Friday, August 28, 2009

Speakers - Acoustic Research AR-90

Found these pair of AR-90 speakers at a yard sale in Santa Barbara. We were on vacation so there wasn't any room in the van to bring them home. The guy wanted $300 for them, so it was still a good deal, but I would have made a return trip from Orange County with an empty van if he's asked half that amount. Plus, after the Hales Revelation purchase, I just don't have room for gargantuan speakers right now.

He had them hooked up to an Onkyo A/V receiver and they sounded fine. Tough to give a critical listen to speakers that are sitting on a driveway. I've seen these on CraigsList for as high as $750/pair. The AR-9 is the big brother to this one. Same mid and high drivers (from what I've read on a forum), but 2 x 12" woofers in each cabinet instead of 2 x 10".

Have any experience with the AR-90? Shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thanks!


  1. I had a pair of these years ago. I am sorry I sold them. Among the best sounding speakers I have ever heard.

  2. I own a pristine pair of AR90s and love them still. With a fine orchestral recording you will be able to discern every sound in the music hall if your ears are good enough. In a day when cheapie bulk home theater systems grind out solid sound, the AR90s and similar speakers of that era stand as a testament to what discerning audiophiles recognized as a miracle of sound reproduction.

    Keith J, Chicago, IL

  3. I am moving overseas & must eliminate my stuff. The AR's have been in storage for 6 years & show it. They will need a complete rebuild. $200 for both (Sacramento)

  4. I own a pair of AR 90's since many years ago, more than twenty. When adequatelly placed in the listening room and with the adequate amplifier, it sounds more than great. With "adequate" I mean an amplifier not necesarely a massive one of 300 wat per chanel, but an amplifier with high current capability, since the critical nominal impedance value of this creatures.

  5. I have a pair of AR-90s that I want to sell. For details and photos, see You can get ahold of me at riordan at rocket mail dot com. I'm located in Wisconsin, US.

  6. I've owned a pair of AR90's going on 35 years now, love them, drive them w/a vintage Sansui AU-719 (probably 110W RMS/ch @ 4 ohms).
    As long as you only need to refoam
    (ie: meaning upper-mids & tweeters & X-overs are all
    in good shape)
    the lower mids & woofers
    (& I used 'Simply Speakers' in FL, 727-571-1245, in
    2008 and got VG results)
    they are an outstanding audio investment, IMO.

  7. Do you still have these?

  8. Regarding my post above from Nov 27, 2011: Someone saw that post and contacted me, and I sold him my AR-90's (for $200). So, they are no longer available. Thanks for the opportunity to find the speakers a home where they'll be appreciated.

  9. So glad that worked out! Thanks for letting me know.

    -- Tom

  10. today they fell from the sky at habitat for humanity / RESTORE in cheviot , ohio need refoamed twenty dollars each rebuild kit cost 5525 i cant wait to fix em

  11. One area Teledyne-era AR90/AR-90 owners (& AR9/AR-9 owners, too, for that matter) need to exercise caution in, IMO, has to do w/replacement speakers for the AR90/AR-90.

    Specifically, there has been a increasing tendency for those parting out an AR91/AR92 to claim that the AR91/AR92 midrange driver (OEM PN=200032) is 100% the same as the AR90 upper-midrange driver (OEM PN=200028), as if the factory routinely shipped AR90/AR9's w/PN=200032's installed. Since the factory specs and wiring diagrams for the AR90/AR9 specify only the PN=200028 then this was not the case.
    Differences : The PN=200028 has a larger volume of Ferro-Fluid (for cooling) than the (OEM PN=200032), which also reduces the PN=200028 air cavity below the dome (via that extra Ferro-Fluid) which also raises it's resonant freq, hence it's dedication to the upper-mid range, while the converse is true for PN=200032. But since PN=200032 has a better low freq response, how does that play out when coupled to a AR9/90 crossover? And what loss of sustained power handling is encountered wrt the lower volume of Ferro-Fluid ?

    In short, if the Teledyne-era factory felt that anechoic chamber response testing & power-applied-vs-driver-temp testing allowed for one driver to be used in both applications there very likely would never have been a 200032.

  12. I have my speakers since 30 years, and really are so satisfied. I didn't use them in 5 years, but now I will refoam them. Looking forwards to hear AR90 again. Kind regards, Abram (Norway)

  13. I was very lucky. I purchased a pair from an audiophile who told him to move his AR-90s as he had just purchased a new pair of Thiels. Well, this fellow had completely refoamed ALL the components, recapped them, and refinished them! In short, they were (are) in pristine condition. As to me this and the AR-9 are the pinnacle of AR's best speaker (yes, I had a pair of AR-3a speakers), I was prepared to pay $1000 for the pair considering the work that had been done. To my surprise, he only wanted $300! I have paired them with an Emotiva XPA-2 power amplifier, and so I have 500 RMS watts/channel at 4ohms. Believe me, paired with this powerful amplifier, these speakers are absolutely incredible. I prefer Baroque pipe organ music and their ability to reproduce the lowest octaves is unsurpassed in my opinion. I believe when these originally came out, there were just not powerful-enough power amplifiers to truly get the very most out of this speaker.



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