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How good are AR14 speakers?

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#1 Steve F

Steve F

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 12:44 PM

The AR-14 was introduced in early 1976, as part of the "second wave" of Advanced Development Division introductions. The 10Pi, 11, and MST were the first ADD intros in March 1975. The 16, then the 12 and 14 followed shortly thereafter.

The 14 was designed mostly as AR’s assault on Advent’s market leadership position with their hugely successful Large Advent. AR decided to use the 10" woofer in a slightly larger enclosure—the same volume as the cabinet for the 12" woofer—in order to extend the low-end response a little deeper. The lowered system resonance had to be balanced against the potential for over-excursion of the 10" driver, so ultimate power-handling was a major consideration during the 12’s and 14’s development.

In the end, the low-end response came out to –3db @44Hz, very good performance for a 10" system, but still a ways away from the –3dB @35Hz of the 11 and 10PI, and still not as deep as the Large Advent.

The 14 crossed over to the 1" dome tweeter at 1300Hz, a remarkably low crossover, considering the tweeter’s 1050Hz resonance. Ordinarily, one could expect either high distortion at the bottom of the tweeter’s operating range or limited power handling, but I never recall the 14 suffering from these problems, so apparently the crossover was well designed. The 1300Hz crossover point allowed the speaker’s energy response to be reasonably uniform, since a woofer of that diameter won’t become severely directional until about 2000Hz.

Unfortunately, the 14 never achieved the marketplace success that AR had envisioned. This was probably due to the bitter taste left in dealers’ mouths from AR’s horrendous marketing and sales policies of the 60’s and early ‘70’s—too many "burned bridges" to repair. The ADD line was supposed to be a limited distribution, high dealer profit line, but AR couldn’t convince enough dealers to come on board for them to recapture their marketplace dominance of the late 50’s to mid 60’s.

I do not remember ever seeing a test report of the 14 by any of the "Big Three"—Stereo Review, High Fidelity, or Audio. It was an excellent-sounding speaker, however: smooth, uncolored, open, in other words, all the best AR traits. It was a very worthy successor to the 2x (which had never really caught on), and considerably less money than the 12. I remember in direct A-B with the Large Advent, it was stunningly superior (except for the very bottom), far more natural, and left the Advent sounding strikingly honky and nasal by comparison.

Overall, a relatively unheralded speaker, but a very good one.

Steve F.

#2 tysontom


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Posted 17 December 2003 - 02:25 AM

>I saw a pair on eBay. The woofers need refoaming. Are these
>speakers worth the trouble?

The AR-14s are really quite good, and the oiled-walnut cabinet is just like the AR-11 and AR-12 -- same style and same size. AR's engineering department went to great lenths to make the AR-14 a good value, and a speaker that would be comparable to the large, and very popular, Advent Loudspeaker. The bass response of the AR-14 is fractionally less powerful than the Advent (or the AR-11), but any difference is hardly noticeable. The 1-inch Peerless (later AR-built) tweeter is quite good, and it has a sophisticated, well-designed crossover network for a two-way speaker.

The end result is a very natural-sounding, accurate loudspeaker that had fine reviews and good critical acclaim. The nice thing is the speaker doesn't weigh a ton as in the case of the AR-10Pi or AR-11. Also, the AR-14s haven't (yet) sky-rocketed in price like many of the other famous AR speakers, so now is a good time to get one on eBay. Good luck!

--Tom Tyson

#3 Guest_Nigel_*

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 07:27 PM

Yes. I would have no trouble justifying a total outlay of ~$175 for a pair, including shipping, and re-foam kits (own labor), if you have a use for them. They are good rather large two system.

#4 Guest_anothermustang_*

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 05:51 PM

I saw a pair on eBay. The woofers need refoaming. Are these speakers worth the trouble?


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