Sansui 500a --- and now? A pair of AR-2ax Speakers!

Discussion in 'Exclusively Sansui' started by Knucklehead, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Knucklehead

    Knucklehead The Village Idiot Subscriber

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    I bought a very nice Sansui 500a about a month ago - something near and dear to my heart! The 500a was the very first piece of audio gear I ever bought. It was brand new so I'm dating myself! I was an 18yo USN sailor when I bought the Sansui - got it in the Naval Exchange in Yokuska Japan in 1965. The first pair of speakers I bought for the Sansui was some used AR-2s. A very nice combo that I enjoyed for the next 6-7 years until the solid state stuff made me wanting more power. I sold the Sansui and the AR-2s.

    Fast forward to today - I stopped by a second hand store that I hadn't been in for 3-4 years just to see what they had in stock in the way of audio gear. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw what they had. A pair of AR-2ax speakers. Asking price? $87.50 plus tax - just shy of $95 with tax.

    Done deal!

    The cabinets are a bit rough but I think they can be reconditioned. The grills are missing the badges but repops are available so that's no biggie. I connected them up to my bedroom setup - a Yamaha RX-V773 AVR. WOW! These things sound as good as I remember. I need to do some work on them - the mid and high pots have some dead spots on one speaker for the highs. I plan on using these with the Sansui - of course! I never thought I'd run into a pair of these in my Podunk little town!
     
  2. smurfer77

    smurfer77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sansui and east coast speakers are a good match! I go for Allison speakers but the signature comes from Acoustic Research days of Roy Allison
     
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  3. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    I use my 1000A either with Bozak 207's?(coax with the 2 aluminium tweeters) or New Large Advents depending if it's downstairs in the basement or upstairs in the living room. Got a pair of 2ax's but the tweeters and mids are shot. I haven't got around to seeing if I can find equivalent new stock. Got the Sansui from a Ret. LCDR Airdale who got it in Summer of '66 with 2 Kanazawa cabinets with Coral drivers. The Woofers were shot (cones tore, and voice coils burned) but the tweets and mids good. So I stuffed the Bozaks in them and hooked up the mids to them. Oh WOW!

    Knucklehead. Take a look at my thread on 1000A Power resistors. http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/1000a-power-resistors.536768/ I used chassis mount metal resistors and mounted them on the chassis up front and on the tuner string cover. Cut the heat in the back by roughly 1/2. This will work on the 500A with minor differences. Plus added aluminium HVAC Tape on the sides of the transformers that faced the tubes. Individual tube bias on Tung-Sol 7591's and running at 75% of max dissipation. I run it close to 20 hours a day 6 days a week, and am still using the same tubes that came with it since 2008, except for the output's. I was using EH7591's and using them between a Fisher 800c and the 1000A. Then I got the Tung-Sols. A whole lot better tube, original size, and less heat radiated due to size. Sound quality is equal to or better than the EH's, and pretty much about the same as old stock Westinghouse tubes.
     
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  4. Knucklehead

    Knucklehead The Village Idiot Subscriber

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    247
    Location:
    Central Washington State
    My 500a was reconditioned in 2014 by forum member Danimal. I bought it several months ago from forum member Jean-Marie. All capacitors were replaced and those troublesome resistors were taken care of at that time and was much of the focus on that build thread that I posted below. I'm getting sweet sweet music from the 500a and it has an almost dead silent floor. Cosmetics are pretty danged good too -- especially when you factor in the age of this thing. It's held up better than I have over the years! You can see the restore thread here: http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/my-sansui-500a-restoration.567262/ --- I see you've posted in that thread so you're obviously somewhat familiar with my 500a.

    I wasn't sure I'd like the Russian 6P14P output tubes but I understand the 7189a tubes are all but impossible to find without a huge pricetag hung on them. The 6P14P tubes sound fine to me - plenty of output - lots of bass and good mid-bass too. I'm quite happy with it. I haven't taken the time to connect the AR-2s up to it yet. I'm still trying to figure out how the grills come off for a good inspection. They must have the cloth surrounds - I haven't heard any 'funny' noises from them - yet!
     
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  5. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    IIRC, the grills are nailed on or stapled on. Get out the Magnifier and a bright light. No self respecting Ex Squid would be without one. Need'em to pi** on a Cold night! Back to the AR2's. More than likely stapled on to the front. And I do believe the surrounds are butyl rubber or doped cloth.

    Get yerself a quad of EL=84M's. They are the modern equivalent of the 6p14p-EV/EB. I've got them in a few Fisher's right now and they sound real sweet. They are a very nice replacement for el-84's and 7189's.

    If you do get a quad, get them from Jim McShane. He goes over all output tubes and matches them at operating voltages and currents, so you know they'll bias up right the 1st time. I noticed that dananimal still had the original bias pots in it at the time of closing the thread, or at least that's my impression. You might want to replace them to stabilize the drifting bias if they haven't been done already.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  6. Knucklehead

    Knucklehead The Village Idiot Subscriber

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    Location:
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    I've done some reading on the AR-2ax speakers. Seems that some grills were stapled on and some were anchored with hot glue, 3 spots each side. Looking closely I don't see any staples.

    I've been playing the ARs for a few hours each evening and haven't heard any strange sounds. I'm guessing I have the cloth surrounds or they've been refoamed at some point prior to my buying them. The grill cloth is in excellent condition, almost new in fact. Both badges are missing but the posts are still embedded in the grills. Perhaps I can find a pair of original badges, or maybe some repops.

    I didn't know that the 6P14P tubes are equivalent to the EL84s. Is that a direct swap or would I need to modify connections?

    Once I get some new rheostats in the speakers and make sure the surrounds are good to go I'll turn my attention to the 500a and see if I can do some fine tuning on it. Like I said though, the power tubes sound pretty decent. At the least I need to check the bias and record what I find.

    Between this Sansui and a new tube amp I just bought tube rolling could get quite expensive! I bought a Bob Latino VTA ST-120 stereo amp - it's 60wpc and uses Sovtek 6550 output tubes. I'll be used on a daily basis for up to 15 hours per day, driving my Salk speakers. That's if I find it works at least as well as the Acurus amp which I like a lot. The Acurus doesn't have that nice tube glow so I don't think it has a chance! Not sure I can put the Acurus up for sale either. I've owned 4 Acurus amps prior to owning this one. Each one has worked flawlessly and all sound very good. I'll probably squirrel it away 'just in case'.

    I'm new to tube gear even though I owned a 500a prior to this one - many years ago in a land far away...
    Never thought much about tube gear after turning to solid state back in the early 70s so I'm woefully uninformed when it comes to tubes. I'm hoping the 500a and the AR-2s will play well together. I had the 500a and the AR-2s for 5-6 years or so way back when and was quite happy with them. I can't imagine not liking this setup - just got to get things moving along. First up is to get the grills off so I can inspect the surrounds and clean the pots.

    Thanks for all the information.I really appreciate the help.
     
  7. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    A really neat trick for the speaker grills is to use a metal paint can opener (the type with the slightly hooked end and the bottle top opener on the other end. Slip it in under the grill and slide it along the edge. When you're done it's an excuse to open a CORONA or Dos Equis with the opener. :naughty:
     
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  8. Knucklehead

    Knucklehead The Village Idiot Subscriber

    Messages:
    247
    Location:
    Central Washington State
    I tried to get a paint can opener to fit in there. The grills are a very tight fit into the speaker - that gap is too narrow for the can opener to fit without cosmetic damage. I need something like a metal shipping band with a slight hook on the end. I have several second hand stores nearby with lots of old tools and stuff (junk too) - I may be able to find something in one of them. A piece of metal banding with a small hook on one end would be perfect. Hard to believe the grills have never been off. Here's a shot of just how tight these fit. Both speakers fit just as tight all the way around just like this corner.

    DSCN1961.jpg
     
  9. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    Last time I saw something that tight was in a bangkok wh........ Uh, let just say the spec was about 1 micron. Never seen a speaker grill THAT tight!

    Did you check the perimeter with a magnet in case they used brads and pulled the cloth over them? Seen that done too. If not it's most likely glued on, and it' gonna be a gold plated bitch to get it off.
     

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