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AR9LSi + Crown XLS2500 + Sansui555a OK?


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Hello everyone, new to the forums and to AR's in general. Have been reading a few of the threads over the last few months and would like to say thank you to all the contributors for their generosity in sharing such a wealth of information.

About three weeks ago I somehow stumbled on a pair of AR94's. I had been looking at upgrading from B&W and Elac speakers. I had heard a pair of bookshelf AR's years ago(not sure of model), but that was about all. Anyway, the classified ad pictures of the AR94's grabbed me for some reason. A couple of hours later I had them home, connected them to my Arcam Alpha 7 amp and CD player, and got a very pleasant surprise. I was blown away, actually. Ended up ringing the chap back to discuss and within a few more days had a Sansui AU-555a. The improvement again blew me away.

I should have been happy with that, and I am. Haven't enjoyed listening to those favourite CD's so much for many years.

But, a week or so later, just out of curiosity, I was browsing the for sale ads and spotted a pair of AR9LSi's. I did a bit more research on these forums and decided to make an offer, which was accepted. A few days later, I drove a 2k km round trip with the kids to pick them up.

Now, I must admit, I had a friend to pick them up from the seller, then grabbed them from my mates house. I hadn't actually heard the speakers. I know this could backfire a little(maybe a lot), but anyway it's done and I have them at home. Cosmetically, they look fantastic to me.

I connected the AR9LSi's to the Sansui and they seemed to work, but that was about all that could be said. I now have a Crown XLS2500 on the way, and being very green to all this, was wondering if anyone might be able to assist with a bit of guidance before I do any damage to these speakers that could well be in good condition.

The plan is to connect the AR9LSi's to the Crown and use the Sansui as a pre-amp. Does that sound like a reasonable configuration, and is there anything specific I should check/test/avoid doing in order to not fry these things? I have some Nordost speaker cables to use, and will continue using the Arcam CDP as it is the best I have access to and I don't have a turntable.

The Crown should be here by the end of the week. I don't think I'll hook it up until I am a bit more confident with what I'm doing. It would be a great result if I can get it all to sing. Mind you, I could well find myself looking at a restoration project. I guess I'll know in a week or so. Any advice would be much appreciated.


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That old 50 watt Sansui will be safe as a preamp but if it is all original I would not trust it to power the AR9s except maybe to verify they operate. The amp is expendable but you could damage the speakers. It is wise to wait for the Crown.


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Before you hook up your 9Lsi's to the Crown, verify that the 10" down-firing woofer's surround is in good shape.  I picked up a pair a few years back and the sound was definitely off.  It turned out that the surrounds of the 8" LM and the 12" woofer had been professionally replaced, but not the 10" down-firing woofer.  When I reached up and touched the 10" woofer's surround, it just crumbled.  Also the 1" sound insulation in the base chamber was in far worse shape then it appeared.  After replacing those, the speaker came alive. 

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Thanks for the replies. Only listened to the AR9LSi's on the Sansui at very low levels for a quick check.

The Crown arrived today and I hooked it all up. @AR55, there is new insulation under the bottom woofers and they feel intact. The previous owner told me all have been refoamed and he said he did the bottom insulation himself.

First impression was reasonable. I had an old audioquest interconnect that I used to connect the amps. I remembered I had a few doubts about it and replaced it with a $2 shop one I had. There was a big improvement, so I guess the AudioQ interconnect has had it. The sansui seems to be a decent match for the Crown, so that's a good result.

Still sounded a bit muffled. I replaced the grilles covering the bottom woofer. They have a heavier than usual fabric on them. This also improved the detail noticeably, but still not right.

Started with them against the wall, then adjusted until there was no further improvement in sound. They are now about 115mm from the wall at their closest and 2.5m apart. Toeing into my chair kept improving the sound until they are close to facing directly at listening position.

From there, the sound improved as the volume was turned up. At my normal listening volume, they sound a muffled compared to my AR94's. The highs sound a bit strained and lack the crispness of the 94's. I'm really not sure if that's to be expected due to the size difference, or if something might not be quite right with them. I've never heard AR9's/90's etc before, so have nothing to compare with. At higher levels I felt much better about them.

When folk say AR9's/LSi's need plenty of power (I'm guessing the XLS2500 should be plenty?), does that mean they need to be cranked right up to hear them at their best? That is, at lower volumes(I don't mean really low, just a kind of mellow listening level), would you expect them to sound veiled and the highs a touch harsh?

Also, I don't know if this is a good/bad idea with these two particular AR's, but I piggybacked them both to the Crown and without really being able to tweak this setup, the results were pretty good, albeit with different quality cables as I only have one pair of nordost.

I guess I'm a little underwhelmed, but can see plenty of potential if I can get the setup right. Any advice would be appreciated.

I think I need to get another decent interconnect for between the amps. Also wondering about whether a power conditioner and some decent power cables might be worth considering. I'm just using the basic leads and el cheapo powerboard atm.



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It may be that you have a blown tweeter.  The 9Lsi can handle a lot of power, but distorted power will overheat the tweeter's voice coil.  You can take the dual dome driver out and check for an open circuit with a multimeter, or just try playing something with a hot high end and listen to the tweeter with your hand cupped over the 1.5" dome midrange. 


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Thanks AR55. I did as you suggested by cupping the small mid. The tweeters seem to be working. I've also used a test CD and am getting the very close to the highest highs coming through. Same as what I can hear through the AR94's.

Currently have the LSi's and 94's playing together, and the result is pretty damn good. A little of the crisp detail of the 94's is sacrificed for a much fuller overall effect. I may have over experimented a little too much during the first couple of days. Having just sat down after about 24hrs without a listen and the smile is back on my face.

Regarding the LSi's standalone....Would one expect them to blow the 94's out of the water on their own? If so, I guess I need someone who knows what they're looking at to assess them, particularly any reno's that have been done to them by previous owners.

I think I will let them settle for a while in current config. before I do much more.

Could anyone give me their thoughts on what they would expect to hear when comparing the AR9LSi's and 94's in terms of highs, detail and separation?

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I don't have 9LSi's or 94's.  But, I do have AR90's, AR58S's, AR18's, and AR-1MS's.  Similar mids and tweeters in the 18's, and the 90's, to the 94's and 9LSi's.  Regardless, my 18's sound a bit softer and smoother through the treble.  Not as detailed or extended, but very airy.  Good dispersion.  The 90's have a sharper, better defined wave launch.  You get better detail, and a more immediate sound.  A little more forward; with again, better delineation of notes.  More crisp perhaps.  It's easier to hear leading edges of the notes.  The 18's are more relaxed.

Also, the 94's do have the same (lower) mid (or pretty close) as the 9LSi's, with that dual driver split.  Upper and lower mids.  That probably makes the 94's sound more similar than different, to the 9LSi's.  Still, the 9LSi's should have a better, and deeper bass signature.  Lower rumble, with more impact.  I love the 12" woofers in my 58S speakers.  The AR 12" is a fantastic driver.  Quick and detailed, for it's size.  It goes deep, without effort.  It still surprises me, with it's bass extension.

One other thing, check out this YouTube channel.  A must see, for AR Fans.  "R33 Chi" has a huge range of speakers, most AR's.  He posts some very good videos too.  It makes it easy to get a comparison between speakers, even through headphones.

R33 Chi



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Thanks Stimpy. These LSi's tweeters sound more like the 18's you describe. Very different to the crisp, detailed 94's.

There is no doubt about the bass impact of the LSi's. They drive into you like a baseball bat, as opposed to the 94's that kind of snap you like the flick of cane from the old head teacher.

I have had some success in the last 24hrs. Read a few links re. speaker placement. Not specifically LSi' related, but more about the rule of thirds and toe in. Still hoping to get some info from LSi's owners to find out what has worked for them in terms of placement.

Anyway, I moved the LSi's about a metre out from the wall, 2.5m apart and the same from my listening position, with no toe-in. I was suprised how much it opened up the sound. I guess it's what people describe as airy. Toed them in, just a fraction, which tightened up the central image. The result was significantly better than previous. High's now similar to the relaxed sound you describe. Everything sounds much more balanced. I was even able to unmask the down-firing woofer which again added to the overall result.

I will play around a bit more. Maybe try them further from the wall again, closer to the rule of thirds idea.

Hooked the 94's up with them and they definitely compliment each other. Gives that 3D image with plenty of detail and impact in the bass. Vocal reproduction is particularly good. I'd be surprised if they could sound this good if there was a fault somewhere. With placement having such a dramatic effect, I'm now very curious about other adjustment that others have found to work well, before I look at upgrading to a power conditioner and better power cables.

Below is one of the articles on placement I found helpful, just in case anyone is interested.


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