Sunday, December 6, 2015

Acoustic Research AR3A Speakers - The "Keeper" Pair

Double-boxed, with packing peanuts separating the outer box from the original AR3A boxes inside

Original AR3A box, showing packing material

Grill cloth looked near-perfect. 

Unfortunately, I'll have to replace the cloth, as it was so brittle, it tore in a couple of places around the edge while removing the grills. I am purchasing 18-count ivory-colored linen off eBay as a substitute for the Irish linen that AR used on these grills. The Irish linen in this thread count is no longer available. 

Cabinets are in very good condition.

According to the original owner, the grills were never removed, and the drivers show no impact-damage from shipping or grill-bump of any kind. 

The early, Alnico magnet version of the AR3A used cloth surrounds. Later versions used Urethane and foam surrounds that deteriorated over time.

I received a pair of Acoustic Research AR3A speakers from the original owner, who is a reader of this blog. The tone controls in the back of each speaker need repair/replacement, and the crossovers will likely need new capacitors and/or resistors as, after 45 years, they have no-doubt drifted wildly out of spec. 

The cabinets are pristine, and the drivers look fine. I'm taking them to Orange County Speaker this week and leaving them there so they can test them out and work on them. 

I'll create another post with information and pics as I move forward with this project. 

Ever own a pair of AR3 or AR3A speakers? Have something to contribute? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!


  1. Yes I have. I purchased a pair new in 1975 when I was in medical school and paired them with the equally excellent AR Receiver (I purchased it new in 1972 and use it daily; it is fully restored!). Unfortunately, my AR-3a speakers were sold by my wife at a garage sale for $50 the pair in 1995! They were really excellent, and really came to the forefront with the more powerful amplifiers. I presently have a fully restored pair of very large AR-90s which are a bit better, particularly in the very lowest bass octaves (i.e., each speaker has 2 10" woofers). Your pair looks great; glad you are having them refoamed and recapped! Pair them with about a 200 watt per channel power amplifier (@ 4 Ohms) and they will really sing!

  2. (also under the AR 3a rubric, but revised here)
    Beauty is in the ears of the belistener. That being said, I have a pair of AR 3A AND a pair of the original AR 3, arguably the better pair because they still have the AlNiCo (that's Aluminum, Nickel, Cobalt not copper) magnet alloy. Legend (or is it?) has it that at least early AR 3 speakers have cabinets made of Navy surplus teak wood. One of my AR3 pair has a nasty dent in its cabinet, though it has not resulted in a hole - the wood is pushed in but not cracked. The two AR pairs will have a dominant part in my six-turntable cum Marantz receiver matching - see my comment under the 2275.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin