Vintage 1981 Acoustic Research AR48S Speakers
Originally based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Acoustic Research is a celebrated high-end audio manufacturer famous for their revolutionary classics such as their AR-3 series, and are still in existence today but under new ownership.
The AR48S represent the last of Acoustic Research’s classic series of speakers and were introduced in the final year of the Golden Age of Audio in 1981. They were offered until around 1983. Note the AR48S should not to be confused with the post-classic AR48B and AR48BX speakers produced later.
Sporting a 10″ Acoustic Suspension Woofer, 4″ Mid Range and 1″ Dome Tweeter and were designed for amplifiers rated between 15 & 100 Watts.
As a 3-way speaker with a 10″ suspension woofer the AR48 is the natural evolution of the AR2ax and saw improvements with brighter sound and excellent dispersion characteristics.
While the AR48S doesn’t yet have the vintage recognition of say the AR5, their performance is very impressive. Their mid-range and high’s are excellent and well dispersed and they sound great even when your positioned closely to the speakers. Some criticise these speakers for a lack of bass, but you must remember these are sealed enclosures and in a bookshelf format designed to give a more natural sound. If you want thunderous bass then look for a combination of either a ported speaker or a large floor standing model. I personally find the bass sufficient for most music genres, but I understand if you would want to round it out with the addition of a subwoofer, especially if you are in to electronic music.
IMHO these speakers would be a perfect match for many mid-to-late 1970s Amplifiers and Receivers.
Aesthetically these speakers suffered from the trend that began in the mid-seventies to replace real wood with laminate. We can’t really blame AR for this as they weren’t alone, typically most high-end manufacturers from this era were guilty of introducing laminate into many of their models. At least the laminate on the AR48S is better than most and is thick and has not suffered peeling as is so commonly seen with laminate of this vintage.
These particular specimens have some minor cosmetic issues; there are some marks here and there, the cabinets have some ver slight damage to some corners, the woofer domes have dimples in them (does not effect sound), one woofer has a stain. Other than that they are functioning well and I would say they are in good vintage condition for their ~33 years of age.
Frequency Response: 45-24k +/- 3 dB
Power MIN/MAX: 15-100w
OHMS (Min-Nom): 6 ohms
Weight: 38 lbs
Posted In: Speakers