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Arx A2rx-c several weeks in

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  • Arx A2rx-c several weeks in

    Well I've had my 2 a2rx-c for several weeks now. So figured I'd share some of my impressions. I have one setup with a5's in a 5.1 setup driven with an onkyo 809 and the other paired with a1's and an older onkyo 609. Most of my critical listening is on the A5 setup but the A2 blends really well with the A1's as left and right as well.

    I have to say after some initial hiccups these have really impressed me. I had upgraded from a mirage omnisat setup to the a5's earlier in the year and was really happy with the upgrade and how this was a great performance vs cost type upgrade. I have been using an a1 as a center and was pleased with it but was anxious to see what the actual center channel that Jon designed would bring to the table, especially after all the production delays it proved to have prior to shipping in it's current form. Long story short, they were worth the wait!

    I got them promptly after seeing the shipping notification and they were packed extremely well and were a cinch to get setup. I liked that they came with the plugs to run them ported or not right out of the box based on user preference. I unpacked the first one and set it up where the a1 used to be. The speaker is relatively large compared to some entry level centers you may see such as HTIB and energy take sets etc. But it is very well built and the black oak veneer is well done if a little ordinary. Personally I prefer my speakers to blend into the background. I prefer a really high performance to cost type ratio so I like to see my money going into the actual engineering and parts of the speaker versus the looks.

    I went to my goto LOTR Fellowship opening sequence where there is great dynamic action scenes as well as kate blanchett's haunting voice over along with a great score. As it was playing I detected some slight buzz at certain points in the scenes. I played several times and confirmed it was there at different volumes on multiple runs and I wasn't imagining it. I swapped back to the a1 and didn't hear any issues and then unpacked the other a2 and it was also clean sounding. Uh oh.... I shot an email to TAI asking if anything else I should check other than the tweeter connections. Jon responded in 15 min with a few suggestions along with a reminder about how the arx really need a break in period to sound their best. He also said if the problem continued to let him know and they would get another speaker sent out ASAP. Great customer service as always!

    I pulled the tweeter off (four screws is all it takes and it's designed to be easily pulled out and rotated for a horizontal or vertical setup) and the connections were there but one was a little loose (didn't appear to be an issue) I also unscrewed the speaker terminals and confirmed they were tight as well. Upon looking at the inside of the speaker you can really see this thing is built like a tank. After getting everything all buttoned back up, I went through the LOTR scenes and no buzz. I could not get that thing to sound bad no matter what I threw at it. I even used some Rub and Buzz type test signals (HOHD) and I could not get the speaker to so much as stutter. I have to say though that Jon is definitely correct in the break in period. I personally was not a big believer to break in with speakers. My A5 and A1 did open up a bit, but it wasn't anything all that dramatic and I'm sure it was a gradual thing that I became used to over time (they were B-stock so already had some break in prior to me getting them). For the A2 though I will say that the break in was very much a real thing. They sounded very good right out of the box but they were a little hollow sounding compared to my previous A1 center. After a week or so of use though they definitely warmed up and are very full sounding now. There is a very clear difference in how they sound now versus when I just plugged them in.

    Overall the A2rx-c is a really amazing speaker. It digs much deeper than I would have expected and the clarity of the dialog of everything from action movies, to sports on broadcast TV, to the local evening news is really something. The clarity of the mid-higher frequencies is really noteworthy. Previous to this I almost always listened to music in pure direct mode or stereo but this speaker sounds so good I have found myself doing multi-channel music more often just as an excuse to use it more. I was recently sitting very far off center axis of the speaker and was playing on my phone when I looked up at the television program that my kids were watching and realized that, DAMN this thing sounds great even this far off of the optimal seating position. It was really eye, er.. ear opening to see how big of a soundstage this thing puts out. I am very glad that I replaced the A1 that I was using for center with as it just puts out a much more dynamic and large soundstage than the A1 was capable of. It is similar sound as far as the really detailed mids and highs but just "bigger". As far as the mirage it replaced in the second setup it's not even a contest there. The A2 is also cheaper than what I originally paid for the mirage so a bonus there!

    In summary I would highly recommend the a2rx-c as a center channel and I have to say my interest is very much piqued as to how these would do in an LCR or L+R setup. If your looking to save some money or have some space contstraints where towers may not be viable I think these would have to be very high on the list of contenders. If you take the overall performance, relatively low price compared to other more well known advertised brands, and the great customer service that Jon Lane and crew provide these really are great speakers that you should seriously consider.

  • #2
    Smiji - Thank you for a terrific review. Jon is not only adamant about sound quality, he is a big believer in stuff one rarely finds at these price levels like 3/4 inch walls on all our speakers.

    Thank you for being so thorough. :)