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How many AR-9 speakers were made


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Anybody out there have an idea - even approximate - how many AR-9 speakers were made in the period 1979 - 1981?

I have seen suggestions that the initial build was about 1,000 units. I have also heard, hardly more than unsubtantiated rumor, that the reason the AR-9 ceased production was that the orders were not suffiicent to keep the production line working.

Any information would be appreciated.

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There were actually several thousand AR9s built (perhaps 10,000 before production ended, but I'm unsure), the exact number I don't know, but it's probably somewhere in the AR Archives. This speaker received such stellar accolades from the high-fidelity press and critics, that AR had to push production to keep pace during the early period, hardly a slow-down. The AR9 had such prodigious performance: the best and least-distorted deep-bass response of any commercially available loudspeaker system other than a few extreme exotic low-production jobs that cost thousands more (perhaps the old Infinity Servo Static or something of that nature might be comparable). The overall frequency response was very clean and linear, again unmatched in the industry; some listeners didn't like its focused, analytical sound at first, but the AR9 would grow on you no matter how fickle you might be about speaker sound. It was an extremely popular high-end loudspeaker, outselling about everything out there in that price category, and for a long period of time. If there is any complaint about the AR9 when comparing it with earlier AR-LST or even the Allison: One, it would be that the 9 was not quite as "spacious-sounding" or three-dimensional in spectral balance. It was superb when compared with the bulk of other speakers out there, but not the equal of the LST or Allison, particularly, in this one regard. On the other hand, the AR9 had superb and stable imaging and a great illusion of the original "sound stage," something missing from the bulk of its competitors.

In short, the AR9 was among the finest loudspeakers ever designed for home use, and it still is today. I really can't think of a single loudspeaker during that period that could equal, let alone surpass, the performance of the AR9. It was also very expensive to produce.

Orders for the AR9, especially insofar as its price grew from $750 each to $>900 each, did begin to slow down a bit. But AR had been developing a new "Lambda" tweeter based on the AR9 tweeter and upper-midrange driver (UMD), that offered even better performance than the original setup used in the AR9. More important to AR bean-counters was that AR engineers developed a lower-cost method of attaining nearly identical deep-bass response without having to use two of AR's big 12-inch woofers and the elaborate "automatic-transmission" crossover. This resulted in the AR9Ls and AR9Lsi (and its other derivatives), powerful loudspeakers that might be considered a "value-analysis" project to get roughly the equivalent acoustical performance as the AR9 but at much less cost. Those in this industry will understand what this actually means.

—Tom Tyson


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