Acoustic Research AR M1 Floorstanding Speakers

4/5 (9 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dean S a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 13, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I recently moved the M1s into the limelight of the front channel again. With age, and a load of DVDs, quality surround has become my new quest. I have been close to pulling the trigger on about $1,500 worth of B&W 600 / 601 / LCR60 S3s, but realized my M1s would probably be a great compliment to the 5.1 system. I put some Tag5 brackets above my 53" Toshiba and realized (with some help from my wife) that my M3s might be a little intimidating at 7'. The M1s sound as good as I remember them - a little tinny, missing some mid-range, but ultimately, a lot more than I paid for. Still sound great when I turn the effect off / and keep the sub on. Perfect for us Billy Bragg fans.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   American TV



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by R G a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 9, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I spent a fair amount of time looking for the ultimate "giant killer" speakers, chasing the "unbelievable bargain of the month" grail too many times. In the end, I think you really do get what you pay for, so long as you are able to discern the well-made, good quality products from the usual mediocrities (Bose or Polk anyone?). That said, the AR M1 wasn't really the giant killer it was made out to be, but it is a really good deal in a small, budget loudspeaker. Rumor had it that they would work fabulously well with SE triode amps (that's why I bought 'em) but they turned out to require at least 10 watts or more to 'light up'. That's typical for most speakers, so there was nothing unusual with the M1's here. With my 6-watts per channel 2A3 amps, they sounded kind of sleepy and 'closed in'. They liked my Audio Van Alstine modified Dyna Stereo 70 much better, but I was really looking for a pair of speaks for the triodes (oh well).

So how do they compare to other speakers? Well... if you like B&W's (I do), you will find that the M1's are more 'midrangey', more 'forward'. My old (1984) B&W DM-100's sound more spacious and have a better sense of 'air', even though they are subjectively 'darker' sounding than the M1's. I also like the DM-100's very smooth midrange, very easy to listen to. The M1's sound more zippy and sparkly than my Tannoy T165's, but that's REALLY comparing apples and oranges, as the Tannoys are much bigger, so have far better bass, and use a horn tweeter which doesn't seem to have the same ability to resolve fine detail as the best dome tweeters.

The M1's image very convincingly -- a vocalist will be reproduced with a very nice solidity right between the speakers. Unfortunately that vocalist will be quite a bit "lighter than life", without much presence in the critical low mids. Also, cymbals and orchestral strings and percussion have a slightly 'opaque' or 'cardboard cutout' quality, rather than the quick transparency of the best speakers. This might be a function of the aforementioned overall 'midrangey' and forward presentation of the M1. The ambience of small acoustic spaces is reproduced better than the complex ambience and resonances of a symphony orchestra in a concert hall.

I would say that a good pair of M1's will make you happy if you prize the good reproduction of audio images over other characteristics such as a full, blooming midrange or bass, spaciousness (in the sense of 'atmosphere'), or a convicing sense of weightiness. The M1's are very nice on small group jazz and chamber music (including solo piano), but that sense of 'lightweightedness' will always be there. That said, bear in mind that some will prefer a small speaker to have an upwardly tilted tonal balance for an increased sense of clarity and 'speed'. It certainly made the Spica TC50 a popular speaker for a while! Others will prefer a 'warmer' presentation. In choosing something with as many inherent limitations as a tiny and inexpensive 2-way speaker (like the M1) your tastes will dictate what you like -- most likely not any technical superiority of one product over another. I mean, how does a speaker company make a profit on a pair of speakers that retail for $250?

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $250.00



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Max Wickham a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 4, 2000

Bottom Line:   
If you need a small monitor, and are tight for bucks, try a pair on high stands with a good quick sub, and see what you think

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:3
Submitted by papermoon a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 28, 1998

Bottom Line:   
Does anyone have any reviews for AR M2 Series 2? I bought them 4 years ago. I find its bass rather bland. Any tips for boosting its bass?

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Johann E Lee a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 19, 1998

Bottom Line:   
Has the Cult of The AR M1 died? Perhaps. I bought my pair of AR M1s during the Ken Kessler-$300 AR M1s+four figure Cello amplifiers=sonic bliss hyperbole era in the early 90s. I still have the grey odd boxes
I can't seem to sell them since I painted one but not the other, and the freakin' grille clothgot a wee torn. The M1s have seen the likes of Pioneer A400 int.9yucchhy combination, imo) amp, Grant(UK tube pre-amp) and even Cary SLA 70, KT88 output, pure class A power amps.

Their sound? Small, thin, bright, but not that detailed, not like the ProAc
Response 2s that I now run with Cary's 300B tubed, single ended 12 watt
monoblocs.
The M1s need a wall close (1 foot)behind it. They need fat sounding electronics, rolled
off cables, softish front ends...I place a double layer of felt over the
front baffle that supports the too forwardly placed tweeters, with only the tweeters
themselves exposed. That reduces the piercing treble somewhat too.
M1s bass is small,boxy and dry, and its midranges suffer the usual 'budget box'
buncha colorations as do twitty speaks like Celestion 3s and More Than Short
Pearl speaks...timbre is noticebly skewered, nasal, and tinny, but soundstage
depth and image placement are pretty damn good for such a cheap speaker.
They seem to equal Spica's, JMLab Microns and yes even Harbeth speakers in this single regard. But still, all in all they don't really seem to represent a direct challenge to much more expensive
minimonitors like the Epos and certainly not the likes of ProAc's $1000+
high end deals. Still you can get decent to high end sound from them, given
a true high end (preferably tubed) amp and smooth CD or Lp player. They worked
surprisingly well with Cary's push-pull SLA 70, and less so with single
ended 300B amps. Lessened coarseness, high boogie factor, more even tonal
balance through the mids to highs...almost better than an Ls3/5a!

Tell you all what...why doncha trade your lineums, celestions sl6s...spica tc 60s,
Quads, AE 1s...
for this closet high end babies, the M1s that sooooo bowled Mark Levinson
(yes, that Mark Levinson) over? Whacha gotta lose?

Heh heh.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




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