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AR 9's - Sad but saved


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This thread is not for the faint at heart. Thread contains graphically disturbing images that may leave a lasting impression one may not want.

Proceed only if you think you can handle it without severe traumatic stress.

On my trip to pick up the ADS L1590's (see ADS section) I mentioned to the seller (over a 2 hour lunch where we talked about this wonderful hobby) that I had the AR9 on my bucket list. He says "I know where a beat up pair is you could probably get cheaply". Needless to say, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. We quickly headed to our new destination.

An hour later I had these in the rear of my Sequoia lying next to the 1590's.

Like I said, be careful as these images my be disturbing to some:




I am not sure if they are in working order, but it appears all the important stuff is in tact including the acoustic blanket surprisingly.. Apparently the woofer grilles are long gone and someone used those covers fortunately to keep them from additional damage. I will submit another post with the innerds.

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What a great story thusfar.

That should become a wonderful restoration project - - - by all appearances, everything is original and the bones are solid. Looking at the storage unit pics in post #1, two things strike me: first, I see some other AR speakers lurking behind the 9's; and second, just my opinion, but I'd be tempted to design-assemble-install some better-looking custom protective covers for the woofers and not even try to re-create the original woofer grilles. The originals always appeared to me as unsightly add-on ear flaps, and your first pic shows how vertically elegant this tower design can be without the lower protruding black flaps ruining the slender profile. Just my $0.02. Great find.

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I think you guys are on to something and have me thinking with my Architect/designer cap on now. These cabs are bad enough that if I want to get them to a pristin condition there is a good chance the work will be fairly significant and may include so veneer replacement, at least on the tops.

I always found everyone's comments about how unattractive the 9's are interesting. In photos I always thought that while they may not be as good looking as others, they really aren't all that bad. With my L1590's next to them they do definitely take a back seat. That is funny because I don't think the ADS are all that great looking either. I mentioned in the recent LST thread that I believe all good design has good scale. Proportion is a big part of that and maybe this is where the 9's fall a little short.

Of course neither has veneer that is in good condition and much of their beauty is probably not going to be realized until they are given a great finish.

With that in mind I am struck by my images of the 9's and the realization that for whatever reason, the front grille extends almost the entire front. For what reason? Black grill fabric can never be as attractive as a good wood veneer so why cover so much of the front? Like a woman with sexy legs that wears a long skirt. You want to see more. Hike that skirt up!

Ra Ra your description of the side panel grilles as "ears" is great. Although the heavy frame grilles that are on there aren't very attractive, I think maybe something round like that might not be bad, I have the one woofer I removed sitting here on my desk and I am staring at it trying to imagine a way to make it so. Or something similar.

And yes, you see my AR2ax's there on the right edge awaiting new pots or lpads. Work and look great otherwise.

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Truth be told, I've never been much of a fan of vertical tower speakers, and for me it is purely a visceral visual reaction. I fully understand the acoustic benefit of getting those high-range drivers up near ear level when one is sipping their aged scotch while relaxing in their favorite smoking jacket while seated in the favorite lounge chair, but my personal preference is for the physical speakers - - much like the music source - - to blend into the context of the milieu. Just my personal taste in decor, but my inclination veers toward the subtleness of soft nubby off-white linen grille cloth tucked away on the shelves among the volumes of Chaucer over the aggressiveness of 4-foot high black grilles sitting front and center and dominating the furniture placement.

That having been said, David's recent acquisitions are among the finest of 70's and 80's audio speaker products, and it is certain that his home listening experience will far outperform mine. His remarks about the AR-9's aesthetics are spot-on, and it appears that these two models exhibit very distinct similarities, even if the AR-9 displays a bit more modesty in covering up her ankle.

Kudos to a great collector in Idaho.


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I always found everyone's comments about how unattractive the 9's are interesting. In photos I always thought that while they may not be as good looking as others, they really aren't all that bad.

With that in mind I am struck by my images of the 9's and the realization that for whatever reason, the front grille extends almost the entire front. For what reason?

I have also found comments about ugliness of AR9 slightly unjustified. They are af course tall and do not disappear, but certainly not ugly. Veneer has also been criticized... but at least my pair was nice looking. Not exactly similar quality like Tannoy Westminster´s but you get what you pay for. I was not even bothered by those "ears".

I would not alter front grille too much, as it is part of acoustic blanket design that has been used to control dispersion and early reflections. I do not remember exactly how it was made, but I belive that if you look in the grille openings... you will find that black felt is flush with grille and there are no sharp corners to generate diffraction. I think that grille do have bevelled outside edges for same reason.

Nice find anyway...

Best Regards


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if you plan on re-veneering, you could plug the grille peg holes, and redrill them smaller, making smaller grilles to basically just go around the acoustic blanket and controls.....or keep them full length, but make new ones out of some nice walnut, doing something like a half lap joint that would go just around the acoustic blanket, and then machine a 1/8" wide groove around the opening, and stretch grille cloth over the opening, holding it in with screen door spline.....

for the woofer panels, I'd probably get some plywood, cut panels, but taper them to near knife edges at the front and rear ....maybe even make them again out of walnut, with a rabbited out hole that would hold those car subwoofer grilles on, but with fabric stretched over them....

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Those metal grilles are a little ratty looking but you could replace with new ones, like these http://www.parts-express.com/parts-express-steel-mesh-2-piece-grill-for-12-speaker-black--260-428and they would look fine (IMHO).

Good luck with the restoration.

btw--I'd replace all the black and red caps but the metal cans may be fine.


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nice find David. I can't imagine anybody with an understanding of AR's history that would not have grabbed these. I too fall into the camp of not being fond of the dimensions/appearance, but the sound trumps that in this case.

Looks like a lot of work but the OEM unmolested is a great jumping off point for any of these relics.

Enjoy and will look forward to watching your progress.

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Very fortunate I am. I have not tested all the drivers, nor did the guy I purchased them know much, but I can hope all is well and functional. What are the woofer drivers supposed to measure?

Nice score David. None ever seem to show up in my area.

As to a DCR of the AR 12" woofer vc. I've done only two sets of speakers with the 12" AR woofer and they have measured from 3.3 ohms (AR91) and 3.6 ohms IIRC (TSW610) on my Fluke.

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Yep, a truly bargain purchase - - - several of these drivers, sold individually, might nearly fetch the same price that the OP paid, and I see nothing thus far that suggests these speakers are not prime candidates to be turned into "valuable collectibles".

Post 19 suggests a very viable option for woofer protection. I was about to suggest perforated metal as a possible idea, but had no idea that an off-the-shelf solution already existed. Looks pretty nice, but reading from the comments section for this item, you'd want to be sure to check the product dimensions carefully. And even if the black color is too "aggressive", a simple paint job could tame the visual contrast against the wood veneer. Post 20 makes excellent points, too - - I hope you have a room large enough to let these monsters breathe.

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For those of you back east, based on a post in AK Bartertown, there are restored AR9's in west central New Jersey for sale for $950.

David, are you implying audio-karma or some another place?

I checked CL but, can't find the AR-9s you're speaking of.

I'm in central NJ. Maybe, I'll take a drive and see them or buy?

Please send me a PM, or post a link.


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