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1961 7.1.2 & SUBWOOFER 1S – FWD

SLIM HOME THEATER SYSTEM

Recommended.

The Norwegian startup Arendal has completed its model range with a series which fits best in not too large rooms – 1961.

By Jamie Biesemans. Read the original review HERE.

The Norwegian Arendal managed to convince last year with the 1723 surround speakers. This year, with the 1961 series, it presents a slimmer speaker line that fits better in a modal living room. But does it still sound good?

Arendal 1961 series speakers

For the second time in a row, Arendal wins an EISA Award for best surround speaker family. That is quite a remarkable achievement, at least for a relatively unknown brand that operates from a corner of Norway. In part, this recognition comes because there aren’t that many speaker builders who really focus on surround. But also because Arendal Sound works in its own well-founded way and succeeds in building scientifically designed products that sound good but do not carry sky-high price tags.

Value for money is excellent

The above is absolutely true for the speakers we are going to review in this review. For the review we will work with models from the new 1961 family of Arendal. These are speakers that are a bit more compact and cheaper than the 1723 line that we reviewed last year – but which are built according to the same principles as the more expensive series. The cheapest members of the 1961 family are the 1961 Bookshelfs at 699 euros / pair, the most expensive are the Towers at 1,499 euros / pair. Anyone who builds a home cinema will find everything he needs, because the line still includes the 1961 Height (699 euros / pair), the 1961 Center (499 euros), the 1691 Surround (799 euros / pair) and the 1961 Monitor (a larger upright speaker from 899 euros / pair). At Arendal they also love subwoofers, as you would expect from a home theater company. That is why there are also two 1961 Subwoofers, the smaller closed 1S at 799 euros and the larger 1V with bass port at 999 euros.

Internet-only

Arendal Sound is not a brand that you will discover at your local store. From the town of Arendal in the south of Norway, the brand sends its speakers to customers who buy them online. A direct sales model, comparable to what the much larger Teufel does. Yet Arendal is not a smaller version of that Berlin audio giant. Where it offers a full line-up of audio, the Norwegian company sticks to a modest number of products aimed at the traditionally minded home theater enthusiast who builds his dream cinema with an AV receiver and a lot of speakers. It is also unique that Arendal is very open with its measurement data and admits without hesitation that its products are built in China. Most speakers in this price range are manufactured in the Far East, but this is often not really emphasized because some consumers see “Made in China” as a disadvantage. Arendal is less affected by this.

These are serious speakers built and finished to a high standard.

When we unpack the many 1961 models that Arendal has shipped (everything except the Monitors!), we don’t exactly have the impression that they are low-budget products. The designers still call them premium – and that’s right. Due to the use of High Density Fiber wood, all speakers are quite heavy and they also look relatively high-end. They are completely seamless with no grooves or transitions between pieces of wood. Small details such as the solid speaker terminals, the included spikes kit and the seamless integration of the drivers in the baffle greatly increase the quality feeling.

The Sub is at a high level

We see increasingly better finishes with affordable speakers (see for example the KEF R series or the Monitor Audio Bronze family), and Arendal is also following that trend. That is good news for the consumer; it is no longer the case that if you have a relatively smaller budget, you necessarily end up with poorly finished products. Each 1961 model is available in a matte black or a matte white. The latter almost looks like gray in some marketing photos, but it is really white. We received a visit from the black version, and we have to say: because of the screwless mounting of the matte drivers in the front, the speakers look really sleek and modern. An advantage is that dust and dirt are less noticeable; we did notice that removing a fingerprint was slightly more difficult due to the slightly rougher structure, even with a light cleaning fluid.

A whole family

As part of this year’s EISA judging by the undersigned, Arendal sent all but one of the 1961 family models. A very heavy pallet full of speakers, of which we mainly worked with the Tower, Surround, Center and Bookshelf. We also received the Height speaker, but we did not use it. It is a dual-role speaker that you can hang to radiate the height channels directly or place on top of the Tower in Dolby Speaker mode to bounce off the ceiling. However, it was difficult to integrate this model in our setup, due to our fixed cabling for the height channels. We have not tested it, but do note that the Height is a sturdy speaker of 4.4 kg with an oblique baffle at 10 °. In our opinion, this makes it more suitable for larger rooms (if you hang it). Firm anchoring is certainly also a good idea.

…speakers look really sleek and modern

The Towers are the floorstanders in the company. Arendal opted for a 2.5-way design with four 5.5-inch woofers. They are not quite the same: the two lower ones take care of the lower frequencies, the two higher ones take care of the midrange. The tweeter is mounted between those two woofers, an arrangement that can ensure good integration between mid and high.

There are some unusual things about this Tower. For one thing, it’s not a classic upright box. The Tower is leaning back; Seen from the side it looks like a parallelogram. That looks dynamic, but it may have been done before to bring the speakers into phase. Also unusual is that the front speaker grille consists of two separate pieces. So you can choose to cover the woofers at the bottom and show the top drivers naked (or vice versa).

The Tower looks like a completely closed speaker, but has a very narrow slot port at the bottom of the back. By default this opening is blocked, but you can clear it for a dash more presence in the layer. Please note, this is more appropriate if you move the Tower a bit further from the wall, because removing the prop will have an effect.

We also find the Surround a particularly interesting speaker. It is a so-called tri-axial speaker. In addition to the tweeter and 5.5-inch woofer in the front, it is also equipped with a 3-inch midrange driver on the sides (crossover at 200 Hz). This was done to spread the rear channel wider. So it is an answer to the problem of small rear speakers that often also sound “small”, and therefore do not convey action in the rear convincingly. Tri-axial speakers cannot really deliver the experience of two surround plus two surround back channels (so 7.1), but they are still taking a step in that direction.

1961 Tower is a beautiful all-rounder

The Bookshelf is very similar to the Surround speaker, but lacks the two 3-inch drivers. What the two models do share is the low sensitivity of 84 dB, a value that the Height speaker also shares. The other 1961 models are more sensitive, but not really easy to control. The Tower has a sensitivity of 87 dB for example. What this means in concrete terms is that these speakers need a powerful amplifier to really perform well. That is also something that we really noticed during testing. When watching movies where we adjusted the volume by ear, we were sometimes surprised how far the volume knob on our Denon and Marantz receiver was turned up. We don’t think it would be a good idea to hang the 1961’s on a budget receiver.

A common denominator with all 1961 speakers is the placement of the tweeter in a deep waveguide. The newly designed liquid-cooled tweeter is thus relatively deep in the cabinet, surrounded by a cone with a special shape that improves performance in many ways. For example, it improves transition from midrange drivers to the tweeter and increases efficiency and directivity. The latter is important, because tweeters without a waveguide radiate the highest frequencies as a tight beam of light. And that’s not ideal unless you’re just in the right sweet spot place.

Subwoofer

The 1961 Subwoofer 1S that we received is the entry-level model at Arendal. With a price tag of 799 euros, it is now also not a budget product, something that the Norwegians have understood. You even get quite a bit for the price, as the 1S comes with a hefty 12.2-inch woofer powered by a DSP-driven 550 Watt RMS Avalanche amplifier. It’s also a really solid, heavy thing, which has to do with Arendal’s preference for HDF composite instead of the more common MDF wood. The matte black finish in which our test model was made does not seem that sexy at first sight, but after a few weeks of testing we come to the conclusion that it does have something. Fabric shows well, but when we look at what that glossy black paint finish of our Monitor Audio Silver W12 subwoofer looks like after a few years of use, we think that matte black might be a safer choice in the longer term. Just like the other 1961 models, the sub is also available in matte white.

You don’t often see this at this price level.

What is not immediately noticeable is that this subwoofer can be set much more finely than most class peers. The reason it doesn’t stand out? You don’t really see any buttons or lights anywhere until you peer at the back. There, it turns out that the usual buttons such as crossover or volume are not present, but a small color display that you operate with two rotary / push buttons. In this way you are offered an above average number of options, such as a 4-band parametric equalizer. You can also set everything in terms of triggering and inputs. You don’t often see this at this price level. The only downside is that you really have to lie down and crawl behind the sub to set things up. Depending on your space and your urge to always tweak, that is a bit of a hassle. In an ideal world you should be able to work via an app, but that is an option that you will only find with more expensive subwoofers. And even then …

It is also good to note that this “small” subwoofer is also quite large: 41.5 x 31.5 x 41.5 cm, 20 kg. The 1S comes standard on damping feet, which is a plus on a wooden floor.

Great integration

During the first part of our test we used our fixed Denon AVR-X6300H, later we switched to the brand new Marantz SR8015. Both use Audyssey MultEQ XT32 as room correction software. Via the MultEQ app we measure at the maximum eight positions in our test room. During testing we usually leave Dynamic Volume off, with Dynamic Volume we dare to experiment a bit more.

Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma remains a reference for us when it comes to detail and positioning. Far from an action movie, it is real proof that Atmos soundtracks can contribute immensely to mood building, even when they aren’t spaceships, Godzilla or explosions. The 1961’s successfully convey the atmosphere, in part because they perfectly place the many fine details in the room. We can perfectly locate the street vendor calling in the background and moving through the image with our eyes closed. The Arendals are really very precise, which turns out to be just a disadvantage at a certain point. When the maid has to pick up the children at school, a car horns driving through the screen. But for the first time ever when we watch this movie scene, we think: this sounds added afterwards. That is true of course in the case of almost all sound effects; in some films, almost all dialogues are even re-recorded on a soundstage afterwards. But you are not supposed to notice. A bit of toe-in is a good idea to solve this problem.

When watching multiple movies, we are impressed with the integration. This is partly a merit of the receiver, but is also only possible if the different speakers match in terms of timbre. That is one hundred percent the case here. In the Roma scene where the dad struggled to drive his American sled into the garage, we really had an incredibly seamless feeling, as if we were really there. This is top level.

This is top level.

“Jojo Rabbit” was one of the more curious films of the past year. Not because it is stylistically some sort of Wes Anderson-light film, but because it revolves around a ten-year-old child with his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. The short content makes it sound like a Very Bad Idea, but this comedy is by Waititi, who previously convinced us enormously with “Thor: Ragnarok”. In terms of sound, this film often alternates between scenes in which the craziest things happen to the tones of cheerful march music or pop hits and moments when the soundtrack consists entirely of dialogues. It is then that we still get the impression that the center speaker is a bit too small. Although the appearance comes across as broad thanks to that waveguide – making the stage sound large and in keeping with the two Towers – the Center seems to have to work too hard. It is not such a problem, but in a very large room you will have to take this into account. By the way: Arendal has provided an extensive PDF guide on its website in which the placement and toe-in is treated very clearly. It is recommended to take it if you would consider these speakers.

The slightly weaker performance of the center speaker is more than compensated by the good to excellent performance of the other 1961 parts. Especially the 1V Subwoofer is very good, but those 1961 Surrounds with their side speakers also impress. As they run through Dolby’s official Atmos demos, these little ones create really big-sounding rear channels. They remind us a bit of the FX speakers from MA’s Bronze and Silver lines, in how they simultaneously position effects well but also release the sound from the speaker through the rear channels. They sound like much larger speakers, which makes for a smoother transition as the two spaceships in “Horizon” fly from the back to the front of the room.

They sound like much larger speakers…

When listening to music we switch to a stereo mode, but in 2.1 mode (with the subwoofer as LFE + Main). The Towers are certainly capable of playing music without a subwoofer, but to our taste the bass could be a bit deeper and have punch. That works better with the sub there, as the Arendal subwoofer seems well damped and delivers beats perfectly timed. The “End Titles” that Daft Punk wrote for Tron: Legacy, followed by the funky David Hasselhoff mix on “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, vol.2” are very catchy. In terms of sound character, the Towers really please. Like the 1723’s, they are not very colored, which gives them an almost KEF-like character for us, which reproduces the fine strings on “Foscarini’s Groove” by I Bassifondi with the necessary finesse. You shouldn’t be here for a warm glow, but for honesty you should.

Conclusion

Just ordering a set of five or more speakers via the internet and spending a few thousand euros, it requires some courage and confidence. Especially in these times when you are bombarded by kickstarter campaigns and cheap online-only offers. But with 1961 Arendal again shows itself to be a different kind of company. These are serious speakers built and finished to a high standard. You will never think: “This is a bit cheap”.

They are also speakers for those who are more serious about building a home theater. You definitely need a powerful receiver from a higher class to make them perform really well. That’s the downside. However, there are plenty of advantages: the smooth appearance of the sound, the many models, the excellent finish, the homogeneous sound character and the clear, detailed reproduction. The 1961’s may sound a little reserved at first, but you need to give them some time to appreciate their natural character.

Recommended.

PROS & CONS

8.5 / 10
Pros:
  • Value for money is excellent
  • 1961 Tower is a beautiful all-rounder
  • The Sub is at a high level
  • Neutral, sleek reproduction, also allows a lot of custom tuning
  • 1961 family also includes dedicated home theater models

Cons:

  • Floorstand design just a bit more unusual to place
  • Display and controls subwoofer are awkwardly placed

Read the original review HERE.

1961 7.1.2 & SUBWOOFER 1S – HEMMABIO

BEST BUY!

Choosing their own roads

The Norwegian startup Arendal has completed its model range with a series which fits best in not too large rooms – 1961.

By Magnus Fredholm. Read the original review in Swedish HERE.

– Awesome build quality
– Exceptional cinema sound
– Flexible system

Arendals first speaker series, 1723, works now in retrospect to be a largely uncompromising home cinema series, designed without special thought for anything else than really awesome cinema sound.

The successor 1723 S is a slightly slimmed down variant of the same concept, while the new 1961 series one size further scaled-down variant. 1961 series has also been given a slightly simpler finish and boxes with simpler design, which allows prices compared with the 1723 models to be significantly lower.

Smart downscaling

It is interesting that Arendal has chosen to keep drivers and filters at the same level through all series. There are thus by no means any cheap drivers in 1961, only smaller woofers, and with slightly simpler baskets.

These smaller drivers (5.5 inches compared to 1723 S which has 6.5-inches and 1723 which boasts 8-inchers) is probably the largest the reason why 1961 has lower sensitivity (the sensitivity of the tower model is 87 dB to compared with 89 and 93 dB respectively for 1723 S and 1723).

The treble is thus the same 28 mm variant as in other series, but with a smaller waveguide diameter to match the midrange drivers. Another difference is that the 1961 series
consistently runs with a single pair of speaker connectors per box, unlike 1723 which has possibilities for bi-amp / bi-wiring.

The stylish, very discreet speaker fronts are also simplified, the fabric is stretched over a plastic frame instead of metal as it is in 1723.

Long-lived construction

The more I spend time with the 1961 series, the more I feel that these speakers were actually created by real home theater nerd, people who have a genuine interest in offering speakers that works well both today and in 20 years from now.

In addition to the fact that the speakers themselves are really well built, with the highest possible density of the fibrous material (HDF) is that all drivers screws are screwed in with metal threads, which means that you can retighten the screws as many times as possible and in addition, the speakers can be disassembled and reassembled hundreds of times without appreciable wear.

And if we look at the filters, the conditions of it very durable plastic film type while the coils are air-wound with a substantial wire thickness.

Arendal 1961 is a fantastically high-performing speaker system that is easy to place, with a very attractive price tag!

The whole series

I have had all the models in the series available during the review, but because I only had one Center (in pairs it is called Monitor) I can not comment on Monitor in more than general terms. As for the subwoofers, I will not write so much about them because I tested them in HemmaBio 10/2019, but this time I have only used the smaller Subwoofer 1S.

In the front stage we have the 1961 Tower, which leans slightly backwards and is a floor stander that can be run both sealed and ported. Should Tower be used alone (in a stereo system) I think using it in ported mode is preferable, it goes a little deeper and above all more physical bass reproduction. In the home theater, however, I prefer Tower sealed, as the definition in the bass becomes something better that way. They work best to my ears with subwoofer support from 50 Hz, but it depends of course on the room too. Here you can also choose between soft rubber feet or spikes, and for the ones that know me you know that it is 100% soft rubber feet that wins when I get to choose, but for those who want spikes there are nice ones included!

Image comment: For all of us who prefer rubber feet, Arendal even has a solution that comes in the box, namely their own, logo-bearing feet!

Image comment: In order for the Tower model to stand firmly, it is equipped with outriggers and solid spikes.

1961 Center is a center in exemplary format. The width is the same as normal home theater amplifiers, so for those who want to put it in the rack can easily fit it there, while the depth is only 15 cm, which means that the speaker will not look out of place under a modern tv. It is also easy to hang on the wall thanks to double keyholes and bracket mounts for two wall brackets. This sealed speaker came to thrive best crossed over at 80 Hz, a crossover point I by the way chose for all speakers except Tower.

1961 series is a superb choice in the price range!

Bookshelf is the classic satellite speaker, and had I been less spacious at home, a couple of these could easily replace the Tower! Low sensitivity is the only possible downside, while the flexible format and possibility for wall hanging both flat against the wall and with using wall brackets makes Bookshelf an ideal speaker for live surround sound.

Image comment: The bookshelf model, like the rest of the series, has a pair of terminals of confidence-giving quality, keyholes for quick hanging and also four recessed threaded nuts for the standard type of adjustable wall brackets. Also worth noting is the generous cable channel which allows Bookshelf to sit snugly against the wall even if you connect the speakers with really brutal cables.

Image comment: Neat and elegant on the element front, both treble and midrange / bass have an impeccable finish and fit.

Surround is a three-sided speaker with the same main equipment as Bookshelf, but with three-inch side drivers directed to the right and left (in relation to the main baffle) which ensures that they get a really wide soundstage. This in turn ensures that they work extra well as a side surround, then they “connect” the sound between front and rear
surround in a wonderful way. The side speakers are high-pass crossed at 200 Hz, and all sides are connected in the same phase.

Height then finally, it is slightly wedge-shaped and the upside-down version of Bookshelf, and it thrives just as well mounted up in the corner between wall and ceiling as lying on the Tower. Or why not as a pair of speakers in another room, for those who have not yet begun using the zone options in their amplifier.

Image comment: If you are going to use the Height model as height / Dolby Atmos / Dts: X / Auro-3D, they can be mounted in this way, but there are more ways to use them.

Image comment: Fine filters with polypropylene capacitors, air-wound coils and ceramic power resistors.

Temporary solution with duct tape

The set-up of the system is traditional, Tower with Height on top of the front along with Center, and Surround to the right and left with Bookshelf as the back surround and the subwoofer on the same wall as the screen.

If I had a choice, I would have replaced the two Bookshelf speakers with Surround, as the wide dispersion in midrange and treble is addictive. I also tested driving with Height mounted in the joint ceiling / wall, and it worked perfectly! However, I must admit that I did not have them there for more than a quarter of an hour, because my only option to mount them was with duct tape, not ideal.

I’m laughing so it’s almost ridiculous watching the latest Jumanji movie…

Since the sensitivity of the system is low, I want to recommend it to those who feel insecure to set the Tower level to -3 dB and then adjust the whole system according to them. It is of course possible to run them at 0 dB, but depending on the distance and location of the surround speakers, these may otherwise need a little too much gain.

I will not devote many words to the subwoofer, but an important feature is the effective (steep) crossover filter and the very low levels of harmonics, which gives you a little extra freedom on placement. S1 is simply a little harder to locate than many price-comparable subwoofers at the same crossover frequency.

Arendal recommends 50 hours of break-in, but I do not think there were any drastic differences during the test, at least none I can reliably deduce from the recording. This reminds me that I would someday want to test already broken-in against unused ones, too often I get it in my head that speakers bloom after 50-100 hours, but equally I often suspect that it is actually mostly that I “learned” the speakers.

Image comment: A speaker built in China can look from great to horrible inside, everything from pure disasters to constructions like this, where everything is clean, neat and exemplary. Nice for me so I did not have to scratch my head when I assembled the speaker again after photography.

Image comment: It’s great to meet machine screws when unscrewing speakers! The smaller dimension holds the treble while the thicker one holds the woofer, six screws for each driver. That it is Torx T15 to the base and 3 mm hexagon to the treble feels most like a comic surprise and does not affect the function at all.

Image comment: In order to be able to adapt the floor-standing Tower (which, in addition to the subwoofer V1, is the only model in the series which is ported) it comes with a piece of foam rubber which can be removed to make it a vented cabinet.

Magnificent presentation

I’m laughing so it’s almost ridiculous watching the latest Jumanji movie, so I’m watching it first. And after a slight lowering of the center (1dB compared to the measured level) and a few dB extra in the rear surround channels, I have to state that Arendal really know how to deliver home theater sound!

During the test I mostly used the Denon AVR-X4700H that I tested in the previous issue, but also Focal Astral 16 has been included, and wow what an amplifier it is! Strange? No, certainly not, but it’s always fun when fairly simple components rise when you give them better conditions! But I switch back to Denon fairly quickly, and after a few minutes of initial getting used to it, I am happy with the Denon / Arendal / Oppo combination.

…makes me lose my breath.

Well, back to the movies, and I’m watching Chapter 6 of Fantastic Beasts, a chapter that starts off fairly calm and then becomes really intimate and lastly explodes into an absolutely wonderful Atmos-cascade. Arendal 1961 rules with praiseworthy calm through the magic, and at the same time keeps the pieces in the calm part together even at low volume.

Thanks in particular to the Surround speakers on the side walls, the feeling is wonderfully enveloping, and this despite the fact that I only have two, also bouncing, Atmos speakers. I know I was a little naughty in the comment to Denon earlier, but the combination of amplifier and speakers here show that the previous issue’s fine ratings for the Denon machine were not empty.

Image comment: Height is primarily intended to be used hanging high up on the wall, and Arendal shows how they feel you should mount the cable, upwards of course for a clean installation! Note the thick, muted rubber mat means the Height is also safely located on top of the Tower.

Musically, it will not be a real highlight, but it’s mostly because the only film I find like this in the middle of the summer is Lady A’s Christmas life, and it’s not very fun. However, I know it well, and the 1961 system really brings out every nuance of the performance, and the separation when all three in the band sing at the same time gives an eerie sense of presence.

An old treat, chapter three in the first Deadpool movie, makes me lose my breath. The short car chase and the subsequent mass execution contain so much of movements, large and small sounds that coincide with dialogue, and 1961 in combo with the Denon 4700 delivers a magnificent presentation of the material. The separation, the details and the big bangs are handled in an obvious and relaxed way, while it is damn fun!

Conclusion

With 1961, Arendal has a system that not only is considerably cheaper than the 1723 sisters, there are also speakers that fit perfectly in everything from really small to fairly large (25-30 square meters) room, and you can probably get the system to work in even larger rooms but I did not have the opportunity to test.

The build quality is very good, the shortcuts taken (simpler boxes, single wire, plastic grilles) is all through sensible, and as a cinema system, the 1961 series is a superb choice in the price range!

Image comment: A “finesse” with the center is that it is as wide as normal home cinema equipment, so it fits in all common racks, very flexible.

Plus/Minus

+ Awesome build quality
+ Exceptional cinema sound
+ Flexible system

– Low sensitivity

= Arendal 1961 is a fantastically high-performing speaker system that is easy to place, with a very attractive price tag!

Read the original review in Swedish HERE.

1961 5.1.2 & SUBWOOFER 1S – HOME CINEMA CHOICE

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

ARENDAL SOUND BRIDGES THE GAP

   

“It takes little time at all to realise this system is pretty special. It’s a revealing, full-range performance…”

 

Home Cinema Choice says

“Entry-level for Arendal, but by no means a budget setup, the 1961 Series offers well balanced, dynamic and revealing sonics. Buyers won’t be disappointed.”
Read the full review HERE.

1961 SERIES EISA AWARD 2020-2021

BEST PRODUCT – HOME THEATRE SPEAKER SYSTEM 2020-2021

“Arendal Sound’s new entry-level range leverages technology from its flagship 1723 Series, but adds tricks of its own, including the company’s first height channel speaker and a new Avalanche IQ amplifier platform with parametric EQ on its sealed and ported subwoofers. System builders are well catered for by a choice of floorstander, monitor, centre, bookshelf and ‘TriAxial’ surround models, and performance across the range showcases a detailed, energetic but neutral approach, equally suited to dramatic movie mixes and nuanced music. Styling and build quality impress too – it’s a speaker series that outshines its price tag.”

Official EISA announcement here.

Link to products:

About EISA

EISA (the Expert Imaging and Sound Association) is the unique worldwide association of over 60 special interest magazines and websites that test and report on hi-fi, home theatre, in-car electronics, mobile devices and photography from 29 countries. EISA members now extend to Australia, Canada, USA, India, Hong Kong/China and Japan in addition to the wider European community. Every year EISA jury rewards the most outstanding products in each class with a coveted EISA Award – results that have consistently stood the test of time. So whenever consumers see an EISA Award logo they can be sure the winning product is the very best of the best.

This Award reflects the pooled experience of EISA’s expert magazines and is a fitting tribute to the innovation and performance of this multichannel speaker system.

1961 5.1 & SUBWOOFER 1S – STEREO+


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

LOTS OF FUN FOR LESS MONEY

As soon as there is talk of home theater, the discussion moves quickly in the direction of SPL, dynamics, deep bass and volume. But real home theater speakers should also be able to satisfy picky ears when playing music. This is demanding, but Arendal delivers masterfully.

Arendal delivers masterfully.

By: Håvard Holmedal. Read the original review HERE in Norwegian.

Arendal took the world by storm with its 1723 and 1723 S series of speakers. Great reviews, several awards as best of the year product both here and abroad. And, the very prestigious EISA Award landed in Arendal too. It tells greatly of a speaker series that obviously delivers both music and film.
Arendal Sound continues where they left off and has created a speaker system where the most obvious compromise is the size of the speakers. Cabinets and parts are still of high quality, and you immediately forget that these are fairly compact speakers when you start playing. The sound goes far beyond the size, and so does the dynamics and ability to handle volume.

More reasonable and a bit simpler

The new 1961 series from Arendal is a bit scaled-down edition of the larger and more expensive series 1723 and 1723 S. Of course, they are built on these, and you immediately see the relationship in terms of cabinets and drivers. Although the new and self-developed drivers are somewhat simpler.

In order to maintain what the people behind the brand often call the “Arendal sound”, it is not possible to put a number of cheap parts into lesser chip cabinet. The goal was to make smaller and slightly simpler speakers, but without compromising too much. It is a difficult exercise, and perhaps even the most difficult task Arendal has done to date.

The first impression is that the 1961 series is solid, and Arendal surprisingly also makes these in HDF (high density fiberboard), which is certainly not common in this price range. The finish is simple, but I think it is a good choice for Arendal to stay away from cheap vinyl and instead opt for lacquered cabinets. Admittedly in matt varnish, and only in black and white. The finish is good.

to be such a small driver it plays powerful, heavy, and the dynamics and control are very good.

The tweeter throughout the new range is a 28mm driver built with inspiration from the 1723 series. This means that the tweeter comes mounted in a newly developed waveguide that will ensure controlled dispersion. The goal is a speaker that not only plays well in “sweetspot”, but also delivers to those who are sitting at the very edge of the couch.

The woofers are the new 5.5 inch used throughout the 1961 series. It is a smart move, because Arendal doesn’t have to develop a lot of new drivers for each speaker. A 5.5 inch obviously doesn’t do the same job as the big and powerful eight-inch from the 1723 series, but to be such a small driver it plays powerful, heavy, and the dynamics and control are very good.

In the next issue of Stereo+ we do a separate review of 1961 Bookshelf and 1961 Subwoofer S1. A very interesting package!

Tower

The slightly backwards tilted floor standers have four (4) pieces 5.5-inch woofers in what looks like a 2.5-way system. Distributed at a height of just under 90cm (with spikes) and perform well as pure music players without a subwoofer – if you can manage without the deepest bass. Still, I think the typical Arendal customer envisions both one and two, or more, subwoofers to achieve the desired bass pressure.

The floor standing “Tower” extends down to around 40Hz if you do not block the bass ports with the provided foam plugs. Someone might say that the difference is not significant up to the larger 1723 Tower – which goes just a few Hz deeper into the bass. But here it is clearly demonstrated that it is not only frequency response that matters in how the bass operates. Large drivers move much more air, have greater volume, have more control, lower distortion and far better dynamics. It is simply a quite different bass experience.

The sensitivity of the 1961 Tower is just over 87dB and so you have to have some power to play really loud. Arendal recommends amplifiers of up to 350 watts, and it tells us a lot about the drivers’ capacities. A small home cinema receiver has nothing to do with these speakers. Buy the biggest amplifier you can afford!

Monitor/Center

If you buy the home theater speaker, the center speaker is called 1961 Center. It has the logo adapted to the landscape position, but it is exactly the same speaker as the 1961 Monitor. It is a closed structure and has the same tweeter as the Tower, the same waveguide, and two drivers of the same woofer. The potential to achieve complete timbre match with the front speakers is present.

1961 Center doesn’t play lower than about 70Hz and will not have much bass to add to the movie experience. Like the identical Monitor, it works brilliantly for music, but also needs help from a subwoofer.

The subwoofer

I have had the 1961 Subwoofer 1S at home for a while, and I have connected it to quite a large number of different speakers. It behaves nicely in all contexts and is very flexible and relatively easy to integrate with the vast majority of speakers.

This is perhaps the most impressive speaker in the 1961 series with the 550W on the inside supplied by an Avalanche 550 IQ DSP amplifier. It can also take up the task by matching speakers costing much more than the 1961 series.

The woofer is 12.2-inches and was developed by Arendal Sound specifically for this series. It delivers bass down to 19Hz, depending on the EQ setting.

There are many other subwoofers in the price range that manage this too, but there are very few, if any, that deliver such solid deep bass with such good control and purity, and with so little noise. If you are going to use it for music, the “home theater setting” EQ1 does not likely apply here, but EQ2 does. The subwoofer still delivers flat down to 26Hz, but is even tighter, better controlled, and more dynamic in the higher subwoofer frequencies.

The subwoofer also does the piece of art to disappear completely into the soundstage. Only subwoofers that do not have mechanical noise from the cabinet and driver can handle this.

There are many other subwoofers in the price range that manage this too, but there are very few, if any, that deliver such solid deep bass with such good control and purity, and with so little noise.

As we know, the noise is not limited by the crossover, and if the noise occurs in the bass, you can forget to get the desired clarity and clarity in the area from the upper part of the bass, and frightening far up in the mid-range.

Surround/Back/Height

There are offered a large number of possible configurations. You can hang the surround on the wall. Use an extra pair of the Towers too. Mount the Height in the ceiling. Or, pretty much do just as you want depending on the room and your preferences.

What is interesting is that all the speakers have the same basic driver layout. The tweeter with the waveguide is present everywhere, and so is one or more of the 5.5-inch woofers. And of course, you can run with as many subwoofers as you want or have room for. The more, the better! It provides great flexibility and a fairly similar sound image whether you go for one or the other solution.

The experience

Although it’s a downscale in just about every area from the 1723 series, the 1961 Tower delivers an impressive amount of detail and a very vivid and engaged sound, which is completely free of blemishes and overly hard edges. It’s almost a shame to pack the compact floor-standing speaker into a home theater, because it does such a good job as a pure hi-fi speaker as well. With a good integrated amplifier, it plays solid and strong, and if you prioritize dynamics and an enthusiastic style, this is a very good purchase. There is surprisingly lots of energy in this compact floor-standing speaker, and it is straightforwardly entertaining what it does with hard-hitting electronic music of all kinds.

the 1961 Tower delivers an impressive amount of detail and a very vivid and engaged sound, which is completely free of blemishes and overly hard edges.

Among other amps, I connected it to the monster amplifier Musical Fidelity M8Xi, which delivers more than 550 watts per channel. Then you really get to experience what a great amplifier can do with a small speaker. It grabs the sound, and within all normal volumes, there is no hint of compression or flattening of the sound, even if the recording is dynamically tough for the speaker.

It is often talked about that some speakers are better for home theater use than others. Arendal Sound 1961 Tower certainly challenges everyone in the price range of this exercise, but that does not mean it has come at the expense of its hi-fi qualities. Good, colorless and neutral speakers with great dynamics can be used for both film and music with great success.

I play different music as a preliminary exercise to see if there are certain types of music it prefers. It really isn’t, but it’s not a typical speaker you buy to play string quartets and piano sonatas. On the other hand, they are in their ace when playing electronic music in electronics/techno-land. And the more hard-hitting the bass, the more the Tower stands out from most other speakers in the price range. With hard guitars, tough vocals and hard-hitting drum tracks, it’s in its ace.

The sound balance is neutral, and the speakers play without anything sticking out or becoming aggressive.

There is enough energy in the midrange and tweeter that the sharp and loud sounds are credibly reproduced, but not so much that it takes over and becomes irritating. The mid-tone has just enough warmth to give the voices and instruments credible reproduction, and the serenity and space created in the soundstage is actually quite impressive. The decision to make really good cabinets comes in handy because no energy from the inside protrudes and radiates from the speaker. The sound remains unstained, and very homogeneous from bottom to top.

Movies

The entire new 1961 series from Arendal Sound does what it can to place itself in the home theater category of speakers. It’s not without reason, because they really do a great job in the home theater. Now many people would think that the price is not exactly at the reasonable end. You can buy much larger and less expensive speakers elsewhere. Even someone who plays very much louder and can do with smaller amplifier.

But that’s where Arendal thinks the limit goes for what they can currently deliver of speakers, to satisfy their own sound quality requirements.

The difference between Arendal 1961 and other speakers out there, and which may be Dali, B&W, Monitor Audio, System Audio or Klipsch, is that Arendal tackles to play loud and engaging, but at the same time do it in a very quiet way.

This speaker system conveys volume and dynamics with a tranquility that you can hardly find anywhere else in the price range, and with a rare clarity even during demanding source material.

The value of a timbre matched speaker system is also evident, and perhaps especially noticeable in the front system where objects from the screen flow effortlessly around the soundstage, without changing either sound or size on their way from one side to the other. Although we are talking about a fairly substantial price range, there are far too many systems that come with a cheap and small center speaker. It completely ruins the good cinema experience. While it may not seem like a big deal at first, it is totally devastating to the experience when you first notice the mistakes being made. When the train crashing across the screen sounds like a very good freight train when it comes in from the left, and becomes a toy train in the middle, and then thundering out on the right-hand side of normal size. The brain does not compute with this. You do not hear what you see, and this is a major obstacle to a totally enveloping movie experience.

The sound goes far beyond the size, and so does the dynamics and ability to handle volume.

Conclusion

Arendal Sound continues where they left off and has created a speaker system where the most obvious compromise is the size of the speakers. Cabinets and parts are still of high quality, and you immediately forget that these are fairly compact speakers when you start playing. The sound goes far beyond the size, and so does the dynamics and ability to handle volume.

The 1961 series has everything you need to create a real cinematic experience in smaller to medium sized rooms, but don’t forget that Tower can also play music at pleasantly high levels, too, as single speaker system in a living room.

Arendal offers an even more impressive experiences with its 1723 series speakers, but you hear where the 1961 series comes from and what Arendal Sound has in mind when they made this “budget series”. And it’s not that small.

We like

• Lively and engaging
• Balanced and homogeneous
• Good dynamics
• Spacious soundstage

We don’t like

• Simple design and finish
• Requires a decent amplifier

Stereo+ says

Arendal Sound has managed it again and made the 1961 series one of the winners in the prize category. Here you get a lot of fun for your money!

 

 

Avalanche 800/1200 IQ amplifier

Intelligent Powerhouse

We introduced the 550 IQ which already has set market-leading standards. The Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ build on the 550, but have been optimised, equipped with additional features and highly refined for our hi-end 1723 subwoofers. Impeccable performance, conservatively rated at 800/1200W, with capabilities that make the difference. Subwoofers are not the same anymore.

Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ Amplifiers

Highlights

  • High-resolution 2.6″ colour LCD display
  • App ready*
  • Smart amplifier technology
  • Full 800W RMS down to 10Hz for Avalanche 800 IQ
  • Full 1200W RMS down to 10Hz for Avalanche 1200 IQ
  • Advanced adjustability for perfect room response and ease of use
  • Extensive multi-sensors to protect and maintain signal quality
  • Flip Screen Feature lets you use the screen menu upside down while bending over for adjustments
  • Dual source assignable RCA & XLR inputs with assignable memory presets for each input
  • Selectable 12V trigger and auto-on functions for each input
  • RCA & XLR passthrough outputs
  • User adjustable on-time and auto-on wake-up settings
  • Variable phase & signal inversion
  • 3 EQ modes for sealed subwoofers, 6 EQ modes for vented subwoofers
  • 7-band parametric EQ
  • Low pass filter & slopes
  • Subsonic filter & slopes
  • Safety controls

Thanks to the new Avalanche IQ technology subwoofer amplifiers will never be the same again.

*App Ready! The amplifier has a built-in Bluetooth module for future App upgrades.

Intelligent Technology

The term “intelligent” is rarely used in the audio industry, especially for speakers and subwoofers. The new Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ subwoofer amplifiers are two more exceptions from Arendal Sound, when it comes to performance and technology. State-of-the-art amplifier, designed and developed from scratch to deliver performance and features you could not get before.

The Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ boast killer performance and offer features under their hoods that have never been seen in the industry before. Multiple sensors in the digital and analogue domain, from inputs to outputs, to preserve dynamics and clean bass. It has a powerful microcontroller (MCU) which, as the brain, controls and reads all data passing through the signal flow. This ensures that the signal is as unaffected as possible from its original source to the subwoofer output.

Research and development over two years, fully customized by Arendal Sound. The Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ are smart and intelligent beasts in the world of amplifiers.

FLIP SCREEN

Normally you will be bending over the subwoofer to make adjustments as the amplifier and user interface is on the back of it. You can now easily flip the screen in the menu settings, so it makes it much easier for you to make your last adjustments for the perfect sound experience without neck bending around the subwoofer.

DUAL SOURCE INPUT

This is a true gift for complex setups!

Do you combine stereo and multi-channel equipment in one system and want to use one subwoofer system for both? Yes, we got you covered! This is a unique feature only available from Arendal Sound through the intelligent amplifiers Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ. With your new subwoofer you can control which input is used by your stereo system and your AVR, so that it is connected to this one input only. You can lock the signal, whether mono or stereo, to the preferred input. There are up to 8 dual input configurations to choose from. This means you can control the inputs depending on what you are playing, and Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ manage the signal flow in both your systems.

Once you have set up your dual input settings, you also have the option of assigning a memory preset to each input, giving you a unique set of settings for your stereo system and another for your home theater system – if this is the path you want to take.

The old-school fiddling around with adapters and connecting back and forth with multiple subwoofer settings from stereo to AV and vice versa is a thing of the past. Thanks to Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ.

HI-RES LCD DISPLAY INTERFACE

The Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ amplifiers offer out-of-scale features in any price range where physical knobs wouldn’t fit on the amplifier panel, even if we wanted them to. The 2.6″ high-resolution colour display provides a clear overview of all settings of your subwoofer. With the multi-control knob and buttons with great tactile feedback, you will make any setup and adjustment a breeze.

The Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ offer market leading feature sets in the subwoofer industry.

APP READY

Future app ready where all settings can be applied from your fingertips on your mobile phone.

RCA & XLR I/O

Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ have some aces on their hands. First, they have RCA & XLR inputs and outputs, but that’s just where it starts.

Right on Time

To save energy, it’s important that your equipment shuts down when not in use. Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ let you decide when to enter sleep mode after use, for a period of 5 to 60 minutes in 5-minute increments.

Variable Phase & Signal Inversion

Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ are equipped with both adjustable phase and signal inversion. Signal inversion inverts the signal, which means the same as 180 degrees phase, but these are “true” 180 degrees at all frequencies.

However, as with all variable phase shifts, the variable phase shifts slightly depending on the frequency. These two settings are very handy for achieving perfect alignment in a stereo system where there is no processor to delay the signal in time.

Low Pass Filter and Slope

The low-pass filter (LPF) is selectively switched on or off and can be adjusted in steps of 1 Hz to 30–160 Hz. For the feinschmecker, the LPF slope can also be adjusted with 6/12/18/24dB filter curves to perfectly match the subwoofer to your system. Of course, you can adjust the phase in 10 degree steps and with full signal inversion (on/off).

Auto on/off

Auto on is a feature that wakes up the subwoofer when you start playing material from the connected source. Most subwoofers on the market have different wake-up sensitivities, which can cause problems with some systems because you cannot change the sensitivity at the inputs.

With the Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ, we are offering you more than just one option. With the new automatic power-on function, you have the choice of several levels so that you can wake up your subwoofer at the right time for sound reproduction. Choose between low, medium and high wake-up sensitivity and you are set for seamless use of your subwoofer.

The days when you had to crank up the master volume to turn on the subwoofer are over with the new auto on feature!

EQ Modes & Parametric Equalizer

We offer up to 6 EQ modes to choose from. 3 EQ modes for sealed and 3 EQ modes for vented cabinets. Our 1723 vented subwoofers offer all 6 EQ modes as the ports can be plugged to operate the 1723 as sealed subwoofers. You get a flat frequency response in half space down to under 20Hz in EQ1 mode, EQ2 mode will start tapering off half an octave above the +-3dB frequency point of EQ1 and EQ 3 mode will start tapering off one octave above the +-3dB frequency point of EQ1. This is the same for vented and sealed.

Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ also has a built-in 7-band PEQ that can be tailored to suit your room. It is extremely accurate to enable a perfect integration in your room. The frequency is set at 1Hz-increments and the Q is adjustable all the way from 0.3 up to 10, so you can target sharp irregularities in your room response.

Levels & Input Gain

The Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ amplifiers are equipped with an adjustable input gain to match your source output level, as well as an adjustable master level for perfect integration in your setup. You also have the option of setting the level to reference position, which is recommended for most users with an AVR. For ease of use we have also implemented a feature that allows you to select a reference level for multiple subwoofers used together in the same setup.

Subsonic Filter and Slope

The subsonic filter is user selectable and adjustable from 12 to 31 Hz, or you can turn it off completely. The slope is also adjustable from 6 to 12 dB per octave. This feature can come in handy for adjusting the low bass level to suit your room or preferences. The amplifier has a built-in subsonic filter that is activated at 10 Hz, to protect the amplifier’s power supply.

3-12V Trigger

If you have hidden your subwoofer behind a sofa or inside a baffle wall and still want to have control over whether it is on or off (without using the auto on function) we offer a 3-12V trigger connection with 3.5mm jack. Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ listen to your source control and power up when your system is turned on, then power down when you turn your system off.

Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ Technology

Power amplifier

Each bridged power amplifier module has a 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) for control and monitoring purposes. This MCU communicates with the Digital Front-End.

The power amplifier module MCU utilizes 5 channels of A/D (analog to digital) conversion to monitor the following parameters in real time at a rate of 1000 samples/second:

  • The output voltage of amplifier A and B (the two halves of the bridged amplifier)
  • The power supply rails (positive and negative voltages)
  • The module temperature sensor

By monitoring these parameters and the over-current detector, fault conditions can be detected immediately and lead to immediate shutdown of the amplifiers.

Safety and Reliability

Certain strategies are employed to increase the safety margin and reliability: For example, the power supply rail voltages are measured before the power amplifiers are activated. If either rail voltage is outside the normal limits, the amplifiers are not activated and the power supply will be shut down. Since this is a bridged amplifier, the output voltages of both amplifiers should always be equal and opposite (A+B=0).

If a fault condition occurs in either amplifier, the MCU can detect it within 1 millisecond (1/1000 of a second, ms) and shut down the amplifiers. A typical single-ended power amplifier with an analog offset detection circuit must have a long time constant (> 100ms) in order to distinguish between DC and a low frequency signal.

Startup Logics

All of the parameter margins (limits) are part of the digital front-end firmware. They are downloaded to the amplifier module(s) at power on. In the case of any fault condition, the power amplifier MCU informs the digital front-end MCU and adds the specific fault information.

The strategy for each error type is determined by the digital front-end MCU firmware. For example, in the event of an overcurrent condition, the amplifier can be restarted with a limit on the number of restarts.

Troubleshooting

To simplify troubleshooting, the digital front-end MCU displays the error information on the LCD in case of a fault condition.

The power amplifier MCU also stores statistical information that can be used in various ways: Number of clipping events, maximum and minimum values for all monitored parameters (such as max/min rail voltages). This is crucial for the Arendal Sound engineers to understand if there are any problems or strange behaviour of the amplifier.

Self-Testing

The digital front-end can run a complete self-test of the entire system. This includes generating a test tone and measuring the amplifier output voltages and all other parameters. Any failure is displayed on the LCD screen.

ROHS, FCC and CE certified.

NEW 1723 SERIES SUBWOOFERS

After a two-year development period we proudly present the new subwoofers in the 1723 Series. Improving what were already market leading products was not an easy task to tackle. Our statement series offers an exceptional balance between perfect music reproduction as well as sheer bass depth and output.

We have nailed it. It’s a promise.

Amazing performance. Dynamic, clean, earth-shattering bass packed in a super-rigid HDF cabinet with premium build quality and details unheard of in this price range. No cheap vinyl or simple solutions. Hi-End performance and build quality.

All new 1723 Series Subwoofers are utilizing our completely redesigned, groundbreaking 13.8″ driver with 50% more excursion and performance, with insane dynamics. Yes, we’ve also succeeded in improving the dynamics. The statement and definition of skilled engineering and design efficiency. We consider it a masterpiece.

A premium driver needs premium amplification. Actually, our new Avalanche 800 IQ & 1200 IQ amplifiers are the market statement of high-power amplifiers with a new mindset of features and usability. The Smart technology for subwoofers. Conservatively rated at 800W and 1200W RMS.

The flexibility in its ways of connectivity and setup will makes every subwoofer amplifier look outdated. The large Hi-Res colour display makes all your adjustments a breeze and provides an excellent overview of all the steps to optimise your Hi-End subwoofer for your system.

1723 Series Subwoofers. Made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. Pro features for the Pro user.

1723 Subwoofer 1S

1723 Subwoofer 1S is the single driver compact subwoofer in our new market-leading statement series. It offers an exceptional balance between perfect music reproduction as well as sheer bass depth and output, with impeccable dynamics. Utilising a single 13.8″ driver and our smart Avalanche 800 IQ amplifier boosting easily 800W with undistorted power that offer ample adjustability for any setup.

1723 Subwoofer 1V

1723 Subwoofer 1V is a vented, high performance, single driver subwoofer. Subwoofer 1V sets a new standard in its class with insane performance for bass-heavy music tracks or movies. The enclosure can be sealed, transforming this brute from a force of nature to a more nuanced and tighter sounding musical performer like 1723 Subwoofer 1S. Only bigger and more powerful. Utilising a single 13.8″ driver and our smart Avalanche 800 IQ amplifier boasting 800W of undistorted power that offers ample adjustability for any setup.

1723 Subwoofer 2S

Dual drivers, twice the fun. 1723 Subwoofer 2S offers an exceptional balance between perfect music reproduction as well as sheer bass depth and output. Utilising two of our proprietary 13.8″ drivers, driven by our smart 1200W RMS Avalanche 1200 IQ amplifier that offers ample adjustability for any setup. The cabinet is sealed and made of HDF, and is sized to provide an optimally damped system that produces deep, undistorted musical bass with a complete lack of smearing or coloration.

The dual opposing, force-absorbing driver layout delivers clean, deep bass, without cabinet movement subtracting anything from the driver output.

Literally startling dynamics. We believe this the world’s best subwoofer for music. At any price level.

1723 Subwoofer 2V

1723 Subwoofer 2V is the Hulk among subwoofers. It’s big. It’s ported. It may be the perfect replacement for your old coffee table. For all purposes and intents, it is a 1723 Subwoofer 2S on steroids, with absolutely massive output.

The enclosure can be sealed, which turns this brute from a force of nature into a more nuanced and tighter sounding musical performer. The dual opposing, power-absorbing driver layout delivers clean, deep bass, without cabinet movement subtracting anything from the driver output. Prepare for mayhem.

Utilizing two of our proprietary 13.8″ drivers, driven by our smart 1200W RMS Avalanche 1200IQ amplifier that offers ample adjustability for any setup.

Movies or music. Perfect for both.

Delivery and pricing

Pre-orders starts August 14.  Global pricing;

  • 1723 Subwoofer 1S – From $1299
  • 1723 Subwoofer 1V – From $1599
  • 1723 Subwoofer 2S – From $1999
  • 1723 Subwoofer 2V – From $2499

Ex shipping and VAT.

For more information click here.

1723 TOWER THX 5.0 – Tha_VillaMan

“These speakers are insane”

Full review

Unboxing

“I got my hands on some insane speakers. The Arendal Sound 1723 THX certified speakers. They may be some of the best looking speakers I’ve seen in a while, and I’m going to see if they sound as good as they look for home theater and for music. But first… we unbox.” – Tha_VillaMan

1723 SUBWOOFER 1 – HIFI VISION


1723 SUBWOOFER 1 – MIGHTY PUNCH AND DEPTH

SILBRERKLASSE

Breaker of news

The Norwegian brand Arendal already caused quite a furore with high-performance THX-licensed speaker systems. The Arendal 1723 systems are the first choice for ambitious home cinemas thanks to their dynamics, tight sound, low-distortion and unsurpassed finish. In our current issue, we line up the smallest out of four Arendal Subwoofers for a review as a solo performer.

Quick-info:

Dedicated home cinema: 5/5
Living-room cinema: 5/5
Stereo music: 5/5
Multi-channel music: 5/5

By Michael Voigt, HIFI VISION (original version can be read HERE).

Large membrane surface, massive enclosure and plenty of amplifier power are the standard ingredients for a high-performance subwoofer that wants to be taken seriously. The Arendal developers have not only taken this to heart, but also paid highest attention to every smallest detail of the 1723 Subwoofer 1, thus delivering the ideal basis for a precise, lush and deep bass to the smallest subwoofer of the Arendal range.

1723 Subwoofer 1

Admittedly, the Subwoofer 1 is not really “small”. After all, both a huge woofer with 300-mm Membrane and a monstrous power amplifier had to be fitted in the enclosure. Nevertheless, the housing is still very manageable and can be surely placed in most rooms without problems with its approximate dimensions of 34 x 50 x 45 cm. The scale delivers substantial 24,5Kg for the 1723 Subwoofer 1, as its sealed enclosure is extremely solidly built to stay absolutely free of internal resonances and the massive magnet of the driver is no joke either.

The driver is by the way exclusively manufactured to the proprietary specifications of Arendal in order to ensure the extreme power rating, gigantic but low-distortion displacement and optimum driver parameters. The 300mm membrane of this “monster-driver” is made of a fibrepulp-fibreglass compound, lightweight but stiff and with high inner damping.

The 500W RMS digital power amplifier fitted to the 1723 Subwoofer 1 offers enough headroom for enormous dynamics, and its built-in DSP ensures an optimum frequency response and includes of course the usual filter, phase and EQ settings.

The Subwoofer 1 comes with two EQ presets: EQ1 produces the maximum depth for home cinema use, while EQ2 is more laid-back in the bass below 40Hz, but also somewhat more precise, which is ideal in smaller rooms or pure stereo setups.

The sealed enclosure of the Subwoofer 1 guarantees already by design a very precise and dry deep bass reproduction, because sealed systems usually have a better impulse response than bass-reflex configurations. The unobtrusive DSP makes up for the deep-bass limitation imposed by the sealed design.

Connectivity and adjustment features are limited to RCA and XLR sockets, as well as the usual knobs for gain, crossover and phase. Unfortunately, a remote control is not included.

Cover grille:

A perforated, metallic protection grille is included.

Exploded driver view:

The massive magnet in the motor, a large voice coil and a low-resonance, stiff membrane confer maximum dynamic range to the Arendal subwoofer.

Measurements and listening impressions

The respectable lower frequency of 20Hz gets everybody in the measurement lab very excited, which is guaranteed as long as the equalizer is set to 1. The setting EQ2 does not reach as deep, hitting 35Hz. The Arendal subwoofer tends to peak a bit at 45Hz in both settings, which turns out to be very pleasing and “lush” in real-life listening tests, without any hint of booming. When the Arendal 1723 Subwoofer 1 is challenged to higher SPL levels, it delivers massive bass-brutality up to 110dB without complaint. It is only possible to detect hints of compression above 110dB, but the neighbours from the semi-detached house next door will be up in arms well before reaching this limit.

The 1723 Subwoofer 1 provides a lot of home-cinema fun because its tight and precise way to catapult bass impulses through the listening room can indeed thrill you. The Arendal considerably expands the frequency spectrum of any setup to lower tunes absolutely free of booming and making the bass physically perceptible. On top of that, it is very easy to integrate with existing loudspeakers, being thus very versatile.

Charts

Technical info: Frequency response  Subwoofer 1

The EQ setting EQ1 allows to reach 20Hz. The setting EQ2 delivers somewhat less pressurisation below 40Hz but more precision.

Dynamics Subwoofer 1

SPL up to 110dB are no problem for the Arendal. The physical limitations of the subwoofer only manifest above 110dB.

Conclusions

With a price well below 1.000 EUR and despite the manageable size of this 1723 Subwoofer 1, Arendal is offering a remarkably powerful deep-bass performer that can easily take on larger competitors. Its solid cabinet, the powerful 500W power amplifier and last but not least the heavy-duty 300mm driver ensure the ultimate deep-bass performance all the way down to 20Hz!

LEGEND amplifier panel:

All settings can be done with the knobs and switches. A remote control is unfortunately not included. A XLR-input is available for professional setups.

Written by: Michael Voigt

SCORE

  • Sound (70% of overall score): 1,0 (11/12)
  • Precision (20 %): 0,9 (12/12)
  • Power handling (20 %): 1,0 (11/12)
  • Dynamics (15 %): 1,0 (11/12)
  • Physical impact (15 %): 1,0 (11/12)
  • Speaker matching (10 %): 1,0 (11/12)
  • Listening region Center (10 %): 1,1 (10/12)
  • Measurements (10% of overall score): 1,1 (10/12)
  • Frequency response (5 %): 1,1 (10/12)
  • Distortion (5 %): 1,1 (10/12)
  • Use (15% of overall score): 1,0 (11/12)
  • Workmanship (15 %): 0,9 (12/12)
  • Features (5 %): 1,2 (10/12)

Price/performance: excellent

SUMMING IT UP

Arendal 1723 Subwoofer 1

  • + massive cabinet
  • + high power amplification
  • + extremely heavy-duty driver

FINAL VERDICT

Silberklasse.

1723 S THX 5.1 EISA AWARD 2019-2020

BEST PRODUCT – HOME THEATRE SPEAKER SYSTEM 2019-2020

“Offering a powerful performance from easy to accommodate cabinets, Arendal Sound’s THX Ultra-certified multichannel package brings Hollywood to your home theatre. The two-way 1723 Monitor S THX standmounts, with 6.5in midbass drivers and waveguided tweeters, showcase a transparent sound, with excellent dispersion and extreme dynamics. This standard of performance is replicated by the centre channel enclosure, while Arendal Sound’s Tri-Axial Surround S THX models produce an expansive rear soundfield. Dramatic, deep bass comes courtesy of the 1723 Subwoofer 2, which maintains a tight grip on deep bass effects via a push-push dual 13.8in driver array and 1kW power plant. Design and build quality are exceptional for the price.”

Official EISA announcement here.

Products

About EISA

EISA (the Expert Imaging and Sound Association) is the unique worldwide association of over 60 special interest magazines and websites that test and report on hi-fi, home theatre, in-car electronics, mobile devices and photography from 29 countries. EISA members now extend to Australia, Canada, USA, India, Hong Kong/China and Japan in addition to the wider European community. Every year EISA jury rewards the most outstanding products in each class with a coveted EISA Award – results that have consistently stood the test of time. So whenever consumers see an EISA Award logo they can be sure the winning product is the very best of the best.

This Award reflects the pooled experience of EISA’s expert magazines and is a fitting tribute to the innovation and performance of this multichannel speaker system.

1723 MONITOR S THX – STEREO & VIDEO


 

Norwegians for Hi-Fi and Home Cinema

Verdict

Arendal 1723 Monitor S speaker systems are designed primarily for home theater systems, even highlighting THX certification. However, with careful placement in the listening area, high-quality music reproduction will also be fully equipped. Without a subwoofer I recommend removing foam from the station. In a smaller listening area, the bass is enough and have precise contours. In the “closed system” state bass is less and they look more accurate. When listening against the high-tone speaker axis, the spectrum is balanced with immutable space and precise localization, even at higher listening volumes. Like larger models, the Monitor S THX are primarily a quality loudspeakers, and unfocused background listening off-base is not entirely comfortable due to greater directionality.

For (+): Excellent sound
For (+): Dutiful construction

Against (–): Perhaps only that the bookshelf loudspeakers I can imagine more compact

Read the full 1723 Monitor S THX Stereo review by Pavel Urbanek.

1723 SUBWOOFER 1 REVIEW – AUDIOVIDEOTEAM


The construction in very accurate, also in the details

The quality/price ratio is good

Read the full review HERE (Italian) by Gian Piero Matarazzo.

 

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