CES Day 1: Two Great Loudspeakers

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CES Day 1: Two Great Loudspeakers

A few years ago I was impressed by the mighty little Amphion Ion, an Arctic white, desktop-size mini-monitor of extraordinary transparency. This was the first CES that I was able to experience Amphion’s flagship entry, the Krypton2. It was worth the wait. Tipping the scales at $19,900/pr this Finnish beauty exemplified full scale image cues and soundstage. One of my favorite tracks from last year is a duet between mandolinist Chris Thile and bassist Edgar Meyer [Songs of Joy & Peace: Yo Yo Ma & Friends] and this tricky balancing act of delicacy speed and low frequency acoustic slam was delivered in breathtaking fashion. For the record the Krypton2 is  a three way four-driver vented design that utilizes a cardiod dispersion pattern in the midrange (note the perforations along the side of the cabinet beside the twin 8-inch midrange transducers) to reduce and control room reflections. There’s 10-inch aluminum woofer and the tweeter is titanium integrator-type  mounted in a deep waveguide. The crossover is 120Hz and 1200Hz. It’s 87dB sensitivity and 4 ohm nominal impedance. In the large Venetian meeting room it’s never perfectly clear if all the tonal balances exactly represent the speaker–it sounded a bit dark and plumy at times–but the test for me is that throughout the rest of the day it remained the best demo I’d heard. Noteworthy too although I wasn’t able to listen to it was the smaller two way Argon3 L ($3900). Not the same beast but it does use the identical, magical tweeter and loading as the Krypton2.

ProAc Response D1
It’s not easy to follow-up a proven winner like the 12 year old ProAc Response 1SC but the new Response D1 ($2500/pr) turns the trick. Pictured with the new Response D18 ($3600/pr) It uses a ¾-inch soft dome tweeter and an all new bass driver that sports a unique acrylic damping phase plug, functional as well as terrifically cool. The cabinet profile is thinner to aid dispersion, deeper and with more damping.  It’s also 1.5dB more efficient to boot. After the listening session Distributor Richard Gerberg confided that designer Stewart Tyler felt coming up with a replacement for the venerable 1SC was one of the  toughest challenges he’s yet had to face but from what I have heard, the effort was more than worth it. The relatively full-bodied and  spacious sonics is supported by excellent dispersion and a sense of height and scale that’s out of proportion (in the best way) for such a small speaker.  I was hearing real mid-bass information, no subwoofer mind you. This made for a particularly balanced tonal character, very difficult to achieve in this size specification. As for the fabled ProAc vanishing act of yore, consider them sonically invisible.