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Cambridge Soundworks Model Six vs AR5

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Cambridge Soundworks Model Six vs AR5

This was a subjective comparison of performance above 200hz.  Performance below 200hz for both AR5 and Model Six was identical in this setup because both speakers were on a switch serving as satellites for a shared bass system. 

The Cambridge Model Six is a 2 way acoustic suspension speaker, designed by Henry Kloss, with an 8” inch bass/mid and 1 ¾ cone tweeter  crossed over at 2000hz.  I bought mine new in a $50/pair closeout about 12 years ago.   

This would seem like a no brainer against an AR5 but when you eliminate bass as a criterion it is easier to  focus on  other things such as imaging, clarity and sound-field size.  Using these three criteria I found differences ranging from negligible to stark, depending on program material.

Both speaker systems were volume equalized and connected to identical electronics and source.  The Model Six has no attenuation controls but its sound profile was sufficiently close to the AR5s and my AR9s that I did not make any equalizer adjustment. 

Program material was Pop/Jazz Vocals, symphony orchestra, and John Coltrane.

The results:

Clarity of both systems is shockingly similar in pop vocal performance and possibly near indistinguishable in a blind test especially if the recording is a studio mix.   

The sound field of the AR5 is much larger but on pop recordings the collapse of the sound field when switching to the Six is not easily perceived except at the moment of the switch.  The AR5 moves into another class playing material recorded live in a large venue.   Orchestral works come alive and the sound field is expansive. The model six produces a stereo image that is missing the diffuse, reverberant effect which is a signature of the AR classic domes . The Model Six sound, by comparison,  seems two dimensional and hangs flat in the space between the speakers.

Conclusion:  With its 2000hz crossover and 8 inch woofer the Model Six is beamy and is not what I prefer in a music system but it is linear and sounds good if you can stay in the sweet spot.  I will probably put mine to use with my daughter’s TV.

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