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Arendal 1723 Tower THX Loudspeaker Review

by June 28, 2024
Arendal Sound 1723 THX Tower

Arendal Sound 1723 THX Tower

  • Product Name: 1723 Tower THX
  • Manufacturer: Arendal Sound
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: June 28, 2024 00:00
  • MSRP: $ 3899/pair
Arendal Sound 1723 Tower Review Discussion
  • Frequency Response:
    Sealed 55-20kHz (+/-3dB)
    3 vents 38-20kHz (+/-3dB)
    2 vents 34-20KHz (+/-3dB)
  • Drivers:
    Tweeter: 1.1" soft dome in waveguide
    Woofer: Four 8" long pulp fiber cones
  • Design: 2.5-way ported floor-standing speaker
  • Enclosure Material: HDF (High-Density Fiberboard)
  • Crossover Frequencies: 120Hz, 1500Hz
  • Finish options: Satin White, Satin Black, Gloss White, Gloss Black
  • Weight: 50.6 kg (111.6 lbs) (including spikes kit)
  • Sensitivity: 92dB (2.83v @ 1m)
  • Size (HxWxD): 45.3 x 10.8 x 15.7 in
  • Impedance: 4-ohm nominal


  • Excellent imaging
  • Balanced tonality with good positioning
  • Subwoofer-like bass authority
  • Exemplary build quality
  • Sleek appearance


  • Optimal sound needs placement experimentation


Among Arendal’s line-up, I call it ‘The Big Guy:’ the 1723 Tower THX. I have been asked to review it multiple times over the years, but I always declined on account of the sheer mass of this speaker; it weighs 111.6 lbs. As much as I wanted to hear it in person, I was always intimidated by the weight. I have to carry review units up and down a flight of stairs multiple times as well as lift them up on top of a measuring platform that is nearly five feet tall - all while trying not to scratch or scuff what is usually a pristine finish. From experiences in dealing with heavy-duty towers in the past, I knew I could safely handle up to around 85 lbs., but above that, things get dicey. I was recently approached about reviewing the 1723 Tower THXs again, and I explained these logistical problems to Arendal. I did want to review them, but I can’t absolutely promise to keep these speakers in perfect shape because of these issues, and if a moment comes where I have to choose between my safety and the safety of the speakers, I have to opt for myself, neat as the speakers may be. Arendal understood the risk and offered to send them anyway, and I foolishly accepted them in for review. That all brings us to today’s review of the brutally heavy and overbuilt 1723 Tower THX speakers. Somehow, I always knew this day would come…

The 1723 Tower THX sits at the top of Arendal’s product catalog as their flagship speaker. With four 8” bass drivers and a waveguide-loaded tweeter in a large triple-ported cabinet, it promises to be quite a capable speaker on paper. I had an idea of what to expect, having already dealt with its stand-mount counterpart, the 1723 Monitor THX, but I had to wonder how much more of a package the tower variant was on account of the larger size, extra bass drivers, and extra crossover elements. It should be similar in some respects, but it won’t be the same overall. Let’s now dig in to see what Arendal can do now that they brought their big guns…

Packing and Appearance

The 1723 Towers arrived at my doorstep in two enormously heavy and large boxes. The speakers were double-boxed, and the interior box was lined with edge protectors and corner protectors. One interesting detail is that Arendal has put a plywood board inside the outer box at the top and bottom of the package. If the box is dropped and hits a vertical end, the plywood will disperse the force of the drop over a large section of the packing. The speaker weighs so much that it might not need a big fall to cause damage on a vertical drop, so this seems like a very good idea.

1723 boxes    1723 packing

Underneath all of the cardboard, the speakers were totally covered in polyethylene blocks. The speakers themselves were wrapped in nice drawstring fabric sleeves that felt like high-quality polyester. Arendal includes white cotton inspection gloves for unpacking the speakers without getting fingerprints on them. In the unpacking process, I left the sleeve on and rested the speakers on some of the foam packing blocks on the floor so I could install the outriggers. After installing the outriggers, I stood the speakers up and removed the sleeve. The packing is very good, but it needs to be so in order to ship these heavy speakers with a reduced risk of damage. It is not easy or inexpensive to ensure that speakers such as these will reach their destination with low damage risk, but Arendal has made this effort.

1723 Tower grilles4    1723 Tower pair

Once unpacked, the 1723 Towers stand as handsome but somewhat imposing black monoliths. I received the satin black finish, but they can also be had in satin white, gloss black, and gloss white. These aren’t small speakers, so they won’t go unnoticed in anything but very large rooms, and for that reason, they need to look nice. The good news is that they do look nice. The front baffle is mostly just an array of 8” woofers with a circular waveguide nesting a tweeter. While that might seem busy-looking, the drivers themselves are finally simple and clean-looking, so the sum total aesthetic falls on the minimal side. The vertical edges have a 90-degree chamfer, and the speaker has a 2.5-degree tilt, and these attributes help to give the speakers a sleeker appearance. For those who don’t care for the appearance of the drivers or who have to protect the cones, the supplied grille does a good job of hiding the entire front baffle of the speaker. The grille has a rounded shape, so it isn’t as boring as most grilles, and I think the 1723 Towers aren’t bad-looking with the grilles installed at all.

Mention should be made of the rear of the 1723 Towers; Arendal provides a very high-end-looking brushed aluminum terminal plate that is sunk into the cabinet. The chrome binding posts and jumpers also add to this high-end effect. The outriggers and feet also have a finely machined appearance that gives a sense of solidity. The whole speaker looks terrific from any angle. 

Design Analysis

To state the 1723 Tower’s design very simply, it is a 2.5-way vented floor-standing speaker that uses four 8” woofers and a waveguide-loaded tweeter, but, of course, there is much more to it than that. Let’s start our discussion of its particulars at the top of the frequency band by talking about the tweeter. Since it’s the same tweeter as the one used in the 1723 THX Monitor, we will just borrow our description from that review:

The tweeter is a 1.1” synthetic soft dome loaded into a spherical aluminum waveguide. The waveguide should help control dispersion by constricting the lower end of the tweeter’s band but also widening the high end. This is done so that the dispersion remains more consistent than what normally occurs for dome tweeters without a waveguide, which is a very wide dispersion at their lower end that ends up becoming narrow at the top of the tweeter’s frequency range. Arendal’s literature states that the tweeter uses a neodymium ring magnet, copper and aluminum shorting rings, ferrofluid cooling, as well as an aluminum heatsink and a damped rear chamber to mitigate resonances from backwave radiation.

1723 S waveguide extracted 1723 S waveguide extracted3

Removing the tweeter, we can see that the waveguide is reinforced by some MDF-type wood that must have been CNC cut to shape to fit. We also see that there is a bucking magnet on the back of the tweeter, possibly to increase sensitivity and to help contain the magnetic field of the neodymium magnet in the motor. The neodymium magnet is a very large one and holds an extremely powerful magnetic field. This is a very heavy-duty tweeter that should be capable of a far greater dynamic range than a normal dome.

1723 bass driver4 

Removing one of the 8” bass drivers, I was surprised at how heavy it was. It’s a pretty serious chunk of iron, and the four of them have to constitute a large fraction of the 1723 Tower’s weight. The bass drivers use long pulp fiber cones with an inverted dustcap and a nitrile-butyl rubber surround. The suspension has been optimized using finite element analysis for linear travel in both directions. The frame uses a cast aluminum eight-spoke basket. The voice coil uses copper-clad aluminum wire for a good balance of low weight and conductivity. It appears to have a 1” diameter voice coil, a shielded motor, and venting done under the spider as well as the pole piece. Shielding can keep more of the magnetic flux within the motor assembly, but it isn’t seen much anymore since it was mostly used to prevent stray magnetic fields from interfering with the picture of CRT screens. There is also an aluminum shorting ring used to reduce inductance thereby increasing bandwidth and lessening even-order distortion products.

1723 terminal plate 

The crossover frequency from tweeter to woofers happens at 1.5kHz at a 24dB/octave slope. The slopes are electro-acoustic so the drivers’ natural roll-off plays a role in the filtered slope. The lower two bass drivers are low-pass filtered at 120Hz, a very low frequency for a passive filter. A 120Hz filter requires a large inductor value and will have some insertion losses. The Arendal 1723 Tower S also had a very low filter, and what I said about it also applies to the full-size 1723 Tower:

The phase rotation of such a low crossover might make it tricky to precisely integrate a subwoofer for those who intend to do that. In fact, crossing these over a subwoofer would give the bass drivers such a small bandwidth that it wouldn’t be worth it. I would calibrate these to be used as a full-range speaker if I wanted to use a subwoofer. So I would not run the 1723 S Towers as ‘Small’ speakers.

1723 tower crossover 

Arendal specifies their crossovers to use heavy-gauge air-core inductors, polypropylene capacitors, high-power resistors, thick PCBs, and twisted-pair multi-strand wiring, and, from taking a look at the crossover circuit, it is no joke; these are some beefy capacitors, inductors, and resistors. Arendal provides dual binding posts for bi-amping and bi-wiring. I think this might have made sense if it was the top two woofers and tweeter being a separate circuit from the lower two woofers, but Arendal has chosen to simply make the tweeter separately powered from all of the bass drivers with the jumpers removed. In my opinion, this is a mistake since the four bass drivers can handle far more power than the tweeter. For this reason, I recommend that the 1723 Tower be powered with a single channel of amplification, so leave the jumpers installed. The binding posts look nickel-plated but are actually plated in rhodium, which was chosen for its conductivity, corrosion resistance, and hardness.

1723 tower bass driver remove 

The enclosure is made from HDF (high-density fiberboard) and is one of the heavier loudspeakers I have dealt with to date. It’s not a small speaker, but it’s even heavier than it looks. Paneling is largely 1” thick except for the rear panel which measures ¾” thick. There is a window pane brace above the lower two woofers, and a vertical window pane brace running parallel to the front baffle. This all gives the side panels a lot of support, and the cabinet should be very inert. The enclosure is packed with acoustic stuffing, and further damping is provided by a layer of a soft, nearly gel-like substance that Arendal calls a “butyl-based differential mass damping layer” to dull internal pressure waves from resonating the cabinet. The interior of the cabinet was painted or primed. The advantage of putting a layer of paint and primer on the interior is that it is better protected against moisture affecting the wood since higher humidities can swell fiberboard.

Arendal Sound Outrigger System

The speaker rests on some thick aluminum outriggers, and users have the choice of rubber pucks (which have the Arendal logo molded in the bottom) or metal spikes as feet. I am grateful that Arendal has provided an alternative to the spikes that are so often seen in this segment. One aspect of the spikes that I really appreciate is Arendal’s straightforward marketing literature for them:

Contrary to popular (marketing?) belief, they do not isolate the speaker and floor from each other. That could only be accomplished with a compliant mounting. No; they provide a solid and stable contact with the floor, locking the speaker rigidly in place.

Amen! I have complained about this many times. The rationale for spikes is so often wrong-headed. As Arendal says, they do not isolate the speaker from the floor. In fact, research indicates the very opposite effect. Not that isolating the speaker from the floor would necessarily be a good idea in the first place. The feet for the 1723 Towers can be individually height adjusted in order to get a good footing on uneven flooring. 

1723 rear3 1723 rear

Many grilles are only meant to hide the drivers by just draping some acoustically transparent fabric over a simple frame, but the 1723 Tower grilles do the actual task of protecting the drivers. The fabric is draped over a perforated metal screen that shouldn’t interfere with the sound much while blocking any solid objects from hitting the drivers. It’s a heavy-duty grille and uses some powerful magnets to adhere to the front baffle. Despite its weight, it will not fall off easily.

One unusual aspect of the 1723 Tower’s design is its support for variable tuning. It has three ports, each flared at both ends and measuring 6” deep and 2.5” in diameter. Arendal provides port plugs for different port tuning frequencies and suggests sealing ports for deeper bass. Indeed, sealing ports will lower the overall tuning frequency and thus the bass extension of the speaker but not without a cost. The trade-off is that the speaker will have less port-generated output. Sealing some of the ports also increases the chances of port turbulence occurring at higher output levels.

Arendal Sound Variable Tuning

The late Steve Feinstein, Audioholics contributor and loudspeaker expert, was adamantly opposed to variable port tuning systems, insisting that ported loudspeakers had a single optimum tuning frequency based on internal volume and driver parameters, and that variable tuning simply allowed the speaker to be operated outside of optimal performance. For that reason, I always called such designs the ‘Steve Feinstein Special.” While he greatly admired Arendal (evidenced by his glowing review of the 1961 Towers), he would have been fiercely critical of this design decision. For my part, I think it’s fine so long as the user understands the trade-offs involved. I would not run the 1723 Towers in a single port open mode since the risk of port turbulence is quite elevated. I would also not bother to run them in a sealed configuration because it is nonsensical to buy a large tower speaker and then just throw away the deep bass extension and output granted by its large size.

Arendal Sound THX Ultra Certification

1723 binding postsTaking a long view of the 1723 Towers, they look to be very capable speakers with a nearly fanatical obsession with design detail given the price point. Their THX certification is just a cherry on the top. THX certification is not easy to get and requires exceptional linearity at high output levels. 

These speakers netted a THX ‘Ultra’ certification, meaning that they can hit THX Reference levels in a 3,000 cubic feet room with a 12-foot distance from the speakers. THX Reference level loudness is 105dB peaks with low distortion, so it takes some real firepower to achieve that at a 12-foot distance in a 3,000 cubic foot room. But THX loudspeaker certification is more than just dynamic range; it assesses frequency response, dispersion characteristics, electrical behavior, and time-domain behavior too. In other words, it has to be an all-around good performer. That means that the 1723 Towers should be highly accurate as well as highly dynamic. But it was now time to hear what all of this design added up to in practice, so I set them up in my listening room to see what they could do…

Listening Sessions

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with a few feet of stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall and equal distance between the speakers and the listening position. I tried a few different angles, and in the end, I settled on a severe toe-in where the speakers were angled to have a crossing aim about a meter in front of me. I found that having them face me directly seemed to have a bit more forward sound, and angling them outward expanded imaging more than I liked. The listening distance from the speakers was about 9 feet. No room correction equalization was used. Processing was done by a Marantz 7705 and the amplification was done by a Monoprice Monolith 5x200 amplifier. No subwoofers were used.

Music Listening

A recent release that I listened to with the 1723 Towers was “John Williams in Tokyo” which, as the title states, sees composer John Williams leading the Saito Kinen Orchestra over a selection of his works at the renowned Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Tracks include themes from “Schindler’s List,” “Harry Potter” films, and “Star Wars” films. John Williams conducting a high-profile orchestra at a concert hall famous for its acoustics and being given the red carpet treatment in terms of production values from Deutsche Grammophon is surely going to be a terrific showcase for some high-fidelity loudspeakers. I streamed this album from Qobuz in a 96kHz/24-bit resolution.

Lead instruments sounded clear and had a well-defined point in the soundstage on the 1723 Towers.

As orchestral recordings go, this was a lush presentation and projected a wide soundstage. The 1723 Towers delivered the width beautifully and made it seem like I had front-row seating. The venue lent a touch of reverb, enough to give body to the instrumental sounds but not enough to wash anything out. Listening to this recording, I could understand why Suntory Hall is so highly regarded for its sound. The instruments all sounded tonally balanced on the 1723 Towers, and nothing was over-emphasized or recessed that I noticed. Bass was well-balanced with higher-frequency instruments. This recording managed to bring out a high level of detail for individual instruments for a concert hall recording which is not the norm since many recordings of this type tend to give the listener more distance from the performers. Lead instruments sounded clear and had a well-defined point in the soundstage while instrumental sections occupied larger swaths of the imaged area. A great example was the theme from “Schindler’s List” where a lead violin had a strong center image while the surrounding string sections had an expansive, sweeping emplacement. I can’t fault the 1723 Tower for any aspect of the reproduction of this album; indeed, even though I am familiar with many of these compositions, this is the best presentation of them I have yet heard, and that has to be due to the speakers as well as the superlative performance and recording.

Untitled   Summer Me Winter Me

...the 1723 Towers projected one of the more precise soundstages I have heard in my room.

For something that places emphasis on a human voice, I found a great new release on Qobuz titled “Summer Me, Winter Me” by Stacey Kent. Kent, an acclaimed jazz singer, collects a host of staples from her live performances that haven’t yet found a home on any recording. She is abetted by a small cadre of instrumentalists, so the music isn’t dense thereby allowing Kent’s laidback and melodious voice to shine. This is an easy-going jazz album with an immaculate recording quality that gives us an intimate portrait of Kent’s voice as well as her instrumental accompaniment. I also streamed this release in hi-res from Qobuz.

When I first started listening to this album, the image of Kent’s voice was fine, but I thought it could be better. I had the speakers facing outward in a parallel orientation, and while her voice held a center position, it was somewhat broad. It was then that I tried a severe toe-in which worked well for their stand-mount brothers, so I angled the speakers to have a crossing path a few feet in front of me, the ‘time-intensity’ placement that can be done with loudspeakers that have narrower directivity. This sharpened her position considerably. In fact, in this placement, the 1723 Towers projected one of the more precise soundstages I have heard in my room. Kent’s voice now occupied a very distinct point between the speakers. The speakers now brought the performers into my room. She sounded terrific too, and the speakers gave a vivid account of her performance. The accompanying instruments sounded natural, and through the 1723 Towers, they seemed as though they were behind her. I could hear that they were recorded in the near-field and mixed to merely back Kent up and not compete with her, a wise decision. Again, I felt the 1723 Towers offered a good tonal balance. “Summer Me, Winter Me” was an enjoyable listen, and the running time of the album was over before I realized how much time had passed. I can easily recommend this album to jazz lovers, especially if they have speakers as competent as the 1723 Towers.

To see what the 1723 Towers could do for a good example of pop music, I listened to William Orbit’s “The Painter,” a 2022 release. Orbit has been a major pop music producer since the late 80s and has collaborated with a lengthy roster of famous pop stars such as Madonna, Prince, Robbie Williams, and Pink, to name just a few. However, I am much more drawn to his own work than his collaborations, and “The Painter” is his latest album. This music isn’t especially high energy as far as pop music goes, and it is a lot more concerned with textures and melodic compositions than popular gimmicks such as auto-tuned voices or huge bass drops. Pop music doesn’t get better production than with Orbit behind the mixing console.

The first track features a female vocal that becomes progressively warped with spatial effects, and while this surreal effect was probably intended more for the benefit of headphone users, it sounded terrific on the 1723 Towers. Throughout this album, some instruments had a very down-to-earth acoustically recorded sound while others were mixed to have a more fantastical effect, and the speakers excelled at portraying both. Similarly, vocals could have a straightforward acoustic presentation but then be wildly contorted by studio effects, and the 1723 Tower nailed the imaging whether planted in a single point or vacillating feverishly over the soundstage. A good example of the album’s approach to sound lie in track 7, “Colours Colliding,’ which places traditional instruments such as cello and violin inside of a kaleidoscopic miasma of swirling synths and distorted vocals. Regarding tonality, the bass was strong when needed but didn’t overpower other frequency bands and seemed to have a good balance with the rest of the range. A studio magician like Orbit knows how to balance various elements, and the 1723 Towers relayed that proportionality. “The Painter” is another solid entry in Orbit’s oeuvre, and serves as more proof that the best music that he is involved with is his own. It deserves to be heard on a good sound system, and the 1723 Towers certainly qualify as that.

The Painter   Minds of Madness

To see what kind of dynamic range the 1723 Towers were capable of, I threw on “Mind of Madness” by Mythm. This brand-new release gives old-school wobbly dubstep some modern production techniques, and it sounds great (at least for those of us who love electronic bass music). The bass is massive, and it will stress the woofers of any speaker at a high enough drive level. With four 8” bass drivers per speaker, the 1723 Towers should be capable of some pretty powerful bass, but I couldn’t know for sure until I blasted some heavy-duty bass music to hear for myself.

The 1723 Towers certainly delivered on the promise of their eight 8” bass drivers between the speaker pair. They could belt out subwoofer-like low-frequencies that filled my room with thick bass. The basslines and kick drums were given a tactile quality, a punch that I could feel in my chest, an effect normally in the province of subwoofers. It’s not really a surprise that all of those bass drivers could punch so hard, but it was a bit surprising that the 1” dome tweeter could keep up with them. It’s true that the waveguide does give the tweeter a hand, but it absolutely needs that assist given its low crossover frequency, so it has to be one hell of a dome tweeter. The system as a whole had way more dynamic range than I could tolerate, and I didn’t try to push the speakers after a certain point since they were rated for more wattage with a 500-watt RMS power-handling spec than I had on hand at 300 watts. Over-driving the amplifier puts tweeters at risk because the distortion that occurs shifts the spectral energy toward higher frequencies, and as good as Arendal’s tweeter is, it isn’t likely to survive hundreds of watts of clipped power. Listening to “Mind of Madness” at a high level proved that the 1723 Towers could rock. They could certainly be used as house party speakers if the user is so inclined and has adequate amp power on tap. 

Movie Watching

Big speakers like the 1723 Towers ought to be used with big movies, and one epic that I finally managed to see was “The Creator,” a 2023 science-fiction film from Gareth Edwards. Edwards revitalized the ‘Godzilla’ franchise with his 2014 version, and he then gave hope to ‘Star Wars’ fans that they might start to see some good films from that franchise with his highly-regarded “Rogue One” entry. “The Creator” concerns an ex-special forces soldier who becomes emotionally involved in an illegal AI organization that he was sent to infiltrate. Its sound mix looked like something befitting a heavy-duty loudspeaker system.

“The Creator” had a lot more action than I anticipated, so I was glad to have such powerful speakers on hand. There were lots of enormous explosions, and the 1723 Towers rumbled my room with bass for each one. They truly lived up to their THX certification with lively dynamics during the movies’ many shoot-outs and explosions. Many of the most interesting effects were not in action scenes at all, but futuristic peculiarities such as the robotic dialogue and sounds of the laser targeting system of the weaponized space station. It turned out to be a busy sound mix, especially when it moved into city environments, but all of it reproduced with clarity, and it was easy to get lost in this unique take on the near future. Further adding to the bass driver’s duties, Hanz Zimmer created the music score, and anyone familiar with his work knows he does not go easy on bass. Like his other scores, he leans into bass violins and kettle drums to propel the movie’s action, and the 1723 Towers did a great job of keeping the music score separate from the effects sounds, so the two never became confused. They also did a good job of keeping dialogue intelligibility clear, and I could understand spoken English, although there is a lot of non-English dialogue in this film. In the end, I enjoyed “The Creator,” but it’s a movie that really needs to be seen on a big screen with a big sound system to get the most from it.

The Creator   Talk to Me

The 1723 Towers gave an authoritative reproduction of these scenes that made them all the more startling.

One movie that looked to have a wild sound mix was the 2022 horror outing “Talk to Me.” In this movie, a group of teenage friends are given a statue of a hand that allows them to contact deceased souls in an afterlife world. However, a grieving member of the group becomes dependent on it to communicate with her dead mother which allows dangerous spirits to wreak havoc in the world of the living. Horror movie sound mixes are often heavily reliant upon situational cues as well as quieter cues in order to build tension, so they can take more of an advantage than most other genres, and “Talk to Me” looked like a prime example of that. I hadn’t yet seen this film, but the trailer looked promising, and I was excited to hear what the 1723 Tower speakers would do for this movie.

“Talk to Me” was a solid scare-fest, and the 1723 Towers were a great platform to hear it with. There weren’t many jumpscares in this movie, but it did know how to crank up the creep factor, especially with its use of sound. In the movie, the characters allowed themselves to be possessed by dead spirits, and the sound of the possession could take the perspective of the possessed which sounded like they were being plunged underwater. The 1723 Towers gave an authoritative reproduction of these scenes that made them all the more startling. One notable moment was when one possession participant started beating his head against the wall, and the brutality was given substance by the extremely wide dynamics of the speakers. Dialogue clarity was all very good, and I had no problems following speech even when being spoken with an Australian accent thick with teen slang. The music was the real sonic highlight of this movie, it was a combination of pop hits for party scenes and an original score for the rest of the movie. The original score by Cornel Wilczek was a slow-burning orchestral score with electronic atmospherics, and it sounded superb on the 1723 Towers. Overall, the speakers were able to effect a big screen feeling, and I felt no need for surround speakers or a subwoofer. Anyone looking for a great movie for Halloween should check out “Talk to Me,” and make sure you have high-performing speakers on hand like these big guys from Arendal.

Arendal Sound 1723 THX Towers Measurements

1723 Tower outdoor testing

The Arendal Sound 1723 Towers were measured in free-air at a height of 4 feet at a 2-meter distance from the microphone, with the microphone raised to an 8’ elevation that was level with and aimed at the tweeter center. The measurements were gated at 8 milliseconds. In this time window, some resolution is lost below 400 Hz, and accuracy is completely lost below 200 Hz. Measurements have been smoothed at a 1/24 octave resolution.

1723 tower 3D waterfall response 

1723 tower 2D waterfall response 

The above graphs depict the 1723 Tower’s direct-axis and horizontal dispersion out to a 90-degree angle in five-degree increments. Information on how to interpret these graphs can be read in this article: Understanding Loudspeaker Review Measurements Part II. Much of the bandwidth of the 1723 Towers is reasonably linear, especially on the tweeter, but there are some anomalies worth mentioning. We do see a dip at the crossover frequency, so it’s not quite a seamless blending of the tweeter and woofers. It’s not severe and shouldn’t impart much of an audible impact on the sound. However, what will have a much more audible impact is that the tweeter seems to be a couple of decibels hot near the on-axis angles. I sensed this in my own listening, and while it didn’t sound offensive, it isn’t my preferred loudspeaker voicing. However, it doesn’t extend to off-axis angles, and positioning the speaker to face the listener at a 20 to 30-degree angle puts the tweeter’s output on par with the woofers for a balanced sound. This can be done by angling the speakers to face outward in parallel vectors or they can be angled at a severe inward toe-in. In my listening, I opted for an inward toe-in because that sharpened up the imaging considerably compared to a parallel angling.

1723 Tower on vs off axis response 

The above graph gives us a better look at how the on-axis response compares to the 25-degree response in the 1723 Towers. In this graph, we can see that the tweeter is a bit hot relative to the midrange woofers at an on-axis angle. However, it does calm down by 25 degrees off-axis. Of course, users could always equalize the speaker for a neutral response if they wanted to have the speakers facing straight toward them, but angling the speaker is essentially also a form of equalization. For those who can bi-amp, they can also knock down the level going to the tweeter by about two to three dB, and that will have a similar effect.

 1723 Tower Polar Map

The above polar map shows the same information in the preceding graphs but depicts it in a way that can offer new insight regarding these speakers’ behavior. Instead of using individual raised lines to illustrate amplitude, polar maps use color to portray amplitude, and this allows the use of a purely angle/frequency axis perspective. The advantage of these graphs is they can let us see broader trends of the speaker’s dispersion behavior more easily. More information about interpreting this graph can be read in this article: Understanding Loudspeaker Measurements Part II.

Arendal Sound 1723 Optimal Speaker Positioning

Here we see that the directivity of the 1723 Towers is very nicely controlled. There is some waist-banding at the crossover, but that only occurs over a narrow bandwidth. The waveguide does a beautiful job of controlling the tweeter’s dispersion. This makes a time-intensity trading style of placement possible, and that can bring some major audible advantages. For those who want to learn more about time-intensity trading, Audioholics has a great YouTube discussion that explains this: Finding the Loudspeaker Sweet Spot. This is the type of placement I chose for my listening, and I was very pleased with the sound of the speakers. As I said in my listening description, it provided some absolutely top-notch imaging. An obvious attribute that can be gleaned from this graph is that the 1723 Towers are not wide dispersion speakers. They should have wide enough coverage for any reasonable listening area, but listening positions at far angles may be left with a fairly muted treble sound. I would try to listen within a 40-degree angle of the speaker’s firing direction.

 1723 tower low frequency response

The above graph shows the 1723 Tower’s low-frequency response captured using groundplane measurements (where the speaker and microphone are on the ground at a 2-meter distance in a wide-open area). This response was measured with all ports open. We do get an elevation centered around 100Hz, but I didn’t notice excess bass in my listening. Curiously, the recently reviewed SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speakers shared a similar type of elevation, but a bit lower in frequency, and I did notice it in that speaker. I would guess it is due to the way that the SVS speaker’s rear-firing bass drivers play in my room as well as the slight frequency offset. Either way, it is not a massive bass bump, and many people tend to prefer a slight rise in bass anyway. The low-frequency response starts a gradual roll-off at around 70Hz until we get to the port tuning frequency in the mid-20Hz range. That is very typical of many tower speakers since having a flat response down to port tuning often leads to too much bass boost thanks to room gain. The port tuning frequency is quite low, well below 30Hz, so these speakers should dig into very deep frequencies in-room. No subwoofers are needed with the 1723 Towers!

1723 Tower Port Sealing Differences3 

The above graph shows the low-frequency response differences of the 1723 Towers for different configurations of port sealing. These measurements were taken at 1 meter from the rear of the speaker. Sealing ports make the low-frequency extension deeper but at the cost of headroom. In other words, the speaker will play deeper, but it won’t play those deep frequencies as loudly. Also, as was discussed before, sealing ports increases the chances of port turbulence occurring, so long as all ports are not sealed. That makes leaving only a single port open particularly vulnerable to port turbulence, at least in comparison to leaving all ports open. Of course, sealing two of the three ports reduces port volume by 66% with a corresponding reduction in headroom. Sealing two ports does shift the port tuning frequency below 20Hz, effectively moving it into infrasonic ranges. I would encourage users to use an all-ports open configuration or seal a single port. Sealing two ports compromises the headroom too much and greatly increases the chances of port turbulence. Sealing all the ports just knocks out a huge amount of headroom and extension, and what is the point of buying such large tower speakers if you aren’t going to take advantage of their low-frequency extension?

1723 tower allports open 

The above graph shows the electrical behavior of the 1723 Tower. Arendal specifies this to be a 4-ohm nominal load, and our measurements would corroborate that. The minimum occurs at port tuning, just above 30Hz, and it touches 2.8 ohms. Such a low impedance minimum might sound tough, but it happens at a frequency that is seldom used in normal content, so I don’t regard this electrical load as particularly hard, although these speakers will be a tough load on cheap amps. Users will want a decent amp anyway but more to achieve its output potential than to cope with a stiff electrical load. It’s interesting to note that the low-frequency saddle peaks are about the same height, and that indicates that the cabinet tuning is a good match for these bass drivers.

I measure the sensitivity to be 91dB at 1 meter for 2.83v. That is fairly close to Arendal’s spec of 92dB for 2.83v at 1 meter. As one would imagine, it’s not an insensitive tower speaker, and it can get loud without needing a ton of wattage.


1723 Tower pair9Before bringing this review to a close, I will quickly go over the strengths and weaknesses of the product under evaluation, and, as always, I will start with the weaknesses. Arendal Sound’s 1723 Tower is a strong product overall, but it isn’t quite perfect. In order to achieve the most neutral and balanced sound, it should be listened to at off-axis angles, and that means facing them straight ahead or angling them with a severe toe-in. Most people set up their speakers to face straight ahead in a parallel direction anyway, so this isn’t a big deal. Some audiophiles angle their speakers to face the listening position directly, and if that is done with these speakers, users will get a very forward presentation because the treble will be a bit elevated. The ability to control their tonality by simply angling them can also be considered an advantage, but that won’t work for a broad listening area. However, narrow dispersion loudspeakers such as the 1723 Towers wouldn’t be the best choice for a broad listening area anyway.

Something else I could criticize them for would be the crossover circuit does leave a slight dip at the crossover frequency, so it isn’t a perfect blend between the tweeter and woofers. However, it isn’t severe, and I didn’t notice anything amiss in that region in my listening, and I doubt that anyone else would notice its effects either unless they were carefully listening for a few dB drop in a very narrow band. For this reason, I regard this criticism as a nitpick of a largely academic flaw that won’t really manifest into anything audible.

There isn’t much else to complain about, although one caveat that prospective buyers must be ready for is their size and weight. At 111lbs., the 1723 Towers are not the easiest to move around. They are somewhat large for tower speakers as well, so they will be a presence, especially in a small to medium room. Most prospective buyers will be well aware of how large these speakers are, and they should keep in mind that other household occupants are going to notice the speakers if they are set up in a shared area.

Let’s now discuss the 1723 Tower’s strengths, which are many. First and foremost is their sound quality. When set up well, they sound terrific with a nicely balanced tonality and excellent imaging. To get the best imaging, they should be set up in the previously discussed ‘time-intensity trading’ style placement. When I did that, I thought the imaging and sound staging were excellent with highly focused positioning and well-defined sound sources within the recording. But for those who chose to place them facing straight ahead, they still hold a fine center image and project a wider and more expansive soundstage.

1723 close7

1723 bagged towerTheir bass is strong when it needs to be but not overbearing. I used them with a single port sealed and had a good in-room response down to the low 20Hz range. These speakers truly do not need a subwoofer. With four 8” bass drivers per speaker, they have enough low-frequency dynamic range for all but the most crazed bass head. The only reason to add subs would be to smooth out the in-room response if the room acoustics led to a rocky response with just a stereo pair. And, as I mentioned before, these speakers should be calibrated to run full range, even with the inclusion of subwoofers. For those users intent on high-pass filtering their speakers, they really ought to go for the Arendal Sound 1723 Monitors, not the Towers. The Monitors would be easier to integrate a crossover to subwoofers.

Beyond the sound, the 1723 Towers look nice as larger tower speakers go. With the grilles applied, they have a pleasing minimalist appearance, and without the grilles, the drivers all present an elegant symmetry. The build quality is extremely good for the price point. In fact, I can’t think of any other loudspeaker brand that can match its build quality for the same cost. They are built like tanks and will last a long time if not abused. Their weight is a testament to that.

I don’t normally mention packing in this space, but it does make a difference, and the packing that Arendal used with the 1723 Towers is exceptional. The 1723 Towers are extraordinarily well-packed with double-boxing, plywood protection on the top and bottom, corner protectors, edge protectors, polyethylene covering for the entire surface area, a sleek polyester drawstring sack for the speakers themselves, and inspection gloves for the unpacking process. It turns unpacking into an occasion that I think many buyers will enjoy because of the sheer presentation.

The Arendal 1723 Tower have enough low-frequency dynamic range for all but the most crazed bass head.

Arendal 1723 Tower vs Competition

The 1723 Towers are not inexpensive at $3.9k/pair for US buyers, but they are a lot of speaker for the money. There are much more expensive loudspeakers that can not boast the level of build quality that these have. Among competing loudspeakers in the same price class, there is the new SVS Ultra Evolution Titans which look promising if our review of their larger sibling the SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle is anything to go by. However, the specs would favor the Arendals in terms of dynamics and build quality in terms of weight. MartinLogan has the Motion XT F100, also a solid choice as we found in our review. Again, while we liked the F100s, we would not expect it to match the Arendal’s build quality or dynamic range. One competing speaker that does come closer in build quality and maintains a smoother response on-axis is the JBL HDI-3800, although it does command a $1k/pair premium at MSRP over the 1723 Towers. It is an outstanding choice, however, its high-mounted tweeter means it suffers in small rooms or close listening distances, which is not a disadvantage that the 1723 Towers have. Definitive Technology has the Dymension DM70 at nearly the same price as the 1723 Towers, and while it also has a healthy dynamic range, it will present a very different soundstage that trades precise imaging for expansiveness and envelopment. Whether that is a worthwhile trade-off is purely a matter of personal preference.

I started this review by explaining how reluctant I was to accept a pair for review due to their weight, but in the end, I am glad I did. I enjoyed them a great deal, and I am sure the vast majority of other buyers will as well. If you are looking for some heavy-duty floor-standing loudspeakers, I would urge you to give the 1723 Towers a try. They have an industry-leading 60-day trial period, so, if for any reason buyers are not happy with the 1723 Towers, they can return them within 60 days after purchase for a full refund. I am sure Arendal sees few returns on the 1723 Towers.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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