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.
|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: