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Scoup

AR9, 9LS, 9LSi which do you prefer...

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Just curious...  I recently had the opportunity to A/B my set or AR9LSi speakers with a set of AR9LS speakers.  I’m wondering if others have had a chance to hear these three titans of the AR lineup.  I read a lot on the original 9s, but not much on their successors.  Listening to the LS vs the LSI, I preferred the LSI.  The sound, to my ears, was more refined, better detail.  Vocals were clearer, strings and sax better.  I have never heard a set of the original 9s.  I wonder how they would compare...  

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My friends aunt had those but I always prefer the original 9s

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6 hours ago, Scoup said:

 Listening to the LS vs the LSI, I preferred the LSI.

 Hello Scoup,

Did the LS and LSI have new crossover capacitors?

If both of them had, did their crossovers use the same type and brand of capacitors? 

Did you test each of their driver before comparing the loudspeakers?

During the comparison test,  were the LS and LSI alternately placed in the same room position?

Thank you for any clarification about your comparison test.

 

Luigi

 

 

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2 hours ago, fedeleluigi said:

 Hello Scoup,

Did the LS and LSI have new crossover capacitors?

If both of them had, did their crossovers use the same type and brand of capacitors? 

Did you test each of their driver before comparing the loudspeakers?

During the comparison test,  were the LS and LSI alternately placed in the same room position?

Thank you for any clarification about your comparison test.

 

Luigi

 

 

Hey Luigi.  In my comparison the same amp/pre source was used for both speakers. (Nikko Alpha I, Beta II, Sansui SR838).  The LS had been re-capped two years ago, the LSI were original.  All drivers in all speakers metered well and functioned perfectly.  They were placed beside each other for the test but I did not swap positions.  

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Hi Scoup,

Thank you for answering my questions.

I think that It's rather difficult to make accurate comparisons among speakers, especially if they are old, because there are many variables that can "distort" the perceived results. That's why I asked you some questions in my previous post. For example, in vintage speakers capacitors are often out of specs randomly. Different types and brands of caps may rapresent other unpredictable variables. Beyond capacitors, the drivers can also age differently depending on many factors.  In other words, with aging, even speakers of the same model often sound differently from each other. 

Similar speakers like AR9 LS and AR9 LSI should be placed in an identical  position if you want to make a correct comparison because speaker placement does affect the sound a lot. So, in this regard, I think you should have swapped the speakers position to get more objective results during your comparison.

Different model of speakers often require different placements and/or amplifiers to get the best they can give. 

The SPL at the listeng point should be as similar as possible for all the speakers under test.

Obviously our subjectivity is another variable but it's very difficult to eliminate it without resorting to a double blind experiment.

Luigi

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Scoup, the picture of your AR9LSi  demonstrates the beautiful wood finish AR went to after the experimentation with plastic in the early 80's.  My humble opinion is the drivers appear on the surface to be nearly identical between the AR9LS and AR9LSi, but as you can read in this forum, there was a harshness in the original design many found to be unpleasant.

I'm not an audio engineer, and have never heard the AR-LST, but can tell you when I listen to the AR9, I just smile.  They disappear in the music.

I do have a pair of AR9LSi sitting in the garage, waiting for a spot in the house.  I like to believe I'm one of many who requires more rooms in my house VS having too many AR speakers.

No matter what, the LSi's are a spectacular work of art simply from the wood finish perspective.

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The AR9 is great.  Great Lows, clear mids and brilliant highs. Smoooth speaker---smooth sound.    Sometimes a PIA to place, and dependant on placement and room size.   This placement and room dynamics can make this speaker seem mediocre, but they arent mediocre.  It shines in big wide rooms.  Great on Classical and acoustic music.

There is NO 3 way that can compete with the ar9...in terms of detail and things you miss in the 3 ways.  I own and enjoy the ar3a, had 11's, have 58s, they just miss things.   The ar98ls gets close, but not enough Meat on lows.

The AR9LSI is Greater.  Better Lows, More detail everywhere, EASY to place in any room, and a Unbeatable soundstage.   For me, it needed some shuffling of the stuffing.  Also, be careful choosing caps, too fancy and polys?  ruin them.   Plain ole dayton NPE caps Baby.................  It takes the Gold.   I still let them prove themselves to me, LSI wins nearly everytime.

The AR9LS is the same as the LSI, without the upgraded resistors in the circuits , mostly to calm down the midrange.   No switches, so they wired in the changes.

 

all this can be found with a few searches.

 

All three are winners and benefit with large amps........200 w @ 4 ohms and up.......

 

 

you asked, so I gave my Opinion

 

 

 

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I asked indeed.  I suspected that the 9LSI was better, but that’s what I have.  Truly wanted opinions.  I like my LSI better than the LS but cannot comment on the 9s because I’ve never heard them.  

Thank you for your opinion...

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On 7/14/2019 at 5:54 PM, harry398 said:

The AR9LS is the same as the LSI, without the upgraded resistors in the circuits , mostly to calm down the midrange.   No switches, so they wired in the changes.

A question for you Harry...Do you ever find the lack of attenuation switches (0dB, -3dB, -6dB for Tweeter, UMR and LMR) on the AR9LSi problematic?  I ask because I've dragged my AR9's around for the last 41 years and have found that I've preferred different attenuation switch settings at each location.   I guess that since I've used AR5's, AR3a's, AR9's and AR90's, I find the inability to make adjustments a bit unnerving.

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4 hours ago, AR surround said:

A question........for the last 41 years and have found that I've preferred different attenuation switch settings at each location.

This is a great question/comment, and exactly why I typically defend or advocate for the inclusion of built-in HF controls: different interior room environments.

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I own the 9Lsi, but I never had the opportunity to listen to the 9LS.  I can say with some certainty, though, that the 9LSi is the better speaker.  This is based on comparative listening of the 98LS and 98LSi, which has the same crossover upgrade as the 9LSi.  You can hear a slight harshness/brightness in the upper midrange of the 98LS that is not present in the 98LSi or the 9LSi.

Now the bigger question.  Is the 9LSi a better speaker than the 9?  Hard to say.  I’ve never directly compared the two.   I listened to the 9 in a dealer’s showroom years ago and felt at that time it was the best speaker on the market.  Of course I wanted it, but I was a college kid and naturally I couldn’t afford it.  Years later I luckily acquired a pair of 9LSi’s from a guy’s uncle that was downsizing.  To me its sound is on par with my memories of the 9 and is more forgiving in its placement. 

I have never felt that my 9LSi’s needed tweeter or midrange controls.  My listening room seems to be well suited for the speakers.  That said, even though my hearing still reaches 12,000 hertz it’s down more than a few db at the high end, so last year I did what some would deem sacrilege.   I boosted the treble control on my preamp 4db.  It sounds right to me, but my 32 year old daughter, who owns my original 98LS’, thinks that they are way too bright now.  I probably would when I was 32 also. 

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On 8/12/2019 at 8:25 AM, AR surround said:

A question for you Harry...Do you ever find the lack of attenuation switches (0dB, -3dB, -6dB for Tweeter, UMR and LMR) on the AR9LSi problematic?  I ask because I've dragged my AR9's around for the last 41 years and have found that I've preferred different attenuation switch settings at each location.   I guess that since I've used AR5's, AR3a's, AR9's and AR90's, I find the inability to make adjustments a bit unnerving.

Hi AR Surround

The only switch I ever adj is the Midrange on the ar9.

that depends on the recording Mostly.....I go from -3db to 0db.

 

As for the ar9lsi....it took a while for me to get it where I think its perfect.   It was a long struggle fighting the previous owners cap selection, and I added a touch more resistor to the Mid dome.   I also played with the stuffing...

 

There are occasions the ar9 is better, due to its smoothness and better balance, However the ar9lsi is the superior speaker for me.   Its more versatile, has more clarity, better soundstage, adapts to nearly all music well.   Its Not perfect, but the best I have heard.   The tweeter is slightly warmer, yet the 9's tweeter is also great, but more neutral. 

 

This does not mean the ar9 is substandard by any stretch.  It was my favorite until I got the LSI where I like it best.   However, I cannot tell a lie.....I prefer the 9LS/LSI.  It wasnt always the case, and certainly AR did not release the speaker to market ready for an audiophile.  It would be better With switches on the upper drivers.  The LS is really off....tooo much midrange..but easily fixed.

 

Also, of note, is the difference in Bass....the 9 is more engulfing of sound into the room, whereas the ar9lsi is more coming at you and very much more detailed.   I have many hours distinguishing the differences on many different music types.

 

These are ELITE speakers.    I am listening to my ar3a's in my office right now, spectacular, nice.....but the 9 series is superior in big rooms in every way, except the larger footprint.  They are highly undervalued.

 

 

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On 8/11/2019 at 11:45 AM, frankmarsi said:

One of the best threads here in a quite some time.

FM

 

Frank

 

The only 12 inch woofer AR speaker I haven't had the pleasure of hearing and taking in is the LST.  

Someday.

 

 

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On 6/21/2019 at 2:46 AM, Scoup said:

Just curious...  I recently had the opportunity to A/B my set or AR9LSi speakers with a set of AR9LS speakers.  I’m wondering if others have had a chance to hear these three titans of the AR lineup.  I read a lot on the original 9s, but not much on their successors.  Listening to the LS vs the LSI, I preferred the LSI.  The sound, to my ears, was more refined, better detail.  Vocals were clearer, strings and sax better.  I have never heard a set of the original 9s.  I wonder how they would compare...  

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8EEA87E8-BC50-4345-B125-A7FE7B086E4F.jpeg

put a 2.5 to 3.0 ohm resistor on the mid dome....and the 9LS will sound just like the LSI.

that HOT input on the MID dome on the LS sounds aweful.   easy fix.

 

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On 8/16/2019 at 9:43 PM, harry398 said:

There are occasions the ar9 is better, due to its smoothness and better balance, However the ar9lsi is the superior speaker for me.   Its more versatile, has more clarity, better soundstage, adapts to nearly all music well.   Its Not perfect, but the best I have heard.   The tweeter is slightly warmer, yet the 9's tweeter is also great, but more neutral. 

This place has been quiet for a while so I have been reviewing threads from the beginning of the AR  forum in the year 2000.  Among other noteworthy topics there have been many statements about the superiority of the AR9 over the years but this is the only thread I can find that claims the LSI version is superior.  I agree.  Out of the box, the LSi is the best 10 octave speaker AR ever made.  Surely, someone makes something as good now but a far superior speaker, as perceived by the human ear, would be hard to imagine and I would be skeptical without a side by side comparison.  Feel free to convince me otherwise.  

PS:  It doesn't need switches just mild equalization.

Adams

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On 11/23/2019 at 6:50 PM, Aadams said:

This place has been quiet for a while so I have been reviewing threads from the beginning of the AR  forum in the year 2000.  Among other noteworthy topics there a have been many statements about the superiority of the AR9 over the years but this is only thread I can find that claims the LSI version is superior.  I agree.  Out of the box, the LSi is the best 10 octave speaker AR ever made.  Surely, someone makes something as good now but a far superior speaker, as perceived by the human ear, would be hard to imagine and I would be skeptical without a side by side comparison.  Feel free to convince me otherwise.  

PS:  It doesn't need switches just mild equalization.

Adams

Yes equalization can help.

Ive got my 9lsi about perfect, and overall...they are the best AR I have heard.

There are times when the ar9 beats the ar9lsi.....some acoustics..certain string music...but the AR9 really shines when its got 300 -400 watts going to it.   It shines in its balance and the Thunder comes out.   Its DAMN good.....but low volume the lsi wins due to fuller sound(at least in my set) and very easy placement.   Soundstange?  Lsi....until the 9s get the "juice"

 

2 super elite speakers.

 

Carver tfm42.    Top lights lit many times.    Ive run both at once too....both ar9s handle it all......no sweat.   Blown tweeters?   You dont have enough "juice".

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I inherited a pair of LS9's from my dad who had a relationship with AR through his job at Columbia Masterworks, he was given also one of the very first quadrophonic systems by the company, a tall cabinet with AR turntable, the 2nd Advent cassette player and a reel-to-reel deck and 4 AR3a speakers. I also have 2 pairs of the little AR Powered Partner speakers of which I am inordinately fond, used hard, put away wet and still going strong 40 years later!

   I found a set of foam surrounds specifically for the LS9 online (all these years later!) and replaced the rotted ones, I also found the instructions for the mod to go from LS9 to LS9i (the i stands for improved) on the wonderful internet, bought some rather expensive non-inductive 1 Ohm power resistors and did the mod. In my 20X25 high-ceiling living/dining room these speakers breath life, excitement and soul-stirring drama into the listening experience! With my PS Audio 200C power amp (also an antique but awesome!) grabbing the ARs by the cojones,  listening is a visceral, emotional experience of the first order.  I have heard many fine and much more modern speakers - acoustic suspension has fallen into disfavor - but I connect with the deep effortless sonority of these beauties like no other - never giving them up!

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1 hour ago, ShaughtUp said:

I inherited a pair of LS9's from my dad who had a relationship with AR through his job at Columbia Masterworks, he was given also one of the very first quadrophonic systems by the company, a tall cabinet with AR turntable, the 2nd Advent cassette player and a reel-to-reel deck and 4 AR3a speakers. I also have 2 pairs of the little AR Powered Partner speakers of which I am inordinately fond, used hard, put away wet and still going strong 40 years later!

AR really liked your Dad.  What great gifts!   Oh and the quad system with four AR3a's has me drooling.

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3 hours ago, ShaughtUp said:

I inherited a pair of LS9's from my dad who had a relationship with AR.......listening is a visceral, emotional experience of the first order. 

That's a great first post and wonderful testimonial. Welcome to the forum.

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Man I wish I could find a nice pair of those AR's  9LSi's    I have the old 98LS and had them re-foamed about 3 years ago but I now desire the wood front 9LSi.

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I have been fortunate to have had a pair of AR9LS speakers since 1983.  I think I paid $1,100 for them new.  They are still functioning as my main speakers in a 5.0 home theater.  I have not needed a subwoofer with these speakers.  I have refoamed all the drivers twice in that time frame and replaced the foam once in the acoustic chamber for the down firing woofer.  They have never required anything else.  I have never noticed mid range harshness but then I have never compared them to the LSi's.  Needless to say they have been great to have all these years.  I run them with a Oppo 205 blue ray player and a NAD M25 7 channel amp which puts out 160 watts into 4 ohms.  I added some Paradigm studio series peakers, a center channel and 2 surround speakers.  May not be true audiophile but works for me.  Tried to upload a photo but did not accept the jpg. 

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Great topic IMO.  I own both and have a strong preference for the original 9, but wonder if it has more to do with crossover design than driver and orientation.  The ARLSi upper MR is just too hot in current design.  I've been messaging with Harry about his resistor change for that driver along with other enhancements and then realized the original AR9 crossover offers flexibility in adjusting drivers to the listener's taste.  The AR9LSi requires external electronics to do the same. 

Has anyone taken to the time to design a AR9-like 3 switch resistor network for the AR9LSi?  I can't find anything such an animal in the forum, but may not be searching correctly.

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