 1970 and the opening of the AR manufacturing facility in Bedfordshire, England and introduction of the AR-LST in 1971.   

Also, it would have taken a huge investment on the part of the Teledyne to revamp the complete dealer network and introduce new products to compete in that low-end market, and it's questionable if Teledyne was willing to invest heavily in the old team's marketing strategy—as long as financial results continued to be favorable.

As we've said before, this was akin to a bull ring: on one side were members of the conservative "Old Guard," doing their thing, protected by the purchase agreement with Teledyne, and on the other side were members of the "Young Turks," Teledyne's new management team eager to get their hands on AR. 

—Tom

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Aadams    0
1 hour ago, tysontom said:

Therefore, it's unlikely that the old AR team was willing to dive into the low-end market (or to change their pre-existing marketing plan pursuing the medium and high-end market) while they had management control; besides, according to Allison, sales and profits doubled during this five-year period and several speaker companies fell on hard times, so why rock the boat? 

Rusticate, have fun as usual and wait for the OLA plague to pass.  Thankfully,for whatever motives, they stayed with their plan, so we could have all the spares that are available today. Bad for Teledyne good for us. :)   What is the summation of this thread topic?

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genek    0
7 hours ago, tysontom said:

As we've said before, this was akin to a bull ring: on one side were members of the conservative "Old Guard," doing their thing, protected by the purchase agreement with Teledyne, and on the other side were members of the "Young Turks," Teledyne's new management team eager to get their hands on AR. 

It would be interesting to know exactly what the terms of the five-year contract were. Because while contracts for existing management to retain their positions after an acquisition are not uncommon, a contract that calls for the new owners to keep hands-off all the management decisions would be.

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tysontom    0
8 hours ago, Aadams said:

Rusticate, have fun as usual and wait for the OLA plague to pass.  Thankfully,for whatever motives, they stayed with their plan, so we could have all the spares that are available today. Bad for Teledyne good for us. :)   What is the summation of this thread topic?

"Rusticate, have fun as usual and wait for the OLA plague to pass."

What might that mean?  

By the way, what is your interpretation of this thread topic; your guess as to that "Alpha Dog?"  Who has the "formal org chart" for this discussion; what was bad for Teledyne, good for us?  

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Aadams    0

Rusticate, means going to the countryside to get away.  In earlier times it is what the fat cats did to escape such things as cholera and bubonic plague and the competition.  They would wait it out.

The formal org chart is the published organization chart.  You said a man named Hoffman was President with 3 other executives including Roy Allison.  The formal chart would indicate Hoffman was the leader of the pack but there is always an informal system of power that is determined by who has the most influence on the boss.  Sometimes the boss does not understand the business as well as an influential subordinate, the subordinate becomes the factotum brain of the person who is in formal charge.  I was wondering if Roy Allison charted the course and Hoffman smoothed things with Teledyne.  I would really like to know if Allison thought the OLA was bottom of the pyramid product. 

My interpretation?  I can only guess.  I have observed, in my business life, both from inside and out the effect of mergers and acquisitions.  I can imagine what was happening at AR but I am certain that human behavior regarding financial security has not changed much over the last fifty years.and anything I would say is pure speculation but part of it would be right.  Genek has been picking up on this same scent.

EDIT:  Remember these men were traveling in the same buyout boat.  They could very well as a group have been navigating to their personal targets rather than Teledyne's. Alpha Male?  I am not sure there was one. It seems more like a group plan with maybe one or maybe two heavy influencers.

I have been asking questions that would be interesting to know but perhaps should not be answered because it could create unnecessary unpleasantness.  For my part I only asked the questions on the chance they could answered with discretion or with no fear of a living participant of the events being discussed, experiencing pain on a public forum. In other words, if one doesn't ask one may never know.  If there is no response, for whatever reason, there is nothing lost..

 I am really enjoying your recounting of times in the speaker world and your analysis and opinions.  Tonight at the moment you asked what I thought, I was in fact composing a sort of conclusion to this thread. This is what I am thinking right now. 

Self serving flattery is always worth a try given the right target, so I will tell you up front, I sense there is a lot right about what you have said.

My summation:

There are so many questions to be asked.  For example: Today, in this discussion, we know historical market share well after the fact for each company and it makes us wonder  why didn't AR act. But, at the time how long did it take for the industry to develop the market share numbers so the data could be used to support a strategic decision. Was there a speaker trade association that collected sales figures and distributed to all members in a timely fashion?  What was the criterion for timely back then. My point is, this may one of the reasons AR never responded to the Advent.  By the time the info became available, and it was clear what was happening, the water was already boiling, they were cooked so to speak, and it was too late (even in 1970).  These days, product sell through data collection, inside a channel can be very rapid, and granular and analyzed with high velocity. Back then it was lot of  mechanical key adders with paper tape and 13 column pads and a few punch card based 132 column reports. There was nothing fast about it and little that was timely.  EDIT: Which supports your assertion that Kloss didn't plan a secret weapon rather it was just his next interation. 

EDIT: (As previously discussed) There is also the problem of the difference in how volume sales were achieved by AR vs Advent.  They apparently rarely shared the same sales venues.  ARs were predominantly sold through  electronics catalogues, some dealers and military exchanges while Advents were apparently exclusively sold in dealer showrooms.  Once the OLA reached superstar status it would have been almost impossible to make a dent even with the perfect AR Advent Killer because the 2 competitors would never meet head to head, often enough, without, as Tom has pointed out, a “huge investment in a new dealer network”.  They couldn’t afford that kind of time.

Just suppose however, AR had become a specialist at the Advent game, then Greshams law and the profit motive would have kicked in and driven AR to make a different product line that vintage enthusiasts, today, would not be interested in. We would not have nearly the number of choices today of quality vintage speakers and spare parts.   It is an interesting story to speculate about but, for us, it would  have been a bad outcome.

 

In summation:  From the stock holders's point of view and as a case study, AR management and Teledyne missed a huge opportunity.  From our point of view we are lucky they missed it. 

 

Just my Opinion.

 

Aadams

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genek    0

The point was made earlier that by the time AR post-Allison rolled out its best effort against the Advents it was too late because Advent sales numbers had already peaked. Allison's interview comments seem to say that he considered sales volume and profit more important than market share and going head-to-head against competitors he believed were not viable in the long run. We know that AR lost market share after Teledyne acquired it, but do we have any information about their P&Ls during the Teledyne years?

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Aadams    0
28 minutes ago, genek said:

The point was made earlier that by the time AR post-Allison rolled out its best effort against the Advents it was too late because Advent sales numbers had already peaked.

AR being a sub, it is not likelyTeledyne would have publicly disclosed detailed financial statements for a business segment but they might have shown whether it was making or losing money.  My ruminations and questions are aimed at 67-72.   The period when "Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove". 

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tysontom    0
14 hours ago, Aadams said:

Rusticate, means going to the countryside to get away.  In earlier times it is what the fat cats did to escape such things as cholera and bubonic plague and the competition.  They would wait it out.

The formal org chart is the published organization chart.  You said a man named Hoffman was President with 3 other executives including Roy Allison.  The formal chart would indicate Hoffman was the leader of the pack but there is always an informal system of power that is determined by who has the most influence on the boss.  Sometimes the boss does not understand the business as well as an influential subordinate, the subordinate becomes the factotum brain of the person who is in formal charge.  I was wondering if Roy Allison charted the course and Hoffman smoothed things with Teledyne.  I would really like to know if Allison thought the OLA was bottom of the pyramid product. 

My interpretation?  I can only guess.  I have observed, in my business life, both from inside and out the effect of mergers and acquisitions.  I can imagine what was happening at AR but I am certain that human behavior regarding financial security has not changed much over the last fifty years.and anything I would say is pure speculation but part of it would be right.  Genek has been picking up on this same scent.

EDIT:  Remember these men were traveling in the same buyout boat.  They could very well as a group have been navigating to their personal targets rather than Teledyne's. Alpha Male?  I am not sure there was one. It seems more like a group plan with maybe one or maybe two heavy influencers.

I have been asking questions that would be interesting to know but perhaps should not be answered because it could create unnecessary unpleasantness.  For my part I only asked the questions on the chance they could answered with discretion or with no fear of a living participant of the events being discussed, experiencing pain on a public forum. In other words, if one doesn't ask one may never know.  If there is no response, for whatever reason, there is nothing lost..

 I am really enjoying your recounting of times in the speaker world and your analysis and opinions.  Tonight at the moment you asked what I thought, I was in fact composing a sort of conclusion to this thread. This is what I am thinking right now. 

Self serving flattery is always worth a try given the right target, so I will tell you up front, I sense there is a lot right about what you have said.

My summation:

There are so many questions to be asked.  For example: Today, in this discussion, we know historical market share well after the fact for each company and it makes us wonder  why didn't AR act. But, at the time how long did it take for the industry to develop the market share numbers so the data could be used to support a strategic decision. Was there a speaker trade association that collected sales figures and distributed to all members in a timely fashion?  What was the criterion for timely back then. My point is, this may one of the reasons AR never responded to the Advent.  By the time the info became available, and it was clear what was happening, the water was already boiling, they were cooked so to speak, and it was too late (even in 1970).  These days, product sell through data collection, inside a channel can be very rapid, and granular and analyzed with high velocity. Back then it was lot of  mechanical key adders with paper tape and 13 column pads and a few punch card based 132 column reports. There was nothing fast about it and little that was timely.  EDIT: Which supports your assertion that Kloss didn't plan a secret weapon rather it was just his next interation. 

EDIT: (As previously discussed) There is also the problem of the difference in how volume sales were achieved by AR vs Advent.  They apparently rarely shared the same sales venues.  ARs were predominantly sold through  electronics catalogues, some dealers and military exchanges while Advents were apparently exclusively sold in dealer showrooms.  Once the OLA reached superstar status it would have been almost impossible to make a dent even with the perfect AR Advent Killer because the 2 competitors would never meet head to head, often enough, without, as Tom has pointed out, a “huge investment in a new dealer network”.  They couldn’t afford that kind of time.

Just suppose however, AR had become a specialist at the Advent game, then Greshams law and the profit motive would have kicked in and driven AR to make a different product line that vintage enthusiasts, today, would not be interested in. We would not have nearly the number of choices today of quality vintage speakers and spare parts.   It is an interesting story to speculate about but, for us, it would  have been a bad outcome.

 

In summation:  From the stock holders's point of view and as a case study, AR management and Teledyne missed a huge opportunity.  From our point of view we are lucky they missed it. 

 

Just my Opinion.

 

Aadams

Aadams,

Thanks for your interesting reply.  It's great to see your interesting, philosophical perspective!

When I asked you, "What might that mean," I wasn't implying that I needed a definition for the word "Rusticate."  I was trying to understand where you were headed with this sentence.  Some of your sentences tend to be metaphorical and somewhat hard to decipher; therefore, I was trying to get a better understanding of your thoughts. 

Also, when I asked you,  "By the way, what is your interpretation of this thread topic; your guess as to that "Alpha Dog?  Who has the "formal org chart" for this discussion; what was bad for Teledyne, good for us?"  What I was interested in was whether or not you had a "formal org. chart," what you were reading into it, and how and why that was bad for Teledyne.   

I think that we all gaze through the smoke and haze of history while forming our opinions and ideas about what happened, sometimes creatively conflating the old AR-Advent thing with some known current event as though it might be something that actually never occurred.  It is very easy to "read" into this history with creative ideas about what happened or should have happened—human nature to do this.  I certainly do my fair share of this, the only difference is that I have a bit more historical-archive information than most.

Also, as we look through our myopic "AR-5 vs. Advent" lens, we should ask if there actually should have been an all-out battle with Advent for speaker-sales supremacy?  I sort of doubt it.  AR—and many other speaker companies—lost a lot of business to Advent; The Advent Loudspeaker was a home-run product and "obliterated" AR sales, as Steve F aptly put it, but (in hindsight) should AR have scrapped its business plan and jump into the fray before they even knew what they were fighting?  Again, The Advent Loudspeaker came in late 1969 and shipped in early 1970.  Had AR management chosen to challenge Advent, the damage was done before AR could have even mounted a defense, and by the time AR finally did something about it in 1973, the bloom was off the rose for Advent and it was beginning to decline in the market place.  Advent was losing a lot of money around this period as well, and AR probably suffered a reputation problem with the AR-8, so it's introduction may have been ill-timed anyway. 

Following is another summary of what AR had in the pipeline for introduction about the time of the AR/Teledyne merger in June 1967:

 

  • ·         AR-3a in the fall of 1967
  • ·         AR Amplifier in the fall of 1967
  • ·         AR-5 in fall of 1968
  • ·         AR Turntable updates in 1968
  • ·         AR Amersfoort, Holland production facility in 1969
  • ·         AR Receiver in fall of 1969
  • ·         (Note: The Advent Loudspeaker introduced in 1969-1970)
  • ·         The Contemporary Record Project with DGG in 1970
  • ·         AR-6 in fall of 1970
  • ·         AR-2ax/2x updated models in fall of 1970
  • ·         AR Bedfordshire, England production facility in 1970
  • ·         AR FM Tuner in 1970
  • ·         AR-LST in fall of 1971

Two important facts: Advent Corporation didn't make it past fourteen years before it unraveled and filed for Chapter Eleven; AR did make it all the way and was profitable and lasted as a speaker company all the way until Recoton, Inc went belly-up in 2003.  AR and Advent are now  both component parts of the same Voxx conglomerate, but their products resemble nothing from the past. 

In all of the years from !954 until 1967, AR had $0.00 in long-term interest debt, operating within its profits to expand and fund operations over time.  Once AR merged with Teledyne, Inc., it was operated as a subsidiary of the large aerospace company, and financial results are not well known throughout that period.

One correction: the AR Employment Contract for key upper-echelon and certain lower-echelon managers was for six (6) years, not five as I previously stated, and began in January 1967 and ended in December 1972.  This contract assured employment under the existing standards for these individuals, protecting them from dismissal except for "cause."  "Cause," of course, is for dishonesty, etc.  There was no contract requirements that AR management would follow specific Teledyne product plans or directives, nor were there any directives giving AR management free rein during this time.  

To everyone's relief, this is about it for me on this topic!  Time to move on.

l—Tom Tyson

 

 

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Aadams    0
16 minutes ago, tysontom said:

Also, as we look through our myopic "AR-5 vs. Advent" lens, we should ask if there actually should have been an all-out battle with Advent for speaker-sales supremacy?  I sort of doubt it.

Exactly! If AR had, not that they could have, very early detected the threat from Advent and  mounted a highly effective response it would have altered the future,i.e the past as we know it.  Teledyne would have seen the paydirt and told AR to keep creating more and better versions of the Advent Killer.   There would be no ADDs, AR9s, LSTs, tons of spare parts, really good vintage speakers.  

 

27 minutes ago, tysontom said:

Some of your sentences tend to be metaphorical and somewhat hard to decipher;

Yes, sorry.  I tend to think in pictures first.

 

18 minutes ago, tysontom said:

When I asked you, "What might that mean," I wasn't implying that I needed a definition

I wondered about that, with the whole internet at your fingertips it looked like a baited hook but I bit anyway. I was saying they didn't let the market upheaval, created by Advent, alter their plans, personal or professional. . 

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RoyC    0

Yesterday I repaired a "New Large Advent" with a serial number of just under 385,000. A date stamp on the tweeter suggests a manufacture date of 1977. I haven't been keeping track of Advent serial numbers, but, assuming each Advent model and iteration (ie the original Large Advent, Small Advent, Advent 1, 2 and 3, etc) has a different sequence of serial numbers, I would not be at all surprised at the one million plus sales claims.

As I worked on the speaker I was thinking how this Advent model was a typical KLH 2-way speaker with new, proprietary, heavy duty drivers. Who knows, Kloss may have gotten away with a repackaged KLH 23 as the Large Advent and the KLH 17 as the Small Advent.  As the market evolved, his robust 2-ways simply became good enough at the right time at the right price to sell very well.

After reading the business related posts in this thread, it is hard not to conclude that, although a "12 inch woofer" label on a less expensive AR speaker may have sold better than the AR-5, it probably would not have mattered much in terms of the fortune and fate of AR or Advent. I have frequent opportunities to repair and listen to many of their mid-70's competitors, and more than a few are easily "good enough" to have done battle with either company by that time. I think we sometimes forget that the vast majority of speaker buyers were not, and are not, "audiophiles"...which is why Steve's marketing department would rightfully wrestle with the AR-5 question.

As Aadams stated above, however, " It is an interesting story to speculate about but, for us, it would  have been a bad outcome". I agree...I have a small sense of relief that this model has been confined to a hypothetical (albeit long in the tooth) discussion.

Roy

 

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Aadams    0
13 hours ago, RoyC said:

I have a small sense of relief that this model has been confined to a hypothetical (albeit long in the tooth) discussion.

Thus ended the terror of the OLA. The Andromeda Strain of the speaker industry mutated to become harmless to audiophiles :D

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Steve F    0

In the “choose to believe it or not” category, Andy Kotsatos told me that there was no drop off in annual unit sales of the original Large Advent leading up to the introduction of the New Advent in 1977-ish. Sales of the original Large Advent did not peak in ‘73-74 and begin to wane thereafter, just to set that part of the record straight. I am the only person on the Forum who worked in the US loudspeaker industry and had first-hand, day-to-day contact for 11 years with someone who fought those battles in that exact time period. My info isn’t hearsay; my info is say.  “Chose to believe it or not.”

 

Again, Advent’s overall corporate fortunes or lack thereof are not this discussion; the success/failure/should they (AR) have even fought that fight is this discussion.

 

This discussion is also not what AR marketing/product planning strategy in 1968-72 would have led to the best collectors’ fortunes and spare parts availability some 40+ years later. That has nothing to do with anything I’ve been interested in discussing.

 

There is a wise old philosophy of life that rests on the notion of “necessity vs. choice.” When an entity (be it a person, a company, a musician, an athlete, whatever), is unable to pursue a particular course of action (due to procrastination, lack of ability, lack of foresight, etc.), it’s remarkable how many times that entity will claim their course of action was their “choice” all along.

 

In AR’s case, the lack of dealer profitability, the difficulty AR speakers faced in a retail A-B demonstration (because they were on the neutral, accurate side of the sound spectrum with their wide dispersion that hindered their high-frequency presentation even more in the dull wasteland of the typical dealer sound room), their over-distribution that hurt the loyalty of the independent audio retailer, and so on, etc. all led to AR not doing well at Tech Hi Fi and Tweeter Etc, even though their mail-order sales through discounters was strong and they sold a lot through military exchanges, Lafayette Radio, overseas, and the like. So AR and defenders of their strategy could say that AR “chose” not to engage with Advent at Atlantis Sound in 1973, and who are we to get into their minds 45 years later and second-guess what they were thinking at the time?

 

AR’s overall corporate sales and profits were strong from the mid ‘60’s through the mid ‘70’s. It just made me mad as a stereo-obsessed college student at Boston University in the early-mid ‘70’s to see AR getting the stuffing beat out of them at all the stereo stores I went into so often and to have to argue with throngs of unconvinced college kids that AR speakers were really better than the Advents they owned, when they felt so differently.

 

I’ve always felt that it didn’t need to be an ‘either-or’ choice and that with better marketing and sharper product development choices, AR could have been even more successful in the 1969-1977 period.

 

Steve F.

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Aadams    0
17 minutes ago, Steve F said:

This discussion is also not what AR marketing/product planning strategy in 1968-72 would have led to the best collectors’ fortunes and spare parts availability some 40+ years later. That has nothing 

IMO There is no question you have the business case on your side.  If Teledyne could have seen what was happening, timely, they would have altered the course of the company.  Market intelligence, even accounting that would have indirectly shown something of what was happening, moved a lot slower back then.  I was just being self- centered, observing how things worked out when I realized how Teledyne could have wrecked my senior years had they been able to make the right business decision.

Adams

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frankmarsi    0

6-5-17

Fellow members, I found this while casually surfing, so I thought it was relevant.

Acoustic Research (AR)

ar.gif


USA based producer of loudspeakers, founded in 1954 by Edgar Villchur, Henry Kloss, Malcolm Lowe and J. Anton Hoffman, and started out by producing acoustically suspended loudspeaker called the AR-1. Strangely enough the company managed to get patents for the acoustic suspension techniques used in the construction of the speakers and is usually credited with its invention despite the fact that suspended designs had been sold and made in the USA under the Hartley Products brand for some years prior to that and even longer in the UK. The company is perhaps better seen as an innovator in the area of marketing but AR pioneered such schemes as a 5 year return to factory warranty and aggressive advertisements campaigns that emphasised innovation and technical superiority that was indeed there to some degree but was perhaps overemphasised, much in the vein of what Bose is doing these days. Due to this and excellent reviews in USA consumer and electronic magazines the company was a clear NA market leader in the loudspeaker field as early as 1958 but the rapid pace of expansion meant that the company often had difficulty in financing itself, this in turn meant that the introduction of some products were delayed until money had been found to pay for retooling and the updates of the production lines which in turn meant that new models were almost constantly late to market which was at that time evolving extremely rapidly due to the introduction of stereo records and consumer tape recorders. It did not help that AR had a tendency to announce new products early anyway and late shipments meant that some customers put off buying current products and instead waited for the new models resulting in a rather classic case of the Osborne Effect. The stress on finances had other negative effects on the company, Kloss, Lowe and Hoffman left the company after disagreements with Villchur and went on to form KLH, that company got a license to use the patents and technologies that AR had developed in lieu of financial payments due and after just a couple of years KLH had become AR's main competitor with a broadly similar model lineup and if anything a better pricing structure and had by the latter half of the 60's overtaken AR in the North American marketplace. While the company continued to grow in the early 60's, it lost market share rapidly and Mr. Vilchur ended up selling the company to Teledyne in 1967. There is some information on their classic loudspeaker models to be found on this page.  

 

http://audiotools.com/en_dead_ac.html

 

 

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JKent    0
23 minutes ago, frankmarsi said:

Strangely enough the company managed to get patents for the acoustic suspension techniques used in the construction of the speakers and is usually credited with its invention despite the fact that suspended designs had been sold and made in the USA under the Hartley Products brand for some years prior to that and even longer in the UK.

"Strange" and inaccurate, I think. Those with more technical knowledge than I can comment more intelligently, but it's my understanding the Hartley design used "magnetic driver suspension", not Acoustic Suspension.

https://www.stereophile.com/artdudleylistening/106listen/index.html

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ar_pro    0

I also recall having read the same detailed information from Stereophile, and I assume its correctness against what appears to be a sort of revisionist article containing conflated timelines, unattributed premises and boot-strapped conclusions.

I've been wishing & hoping for Tom Tyson's definitive AR history for years...would a GoFundMe effort be in vain? ^_^

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DavidDru    0

Wonderful stuff guys.  A nice way to procrastinate this AM before diving into real work whilst listening to music that is being projected by Dahlquist speakers with the large Advent woofer.

Aadams I really enjoyed you business model input with all of this.  I do think the era that all of this took place in has significance on it all in terms of timely corporate decision making based on market.  Especially combined with the nature of the company which seemed was always an engineering based approach (even with Vilchur's unique sales and promotion system).

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Phxjohn    0
On 5/11/2017 at 0:51 PM, genek said:

I agree with Steve that fear that a new product will be competition for one of your own products is not a reason to not make it. Because even if that does happen, it's better than losing sales to one of someone else's products. And if having two similar products does become too much of an issue down the line, you'll just end up discontinuing the one that is less profitable.

From a strictly marketing POV, the questions are whether there was any strategy that would have enabled AR to make the AR-5 a success, and whether there was something else they could or should have produced that would have been a better product for the company's bottom line.

So if the 2ax midrange wouldn't have been a good match for the woofer, could they have gone 2-way with an updated version of the AR-1x that would have been a closer analog to the Large Advent? But the 1x and 2x weren't exactly big sellers either, were they?

The 2ax midrange was not an AR speaker anyway. It was made by some other manufacturer. CTS. So IF they needed a midrange that went lower in frequency, they could have just bought them.  The first sentence in the above post is so true. Look what happened when Boeing dropped the 757. Airbus cleaned up. 

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Pete B    0

I would agree Steve, that they should have made a low cost model with a 12" woofer,

but I'd also say that they should have added a raised back plate to the standard AR 12"

woofer for improved Xmech.  This improved woofer should have replaced the AR-3a woofer.

The standard AR 12 has an Xmech value that is about equal to Xmax whereas most drivers

have Xmech being 1.5 to 2X Xmax.  The LA woofer had an Xmech that was about 3X Xmax

(from memory) making it very difficult to bottom the voice coil.  This made the LA woofer much

more likely to survive "party" situations and provide much more bass output (Max SPL)  than is

expected from a 10" woofer.

My dad badly needed to upgrade his 1950s HiFi in the mid 1960s and he, my brother and I 

went shopping for new speakers first around 1969-70 to hear the Advents and finally buying them

around 1972-73 time frame.  We were distracted by a demo of the then new Bose 901 when we

shopped the first time.

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Pete B    0
On 6/5/2017 at 1:58 PM, JKent said:

"Strange" and inaccurate, I think. Those with more technical knowledge than I can comment more intelligently, but it's my understanding the Hartley design used "magnetic driver suspension", not Acoustic Suspension.

https://www.stereophile.com/artdudleylistening/106listen/index.html

Olson's 1949 patent  "Loudspeaker diaphragm support comprising plural compliant members" #2,490,466, clearly a high

compliance suspension and small closed box are part of Olson's patent and claims of extended LF and reduced distortion

are made:

https://www.google.com/patents/US2490466?dq=olson+air+suspension+speaker&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiLqduN2Z_WAhXFeCYKHcsoCs4Q6AEINjAC


This is from the patent:
-----------------------------------------------
An object of the invention is to increase the power handling capacity of a small speaker, making *itY comparable to one substantially larger in size in its output of undistorted acoustic energy and fidelitynf reproduction of desired low as well as high frequency sound waves.

Another and more specific object of the invention is to provide an improved diaphragm suspension structure in a'loudspeaker characterized by a reduction in the effect of the suspension impedance, thus lowering the natural resonant frequency of the spea'ker'of a given size, without increasing the'massreactanceof the moving parts.

A further object ofthe invention is to provide an improved compliant suspension in a limited space for a piston-type*loudspeakerdiaphragmof small mass reactance whereby the diaphragm is free to vibrate at large amplitude over a substantially extended portion of the lower audio frequency range without amplitude distortion.

A still further object of the invention is to improve the low frequency response of loudspeakers mounted in small housings as in small radio receivers. 

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