Bud Fried always made very nice speakers. His transmission line bass is a thing of beauty. If you can get the speakers for about $300/pr. I'd say you got a pretty good deal...
I have owned 2 pair of A3s now for almost 10 years and can tell you quite a bit. First, they are superbly balanced IMO, being neither too forward, bright, dark, etc. The extend to 38Hz on paper but don't sound that low, more like 45-50 to me. Their midrange is extremely uncolored, they have superb transient response, and their treble is non fatiguing and extended. Bass is very good but not quite the same caliber as their miss/highs. My only criticism is that compared to my Spendor 1/2Es, frequencies below 100Hz sound a bit thick, and some air is lost. They use a PhaseTech tweeter no longer made and Carbonneau woofers. 90db sensitivity. Mine image great, and they have superb rhythm. They are speakers that always make me smile when I listen to them...I paid $130 for the first pair and $450 for the second because I was going to have pair #2 even if I had to pay a fortune. If you can find a pair, GET them!
I have a pair of A/6, which were a larger version.
They're fantastic sounding loudspeakers in my opinion, and feel they compete with anything up to about $5K in today's world. In general, Bud Fried's loudspeakers eclipse so much of what gets built today, and those smart enough to purchase them do so at prices a fraction of what today's products sell for.
However, if you prefer an upfront and forward kind of sound, they won't be your cup of tea. Rather, they have a relaxed and liquid nature that is not the high-end audio flavor in the 2000s.
I also had a pair of A6s and would have them to this day had I room in my collection. I also sent my A6 crossovers to someone in Charlotte, NC who was to build new ones (previous owner had modified them). He kept them and the $250 worth of crossover components I sent him, never to hear from him again (he's lucky I didn't find out where he lived). The A6s are similar but have a higher crossover point (2800Hz), different tweeter type (same brand), and different woofers and surrounds (Gefco). The A6s, though, have the best bass transients I have ever heard in a dynamic speaker, and they have AWESOME bass.
Sorry about that character in NC, Bojack. It sounds like you no longer have the A/6? If that's not the case, and you need the crossover schematic, I could provide you with it.
We would consider the parts quality of Bud Fried's crossovers low for today, though not for their time. Supposedly, the higher crossover point was an accident; the person who bought the operation after Bud retired used the crossovers from the Beta minimonitor with its 6.5" midwoofer. Still, despite its mystery to most, you can't go far wrong with the series crossover. I've seen far more egregious errors, such as a company who claimed their crossover sat at 3000Hz for their two way with 6.5" midwoofer, when it actually was 300Hz. Yes, the person they paid to design the crossover messed up the position of the decimal point. The parts looked quite strange to me, and when I let the owner of the company know, his blank stare at the calculation I did for him showed me why his speakers sounded as odd as they did. Crossover knowledge separates the wheat from the chaff. One considers today's loudspeaker designers at the pinnacle of the craft, when most are really just putting expensive drivers in overpriced (due to the exotic/bookmatched veneers, finish, etc.) cabinets. As Bud liked to say, he was born 25 years too early.
As you intimated, the A/6 were notable speakers. You're right, with the full sized cabinets, the A/6 did pretty well in the low frequencies. You wonder why others don't emulate the Fried Line Tunnel, which gives you a taste of true transmission line on a shoestring budget. Von Schweikert has implemented it, though falsely claims it a TL. I try to listen to a lot of audio components, and cannot think of a speaker in today's market under $5000 I would rather own. Still, if you really want to hear truthfully fantastic bass, please give a listen to a Fried with true TL.
I bought them today based on the comments from all above. I responded earlier, but that response has not posted so sorry if this comment is a repost.
The seller said the marks on top cleaned up and sent updated pictures.
Any suggestions on stand height? Should the tweeters be above, below, or at level with my ears?
Thanks again for all of the input. I will be using this in my office with a Roksan integrated amp.
Good job on getting them, and I have used my 19" VTI stands to good effect, putting the tweeter at ear level. For years, though, I used slightly higher stands, and they still sounded good. BTW, I bought my first pair from a Fried dealer who had used A3s as his personal speaker since the 80s. He had them hooked up to a pretty cheap Yamaha received, and they sounded great at his home. They're 90dB efficient with a benign load, so they sound good on anything from 25W on up...post an update when you get these puppies up and running. I think you are going to like them.