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Acoustic Research AR-1 loudspeaker

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Experienced reviewers know that shows are the wrong environments for critical audiophile listening. Convention centers—especially the one at Las Vegas—are huge, cavernous airplane hangers, not the intimate listening rooms reviewers thrive in. Extraneous sounds from subwoofer blasts and the constantly milling crowds leak in to sully the music. Booths set up by manufacturers on the show floor have very thin, flexible walls, and no bass treatment.

So the floor of the Las Vegas Convention center was the last place I expected to hear a pair of loudspeakers produce three-dimensional imaging. But there I was at the 1998 International Consumer Electronics Show, stopped in my tracks by transparent, open sonics from the prototypes of a new floorstanding, three-way, tower loudspeaker with a powered woofer—the Acoustic Research (AR) AR-1, then called the P315HO. My notes from that day: “Although the level of its internally powered woofer was set too high, this speaker had very transparent mids and highs, unusual imaging, and made vocalists sound unusually natural…be sure you get this product for review.”

That night, over dinner, I mentioned the AR-1’s transparency, relatively low price (then intended to be $1999/pair), and unusually high voltage sensitivity of 96dB/2.83V/m—a perfect match for single-ended triode amplifiers. That got Sam Tellig’s immediate attention! Afraid of being scooped, I quickly requested the review assignment, filed a show report, and waited upon the arrival of review samples. These arrived and I started on the review.

At the 1999 Winter CES, this speaker again sounded clear and transparent. But AR had changed the midrange drivers, equalization for the internal amplifier, rear service panel, added a tweeter protector, increased the price from $1999 to $2495, and changed its name to “Hi-Res Series AR-1.” having already finished the review, I hurriedly obtained the Show samples of the new speakers and filed this report.


Read more about acoustic research  speaker on www.wireless-speakers.org

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