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AR90 compared to AR91?


gcrimmins

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I have a pair of AR91 speakers that I use for stereo music and as part of a home theater system. I use a subwoofer when watching movies, but sometimes turn it off when listening to music. I came across a pair of AR90 speakers for sale near me for $400. They have apparently been refoamed at some point. I'm trying to decide if the AR90s would be enough of an improvement over the 91s to make the upgrade worthwhile. Any thoughts? 

--Geoff 

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Being a 4-way system that incorporates the same 8" lower midrange driver of the AR-9 with a low 200 Hz crossover frequency to the woofers and a 1200 Hz crossover to the upper midrange driver, it could be argued that the midrange presentation will improve with the AR-90 or AR-9.

In the AR-9, AR-90 and AR-91 there are more overall sonic similarities than differences, as well as a "family sound" that is very similar but not identical to the older classic models from the '60s.

 

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Not an easy thing to answer.  But, not a difficult decision to make, IMO,  For $400, I'd say get the 90's, and compare them yourself.  Then decide.

I do own AR90's.  Bought new, around '81.  I also own the AR91's more conservative twin, the AR58S.  Bought last year.  I love both the 90's and 58S's.  The 58 may be more fun to listen to though.  A little more dynamic, and possessing more midbass slam, with the 12" woofer spanning up to the UMR dome.  Very good bass detail and timbre as well.  That AR 12 is an awesome driver.

Now, the AR90's, to me, are a bit more reserved.  Probably more accurate.  Flat.  Maybe at the expense of lower midrange warmth, that the 58S do have.  The 90's can throw a holographic image, with good gear and recordings.  Amazingly so.  But again, a little reserved.  Too proper? 

One other thing, my 90's may have an issue?  They never had good bass response.  But I'm beginning to think they were mis-wired when built.  I have wonder if the bass drivers were wired out of phase?  Even when I've used them in a home theater set-up, my AVR identified them as being out of phase.  I'm rebuilding them now; new caps and a refinish.  I'll be sure to double-check all wiring, when I get them back together.  I'm definitely curious if they'll exhibit better bass afterwards?

Regardless, go buy the 90's.

Good luck.

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Thank you for all the replies. It sounds like its worth picking up the 90s and seeing how I like them. There are some logistical problems to overcome, as the speakers are about 90 miles from me and winter finally arrived hear. And I, um, haven't mentioned them to my wife yet. But I'll give it shot. Thanks again.

--Geoff 

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16 minutes ago, gcrimmins said:

And I, um, haven't mentioned them to my wife yet.

Gotta say that just cracked me up. Minor problem, though. With less than a week until Valentine's Day, you've got a few days to come up with a great gift idea that will soften her up for when you spring this notion on the day after. :lol:  

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I have the AR9s, 90s and 91s.   Each is an upgrade over the other.   I would recommend going for the AR90's, but you might want to consider replacing those yellow mylar caps in the AR90 tweeter series circuit.   They make the tweeter sound like (to quote DavidR) a "chuh" instead of a "shhhhhhhhh."

As for the WAF approval factor, show her a photo of the 90s next to the 9s and tell her a white lie that you could have had either but selected the 90s over the 9s.

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35 minutes ago, AR surround said:

As for the WAF approval factor, show her a photo of the 90s next to the 9s and tell her a white lie that you could have had either but selected the 90s over the 9s.

Well, the 9s and 90s should be pushed against the wall behind them, for proper bass loading.  That at least keeps them out of the room, more or less.  Both also have a narrower front face, compared to the 91s.  That helps them appear less bulky too.  Very unobtrusive!  Hardly noticeable!  :rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...

It took a bit of planning and luck to meet with the seller between snow storms, but I was able to buy the AR90s. The seller only owned them for four months, explaining that the neighbors in his apartment building didn't care for the speakers' good bass response. The person he bought the speakers from had refoamed the woofers and lower-midrange drivers. The adhesive he used stuck to the speaker cones quite well, but did not bond well to the metal speaker frames. The surrounds have come loose from the frames in several spots. I'm not sure whether to try to re-glue the spots that have come loose, or cut my losses and refoam them. Any thoughts on this? What sort of glue/adhesive bonds well to the metal driver frames? 

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