AR Acoustic Research turns 50

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Joe Nino-Hernes, Aug 8, 2004.

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  1. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Acoustic Research, one of the greatest speaker manufacturers ever, would have been 50 on August 10th 2004.

    Following are product introductions and milestone dates during the first years of AR through the end of the “Classic AR” period:

    August 10, 1954 AR founded and incorporated
    1954 Introduction of the AR-1, AR-1U and AR-1W
    1957 Introduction of the AR-2; departure of co-founder Henry Kloss
    1958 Introduction of the AR-3
    1959 Opening of the AR Music Room in Grand Central Terminal, NYC
    1959 Introduction of the AR-2a; AR sales increased 217% in 1959
    1959 Introduction of the AR-3t and AR-3st
    1960 Opening of the AR Music Room on Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1960 Beginning of AR Live-vs.-Recorded concerts (AR-3s) with Fine Arts Concerts
    1961 Extension of the AR guarantee from one year to five years (retroactive to 1956)
    1962 Introduction of the AR-TA Turntable
    1963 Introduction of the AR-XA, two-speed Turntable
    1963 Books *Reproduction of Sound* and *High Fidelity Systems* made available
    1964 Introduction of the AR-4, AR-2x and AR-2ax
    1965 Introduction of the AR-4x
    1965 Live-vs.-recorded concerts (AR-3s) with Gustavo Lopez, Guitarist
    1966 Live-vs.-recorded demonstrations with the 1910 Nickelodeon (AR-3s and AR-4xs)
    1967 June 20th, AR acquired by Teledyne, Inc., a large aerospace conglomerate.
    1967 Introduction of the AR-3a
    1967 Introduction of the AR Amplifier
    1967 AR extended the Turntable warranty from one to three years
    1968 Introduction of the AR-5
    1969 AR opens manufacturing plant in Amersfoort, Holland
    1969 Introduction of the AR Receiver
    1970 Introduction of the AR-Deutsch-Grammophone GmbH Contemporary Music Project
    1970 Introduction of the AR-6
    1970 Introduction of the AR-2x and AR-2ax new versions
    1970 Introduction of the AR Tuner
    1970 Introduction of the AR-8
    1971 Introduction of the AR-LST
    1971 AR opens manufacturing plant in Bedfordshire, England
    1973 Introduction of the AR-7
    1973 Introduction of the AR-4xa
    1973 Closing of the Music Room on Brattle Street, Cambridge, Masachusetts
    1974 Introduction of the AR-LST-2
    1974 Introduction of the AR-XB Turntable
    1974 Closing of the Music Room in Grand Central Terminal, NYC


    Thanks to Tom Tyson over at the AR fourm, for the timeline!
     
  2. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    There's an AR Forum? Could you post the address, Joe?
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    You forgot:

    1975, all AR tweeters blow
    1976 all AR speaker electronics die
    1977, all AR tweeters give up the ghost completely
    1978, Steve sells AR3a's and rants: "I'm done with 'em!"

    Sorry for the thread crap. They would still be around if their speakers actually lasted 10 years let alone 50.

    Great sounding while they last though, if I had a "personal speaker maintenance attendant" around I'd still have a pair in my mastering room; most accurate and wonderful bass response I've ever heard.
     
  4. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Here's a link to a site with info about AR speakers: www.arsenal.net/speakers/ar/history/history2.htm

    Scroll down to the info about the AR3 series; there's some interesting stuff from a design standpoint. The original AR3 had crossover points of 1000 and 7500 hz. 1000 hz is smack in the middle of midrange land where the ear is most sensitive - from a modern design standpoint, that's a no-no. Having a 12 woofer with a verrrrrrry heavy cone cross over that high would lead to poor off axis response. The midrange going out to 7500 hz would also be a stretch if it's cone/dome area were much bigger than 2" (and even there a 2" dome would be running into less than ideal dispersion at that a high a frequency).

    A later revision has the midrange crossover point lowered to 550 hz (better for dispersion) and a new driver to go with the higher power handling needed at the lower crossover point. The midrange to tweeter crossover point was also lowered to 5000 hz - much better in the dispersion zone, but as Steve noted the drivers didn't tend ot have a long lifespan. The AR acoustic suspension line also accelerated the high horsepower race among amplifier manufacturers (and also fueled the development of transistorized amps capable of pumping out a lot of wattage/helped finish off any serious dvelopment in the world of vacuum tubes). Acoustic suspension speakers have come a long way since those early days of AR - the tradeoffs I've noted were ones AR had to make given the limits of speaker drivers of the day.
     
  5. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Also, they would still be around if they had not been sold to some chineese company that produces crap. When they went out, the hifi industry was turning around. Music listning was changing from hi fi, to plastic junk, and there just was no place for AR anymore.

    Its funny you say this, because I have my Grandfathers pair of 1959 AR-2's and they still work perfectly. I Use them as monitors in my studio. I also have AR-3a's that I power with 200 watts per channel, and I have never had tweeter problems. What kills AR tweeters is distortion. If you have an amp that is not capable of driving a tough load, it will clip, killing the tweeters. Clean power=long life. There are still many happy AR users out there. As I said before, you need clean power, or they wont last. These are very precision pieces of equipment, and if they are abused by the user, well, shame on them.

    Steve, you should have a pair in your mastering room. All you need is an amp that is capable of delivering clean power to a difficult load. Keep power between 100-200 watts per channel, and you will be fine.

    If you really like the AR sound, check out the AR-9. The AR-9 is a floor standing speaker, with two 12 inch acoustic suspension woofers (same ones that are in the 3a), and I think, two midrange drivers, and two tweeters. These speakers are bi ampable, and are capable of handling over a thousand watts.
     
  6. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
  7. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    I'm just old enough to remember those AR-9's and AR-10pi's; you needed a lot of juice to get them up to room filling sound!
     
  8. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Very true. For the AR-9, I would say at least 150 watts!
     
  9. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Minimum!
     
  10. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    If I had a pair, I would probably be running them with 500 watts per channel. They can be biamped, but I am not a fan of biamping, mainly because its expensive!
     
  11. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Yep, but you know the secret when you get a pair - Adcom!
     
  12. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Yup, I love my Adcom amps! Clean power, and very inexpensive!
     
  13. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Audiovox, the current owner of AR, plans to indroduce new products soon. They say that AR is going to be a high performance audiophile line of products. I really hope that they are real AR products, with the Acoustic Suspension design that made AR famous. I am afraid that audiovox is going to pump out crap with the AR name on it. It will be a disgrace to the name if they do so. I would rather have the AR name go away, then to have crap produced with the AR name on it. Its a disgrace to the quality of product that was produced in thier prime years.

    Here are some of the products that made AR famous.
    Picture one- A pair of AR-1 woofers with Janszen tweeters
    Picture two- 1954 AR-1 ad
    Picture three- AR-3
    Picture four- AR-LST
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Here are some AR Ads.
     

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  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    You're making me nostalgic for those little bastards!

    Boy, that's the cleanest control room I've ever seen.
     
  16. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    We must not forget the legendary AR-9 either.
     

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  17. Casino

    Casino New Member

    Location:
    BossTown
    I'm gettin' nostalgic a bit too. Used to have a pair of AR-5's. Some of you will recall it was essentially the same as the 3a, but had a 10" woofer rather than 12".

    Anyhoooo, I had 'em about 6 years, I guess. Were still workin' great when I sold 'em. Kinda miss that warm, solid bass, acoustic suspension sound sometimes.
     
  18. soundboy

    soundboy Forum Resident

    New Acoustic Research speakers taking pre-orders at J&R. Sorry, not acoustic suspension in design.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
  20. Oyama

    Oyama Active Member

    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for the pics Joe... :cool:
     
  21. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Today is the official day.

    Happy 50th AR
    :cheers:
     
  22. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad:
     
  23. WVK

    WVK Active Member

    Location:
    Houston
    Bought my first pair of speakers in 1970, AR2ax. Years later replaced all the drivers with Radio shack. Sound? not so good. Still have them stored in the garage.

    WVK
     
  24. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I would imagine so. Replacing the original drivers is probably the worst thing you can do to AR speakers. There is simply no other driver that will work well in those cabinents.
     
  25. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't like the sound of ported speakers. Its a shame that there are so few acoustic suspension systems on the market today. The only ones I can think of are the Klipsch Heresy, and Bob Ludwig's Eggelston Works systems. However, I would still chose vintage AR's over the new systems. "Aint nothin like the real thing, baby!"
     
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