Thursday, 14 March 2013

Acoustic Research AR91 Speakers

Now these are some serious speakers.  While they don't hold a candle to their bigger brother, they still produce a fine sound signature.

The AR91 are floor standing speakers in a 3-way acoustic sealed design.  It features AR's 12" woofer, it actually measures out to be 11", dome midrange and dome tweeter.  If you're looking for big and detailed sound, these are a fine pair of speakers.

They are pretty big but, not super large and they are well designed having that real wood veneer and unique shape.  The grills are also bowed out at the bottom, so they are quite elegant to look at with some serious sound behind them.

The woofers have been freshly redone and still need to be broken in.  The downsize of these AR91s are that they are power hungry.  They aren't really efficient and they love clean dynamic power.  So, no they aren't really tube friendly unless you have some serious tube monoblocks.  They are also 4 ohms and need something with a good transformer. 

They are quite heavy, but when I was servicing them, the woofer weight was one of the reason why they're so heavy!  Beefy magnets on those woofers. 

For their sound signature they are darker sounding than what I normally listen too.  They are the Sennheiser of speakers.  If you are familiar with Sennheiser headphones the AR91s have similar sound signature.  Hence, why I would recommend a brigher/dynamic amplifier to balance the sound to my taste.  They have superb bass.  They are quite detailed with a lovely midrange and can fill a room nicely with beautiful music.  I just can't stress that you need a very good amplifier to drive them. 

Overall, they are in excellent shape!  Only flaws is the dampening foam on the midrange and tweeters have stiffen due to age.  However, I was lucky to find they still came with it.  So, if you got a powerful amplifier and need some great speakers that have a bit of WAF appeal, these might do!

Magnat All Ribbon 4 Speakers

Unlike what the model states, it's not a ribbon tweeter.  Rather the voice coil are wrapped in a ribbon fashion.  These are my favorite "small" 3-way speakers.  They have a 8" woofer with rubber surrounds, that have been reconditioned, a dome midrange driver and metal dome tweeter all wrapped in a well built acoustic sealed box.  I will assume all the drivers are German made.

The frequency response is quite nice from 33-34k Hz, which is quite impressive for their size.  They really have that German characteristic, being detailed, clear, dynamic and precise.  They sound really superb.  They have to be one of the best small 3-ways I've heard, and I've heard quite a bit.

They are also quite efficient, I remember running them with a small SET amplifier and they ran fine.  But, I would say at least 10wpc is enough to fill a room and have good headroom to move on the volume.  They are rated at 8ohm impedance. 

The fabric on the grills have been redone due to the awful shape they were in before.  One major downside is the cabinets are wrapped in that hammertone vinyl wrap.  It's okay but I've read they came with real wood veneer too!

They are bookshelves speakers, so they would benefit from a stand.

Overall they are in very good shape.  One woofer is slightly different colour too, probably when they were manufactured, they are both paper cones and they're probably not consecutive.   But, they sound phenomenal for their size.