Real if not so common sense. Such a near-field setup has a 4th benefit. It works close to a wall if the speakers comply. With their passive radiators, these do. And being time-aligned compact two-ways, there's no widely-spaced vertical driver array to enforce greater distance before everything integrates. Argon3s is a quasi point source. All of this means that the usual transgressions against living-room integration, interior real-estate disputes and decor complaints can be easily mitigated with a Pierre Sprey layout. Now there's fewer sore eyes to appease. Wall art or lovely lake views aren't partially or wholly obscured by tower speakers (or monitors on stands). Gone is the common psych issue of big loudspeakers standing in the way of lateral phantom performers which, as our brains know, can't occupy the same space at the same time. Remove the speakers from the visual equation and your grey matter has much less denial to process. With properly aligned tweeter axes, the sound will focus at or above sitting height so there are no bottle-sized performers to crawl around your carpet.
Back to loss over distance, with bass-capable speakers listened to from three meters or more set up in audiophile-typical free space, the finest treble tends to get drowned out by big long bass waves booming out of the front corners' compression zones to be counted twice or thrice as late and even later reflections. Sitting very close invokes the proximity effect to prevent that. It increases resolution and linearity from fewer losses and less room interference. Which also means that you can listen at very low SPL to hear everything there is to hear and open up music ops which respect for co-dwellers and neighbors would otherwise shut down.
Some floral arrangements between the speakers make this look even less like the typical altar to hifi which 'normal' households tend to object to or simply don't have the space to accommodate.
This floor-based near-field solution really is a win/win/win all around. And because it relies on compact speakers, you needn't pay for big cabinets (more money) and making them quiet (still more money) nor mega woofers intent on causing room boom (silly money stupidly spent on self-inflicted problems which smaller cheaper speakers won't do). Tidy 'n' easy does win for a change. Small rooms may apply. Common sense rules. And you obviously don't need a fancy Irish stand to tilt back speakers on the floor. Use some common household items like a door stop or wedge. Case closed!
So how did they sound? First amplifiers on duty were the Nord Acoustics Rev D nCore 500 monos from the UK, thus. Hypex class D power with custom input buffers and discrete Sonic Imagery opamps. This most current version is demonstrably fuller, denser and yes, warmer than the previous. As such it's no longer ideally matched to our Kroma Audio Mimí which usually work here. Those are voiced to present very rich and gravitational like über Harbeth already. For proper balance, I'd want less 'H' so something faster, leaner and more lit up all over like ultra-wide bandwidth DC-coupled amps from Bakoon, Crayon, Goldmund or LinnenberG. For the more crystalline honest Amphions meanwhile whose recording studio DNA looks at the Kroma profile as coloured, the combination for my tastes was very workable still.
What's wrong? For today, €2'800/pr stands costlier than the entire Amphion speaker pair; add-on omnipolar super tweeters; and placement far away from the wall. This is the crazy audiophile version of reality we're taking a break from. Of course you can do exactly that also with the Argon3s. But where's the fun in just following the lemmings?
As to sounding, there was little then. When a speaker isn't really voiced for a particular effect, that's what you expect. Now you can still speak to what stands out against more contoured speakers but not really to a clear self sound. By that metric, what stood out about Argon3s were uncommon clarity, high linearity, very precise sorting/scaling of the virtual stage and an advanced degree in morphing from one album to the next. The more different your different productions sound, the less you'll manage to intuit a sonic fingerprint that travels from one to the next. If everything sounds surprisingly or better, suspiciously similar no matter how well you enjoy the results, you're listening through a filter like the proverbial rose-tinted glasses. There's nothing wrong with that if the results please you. Home hifi is a hedonistic pursuit. It simply implies a deliberate if attractive alteration of data which is beyond Amphion's philosophy and Argon3s' project brief.
What's wrong with this picture? An audiophile bloke—moi—left to decoratin'. Gewalt! But you get the point. The optional grill colors open up a lot of accessorizing. Stands by Lukang Audio. Door stop wedges from local hardware store. The playlist covers poke fun at 'philes who only listen to albums that are color-matched to their system. Why restrict yourself in that fashion? Music comes in all tints and stripes. The fewer your system imposes, the more those stand out.
In my book, speakers voiced for warmth and density invariably behave a bit slower and less transparent. By contrast to that equally valid design and buying choice, Argon3s felt quicker, more lucid and crystalline, thus just as responsive to changes in preceding ancillaries as to various recordings. Especially on well-captured venue ambiance, they were most discriminating about recorded reflections and decay sprays which create those miniature ultra-brief halos around the instruments that set them off and let you 'see' space. These can be tertiary or even lower data easily obscured when—common for ports—a certain constant fuzz or miniature shimmering surrounds the midband. Argon3s was free of that subliminally swimmy texture. This meant snappier stop'n'go also in the bass to improve beat fidelity and pitch definition. In short, grand very focused staging as a hallmark of time-unconfused designs was coupled to rhythmically articulate 'in the pocket' not ponderous timing. You'd call Argon3s quick, articulate and precise, thus capable of passing on/letting through more differences from music file to music file or, if you do vinyl like John Darko, from album to album.
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