Amphion Argon 3L versus Spendor A9

To Philip Beaudette,

I just read your review of the Amphion Argon3L. Certainly very thorough. Great writing by the way.

If you wouldn't mind I have a couple of questions please. I should say that I have listened to them a few times and have them and Spendor A9s on my shortlist. Unfortunately, I won't have an opportunity to listen to them in the same environment, nor can I listen to either in my environment.

1. You mentioned room size as a consideration. My setup is at one end of a fairly big room that includes a living room, dining area, and kitchen, so it's about 5m x 8m. The main listening area is at one end of this room -- sitting about 4m from the speakers. The speakers will need to sit about 3m apart.

2. I am using a Swedish amp called a Bladelius Thor Mk.II. It's an integrated 150Wpc unit with fabulous depth. I currently use a set of Sonus Faber Concertinos, which are stand-mounted two-ways; however, these have always lacked a decent bottom end.

3. I listen to a broad range of music -- stuff like Oscar Petersen, Keith Jarrett, Vince Guaraldi, Steely Dan, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Sondre Lerche, Calexico, Wilco, Talking Heads, etc.

Some fellow audio enthusiasts have suggested that the Argons aren't a "good enough" speaker to match with the Bladelius and have recommended the Spendors, Wilson Benesch, etc. Interestingly enough, I thought the Argons sounded better than the Spendor A9s on tracks like the Talking Heads' live version of "Pyscho Killer" where there is no real bass to speak of.

I am sure you get pestered a lot, but any comments would be welcome.

Mark McLaughlan

I wish I had a room of your size to experiment with the setup/sound of the Amphion Argon3Ls. I ended up buying a pair of these speakers after I reviewed them, and although I'm extraordinarily pleased with them, I'd love to give them even more space where I could place them further apart and get an even bigger sound from them.

The good news is that you seem to have a fairly large room, and based on what you said, I would have no reservations about trying the Argon3Ls out in that space. If you have already found the Spendors to be a bit light in the bass, they likely won't get much weightier in your home (unless, of course, if the dealer's showroom where you auditioned them is even bigger than your own room). As for the power of your Bladelius integrated amp, it should have no problem driving the Argon3Ls to full output. I use a 100Wpc Bryston B100 SST integrated amp and have all the power I need for them.

You needn't worry about whether the 3L will be suited for your tastes in music. Any speaker worth buying should sound good with all sorts of music -- the 3L does. Besides, based on the artists you've listed, your musical preferences vary quite a bit, so if you come across a speaker that seems to performs well on jazz but poorly with rock'n'roll, walk away.

With regard to the person who suggested the Argon3Ls weren't good enough for your Bladelius, that is utter nonsense. You've already said you've heard them several times and, at least in the context of the different rooms and system setups you heard them in, you preferred their sound to that of the Spendors. Since you're the one that will be buying and using them, you need to get the speaker that you want to own. Just let your ears decide. . . . Philip Beaudette