Going beyond the KEF LS50W magic

the X300A’s are really very good value.

Here’s a very interesting and inciteful video comparing. And the X300A’s come off v well, imho.

If they did a vanilla powered LS50 without the DAC’s, I’d be in like a jot. I just find the lack of ability to switch DACs quite limiting in this day & age, especially when you go up to the price point of the LS50W. For the “throwaway” price of the X300A’s it’s much less of an issue.

I’ve not stopped listening to the Argon 3S. There is something very, very special about these. Apart from the bass and the transparency, balanced cohesion, etc. the most striking aspect is the directedness of the sound. I am sat 3m away but it genuinely feels like I’m wearing headphones. I’m pretty astonished right now. And this is with a single Bluesound Powernode 2. This combo would cost me £2100. I dont want to jump to any comparisons with the LS50Ws just yet but it ain’t gonna be pretty.

I think that’s their ‘UDD’ waveguide and very low crossover point at work perhaps

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Its magical. Definitely no marketing BS from Amphion with that UDD claim.

To recreate some of the LS50 Wireless sound signature, go with a passive coaxial driver design – for similar point source dispersion – and use convolution to apply an impulse response correction filter – for time coincidence.


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Those Danish guys makes some nice speakers, Dynaudio Special Forty is pretty awesome, and the Buchardt is nice if you want to skip the subwoofer.

I also made a $3000 budget thread a while back, have a look at it (option 1 is the KEFs, option 2 is separate components): The optimal $3000 desktop system, v1.1?

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Folks. Need some advice. Also @jobseeker @jon_michaels who have experience of amphions.

I am looking to settle the Argon 3S in my listening space (3m x 5m with apex ceiling 3m at the peak). Construction is all wood and glass on three sides. I have the Argon’s firing down the room. They are currently 50cm from the front and side walls. They are about 2m apart with my desk in between them. They are sat on their own stands and so the tweeters are 95cm from the floor. They have a bit of toe-in.

I have two listening positions in this room:

Desk - in this position my ears are 1.25m from the floor and I am sat exactly equidistant between the two speakers. I am sat just 1.1m from the front wall; so my ears are diagonally 1m from the tweeters. This is a very odd sounding position - no bass, no real sense of where the music is coming from (a bit like wearing headphones that are out-of-phase). Perhaps this is to do with the UDD design of the speakers?

Sofa - this is a great sounding position. I am directly between both speakers and 3m away from them. The speakers are toe’d in to fire about 50cm either side of my ears. No complaints here. However, should I toe them in more or less?

And here’s a photo. Excuse the mess - still swapping and experimenting with kit.

I’m not worried about the sofa position. But I spend 75% of my time at my desk and that just sounds odd right now.

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Everyone’s ears and rooms are different. I wouldn’t expect a satisfactory sound in the desk seating position from what I see there. The high frequency dispersion on the Amphion should be very wide, but I would have thought toe-in would be needed there. Even so, I wouldn’t expect miracles with image height and depth from there. I’d want them further back. Or pull em further in and toe-in for studio-monitoring type use. I’ve always made sure that I don’t sit at less than the distance than the speakers are apart. At such a distance I’ve never needed toe-in. Everything is a trade off though.

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Thanks @jobseeker. So I’ve had three different speakers in that same position as you see in the photo (Monitor Audio GS10, Tannoy XT6F and the KEF LS50Wireless) and the Amphions give a noticeably different listening experience from the desk chair. Significant difference in fact. I’ve been reading a bit more about near-field listening (never felt the need before) and I wonder whether what I’m experiencing is partly the wide dispersion of the Amphion tweeter courtesy of its waveguide. It is a very odd sensation, like the sound is hitting both my ears at exactly the same time. So, I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m just not used to a speaker that is designed for near-field listening. It is different and I could probably get used to it.

What is also noticeably different is the loss of bass. Now this those other three speakers I couldn’t really tell any difference (apart from width of soundstage) whether I was sat at my desk a metre away from them or on my sofa 3.6m away. Totally different with the Amphions. There is a very sudden drop off of bass. Imagine that you are sat listening to the Amphions with the drivers face on to you. Now start to move to the left/right of that central axis. I estimate that within 30-40cm of moving left or right the bass just drops off with the Amphions at a distance of about 1 - 1.5m. So that implies that they need to be facing directly at my ears but that can’t be right. I’ve never seen anyones room configured like that. Totally puzzled by the bass I have to admit. I partly wonder whether I should plug the sub back in just to fill in that missing bass when I’m listening at my desk. I don’t want to do that but a bit stumped to be honest. What’s stumped me the most is that I never noticed such a drop off in bass with the other three speakers. I’m guessing its to do with the UDD.

I wouldn’t get hung up on Amphion’s UDD as they like to call it. It just their term for wide Dispersion Technology high frequencies. A few manufacturers are using the waveguide principle. Bass doesn’t have much to do with that. Your speakers are interacting with the room bass-wise in a particular way that your previous ones did not. Unfortunately it’s not suiting the positioning of the speakers, your desk seat or both. From what you say, bass is present in your sofa seating position, though it all depends on what frequencies are affected and what you’ve got used to. Small movements in position may or may not change it. You could gain bass at the desk and lose it at the sofa. Same goes for large movements. Frankly I’m surprised that you have had satisfactory results overall in both seating positions with previous speakers, but there you go. I guess if you’ve been filling in with a sub then the results will have been quite different bass-wise at least and that can affect how you perceive the higher frequencies too.

I’ve moved the speakers around a bit to reduce the distance from each other and increase my distance from them. I’ve also raised them to the same height as the desk. Now they are near the front wall right up against the desk. Of course I’m this set up I have a very reflective glass desk immediately in front of them but that can be treated. The sofa position seems pretty unaffected. The desk position soundstage is slightly deeper and separated but the bass is still missing. I am beginning to wonder whether I create a set of Rew/HAF filters for the desk position and just enable/disable the DSP in Roon when I move positions. But I don’t think this will help. Boosting that region will do nothing if it’s a room node cancelling out in the bass freq region.

Blooming rooms eh, who’d have ‘em? Amphions might be going back then?

Not at that stage yet by a long shot. These are amazing speakers.

In their new position I’m getting bass dips 50hz and below and around 100hz. That 100hz dip is not new - get that on every speaker that’s been in the room. But the 50hz and below is a new one. I get that in both positions. The 100hz less so at the sofa position. I wonder if the passive radiator on the rear could be somehow affecting in-room bass response? The MA and Kefs were rear-ported, the Tannoy front ported.

I think some more experimentation with positioning is required. Who knows I might do something really crazy like shove them in the corners with plenty of toe in

You will have standing waves, and if you have less bass at your listening position you probably sit in a null node. I have a similar setup as you in my room, but to get good sound I had to move the desktop away from the wall so that the speakers are about next to the desk corners, and 60 cm from back wall. Listening position is about 1.5 meters from each speaker, and the speakers are about 1.5 meters from each other.

If possible. try to place the speakers so the distance between the back wall and the side walls from the speakers are different.

There is also a suggestion that you should sit either 38% from back wall or from front wall (100% being the length of the room):

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Jim Smith’s “Get better sound” is a good read to help solve some of your room and placement issues.

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I would suggest siting them as suggested by the manufacturer (including any instructions for the stand) and then looking at room treatments and or convolution to help room interaction.

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Thanks folks. Plenty for me to experiment/play around with. I am going to start by bringing my desk a bit further into the room and site the speakers at the corner of the desk.

So, spent a couple of hours this morning trying the speakers in different positions. For now I’m going to stick with the following as it seems to be the best compromise in both listening positions:

Desk pulled out from front wall by a foot.
Amphions height increased by several inches courtesy of some IsoAcoustic stands. This brings them level with the desk height.
Speakers are positioned at the back corner of the desk.
And, finally, and this seems to be quite key for the desk position - I’ve reinstalled my sub and calibrated it to the desk position. God knows what the Antimode 8033 does but its getting me bass at that position. Mind you the sub is in the corner firing across the long diagonal of the room.

Going to stick with this configuration for a while now and see how I get on. I need to let things settle and just listen to music…

My experience is that sub in a corner gives most bass, but not best bass. I prefer to have the sub either below/side of one of the monitors, or in the middle between them (although this depends a lot of the room).

And a quick measurement with a USB microphone and REW will help, I am sure I saw a guide about that on this forum :slight_smile:


OK. So it’s confession time.

I have spent the best part of 6 hrs moving speakers, desks, installing/calibrating subwoofers, playing test tones, moving plant pots, tripping over the dog, etc. and I just kept thinking… somethings not right. How can these speakers go from sounding great to sounding crap… So, I went to switch out the Amphions and put my Monitor Audio’s back in and I noticed that the left speaker is out of phase… (i.e. RED in -ve, BLACK in +ve)… This happened when I swapped the speakers onto their permanent weighted stands yesterday afternoon…

What a **** I am… So, of course, you can imagine what happened next… Yep, swapped them over and I have my wonderful bass back…

What had my particularly confounded was why the sub could produce bass at my desk position but the speakers couldn’t. If I was in a null then the sub shouldn’t have had any effect. Now it all makes sense.

Audiophile 101: Check speakers are in parity.

Thanks for all the advice folks. I did try every possible configuration… haha… so at least I’ve now learnt a few new things about speaker placement.

@jobseeker The Amphions are definitely staying…