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Beautiful Finnish speakers with an impressive soundstage

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If you live stateside and hadn’t heard of Amphion Loudspeakers, I wouldn’t blame you. The small Finnish audio company has been around for over two decades, offering a neatly curated line of speakers for home and professional use alike, but doesn’t have a huge presence in the US. Needless to say, I was curious when the company reached out to let me try the Argon1, a high-end compact bookshelf speaker coming in at roughly $1,600.

Clean design

Truth be told, part of my interest in Ampion was its design approach; I’m a sucker for speakers with clean lines, and the Amphions fit the bill perfectly. The boxy white cabinet — framing a 5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter set massive waveguide — feels timeless; this is a speaker that could look good in your home for decades to come.

This is in part because Amphion provides a rare option in the speaker world… colors! While the cabinet itself comes in white, black, and walnut finishes, the included metal grilles can be customized with a multitude of color options. I’m a sucker for blue, so that’s what I went with for my review unit. Aesthetics aside, lifting the hand-made speakers onto their stand revealed a surprisingly hefty cabinet that feels solid to the touch; the Buchardt S400, a speaker that bears a passing resemblance to Amphion’s lineup, does not feel quite as dense as its Finnish competitor.

 

Aside from being an aesthetically pleasing touch, the Argon1’s large waveguide serves an acoustic purpose: controlling directivity, or how a speaker radiates sound into a room. The quality of a speaker‘s soundstage depends not only on the sound that travels in a direct path from the speaker to your ears, but also on the sound that reflects off your walls before you hear it. After all, it’s these reflections that provide a pair of speakers with a sense of space; without reflections, speakers would be little different than headphones.

It is not so surprising, then, that optimizing directivity is important for any speaker that claims superior sound. Woofers and tweeters have inherently different directivity patterns due to their different sizes; a good waveguide helps smooth the transition in directivity from low frequencies to high frequencies by effectively matching the directivity of the tweeter to match the woofer at the crossover, where one driver ‘hands off’ its sound to the other.

Beautiful Finnish speakers with an impressive soundstage 2
Credit: Amphion