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AR3a vs. JBL-100



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 25th 21, 10:35 PM posted to rec.audio.tubes
Sam Berger
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Posts: 3
Default AR3a vs. JBL-100

On Tuesday, October 19, 1999 at 12:00:00 AM UTC-7, wrote:
> (MYanchick) wrote:
> >
> > Yes it is a relative thing, therefore the only situation in

> which the 3a
> > would prove to have wider dynamics would be when listening to a

> signal
> > generator, pipe organ music, rap, or some weird synthesizer music.

> Most music
> > doesn't contain much information below 50hz relative to the mid-bass,

> midrange
> > and highs. Also speakers that go down very low don't necessarily play

> loud at
> > low frequencies, they bottom out.

> Mike,
> If you listen to any music today, be it classical, jazz, pop or
> whatever, you will quickly find that there are many, many recordings
> that contain a great deal of information below 50 Hz. Granted, some
> pop recordings don't contain much information below 50 Hz., but many
> others do have lot's of energy down to the 30-40 Hz. range. There can
> be no question that many classical recordings have information not only
> to the 40-Hz. range (typical bass drum fundamental), but all the way
> down to 18 Hz. and below (organ recordings and some up-close recorded
> Steinway Concert D piano recordings). Jazz and New Age, etc., are full
> of powerful deep-bass recordings. A good example is Russ Freeman's
> Rippington's *Topaz* recording. Try "Snakedance" and tell me about low
> frequency. I could probably drum up 50 other good examples. I also
> hasten to add that these are digital recordings I am referring to, not
> analog or LP recordings, which typically compress some of the extreme
> deep-bass information on some recordings.
> There is no basis in fact for your statement about speakers that go low
> can't play loud; they bottom out. Where did you get this notion? In
> truth, an AR-3a -- which is acoustic suspension -- is much better
> protected against "bottoming" out than the L-100 which becomes unloaded
> at subsonic frequencies due to its bass-reflex design, yet the AR-3a
> can go much lower in frequency than the L100. In fact, the AR-3a can
> play much louder at 20, 30 or 40 Hz. than the L100 because it is
> capable of reproducing the fundamental frequency without gross
> distortion. This is not a criticism of the L100 specifically: it was
> not designed to reproduce the lowest frequencies to begin with. It is
> more of a midrange/prescence-sort-of design, and it is superb as a
> studio monitor for that reason. But the L100 is no match for an AR-3a
> at low frequencies. By the same token, the AR-3a is no match for the
> L100 at mid frequencies in terms of SPL output.
> > To be honest you can buy some cheap $300 speaker by NHT or

> Paradigm today
> > and it would be more transparent and accurate than the 3a or the

> L100. Modern
> > speakers the size of an L100 that will play loud and clean like the

> L100 are
> > few and far between though.
> > Mike

> You might find some "cheap $300 speaker by NHT or Paradigm today" that
> is brighter sounding than the AR-3a, and perhaps better on-axis output
> at the highest frequencies than the AR-3a, but that's where it would
> end. They would never match the AR-3a in power response, overall
> flatness and power bandwidth.
> Don't get me wrong. The L100 is a fine speaker -- I have a pair -- but
> this speaker system was designed with a different goal in mind than the
> AR-3a. It is brighter, more "up front" sounding than the AR-3a, but
> lacks the overall smoothness, accuracy and extension of the AR-3a
> --Tom Tyson
> Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> Before you buy.


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.
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  #2  
Old May 26th 21, 01:37 PM posted to rec.audio.tubes
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Posts: 137
Default AR3a vs. JBL-100

> 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.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/27479777295...1-117182-37290

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 the 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
  #3  
Old May 26th 21, 03:58 PM posted to rec.audio.tubes
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.
>
> https://www.ebay.com/itm/27479777295...1-117182-37290
>
> 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.
  #4  
Old May 26th 21, 07:57 PM posted to rec.audio.tubes
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Posts: 137
Default AR3a vs. JBL-100

I have always had brute-force amplifiers such as the Citation 16, or 19, or back in the day (and still today) AR electronics. So efficiency has never really been an issue - the main speakers are Maggies after all, and in quite a large room. The single pair of JBL 100s I have heard - and not in my venue - set my teeth on edge. The AR3as in the that same venue did not.

I am glad that you enjoy both sets of speakers, nor am I suggesting that JBL speakers are "bad". Nor do I disagree with you on any one speaker is any more suitable for any given type of music than any other. But the JBLs are not to my taste.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
  #5  
Old May 26th 21, 08:06 PM posted to rec.audio.tubes
Sam Berger
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Posts: 3
Default AR3a vs. JBL-100

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 11:57:06 AM UTC-7, Peter Wieck wrote:
> I have always had brute-force amplifiers such as the Citation 16, or 19, or back in the day (and still today) AR electronics. So efficiency has never really been an issue - the main speakers are Maggies after all, and in quite a large room. The single pair of JBL 100s I have heard - and not in my venue - set my teeth on edge. The AR3as in the that same venue did not.
>
> I am glad that you enjoy both sets of speakers, nor am I suggesting that JBL speakers are "bad". Nor do I disagree with you on any one speaker is any more suitable for any given type of music than any other. But the JBLs are not to my taste.
> Peter Wieck
> Melrose Park, PA


I've never had the issues that some have with the L100's supposed shrillness, and therefore the inability to spend long periods of time listening to them. Like the 3's/3a's, it's certainly easy enough using the tone controls, as well as positioning, to tailor their output. But then again, I've never had the issues that lots of people have with the AR's, how they sound like a blanket was thrown over them, no dynamics, etc. I can only assume that it's a combination of my other gear, my room, that my L100's are original so perhaps the output is muted to some degree vs. restored versions which perhaps are brighter because of new caps, that my AR3's have been restored including the tweets and mids so that they now output like they did when they were new, etc. Or perhaps it's just that I like the sound of each speaker a lot. I know that I've heard some speakers(and to be honest, Maggies are in that category) which have never appealed to me for whatever reason while others rave about them. Again, I can only chalk it up to personal preferences.
  #6  
Old May 27th 21, 02:12 PM posted to rec.audio.tubes
Peter Wieck[_2_]
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Posts: 137
Default AR3a vs. JBL-100

Maggies need a large room and a brute-force amp to have any hope at all. They are less critical of placement than one might expect, but room size is important. I keep MG-IIIas with a 200-wpc amp, in a room that is 17 x 22 x 10 (feet). Much of anything less, and they are stifled.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA




 




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