Acoustic Research AR-2ax and AR-2x Speaker Review, Specs and Price

Acoustic Research Ar-2 specs speaker AR2 review
The Acoustic Research 2x and 2ax (AR-2x / AR-2ax) are based on the design of the AR-3a, but were marketed as a value product, which means price played a crucial role. Therefore it contains most of the typical elements and ingredients as the high-priced Acoustic Research speakers, but has a slightly lower performance.

AR-2x / AR-2ax Differences:
The AR-2ax is a 3-way acoustic suspension speaker, meaning that its cabinets are completely sealed. The AR-2x is a 2-way acoustic suspension speaker which does not have the 1 3/8 in dome-type super-tweeter of the AR-2ax. According to a press comment, prices in 1971 for these speakers were similar, with the AR-2x being sold for $102 (in walnut) and the AR-2ax being sold at a slightly higher price for $128 (in walnut). The speakers were also available in different cabinets, priced at $89 /  $109 for unfinished pine cabinets or $96 / $122 for mahogany/ birch cabinets.   However, it seems that different sources have very different prices, not at last because the speakers have been sold for many years and prices decreased over time. As you can see at the Acoustic Research ad above, the AR 2Aax has also been sold for $139.

“The AR-2ax is a lower-cost version of our basic acoustic suspension design. It contains the 254mm woofer and 19 mm hemispherical dome, for very high frequencies, used in the AR-5. The midrange is covered by an 89 mm wide-dispersion cone unit. Separate controls on the back of the AR-2ax permit independent  adjustment of the level of the midrange  and high-frequency speakers.” (1960/70ies Acoustic Research brochure)
These speakers occasionally appear at thrift stores such as goodwill for very little money (under $30). If you are that lucky, you should definitely get them. However, if you are looking for a decent pair of AR-2-ax on ebay, you will probably have to invest about $100 or more, in particular if they are in good condition.

Refoaming the AR-2x and AR-2ax
The AR-2 are fabulous speakers and restoring a broken or worn down pair can really pay off. Many of the ARs have foam surrounds that rotted away over the years. Frequently sellers will give them away for very little money, as these speakers were at the lower end of the price range of Acoustic Research models. A refoaming kit can usually be bought for around $30. Replacing the old foams will take around 1 to 2 hours and is not difficult at all! It does not require any particular skill, just a calm hand and a little patience. We tried out several different available foams and recommend to use Parts Express´ 10 inch Surround Kit.


Acoustic Research AR-2x AR-2ax speaker specs
AR-2x and AR-2ax Speaker
Both, AR-2x and AR-2ax share the following specifications (except the 1 3/8" tweeter):
Drive units: 10 in acoustic suspension woofer, 3 ½ in midrange cone,1 3/8 in mm high frequency hemispherical dome
Crossover: 1400 Hz, 5000 Hz
Impedance: 8 Ohms nominal
Controls: Midrange and high-frequency driver level controls
Amplifier: Up to 100 watts per channel
Size:  13.5 x 24 x 11.5 in
Weight: 36.5 lbs
Woofer resonance: Free air 26 Hz, in enclosure 56 Hz
Volume of enclosure: 38.2 litres (1.35 cu ft)

AR-2x Price: $80-180
(Depending on overall condition)
AR-2ax Price: $250-480

(Depending on overall condition)

Read our other Acoustic Research Reviews:

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7/24/2014

    I own 3 pairs of the 2AX, all bought at yard sales in southern Maine where my wife and I have a summer home. I paid very little for each pair- usually they were being sold by adult children of the original (male) owner.
    First the bad news: They usually require new surrounds- the originals dry and deteriorate from UV damage over time. Additionally, the trim pots (the little tone controls on the rear) need to be sprayed with tuner cleaner or "Detoxit" . These controls usually have poor internal contacts due to age- this causes tweeter or midrange drop outs. Once you address these issues, you have a well made (VERY well made,actually) solid (Very solid) speaker that sounds very respectable. Personally, I think the 2AX can be compared to (and exceed) many current loudspeaker systems in the $400 to $600 a pair range. Place them on 1 foot high stands, 7 or 8 feet apart, at least 2 feet away from back and side walls toe them in a bit and you'll be pleasantly surprised at their performance. I have run them with 15 watt tube amplifiers (Pilot 232) and 200WPC solid state units and found them to be listenable long term, with good fidelity and few flaws. Are they competitive with current speakers costing $400 to $700? Sort of: current speakers present greater speed and detail, but often unless they are used with the right cable/interconnect/amp they can sound too detailed. Real music played live doesn't sound shrill or peaked. So, if you come across some yard sale AR2AX's at cheap cost, give them a try. You may be very surprised!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your great input! Unfortunately it is becoming rare to find one of these on a yard sale for a very low price.

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