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AR 90 Do or Don't


kenyer
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Thank you peoples of the AR 90 new owner topic who gave some great advice and had sharp eyes. I just typed out a paragraph for the past 45 min and just to lose it when I logged in,  but to stay out of somebody's topic my questions are this on the AR 90's I am looking at from Denver's CL. Having sold off, all at once, a basement full of vintage audio gear I'd rather not bring anything else home that will maybe cause some speakers I already have to be taken out of play and stored. Will the AR 90's be a game changer? The Kappa 8's are currently my favorite speaker and I light them up with a pair of Denon POA 4400 mono blocks (160 watts each) through a BAT VK32se pre amp that creates such a musicality it makes my eyes tear up at times. I also have a pair of Onkyo M 504 amps in stereo at 165 watts each and Acurus L 10 solid state pre amp. Other than that I have two integrated amps that could be used with great results. A Kenwood 600 Supreme ( dual power supplies) and Pioneer SA 9900. Two different personalities but the 600 Supreme is the sweetest sounding amp/component I have while the SA 9900 has the Pioneer house sound in that it's warm.  Sooo, would the AR 90's fit in well as mains in a A/V set up? Like maybe as mains with the Monitor Audio Silver RS 1's as rears and Anthem AVM 50 pre/pro and Adcom GFA 7500 5 ch amp at 150 watts per with no bridging allowed. Or are they mainly going to shine with 2 channel music. Are the 90's sensitive to different cables? Do I have amps good enough to get the best out of them or would I need something else? Are there any crossover mods that would put the AR 90's in a class several rungs up the ladder?

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Infinity Kappa 8's vs Acoustic Research AR-90's?  West Coast vs East Coast?  To me, this might be a tough decision.  And I own AR90's, and Infinity's.

Personally, this might be a lateral move.  Both fine speakers, and similar in some ways, as both are 4-ways, with upper midrange domes.  When I've heard Kappa 8's, I thought they were very musical, with a soft, enjoyable midrange presence.  Not at all West Coast bright, as I was expecting.  I also thought the 8's had a bit more detail than my 90's, but of course, equipment was different too, and I was hearing a newer speaker, with newer components inside.  Bass was equal, with no bass boom or overhang, in either speaker.  Very smooth through the crossover transitions between drivers.  The Kappa was much better in this regard, than Kappa 7's, which I didn't like.

It also sounds like you're good to go on gear.  Very much so, in fact!  Some fine pieces, that should work well.  I even owned an Acurus L10 pre, at one point, and it was a great match with my 90's.  A real taste of high end.  More than acceptable.

As to crossover mods?  I did.  Some don't like or agree with what I did, which is fine.  But, I set out to bring out the highest level of performance the speakers were capable of, but not change the balance.  Just to let the drivers shine, with much higher quality components than stock.  As such, I changed out all capacitors and resistors, plus installed new binding posts.  Mainly, all Mundorf film capacitors and Mills resistors.  Afterwards, much better presence.  More palpable.  Plus, very clean and clear, with a layer of static distortion and grunge removed, that I didn't even realize as being there, until it was gone.

So, your call (sorry), on speakers.  Honestly, you can't go wrong with either model.  They both are that good.

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Oh, one other thought on detail.  The AR-90 lower midrange, is very smooth and natural, but I felt the Kappa 8 lower mid polygraph dome had the better midbass detail of the two.  Better transient speed, if you will.  But, the AR-90 upper midrange dome had much more resolution than the Kappa 8 polydome.  It's a very revealing driver.  And thankfully, it's dome material won't deteriorate like the Infinity upper dome.  A shame that the Infinity upper dome ages so poorly.  I even had a spare Infinity Kappa dome, boxed, and stored in my parts closet, and it still clouded over and hardened.  No heat or UV exposure, and it still died.

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