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  • New high performance Arx loudspeakers.

    This is a placeholder thread for the upcoming Arx thread. Arx will feature here and will initially include the three models we last left Acculine with: An upgraded, single-woofer A1 satellite, the dual woofer A2 MTM center and LCR speaker, and the A3 dual woofer 1000mm tower. Check back for news on this radical departure for affordable speakers starting under $300 the pair.

    In time we expect a complete Arx line ranging to large front main speakers and a range of subwoofers.

  • #2
    These sound interesting. "In fact" I have held off purchasing anything else untill the Arx become available! These seem close to H.T.D. (Home Theater Direct) level 3 speakers which also use a planar or Kapton ribbon tweeter, although I have never listened to it. The preveious Acculines seemed to be a performance to price favorite among the well tuned. Interesting to know how much better the drivers are. The Neo3 is known for producing great perfromance and sound for a ribbon. Im not sure what brand tweets are in the Arx? Thanks to Applemnit and Jon for pointing this speaker out to me.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JimW
      These sound interesting. "In fact" I have held off purchasing anything else untill the Arx become available! These seem close to H.T.D. (Home Theater Direct) level 3 speakers which also use a planar or Kapton ribbon tweeter, although I have never listened to it. The preveious Acculines seemed to be a performance to price favorite among the well tuned. Interesting to know how much better the drivers are. The Neo3 is known for producing great perfromance and sound for a ribbon. Im not sure what brand tweets are in the Arx? Thanks to Applemnit and Jon for pointing this speaker out to me.
      Arx will likely be beyond an look-alike product. Both the planar tweeter and woofer have been upgraded, and the bass section is now especially impressive, even in the little A1 satellite, while the A3 tower can nearly shake the place. We'll have much more to say about this shortly in the Arx product pages in the TAI webstore.

      Comment


      • #4
        With the improved lines it's going to be hard choosing a speaker. I myself prefer a very clean speaker with tight but moderate bass. Not overpowering bass, but nicely balanced. The size? Preferably large bookshelf, but no larger then a small tower as I will be trying to use the speakers without a subwoofer. Most of the speakers that are close to my needs are pretty expensive, thus the reason I have not purchased yet. "Well" that and my constant changing of mind! Dont worry, my Schizophrenia only resides with speaker purchases! I would like to listen mostly in Pure Direct, unless it is great digitaly recorded material Needless to say, if this or the Dana are close in the performance I am looking for, both will be a terrific value. I just hope it can fill up 3800 C.F., or I could always move up my listening chair!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JimW
          With the improved lines it's going to be hard choosing a speaker. I myself prefer a very clean speaker with tight but moderate bass. Not overpowering bass, but nicely balanced.
          I tend to configure a design to deliver a neutral to slightly warm sound, meaning these designs tend not to have the usual clinical, lean, or forward sound so many designs do these days. We want to give a relaxed, natural sound that has excellent perspective and stereo fill, and thus can be enjoyed for hours on end.

          Our group also comes from a fairly lengthy 2-channel background and we've learned just how important the entire driving system can be, from sources through amplification. You can easily hear what's going on upstream of any Arx speaker.

          IMHO, a design has to be 1) critically tuned to get the tweeter to "lock" into the midrange or midbass system, and its bass section has to be carefully balanced to achieve the proper combination of diffraction step compensation and bass definition.

          This "point in space" has to then 2) be averaged across a range of sources and systems so that a bright driving system delivers a proportionally bright sound and a warmer input delivers a proportionally warmer sound.

          I think our stuff tends to have a fairly chameleon-like quality, with the good damping and definition that keeps a speaker dynamically linear over a big range of input levels. We do not try for a house sound as some do.

          Originally posted by JimW
          The size? Preferably large bookshelf, but no larger then a small tower as I will be trying to use the speakers without a subwoofer.
          Arx launches with three models, the A1 5.25" satellite being the smallest. All three early models are 5.25" based and whether we do a 6.5"-based product remains to be seen. The 5.25" has almost double the bass of a standard 6.5" so the line tends to center on the 5.25" driver more than the 6.5" option.

          The largest early model will be the A3, and with a pair of these high-output 5.25" woofers and tuning to compliment them, has a remarkably powerful sound for its slender proportions. I love the thing for this power and authority myself, and it should find a ready home wherever someone wants to devote only the approximate floorspace of a minimonitor on a stand.

          Originally posted by JimW
          Most of the speakers that are close to my needs are pretty expensive, thus the reason I have not purchased yet. "Well" that and my constant changing of mind! Dont worry, my Schizophrenia only resides with speaker purchases! I would like to listen mostly in Pure Direct, unless it is great digitaly recorded material Needless to say, if this or the Dana are close in the performance I am looking for, both will be a terrific value. I just hope it can fill up 3800 C.F., or I could always move up my listening chair!
          We may be about to change the value metric, JimW. Arx is certainly an economy line - comes in any finish you want as long as it's black PVC - but it is a substantial upgrade to the Acculines, and they were a huge success. How this much performance in an economy wrapper plays out is anybody's guess, but one thing it'll be is interesting. ;)

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          • #6
            I am sure the new Arx line will be a great performer considering it's low cost!

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            • #7
              Arx is Live

              Arx product data is now online and the first three of ten planned models launch mid May. Let me take a minute to lay out plans as they currently stand, subject to change, etc., etc. ;)

              Arx A1 - Bass reflex satellite/monitor. Single 5.25" XBL2 woofer and single 3" planar tweeter. Black simulated ash PVC with black knit grille. Stocks mid May. $249/pr.

              Arx A2 - Bass reflex LCR/Center speaker with rotating tweeter for either vertical or horizontal use. Dual 5.25" XBL2 woofers and single 3" planar tweeter. Black simulated ash PVC with black knit grille. Stocks mid May. $189/ea.

              Arx A3 - Bass reflex floorstanding tower. Dual 5.25" XBL2 woofers and single 3" planar tweeter. Black simulated ash PVC with black knit grille. Stocks mid May. $499/pr.

              List modified 04/14/10

              Arx A4 - High-output 3-way stand monitor / theater speaker to compliment the A6. Single 6.5" XBL2 woofer, single 5.25" midrange, and single 3" planar tweeter. Black simulated ash PVC with black knit grille. Stocks Fall 2010, price TBD.

              Arx A5 - Bass reflex floorstanding tower the same size as the A3. Triple 5.25" XBL2 woofers, single 5.25" midrange, and single 3" planar tweeter. Black simulated ash PVC with black knit grille. Stocks Summer 2010, price TBD.

              Arx A6 - Large format, horizontal, sealed LCR/center speaker to compliment the A4. Dual 6.5" XBL2 woofers, single 5.25" midrange, and single 3" planar tweeter. Black simulated ash PVC with black knit grille. Stocks Fall 2010, price TBD.

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              • #8
                Jon, will the Arx be coming in any other finishes?



                Thanks for your time,


                -Nick

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jdmfish
                  Jon, will the Arx be coming in any other finishes
                  Yes. We plan two finish options, with others subject to customer demand.

                  The first is a rosewood-look PVC for all models currently offering in black PVC.

                  The second, which will appear as an upgrade option to models probably above the A3, will be hardwood veneer or solid laminated wood, depending on cost.

                  Others may be additional PVC finishes such as a light wood like maple or ash, and a medium wood-look, such as cherry. As this line expands, we'd be happy to host a reader poll. I'll see if we can post some pictures of likely candidates for readers to vote for. I'd like to see three finishes in PVC priced the same as the black, and one upgrade option to either hardwood veneer over MDF or solid laminated construction.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Folks, please note that we've added a new model to the model list, above. The A4 has been renamed the A6, and the new A4 is a simplified version of it. These two will comprise a compact, high output theater front stage, or in the case of the A4, an substantial but affordable reference stand monitor for 2-channel.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Jon, I'm really interested in your new models with the larger woofers and added midranges. Although you may not be ready to go into specifics, could you comment a little on the new models? Why the upgrade? Since the original woofer/tweeter configuration has proven so successful, what does the midrange add?

                      Also, just a recommendation. For sake of symmetry, why not call the new bookshelf A4, the new LCR A5, and then the new tower A6?

                      Thanks.

                      Ryan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the input, Ryan. The reasoning behind models A4-A6 is simply increasing output and with it, lowering distortion even further.

                        With a single regular-duty 5.25" woofer in less than ten liters, the original Acculine A1 was a small speaker, both physically and acoustically. The A2 and A3, while adding a second 5.25" driver, still bumped into limits once the installation went beyond a moderately-sized living room into a dedicated theater.

                        Of course, Arx adds important SplitGap technology, which expands the use envelope of each respective model dramatically, but we're still not ready to delve into larger dedicated theater setups if we're limited to a pair of 5.25" drivers from bass cutoff all the way to the tweeter. So, while the original "floorplan" of models A1, A2, and A3 carried over, and while SplitGap revolutionizes the line, we'd always planned to add larger speakers to the original model line when we created Arx.

                        The 6.5" SplitGap woofer gives us even more output, which gives us an opportunity to detach the midrange band from such a high excursion low frequency system. With roughly three and a half times the volume displacement of a single regular duty 5.25" driver, a SplitGap 6.5" has very low distortion and the tendency may be to drive the speaker harder, moving the cone perhaps an inch or more. If we do so, we'll want to think about isolating the midrange.

                        Lastly, multiple drivers allow us higher sensitivities, which opens up the Arx line for use with smaller two channel amplifiers for audiophiles. With distortion this low and linearity this high, a high-resolution Arx stereo setup is in the cards, even run from sub-25 watt amplifiers.

                        Summing up, adding a dedicated, purpose-built midrange lets us do a few things we couldn't otherwise.
                        • Use SplitGap's full excursion capability in the bass without modulating the midrange
                        • Increase the size of the bass drivers and systems for more output without compromising the midrange
                        • Develop a special midrange-only 5.25" to use throughout the line's larger models
                        • Develop models with twice the sensitivity of the A1 or more
                        • Convert to true 3-way designs for added benefits over the 2.5-way A3 system, previous top of the line

                        As far as the reasoning behind the A4, A5, and A6, it goes like this:
                        • The A4 is aimed at mixed use or two channel use when a compact, high resolution stand monitor with nearly full output is needed on a budget. With a single 6.5" SplitGap woofer in a bass reflex alignment, the A4 doesn't have appreciably more bass or sensitivity when compared to the original A1, but it does have the ability to really fill the room, all the while enhancing resolution due to the dedicated midrange driver.
                        • The A5 expands on the A3 in a really natural way: Using the A3 cabinet, it adds one more SplitGap 5.25" woofer, but then it isolates the midrange in a dedicated driver. We get enormous bass output from an A3-sized system, and we retain all the advantages we expect in a three way. We also raise the system's sensitivity. The net result is simply more, cleaner sound. IMHO, in acoustical terms, the upcoming A5 could be the fullrange speaker to beat in the ID channel under $1500.
                        • The compact, sealed A6 returns to the A4's basic layout but adds one more woofer. As with the A5, this allows us to "let out" the midrange and treble drivers, raising the system sensitivity and with multiple voice coils, adding power handling. As with the A4 and A5, we also pick up lowered distortion and greater resolution. With a sealed enclosure, the A6 will find it's place in high output LCR theater systems crossed over to subwoofers, or as the center channel speaker for the A4.

                        Now, as far as model naming, I can't say that we really thought it through all that well. ;) The A4 is a stand monitor with slightly less maximum output than the A5 tower, and it's the most compact of the A4-A6 range, so to keep it closer to the smaller models in the original, A1-A3 line, we simply called it A4.

                        The A5 was a floorstanding upgrade to, and acoustically larger than the A3, so it came after the A4. And the A6 was deemed the highest-output model of these three models, so it migrated to the top of the pile.

                        At any rate, I really appreciate the input and I'd encourage anyone to tell us what they think. We tend to have an open ear to the customer and reader base, so please keep the observations and suggestions coming.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jon,

                          Do you have estimated sensitivity, FR, and pre-sale price info on the Arx A5 tower?

                          I'm trying to decide if the A3 will be 'enough speaker' for me or if I will wait for the A5. I enjoy music from Diana Krall's 'Live in Paris' to ACDC's new Iron Man 2 album (at stupid-loud volume levels). My listening room is 12ft by 10 ft. I'm thinking the A5 may be necessary for the increased output required to fill my space.

                          On another note, how wide is the soundstage that the A3/A5 towers project? A Wide, enveloping soundstage is very important to me and I have no contact with ribbon tweeters. All of my listening would be done while seated in the sweet spot, but for movies, I have a sectional couch that people all over would need to be able to enjoy clear dialog. I am using a competent subwoofer (Elemental Designs 18" sealed A7s-450 w/ eQ.2 parametric EQ) for both movies and music.

                          Best Regards

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BufordTJustice
                            Do you have estimated sensitivity, FR, and pre-sale price info on the Arx A5 tower?
                            Yes, at least 90dB / 1W / 1M. We'll probably rate it as a 6 ohm system too.

                            I'm trying to decide if the A3 will be 'enough speaker' for me or if I will wait for the A5. I enjoy music from Diana Krall's 'Live in Paris' to ACDC's new Iron Man 2 album (at stupid-loud volume levels). My listening room is 12ft by 10 ft. I'm thinking the A5 may be necessary for the increased output required to fill my space.
                            Interesting - 10 x 12 isn't big, but "stupid-loud" may change the usual equation, depending on what you mean. The A5 is intriguing and let's come back to it in a moment. By the way, be careful of your hearing concerning high levels and long periods of time.

                            First, the A3 is a very solid speaker, especially for the size. It's more powerful and effortless than that size would at all indicate, and it can stand in for a front main system in a fairly large system running "darn loud" if not exactly "stupid loud". I get a very wide, lateral soundstage out of it, with excellent image focus, and the ability to hang together when being hit with lots of HT-style midrange energy.

                            (As an aside, we designed and voiced Arx to not emulate so many HT-only speakers on the market these days - those forward, edgy, "flat" designs that are actually a few dB hot in the upper midwoofer band. Arx is more neutral and depending on room and setup, typically has the full, musically-natural sound you want and get from a speaker with adequate diffraction step compensation - in other words, these aren't bookshelf speakers, although the A1 with its port blocked - as shipped - makes a fine multi-purpose monitor.)

                            So the A3 has a bunch of power on tap and in 10x12, would be quite likely to please. But the A5 adds 50% more bass system and dedicates the entire mid-band to its own, custom driver, which is where design options open up and interesting things should happen, which we'll find out in June's design sessions - no guarantees yet but the CAD looks very promising so far. We developed the Arx midrange from scratch and it has a nice list of speed parts too:

                            • Matching cast alloy frame
                            • Ultra-light cone and moving assembly
                            • Critically-damped, curvilinear cone profile
                            • Machined alloy phase plug
                            • Low-loss suspension
                            • Very wide bandwidth
                            • High output


                            This part can keep up with a trio of SplitGap woofers at roughly 90dB, which makes this a quite different speaker than the A3, as solid as the A3 really is.

                            The end result is an A5 with prodigious bass power for a slender tower in literally the modest A3 cabinet. (We removed the false floor and mass loading chamber the A3 has in order to gain the added air volume we needed for the bigger A5 bass system.) We can then bump the midrange into its own range, protecting it and lowering IM distortion at high levels. Finally, we raise the midrange-to-treble crossover in order to protect the planar tweeter.

                            Whether the A5 is right for a room sized like yours depends on the other characteristics of that room plus your setup parameters. By the way, the new Arx user guide is online in each of their product pages and it has some pointers about crossing speakers over and how to use the convertible Arx bass system.

                            On another note, how wide is the soundstage that the A3/A5 towers project? A Wide, enveloping soundstage is very important to me and I have no contact with ribbon tweeters. All of my listening would be done while seated in the sweet spot, but for movies, I have a sectional couch that people all over would need to be able to enjoy clear dialog. I am using a competent subwoofer (Elemental Designs 18" sealed A7s-450 w/ eQ.2 parametric EQ) for both movies and music.
                            The soundstage is darn wide, BTJ. All models use premium crossover components and have imaging that with the right sources and equipment easily exceeds the width of the speaker placement - they disappear well and they'll test the sound of whatever they're being driven with. Really quite engaging.

                            Concerning directivity, as with the Acculines before them the Arx have wider, flatter, more pistonic diaphragms than the usual 25mm dome does, and are somewhat more directional. However, as a bonus, the image may therefore be tuned by playing with the toe-in. In your case, this will be a big advantage and you'll be able to get the tone color you want by how much you toe the L&R speakers. Along with an A2, either that A3 or A5 should deliver a sofa full of your closest friends a massive listening experience.

                            Lastly, that sub (18" @ 450w?) sounds like it'd get along with either the A3 or A5, but either will need to be set to blend to it perfectly. We go into that in the user guide. But if you're looking for the most dynamic headroom, the A5 is a good 50% larger (acoustically) nearly across the board.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jon, Your reply stunned me both by the amount of info provided and the fact that it's a WEEKEND and you typed all this out. Kudos to you sir.

                              I guess I should clarify on the dimension of my living room; it is only separated from a 10'x12' kitchen by a countertop. There is no attic and the ceiling above the listening space peaks at around 13 feet in the center (above the countertop) and slopes down to between 8' and 9' at the edges (this entire space spans from the front to the rear of my house, if that helps paint the picture).

                              So, I said all that to show that when I need to fill a space, its not a small space (there are bigger, I'm sure). I have a background in FOH live sound mixing for several years (think JBL Vertec Line-array, 9 boxes per side w/ 12 subs lining the stage). I'm a liberal with the volume at times, but the 'jam sessions' are short lived. My ears have to cool just as much as the voice coils. ;) I don't abuse equipment, but I'll drive the system to 100-ish dB average for a song or two.

                              I am currently using a pair of The now-defunct Speaker Company's TST3 dual 8" 3-way towers. They sounded good for the time that the tweeter in the right tower held-out. Before the break-in period was done (i.e. no reference level music...nothing even close to that), the right tweeter started distorting badly. I had TSC send me another tweeter that I replaced only to encounter the same issue. After the 2nd tweeter blew, I replaced both with the Vifa 1" soft dome tweeter on sale at Parts Express (it stated it was 6ohms and just 1dB short on sensitivity). This solved my problem, but I sacrificed a LOT of sensitivity...and I think I'm getting some VC inductance impedance-stacking (non technical terms here) in the high end...there's just no 'air' or presence to the speakers anymore and the soundstage has shrunk greatly. No more distortion, but it seems the crossover is causing some phase-issues in the right tower; I guess that might have been the issue all along. I said all that to say that it's probably only a matter of time till the right tower completely fails.

                              Can you give an estimated price for the A5? Obviously, the raw materials costs will go up (more drivers, new crossover design, plus R&D on a new midrange), and until design is finalized, only a ballpark can be provided.

                              Will the A5 have the ARX bass system?

                              Also, can you estimate the port tuning frequency (and, thus, the bass roll-off) of the A5? I'm using an NAD T751 as a pre-amp and can only select from an 80Hz hi-pass or none-at-all. I'm trying to figure if it would be safe to run the A3/A5 speakers full range (obviously, LFE would still go to the sub) for movies and music. It seems that it would be a waste of some pretty ingenious engineering to cross the A5 or even the A3 at 80Hz. I could make 80Hz work with some decent bookshelves, right....and I'm really looking for a good excuse to get some towers again.

                              Can you provide a figure in mm's for the X-max of the XBL2 drivers?

                              Lastly, are there any reviews (like audioholics or the like) planned for the A3 tower?

                              I'm sorry for all the questions, but you seem to know your stuff and I'm just plain curious. You did this to yourself by being courteous and knowledgeable. :mrgreen:

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