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Hifi Musik – Arendal 1961 Subwoofer 1S – Group test

 

BEST BUY!

Norwegian Arendal is becoming a well known name for most of our readers at this point in time and their 1961 1S is the company’s entry level subwoofer. Even though this is their entry-level subwoofer, Arendal has made sure it feels nothing like a budget construction.

The box is slightly tall and slim and has a coarsely painted matte finish that is nice to touch. You can choose between black or white, both in the matt finish. The cabinet which is made from HDF, feels solidly built and has elegant slanted sides.

On the side of the box sits a 12.2” large subwoofer driver snuggly sunken into the box. The construction is Arendal’s own and a lot of time has been put down to get a subwoofer that is easy to drive and that sounds precise in its playback. The driver has a rigidly suspended paper-cone with a rubber surround and inverted dust cap. If you want to protect the driver, they have included a grille that is attached by magnets.

The box stands stable on its rubber pucks that are screwed in place with M6 bolts.

The amplifier is the most outstanding part of the subwoofer, at least from a functional standpoint, as it is very discrete from a visual point of view. Connectivity is only available through the RCA inputs that are of high quality, while the insides are really flexing muscles. When we turn on the subwoofer the 1,8” large LCD-color display lights up. All adjustments are made with a wheel and two buttons, where you turn around the wheel and click through the menu adjustments. There is a lot of turning the wheel when different values are set, as the when has a low gearing ratio, while on the other side it’s difficult to run past the wanted values.

Here you can amongst other things choose crossover frequency and even slope on the filter as well as Q-value. There is also a stepless phase adjustment and a subsonic filter that can be adjusted to 12, 16, 20, 25 and 32 hertz.

The most interesting function is their 3-band parametric equalizer though, that lets you adjust three frequencies and thereafter lets you adjust them up or down, with a chosen Q-value, which is the steepness around the point of adjustment. If you have the ability to do a frequency sweep with the subwoofer in your room, you can in other words adjust the sound with great precision with Arendal’s EQ. The quick version is using one of the two premade EQ presets.

You can choose when the amplifier should go into sleep mode in 5-minute increments between 5 and 60 minutes. The sensitivity for the auto-on can even be adjusted in three steps. If you want you can connect two different sources to the amplifier, for example, if you have a music setup and a home cinema setup in the same room.

Listening impressions

Arendal has an incredibly dark and heavy thump that can make most floors vibrate. The subwoofer has the nice ability to disappear completely from its physical placement and just exist in the room, due to the solidly built box and completely free from distorting sounds.

If we adjust the crossover frequency higher, this subwoofer continues to play nicely even paired with small speakers, but the massively deep bass can make some problem frequencies stand out in your room. In other words, it is great that we have a 3-band parametric equalizer to work with, to make the frequency response linear. After some tinkering, the room problems are much less noticeable. This may not be a super-tight bass, but if it even feels slightly dull when listening out of the box, it is guaranteed to be an issue with sub-optimal adjustments.

Arendal is at its best when playing heavier rock and electronic music. Antiloops In My Mind is being dished out with the fury that it demands, and when the break comes, many subwoofers tend to collapse from the deep bass about to follow. Arendal does not, it digs all the way down and gives the song its correct fundament. Correctly set up it should not have any issues with distinguishing the bass from the electronic bass on The Sounds lovely song “Living in America”.

 

Three quick:

  • DSP-adjustments in display
  • 12,2” subwoofer
  • Best sound

 
Plus:

  • The total package!
  • The sound

 
Minus:

  • None

 

Read the full review HERE.

ARENDAL 1723 Subwoofer 2S – So let there be bass! Recordere Review

Let there be bass!

 

Vented or Sealed?

For delivering deep bass with proper amounts of output Arendal makes their 1723 series subwoofers with either one or two 13.8” drivers – and the option of choosing either Vented or Sealed (V for vented, S for sealed). The vented model is somewhat larger and EVEN heavier.

For HIFI use there are many that prefer sealed designs, which offer a slightly tighter bass. On the other hand, the vented design offers higher output and deeper bass.

Force-cancelling

When a woofer is put in motion, the cabinet it is mounted in will have the same force applied in the opposite direction of the woofer motion. By using two drivers, that point in each direction (the so called “force-cancelling” principle) one can cancel the side-moving forces without cancelling the sound. When it comes to the pressure inside the cabinet, this is still present, and this force will literally try to bend the cabinet walls, color the sound and steal from its output. Therefore extra robust and internally reinforced cabinets are required to produce a good subwoofer.

That is exactly what Arendal has delivered with their new 1723 subwoofer series, where they from the unboxing impress with a well executed build quality, made in 1” HDF walls (2” where the woofers are mounted) and a clean finish. The drivers are of their own making, and the subwoofers are equipped with refined DSP and new, powerful amplifier called “avalanche” rated at 1200W for the 2S/V models and 800W for the 1S/V models. The vented ones are larger and heavier than the sealed models, but they are all in the heavy end of the scale.

Setup and listening impressions

I am experiencing Arendal 1723 Subwoofer 2S in two different configurations, where I let a Lyngdorf MP50 handle crossover and delays. I listen to the subwoofer all along with miscellaneous sweeps and test signals, to get an impression of sound pressure, resonances and qualities, thereafter together with a set of Technics SB-R1 and lastly coupled together with Arendal 1723 Monitor (teste here).

The subwoofer is placed in the middle of the room, after some experimenting with placement. In this placement the subwoofer gets no additional support, as there is very little reinforcements from walls and corners. The lager Subwoofer 2S therefore gets to use all its power, which it turns out there is A LOT of.

Resonances and vibration

This is an exemplary subwoofer in all ways. There are no vibrations and no resonances to hear from the subwoofer during our torture test with sweeps from 15 to 200Hz. Absolutely approved!

The first test I start with, is with Arendal 1723 Subwoofer 2S as a subwoofer for the large Technics SB-R1, which already play linear very far down into the bass. The thought was to hear if the subwoofer could give any extra headroom by relieving the speakers in the 20-60Hz area.

The setup itself is simple via Lyngdorf MP50, where the crossover frequency and delays are configured. After that the room perfect calibration is run, which ensures a perfect transition between the speakers and subwoofer. Unfortunately Arendal does not write in their manual that the amp delay is 8ms. I learned this by contacting their excellent support.

The delay in the subwoofers DSP is important to know, so we can ensure correct timing of the subwoofer. In the lyngdorf processor I simply enter the delay at 8ms, and then it very simply calculates together with the total corrective delays.

The best integrated subwoofer DSP I have seen

The DSP is refined and easy to use. It is possible to fine tune all aspects of the subwoofers performance. All adjustements are made on a sharp 2.6” color display, which can cleverly be turned upside down, if you are standing above it! Super well thought through and nice details.

Can be connected to two completely separate systems, simultaneously!

In the menu we find the possibility of making completely separate settings for the subwoofers XLR and RCA inputs. That is a MASSIVE advantage, for some that for example prefer to use the subwoofer with their separate stereo system AND home cinema system. It is pretty easy to optimise the subwoofer perfectly for both and make them automatically switch between the systems. There is also a 12V trigger (or trigger on audio input) and passthrough for both inputs.

There is naturally variable crossover frequencies, variable subsonic filter with different slopes (thank you!), 3 separate EQ modes for sealed and vented subwoofers, as well as a 7 band parametric EQ, which allow perfect control over the subwoofers frequency response in any room.

In other words, there are all possibilities for optimising, as one would normally use a separate subwoofer DSP processor to handle, built in! Arendal has also built in Bluetooth for a future Arendal control app, that can make the calibration even simpler. This is though not available yet, and the functionality is unknown.

Let there be bass!

The first impressions of ultra deep bass support under 60Hz for the large technics R1 speakers is actually quite subtle. It feels like extra headroom, for example if I play very heavy electronic music at loud levels. I also give them a couple of classical pieces with orgel notes that reach the abyss, where we really hear that there is extra support in the deep frequencies which gives an extra dimension of authority. In most circumstances the R1 speakers don’t really need the extra help, but it is still very fun to experience how the extra headroom makes them even larger, especially with musical pieces that call for the deepest bass.

Arendal 1723 monitor + 1723 Sub2S

Together with the Arendal 1723 Monitor pair, I insert the foam plugs in the vents, and calibrate the system with a crossover frequency at 90 Hz. The subwoofer is placed between the speakers, and I make another room calibration.

The result in this setup is impressive, far beyond how I experienced the 1723 Monitors alone. The system plays with a completely different self confidence now.

The bass is very well integrated and gives the sound of the 1723 Monitors a big, heavy yet tight body, where one almost can’t avoid playing seriously loud because there is so much effortless headroom to play with.

It started with tracks like Beastie Boys “Intergalactic”, Thorbjørn Risager “back home”, and slightly embarrasing Information Society “Whats on your mind” (don’t ask, I just love that track) .. and finally culminating with kloud “blood” (Fabian Mazur Remix) played at nearly 120dB peaks in the listening position, delivered with the largest sense of truism by this system.

In other words you don’t need too much imagination to understand what one or several of these can manage in a home cinema!

“THE BASS IS VERY WELL INTEGRATED AND GIVES THE SOUND OF THE 1723 MONITORS A BIG, HEAVY YET TIGHT BODY, WHERE ONE ALMOST CAN’T AVOID PLAYING SERIOUSLY LOUD”

Conclusion

I have a hard time putting my finger at anything that isn’t awesome about the Arendal 1723 Subwoofer 2S, where it no matter its price level delivers powerful, flawless, deep, tight and precise bass in ample amounts, with for its performance a very compact design.

The subwoofer’s eminent tuning adjustability makes it possible to create perfect results. To put the price into perspective, a M&K X-12 subwoofer in comparison costs about 4000€ and doesn’t have anywhere near the same adjustability and it has considerably less output. On top of this, the 1723 has more of a visually compact design and even better integration options for any setup.

“I HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING ANYTHING THAT ISN’T AWESOME ABOUT ARENDAL 1723 SUBWOOFER 2S“

For anyone with the hang for tight subwoofer assistance, then Arendal 1723 series is quite simply some of the best I have heard in this class, with a perfect mix of power, sound tuning adjustability combined with a reassuring mechanical quality.

“ARENDAL 1723 SERIES IS QUITE SIMPLY SOME OF THE BEST I HAVE HEARS IN THIS CLASS, WITH A PERFECT MIX OF POWER, SOUND TUNING ADJUSTABILITY COMBINED WITH REASSURING MECHANICAL QUALITY”

The series four models also gives a good opportunity to choose exactly the solution that fits best for the customers needs. The company’s return policy gives anyone the option of testing them in their specific setup, so what are you waiting for?

Read the full review HERE.

 

1723 SUBWOOFER 1S – BEST OF 2020-2021 – STEREO+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARENDAL 1723 SUBWOOFER 1S

But no matter what you couple it with, and what type of music or movies you are watching, the Arendal Sound 1723 Subwoofer 1S is a show-off in tight and well mannered bass, that does not even have a hint of wooliness in its sound. The control is great, the dynamics impressive, the weight and power are actually pretty awesome, and it impresses both for its size and its price.

Stereo+ 7/2020: “if you have a budget subwoofer and want to upgrade, or invest in your first real subwoofer, you are doing yourself a disservice by not checking out Arendal Sound. They are of course not alone in the market. Both SVS, REL, Klipsch, Dali and others would like to join the party, but in this price range there are hardly any that provide similar sound quality.

Read the original review HERE.

 

1961 TOWER – BEST OF 2020-2021 – STEREO+

ARENDAL SOUND 1961

Even if it is a downscaled speaker on almost all areas from the 1723-series, the Tower’s deliver an impressive amount of details and very lively and engaging sound, which is completely free from hard edges. It is almost a shame to pack the compact floorstanding speaker into a home cinema setup, because it does a very good job also as a pure hifi-speaker. With a good integrated amplifier it plays solid and nice, and if you prioritize engagement and enthusiasm this is a very good buy. 

Stereo+ 05/2020: “Arendal Sound continues where they let off, and has made a speaker system where the most obvious compromise is the size of the speakers. The 1961 series has everything you need to create a realistic movie experience in middle large rooms, but don’t forget that Tower also can play music at loud levels as solo musical performers in a living room.

Arendal Sound has managed it again, and made their 1961 series to one of the winners in the price range. You get a lot of fun for your money!”

Read the original review HERE.

 

 

 

ARENDAL 1723 MONITOR THX – Recordere Review


ARENDAL 1723 Series “directly-to-you” Home Cinema speakers


Conclusion: Value kings!

Home Cinema budget Nirvana!


A childhood dream became reality

Norwegian Arendal is a relatively young Norwegian loudspeaker producer that has set out to deliver large home cinema / HIFI speakers and subwoofers of a high standard, at very low prices.

This is done by designing and developing in Norway, producing in China and delivering directly to you from a warehouse in the Netherlands.

The showroom is as such moved to your own home, where you receive the loudspeakers with an open 60 days right of return at a cost.

The company is owned by Jan Ove Lassesen, who grew up in his fathers radio store, took an electronics engineer exam and dreamt about starting his own loudspeaker brand. The result is Arendal, that was brought to our attention on a recommendation of one of our readers.

The Arendal Family: 1723, 1723S and 1961 serien

Arendals speakers consist of 3 series that contain everything you need for a complete home cinema or stereo setup.   

1723 series is the top of the range, and it’s the one we are testing here. The series utilise 8” drivers.

1723S series is a shrunken version of the 1723 series that instead uses 6” drivers. 

1961 series is an even cheaper alternative, that builts on almost all the technology from the 1723 series, but with 5.5” woofers, slightly thinner cabinet, slightly cheaper finish, ferrite magnet instead of neodymium in the tweeter, slightly cheaper terminals and components in the crossover.

Design. Go big, or go home 😉

“They are quite bit, right??” says Karsten “CD” Møller from the listening team, while we are unboxing the speakers. From the moment of opening the boxes until they are placed in the room, you get a sense of quality all the way. The speakers are wrapped in soft fabric bags that make it easier to handle the weight. 

 

“FROM THE MOMENT THE BOXES ARE OPENED UNTIL THEY ARE PLACED IN THE ROOM, YOU GET A HIGH SENSE OF QUALITY WITH ARENDAL.”

 

Eminent Finish

The speakers have simple lines, and are exquisitely finished in sturdy HDF boards with a nice “satin” finish. They are available in four colors. The terminals and the magnetic grill are also very confidence inspiring. It all feels and looks like a well built quality product in a finish that feels a level OVER the otherwise nice M&K S-300 (4499€ pr. pair) that I have in my reference home cinema setup. It is all just very well made, and you won’t find a single piece of plastic here. Maybe the design is a bit simple, and does not try to make them appear smaller than they are. But the other way around, does a speaker need to apologize itself? We say no. :)

 

“IT ALL FEELS AND LOOKS LIKE A WELL BUILT QUALITY PRODUCT IN A FINISH THAT SEEMS A LEVEL ABOVE THE OTHERWISE BEAUTIFUL M&K S-300

 

Technical

The 1723 series is the top range from Arendal – and it covers 1723 Tower THX, made in a 2.5 way design, 1723 monitor THX, 1723 Center THX which is identical with 1723 monitor (but is “laying down” design wise), as well as a matching surround speaker in tripole named 1723 Surround THX

The speakers are THX Ultra certified.

This is a classical “D’Appolito” design, with a powerful 28mm dome tweeter placed in a waveguide, which should give us a large sweet-spot with an even frequency response. This is especially important in a home cinema setup, where the family has a wide array of seating positions. 

The amplifier dilemma – how much is needed here?

The speakers are medium sensitive, and demands a serious amplifier to deliver sound pressures that live up to THX Ultra. Arendal themselves gladly recommend 300 watt in 4 ohm for the surround speakers (!), and gladly up to 500 watt for the tower speakers. 

That simply means, that it could be difficult to find amplifiers that both deliver the power and that also harmonise from a price perspective, – IF it is important to be able to deliver THX Ultra reference sound pressure in a larger room. In this situation one should take into consideration the total price of speakers and amplifiers together. If the speakers are for example 10 dB more efficient, one would need 10 times less amplification, (where every 3dB is a doubling of the power) which again means that one could settle with an integrated surround receiver instead of a pre/pro in the home cinema. It all depends on room size, distance to speakers and consideration to existing equipment.

There is also made a “stand” for 1723 Monitor to get a floor standing speaker look if one don’t want to go all-in with the Tower model. SMART!

If your room is smaller, then you will of course come much further even with a smaller amplifier with Arendal. 

For the review of 1723 Monitor, I use a Lyngdorf SDA-2400 that cost the same as the speakers pr. channel, and that has ample amounts of power to drive the speakers to the edge of their capabilities. We also test them on the extremely fast Technics SE-R1 power amplifier for the listening session.

Listening impressions:

Arendal 1723 Monitor have been placed on a pair of B&W stands in the living room stereo setup. The stands place the 28mm dome at perfect ear level, with a slight “toe-in” towards the listening position. The speakers are in distinguished company, as we have connected them in the combination of a Lyngdorf MP50 (€ 9900,-) preamplifier and a Technics SE-R1 (€ 12990,-) power amplifier. Thereafter we used a Technics LAPC impedance matching and roomperfect calibration. MP50 is chosen as we will later review Arendal 1723 Subwoofer 2S, but for now we are listening to 1723 Monitor alone.

Sealed or Vented?

There are two bass reflex ports in the rear, that can be sealed with the added foam plugs. Sealing the ports affects the frequency response in the bass, and can give a sensation of tighter bass. We choose to use them with the ports open for the deepest possible response when the speakers are used alone, without a subwoofer.

We are doing listening sessions over 3 days with material primarily from the listening teams Tidal playlist, but this time also a lot of vinyl. The playback is primarily via Roon, with Cocktail Audio X45Pro as converted connected with AES/EBU to Lyngdorf MP50. Vinyl is played off a Technics SL-1200GAE with an Ortofon 2M Black MM pickup. We use a Cocktail Audio X45Pro as RIAA/DAC for the record player. Through the testing we try different pickups and power amps are being changed.

Home Cinema vs. (high-end) HIFI

The 1723 serien are first and foremost created to deliver a complete setup for serious home cinema enthusiasts, who want an economically manageable, but powerful home cinema system. We are primarily testing 1723 Monitor for music, set up in a pure music setup, to get the best insights to their sonic characteristics.

Impressive sound pressure

They are designed to deliver impressive sound pressure, which they do to the fullest, with the right amount of power. With a sensitivity of 89dB@1 meter (92dB for the tower model!) there is plenty of sound pressure in the listening position. In direct comparison with the JBL HDI series that we have in fresh memory, Arendal feels like they have more surplus of power in the bass under pressure, but do not have the same crispiness on vocales in the midrange as the three times more expensive JBL HDI do so well.

Genre shift

The collective listening impression is therefore a little more nasal and not as open when we are listening to vocal music, where we directly compare them to the four times as expensive Genelec 8431, we immediately recognise a lack of micro dynamics, details and air between the instruments. Karsten expresses: “The musical expression does not reach the foot” he says and continues: “The perspective is flat, and the room is small”. I have to agree with him, there is something missing of the lively, snappy and relaxing sound that we are used to from far more expensive HIFI speakers. I recognise a tight, dry and “punchy” bass, and inspire therefore to change listening genre away from our uptight and sensitive “beautiful-perspective-and-dynamics-HIFI-pearls” and set some fire under tracks like:

Groove Amada  “Raisin the stakes” 

Sade “Soldier of love” 

Skrillex “Make it Bun Dem”

The Prodigy “Need some 1”,  

Trentemøller “African People”

Infected Mushroom “Avratz”,  

Deadmau5 “Pomegranate” 

Carpark North “Shall we be Grateful”

The Weeknd “Cant feel my face”

Beastie Boys “Sabotage” og “intergalactic”

as well as everything that is wrong (according to the listening team) with music in 2021 🙂 : “Different”….

With tracks like these, the 1723 Monitor feels much more at home in our ears. It will be interesting to test them in combination with the company’s 1723 Subwoofer 2S, where this feeling could be expected to further be amplified with extra headroom and even more massive/deep bass response.

Conclusion: Value kings!

Arendal delivers –  the price taken into consideration, an amazing value for the money with a performance and build quality, which one normally won’t see ANYWHERE NEAR this price range. 

In a direct comparison with MK S-300 which are nearly four times as expensive, there are a few points missing for dynamics, but there is not four times between them. When taking the price into consideration (and the fact that S-300 also NEEDS to be combined with a subwoofer) it is pretty clear that Arendals 1723 series offer something others will not come close to in combination with sound quality, experienced quality, sound pressure and price.

If one finds the 1723 series too large, the 1723 S series is a more interior friendly and even cheaper alternative in the exact same quality. If the budget is tighter or the space is tighter the 1961 series offer the same basic qualities, but at nearly an imaginative price. 

 

“WHEN WE TAKE PRICE INTO CONSIDERATION IT IS CLEAR THAT ARENDALS 1723 SERIES OFFER SOMETHING OTHERS DON’T COME CLOSE TO, IN THE COMBINATION OF SOUND QUALITY, QUALITY, SOUND PRESSURE AND PRICE.”

 

Are you on the lookout for some convincing performers for your home cinema project on a budget, we can highly recommend that you try Arendal and you can even do it completely “Covid-free” in your own home, with up to 60 days right of return!

 

STJERNHOLM REVIEW POINTS

9.0/10

PLUS

  • Experienced quality
  • THX Ultra certified
  • Sound pressure
  • 60 Days Buy&Try
  • Incredible Value
  • Perfectly matching series

 

MINUS

  • Musical life and engagement
  • Will demand good WAC (Wife Acceptance Control)

 

Read the full review HERE.

 

1723 SUBWOOFER 2V – YouthMan

 

“For any home theater enthusiast that is really passionate about great sound!”

 

Full review

 

“I was impressed that the Arendals handled each one of those notes down to the lowest frequency with ease…”

“…every time the shotgun would blast, I would feel it in my chest and feel it in my body…”

“…to me, that’s just attention to details.”

“…The 1723s have a ton of output.

“…these subwoofers provide a ton of value for that price…”

“…one of the biggest things I noticed is just how clean base they produce.

“…another thing that really impressed me is the avalanche amplifier that’s included with this subwoofer…

“…menu structure and the amount of customization and setting options is really really impressive…

“…gorgeous to look at…

 

 

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