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Old May 26th 21, 03:58 PM posted to
Sam Berger
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Posts: 3
Default AR3a vs. JBL-100

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 5:37:33 AM UTC-7, Peter Wieck wrote:
> > I love them both and use both ever day with McIntosh amp. The L100's with a MC2300, and the AR3's with a MC2105. The AR3's have been completely restored, the L100's are stock. Both sound great.

> Nice to see a response after nearly 22 years. But, with that in mind, I just finished restoring a pair of 3as last Sunday. Of the six caps, two tested at 250% of value (marked 10% tolerance), one was open, and two were fine.. Fine or not, they were replaced. Some things to note:
> There were three cap manufacturers represented: Royal, Sprague and Chicago Cap. Every cap had an AR part number on it - and both the Sprague and Royal caps shared the same number for the 150 uF cap. And Sprague, Royal and Chicago shared the correct numbers for the others. So, over the years, AR clearly used multiple suppliers. The two speakers were very close in serial number - but the internal configurations were quite different. One had the back-wired tweeter, the other had the front-wired tweeter. One used clear (white) elephant-snot glue, the other black. One had solid wood braces internally, the other particle-board. But they both sounded fine after the work.
> I did not replace the pots.
> These (and why I deliberately linked to eBay - hurry up, guys and gals before I jump on a spare) are the best cleaning tools for electronic purposes that I know. There are various inserts from 'kiss a soap bubble' to 'peel chrome from a trailer-hitch'. The marl is non-conductive, and it can fit into tight spaces. I used mine to clean the pots after disassembly and they work just fine.
> As to the JBL100 - to me, it is an indifferent-sounding speaker as compared to the AR, an excellent example of the California Sound and very well-made (for a mass-production speaker). But I do not find it as compelling as t

he AR - the very nearly perfect example of the Boston Sound.
> Superficial definitions:
> California Sound: Emphasis on the highs and the lows - with specific leaning towards the lows (e.g. Cerwin-Vega). with the mid-range being somewhat neglected. Somewhat more brighter than not.
> Boston Sound: Almost painfully flat across the entire range. So relatively merciless.
> Peter Wieck
> Melrose Park, PA

I've always laughed at the generalizations made across the board with audio products, such as the two you have noted. You're right, they're superficial, and meaningless. I remember people telling me that the L100's are great for rock but lousy for jazz. Or the AR3's/3a's were perfect for classical and acoustic music but not appropriate if you wanted to rock out. Hardly ever would they explain why, or how they came to this conclusion, or what gear they had when they came to them. Further, I found out after the fact that many times these conclusions came from those who hadn't even heard the speakers, never mind hearing them on inadequate gear. They were simply passing on what they had heard. Luckily that was early on in my listening journey and it taught me the valuable lesson to always trust my own ears and go with what I like, and if I was to take the advice of somebody else, make it somebody who has either never steered me wrong and therefore had credibility, or at least provided details of their listening experience so that I had some context of what went into their thoughts.

Suffice to say that I enjoy all kinds of music on both speakers. If I had to pick only one pair to own it would be the L100's. My tastes lean towards their sound a tiny bit more then the 3's, and because of this and their efficiency, which allows me to enjoy them with a wider range of amplification then the 3's, I would choose them. But I adore my 3's(probably having been born and raised in the Boston area in the 60's/70's has something to do with that....) and unless forced into that uncomfortable decision of choosing one pair I will never let them go. Having the ability to easily switch between the two speakers is wonderful.