The Arx A5 is the compact new high-output Chane ‘Arx’ tower. Prototype user “Buford T Justice” relates how the A5 concept started, and what the speaker sounds like:
I’ve been living with the Arx A5 tower prototypes 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.