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[ http://www.amphion.fi/index.htm ]Company Profile
he amphion designers have been experimenting with crossover points, and have made the decision to crossover at 150 Hz (first-order filter) and 1200 Hz (second-order filter). The routed baffle for the tweeter acts as a small horn and allows the crossover point to be lower than normal. I know the design team have worked tirelessly to get the crossover points right, the most critical design phase for the success of a speaker. Visually and technically, the xenon's tweeter is the key. Their literature quotes ' all the frequencies the ear is most critical towards are produced by the tweeter. As the moving mass of the tweeter is only about 1/50 of the woofer or even the midrange, transients are faster and distortion lower.' The superb sound quality of the speaker proves their critical decision-making and methodology has been extremely well researched.
Gimmicks, gimmicks! Many new high-end designs of all types of equipment seem to have an 'angle', hoping to emphasize their unique qualities. amphion introduces two new 'angles' with which they hope to elevate the xenon's performance. 'U/D/D - technology' (Uniformly Directive Diffusion) and the 'BAS' (Bass Adjustment System) are more to do with ease of placement than sound enhancement; I am happy to report that both technologies do exactly as advertised.
The excellent amphion website explains U/D/D thus: 'When moving towards off-axis, the level of all frequency areas attenuate evenly. This unconventional system ensures that the direct sound from the speaker is not masked by room reflections. Despite strong directivity, the xenons still produce balanced, undistorted ambient information. Therefore, the speaker's free field response (anechoic chamber) and the energy response (real listening room) measured in wide variety of room types are surprisingly similar, sometimes even almost identical. This ensures the xenon sounds extremely good even in acoustically challenging listening rooms.' I can attest to a balanced sound when the xenons were placed much closer to the side walls than usual, and with some adjustment to the BAS (see below), I was able to get a fairly uniform presentation. Off axis listening did lose some of the center fill and image placement, but it was nonetheless very enjoyable.
The BAS system is described by amphion as ' ensuring perfect bass response level, regardless of room measurements or speaker placement. xenons can be positioned solely based on the convenience of daily life and still enjoy perfect sound. Due to the combined effect of U/D/D and BAS, the xenons are perfectly happy close to the walls or even in the corners still producing optimum sound. xenon's modern good looks and easy placement ensure that it will achieve an unbeatable WAF-rating (wife acceptance factor).' Excellent sound, yes. Optimum? I suggest positioning these wonderful speakers pride of place in a well-setup listening environment. They deserve no less. This will render amphion's adjustment technologies moot. If placement folly is a WIF (wife initiated factor), the xenon's superbly uniform horizontal dispersion pattern and its Bass Adjustment System (to a maximum of -3 dB) will ease the pain. Adjustments to the BAS are made by adding a jumper (or lintel, as described by amphion) and/or blocking the 2½" rear port with foam.
The amphion literature suggests firing the front drivers just outside the listener's shoulders. This suggestion is right on the money. You won't have to invest in a head vice, but the sweet spot is very sweet, lessening slightly as the drivers fire off axis. Other than the time spent experimenting with aiming the drivers, setup is very simple. I single wired my pair, placed them slightly over eight feet apart (my thanks go to fellow reviewer David Aspinall for some fine tuning in this regard), broke them in for one hundred hours, then began serious auditioning.
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