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Modern hifi must integrate into a lifestyle rather than languish in the audiophile man cave
. "Actually an increasing amount of manufacturers and customers get this. What people generally still don't grasp is how there's more to this than aesthetics. Much more.

"Especially in the loudspeaker world the realities change drastically between the sunlight of the living room and the darkness of the audiophile man cave which no other living soul is allowed to enter. If a loudspeaker is optimized for a man cave or normal hifi shop environment it works best only if placed relatively far from the front wall and other boundaries. In the shop environment this can even be a plus as exchanging cables for example is easier. In the man cave nobody cares and the added benefit is that one gets extra space to showcase those fancy expensive cables on risers.

"But as the audiophiles of the world crawl out of their caves the realities of life hit hard. 'If you want to place your loudspeakers in the living room, honey they must be close to the wall.' Boom, boom, panic! It simply is not enough for a manufacture to make a slim box and paint it pretty. That would be way too easy. Changing the whole approach from products optimized for the man cave to products optimized for the modern living room is more difficult and perhaps impossible for some as the design parameters are suddenly 180° reversed.

"Instead of optimizing things for one microphone placed at 1 meter one needs to start with in-room energy responses and all those horrible things which are non-standardized and room dependent. I would predict that this is tough to stomach for quite a few control-oriented engineers. And even for those who make the reversal finding, getting their bearings in a radically changed environment will take time. 

"In Finland we have about a 100-year head start on these matters as we were the first European nation to grant women the right to vote in 1907. Since then the decisions men needed to make on what goes on in the living room have been few and far between.

"We all know that very little happens in the loudspeaker industry in 100 years. Good old dynamic drivers are still jogging along as the main solution. Over the past 13 years we have managed to come up with a speaker range which is actually optimized for normal living rooms, not audiophile men caves and hifi show rooms with their half circles of speakers in the middle of the floor.

"Due to controlled dispersion and innovative new bass loading our speaker work well close to the wall. That's exactly where your better half demands them to be. She happy, you happy, everybody happy.

"There's another conclusion out of all this. Contrary to conventional audiophile wisdom, women really do not hate loudspeakers. They just hate ugly loudspeakers."

To learn more about Amphion's bass loading, I asked designer Corrado Faccioni of Corfac2 to shed some light. "Concerning innovative bass loading I have utilized the experience gained over the years in both the pro and consumer sides of  the industry to come up with cabinet designs which are not compromised to the same degree traditional reflex types are. The performance is especially interesting in real world placements i.e. when placing our floorstanders close to walls or other boundaries. To saveguard our IP I obviously cannot tell in full detail what we are doing but hopefully the following summary will be sufficient enough to describe the benefits.

"In the Helium 520 in comparison to traditional reflex-type loadings for example, our design allows for a drastic increase in output and damping throughout the midbass region while the lower frequency performance is very much similar to a quarter-wave transmission line behavior with an FB frequency identical to reflex loading. Another good example of a different way of bass loading is the Argon3L. By building the enclosure into separate resonating compartments we keep the bass-frequency extent from interfering with midrange clarity. Loading the speaker internally by proprietary resonance controlling braces which through optimized placement also damp out standing waves we get much more output extension than one normally would and maintain tonality and tightness even when the cabinet is placed close to the wall. Especially those music lovers who also like to watch movies at home have found the Argon3L a great provider of two-channel sound also for movies. Bass extends low enough (average room response to 30Hz) where for most a subwoofer is not needed. A low crossover point helps to create widebanded pinpoint three-dimensional soundstaging without a center channel and voices originate from where the eye/brain places them. For late-night listening pleasure the clarity and tonal balance remain unchanged even at low listening levels."

Helium 410 color options