Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Vinnie Rossi LIO with AVT, COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE UP NC500MB; LinnenberG Audio Liszt
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver; Titan Audio Eros power cord
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €4'500/pr in paints, €4'800/pr in Walnut veneer

Recording studio at the edge of Norway with Amphion pro monitors.

Amphibian fi? Not if it's, a Finnish speaker house which began in home hifi before going pro. This expansion split into two lines and engineering philosophies: ports for the home, passive radiators for the studio. Because split personalities aren't just bad for psychology but business behind a unified front, Amphion boss Anssi Hyvönen slowly trickled his passive radiators into the home models. Today he can appear in a promotional video and without forked tongue challenge that "ports should be outlawed for hifi". At right we see how the specs changed between old ported and new passive-radiator Argon7. Only sensitivity and minimum drive power are affected. The former drops by 2dB to show an efficiency advantage for the ports. Clearly that wasn't the reason for radiators. No, their advantage lies in the time domain. Oscillating air in a port tube gets upgraded to the equivalent mass of a weighted cone that's electrically unattached (hence 'passive' radiator). Thus the ABR aka auxiliary bass radiator exhibits superior damping and lower group delay.*

* Examples of other brands which champion passive radiators include Buchardt, Definitive, GoldenEar and Kaiser.

Framed casually, the ABR stops quicker and doesn't cause bloating. But it still adds output over a sealed design to allow a smaller box to make lower louder bass than it otherwise would. It's how a pair of 6.5" aluminium mid/woofers can hit 28Hz @ -3dB inside a compact cab. The specifications above give you all the rest. What the photos add is that to your room's air, the 1" Titanium tweeter looks like a 6.5" unit because the throat of its shallow waveguide expands to the same diameter as the bracketing mid/woofers. This is done for smoother dispersion continuity between the drivers so the ear can't glom onto a seam. The fancy term for that is directivity control.

Being Scandinavian, the Argon7LS can't help but flaunt timelessly minimalist cosmetics. Different colours for easily reseated metal perf grills plus monochrome white, white with black waveguide, monochrome black plus Walnut veneer finishes make for a plethora of stylistic statements. If the bumper sticker for rodeo riders is that "we do it in seven seconds", one for the Amphions might read "we do it in substance with style". Where competitors bend over backwards to disguise or overcome the boxiness of their boxes with rounded edging or boat-hull backs, Amphion turn being rectangular into a virtue. For once speaker propaganda doesn't mention internal standing waves. Neither does this one go off on composite enclosure materials, exotic membranes or proprietary crossovers. Sometimes there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Talking points are metal diaphragms, controlled directivity, 1'600Hz filter hinge and ABR bass loading. Isn't that enough?

The above was penned March 2017 after Amphion's marketing communications liaison Georgi Lazarov, ex Antelope, had identified the model I was to review. By May 15th 2018 he checked in with apologies for the delay.

"I’m writing to you now as we have a redesigned version of our crossover which even better implements in Argon7LS. The feedback from the just concluded Munich show gives us confidence that now they will be a good subject for a review."

I was asked to pick from the finish options and selected all white with sky-blue grills as the most photogenic fit with our décor. If you don't think that looks matter, you're probably (ouch!) a caveman.