Pre-Production 12B's, what to do?

I picked up these speakers in this thread.
And finally getting around to posting about them.

It turns out these speakers belonged to Bill Johnson, the founder of Audio Research, and were part of his system at his "lake cabin" in Wisconsin. From there the mystery deepens. It appears they are prototype or more likely pre-production speakers that he received as a gift or in trade for use of his gear at a CES show back in the day. There are no serial numbers or other markings on the back, only a #2 and #4 and Left and Right. I checked with a few people who knew Bill, and with Ken, Matt, and Sandy, but no one remembers any specifics, only they are likely prototype or pre-production versions of the 12B. If anyone might know more, or knows someone who might I'd love to hear about it.

I am not sure what to do with them. Before I knew, I planned on rebuilding the crossovers etc., but now I am not sure if they are more museum piece to keep original. It has been mentioned to find new top sections and rebuild those. Since the inside is not visible, no reason not to rebuild those, or possibly get some donor internal crossovers to rebuild. At that point though they are pretty much a different set of 12b's. They still sound amazing today, but long term I am not sure if I will keep them. They will be with me for a while in the short term however. If they are something others will appreciate, I'd like to find the best way to facilitate that. Opinions on what to do would be appreciated.

Another twist is that the MWs, PRs, and terminal cup appear to be sealed in place with caulk. No one remembers if they were originally made this way or not. I am pretty sure the sealling material is not mortite. It feels more rubbery like caulking. I removed the screws from one driver and it did not move in the slightest. I'll try an add a pic later this week.



  • nables30nables30 Posts: 19
    Those are pretty sweet. If you are ever decide to part with them let me know.
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 21,501
    I would say leave them alone... they look fantastic.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Diamond v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Pioneer Elite SC-LX701, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    Saying that it's "too hard" to pursue your dreams is no different than admitting to yourself that you are too lazy to achieve them.

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 677
    TY for finally getting some replies. :)

    Looking fantastic is one thing, but I would like to listen too them too. I won't be starting a museum, and from what I gathered, while they are a little special, they are not really something for the Polk museum. That is where my dilemma is.

    I still have not investigated the sealing material and seeing if I could get in side them. If I can, I would see about getting donor crossovers and top sections so I could listen to them.

    On the other hand, I guess the question would be would someone with some 12b's in good or great shape be interested in trading for these. That might be a better gauge. It's not something I would do soon, but presents a better idea of how they are viewed in their original form.
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