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A&R SA-60 speaker options ?

Discussion in 'classic' started by Operajulian, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    Back to the old pairing of an A&R A60 and their SA-60.
    Over the past few years I have acquired various bits and bobs to try and put together an active system.

    I have the amps and three active crossover cards to plug into the SA60.
    They were originally for Arcam One, Tangent XLR2 or ARC 050 speakers.
    They each have slightly different components to make up the correct frequency requirements of those (old) speakers.

    I live in Canada so I am afraid I am not on the hunt for those original speakers from the UK ( and heavy postage ).
    Are their any Pink Fishers who can recommend some alternative and currently available options for speakers ?

    Or do I wait until I retire and have the time to build my own variant ?


  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Could you remove the crossover cards entirely and just passively bi-amp any speaker you like that has a bi-wire facility? I'd have thought that was a better option unless you can reverse engineer the active crossover and figure out frequencies, slopes, gain etc and remodel them for another speaker. Crossovers are exceptionally precise things IME, a slight change can make things sound very wrong indeed and I really can't see one designed for one type of speaker is going to translate well to a different context.
  3. jimmymcfarrell

    jimmymcfarrell pfm Member

    I've used ARC 101s with an 050 x-over & 050s with the 101 x-over but those speakers really only differ in cabinet size. My SA60 went to Canada (via a customs cock-up.....apologies) is it the same one? The x-over characteristics for the ARC speakers are detailed in (I think) the Nytech thread so that may give some idea how to utilise the 050 board with the larger ARC speakers. I'm sure it also says somewhere in that thread how to convert a Nytech CXA to work without an active x-over board and the principle APPEARS to be the same in the SA60, ie the filter boards connect to the main amp board with 2 edge connectors although whether the pins are the same I dont know. Just looked through the Nytech thread but can't find the related post although I'm certain it's there somewhere - knowing the Nytech pin configuration is no guarantee but would definitely give some suggestions for passive use of the SA60.
  4. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    Thanks Tony and Jimmy Mc

    Tony: Yes the card is removable and I could use it as a headphone amp on another project I have in mind.

    Jimmy: Yes I did buy the SA60 from you :) I moved house so it's been sitting a box for a while now and this weekend I went digging in "hifi corner" as my wife describes part of our basement. I thought it's time that I made some plans for its use.

    Take care gentlemen and thanks for all your advice on this forum.
    I enjoy the dialogue. if you ever come to Banff in the rocky mountains do let me know.
  5. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    Although I don't currently run truly active speakers (in may main system - my kitchen speakers, my office speakers, and my tv rears are all actives) I'm firmly convinced that active is the best way to get modest speakers to punch above their weight. I'm not familiar with the Arcam active setup, but if you can find some speakers with the same XO frequency as the speakers supported, you're half way there, and then maybe a bit of level tweaking, and you may have something really special. I owned and loved ARC 050s and the Tangent XLR2s were really special.
  6. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    Well more than two years later and back in Toronto since the original post. Finally have it all running in my basement with a pair of Arcam One speakers. Thanks everyone.

    I tried the speakers in passive mode first and sounded ok but much better in active mode with A60 and SA60 amps.

    Even at just noon on the volume I think my neighbours can hear them ! Nice experiment though not sure they will stay. Cheers.
  7. I rather think I sold you the crossover cards about two years ago, two I recall, one for the ARCAM 1's and another for the Tangent I think. I recall the buyer was in Canada and there cannot be many with this setup there. Delighted the Arcam 1's are working well. I had problems with these speakers, with the paper cones on the base units failing around the edges. Finally gave up... If you should suffer the same, try Rogers LS3a/5's with the ABI base stands, passive bi-amp'd if you can find them, and remove the active crossovers. They work very well indeed and in my view have the right 'period' tone for the amps.

  8. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    Thanks Phillip - you did indeed sell me the cards. It's all working great so far. The cones on the speakers I have are (still) in good condition and look lightly used. Happy listening.

    Now having done e-cap upgrades on the A60 ages ago, I really should do the same to the SA60.
  9. Julian, do you happen to have a wiring diagram for the SA60? I want to check the pins for using it without the active crossovers.
    Hope you now have your system up an running outside the basement!
  10. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    Sadly on two counts.
    No wiring diagram and it's still in the basement
  11. Erskine Ears

    Erskine Ears pfm Member

    Hello Julian, i hope things are well with you and you're having a fine summer over there in Canada. A brief look at the weather we've been having in the uk will remind you why you you were happy to move over there!

    After a disasterous attempt to install an alps volume pot, my novice confidence was crushed, and being short of time to learn how to fix what id done, and recap etc, it is soon due back from a gent of a pro - who incidentaly lives next door to a chap who used to be production manager at arcam in the early days. I'm very much looking forward to hearing it. He's just working on getting the bias set as high as he can get it without it being in danger of overheating.

    Im just hoping it will be powerful enoigh to drivey big three way celefs. Which brings me to the reason im messaging.

    An S60 appeared on ebay so im wonderimg how you got on with yours. I take it theres considerably more power providing better dynamics etc amd more bass weight and control?
  12. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    Hi there once again. :)
    Sorry to read about the challenges with the new volume pot. I too have had my soldering challenges but keep ploughing on as that is the way ( sometimes painfully ) that you learn.
    The A60 should sound pretty good through the celefs - are they of the same vintage or newer ones? You might not get the really loud volume but loudness is not everything in my opinion. If you need more power and the AR sound then look out for a SA150 or SA200 amp.

    Using the SA60 and bi-amping the speakers is a bit more complicated. The A60 will need to have an AP card and once that is there - the tape out put is effect a signal "out" and signal "in". So you can send the pre-amp signal to a crossover card in the SA60. They made only a limited number of crossover card variants and the speakers would have to matched to one of those - eg ARC , Arcam One, Tangents....They did not do these for very long as each speaker variant would need its own card to match - there were too many different speakers to justify manufacture.
    With the crossover card - the A60 amplifier drives treble and bass of one speaker and the SA60 amp drives the other speaker. My set up is still in the basement as I am not convinced its good enough to replace the Quad 33 / JR149 set up that I have in the main room.

    Happy listening.

  13. Durmbo

    Durmbo not French

    It's great you'll soon have your A60 back.

    Regarding bias. In my case, after some experimenting I settled on Arcam's recommendation of 8mV across the output resistor. Aside from the risk of overheating, increasing the current gave an increasingly noisier, greyer sound.
  14. Operajulian

    Operajulian Opera Julian

    In regard of QC or bias of the A60.
    As Durmbo suggests - aim for 8mv across R63 and R64. In use and with the cover on it may well creep up to 10 - 12mv.

    Might need a few adjustments partic with the original pots. Worth changing to Bourns multi-turn.

    - Julian
  15. Durmbo

    Durmbo not French

    I agree: if you're in the position to replace the bias trimpots, Bourns multiturns (I think mine are 25 turns) will make for easier and more precise adjustments, and will keep the bias current much more stable.
  16. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    This is a very bad idea! Set it to the correct bias.
  17. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    Multiturn trimmers are not more stable, it’s a myth. They are just easier to adjust.
  18. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Yep that's about right.... "unstable" trimmers is not really an issue anyway except in fairly rare cases of damage/wear/contamination. However, multiturn trimmers are usually a "premium" trimmer at a much higher price and can be of somewhat better construction in the case of the best ones... not that it's an issue generally as I just said....

    Any type of trimmer or potentiometer is far worse than a fixed resistor in terms of noise and overall stability, temp coefficient etc etc. It's only usually an issue in very low level amps with very high gain though. If you want to see how much inferior they really are try using one in a MC head amp....
    Durmbo likes this.

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