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Boston Acoustics CR 75 vs AR 5

Short version:

Above 200hz the BA CR75 is easily the equal of the AR5 in clarity and if you are willing to sit in the small sweet spot it can completely match the AR5 in sound quality above 200hz.  This last qualifying statement, re: sweet spot, is also true for the AR2ax, IMO and I'm guessing probably a large number of modern, two way bookshelf speakers as well.

Long version:

Manufactured in the early 2000s, the BA CR75 is a ported two-way bookshelf speaker with a 6.5 inch woofer and 1” dome tweeter. Crossover point is 2500hz, with frequency response stated at 52-20Khz but no 3db down point specified.  Sensitivity is 89db at 1 watt.

This comparison with the AR5 is for performance at frequencies above 200hz. In this setup both speakers were sitting adjacent at the same height, connected on a switch as “tops” for a common bass system.  The bass performance was identical for both systems and was not a factor in this evaluation.

The speakers were volume equalized. They were also frequency balance equalized to as close as convenient but because the CR75s were temporary, I was not willing make larger equalizer adjustments to subdue its extra bit of brightness, in the voice spectrum, to make it exactly match the AR5.

Listening distance was 4 to 8 feet.

All electronics and source material were identical.

Music used was pop/jazz vocals both studio and live and symphony orchestra recordings.

On pop and jazz, studio recordings, the sound of the speakers were practically identical after the switch.  I forgot which speaker I was hearing more than once.

On live recordings at large venues, whether jazz or symphonic, the diffuse and expansive sound of the AR5 sustained a live feel, while the sound field collapsed on the CR75.  However, if I chose to find the sweet spot for the CR75, centered about 4ft to 5ft away, the live feel became apparent.  This is not a terribly beamy speaker but the listening position for maximum enjoyment is confined to a much smaller area than with an AR5.  

Caveats: 

The CR75 is NOT the equal of the AR5 when both speakers are in a stand-alone configuration. The CR75 IMO suffers the same problem as all speakers with 6 inch or smaller woofers.  None of them can reproduce wide range music below about 150hz without sounding compressed, whereas the AR5 has zero problems in this area.

The CR75 is without attenuation controls and IMO is overly bright in the voice band.  You will need an equalizer to tame it.

Adams

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