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INACTIVE - FOR SALE: AR-18B matching pair of speakers

Item #649052725
Info: AR-18B matching pair of speakers

Payment method: Cash, Money Order
Condition: 9 - Excellent (?)
Date Posted: Mar 30, 13 4:26pm
Edited: Apr 23, 13 5:39pm
About Seller: avigdor
Toronto, ON
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RARE and next to mint condition set of Acoustic Research AR-18B speakers!
These are very rare, and I doubt you will find a set in this condition anywhere.
What a sound from these speakers! An awesome 2 way design with a non ported 8 inch driver!
These little speakers give a warm tube like sound yet have a deep bass, and a crystal clear high range.
Were built with a truly amazing tweeter design, that makes these highly sought after!
I rate these a solid 9/10 no major marks or scratches anywhere.
Grills are like new, have all the original badges.
All original,no mods,just wire in and enjoy the warm sounds!
New surrounds done Dec. 2012
All original Teledyne Acoustic Research AR-18B


Made 1983-85
8" woofers,
1.25" Dome Tweets,
62-22k,88 db,2000hz,
10-100 watts @ 8 ohms
17" x 11" x 6" 30 lbs.
Matching pair Serial # 16917

Back in 1982 Edgar Villchur, the founder of the original Acoustic Research Company already knew stuff about acoustic engineering and loudspeaker design many modern day designers have only come to know in recent years. One such aspect is the minimalist cross over network, that when implemented in conjunction with custom designed drive units, cause for unparalleled transparency from the transducer system.
The subject of this review is probably AR’s most famous loudspeaker, the AR18, and back in 1982 already featured modern day buzz words like in house custom designed and manufactured drive units, minimalist cross-overs and ferro-fluid cooling. In fact, in those days if a designer wanted to succeed in making a note worthy product of any kind, the in house route proved the only way.
The AR18s. It is one of those timeless designs that seemingly constantly increase it’s capabilities as technology from the opposite end of the listening/monitoring system improves. Over the years, whenever I found myself in a place of not having a demo set of speakers or busy assessing new models, I fell back onto my trusty AR’s. With every welcome reintroduction they mirrored closely the best of what I have tasted in my own listening room.
Time and again I found myself amazed at their sheer competence across the range of high-end attributes. At various points when a new preamplifier, power amplifier, DAC etc came along, I hooked up my old 18b as my longest standing constant. They allowed me to make very accurate judgements about the ancillaries in my system/s by allowing me to keep at least one important variable constant.
What they are not, is the last word in neutrality especially within the upper mid-band where they can be a little forward, but never nasal as another relic from its time, the Linn Sara could be. In the treble department they suffer from earlier roll-off than others and this range could ideally have been cleaner. These are small criticisms however considering the over-all picture the AR’s are capable of.
There is something very special about a fully fledged out midrange. Everything just sounds more lifelike and proportionate in scale. It allows the sound to cross a dividing barrier from being well reproduced high fidelity to something akin to real performers playing real instruments. The AR18’s are capable of such performance and I am very sure it has something to do with using, instead of the typical 6/7” driver mostly seen these days, a comparably larger 8” unit. It is as if the 8” cone’s surface area more easily and more truthfully portrays midrange substance. Note worthy in relation to the type of mid/woofer used, is the fact that in the case of the AR18's, the mid/woofer is direct coupled to the rear terminals. There are no passive components in between the mid/woofer and amplifier providing the signal. The signal thus passes with the least impairment possible. The trick is in the design of the driver where a natural mechanical roll-off was purposefully engineered into them. Quite an achievement back in the day!
The AR18 is a two way stand mount loudspeaker (bookshelf design in old school) using an in house 8” mid/woofer and a 1.25” cone type tweeter both made of good old paper. The box is of acoustic suspension / sealed box design (another proprietary Edgar Villchur development) and is of good proportions to promote rigidity. And yes, all speakers prior to the AR model One from the mid nineteen fifties were other than sealed enclosure designs!
AR18’s have the most neutral and engaging upper bass / lower midrange spectrum I’ve yet encountered in monitors of comparable size. Pitch definition is never questioned with these babies. Bass lines are driven forth with speed, tightness and accuracy. Although an owners manual found on the internet recommends boundary loading (against the back wall positioning), I found more experimentation yielding great returns. Such as a decent set of spiked stands or wall brackets. Properly stand mounted with something like the Acoustic Energy Reference stands from the model AE-1, the AR’s bass response can be tailored to your acoustics or tastes simply by moving them forwards and backwards in relation to the front wall. In my current room I ended up leaving them 800mm from the rear wall on AE Reference stands filled with lead shot and spiked to the floor.
Mounted like this, with a very small amount of toe-in, staging is three dimensional and I experience palpable image projection a good deal beyond speaker boundaries. I easily prefer having a wide accurate side to side image placement and focus to a more tightly squeezed, but deeper soundstage. From a mix-down perspective, accurate left to right image positioning I value most. The AR’s are simply champs at getting this aspect right, but they need to be kept in good company and they need careful set up closest to the wall.
Don’t think you’ll get the reference qualities described above simply by hooking them up with lamp wire to the old Technics integrated on the attic. No, they will show you how horrible your amplifier is. Ipod, 1st or 2nd generation CD-player as source? Forget it! They will pierce your eardrums with the violence that besot thirty years of digital… They are unforgiving. They do not polish or wax sheen over inferior material or ancillaries. What you put in, you will get out and this aspect I value most in any piece of equipment.
Remember the AR18 and all speakers from the golden years, were developed using analogue sources, be it tape or records. In actual fact what we hear when we don’t like what is coming from the AR’s are the deviancy in the digital format and material to the analogue ideal. The good news is, modern digital is getting better and better by the day. Which is why I made earlier mention of the AR’s seemingly getting better with the tide. What they are actually doing is showing how better digitally recorded material is getting closer and closer to the analogue ideal.


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