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ACI Sapphire III
47 Reviews
rating  4.72 of 5
MSRP  1199.00
Description: <li>Tweeter: 1" hand-damped textile dome, ferro-fluid cooled <li>Bass-midrange: 7" kevlar sandwich layered cone, rubber surround


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Reviews 1 - 5 (47 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pabs911 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 27, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I just got a pair of the original ACI Sapphire III two way monitors (vintage 1998) off Ebay for a measely $250.00 shipped!!!!! To say I'm "excited" would be an extreme understatement. I'd never heard them before, but after reading all the reviews here and quite a few professional reviews as well, I took the plunge. To be perfectly honest, I've only just gotten these a few hours ago but have been listening non-stop since. I currently own a pair of Von Schweikert VR-2 towers that until today were my main two channel reference speakers... but no longer. The Sapphires now take their place. Considering that the Von Schweikerts retailed for 3 grand and go far lower than the Sapphires (to a useful 25 hertz!), that speaks volumes as to how well the little Sapphires do what they do. I've also owned a wonderful pair of Sonus Faber Concertino Homes (piano black version) that I loved... until I heard the Von Schweikerts. Needless to say, based solely on sound quality, the Sapphires are in a different league than the Concertinos, but the Concertinos were probably the most beautiful speakers I've ever owned. The Sapphires are not, but they more than make up for their rather ordinary looks with their shockingly superlative sound. Make no mistake, these are mini-monitor heavyweights, literally and figuratively. I'm not sure of their weight, but I'd guess around 22 to 24 pounds each! They are built like little tanks. Compared to the VS VR-2s, the Sapphires are more detailed, more forward in their presentation, more "live" sounding, faster, more extended highs, reveal more ambiance and inner details, and get at the "art" of the music more. I'm driving them with an Onix SP3 integrated tube amp (38 watts per channel stock model but with better tubes... Amperex 12AX7 long plate square getters in front, Amperex 6922 gold pins in the middle, and Mullard 12AU7 long plate square getters in the rear along with a quad of Valve Art 350B power tubes as well (just so you know). They are bi-wired with Tributaries OFHC wire. I'm using a Denon DVD-955 for my CD player (not in the same league as the amp or speakers, but serviceable), but no subwoofer. By the way, some people here have complained about a lack of bass extension. I am clueless as to why. That's like saying Shaq is a lousy 3 point shooter. These are mini-monitors people! Considering their size, I am more than impressed with how low they go. I'd guess that bass is useful down to 40 hertz or so, but whatever they do down low it is quality stuff. These are very tight fast bass makers. Quality over quantity anyday I say. In a small room (mine is only 12 by 10) and well placed they make plenty of bass, thank you... never muddy or sloppy.

Well, I could go on and on, but to sum up... these are exceptional speakers and could easily sell for $3000.00. Their quality is undeniable and "in your face", but not in an intrusive way. They make music like no other speaker I've ever heard or owned anywhere near their original retail price ($1199.00), and I've heard quite a few...Thiel (scary treble YIKES!, very unforgiving, but wonderful midrange and bass), Sonus Faber (great speaker but a bit pricey all things considered), Von Schweikert (excellent value, great sound, ordinary looks), Magnapan (great value/sound if you can accept their room domination... oh, and cats LOVE them for scratching posts! lol), KEF (very nice but too analytical for my tastes... the new stuff that is). ACI is probably the best kept secret in HI-FI. With products like this at such insane prices, I really cannot understand why. Perhaps their prices are too low? Who can say? ;-)


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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by zeekzaak a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I just recievied a broken in pair of sapphire IIIs and am quite dissapointed. I read many of the reviews here and decided that 400 bucks was a decent deal. First the good news. the midrange and trebble are decent. Immaging and soundstage are actually pretty good. now the bad news. The bass is absolutly pathetic. It sounds as if its comming from a 4" woofer. It is inadequate for even a small room. a subwoofer is not an option it is imparative. If I had known this I would have steered clear. I had a pair of b&w 601 s1 on hand to compare them with. other than the slightly harsh tweeter on the 601s, they ran circles around the sapphires. (that was a small price to pay for the disparity in bass extention) I would like to make clear that I didn't use poor electronics while conducting this experement. (musical fidelity A5, rega apollo,and purist audio design cabling) I just wanted to put this review in to warn anyone who doesnt have a subwoofer or plans to buy one or two to steer clear.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by laspino a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 19, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I have the ACI Sapphire 25th Anniversary Editions bought in December of '03.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steelhed a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I have the 25th anniversary versions of the Sapphire speaker. A new thread should be started, because these speakers are quite different from their predecessors, but I don't know how to do that.

Anyway, I have these for about two months and I have used them with three different amps, two solid state and one tube. While they sounded great with the solid state amps, this review is about how they sound with the tube amp.

I purchased a Jolida 502B customized by Responseaudio located in New York state. Responseaudio modifed the caps and resistors and made several other tweaks including the addition of a pre-out and main-in feature. This figures signficantly in my set-ups final configuration and sound. If you want awesome audiophile quality sound just repeat the formula below:

1) ACI Sapphires (25th anniversay editions)

2) ACI Quake subwoofer (no longer made, but I have a Force on the way)

3) ACI Y's connected to DH Labs interconnects with in line 85hz highpass filters. DH labs speaker cables and subwoofer cable. DH labs interconnects between component and amp.

4) Jolida JD502B modified by Responseaudio. Sovtek 6550C power tubes replaced with Electro Harmonix KT88EH's.

5) Cambridge Audio 500SE CD player.

I tried the Sapphires with other components and I tried other speakers with the above listed setup. The Sapphires are superior. They image better and really bring out the low end despite the fact they are only two way ported speakers. Build quality is exceptional and ACI service is top notch. I could go on, but you get the point.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   ACI



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by artbay a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 29, 2002

Bottom Line:   
As others before have described these are lovely, elegant speakers that are a tremendous value. I would like to, however, add a word of warning! In the film "As Good As It Gets" Jack Nicholson's character says to Helen Hunt's "you make me want to be a better man". Theres a good chance if you buy these speakers you'll want to get a better stereo system. I innocent and naive just wanted to treat myself to a new pair of speakers in the $1000 range. I auditioned everything that I could get my ears on within driving distance and just didn't find anything that rang my bell. I read reviews on this site and decided to take a chance on the Saphires. I think I was the last one to get the walnut finish and when they arrived I thought them lovely, if not a bit clunky. They sounded good out of the box but after breaking them in they just got better and better and better. I realized there was more sound to be had out of them and my so so components were not doing them justice.

This started me on a quest, which while incredibly fun and involving was nothing I intended on. I have a reached a point where I'm taking a breather but I've heard things through these speakers that have litterally given me goose bumps (Diana Krall.. Garden in the Rain Norah Jones Butterfly etc etc). What I discovered is that these speakers get better with good (i.e. more) amplification. I ended up with a Carver 380 wpc channel amp ... good interconnects and speaker wire (Cardas Cross ..another highly recommended and Silver Sonic bi-wire speaker cable). I recently added a amc tube pre-amp and fit them with some old Mullards and old rca "long tubes". Finally I found the musical fidelity E624 CD player a big improvement over my Rotel.

For the time being I am in acoustic nirvana, and though I'm reading more have thoughts of tweaking this and that for the moment I'm just buying more CD's

I have truly rediscovered the joy of music. Hats off to the folks at ACI these things just sing.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1199.00

Purchased At:   aci website




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