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What to do with 25 year old AR-9s? (1 Viewer)


Feb 19, 2002
I inherited these very large, very heavy speakers and I'm not sure what I should do with them. Do they have collector value? Will they compare favorably with mid-priced home theater speakers of today? It looks like they were built to reproduce the whole range of sound without a sub. Do people collect these? If so, where would be a good place to sell?

Thanks for any help you can offer.



Senior HTF Member
Oct 26, 2002
Oh wow - the top of the Acoustic Research brand's heap back then!

Go here for lots of advice and opinions about vintage AR speakers:

AR and its New England Progeny

Audiokarma.org - Speakers

Here's some basic info to get you started........

* AR9s need a VERY powerful amp to take advantage of their capabilities, IMO an absolute minimum 100 watts per channel. But this also means an amp with lots of current capacity (nope, current capacity is not an urban audio myth), which instantly rules out pretty much every A/V receiver out there except for example the largest Denons, Onkyos and Sony ES models. So I think if the AR9s are used for an HT system a separate power amp, connected via a "typical" receiver's preamp outputs, should be used.

* a total of four 12" woofers in an acoustic-suspension enclosure (from the company that invented that type of bass system) can generate loads of very deep & powerful bass. IIRC these speakers can reach down flat to @25 Hz. For many people this can negate the need for a separate subwoofer for almost all music genres.........as long as an amp with enough power is used with them.

* While I am not a big fan of the AR company's sound - which to me is rather "tame" and quite warm sounding - my opinion is that they can still keep up with many upper mid-fi speakers sold today, which includes stereo imaging and overall accuracy. BTW that tame quality can match up well with the many over-equalized CDs of today i.e. their loads of treble and the overcompression* that can cause even the Carpenters to sound irritating. :D

BTW: this speaker, the Cambridge SoundWorks Model Six, was designed by Henry Kloss the same engineer who helped found Acoustic Research. As usual for his speakers, it looks rather unassuming and maybe a bit "basic" but the sound is what matters and has helped keep this speaker selling in its same form for nearly sixteen(!) years now (the original Model Six, sold under the KLH brand name in the 60s [K = Kloss], was supposedly his favorite model).

* Signal overcompression, explained in this 2 min non-technical video, can ruin music by literally sucking the life out of it by squashing its dynamic range (its "groove" if you will) and IMO can cause music to be *physically* difficult to listen to. This has been occurring the last 5 years or so with nearly every rock & pop album & many remasters of older albums released by many labels.

Here's a comparison of two versions of Metallica's "Death Magnetic" (CD vs. Guitar Hero) - wow.

Here's an organization created to help make others aware of this worrisome situation - http://www.turnmeup.org/

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