Perhaps Carl is correct and the administrators should move this discussion to the alternate section where people are open to modification of existing designs. It's not my mission to offend anyone.
Like maybe the Kitchen?
Really--the rhetoric IS getting to be a bit strident.
XP: You need to realize that this forum is dedicated to classic AR speakers and many here view the 3a as the sine qua non of speakers. So when you trash it--both figuratively and, if you go ahead as planned, literally--people get excited.
If the Quad ESL is YOUR idea of the ideal speaker (a fine speaker I'm sure), then maybe the "classic New England" acoustic suspension box is not for you. You may be better off selling the 3a's "unmolested" and using the money to buy something more to your liking.
I recently had the pleasure of auditioning (briefly) the Carver Amazing speakers. Full-range ribbons with 4 big cone woofers for frequencies below (I think) 100 Hz. There are lots of planar and electrostatic speakers that are highly regarded, and they are all quite different from "boxes" like those discussed in these pages.
If you DO like some things about the ARs but not the tweeters, mids, or the "frames" that cause diffraction problems, review michiganpat's very sensible recommendations in post #5. I can tell you I just completed an AR91 restoration and they are fine speakers indeed. And they correct the things you dislike. However, I really like the 3a so maybe my opinion is too slanted. Gene also made a very sensible recommendation: The 3a is designed so you can power just the woofer. Remove the jumper then add a pair of mini monitors that you like.
And you're right: No one has addressed your initial question: How do Carl's speakers sound? We're still waiting for answers to that.
But remember your audience here. Let's put it this way: If I were in a position to collect cars, I'd love to have a '58 Corvette. Now you could argue that it could be "improved" by dropping in a new engine, 6-speed trans, ABS disc brakes, and so on. But it would no longer be a classic car.