Art Dudley's Comments - CAF 2018
Had many strengths—baritone sax on a live jazz recording was to die for….
I just have to say that those "Prototype Speakers" mentioned above? They were far and away the most clear, full and real sounding that I heard at the show. The transients were pretty flawless. And I think the "Lamm" gear gave them wings. The room? Tiny and filled with people and still they impressed me. Impressed me about ten times as much as the "G......s", sad to say.
I can’t tell you that much about the drivers—I still have two patents pending.”
It was clear from first glance that the Apollo Speaker System from Arion Audio wasn’t using your typical woofers, tweeters or panels to make impressive sounds at the 2018 Capital Audio Fest.
These tall, substantial towers were fitted with a vertical array of drivers that looked more like a bank of EMIT tweeters from some massive old pair of Infinity IRS Betas. The addition of a small pair of subs on either side of the two main towers nearly completed that illusion of, in Warren Harding’s words, “normalcy.”
The Arion Apollo speaker system is a four-piece, two-biscuit… ahem, sorry I was hungry while writing this — two channel loudspeaker system. It comprises of two “full-range” line-source dipole towers and a pair of DSP controlled open-baffle Balanced Force Transducer (BFT) bass modules. Decoupling the bass modules from the line-source towers allows for optimum room placement, which is often different from optimum high-frequency driver placement.
I first reported on the Arion Audio Apollo System at last year’s Capital Audiofest, when I had to be careful not to go into too much detail on the company’s proprietary technologies. While the Apollo System ($24,900/pair) looks like no other loudspeaker in the world of high-end audio, the sound is not typical of unorthodox designs. As I wrote the first time, “They have a smooth, coherent and musical quality to them that are about as far from gimmicky as it gets.” At T.H.E. Show 2019, I had a second chance to hear the Arion Audio Apollo System, and I feel like they’ve been refined even further than before.
An intriguing system from MK Audio LLC of Charlotte, NC, brought to the fore Arion Audio’s nearly full-range AMT line-array Apollo System loudspeaker ($24,900/pair). The Apollos, which were paired with active subwoofers, claim an astounding 105dB sensitivity—sensitive enough to work with Triode Labs' 2A3 3.5W vacuum tube amplifiers (no price supplied). At least I think I was hearing the 2A3s, because also in view were their hybrid class-D amplifiers ($6995/pair). Preamplification was the company’s LS-200 hybrid line-stage ($3995).