Made in Finland these floorstanding loudspeakers from Amphion cost £3600. LIonel Payne takes a listen for Hifi Pig. 

Amphion Loudspeakers are based in Kuopio, Finland and were established in 1998. Although they began life as manufacturers of loudspeakers solely for the domestic market, more recently they have moved into the professional and studio market and I understand this has been a very successful move.

CONSTRUCTION 

The Amphion Argon 7LS are an updated version of the Argon 7L’s and I’m reliably informed that there are several subtle alterations with one major difference being the replacement of the twin rear ports for a pair of passive radiators. Amphion explains, correctly in my opinion, that this change produces a much more even, flatter response in the lower regions as ports tend to be tuned to one specific frequency and can sometimes produce a chuffing sound. The bass response of these loudspeakers cannot be faulted at the price point but I will write more on this later in my review.

Standing 1160mm high with a width of 191mm and depth of 305mm, the Argon 7LS’ s have a modern understated elegance about their appearance. Available in a choice of standard black or white or a premium walnut veneer finish with further colour options for the fixed grills, they are a two-way design with the titanium 25mm dome tweeter set into a Corian waveguide which helps with dispersion as well as creating excellent integration with the two 165mm aluminium woofers which flank it in D’Appolito fashion. The crossover point between woofers and tweeter is set at an unusually low 1600Hz which allows the tweeter to handle all of the critical hearing range of 2 to 5kHz.

My review pair arrived in white with black grills and black plinth. I’ve never ever considered that I would like to have a pair of white loudspeakers before, but quite surprisingly, I really found them attractive as they blended well within my décor.  Round the back are the two aluminium passive drivers and a single pair of speaker terminals. These terminals are like nothing I’ve seen before: made of heavy duty plastic, they will take both banana plugs or spades and, despite my initial reservations, I came to rather like and appreciate their well thought-out design.

SOUND QUALITY 

One of the biggest selling points for these Amphion loudspeakers must surely be their claim that they are less susceptible to boundary interaction than most. I’m often asked what is the most important part within the Hifi chain and most people are astonished at my answer of – “your listening room itself”. I’m sure anyone ever attending a Hifi show can fully understand this after hearing what appear to be amazing systems fail miserably simply because they do not work correctly within the constraints of the room allocated to the exhibitioner.  

I was extremely keen to test the Amphion claims and set about moving the loudspeakers closer and further away from both back and side walls. I can happily report that unless you plan to put these speakers virtually touching the back wall there shouldn’t be a problem with their placement. Of course, that’s not to say that given the opportunity to play with their placement, you will not be rewarded. I actually preferred their mid-band presentation the most when I had the speakers around a metre from the back wall: this provided a real presence and veracity to both male and female vocals in particular. However, the Argon 7LS loudspeakers are great communicators and can be thoroughly enjoyed from any position.

The largest compliment I can give to a loudspeaker is that they simply disappear and let you enjoy the flow and rhythm of the music and this is exactly what the Argons do. If I were to highlight any particular strength that they possess, I would have to pinpoint their superb bass control and output. They reach a claimed 28Hz at the low end and I don’t doubt that figure for an instant. However, I have heard many a loudspeaker reach these kind of lows and still get the overall balance wrong, but happily the Amphions are bang on with their heft, tightness and sheer dexterity. Anyone who loves to pick out the bass guitarist, or indeed the drummer within the soundtrack will love these speakers. Listening to the re-mastered Beatles classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a case in point: my favourite track from this legendary album is the final one, A Day In The Life, and the reproduction of Ringo’s drumming is superb – or to quote the lyrics from the song in order to express my reaction  – “Oh Boy !”

I paired the Argons with several amplifiers and found them all to be a good match. My reference Musical Fidelity Tri Vista 300 hybrid amplifier worked a treat and the Argons clearly highlighted the strengths of this amplifier’s dexterity at the low end of the sound spectrum.

Listening to the track ‘Horsemen’ by New Model Army from their ‘Between Dog And Wolf’ album was a real treat. The track opens with an incessant low drum beat and an ethereal female humming. Listen carefully and there are also a few strikes of drumsticks upon one another and some background clapping in tune with the drumbeats. The Argons produced all of these sounds with great separation of the individual instruments in a most impressive manner.

Moving on to something a little gentler I put on Damien Rice’s album ‘Live From The Union Chapel’. Listening to the haunting duet between Rice and Lisa Hannigan ‘Then Go’ from this album highlights how well the titanium tweeter handles the vast majority of the midrange. Rice and Hannigan’s vocals intertwine beautifully and the acoustic environment is very well laid out. Other amplifiers used were a pair of Nord One SE UP NC500 Mono blocks (Class D) paired with a Morgan S500 valve preamplifier, an original Rega Elicit integrated as well as an old classic Audio Innovations S500 integrated valve amplifier pushing out a mere 25 watts per channel (8 Ohms). All these amplifiers had the Amphion Argon 7LS’s singing beautifully. Particular mention should be made of the partnership with the AI S500 classic valve amplifier as the pairing were extremely well  matched and proved that the loudspeakers are easily driven and present a fairly benign load.

CONCLUSION 

At a price of £3600 the Amphion Argon 7LS’s are in a very competitive market with many rivals. What a product needs in this situation is a unique selling point and I believe the Argons have just that ! You wouldn’t believe the number of audiophile friends that I have who struggle from one equipment change to the next without addressing the major fault within their system – the room itself. However, here is an alternative – a pair of loudspeakers that work extremely well in almost all rooms. If you do have a difficult listening room (there are many of you out there) you owe it to yourself to book a home demonstration of these loudspeakers. For those of you that have a non-problematic listening room please don’t discount these Amphions as they are rather good with that wonderful quality of being able to simply disappear and let you listen to the music. And if you love listening to tuneful and powerful bass notes then you should definitely give these a listen.

The Amphion Argon 7LS are highly recommended.

AT A GLANCE

Build Quality : Very well made and solid design

Sound Quality : Good overall sound with tremendous, dexterous bass

Value For Money : If you have a difficult listening space they could prove to be an absolute bargain

Pros : Fantastic bass response. Does what a loudspeaker should : it gets out of the way and lets you simply listen to the music. Ideal choice for audiophiles with a difficult listening room.

Cons : In a price range that has many competitive rivals. 

Price : £3600

Lionel Payne

Copyright Hifi Pig 

No part of this review may be published in part or in full without the prior consent of the editor of Hifi Pig 

Submitted for publication March 19th 2018 by email 

 

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