Compelling AR "Hindsight" Questions:
Instead of the 3-way AR-5 with its excellent, expensive midrange and tweeter, should AR have made a good 3-way bookshelf unit using the AR-3a 12-inch woofer and an AR-2ax-type midrange and dome tweeter—at the AR-5 price point—to better compete with (or outgun) the Large Advent? It would use the AR-3a-size cabinet, but it would not include the expensive midrange-dome driver or solid-wood grill molding. It would look like a slightly larger AR-2ax box. As we all know, the AR-5 was (except for deep bass) technically superior to the Advent, but it failed in the market place because of its lack of low-end "punch" and its relatively high price. The AR-3a was definitely (and technically) superior to the Advent in deep bass, but it cost nearly twice as much. Therefore, would a watered-down 3-way, using the heavy AR-3a woofer, been the answer? Another angle: perhaps a 2-way design with a redesigned, Advent-like 10-inch woofer and a new mid-tweeter, capable of a lower crossover? By the time of the AR-14, these things were seriously contemplated, but it was too far down the road to try to catch the Advent's sales advantage. The AR-14's bass fell squarely between the AR-3a and the AR-5.
Another angle: should AR have designed the AR-5 with the AR-2ax's cone midrange and dome tweeter, but a more-potent, lower-resonance 10-inch woofer that would be equal to the Advent 10-inch woofer? This woofer would have the same low-resonance response of the Advent, but it would lack the extremely low distortion, potent output of the bigger AR-3a 12-inch woofer. Each of these designs might have cost less than the original AR-5, but looking back, hindsight is 20-20. Would any of these designs been the answer in 1968?