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2014
10.17

Chane A1rx-c review

Writing for CNET, Steve Guttenberg auditions the Chane A1rx-c.

Stereo imaging was so wide and spacious that when I listened at night with the room lights off, the speakers’ locations disappeared. The stereo image’s depth, focus and precision let me hear each instrument and vocal in bold relief. MA Recordings’ CDs have extraordinary dynamic range, and the A1rx-c let me hear and feel it! Norah Jones “Come Away With Me” SACD sounded immediate and closer than what I was getting from audiophile CDs. I’m doing my best here to nail down the A1rx-c ‘s sound, but that’s next to impossible, the speaker sounds different with every album. That’s always a good sign.

It’s always good to connect to the music even more than the sound.

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2014
03.21

A Chane ‘Arx’ A5 Initiation Listening Party

Writing at Home Theater Shack, Wayne Myers highlights the Chane ‘Arx’ A5.

[Chane 'Arx'] speakers may never have the household name status of some prominent brands, but they will certainly be known by those who hear them properly as experience speakers. “I had an Arx experience at a friend’s place recently. Wow.” They make it hard to go back home.

An excerpt from another A5 fan in the thread:

[W]e have reviewed about two dozen speakers ranging up to $3500 per pair using the same model for evaluation that we did in the first session where the Arx 5 was so well received. While there are certainly things that many of the more expensive speakers do better, by a very small margin, I continue to be intrigued and pleased, and continue to discover something new in music that I have been listening to for many years. The emotional connection to the music is certainly one of the things that the A5 delivers on. As I said in the review, very few speakers call me to listen more, or call me when listening from a distance. It is hard to describe how pleased I am with this product.

-Leonard Caillouet

The improved A5rx-c launches later this year.

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2013
09.11

Home Theater Shack tests the Chane ‘Arx’ A5 as one of eight contenders in $1,000 speaker shootout

Recently four listeners at Home Theater Shack spent a weekend getting to know eight speaker models around $1,000. The Chane ‘Arx’ A5 was one of them ($750/pr).

The results are interesting.

An excerpt from the commentary:

It was after completing the auditioning of the A5s thoroughly when I realized that what stood out about them was an overall sense of refinement. I could picture the design process carried out to the point where the measurements and listening characteristics seemed just about perfect, but one bothersome little detail would elicit a “Nope, that is not good enough,” and another level of refinement would follow. Attention to detail above and beyond the call, and applied repeatedly, all ultimately carried out with a sense of elegance and resulting in the A5 towers.

Click through to read the entire report.  The Chane ‘Arx’ A5 has again been found to be an excellent loudspeaker.

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2013
07.08

Stew Nelles: Long Term Chane ‘Arx’ A1b Review

At Affordable Audio Stew Nelles spends a lot of time with the A1b.

He likes it. Excerpts:

If the designer’s goal was to produce the best $300 loudspeaker possible given the manufacturing cost constraints and landed costs, I think he (as in the gender inclusive he/she) may have failed. If the cost consideration or direct comparisons were closer to double the price, I think that would be more fair to the competition. If one were to remove the price sticker from the A1bs, I think many may find the A1bs competitive with many speakers that sell for triple the price … no foolin’.

[...]

As someone who is a “PRAT” type and dedicated full-range single driver aficionado, the A1bs easily pass my musical litmus test. They are fast enough to be believable as ultra-bandwidth full-rangers rather than a two-way design. Here’s the quickest, shortest possible summary: The A1bs represent a “PRAT” type sound, loaded with hi-fi (sound-staging, imaging,etc.) attributes at an incredibly low price. I don’t think I can make any higher recommendation.

The A1b is a bona fide alternative for the music lover looking for the sound of an expensive, musical monitor in an economy wrapper.  Special technologies, very low-distortion drivers, expert design, solid construction by an industry leader, and extensive fine tuning guarantee superb value from this model and is siblings.  Read the entire review at the link above.

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2013
02.14

Jim Wilson on the Chane ‘Arx’ A1b

At Home Theater Shack, Jim Wilson finds real music in the affordable Arx A1b:

…I started to dig deeper and deeper into my CD collection looking for old favorites, complex musical passages and songs with indecipherable lyrics for one simple reason; to see if I could trip up these speakers. I wasn’t really able to. Regardless of what I threw at them they always put a smile on my face. There were a few instances where I was able to make a little more sense from previously incomprehensible wording (I’m looking at you Steven Tyler). It wasn’t like the clouds parted and all of the sudden I could make out everything that was being mumbled — I mean sang — by some of these artists, but more than once I had an ‘ah ha!’ moment where a very familiar song finally gave up a few of its secret words. That’s something that often happens with good headphones.

The soundstage is equally remarkable; stand up, sit down, move to the side, whatever, it hardly made any difference. The balance changed very little unless you got way off center. The proverbial “sweet spot” is more like a “sweet area” instead, so you aren’t necessarily penalized for sitting in the ‘wrong’ seat with the Arx speakers.

[...]

I pine for speakers that have detail, clarity and a wide soundstage. Dynamics must be spot on, there can’t be any harshness or audible compression until the volume gets painfully loud, and every nuance has to be clear and precise. Oh yea, they also must be dirt cheap. That, in a nutshell, describes the Arx speakers. Another way to describe them would be Value, with a capital V. I’m not sure how (or more accurately, why) TAI is selling them this cheap, but if you’re in the market for a home theater or stereo system comprised of speakers with exceptional qualities make sure you don’t plunk your money down on anything until you give the Arx a try. If you are the type of person who loves to hear others say in total disbelief “you only paid how much for those?!” then Arx needs to be on your short list. Their appearance might not win any prizes, but the extraordinary sound they create certainly could.

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2012
09.11

Still another Chane ‘Arx’ A5 review

The new Arx A5 enjoys a perfect reputation, with every customer review confirming its precise, musical abilities.  Excerpts from the latest in the A5’s review roster follow:

The A5 loudspeaker can flat out play loud and clean, with quantity, quality, finesse and fidelity at a price that almost anyone could afford. The knuckle rap felt like I was hitting a solid piece of wood, confirming my thoughts that it has a well braced and damped cabinet, it has a lot of heft for such a slim small footprint speaker. It is quite obvious where the money was spent with the production of this speaker. I researched the driver technology used in the A5 prior to purchase, the XBL2/splitgap and planar magnetic drivers seem to be of high quality and not found in speakers at this price point. Regardless of how good these driver technologies are, unless they are well implemented into the design parameters they would still be just good drivers and nothing more.

So how do they sound? I set them up well into the room away from front and side wall boundaries about eight feet apart and ten to LP, toed in towards seating area. [...] focus and detail kept going through my mind along with dynamic, rhythm and pace and great tonal balance between individual instruments. These speakers will reveal the flaws in your recordings, there is no smoothing over these artifacts.

[...] The sound emanated from well beyond the enclosures providing a wide and deep stage to dive into. I expected the planars to be beamy and tizzy with laser like dispersion patterns, I was sorely mistaken,

[...] the A5’s conveyed the excitement and passion of the artists intentions. To quote a phrase from Mr. Dudley, a speaker must be musically competent and distinguish music from sound, and the Arx A5 does this in spades. If you’re looking for a loudspeaker that does almost everything right, is affordable and keeps your attention, look no further.

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2012
08.19

The Chane ‘Arx’ A5: The Towers that almost didn’t exist

The Arx A5 is the new compact high-output Arx tower.  Prototype user “Buford T Justice” related how the A5 concept started, and what the speaker sounds like:

I’ve been living with the Arx A5 tower prototypes (abbreviated to A5x) for about a year now. This really shouldn’t be the case, since the A5’s shouldn’t exist in the first place. The only reason they exist is because I pestered Jon Lane on a consistent basis, for an extended period of time (several months).

[...]

Jon and I discussed extensively what the sonic character of the A5 needed to be. He and I both agreed that they would be designed and tuned with a focus toward stereo music listening, and as a secondary role filling the main L+R slots in a home theater setup. This meant careful attention paid to the horizontal soundstage, the depth of said soundstage, and the clarity of the midrange and treble sections while avoiding harshness, proper damping and impulse response, among many other issues.

Well, the A5’s met my expectations. The soundstage is wide and often three dimensional (depending on the quality of the source/content, of course). The midrange clarity belies its under-$1K price. After placing them about 8.5-9ft apart and about 10 feet away from me, the image reached all the way to the outer walls of my listening room (about 3.5ft to the outside of each speaker). The midrange resolution was like turning the detail knob up to eleven. However, no harshness or fatigue resulted. The dynamic delivery of the bass, without bloat, is satisfying. The A5’s reach down to the low forty’s in my room with negligible roll off. Usable bass output extends to just above 30Hz in my room. [...]

The Arx A5x’s have a fundamental core of musicality; they sound detailed and revealing, but listener fatigue is kept lower than I expected. Which is to say, it is very low, indeed. [...] I was being surrounded by sound, yet with only two speakers. [...] Of course, I expected that this wide soundstage would come (as it usually does) at the expense of focus (and possibly coherence) at the center of the soundstage, which it did not. I could hear the instruments from their original positions as recorded, panned across the front of the soundstage…

[...]

The bass seemed much more effortless than I had anticipated. The kick drum and floor tom provided a solid foundation for the rhythm section, their dynamic nature belied the small size of the Arx midwoofers and the modest cabinet volume. The upright acoustic bass also sounded full, yet it did not sound bloated. I could hear the bassist’s fingers slide along the strings and could differentiate the ‘pluck’ of the string from the resonance that is created in the wooden body. This clarity also carried into more complex passages.

[...]

The A5’s are the kind of quality speakers that, when connected to quality equipment and fed a quality source, you just want to turn off the lights and let an album play all the way through. All I’m missing is the gentle glow of a tube amp.

[...]

So here’s where I’ll give a few tips for anybody who has bought an Arx A5. Tip 1: don’t be kind during break-in; play plenty of bass heavy music at moderate volume. Get those XBL2/Splitgap midwoofers moving (as much as possible, anyway). Tip 2: get the A5’s out into the room and away from the back/side walls. I wouldn’t recommend placing them any closer to the rear wall than 12″-14″….further away if at all possible. Jon has employed boundary-step compensation in the crossover design, so the A5’s don’t need to hug a wall in order to have ample bass output. Just place them for great stereo imaging and enjoy.

I am anxious to hear the reports from other listeners. I think they’re going to be very impressed at the value and performance the A5’s bring to the marketplace.

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2011
06.22

The Chane ‘Arx’ A3’s: The Little Towers That Could

Occasionally I encounter an audio product that really excites me. Occasionally. The Arx A3 towers are one of these products.

Through some instances of Serendipity, I came in touch with Jon Lane. Jon has an abundance of experience in the design and manufacture of speaker drivers, crossovers, and complete speaker packages . He also has a passion for the capacity of music to create a true emotional impact like no other medium. He realizes, as do I, that sound has an amazing (and unquantifiable) ability to cause humans to feel emotion more than pictures, and more than video. Having a background in live audio myself, I quickly found a kindred spirit in Jon. After all, I’ve had my paycheck depended on people wanting to come watch the national, regional, and local acts for whom I mixed. Jon and I had many conversations covering the gambit of speaker design, loudspeaker philosophy, and crossover theory.

These conversations came to a point; Jon and I began discussing a new line he had designed, Arx. After experiencing a recent ” end of life” with a lesser brand tower loudspeaker (name brand with-held), I asked Jon if a bigger loudspeaker than the A3 tower was in the works. Jon said not right now. Then he said “maybe.” The “maybe” will be addressed at a later date. ;) Continue Reading →

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2011
02.10

Don Lindich’s Sound Advice assembles the $1250 system.

What do you do for a extreme value?  Ask Don Lindich about what to do with only $1250:

For the money you simply can’t do better than an Arx system. Even if you are willing to spend more I would say quite a large segment of the population would be thrilled with the sound to the point where spending more wouldn’t make sense.  If you are a hardcore or budding A/V enthusiast with cash to spend, a serious movie and music buff, or want your speakers to have a finish like fine furniture you may be best served shopping upmarket, but most people will listen to these, say “wow!” and sit back and smile, satisfied.  Arx brings exotic driver technology to an unheard-of price point and it is well implemented, at that.  The wrapper is plain but the guts are amazing!

Drop by and let Don know how your system turned out.

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2010
08.12

Chane ‘Arx’ A3 Review in Affordable$$Audio.

The new high-performance Arx A3 is earning a solid reputation for itself.  Dual SplitGap woofers and the excellent Arx planar magnetic tweeter make a formidable loudspeaker for under $500 the pair.   Excerpts from Tom Shope’s report on the Arx A3 from the August 2010 issue of Affordable$$Audio:

So if your budget is a mere $500 and you are seeking a floorstanding full-range speaker that delivers the natural, clean, open sound associated with high-end models, your options are extremely limited. On the other hand, what if you could buy a $1000 pair of speakers for only $500?

It would seem that Jon Lane and The Audio Insider have targeted a very unusual market. By controlling costs on the parts of the speaker that have little impact on sound (like the cabinet veneer), and focusing entirely on high value, high performing drivers and crossover, they are attempting to deliver high-end sound for low-end dollars.

What you get for your small outlay is an unexpectedly sophisticated sound. Yep… sophistication for $500 bucks! The ribbon tweeter provides just what you’d expect, that is, if it wasn’t attached to such a bargain speaker. Detail in spades, with a clean, open, and vivid presentation.

The A3s really delivered on the bottom end. “Tight, clean and powerful” is how I would describe the bass. I would not expect a music listener to need or want the support of a subwoofer with these speakers unless the room was quite large. The bass performance is actually quite impressive considering the size of the drivers. While it is true my listening room is on the small side, the room was nicely pressurized by these small drivers and a very satisfying bass line was pumped out and just improved as liberal power was applied.

The A3s deliver a knock-out sound and one listen will leave you staring in disbelief at your receipt. If you are constrained to a tight speaker budget, but you appreciate the (typically) sophisticated sound of more expensive speakers, then you would be very hard pressed to find anything that betters the high-quality Arx A3.

For the complete review, visit Affordable$$Audio and open the August 2010 issue (PDF file).

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