The Acoustic Research AR-3
Designed by Edgar Villchur, the Acoustic Research AR-3 is one of the most important and influential loudspeakers of all time. It was the first commercial acoustic suspension speaker, and it set a new benchmark for loudspeaker technology. The speaker was designed to be extremely accurate, and it was a very popular loudspeaker.
It was the first commercial loudspeaker to use a direct-radiator midrange driver, a dome midrange unit, and a high-frequency tweeter. It was also the first speaker system to use a hemispherical dome tweeter. Its design was based on research and scientific measurements. The woofer used in the AR-3 is a 12-inch acoustic-suspension woofer.
In 1958, Acoustic Research exhibited a prototype of the AR-3 at the New York High Fidelity Music Show. The company’s advertising focused on the speakers’ technical features, their accuracy, and the endorsements of some of the best-known musicians in the world. The ad campaign was very different from that of other loudspeaker companies. The ads emphasized technical information, and they were also different in style from the more flamboyant ads of the other companies. The ads were simple, and the pictures of the speakers did not have any pizazz.
The AR-3 live-versus-recorded concerts were a major success. Villchur’s research and preparation were instrumental in making the concerts a success. He wrote an article on the subject entitled Techniques of Making Live-Versus-Recorded Comparisons. In the article, he noted that the transitions between live performance and sound were seamless, and most audiences could not distinguish the switchovers. The article also said that audiences were fooled by the seamless transitions between live music and sound.
The AR-3 was a hit with high-fidelity music fans, and Villchur’s speaker system was used in dozens of public concerts. He also teamed up with the Fine Arts Quartet and Dynaco, a company that manufactures loudspeaker drivers. The Fine Arts Quartet played the live music, and Villchur’s speakers alternated with the musicians. The public concerts received very positive comments from high-fidelity music writers.
The AR-3’s low-frequency response is usable but a little diminished. It’s capable of strong fundamental bass energy down to 30 Hz. The enclosure is very large, with an 80% acoustic restoring force ratio. The speaker is also very stable, and the speakers weigh a total of 70 pounds. The AR-3’s enclosure is also optimal for the resonance frequency of 43 Hz.
In 1967, Acoustic Research was bought by Teledyne, Inc., which continued operating in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the next 22 years. However, the company ceased manufacturing the original AR-3 in the 1970s. After Teledyne was sold, Acoustic Research continued its product development. It later became a subsidiary of VOXX, Inc., and the company’s speakers are still in production.
The Acoustic Research AR-3 was a groundbreaking design, and it still holds up as one of the most accurate loudspeakers of all time. Its wide dispersion and low distortion make it an excellent choice for vocal jazz. The AR-3 is also very suitable for hard studio music, and its deep bass is ideal for vocal jazz.