Acoustic Research AR-5 Speaker Review, Specs and Price

The Acoustic Research AR-5 from 1969 is often named to be one of the greatest vintage speakers available at an affordablel cost. The AR-5 is a three way speaker using a 10″ woofer, a 1,5″ dome midrange and a 0.75″ dome tweeter.Currently the price depends strongly on the condition of the speaker, but is usually between $150 and $400. A pair with minor flaws can be found on ebay for about 200$. However, they were not sold in large numbers, as the AR-2ax, a speaker with similar components: The AR-2ax was significantly cheaper and therefor sold in larger quantities. 
The AR5 features the intricate and well-designed crossover network of the AR3a and a similar midrange driver. Therefore, AR-5s have a detailed mid and high response and at the same time deep bass, less deep than the AR-3, but with more “soul” than the AR-2ax.
According to audiokarma´s forum AR5 was meant for those people who thought the AR3a was a little too bass heavy. It’s midrange drivers and tweeters were basically the same as the ones of the AR3a, which was clearly superior to the 2ax. The reason for the existence of the AR5 was to give people an alternative between the AR2ax and the AR3a.

AR-5 Quotes and Specs:

AR´s model manual went more into detail to explain the differences to the AR-3a. The manual states that “…inside the AR-5 are the two hemispherical dome speakers of the AR-3a, which provide uniquely accurate midrange and high-frequency reproduction, and a completely new 254 mm (10 in) woofer. The main differences between the AR-3a extends approximately 1/3 octave lower, and the price of the AR-5 is less.The AR-5 pioneered several advances in materials technology that help make its performance possible. These advances have subsequently been incorporated into other AR speaker systems. The cone of the woofer, for example, is molded by a low-vacuum process developed for AR, which greatly reduces the tendency to coloration heard in conventional cones of paper or polystyrene. At the cone´s outer edge is a suspension of urethane polymer, which helps to achieve very low distortion at low frequencies. The AR-5, in fact, is one of today´s most advanced speaker systems, the result of combining AR´s years of experience with the newest processes and materials”.
The quote is from one of my old Acoustic Research manuals from 1969-1971.

Refoaming the AR-5:

Acoustic Research 5 AR-5 Speaker
Acoustic Research AR-5 in good condition

The AR-5 series are definetily worth to be refoamed. Many of them have foam surrounds that rotted away over the years. A refoaming kit can usually be bought for around $30, replacing the old foams will take around 1 to 2 hours and is not difficult at all! It does not require any particular skill, just a calm hand and a little patience. We tried out several different available foams and recommend to use Parts Express´ 10 inch Surround Kit. You can find it in our Store or directly at on the right.

Acoustic Research AR-5 Specs:

Drive units: 254mm (10in) acoustic suspension woofer, 38 mm (1,5 in) midrange hemispherical dome, 19 mm (3/4in) high-frequency hemispherical dome
Crossover: 650 Hz, 5000 Hz
Impedance: 8 ohms nominal
Controls: Midrange and high-frequency driver level controls
Amplifier: Up to 100 watts per channel
Size: 343 x 610 x 292 mm deep (13,5 x 24 x 11,5 in)
Weight: 17,8 kg (39lb)
Wooer resonance: Free air 26 Hz, in enclosure 56 Hz
Volume of enclosure: 38,2 liters (1.35 cu ft.).

AR-5 Price: $140+ 
in good condition $200-300.

Read our other Acoustic Research Reviews:


  1. "replacing the old foams will take around 1 to 2 hours and is not difficult at all! It does not require any particular skill, just a calm hand and a little patience."……..

    ……and plenty of years experience to get the voice-coils perfectly centered, a critical step in the process which most newbies manage to fuck up, unless this is an ad for parts express foam surrounds?

  2. Hi and thanks for your comment. I am only referring to the replacement of the foam surrounds, which I replaced many times and never had any problems with. Replacing the voice-coils is indeed a much more sophisticated task and I would not recommend to do it without the proper experience

  3. you are correct in that REPLACING a defective voice-coil with new, is a much more sophisticated task usually required when reconing a speaker.

    however my comment refers to aligning the original, perfectly working voice-coils precisely within voice-coil gap DURING the refoam process, a critical step that requires much more than a calm hand and patience.

  4. yep, I totally agree with you. In general, anything that goes beyond replacing the outer foams of the speakers is in my opinion too risky for someone without the proper skills.
    I think I did only read the first paragraph of your last comment. Somehow my "Comment Moderation Page" must have displayed your comment incorrectly.

    At last, the article was not intended as a parts express advertisement, I did also consciously avoid to add an affiliate link to that website. However, I did like to share that making a simple speaker foam repair is not too complicated and I think parts express is a viable address to order speaker foam from. (There are at least worse alternatives out there…). Feel free to share any better company for speaker foam or speaker repairs, I´d be happy to add them to the article.

  5. I have two ar5 speakers that I used to dearly love. However the receiverz previously used have all gone bye-bye and I want to know what fm receiver would be best to drive these speakers today? Any ideas?

  6. I have a pair of AR 98 LS speakers and a pair of Bozak large (36Wx52x7.5”) speakers. In good condition. How much are they worth? Where to find good new owners?

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