These two companies are really impressing us at the moment and coincidentally they were bundled into the same room over in Munich! And be sure to understand, this was a great room, not one of the £500,000 rooms by any stretch but this room impressed us more on a lot of counts.
Here is Anssi of Amphion, happy with the sound of his system!
As you know we have a full review of the Amphion Argon 1 and 0 coming up very shortly on Inearspace but I still want to tell you a bit about what they were up to at the show. They had the majority of their “Enjoy” collection which is the ‘speakers for your home’ part of the business. All arranged beautifully and understandably, from the Helium range, through the argon range up to the floor standers from both. The whole display looked very modern, simplicity in its best form. In terms of listening though, we had the couple of bits from the “Create” collection which as you will probably have guessed is their professional gear.
The speakers hooked up ready to listen to were the Two18’s (£4,200 a pair) with the addition of a new product from Amphion, the BaseOne25 (pricing TBD) which is effectively a stereo sub-woofer system in a tower-like housing, both of which being driven by the Amp500 (£1,249). It is important for me to tell you, and for you to understand, that this room was so far away from a ‘suitable environment’ as I could imagine. I wouldn’t dream of setting up a system in this space and position. Why am I telling you? Well, to cut to the chase, the system sounded really good regardless of space or environment. I was really impressed with the clarity and honesty of the set-up.
Now I’ve established it sounded really good, the quick demo of the subs deserves a mention too. They are a way of turning your Amphion monitors into a perfectly integrated full range system. Initially they weren’t being powered, it was just the monitors themselves and they sounded great as I expected, detailed and uncoloured. When the BaseOne25’s were kicked in however the soundstage immediately tightened up to an extremely precise image making it easy to pinpoint everything in the recording. The sound was fuller and more complete whilst maintaining all of the initial characteristics of the Two18. Obviously low end was improved too with better extension and decay almost finishing off the sound.
I think Amphion have a real good thing going, they know what they have set out to do in each sector they have entered and to my ears they are nailing each one. Stay tuned for the Argon review to find out what their home use speakers are like.
Many of you will remember our BMC PureDAC review, and they now have taken that to the next step with the UltraDAC ($3,490). It is based on the same design as the Pure but with upgraded components and more attention given to the single ended headphone output which was our only real problem with the Pure. All formats accepted up to DSD 128 and all the inputs you could ever need, it is described as the reference version of the PureDAC. We will be bringing you a full review of the UltraDAC in the near future to really tell you what it’s all about. The design and finish is practically identical to the Pure and even at Munich it stands out as a truly gorgeous design, all of BMC’s products are beautiful in my eyes from the base models all the way up to their big mono amps. If aesthetics are important to you, you’ve got to consider BMC. As well as the UltraDAC, the PureDAC we originally reviewed as hit a MK2 version, again with a better crafted single ended output with less output impedance.
The UltraDAC has gold trim unlike the PureDAC!
The most interesting thing going on at BMC is there entry into the media streamer market with two new products in the form of the PureMedia ($4,590) and MiniMedia (pricing TBD but may well be under a £1000) which are described as “…audio and videophile media solutions.” I like that; I think they understand what people need a media streamer to be. Let me run you through a couple of features. We have memory of up to 32 Terrabytes, yes you read that correctly and up to 6 Terrabytes of SSD. We have USB out, HDMI out with the ability to handle 4K, we have connectivity with the likes of tidal from mobile devices and the ability to retrieve files from any connected device in your home. We also have the ability to hook up to multiroom systems, the opportunities are seemingly endless. We are delighted to say we will also be bringing you a full review of the PureMedia to find out if all these features can be backed up with the most important thing, sound quality. Keep an eye out in the near future. For those on more of a budget though and want something a bit more size conscious, that’s when the MiniMedia steps in, still with 2TB of memory and packed with most of the same features as its big bro, obviously it just doesn’t have quite as many input/output options and has lesser internal components.
Above – PureMedia / Below – MiniMedia
Unfortunately we didn’t get as much time listening to the PureVox ($6,490) speaker system in the BMC room but from a quick listen, it still sounded nice, different to Amphion’s sounds for sure but impressive dealing with the room, probably due to the omnidirectional speakers they use. Also these are one of my favourite speakers visually.