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Is this really what it takes???


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OK.  So I grabbed an older issue of Stereophile, as I needed reading material, for the 'Library'.  I didn't pay much attention to which issue it was, other than noting the ugly B&W (or so I thought) Nautilus speakers on the cover.  As such, out of curiosity, I flipped to the article, and found that these weren't B&W speakers, but were Vivid Audio Giya G3 speakers.  And it turns out, the same engineer designed both models, and the Giya G1 model, for a new South African speaker company. 

Interesting reading so far, so I keep reading, and glancing back at the pictures.  Reading and glancing, reading and glancing, and slowly (I have a slow system too), noticed that these speakers looked and sounded familiar!?!  Looked again, and then it hits me; these are AR speakers!  Front mounted tweeter, upper dome mid, lower cone mid, and opposed side-mounted woofers!  Well shucks, they're modern AR90's, and the G1's are modern AR9's!!!

I didn't have time to finish the article (that's for another 'day').  But, it got me to wondering; does it really take $39,990 to recreate an AR90, and $64,990 to build a modern AR9???  Were our speakers really that good?  So far ahead of their time, that a modern version would cost more than a luxury car?  Maybe so.  Maybe I should respect what I have, and show it more love.  But it did point out that I guess the AR Vertical Series were ground-breaking and influential.  More so that I knew or realized.  Nice.  I guess I have better taste that I thought too!

For the curious:

Giya G3


Vivid Audio



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The ARs were factory production units. In order for the inflation calculator to be even remotely applicable, you'd have to be talking about new factory production units.

Looking at these Giyas, it's clear that there's no large scale manufacturing going on with these. 

If you were to pay someone with the necessary skills to build you a one-off AR9 today, the hourly rate for the labor alone (anywhere from $50-$100, depending on where you are) could easily run in the $10k range. WRT the Giyas, those...interesting looking...sculpted and lacquered cabinets probably account for $10k before they even put the drivers in.

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Yes, the sophisticated construction & finish of their cabinets probably acounts for a significant portion of the manufacturing cost of the current crop of high-end speakers.

I suspect that a bespoke AR-9 project would cost even more than $20K.
If a person wanted to contract for a custom-built AR-9, they'd most likely not settle for its old-school construction and appearance; it'd just be too unrefined-looking.
The days of cutting-edge designs with screwed & glued MDF boxes and unfinished back panels are probably gone.

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