The Arion Apollo speaker system is a four-piece, two-biscuit… ahem, sorry I was hungry while writing this — two channel loudspeaker system. It comprises of two “full-range” line-source dipole towers and a pair of DSP controlled open-baffle Balanced Force Transducer (BFT) bass modules. Decoupling the bass modules from the line-source towers allows for optimum room placement, which is often different from optimum high-frequency driver placement.
If you noticed, I put the term “full-range” in quotes in the previous paragraphical description. I did that to underline a point. The line-source towers in the system are crossed over at 120hz, and handle nearly the full-range of any program material, but in fact do not cover either mechanically or electronically down into the bass region where often “full-range” is used to describe. The line-source drivers are in-house designs and built by Arion. Of unique issue is the overall sensitivity of the towers — it’s 105db measured at 1w/1m. Figures provided by the manufacturer state a minimum power rating of only 2 watts per channel, and a maximum of 100 watts at the high end. Each bass module presents an 89.5db sensitivity to the amplifier. Both tower and bass module are rated at 4-ohms.
The Apollo System comes in two versions: System 9 with nine HVT drivers per tower at $23.900 USD which includes: two line source towers, two bass modules and the advanced DSP; System 12 with twelve HVT drivers per tower at $31.900 USD which includes: two line-source towers, four bass modules and the advanced DSP. Each bass module contains two 10-inch woofers, and is controlled by an outboard DSP crossover that looks about the size of your average CD player. Amplifiers for the bass modules are available and output up to 1000 watts per side for the bass modules, and they were in use at the show.
If for some reason either the System 9 (with two bass modules) or System 12 (with four bass modules) doesn’t fulfill all of your open-baffle bass fantasies, extra bass modules can be purchased separately for $2,900 USD per pair.
When listening, all of the open-baffle hallmarks are present. Upper-bass, mid-range, and treble is ultra-coherent, imaging is compartmentalized and wide as the day is long. Bass integration from the stereo DSP controlled bass modules is seamless. Along with the bass being fast and articulate at every step and movement.
The big story here was the new Arion Apollo speaker system being shown by Rollo Audio Consulting. Also on display were components from Lamm, Aqua Acoustics, Gigawatt Power Conditioning, JPS Cables, and SGR Racks.
By Eric Franklin Shook