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Amphion Argon 3S stand-mount loudspeaker

Amphion Argon 3S stand-mount loudspeaker

Having spent a fair amount of time with the floorstanding Amphion Argon 7LS for the system piece in issue 181, I ended up buying the review pair for my own use because I think they represent a significant benchmark as to what is available in the sub-£4k price range. Plus, they seem to suit the size of my listening/living room quite well. There’s lots that I think the Argon 7LS gets right and that many similarly priced speakers don’t, but it’s also interesting to note that the Amphions’ presentation is a little different to many of their peers. So it’s a thought-provoking exercise in what is important, and what is simply nice to have if it can be costed-in; and conversely, what might seem initially attractive but turns out to be not necessary, important or, ultimately, desirable.

And following on from that thinking, there’s a conversation to be had as to whether the ‘right’ choice for my situation is automatically going to be a floorstanding design. What would I lose if I moved to a standmount design, and would it matter? Might there even be gains? [Looks down to see a small, neat standmounting loudspeaker pointedly tugging at his ankle and looking meaningfully at the space currently occupied by the 7LSs].

The Argon 3S is the largest of the three standmount designs in Amphion’s Argon range, sitting above the dinky Argon 1 and the positively cute Argon 0. It has much in common with the floorstanding Argon 7LS, utilising the same titanium tweeter and aluminium main drive unit, same crossover point, and the cabinet is the same width and depth, just shorter and with fewer drivers. It also uses the same approach of the sealed box with rear-mounted, passive auxiliary bass radiator as used in the Argon 7LS, whereas the smaller Argon 0 and Argon 1 are both ported designs. It’s not by any means a large standmounter either, being a little taller but no wider than the classic ‘BBC’ mini-monitor designs, and about twice as deep, so around twice the internal volume of that famous 5 litre box. (There’s an Argon 5 centre channel speaker, too, which could conceivably be stood on its end and paired to make a larger standmounter than the Argon 3S, but this is another ported design using the same, slightly smaller, main drivers as the Argon 0 and Argon 1). So from a technical standpoint, the Argon 3S looks to be the closest match to the Argon 7LS, just rather more compact.

Amphion market the Argon 3S as a ‘bookshelf’ design and they don’t offer dedicated stands, so I set them up on the pair of curvaceous MusicWorks acrylic stands that I have on hand, and hooked up to my Accuphase E-480 integrated amp via Nordost Tyr 2 cables. If you think that’s a bit OTT for a pair of small, £2,000 loudspeakers, something about the Amphion philosophy suggested this wouldn’t be wasted. The review pair came in the other standard finish Amphion offer: nominally black, it’s really a dark charcoal grey and in the same slightly chalky, silky finish of my white (a gentle, soft white) Argon LS7s. Both these finishes are a little different to the normal run of things, and I like the attractive, slightly understated vibe that seems to speak to that low-key Amphion approach.

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Tags: AMPHION ARGON 3S STAND-MOUNT STAND-MOUNT LOUDSPEAKER

By Steve Dickinson

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