Acoustic Research Phantom 8.3 Floorstanding Speakers

4.29/5 (7 Reviews) MSRP : $1249.00


Product Description

On wall speakers


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by whatthedileo a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I have four of these speakers in a home theater setup, paired with a visually perfect-match Pinnacle Quantum Plasma V center channel and an Advent AV550S 15" Sub. If you find them for <$500, they are worth buying for their rare exotica alone!

These speakers were ahead of their time, without a doubt. You are now starting to see higer-end wall mountable speakers from Definitive, Boston Acoustics, etc. But Acoustic Research came out with these puppies when plasma TV's cost $20k. Not a very big market back then. This was AR's last hurrah, as they sold out to Recoton soon after this model was introduced. Exotic materials, from woven carbon-fiber woofers with magnets on the OUTSIDE (to reduce mounting depth) to plasma-hardened dome tweeters and aluminum mid-ranges, these speakers are something to look at.

Unfortunately, the woofers are all show, no go. I run 120w RMS to these 8" carbon-fiber under-performers, and get all the bass of a decent smaller bookshelf speaker. OK, so who builds a home theater without a sub, so this is no big deal.

All four of the speakers are wall-mounted 3.5ft off the ground. This is too high, but I had to put them in-line with my wall-mounted plasma, which is positioned above a couch (the couch faces the primary listening position, which is another couch). The speakers are mounted 10 ft apart from each other, which makes a perfect equalateral triangle with the listening position, but requires building custom tweeter shims to redirect the tweeters inward and downward (you can't exactly toe-in a speaker that is hard-mounted flat to a wall!). Until I did this, the speakers sounded HORRIBLE from the listenning position. Imagine my worry after months of planning and execution, to be utterly disappointed the first time I popped in a test disc. After this correction, and playing with the 30-band EQ for a few days, I am now satisfied with the sound - it is more than fine for HT, but I wish the tweeter had more dispersion for music (narrow sweet spot).

I have the front speakers flanking a 50" Panasonic plasma. Instead of hunting down an AR Phantom center channel, I bought a Pinnacle Quantum Plasma V from Crutchfield. It is AMAZING how similar they are - both have aluminum extruded housing, black foam damping material on the face, identical dome tweeter (I mean, same manufacturer, with the same three-point plastic guard around it), and woven carbon fiber drivers (the Pinnacle has four 3.5" mid-ranges). Crutchfield no longer carries the Pinnacle, so I can't tell you if they are still in business.

The Phantoms have an acoustic compensation network depending on if you wall mount or use the speaker stands. Even if you wall-mount, you should set it to 'free standing', or you will suffer from even LESS bass. please don't kid yourself - if it is worth finding and mounting these speakers, don't try to get by without a decent sub.

It is sweet to be able to mount yoour speakers and TV on the wall, and mount your stereo components in another room (I have it all in the basement) so the room isn't cluttered with the equipment, only the desired user interfaces: eyes and ears. These speakers are worth getting for the wow factor, even though the treble range is made rather shrill by the metal tweeter and midrange. Use an equalizer, and you will be stylin'.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   wholesaler



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by ethereal a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2004

Bottom Line:   
The Phantom 8.3 Is a Great Speaker
and good sound, is not for rap music
or over base music.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   Techome



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Wally gator a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 18, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have recently purchased and recieved these 9-15-03 can't say enough about these. Very exotic speakers, look at the quality of these things they have woofers made of carbon fiber weave (very expensive material) plasma hardened tweeters and a very unique midrange driver, what do ya got: one heck of a quality speaker. I have already listened to three movies and at least 10 hours worth of the music in a few days and I can't say enough about them. I would suggest that anyone that is looking for deep, hard bass look somewhere else but nice tight balanced bass and very discriptive sound qualities are in these. I own a JBL 400W RMS powered sub to take care of the 60HZ and below job and that it does, I am still in the middle of tuning these things (location, sub adjustments, and tone control) but all in all they sound great for the money. I drive them with a Harmon Kardon AVR 520 wich is high current 85WPC in stereo and 75WPC in surround and I was a little leary of the power rating of 250watts RMS. They can handle everything this reciever can give them and I'm quite sure that they'll go much further than my reciever will push them, as for looks very modern styling you would almost think they were loaded with ribbons in them to be this thin and still handle power and sound quality reproduction the way they do. I got the stands with my purchase at Accessories4less.com the only downfall that I found in these is that AR is out of business now purchased and exchanged hands with many company's but I have already contacted the tech support on a few technical questions I had and they still have info for ya and the sight I bought thesee from is an authorized dealer so that the 5 year warranty will hold.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $540.00

Purchased At:   Accessories 4 Less



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Big Dave a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 31, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I have had the Phantom 8.3s for about 4 months now and I couldn't be happier. I am using them as floor mounted speakers with the optional matching stands. They look so slick. They have a real "Tech" look to them. These are not your grandfather's ARs. Now for the sound. I can't really tell you what these speakers are capable of since I am using a low to mid-grade Kenwood VR-309 A/V receiver (great for Home Theater not so good for music) to drive them. I will post another review in a few weeks after I have hooked up and broken in my new Technics SA-DA10N with Bi-Amp capability in stereo mode. What I can tell you is that even with a not-so-musical-sounding receiver, the Phantoms are very detailed and dimentional, with great separation, even more so when they are Bi-wired. They a bit fatiguing right now for extended music listening but I am almost certain that is the fault of the VR-309. As for home theater, I can't think of anything negative to say about them. These units do it all, clearly, cleanly, and accurately. If you can find these anywhere near what I payed for them, don't think twice, just buy them and be happy.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Ebay



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jake Marx a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2001

Bottom Line:   
These are some great-looking, great-sounding speakers. I am really impressed by the way they make the music (and movies) come alive. I hear things now in my favorite songs that I've never heard before (although I had Bose Interaudio speakers before, so that may not tell you much).

For their size, the bass response is very good. The bass is not booming, but it is definitely quick and accurate. The woofers are something to see - the magnets are actually in _front_ of the cones (no room for them in the 4"-deep cabinet, I guess).

As I noted above, the only drawback I found to these speakers is the way the speaker wire terminals were designed. You can either wrap the wire around the terminals and twist the terminal cap to lock the wire in, or it looks like you could use banana plugs. However, there is no clearance above the terminals, so I was unable to get banana plugs to work. Plus, once you get the speakers on the wall, it's very difficult to manipulate the wires and twist the terminal caps. For these reasons, I am taking a star off of the overall rating. As far as sound quality and aesthetics go, I definitely say "5 stars!".

Now I'm looking forward to purchasing a new receiver and powered sub to round out my system. ((right now I'm using a 10-yr-old Kenwood Dolby Pro Logic receiver and I have no subwoofer))

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $775.00

Purchased At:   www.soundpros.com




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