I presently own a pair of Type A3's bought from the original owner's son. Since they came from New Canaan, CT the likely dealer was Audiocom of Old Greenwich, CT. Presently in storage, awaiting a larger room for setup. I listened many times to the Type A's at Audiocom, starting around 1977! Amplifier of choice then was the GAS Ampzilla. Signal source was a Denon DD TT with the DA307 arm, DL103 mc into a custom clone Levinson JC-1 headamp. I forget what preamp was used - could have been Thaedra. Later an Apt Holman was in use. Price of the original Type A's was $1390 pr. To this day some of the best sounds I have ever heard! The Snell's were the main demo speakers at Audiocom for years! When I found a pair of Type A3's on EBay (for $395 + shipping) I had to buy them! Truly a great speaker and still competitive with today's multi-kilobuck systems!
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$395 is an absurdly good deal for A-IIIs. I have owned two pair of A3s and paid three times that very recently. Take a look at the woofers when you get them out of storage to make sure the surrounds have been replaced or are intact. They are an incredibly capable speaker with huge Dynamics and bass and room-filling sound. The earlier versions do not have the deep bass capability that yours do nor the high frequency extension but I like the mid-range better. All three versions have extraordinary strengths and compete very well with expensive modern speakers. For listeners whose goal is organic musicality it is striking how little speaker design has evolved over decades.
I was a Snell dealer back in the day. Became really good friends with Peter.
The way I remember it was there was a Type A, then the A/II, then the A/III, then the last version was the A/IIIi.
IIRC, there was only one version of the original (Type A).
I thought there was only one original type A as well! But I have seen reference to two of them. It could be wrong because they're is a fair amount of incorrect information floating around about the Type A. But I would swear the original As I had twenty years ago had a different looking tweeter.
Erik: yes the woofers can sag over time. I am fortunate living in St Louis that there is a top-notch speaker guy named Lloyd Faulkner. He was able to rebuild my woofers, replacing the spiders as well as the surrounds with no problem.
Does anyone have a picture of an original type a tweeter? I am also interested to know if they all had felt pads attached next to them.
Here's an interesting story about the Type A's: Back about 1979 Bill Conrad and Lew Johnson visited Audiocom in Old Greenwich, CT. They were trying to get Bill and Del (the owners) to carry their tube products. The main demo speakers were the Type A's, of course. When Bill C. and Lew saw this, they reacted badly, saying that "those are awful speakers"!!! Bill and Del (the owners) were offended by this but they allowed Bill C. and Lew to demonstrate their tube gear with some Bowers & Wilkins instead. And graciously agreed to carry the CJ line. I was told this by Bill (the co-owner) afterwards!
Before the first pair of Type A's arrived at Audiocom in 1977, Del (co-owner) told me "We're getting a new pair of speakers in soon! They're called Snell's and they are the BEST speakers I have ever heard! And they're $1390 a pair!" That was a lot for '77! And three years later when the original pair was to be replaced with an upgraded pair, Bill (co-owner) offered me the first demo pair for $750! I stupidly passed up his generous offer!
That is a great story. The funny irony is maybe 5 years ago I ran my type A speakers with a Conrad Johnson MV-60 amp And premier ten preamp. The sound was amazing. I was a huge fan of cj, but not these days since they moved more toward "neutrality"... ;)
It is funny they didn't like the Snell's. Go figure.
A friend had the original Type A back in 1978 or ‘79. Shortly after I heard them I bought my pair. They looked identical except my pair had 2 rear cutouts for the woofer. His earlier pair was sealed behind the woofer cabinet.
Also, his pair had felt or something similar attached to the inside of the grill cloth directly in front of the tweeter.
Pater Snell made a number of early prototypes, playing with possibilities. I had never heard of the rear facing woofers!
Yes the little pad hanging from the grille cloth in front of the tweeter was a production feature to knock back the treble slightly. It appears to be standard house insulation with light fabric sewn around it with black thread. Very homemade looking. But the speakers work like few others I have heard..I just compared head to head my Snell's and some $8k Wilson Benesch that have gorgeous fit/finish, and the Snell's were clearly superior in musicality, realness, meatiness of sound. The Wilsons had more treble energy but not nearly as convincing.