201004301311Amphion Xenon loudspeakers from Asylum: REVIEW

Amphion Xenon loudspeakers



Type: 3 -way hypercardioid, bassreflex loading

Drivers: 8" bass, 6½" mid and 1" tweeter

Frequency response: 28 Hz - 20 kHz

Sensitivity: 87 dB

Crossover frequencies: 150, 1500 Hz

Impedance: 8 Ohms

Power handling: 100 Watts

Dimensions: 1070 x 350 x 190 mm

Price (in Finland): 12 000 mk/pair (about 2000 Euros)

Website: www.amphion.fi

Associated equipment

cd-player: Mark Levinson No. 29

amplifier: Mark Levinson No.383

cables: Cardas Neutral Reference

Albums used

Trio töykeät - Jazzlantis [polygram emarcy 526 862-2]

Iiro's not so good polka
Banana Republic

Liquid Tension Experiment 2 [magna carta max-9035-2]


Jean Michel Jarre - Metamorphosis [epic epc 496022 2]

Rendez-vous á Paris
Miss moon

Al Di Meola - The infinite desire [telarc cd-83433]

Shaking the spirits


The place where reviewing took place was pretty normal living-room. Room dimensions were about 4 x 5 x 2,5 meters. It didn't have any dedicated acoustical treatment, but a normal decoration, which will give a good picture how this product is going to perform in normal conditions. Speakers were positioned into the optimal listening triangle and far from room boundaries (over 1 meter).

Xenon is currently most expensive model (top model krypton is currently under development and still unreleased) from Finnish Loudspeaker manufacturer Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd . They believe that room acoustics are very important when we are talking about overall sound. They have addressed this problem in their design creating a loudspeaker with controlled directivity. They call it Uniformly Directive Diffusion (U/D/D).

Amphion is pretty well-known for tweeter's horn loading in every model. This is the case in xenon aswell. And in addition for that mid-range driver works in cardioid-priciple, with gives good directivity at lower frequencies too. The bass is handled with reflex loaded 8" woofer in the side of the cabinet. This construction minimizes early reflections in the listining room giving more accurate sound.

When it comes to the looks, xenon will probably divide optinions. Everyone doesn't like the black triangles in the side of the speakers. However, the speakers is pretty slim and will fit nicely into different decorations because of many color options.

On the other hand it is very easy to like Amphion xenon's sound: it plays smoothly and there's sense of relaxed clarity. Overall balance was very good, although there were a little resonance in the lowest octave because of room modes. It was fixed when I leaned about half a meter towards the speakers. However, it's advisable (as always) to make sure that bass output fits into your listening room, before buying (Note that every xenon sold today has a bass control switch, which helps in smaller rooms). But like any loudspeaker, even those in which maximum effort against room modes and reflections has been made, xenon also benefits from good ideal positioning.

There was evident resemblance in sound compared to smaller (bookshelf) model argon. However, xenon had better clarity in mid-range and same smooth and well balanced tweeter. It's possible that someone prefers more open soundstage in the upper end, but it's my opinion that it's not loudspeakers job to spread the plates around the listening room. Now they just localized nicely and also standed where they should be.

The biggest difference was in the bass, as you might expect from the size difference of these two loudspeakers. Argon's bass suffered from little coloration which made it sound too smooth and uncontrolled. However, xenon had very controlled, fine and dry bass. It's extension was great for speaker of this size and it certainly had a good slam in lower octave aswell. These speakers don't really need a subwoofer.

Soundstaging was convincing. Speakers sounded a bit laid back and an illusion of 3-dimensionality was barely audible if there was such thing in the recording. The original acoustics of the recording was easily audible and localization of instruments was sharp and stable. I guess directivity has it's advantages.

Amphion xenon is very affordable loudspeaker for the quality of build and sound. It works fine with both electronic and acoustic material. The strenght of the loudspeaker is that it doesn't have any weak points. Someone might say that it doesn't shine in any aspect, but why should it?

Like always, the whole package is what matters: Somewhere between reviewing I sometimes forgot what I was doing and concentrated on music instead...

03.10.2000 - Jani Pesonen (pesonen.jani@jippii.fi) - copyright (c). audiosivut.net


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