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Any comments for this vintage speaker when driving modern high power tube push pull amplifier (around 100w in triode)?
Still good for today's standard?
Every speaker is different, and some are enamored of the old models. I liked some white Advents I had quite well. But clarity in the midrange was not up to much newer designs. There are decades of development of drivers and crossovers and magnetics and enclosures; compare that to drivers that may be decayed.
If you get a set cheap at Goodwill and like them, enjoy! But I am not a proponent of worshipping vintage speakers over new ones.
In the late 60's I spent too many hours listening to the various KLH, Advent and AR speakers at Audio Consultants in Evanston, IL. The 3a's were the prestigious TOTL compared to the 'lesser' AR models and they were "weightier.. a bit vieled (colored) yet commanding...New England sound" etc. compared to the JBL, Altec Lansings and Jensen speakers in the store. I'm still nostalgic about all those listening hours. They all sounded amazing to my young ears.
I did the listening circuit in the 50s, mostly large rear-loaded corner horns before stereo. The AR3a was the first pair of speakers I bought, after the advent of stereo. Before that I built cabinets and installed speakers, first the Jenson out of my Fender guitar amp then an Altec 604. I built kit amps with lots of enthusiasm and little skill.
I have a pair of AR3a speakers sitting on a shelf. Maybe I should try them with a pair of my Parasound JC-1 monoblocks (800 watts into 4Ω). That ought to provide sufficient power.
Probably a pain in the ass but a great solution would be the Melos amps available as about 200 watts triode in a stereo amp and 400 watts triode as mono blocks and both super conservatively rated. The problems are finding them after years out of production and the need for a good tech who can follow the circuitry if you need work. But the power id there and it has a high damping factor for a tube amp of 20 for better control of the AR3a bass.
Another possibility if you can find one is an Audionics BA150, an old triode amp rated at 150 watts but I know it really puts out over 200 watts. And it's possible that the designer, David Berning, who has his own company can still work on it.
Funny how, in its heyday, the standard combo was with a 60 watt Dyna stereo 120 or a pair of 60 watt MK III's! Or even a < 30 watt stero 70
One of my long-term audio buddies has two pair of restored AR-3s. He drives them (one pair) with Herron SS monoblocs (275 watts @ 4 ohms) and a Herron tubed line stage. His feeling is had he known how good they could sound decades ago he would have saved considerable sums of money. Oh yes, he has been a semi-professional violinist his whole adult life and has spent considerable time with chamber and symphony orchestras. So he does have some reference for live musical performances.
My audio hobby days extend back to the '60s when the AR-3 and 3a were new. I could never understand dealers packaging them with Stereo 70s. That was simply inadequate power to drive the 3s properly. My first stereo included AR-4s with a St-70 and that was an entirely different story.
"The piano ain't got no wrong notes." Thelonious Monk
The Stereo 70 and AR3s was an almost standard combo back in the 60s. But you're correct that it was too little power. The speaker really needed hundreds of solid state watts with a high damping factor. In a way it was a speaker ahead of its time.
For what it's worth when AR did its famous AR3 versus live comparisons the amps used were Dynaco MK3s, a better choice but still probably too small.
Thanks for that about the Mk IIIs. It was what I suspected but never knew.
I wanted the AR-3s but my student budget only allowed the AR-4s.
"The piano ain't got no wrong notes." Thelonious Monk
I used a Stereo 70 with one AR 2a-x and it simply wasnt enough.
I had the same combo in the 60s and it seemed OK to me then. I suspect my perspective has changed a lot since then and I'd be surprised if it still satisfied me even a little. The AR 2ax speakers are quite inefficient and calling a Stereo 70 a 35 watter is really generous, perhaps 20 watts is closer to reality.
But I'll repeat. In the 60s a Stereo 70 and AR2/AR3 speakers were a very, very popular combo.
With the right amp the AR's are still quite good. Now if you are talking about 100 watts per channel for the AR's you are in the ballpark power wise. If you are talking about 50 watts per channel the AR's will have the amp up against the wall most of the time if you want to any real volume. Also a big caution is can your amp handle 2 ohm speaker load? The McIntosh 275 and Citation II can handle such a load and not get rattled. The best I ever heard a AR 3a sound is with two McShaned Citation II's operation as mono blocs, with 140 watts per channel, and very high damping factor for a tube amp for tight bass.
The AR's devour power, if the amp is driven into frequent clipping the tweeters can be destroyed.
Back in 2003, I listened to the AR3a driven by Jolida Music Envoy 211 push pull 200w monoblock, and it sounds wondeful! However, this amp is no longer available.
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