Angstrom Loud­speak­ers

Suono 600SD On-Wall Speak­ers

NOVO - - REVIEW -

Have you heard the ex­pres­sion, ‘three’s a crowd’? Imag­ine that hot date with some­one you’ve just been dy­ing to get to know and then find­ing out they’re bring­ing their lit­tle sib­ling. Talk about turn­ing a hot date into a cold shower. Sim­i­larly, it’s that third front speaker in a home the­atre sur­round sound setup, yeah that cen­tre chan­nel, which can some­times turn your hot home the­atre setup into - a crowd. Think about putting your lovely new 75 inch TV above your fire­place man­tle; just where does that cen­tre chan­nel go? Mount it be­low the TV and that places your TV too high. Put that cen­tre speaker above the TV and only the birds will hear it. Sure, you could skip the cen­tre speaker but since most movie tracks are recorded in dis­crete 5.1 (or more) chan­nels and up to 80 per­cent of the sound is de­liv­ered through the cen­tre chan­nel; you might want to re­think that. And, even if you can squeeze in that cen­tre speaker, your dé­cor con­scious self would love a sim­pler so­lu­tion. Heck, any­thing that can re­duce the speaker foot­print while pre­serv­ing son­ics is, well… magic.

DE­SIGN & FEA­TURES

So what would you say about get­ting two speak­ers (left and right) to de­liver all three chan­nels of sound - dis­cretely? Magic? Well, Angstrom Loud­speak­ers, with their Suono 600SD loud­speaker, aims to de­liver just such a Hou­dini act. The Suono 600SD in­te­grates a split cen­tre chan­nel within just two en­clo­sures – a left and a right. Us­ing a matched set of drivers, ded­i­cated to the cen­tre chan­nel sound, in each of the left and right speaker en­clo­sures, it cre­ates a stereo­phonic cen­tre chan­nel. The re­sult is three chan­nels of dis­crete au­dio from just two com­pact en­clo­sures that can stylishly flank your tele­vi­sion. This de­sign aims to pro­vide all the ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing a nat­u­ral spa­tial ef­fect, well-ar­tic­u­lated voices, and a panoramic sound stage, from two speak­ers – not three. Hey, I think that hot date might be back on.

The Suono 600SD speaker is a com­pact and svelte de­sign, just 3-inches deep, 7-inches wide and 34-inches high, com­ple­ment­ing TVs from 55 inches and up. Each Suono 600SD houses an in­cred­i­ble 6 drivers – in­clud­ing: three 1-inch soft dome tweet­ers and three 4.5-inch mid-woofers. The speaker has a 6 Ohm im­ped­ance, 89 dB sen­si­tiv­ity and 120 watt power hand­ing, mak­ing it be­nign for most home the­atre re­ceivers. The 600SD has a wide use­able fre­quency range of 55Hz to 20KHz (+/- 3dB) and weighs in at 17lbs per speaker. Three fin­ishes are avail­able: black, sil­ver or white, with the match­ing fab­ric cov­ers be­ing black, grey or white. Since the Suono 600SD is a sealed de­sign (no bass ports) they do well when mounted on or placed near walls.

The Suono 600SD speaker has a solid build, with clean and con­tem­po­rary lines. Its high qual­ity gloss fin­ish, snug form-fit­ting fab­ric and con­cealed hard­ware, makes it as non-in­tru­sive as can be. Re­mov­able end­caps, both top and bot­tom, hide the springloaded hook-up ter­mi­nals. The six drivers, men­tioned ear­lier, are all hid­den be­hind the acous­ti­cally trans­par­ent fab­ric and ar­ranged top-to-bot­tom, as fol­lows: mid-woofer + tweeter within an in­ter­nal com­part­ment; then, mid-woofer + tweeter + mid-woofer and a last but not least, the side-fir­ing Sound Dif­fuser tweeter (where the SD in the name comes from), within a sec­ond in­ter­nal com­part­ment. And, let’s not for­get the 5-year parts and labour war­ranty.

When it comes to hook­ing up the Suono 600SD there are a cou­ple of op­tions avail­able, de­pend­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion. As much as the pri­mary ap­pli­ca­tion for the 600SD is the

three front chan­nels in a sur­round sound setup; the Suono 600SD can also be used in a two-chan­nel stereo mu­sic sys­tem. In­struc­tions are pro­vided in the box, with clear and sim­ple di­a­grams for each setup. The stereo hook-up is unique, re­quir­ing an ex­tra sin­gle-lead jumper be­tween the top and bot­tom (+ve to –ve) ter­mi­nals and while eas­ily ac­com­plished, it would have been great to have this hook-up in­ter­nally wired and switch ac­ti­vated.

PER­FOR­MANCE

A 30-hour break-in is rec­om­mended in the Angstrom man­ual, so I gave the speak­ers 72+ hours be­fore eval­u­at­ing them. Us­ing the op­tional match­ing Pro­pri­etary Plinths, rather than the in­cluded wall-mounts, I sat the speak­ers on my MR24 Tar­get Au­dio steel stands, just a cou­ple inches away from the rear wall. Stereo eval­u­a­tions were by way of my Rega Elex-R in­te­grated amp us­ing Ti­dal HiFi stream­ing via my MOON by Si­mau­dio 280D DAC / player, while 5.1 sur­round was eval­u­ated with my Onkyo TX-SR805 AVR. For most of my lis­ten­ing, I paired the Suono 600SD with my En­ergy ESW-M6 sub­woofer.

I be­gan by eval­u­at­ing the Suono 600D in a stereo two-chan­nel mu­sic setup. One al­bum I cued up on Ti­dal HiFi was No­rah Jones, Come Away With Me. When done right, No­rah Jones sounds sul­try and no less than de­li­ciously sen­sual. I have to ad­mit, I do have a lit­tle ‘thang’ for the way she sings. Giv­ing lis­ten to the Suono 600D a-la-carte, I was happy to hear the clar­ity, crisp­ness and taught na­ture of the pre­sen­ta­tion. Piano keys had up-front im­pact and the stand-up bass plucks pos­sessed a good mea­sure of im­me­di­acy. How­ever, I have to ad­mit, I was not feel­ing the emo­tion. There was a lack of body, un­sub­stan­tial warmth and the piano notes were ton­ally in­com­plete. So I hooked up and di­aled in my ESW-M6 sub­woofer and like a Pheonix re-born, the Suono 600SD trans­formed into an en­tirely dif­fer­ent an­i­mal. With the sub­woofer sup­port­ing the lower reg­is­ters (com­ing in be­low 110 Hz) the 600SD was now able to de­liver the mu­sic with re­al­is­tic sized im­ages, nat­u­ral­ness of tone and yes, emo­tion. The sound­stage it­self gained scale with No­rah’s voice por­trayed with a sense of di­men­sion and round­ness. Lis­ten­ing to “Feelin’ the Same Way” No­rah’s voice pos­sessed warmth and body, while the bass line now had re­al­is­tic weight. I took note of the breadth of the stereo im­age; well ex­tended, reach­ing by a con­sid­er­able amount beyond the outer edges of the speak­ers, no doubt at­trib­ut­able to those SD tweet­ers. Cym­bals played on “Come Away With Me” were no­tably crisp and brassy, with a life­like shim­mer, while the brushes on the drums were sub­stan­tially de­tailed. The gui­tar strings too con­tained an ap­pre­cia­ble amount of tex­ture and del­i­cacy. The re­verb around No­rah’s voice and the in­tel­li­gi­bil­ity of her phras­ing was ca­pa­bly han­dled. In short, with the back­ing of an ap­pro­pri­ately setup sub­woofer, the Suono 600D could de­liver mu­sic in a very en­joy­able and nu­anced man­ner. If you pre­fer a match­ing sub­woofer, Angstrom does of­fer the ALFT10-S150 for $699 CAD. As well, for ded­i­cated mu­sic 2-chan­nel sys­tems, Angstrom of­fers the Suono 2-way, 2.5-way and 3-way mod­els, priced from $339 to $599 CAD / each.

In a home the­atre set­ting, one of the movies that gave me a broad un­der­stand­ing of the per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Angstrom Suono 600SD was the sci-fi movie Obliv­ion. Watch­ing this DTS-HD Blu-ray, I was very im­pressed with the abil­ity of the 600SD to de­liver speech with a very high level of in­tel­li­gi­bil­ity. Not only was I able to eas­ily hear ev­ery word at ref­er­ence vol­umes (85 dB) but this clar­ity of speech re­mained even at the low­est vol­ume lev­els (30dB range). When it comes to hear­ing ev­ery syl­la­ble of speech in a movie, I have to say that the 600SD is a star. Though I did no­tice that sibi­lants were slightly high­lighted but this may be just me nit­pick­ing. Lis­ten­ing to metal­lic sounds, I was thrilled with their vivid­ness - they sounded crisp, quick and sharp. Spe­cial ef­fects sounds too were no­tice­ably crisp and clean. Es­pe­cially en­gag­ing were the flight scenes with the sear­ing engine sounds of the drones and the Bub­ble­ship. The fir­ing of a gun dur­ing one of the scenes was amaz­ingly dy­namic, lit­er­ally jolt­ing me in my seat. Drums within the ac­com­pa­ny­ing mu­sic of a chase scene proved the Suono 600SD’s ca­pa­bil­ity in de­liv­er­ing tight and well-timed sound. Sit­ting to the left and right of my TV, the Suono speak­ers cast a gen­er­ously wide sound­field, ex­tend­ing well beyond the speak­ers; no doubt in part due to those side fir­ing SD tweet­ers. Op­ti­mal per­for­mance was within 20-de­grees left/right off cen­tre. Go­ing beyond this point, sounds be­gan to co­a­lesce around the near­est speaker, a lit­tle more so than with a tra­di­tional three speaker home the­atre setup. Mov­ing out­side that 40-de­gree area also had the ef­fect of lean­ing the tonal bal­ance to the tre­ble, as you be­gan to hear more of the side-fir­ing tweeter in the mix. In short, the 600SD works best if you don’t need to sit too far off to the sides.

An­other movie that demon­strated the Angstrom Suono 600SD’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties was Sky­fall. This 007 movie with Daniel Craig fea­tures an in­cred­i­bly dy­namic and fast­paced open­ing act that in­cor­po­rates a car chase, mo­tor­cy­cle chase, and train-top foot chase, con­clud­ing with a sniper shot and Bond go­ing over a wa­ter­fall. I was very im­pressed with the ex­cite­ment that the 600SD was able bring to this open­ing act. The sound of the crowd in the streets was fully im­mer­sive; the com­plex mix of noises im­pres­sively well de­lin­eated. Break­ing glass, crum­pling metal and crashes were im­pres­sively clear and quick sound­ing. Dur­ing the tran­sients there did seem to be some ac­cen­tu­a­tion of the up­per mid­dle / lower tre­ble fre­quen­cies, as the loud­est of sharp sounds did come across some­what harsh. The Suono 600SD favours dy­nam­ics and agility to smooth­ness. I noted that the mu­sic and sound ef­fects were well sep­a­rated, with the speak­ers be­ing pro­fi­cient at sort­ing out a smor­gas­bord of sonic de­tails to de­liver an in­tel­li­gi­ble sound­track re­al­is­ti­cally. Un­like cen­tre chan­nels placed be­low or above tele­vi­sion screens, the Suono 600SD was able to project voices from the cen­tre of the screen at mid-height, much like be­ing at the movie the­atres where their cen­tre chan­nel is be­hind the screen. I did watch the spec­tac­u­lar train crash in Sky­fall, which the Suono 600SD was able to cre­ate with very re­mark­able power, dy­nam­ics, mak­ing me re­play it at least a cou­ple times for the sheer thrill.

The Angstrom Suono 600SD speaker is an al­most mirac­u­lous so­lu­tion for those seek­ing a higher qual­ity home the­atre sur­round sound ex­pe­ri­ence, with­out the need for a third front speaker. When prop­erly mated to a sub­woofer, they can de­liver mu­sic and movies in a thrilling man­ner. Com­pact, well built, and stylish the Angstrom Suono 600SD might just be the speaker so­lu­tion you’ve been wait­ing to find.

Angstrom Loud­speak­ers www.angstrom­loud­speak­ers.com (416) 988-8806 info@angstrom­loud­speak­ers.com

Angstrom Loud­speak­ers Suono 600SD On-Wall Speak­ers Price: $1,299 CAD / pair

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