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Looks like the long awaited AR3a review will be published...


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#1 rl1856

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:15 PM

in TAS. See Audio Asylum-> Critics Corner for details. However, I doubt measurements will be included.

Best, Ross

#2 Zilch

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:53 PM

Shacky said the AR3a's were not measured.... :(

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#3 soundminded

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 10:58 PM

in TAS. See Audio Asylum-> Critics Corner for details. However, I doubt measurements will be included.

Best, Ross




"The AR3a review has been re-worked and will appear as my second TAS column. JA was very gracious and even suggested I take it with me."

Translated into English it sounds to me like JA told him to get the hell out and take his effing AR3a review with him. What a guy!

#4 speaker dave

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:29 PM

"The AR3a review has been re-worked and will appear as my second TAS column. JA was very gracious and even suggested I take it with me."

Translated into English it sounds to me like JA told him to get the hell out and take his effing AR3a review with him. What a guy!


Not sure why you would have such a caustic opinion of someone you never met. I've know JA since the early 80's and always found him to be a gentleman.

He made a decision about the general interest level of an AR3a review to the the magazine's readership and decided against it. That is his job.

David

#5 soundminded

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:53 AM

Not sure why you would have such a caustic opinion of someone you never met. I've know JA since the early 80's and always found him to be a gentleman.

He made a decision about the general interest level of an AR3a review to the the magazine's readership and decided against it. That is his job.

David


John Atkinson is in my view a high priest of what I can only call a religion. Like all priests he not only panders to an audience by slavilshly adhering to a dogma, he makes his money by advertising and promoting the invariably overpriced and often worthless trinkets that are the trappings of that religion.

I've had exchanges with Atkinson on another site and read more than a few of his postings. On the face of it he's absurd. On the one hand he will sit at a workstation for hours tweaking a recording with a 64 band graphic equalizer claiming he can hear differences of 0.1 db but would not so much as nudge a bass or treble control listening to a recording that was out of balance with a sound system to make it more enjoyable or even more tolerable. That's part of the religion too, one of its most cherished tennets, thou shalt not use tone controls. Yet again just a year ago and as always, with a little help from a graphic equalizer a restored pair of AR2axs proved to me it is a far better performere than I'd ever imagined, ever heard it before.

Breunniger said IMO correctly that Villchur had produced some of the most important inventions in the industry. Others agree as AR3 sits in the Smithsonian museum where none of its competitors do. Reviewing these contributions presents a problem for a religion that makes its money by selling an never ending parade of products that are in substance no different from each other in their actual worth. It would be like an internet magazine publishing an article on the invention of the telephone...and having to admit that at times the original works better than the latest VOIP. Anyone who has ever heard the garbled digital signal from some of them knows exactly what I am talking about. How would it sound to JA's advertisers if AR3a when used to its full potential came off better than contemporary products selling at 10 to 100 times the price? That is why the reveiw could never be allowed and why Breunniger insisting meant he had to go. Anyway, that's my view of it.

#6 genek

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 02:50 PM

It would be like an internet magazine publishing an article on the invention of the telephone...and having to admit that at times the original works better than the latest VOIP. Anyone who has ever heard the garbled digital signal from some of them knows exactly what I am talking about.

I don't recall ever seeing an internet or PC mag publish an article on the invention of the telephone, but I have seen numerous articles on the latest VOIP developments that devote space to discussing ways in which VOIP still needs to improve to equal land lines. The major advertising points of VOIP are lower cost for more features and sound quality "as good as" land lines. I haven't seen a lot of claims (if any) that the sound quality is better.

#7 Zilch

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:31 AM

How would it sound to JA's advertisers if AR3a when used to its full potential came off better than contemporary products selling at 10 to 100 times the price? That is why the reveiw could never be allowed and why Breunniger insisting meant he had to go. Anyway, that's my view of it.

So, Breunniger is now an underdog hero?

If it comes out the opposite, you won't spare us your OTHER, equally disparaging, view of it and the principals, we trust.... :D

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#8 Shacky

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:03 AM

Can't wait to finally see this. Though I hope my 3a's didn't flunk out. The pair I lent Peter was in great shape freshly recapped and with new old stock 16ohm pots.

Though my second pair came out better. The differences are:
I didn't set up second pair for bi-amping
used updated speaker binding posts
used Russion PIO bypass on tweeters and mids

Other than that they may be just better condition drivers. Not that my first pair are slugs by any means.

#9 soundminded

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:30 AM

I don't recall ever seeing an internet or PC mag publish an article on the invention of the telephone, but I have seen numerous articles on the latest VOIP developments that devote space to discussing ways in which VOIP still needs to improve to equal land lines. The major advertising points of VOIP are lower cost for more features and sound quality "as good as" land lines. I haven't seen a lot of claims (if any) that the sound quality is better.


Occasionally magazines take a retrospective view of the origins of where current technology the report on came from, talk about how it was born including its humble early beginnings. What is troublling to some is that the technology of those beginnings may still prove to be in some ways better than what we have offered today. Take my friend's "Magic Jack." As far as I can tell, the only thing magic about it is that it works at all sometimes. Usually digital systems either work perfectly or not at all. But magic jack has somehow managed to invent a digital system which can at times sound garbled beyond recognition, other times work perfectly. The point is that if you are in a business to convince readers of a magazine to constantly buy newer, better, more expensive, it won't make your advertisers happy if an article appears that suggests that sometimes older and cheaper is better. That's the problem Breunniger's article about AR3a presents to JA. If it were to emerge that something 45 years old selling at a fraction of what is advertised in his magazine outperforms those products then how does he keep his advertisers let alone attract new ones? And how does he keep the myth alive? That is why Breunniger and his article had to go, not because of any issue with space or reader interest. That's the way I see it.

#10 soundminded

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:32 AM

So, Breunniger is now an underdog hero?

If it comes out the opposite, you won't spare us your OTHER, equally disparaging, view of it and the principals, we trust.... :D


Considering that you single handedly managed to drive one contributor off to the point where he asked that all of his postings be deleted and got the only open forum for discussion shut down because of your endless contentious diatribes, why should anyone here spare you anything at all? :D

#11 Zilch

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 10:15 AM

The point is that if you are in a business to convince readers of a magazine to constantly buy newer, better, more expensive, it won't make your advertisers happy if an article appears that suggests that sometimes older and cheaper is better. That's the problem Breunniger's article about AR3a presents to JA.

You seem mighty sure of that. Privy to inside info?


Considering that you single handedly managed to drive one contributor off to the point where he asked that all of his postings be deleted and got the only open forum for discussion shut down because of your endless contentious diatribes, why should anyone here spare you anything at all? :D

Who knew that measuring a tweeter would precipitate a meltdown?

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#12 soundminded

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:22 AM

You seem mighty sure of that. Privy to inside info?


There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind about it. But then I have the advantage of having been trained and experienced as an electrical engineer, not merely an interested and enthusiastic hobyist. I've solved enough equations, seen enough scams to know when peddlers are blowing smoke. Privy information? Yes it comes out of engineering text books. Try reading one. For example, start with the telegrapher's equation. Then buy two million dollars worth of wire over a lifetime after every serious wire salesman in America has come through your office. Suddenly you'll be immune to JA's mag, its clones, and its advertisers.

What exactly am I supposed to think when every 120 volt $100,000+ piece of precision electronc instrumentation in every laboratory I've ever bult works perfectly on a Hubbell 5362 that costs $5 and a $12 IEC cord but a $2000 audio amplifier needs a $140 receptacle and a $200 power cord?

http://www.parts-exp...tnumber=110-439

Who knew that measuring a tweeter would precipitate a meltdown?


You did. You engineered the entire process. It may have been the only thing you ever engineered yourself.

#13 speaker dave

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 01:47 PM

The point is that if you are in a business to convince readers of a magazine to constantly buy newer, better, more expensive, it won't make your advertisers happy if an article appears that suggests that sometimes older and cheaper is better. That's the problem Breunniger's article about AR3a presents to JA. If it were to emerge that something 45 years old selling at a fraction of what is advertised in his magazine outperforms those products then how does he keep his advertisers let alone attract new ones?


Of course the assumption is that the AR3a would be found superior by Breunniger, that JA knew and feared that, and conspired to prevent it.

I'm no fan of a lot of the boutique audio gear designed today but it has been my observation that speakers are either designed to a very high standard these days, or are totally amateurish. If we inflation adjust the mid 60s $250 price of the AR3as to about $2000 a pair I'm sure there are some pretty good speakers available. I'd suggest the PSB brand as well as some B&W models as a place to start.

As to scaring off advertisers, read the glowing reviews that Ken Kessler gives just about anything old that passes a signal in HiFi News and Record Review. It doesn't seem to scare off advertisers.

I've been working with the magazines for some years now and it is a tough business. They have to guage their readers closely in terms of interest. It isn't clear whether they lead opinion or follow it, but they have to feature products that the readership wants to read about. If that is $5000 phono cartridges, then thats what they will feature. They are typically on tight budgets with a strict ratio between the pages of advertising and pages of content: if you are down a couple of pages of ads this month you may have to drop pages of content. My assumption is that JA didn't think that enough of their readership would have an interest in the ARs to warrant the space.

JA is a very competent loudspeaker technician and has measured and written up more loudspeakers than anyone I know. I have "razzed" him about the discrepancy between what he measures and what his reviewers write, and I don't fully support all his beliefs, but as for his conspiring to keep a damaging review of vintage gear out of the magazine, really??

David

#14 genek

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:42 PM

I suggest that everyone sit tight and wait for the review to be published, then discuss its actual content. If you continue to take this discussion down the path of debating each others' motives for posting and the motives of other people who don't even participate here, it's going to get closed down.

#15 npt3

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 04:54 PM

I suggest that everyone sit tight and wait for the review to be published, then discuss its actual content. If you continue to take this discussion down the path of debating each others' motives for posting and the motives of other people who don't even participate here, it's going to get closed down.


The 3a is listed in the new TAS #205 as #2 of "The 12 Most Significant Loudspeakers of All Time" (behind the Quad ESL-57.) I'm looking forward to Peter's review. TAS is actually a sensible read; though it has its moments (Mikey Fremer and Sam Tellig's columns, for example), I've kind of gotten fatigued by the whole "tweakier" tone of Stereophile, e.g., $52,000 tonearm cables (hyperbole alert!), etc. It's just pretty dopey stuff.

#16 Steve F

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:21 PM

Has the basis for this review changed? I see that everyone is referring to this as the ‘long-awaited 3a review.’ I thought originally it was a three-way comparison between some of the 1970’s best-selling, most famous speakers: the 3a, the Large Advent, and the Dynaco A-25.

Are the LA and A-25 no longer part of the article?

Anyway, it seems that reviewing these speakers is no different than taking a look back at a 1965 Mustang and comparing it to today’s best sportscars. This analogy has been made in these pages before, and I think it’s reasonably valid. While there is no doubt that the older car has its undeniable charms (and a correctly-restored example of one would present those charms in their best light), by most objective, accepted standards of automotive progress, the newer cars would be superior: 0-60 time, skidpad holding, braking distance, interior dB noise level, gas mileage, fit-and-finish/materials quality, etc, etc. Most—not all—would likely be superior on the modern car.

Does that mean that every current enthusiast will prefer the ‘modern’ car? Of course not. Are there some specialized situations where the older car might actually be preferable? Yes, could be.

Cameras, guns, radios, bicycles, you name it—there has been unquestioned ‘scientific’ progress, but the older stuff will always have a particular appeal—for a wide variety of reasons, some fully justifiable from a logical standpoint, some purely emotional/nostalgic.

If I read a review in Car and Driver about a beautifully-restored XYZ that sold in 197x for $xxxx, will that make me look with disdain upon today’s offerings and not buy a 2011 car when the time comes that I need a new car? No, not me. I can’t speak for anyone else, however.

I suspect that JA didn’t want the review probably because most of his 40-something readership was about 3 years old when the 3a/Large Advent/Dyna A-25 were at their peak popularity, and therefore the review is just not that relevant to them. As Speaker Dave correctly points out, when content is squeezed by dwindling ad revenue, marginal content gets the ax. When Stereophile was 300 pages long in the early ‘90’s, this review makes the cut easily. But today, struggling to reach 100 pages, with its core readership not even cognizant of these (or any!) products when they were current in the marketplace, nope, sorry. The review is on the cutting room floor.

I will be interested in the review, however. I am ‘fringe’ readership, not core. As are most of us old codgers.

Steve F.

#17 Peter Breuninger

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 06:31 PM

Hi Everyone!

Everything is intact! I edited out some reduntant paragraphs and reorderd the flow. I submitted it for approval in May with Robert Harley and we agreed it will run as my second column. I think it's a great article and yes, we have the big shoot-out! AR3a vs. A-25s vs. Big Advents.

I have 4 articles ahead of it, including, you're gonna love this (cough, cough)... a review of a $181K a two channel amp and preamp.

The only thing I ask is that you support it and subscribe to TAS.

All my best to everyone here.

You have great passion and vigor for all things AR-- it keeps the flame alive.

Sincerely,

Peter Breuninger
Sr. Writer
The Absolute Sound


Has the basis for this review changed? I see that everyone is referring to this as the ‘long-awaited 3a review.’ I thought originally it was a three-way comparison between some of the 1970’s best-selling, most famous speakers: the 3a, the Large Advent, and the Dynaco A-25.

Are the LA and A-25 no longer part of the article?


Steve F.



#18 soundminded

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 07:55 PM

Of course the assumption is that the AR3a would be found superior by Breunniger, that JA knew and feared that, and conspired to prevent it.

I'm no fan of a lot of the boutique audio gear designed today but it has been my observation that speakers are either designed to a very high standard these days, or are totally amateurish. If we inflation adjust the mid 60s $250 price of the AR3as to about $2000 a pair I'm sure there are some pretty good speakers available. I'd suggest the PSB brand as well as some B&W models as a place to start.

As to scaring off advertisers, read the glowing reviews that Ken Kessler gives just about anything old that passes a signal in HiFi News and Record Review. It doesn't seem to scare off advertisers.

I've been working with the magazines for some years now and it is a tough business. They have to guage their readers closely in terms of interest. It isn't clear whether they lead opinion or follow it, but they have to feature products that the readership wants to read about. If that is $5000 phono cartridges, then thats what they will feature. They are typically on tight budgets with a strict ratio between the pages of advertising and pages of content: if you are down a couple of pages of ads this month you may have to drop pages of content. My assumption is that JA didn't think that enough of their readership would have an interest in the ARs to warrant the space.

JA is a very competent loudspeaker technician and has measured and written up more loudspeakers than anyone I know. I have "razzed" him about the discrepancy between what he measures and what his reviewers write, and I don't fully support all his beliefs, but as for his conspiring to keep a damaging review of vintage gear out of the magazine, really??

David


"I'm no fan of a lot of the boutique audio gear designed today but it has been my observation that speakers are either designed to a very high standard these days, or are totally amateurish."

What does that mean...high standards that is? What are the standards? ISO900 only requires that documented proof be offered that every step has been taken to assure that production models are idententical to prototypes within specified tolerences by conforming to specified procedures of quality control and testing, they are not absolute guarantors of performance. KLH and AR did that instinctively almost 5 decades ago. So what are performance standards? You posted an interesting comment about the restoration of the Snell type A at Snell and some asked if it was broken when they heard it after it was restored. Wasn't that the word you used, "broken?" But that speaker was held in very high regard for a long time after it first appeared. Was there something wrong with the restoration or had the high performance standards changed? (BTW, I liked that speaker and its distinctive coloration which I wrote about in a few threads even though some found it irritating.)

SteveF asks; "Has the basis for this review changed?"

Is that the same as performance criteria or standards?

The AR LvR seemed to me to have the same implied peformance standards that had been accepted since the earliest beginnings of high fidelity. In fact the very term high fidelity means faithfulness to the original sound, in those days the sound of acoustic instruments performing music. Although highly contrived in many ways, few and far between to the point of being almost inaccessible except for the lucky few like me who heard them by accident, they suggested a better and brighter future where technology would increase the ability to extend that fidelity to less contrived more accessible cases where a wider audience meaning market could obtain it. Bose 901 and Quadraphonic sound were efforts in the same direction. That effort seemed to die around the end of the 1970s. A few perceptive people in their most candid moments, Gordon Holt on at least two occasions and the editors of TAS magazine a few years ago lamented the fact that there really has been no progress towards that goal since the LvR demos, if anything the unobtainable has been abandoned for a very different end, one that isn't really clear to me anymore. So what are those "high standards" that are designed to (please don't talk about furniture, that may be an obsession with the market but to me it has nothing to do with technology.) Whatever these new standards are and it seems to me they are hardly universal, it would be surprising if a 45 year old product which is far from restored to its original condition doesn't come off badly. Badly in what sense may point to what the new standards are. It seems to me these are objectively a system of measurements which do not correlate well at all to what humans actually hear and something nebulous called imagaing to which designers slavishly seem to try to optimize. I don't think those were the goals of AR3a but if measurements were a factor, they were not the same measurements significant today.

"If we inflation adjust the mid 60s $250 price of the AR3as to about $2000 a pair I'm sure there are some pretty good speakers available."

That strikes me as entirely unreasonable. This does not take into account the otherwise universally seen trend of far more bang for the buck in electronics products. I just bought an $800 computer which compared to my $2000 ten year old computer is so vastly superior it's almost impossible to compare them. It has 100 times the memory, 24 times as much RAM, its quad processor runs at 4 times the speed of the single processor the first one had, it has a much brighter sharper viewing screen, and can run software at blistering speeds the other one couldn't run at all. Its operating systems is four generations removed. By any objective measure a $700 Crown amplifier will blow away an approximately equally priced Mac275 amplifier, among the best and most powerful available in the mid 1960s. The 26" LCD TV/computer monitor I just bought will blow away the $500 RCA 25" color TV console sold in the 1950s. So by that standard, an AR3a equivalent speaker today should not cost $2000 but $20 and $200 should buy something much better.

SteveF;

" While there is no doubt that the older car has its undeniable charms (and a correctly-restored example of one would present those charms in their best light), by most objective, accepted standards of automotive progress, the newer cars would be superior:"

Once upon an ancient time, my parents owned a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Convertable. It was white with red leather seats, wooden floors, and a monster V8 with dual quad carburators. Two years ago I rented a Cadillac CTS or Catera or whatever it was with a 3.6 liter V6. It had computer gadgets galore but it didn't have the power to get out of its own way. No guts, no glory. As a driving machine that old 56 would have blown it right off the road. Newer does not necessarily mean better. Admittedly the newer version got much better gas mileage and produces less air polution.

#19 Zilch

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:26 PM

$200 should buy something much better.

And indeed, it does.... :D

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#20 soundminded

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 12:19 AM

And indeed, it does.... :D


Zilchaphonic sound, the garagist's answer to the JBL Hartsfield.

Too bad you don't have the distribution capabilities and advertising budget of an AR or JBL. Instead of singing the praises of Edgar Villchur, we'd be lauding the genius of Edgar Zilcher.




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