Amphion does it again! – CAF 2018

by Eric Shook

Firmly grounded with a history in studio and pro sound, Amphion returns to home audio with a stable of speaker designs, that to my ear, offer comforting treble and mid-range that complement the Amphion philosophy of how bass should be done — natural and just right. From desktop bookshelves to floor-standing reference towers, a little bit of everything was on hand for audition.

Amphion is in the honesty business. Outfitting some of the best recording studios in the industry, their targets have been to exhibit the most detailed and reliable information possible to the best tools we have in the recording studio, the human ear. Things like transparency, resolution, time and phase coherence — those are audiophile things right? That being so, it would make perfect sense to bring that studio level of accuracy into the home. Music as the artist intended.

Where many artists have used Amphion monitoring systems to create your favorite music, you now have the option to use an Amphion loudspeaker system to enjoy those same artists, with the realism approved by the studio and artist themselves.

On display at Capital Audiofest were a trio of Amphion speakers, each from a series within the brand. The entry-tier named Helium, followed by a mid-tier Argon, and the reference Krypton series.

All three series of Amphion speakers displayed share some of the same technologies that made Amphion monitors famous for studio use. Firstly, and most obviously, the tweeter wave-guide and loading method. The wave-guide works to couple the tweeter to the mid-range drivers, for a more seamless integration at the crossover points. Further, the driver loading is physically time aligned, providing accuracy throughout all musical details. Secondly the driver loading achieves two specific benefits; wider dispersion for more listeners (bigger sweet spot), and less acoustic room interactions for the listeners (more music, less room reflections).

When listening in-room, all of this Amphion technology added up to a natural and point source like sound. Ultimately, one of the most pleasing and endlessly enjoyable sounds of the show. Like clean water, the sound was easy to take in. Never harsh, or disjointed as some multi-driver speakers can be. I found myself not listening to each region of the frequency band (bass, midrange, and treble) but the musical package as a whole. The picture created by the two Amphion towers I auditioned were clear as day. However, one should never mistake a clear view for a short distance — as the soundstage depth constructed by the largest Krypton3 tower went far back beyond the room boundaries.

At one point the feeling that I had found a “Goldilocks” sound set me to worrying. Would the sonic comfort of these speakers work across all genres? I requested ODESZA’s popular EDM track “Bloom”, and found the details I was looking for, and as I moved about my seat and eventually the room — I was smitten by the off-axis stability of the sound. Further intrigued, I grabbed the reins of the Qobuz music app, and cued up Smog’s track “Our Anniversary”, a song known for solid low-end. I took note of how plush and delicious the bass coming from the smaller tower was. The Argon 7LS had no issues with producing texture and scale, even when the volume ladder was climbing.

AMPHION

– Helium410 Bookshelf Monitors – $750 pr USD

– Argon7LS Floorstanding Loudspeaker – $5,630 pr USD

– Krypton3 Floorstanding Loudspeaker – $18,750 pr USD

BENCHMARK

– AHB2 Power Amplifier (two, configured in mono) – $2,995 ea USD

– LA4 Line Preamplifier – $2,995 USD

– DAC3 B Digital-to-Analog Converter – $1,695 USD

PANGEA AUDIO

– Vulcan Four Shelf Audio Rack in Carbon Fiber Vinyl – $129.95 USD