Krix Phoenix Listening Evaluation and Conclusion
The review of the Krix speakers was done with both a Denon AVR-2307CI powering a Rotel 1085 and the Emotiva RSP-1/RPA-1 combo. The 4 ohm Phoenix speakers did fine with both though I preferred the extra oomph the Emotiva amp provided. I kept the speaker grills off for all of the critical listening tests. All tests were conducted without the aid of a sub and fed from a Denon DVD-3910 universal player.
The first thing I wanted to test was the bass response of the speakers. Using the Rives Test CD II, I noted a significant volume increase at 31.5 and 40Hz without the port plugs. Even with the port plugs, I noticed the same bass bloat (though not as bad). This may be partly caused by cabinet resonance. Generally, though, the Krix claim that the Phoenix reach down to 35Hz is probably correct. During the course of this review, I did a brief comparison between the Krix Phoenix and my reference speakers, the RBH TK-5CTs (cousins to the EMP 30T) which retail for under $1000. I'll mention the results of these comparisons in the text below.
Overall, I found that the Krix had a definite sweetspot on the volume dial. Too much volume and they tended to get bright. Too little and the midrange thinned out. They definitely got muddy in the deepest bass region much like what I'd heard with the Rives CD at 40Hz especially without the port plugs. I decided to insert the port plugs and this pretty much fixed the problem though at the expense of some extension and realism. Assume (unless I say differently) that I was listening to the Krix at the sweetspot on the volume dial.
My biggest decision was where to sit for the review. If I sat on the floor, I'd get all the fidelity that the Krix Phoenix could provide. Unfortunately, I'd also be sitting on the floor (and not on my very expensive theater seating). If I sat on the seating, I might be doing a disservice to the speakers but I'd actually be listening to them they way 99% of my readers would be. In the interest of fairness, I tried both at times. I definitely felt like the midrange was fuller and the imaging a bit better when I was seated on the ground though it didn't do anything to help tame the top end. In the end I decided to write the listening review from the couch for comfort and applicability reasons.
Buble - It's Time
I'm not even sure how I got this album but I'm sure glad I did. Resonant male vocals fronting a ton of instruments with a very high production value… it just screams review material. Michael's voice was well centered in the soundstage regardless of toe-in accenting the Phoenix's off-axis response. With the volume cranked, the Krix literally shook the couch (even with the port plugs). Bass was rich and deep and generally well defined. Overall, the Phoenix presented a very warm listening experience. Occasionally, at high volumes, I'd notice the tweeter getting bright with the trumpets but overall they sounded very good. Placement of instruments in the soundstage and left/right separation was a bit better with the RBHs but the overall tonality and experience with the Krix was much better. The bass was definitely punchier and the overall presentation was smoother with the Krix though the vocals were fuller with the RBHs.
Lorna Hunt - All in One Day
The Phoenix speakers and Lorna didn't get along well. Without the port plugs, my room rang with bass. With the plugs in, the bass sounded much better but Lorna's voice got very harsh especially at the higher registers. I could definitely hear how Michael Buble's lack of high end (except with some instruments) was practically recorded to be played on the Krix. When I listened to Lorna's album with the port plugs out, I was so overwhelmed with bass that I didn't notice the high end issues nearly as much. The bass was so overpowering, though, that it sounded like it was coming from a car at an intersection rather than from nice speakers in my home theater. With the plugs in, the bass sounded much more natural but the problems with the higher notes was much more noticeable.
Bang & Olufsen Vol. XIII - The
Sound of Perfection
There is a ton of material on this disc that is great for reviews. I focused on Track 5: Aaron Neville - "I Bid you Goodnight." This track has a number of different male vocalists giving the full range from bass to tenor. Here I did a serious comparison between the RBH TKs and Krix Phoenix. Overall the Krix's presentation tended to be very forgiving with its recessed midrange. Unfortunately, it also "forgave" some things that were meant to be there. The bassist often got lost in the presentation which only got worse without the port plugs, whereas he was clearly audible on my reference speakers. The Krix high end was not as detailed as the RBHs and the midrange was definitely more recessed. Without the port plugs, the bass was punchier and deeper than the RBHs but the RBHs seemed a little more articulate. With the port plugs, the Krix bass was fairly lifelike but the extension and impact was diminished. The plugged Krix bass drum wasn't nearly as lifelike as the RBHs which is probably due to the reduced extension. The imaging again was a bit better with the RBHs especially with the left/right separation however the Krix definitely had no problem centering the vocals in the soundstage.
If you are all about the bass, then the unplugged Krix will be for you. If your listening tastes tend to favor more acoustical or vocal type music over rock or hip hop, you may wish to consider different options. Though they could shake my room with bass. This was unfortunately at the expense of overall fidelity and accurate music reproduction. The midrange of the Krix Phoenix was recessed, the highs accentuated, and the dynamic range was limited. The imaging of these speakers was decent but not as good as I've heard from others in this price range. While I'm not a fan of the styling of the Krix Phoenix, they are very well constructed. The soundstage of the speakers is very wide with respectable off-axis response. If you are really interested in these speakers, you may want to consider low seating or building a 12 inch stand for them as it will increase imaging and help with the midrange.
$1,700 / pair
14 Chapman Road
Hackham SA 5163
AustraliaT 61 8 8384 3433
As a teenager Scott Krix was in love with sound. Scott tinkered in the garage with kit amplifiers, and made experimental speakers with scavenged drivers from old radios. Scott had a dream to make Australian speakers that could compete successfully on the world market. Scott's dream is now reality. The Krix team manufacture high quality loudspeakers for home and commercial use. With some 2000 commercial cinema installations globally, you have possibly already experienced Krix sound. Distributed throughout the world, Krix is at the leading edge of loudspeaker design. Utilising the latest test equipment, 3D modeling and computer simulated design technology, Krix's innovative research and development team is a pioneering force in the Australian loudspeaker industry. Whether you are looking for your first pair of stereo speakers or your own ultimate home theatre experience, Krix will exceed your expectations. Krix's range of loudspeakers deliver the experience of sound.
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|Fit and Finish|
That ever-rising treble should compensate nicely for 75+ year old men with severe hearing loss. The Krix seems to have been designed with such people in mind!
Thanks in advance.