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About two years ago I picked up a cosmetically mint AR Integrated amplifier and refurbed it. About a year ago I lucked onto mint AR3's in original boxes. Tomorrow I pick up an AR-XA which purportedly is in good cosmetic shape but of course will need some TLC.
Obviously I'm trying to complete a classic system. I would enjoy hearing what cartridges you think would best fit with that spirit. Pickering/Stanton or Shure are the obvious choices. I wonder what cartridge Edgar and Henry used in their demo's? I don't know what cartridge is on the table now, probably a Pickering I would bet.
What do you fellow inmates recommend?
I'm going to try a Shure V15 or M91 with a hyper elliptical as representative of a better cartridge of that period.
Thanks again. I enjoyed and appreciate the input
It's hard to say which one sounds "better," into the same preamp/amp/speakers (Phono 1 & Phono 2), they both sound really nice and I don't have to only listen to pristine audiophile records to get a lot of great music.
How funny that the Bogen/Lenco was LESS than the AR.
I like how they would add the cartridge of your choice for a penny. Great times those were!
of the cartridge that AR used in their demonstrations or that was suggested for original equipment sales.
Edgar Villchur said in their live-vs-recorded demos, they used an Ampex tape recorder. See link below.
I visited their Grand Central Station demo room once as a teenager - I did not happen to notice what phono cartridge they used. I just remember how much more majestic sounding the AR-3a's were than any of their other speakers. That woofer was a revelation to my young ears.
The 888 is astep up from the one cent offerings. How does it compare with the V15 II?
is plugged into the phono input of a Denon AVR 1010 receiver, with an outboard N.E.W. A-20 amp driving modified PSB Alpha speakers. I have never installed my Jico SAS N97 replacement stylus, and that may help. At least others have mentioned the Jico improvement on this site previously. However, the price of the Jico replacement stylus has doubled since the days when I purchased mine.
Not the expected pickup but in the late 60s I used a Decca 4RC with success in the AR arm. And I also used an ADC Point 4E and ADC 10e MK2 both with no problems. I don't know if it mattered but I did disable the device that damped the descent of the arm which could cause tracking problems on very warped records with any pick up.
If you take a look at the owners manual,AR lists about 25 compatible cartridges for the tonearm!
The Shure is a good choice for the AR-XA -- I use a V15Vx/Jico SAS on mine -- and consistent with your goal of a classic AR system.
In my experience -- I was active in the stereo business in the day -- the classic AR system would have Dyna tube electronics. It was almost a cult thing. An ST70 will not cut it with AR3s. They need the big mono amps.
My recollection is that these systems were not very interesting musically.
Acoustic Research did their famous "live vs recorded" demo using AR-3s powered by Dyna MKIII amplifiers.
BTW, I agree with your conclusion. :)
Yes, KT88 power is correct for AR3s. However, the nice speakers deserve a truly good amp, like the H/K Cit. 2 or "Mac" MC275. ;> D
I agree that the AR3s "need" the heft of a Mac 275 or Citation II, but am not sure they deserve them. As you said, they were "nice" speakers, but -- to my ears -- not great ones.
In the day, if you spent that kind of money on a power amp, there were more musical -- and more expensive! -- speakers. Bozak Symphonies and KLH Nines come to mind. The big Dynas were more in the AR price class, and good value.
I recall that my Marantz Model 18 did a fine job of driving my AR3a's. That receiver cost a whole month of post doc stipend in '67. I still have the speakers and receiver sitting on a shelf. Not sure whether I still have the AR table, but if I do it will have the Shure V15 II cartridge.
I just bought a Shure M97xE cartridge. I still have not installed it in my ARXA that I just finished fixing up. I also bought a Grado Green cartridge.
One thing I picked up is that with a new Hurst motor installed in the AR the Grado will hum. Even though I bought a new motor I got the old one to work by dripping 3/1 oil on the pulley shaft, Wayners tip from Audio by VanAlstine. My Grado will go in my Technics SL-23, 25.00 new at a yard sale, mint.
I'd like to see what you observe if you install a Shure and vise versa.
Whats funny to me was when I received the cartridges in the mail.
The Grado looks like it was packaged in Tom Thumbs used toilet paper roll while the Shure, thats even cheaper,Parts Express, comes in a package that resembles a Cross pen and pencil set or a Rolex watch package even though I've never seen one. The Shure comes with a stylus cleaning brush and a little screw driver in the package inlay. Once you got your cartridge installed you could use the box for a cigar case or something else you might smoke!
I've had my new record needles for a few months and still have not installed them as I drifted off to other projects. I need a shove to get back motivated into the vinyl side. Maybe you can give me a push.....thanks Mark Korda.
I think the M97xe, brush down/AR damping disabled, will work great. Let us know what you think!
It helps to turn the darn mid and tweeter controls(that often cause problems) all the way up. The center mid position is actually down a few dBs from the woofer. And the tweeter mid position is further down from the mid-range. When AR published frequency curves they showed drivers separately. This was supposedly done to tame the poor high end of the LPs of the time . But it led to the smooth, but dark AR sound. Turning the controls up will help.
My Uncle - Chuck McShane - was with AR back in the Cambridge Mass./Edgar Villchur days and was part of the R&D group with Roy Allison that developed the AR3a. Chuck always said that for the flattest response turn the tweeter pot wide open but don't turn up the mids pot. Unfortunately and sadly Chuck isn't here to ask more questions about the 3a - such as would he recommend the same settings on an AR-3.
And be SURE you had an amp that had plenty of power - repeated clipping destroyed many a tweeter.
Just a heads up...
If it came with a factory installed cart. it was more than likely a Shure 91ed.
My brothers 72 came with one, my 74 came with one & younger brother's 76 came with one.
For AR that's the classic & the arm is set for it (the 95 & 97 work just fine also). They just work together.
Yes, that's the consensus for the XA. Thanks for the input.
Hi, I found a slide show that shows what is said to be the original cartridge. I wish that I could let you know what it is.
Update: I read on Audiokarma that they came with a Shure M91ED some of the time and people would upgrade to a v15.
You're welcome. If you get and don't like the 91ED please let me know. I'd like to hear one in action.
First I'll correct docw who might have made a typo. The AR arm is low mass so best matched with high compliance cartridges. Something from Shure or ADC could be nice, Grado too if you can shield the motor if you experience hum.
Then beyond standard cleaning of the bearing wells for both platter and arm the bearing discs at the bottom are likely due for replacement. Check the AR restoration site. Then as I've advised several times, remove the damping pin on the arm. AR later advised that and even offered an instruction sheet (simple procedure) to do so.
I never owned the AR integrated amp but simply on reputation I would agree with others here and look for a different "period" component. For that I would not recommend a ST-70, even though that seemed to be a popular match by retailers at the time. That amp will not drive the wonderful AR-3 woofers adequately. With Dyna, I'd use Mk IIIs, or look for Mac, Fisher, Sherwood, etc. with 60+ watt output. I'm not certain of the years but if you want to be correct with the AR-3 (not a) that may dictate tubes?
My first stereo was AR-4, Dyna ST-70/PAS3/FM3, Dual/Empire and I still hold fond memories. It would be fun to hear your system.
"The piano ain't got no wrong notes." Thelonious Monk
Read everyone's posts.
How did the AR amp sound after you fixed it, especially with old AR 3's?
We had a Scott 382 SS receiver with Dual 1009SK and Shure V15 II, into AR 3's in my family home. Yes, under powered but it was sweet and clear.
The arm is kind of funky, but would take moderate to lower compliance cartridges. We loved Shure V15 II, my cousin who had some expertise liked Stanton 500, and Pickering is the same almost. Grado might also work.
Using a M97xe or M91ED would be good.
Depends on your taste and type of music.
Period accurate would be a V-15 Type II. OTOH, an M97x would be close enough.
I owned an AR integrated during my teens. I really liked the cosmetics, but be prepared for poor low level resolution. Keep it cranked!
Good luck using that AR integrated.
When your ears are finished bleeding try a Mac, Marantz, Dynaco, or something else from that era. I really don't want to rain on your parade, and the rest of the system that you describe sounds like it can be a winner, but that AR amp ........puleeze!
I had one when it was first introduced. It could even make my KLH 6's sound like shit.
And that ain't easy.
My intent is to see what the combo sounds like for curiosity due to its place in audio history. I have both tube and solid state McIntosh as well as other high end equipment. I did refurb the Amp with better diodes, upsized power supply filter caps and polypro coupling caps but I don't expect it to match my other stuff. Likewise the AR3's are unlikely to match my Yamaha NS-1000's or Thiels. The XA is no match for my TD-124 or TD-125. I do expect the system to sound better than decent and am doing it for the fun of it. No parade to be rained on.
GRH, had a bud whose dad passed away Christmas '66. With insurance money, he got an AR amp, AR-3 speakers (because that's what Miles used), & AR turntable with Stanton cartridge (that's what salesman recommended). Beatles-n-Hendrix sounded as other-worldly as Coltrane! In early 70s, though, he traded system for a Sherwood solid-state receiver, Rectilinear speakers, & Dual turntable. Sounded better to his ears for that jazz-rock he started exploring & playing. 73s para Sactown
I have several high end turntables and cartridges. What I'm trying to do is stay in that late 60's period and hear what the AR system sounded like then when it was one of the better options out there. I appreciate everyone's input. dbphd's suggestion of V15 Type II was one of my first thoughts. I was hoping someone knew what AR used.
the M35X has some of that nice tone and tracks at 1.5G.
I beg to differ on the SC35 choice. It is a low compliance cartridge and is meant to matted with a heavy arm which the AR isn't.....
there are folks using Ortofon SPUs in AR XAs and I use the SC35c in a Micro Seiki B77 MKll at times, which is a decidedly low mass arm.
There is a little bit of black magic in getting arm/cartridge combinations to work well and my sense is that is due to the secondary resonances of the tonearm/cartridge combo, which fall into the audible range, rather than the primary resonance, which is below the audible range.
To each, his own.
I follow the belief that you buy a cartridge for what it was designed for. Which the SC35 was designed for a heavy arm. Just because you can mount it on an arm that isn't heavy doesn't mean you are getting the best out of it. I found that out with the Denon 103 series carts. They will work in a light to medium arm but work and sound best in a heavy arm...
My NOS Pickering XV15 1200E/D1200 sounded great on my AR, but a big improvement still with a Grado Platinum wood bodied cartridge.
Never had an issue with hum with the wood bodied Grado, not sure if it was due to the wood body or not, but it was a big imorovement.
It all depends on what sort of magnetic field, if any, the TT motor produces. All Grado carts. are unshielded, as the firm has long believed doing so makes for good sound.
An expensive Grado wood body cart. had damned well sound better than a Pickering. BTW, Grado wood body carts. don't have user replaceable styli.
The Pickering XV15 1200E/D1200 is no run of the mill cartridge, it actually sounds better on my Thorens than any of my Grados.
Not a Grado, lest hum plague you. Use a Grado with a DC or shielded AC motor and I don't think your AR qualifies. However, you want something new whose suspension is flexible.
Since you mentioned Shure, check the M97xE out.
Audio-Technica has an extensive line. The AT440MLb is a definite possibility.
Shop around for something decent at a price you can afford. The models I suggested are good, without being hideously expensive. The AT331E seems to be the least expensive model, with an elliptical stylus.
Wouldn't it be a Shure V-15 MK II?
I may cheat and use a V15 III because I have one.
We'll give you that, but you have to use lamp cord for speaker wire.
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