Jump to content

AR LST compared to AR9?

AR surround

Recommended Posts

As many have noticed, the LST has commanded some high prices on eBay. A pair recently went for close to $1600 while a set of four got $3500. I have often wondered, has anyone ever directly compared the LST to the AR9 and would you share your observations and preferences for each?

Until seeing these auctions for the LST, I had thought that the AR9 was considered the epitomy of Acoustic Research speaker design. Perhaps not? Fortunately, today's multi-zone uber-receivers allow one to listen to a pair of each in different rooms depending on the preference of the day!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel the only difference between my four stacked AR-LST's and the Mark Levinson 'Grand-Masters' could be room acoustics. After I restore my LST's, which is soon, I wouldn't sell them for less than $1,200. a piece.

I'm not selling anything I presently own, but if I did that would be my price. My LST's have mileage, but are 'golden' because of it. I'm so definite in my feelings about these reproducers of the recorded medium, I foolishly sometimes wonder who would I leave them to when I pass into dust. They're that important to my life's cycle. Vintage AR ownership status is very important to me and it's all because of what music does for my mind and soul. Since my first AR-3a purchase, new in '72 for $196. each I have never thought it necessary to look or listen elsewhere for my private and satisfying moments. In terms of music this world affords me this much. I guess somethings are almost written in stone for me. Am I entirely happy with this? A resounding Yes!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both LST and AR9 were efforts to make significant improvements over the AR3/3a generic "bookshelf" model but they tackled different aspects of performance. Unfortunately AR9 did not incorporate advances made in LST which came first so neither can be said to be overall "best." Each has its relative strengths and advantages. LST improved mid and high frequency lateral dispersion by adding more midrange and tweeter drivers. The already excellent AR3a tweeter was multiplied by a factor of 4 increasing power handling substantially. This also increased the optimal area for listening to more than 45 degrees off axis. Had the designers been willing to modify the cabinet so that each tweeter was on its own face 36 degrees from the next, they could have improved lateral dispersion to where it would have been uniform nearly 90 degrees off axis in either direction effectively making it almost impossible to listen off axis laterally. Midrange power handling capacity was also doubled. This also usually resulted in an improvemnt of the flatness of the total energy transfer to the listener in most home acoustic environments. AR9 was designed to address the bass, lower midrange, and integration into the listening room's acoustics. By doubling the number of woofers, putting them in a double sized enclosure, placing them facing sideways at the intersection of the back wall, floor, and their own baffleboard, they took the best advantage of the acoustics possible short of corner/floor placement. The result was deeper bass, greater efficiency, and with the improved crossover design, a less demanding load for amplifiers. The addition of the lower midrange driver allowed the woofers and dome midranges to be restricted to frequencies they were best suited for and used a driver for this critical range which was not a compromise. The method of integration of the bass to the lower midrange is also ingenious and is wrtten up in Tim Holl's excellent technical description. The tower design allowed the woofers to be located near the floor while the midrange and tweeters were at ear level, both optimal for their purpose and neither a compromise. AR9 is more suitable for listening on axis or nearly on axis. So if someone wanted a simplified explanation, AR9 has better bass and lower midrange, LST has better treble and greater midrange and treble dispersion and a larger optimal listening area. Which is better? Both. And neither.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Guest urlawyer

I have owned both and currently still own the AR9's. In fact, I have just ordered two mid range speakers to replace the ones that are starting to get holes in the sides.

The AR9's were a replacement for the LST's, the LST's were a replacement for the AR3a's and the AR3a's were a replacement for the AR2x's. Guess I like the old AR sound been hearing it since 1965.

While I liked the LST's, I couldn't keep tweeters in them. Kept blowing them out. AR was at the time, very good at replacing them on warrenty but the fun of it got old, for some reason they wanted the blown tweeters back before they would send me new ones and as a result the LST's were down from four to six weeks at a time, so I traded them in for the AR9's and have never looked back.

About 10 or 12 years ago, I replaced the 8' mid ranges and and the woofers. AR at the time "gave" them to me for around $200.00 for the whole set. Today, I am paying that much for just the mid ranges. However, today, I could not replace the AR9's with a simular set of same quality speakers for less than $200.00.

The AR9's are used every day and their daily use is between 4 to 6 hours, both as my stereo music speakers and the main speakers in my home theater. I normally drive them with an SAE 2500 (300 w RMS at 8 ohms and 450 w RMS at 4 ohms per channel) but I lost a channel in the SAE and currently I am driving them with a Parasound HCA 2003 (200 w RMS at 8 ohms and 300 w RMS at 4 ohms per channel) until I get the SAE fixed. I, also, run an AR 205VC Center channel speaker with the center channel of my Parasound. Don't care for the sound of the 205VC as well as the AR9's so I use a Defintive Center CLR speaker as a second center speaker driven by 125 w RMS from a Yamaha DSP-A1 DTS/Dolby Digital Intergrated amplifier for a dual center channel arangement and they really rock. I use Defintive BP2X surround speakers for the back left and right and two front effect speakers driven by the Yamaha. And finish with a Velodyne sub-woofer driven by it's own 125 w RMS internal amp.

To say the least, I can rattle the mail box out by the road when I really crank the system. But to tell you the truth, the AR9's really shine when I turn off the effects on the Yamaha and just run it in stereo with the SAE. Couldn't do that with the LST's.

But if you happen to find a set of LSTs for a good price, get them. Just don't drive them to AR9 sound levels. Note: When I get to those levels I turn off the Velodyne cause it can't keep up the the low end of the AR9's. It will start clipping soooo bad that it rattles.

By the way, AR had me install some inline fuses to determine if I was clipping. Clipping an amp will cause the inline fuse to blow before the speakers blow. The fuses were in an AR sealed fuse holder. Had to send the fuses back to them for inspection before they would send me a new set of tweeters. Another time, they requested the cross over cards, they replaced them even though they admitted that they could not find anything wrong with them. They sent me new internal wiring, didn't help. They could not understand why I might blow 1 from one speaker and 2 from the other or different combinations but most of the time I blew out all the tweeters from both speakers. Never blew out the mid ranges or the woofers.

And this is my two cents worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>In fact, I have just ordered two mid range speakers to replace the ones that are starting to get holes in the sides.<

I've said this many times, but I have not said it recently -

You really, probably, almost to a metaphysical certainty, don't want to use the replacements (unless you are buying originals. . . which would be hard to do).

The replacements I bought are the wrong impedance, they are too efficient, and they are "forward" or "honkey" as a result.

Have the old ones with the holes in the sides fixed.

My $0.02-worth that cost me hundreds and hundreds to be able to give. Can the old ones be repaired perfectly so they are perfectly perfect? No. Are they a heck of a lot closer than the "modern" "better" replacements? Yes.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...