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Acoustic Research AR-7 Speaker Review, Specs and Price

Acoustic Research Ar-7 specs speaker AR7 advertisementAcoustic Research described the AR-7 in its advertisements as nearly equivalent to the bigger, more expensive AR speakers. It was available in August 1973 for as little as $75 and therefor AR´s entry level spealer. Despite its entry level positioning, it gained significant attention and recognition from audio magazines at the time and has been described as an outstanding performer for its size and cost. The AR-7 is a surprisingly small, two-way bookshelf speaker. With less than 16 inch width, 10 inch height and a depth of 6 ¼ inch. The speaker is probably the smallest bookshelf speaker Acoustic Research had to offer during the mid 1970ies. It looks similar to all other Acoustic Research vintage speakers, but is significantly smaller. The speaker is equipped with an 8 inch acoustic suspension woofer and a 1 ¼ inch tweeter. Like most other AR-speakers it has a control to adjust the high frequency level.
One AR-7 has a weight of only 11 lbs or 5 kg. The tweeter of the AR-7 is very similar to the one used in the AR-6.
CBS lab tested the AR-7 in 1973 and was satisfied with its performance. The speaker had higher distortion at extreme volume, but was performing very well in all other tests. The sound of the AR-7 was described as clean and neutral, with ample transient "bite" but without "brashness," and with more apparent bass foundation than one might expect from such a small system.

You found this speaker? Clean it!

We frequently receive images of old, dusty speakers that some lucky owner found in his or her garage after decades of storage. Others purchased an old set of speakers for little money at a garage sale. Our advice: Don´t let them deteriorate, but also don´t scratch them with the wrong tools. 
Instead: Clean them carefully. Get a set of soft brushes and other cleaning utensils. If the wooden speaker cabinets look dull or out of color (e.g. due to sunlight), give the wood some new life: 
1. wipe off the dust . 
2. take a very fine sandpaper (1000 Grit and finer) and to sand down the wood. 
3. Use an oil finish, ideally "natural" to maintain the original wood color, such as Tried and True danish Oil

How much should you pay for the AR-7

A realistic price for the AR-7 is very difficult to estimate as they became fairly rare. You can find them every now and then on ebay for about $200, but that is overpriced considering other AR speakers you can buy for nearly the same price. I have read of many occasions in which these speakers were sold for little money at garage sales, even for as little as $2!  Realistically, I would assume that it is fair to pay up to $80 for these speakers. If the condition is good, a little more might still be ok. Be aware that refoaming these speakers can be quite difficult, but considering their age often necessary. It can be a hassle to detach the grills without scratching or damaging the veneer or grill cloth!

AR-7 Price: $60-120
(Depending on overall condition)

Read our other Acoustic Research Reviews:


5 comments:

  1. Those are indeed very fine speakers! Own 2 sets and they sound much bigger than they really are. So if you love vintage audio, and you have limited space in your room, give these a try. You will be amazed what they can do.

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  2. Michael Perry7/28/2016

    Very spot-on review! These speakers sound much larger than they let on and the bass response is phenomenal for something of this age! Can guarantee that I will not be selling these puppies anytime soon!

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  3. Glyn Davies9/16/2016

    I bought a set in 1973 when I lived in the UK. These were chosen over some rather more expensive and bigger loudspeakers available. Coupled with my Goodmans Module 90 receiver - they Seemed to me to be uncolored and good on many types of music and voice. Had the 8" reconed once when the suspension rings fell away but all good afterwards.

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  4. I have a pair in the 70s the bass is fantastic. However this vintage speaker has no air escape and finally the box give way at the back. Besides refoaming is required.

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  5. I have a vintage pair of audioanalyst speakers that my brother bought in 1975. 10 inch woofer acoustic suspension design. I have them hooked up to a vintage Scott receiver 20 watt. They sound great. Had them refoamed about 8 years ago. If you're familiar with this brand let me know. A new England speaker company out of Connecticut that went out of business.

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