Acoustic Research AR9 Floorstanding Speakers

Acoustic Research AR9 Floorstanding Speakers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 61  
[Jun 05, 2018]
jackgeorge


Strength:

If you have a pair of these AR-9 do not ever get rid of them. They are something that you will not believe in sound quality from the highest highs to the lowest low en and everything in it the mid range.

Weakness:

You will need a high quality power amp I am using a Hefler 500 power amp.

Purchased:
New  
Model Year:
1978
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Dec 06, 2017]
Charles
AudioPhile

This is a review of a pair of vintage 1982 Teledyne Acoustic Research AR9 Speakers. They are massive speakers weighing 130+lbs each. Once you replace the foam surrounds you're in for a real treat cause these speakers are simply amazing sounding when driven with a proper power amp. They are sealed enclosures with acoustic suspension drivers so they require a TON of power to really make them sing. I'm driving mine with a Conrad Johnson Premier 350SA. The CJ350 can produce 350W+ for 8ohm or 780W for 4ohm. The gigantic 4ohm AR9's desire a ton of current and the 350 can deliver everything the AR9's ask for. When driven with the 350, the AR9's BASS is simply out of this world articulate and dynamic. I just love listening to music that gets down into that 20-32Hz range. The AR9's can deliver all those low 20Hz signals most systems just can't reproduce. For the record the literature that comes with the AR9 speakers state their frequency range as 18Hz-20KHz +-3db. 18Hz!!! The soundstage of the AR9 is just gigantic with palpable liquid smooth 3D holographic imaging which brings that elusive engaging excitement for the listener creating goosebumps on body and permanent dumbfounded smile on shaking head & face. I've simply never heard BASS reproduced in a home setting as well as the combo of the AR9 + 350. For a preamp I'm using a vintage McIntosh MX110Z. The MX110Z + 350 + AR9 is simply the most amazing stereo combo I've owned. For the record I've owned speakers: Harbeth Monitor 40.1, B&W 800 Diamond series, Klipsch KG 4.2, '76 Cornwall, '88 LaScala, '80 Klipschorn, Tannoy Monitor Gold 15", AR4x & AR3. Other gear: McIntosh MC30, MC402, MC2105, Marantz 8b, Yamaha RX350, V660. Checkout Martin Colloms review of the Premier 350SA power amp: https://www.durob.nl/pdf/ConradJohnson/Amplifiers/PR350%20Amplifier%20-%20Martin%20Colloms%20-%20english.pdf

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 08, 2016]
Odd E. O. Dude
AudioPhile

Original late 70's AR9's, just restored them with new surrounds. Sound absolutely great, had to bypass the crossover selector switches as they were introducing spurious static and dropouts to tweeter and upper mid drivers in one channel. These speakers truly can "send you to another place" as you get lost in the music. I ran them for years at very high volumes but put them into storage after arrival of children and "surround rot". A few hundred bills later for 6 new surrounds and now I remember why they are so special. Crossovers built like tanks, 2 nine pound woofers in each cabinet, ability to drive them to jet aircraft at takeoff SPL's (which I won't do out of respect for the speakers and my remaining hearing), able to be passively bi amped - which I am doing with 2 mid 1980's BGW Proline II 6500 amplifiers. Nothing short of spectacular and will probably last now as long as a "new" set of $5,000.00 speakers assembled in "North America with outsourced parts". Highly recommended!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 20, 2013]
Takis
Audio Enthusiast

I was never happy with my sound system back in the early 70s then spoken to Dan Logins who was working for CBS Europe in London Luckily he told me he was getting a ew pair of speakers from America n I could bought his if I wanted to, after going to his office I was faced with a white pine n white cloth speakers I was not impressed till he put on Santana on the T/T I knew then I was buying them my first pair of ARs the AR4s, B4 ARs came to Britain then moved on to a brand new pair of AR5s that I still have I started buying AR speakers from Ebay as I love them I had pair of AR 48s a pair of AR 14s only two drivers But excellent sound then saw a pair of AR9s the 42inches high 55 Kilos weight drove 350 miles round trip n bought them as I Always wanted them but could not afford them when they where new mine are not the ones with 2 X12 inch drivers one side firing but a 12 inch forward n a 10 inch down firing speaker but through lack of space I gave the AR14s n the AR 48s to couple of friends my amp is a JVC M3030 (20 Kilos) n the pre amp P3030 with MC input stage too the sound of the AR9s for my taste is about the best I heard even few days ago I hooked up my AR5s n they gave a good account of themselves next to the AR9s my AR9s Frequency response is 28 Hertz to 25KHertz very flat Shure Cardridge of course, my AR9s have 5 units in them, the 12 n 10 an 8 inch mid range n two tweeters I always loved the sound of AR speakers over all other speakers I know of, my amp on 4 OHMS load AR9 are 4 OHMS o my mates osiloscope if I remember right was around 150 watts RMS only drove them once MAX n the sound volume was HIGH but still NO distortion I usually drive them about half to 3/4 volume on the amp usually for me the Best speakers on earth

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 08, 2013]
Richard
Audio Enthusiast

I've had these speakers for about 10 years now. I've upgraded my amps and receivers through out the years. Even tho they need some fine turning, they are some great speakers. About 3 years ago I've purchased a thousand dollar pair of Klipsch to replace my AR9's and was surprisingly disappointed with the the Klipsch! They sounded good in the sound room! However, I ended up selling them and put my AR9's back up.. I swear the older these speakers get and more these speakers are played the better they sound! IF you find them, then get them!. They are a rare find!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 24, 2010]
born2hammr
Audio Enthusiast

I have read the reviews of the AR9 made in the 1980's and have come to the conclusion that those not satisfied do not have adequate amplifier. These speakers need a lot of power to work. I would say that an older vintage amp with AT LEAST 120 WPC would get you close. Something like a vintage Pioneer SX 1250, 1280 or really an SX 1980 would be best. The power of a 1250 is 160 WPC, a 1980 is 270 WPC. FYI to those who are running a moder surround sound Home Theater reciver rated at 1,2 or even 300 WPC those are not the same. The comparison in laymens terms is saying my Turbo Toyota 4 cylinder has 225 HP and my Dodge Ram 360 V*8 has 225 HP. The difference between old high quality amps as mentioned and new ones is the same as these engines-Torque. New recievers, unless you are willing to spend in the thousands have no torque. They are designed to be used with a self powered subwoofer to get those deep low's. The AR9 needs torque. If you don't have it they will not perform. They are a Bass Reflex, meaning sealed cabinet speaker that loves power. As I stated very few but the most powerful and expensive amps will drive them. A circa late 70's SX 1980 in todays dollars would cost around 4 or 5 thousand dollars.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 24, 2010]
Rob Chapman
Audio Enthusiast

I have been reading a lot of reviews of these speakers and have come to one conclusion when it comes to why people are not satisfied with the circa 1980 speakers. They do not have an amplifier with enought power. These speakers harken from the day when almost all very high end speakers were of the bass reflex design, in other words a sealed cabinet, unless you are talking about Bose 901's which are different story. They require at least a 150 watt amp. Not a 150 watt surrond sound 7.watever either. I am talking about something like a sansui g33000 or a Pioneer SX1250, 1280 or better yet 1980. Unless you spend 3,4,500 dollars on a modern amplifier your 120 watt two year old Pioneer will not do it. They will have little depth in terms of bass and none at low volumes. On person was complaining about them and then proceeded say they were using a 100 watt Pioneer VSX-D812-S reciever. That unit is does not have half what these speakers need in terms of power. FYI most modern amplifiers are designed to be accomplanied by a SELF POWERED SUBWOOFER! That is why these days you get much more bang for the buck. Properly powered it would be hard not to spend less than 3 or 4 thousand dollars on a speaker that can achieve what an AR9 can.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 26, 2008]
gknutson
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Very smooth integration, between the highs, mids and lows, in my opinion. I fiddled with the level switches at the back of the AR8's and have them at the settings that please me most. This is necessary in some rooms. They can provide great bass augmentation if you place them correctly in a room. I found that any closer than 2 feet from a corner makes the bass overpowering.

I have heard a number of speakers that sound better, but I do not have the $10,000 or more to get better, because that is how much it would cost to improve the sound. I have heard many expensive speakers that cannot do better than the ARs.

Weakness:

Very power hungry, if you demand low Hz. Very low impedance at the low end.... 2 ohms or so. Many power amps find this load difficult, especially if you demand high sound levels. I think I was affected by this characteristic of the speaker.

I purchased these speakers around 1978 or 9. I had heard a Double Advent system a few years before at an audiophile store, Commercial Electronics in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and was impressed. The AR9 was, basically, a pair of AR11's in the same cabinet. I had also listened to other AR's and had been impressed, and fantisized of getting a pair of some. I read a review in High Fidelity magazine and was convinced to give them a listen. I found them in Vancouver, and was really impressed! The Vancouver price was $2000 Cdn EACH though at that time when they first came out.

One idea down in flames.

I mantioned it to the owner of a stereo store in town here, and he did some research. He said he could get them for $1750, tax included. Needless to say, I jumped at it. Took a loan out at the bank and they were mine.

At the time I was using a small Yamaha R600 receiver. Underpowered for high volume, but fine at low levels. Shortly after I got the Luxman R1120 receiver. It drove the AR's well, but again did not quite have the oomph that they needed, since it was only rated at 120 watts per channel. Still, the rest of the range was impressing. They sounded, basically, as clear as the B&W DM4's that I was using before the ARs, but had a LOT more bass. But I knew it would do better.

I paid off the loans in a couple of months and looked around again. I found a store going out of business in Coquitlam, BC, that had what I wanted.... the Luxman M4000 power amp and the C1010 preamp, and got a good deal, I felt.

The new system made the AR9's come more alive. The highs were Luxman smooth, the midrange was totally believable and the bass made the windows rattle. A year later I bought a second Luxman M4000... the last in Canada!... and that really improved everything, with bi-amping.

The system lasted me about 10 years. The Luxman amps probably were overworked, and died around 1992. No one has been able to repair them.... lack of parts. I have the AR9s operating with a Luxman R1120 again. My needs are no longer for high volume, which the ARs could provide. Maybe it is maturity... :)

They are presently in storage awaiting our acquisition of a new home.

Customer Service

None needed

Similar Products Used:

B&W DM4's are the closest that I have had. Many lesser quality speakers over the years...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 08, 2008]
Audtech
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Awesome sound, limitless power handling. Great looks.

Weakness:

Can't think of any.

I have a pair of the original AR9's from the early 80's. They are the large units with the oiled walnut veneer and 12" woofers. They are outstanding speakers and the only ones I could find at the time that sounded better than my Rectilinear III's, which I still have. They are very clean sounding and listenable for hours at a time. They absorb lots of power without ill effects. I have re-foamed them once. At the time I purchased them I auditioned Advent, Bose 901's and other AR speakers against each other and my Retilinears. The AR9's won, hands down. These speakers are driven by a McIntosh 200 wpc power amp. They can be run all day with the amp "limit" lights on most of the time and sound fine.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 07, 2008]
Kenneth Morgan
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Seeming, limitless dynamic range. They can be driven hard and they sound good and are undamaged.

Weakness:

Side fliring woofers. This is only a problem on speaker placement. It appears to be a plus for the sound quality.

Purchased new in 1980. These were the only speakers I found that sounded better than my Rectilinear III's, (which I still have). They are listenable for extended periods of time. They have clean, balanced sound. The bass is there when it's in the program material and is not boomy or muddy. Toeing them in a few degrees improves the imaging in my room. I have re-foamed them once. Overall, very satlisfied with their performance.

Similar Products Used:

Rectilinear III speakers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 61  

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