I did some of my own snooping around when John Richardson's Argon3s review hit on Part-Time Audiophile to net it their Editor's Choice ribbon. He explains how the name Argon might tie in. As a 'noble' gas, this element doesn't like to react to other compounds. It's considered inert or happy by itself. One of John's test amps was Naim's 40wpc Uniti Atom integrated and he "shoved the Amphions almost up against the wall" where "they were just as resolving and spacious sounding as they were on stands well away from room boundaries up in the attic listening area". Compared to his passive ATC SCM 100, he found them to be "more expressive and colorful… a bit less refined in the midrange (not necessarily a bad thing)… and the upper bass is more pronounced."
He reported satisfying results with FirstWatt F7 and SIT-3 amps as well as a Dennis Had Inspire SET but fared his very best on the powerful Pass Labs X250.8 to call the Amphions "most certainly vivid". I would try our XA30.8 for passage on that good ship. Other words from his review were versatile due to ease of placement; and focused, plucky and addictive.
In short, not a word about flat-lined sterility as that lingering fear some people still have when they hear the word 'studio monitor' or consider a speaker that's derived from one. And as Amphion's Pro models show, this one certainly is derived from them but dressed up and tweaked.
If you want to research where in Finland Amphion speakers are made, visit the tourist center of their town Kuopio "surrounded by lake Kallavesi where much of Kuopio has been developed on islands. Indeed, one third of Kuopio is water and a half forest." Not a concrete jungle then but lots of water and trees plus three popular ski resorts. Anssi and team are sure slumming it.
From Anssi's interview with Pro Audio Clube: "One thing people tend to forget is that one can never evaluate a monitor without the room it's in. We never just hear the direct sound from the speaker but always listen to the sum of reflections and direct sound. If we can ensure that the off-axis response is correct and controlled, you get a speaker which works in a stable and predictable manner in a wide range of acoustic spaces. The aim is to come up with a speaker that's predictable and similar sounding in various rooms, be they acoustically treated or live… The interesting thing about a correctly executed passive radiator is that not only does it improve the bass (tighter, quicker, no overhang, better tonality) but also loads the room in a more natural controlled way…
"Interestingly these benefits are also clear and very evident in the midrange, overall dynamics and transfer of energy. I honestly don't know why people don't use them more. The reason probably is that in order to show off a lot of these benefits, the acoustical engineering of the product needs to be pretty good so that you can keep it electrically as simple and transparent as possible.. When you read about loudspeakers, the main emphasis tends to be on their electrical aspects i.e. crossovers, the quality of electrical components, possible use of DSP. I believe this comes from the fact that most manufacturers view loudspeakers as mainly electrical devices. For us a speaker is an acoustical device. Whatever we can achieve acoustically, we don't have to try to fix electrically." In other words, keep it simple by getting it right so no crutches are required. With more than 20 years of refining the Amphion recipe behind it, today's Argon3s as their top home monitor in 2019 sits on a rock-solid foundation of proven engineering solutions.
From AudioTechnology's interview with mastering pro Ben Feggans: "One aspect I really enjoyed was the ability to use the Amphions at low listening levels. Due to their fast transients, I noticed that you could accurately hear changes when using compression and other types of dynamics processing. Small EQ changes are very discernible, allowing you to sculpt sound into pockets, chipping away part by part so that each frequency sits in the right place within the spectrum. Once this is correct, the music envelopes you with a powerful, balanced, detailed sound." Being able to listen quietly yet "see all" is key for home users. They share an environment with others and could have neighbors close by. For every rock-down-the-house exception, there'll be untold opportunities to listen if one could just keep the volume down and not feel deprived. And, one could listen for a lot longer before fatigue sets in. Low-level intelligibility makes that possible. It's one of the most vital specs for home hifi speakers yet rarely talked about. From my prior reviews, I already knew that Amphions are very good at it. Being able to rock is one thing; having to constantly rock just to sound good quite another. That's only for social misfits and still immortal youngsters who don't realize that listening too loud causes long-term hearing damage. As such, being able to turn things down without getting opaque, distanced and slightly vague is a big asset.
Anssi again: "Another thing that might be interesting to know is that due to our high resolution, transparency, phase coherency and precise imaging, a growing number of manufacturers have used or started to use our products for their own R&D. On the hifi side these include Hegel, Vitus Audio and The Chord company (cables). On the pro side both hardware and DSP development, there's Bricasti, TK Audio, Oeksound, Hendy, Spitfire, Wes and Acustica. Most of these names won't be familiar to even dedicated audiophiles though they're highly regarded products in their own fields. How is this relevant to a person who wants to enjoy their favorite music just the way the artist, producer and mastering engineer intended? In this world of über promotions and over endorsements, one thing is certain. While we will never know why a certain VIP or opinion leader chooses a certain product, a manufacturer will always use the best possible tools they can find or afford. No serious manufacturer would ever risk that their own product falls short because they used a quality-control tool they obtained for free."