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).