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Snell Acoustics Phantom Center Loudspeaker First Look

Snell Acoustics Phantom Center

Snell Acoustics Phantom Center


  • Product Name: Phantom Center
  • Manufacturer: Snell Acoustics
  • Review Date: January 27, 2010 00:00
  • MSRP: $7500
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • 1-inch SEAS XL silk dome tweeter with neo-magnet
  • Dual 4.5-inch machined XL magnesium midrange drivers
  • Dual 8" aluminum woofers
  • Discrete crossover boards for bass, midrange and treble
  • Triampable
  • High-gloss black under multi-coated, hand-rubbed clear lacquer finish
  • Virtually any paint or wood finish, however familiar or exotic, is available under special order

Snell_Phantom_B7At last year's CES, Snell Acoustics announced their $25,000 a pair near-flagship loudspeaker, the Joe D'Appolito Ph.D. designed Phantom B7. You know it was only a matter of time before they came out with a matching center. Apparently, it only took them a year to bring out their new Phantom Center. At $7,500, it's actually quite affordable compared to the larger brethren. What remains to be seen is what surrounds they'll come out with for this line. Perhaps those on the market for $25,000 speakers just buy more of them for surrounds.

The Phantom B7's are a very distinctive speaker with a cabinet and stylings much like the bigger A7 Illusion. The B7 features dual 4.5" machines XL magnesium midrange drivers mounted over and under an  extremely low resonance 1" SEAS silk dome tweeter with a neo-magnet. The lower two woofers are 8" aluminum providing extension down to 30Hz (and we'd guess maybe a bit more in room). This is a speaker not to be trifled with. At $25k a pair, we'd expect no less. Snell has announced that the B7's are now available for shipping and a product page has recently shown up on their website for those wanting more information.

The impressive thing about the Phantom Center is that it has all the same drivers (including the 8" woofers) of the Phantom B7 but in a smaller cabinet. That's right, glance back up at the picture at the top of the article. You're looking at one ginormous center channel. At first we thought it was a typo on Snell's part but the dimensions of the drivers look about right. They may be 6" drivers but we don't think so. From the pictures, it looks like either Snell has changed the color of their phase plugs in the 8" drivers, it's a trick of the light, or the drivers are slightly upgraded over the Phantom B7's. Regardless, you'll be on the market for a massive stand (or at least a very sturdy piece of furniture) and a few friends to help you move this one.


The Phantom Center has a specially designed cabinet for extended bass (though they don't delineate exactly how low the center will go). The D'Appolito array configuration of the mids and tweeter from the B7 remains intact for the Phantom Center promising as close a sonic match across the front of the room as you can get without ordering another Phantom B7.

Not only can you bi-amp the Phantom Center but you can tri-amp it (providing power to the tweeter, midranges, and woofers separately). This is made possible by discrete crossover boards for each of the driver types that is said to be designed to dramatically reduce distortion. Like the Phantom B7, the center comes in high-gloss black under multi-coated, hand-rubbed clear lacquer but can be finished however you want with whatever wood you want (at this price, we'd expect no less). 


Let's be honest, this is a speaker line that most of use will never see in person. At this price point, you're going to have to be near a very high end store with quite the population to support it. But with Joe D'Appolito Ph.D. at the helm and what looks to be a very well thought out design, we're envious of those that do. Snell is obviously not interested in being slowed down by the economy. Instead they've got higher ambitions with this uncompromising loudspeaker system aimed at the most serious audiophiles that have big enough wallets to match their aspirations.  Time will tell if their strategy will pay off.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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