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Arendal Sound 1723 Tower S THX Speaker Measurements & Conclusion

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1723 s outdoor testing 

The Arendal 1723 S 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 a 7.5’ 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 s 3d waterfall response

1723 s 2d waterfall response

on/off axis response correlation makes this an easy speaker to EQ.

The above graphs depict the 1723 S 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 our article Understanding Loudspeaker Review Measurements II. The measured response shown here is very good, and we have a fairly accurate speaker overall. There is a small amplitude but wide bump centered around 600Hz, and we also see another slight rise as the response approaches 10kHz, but I don’t think either of these traits is going to seriously color the sound. There might be slightly thicker lower mids and slightly more upper treble ‘air’ versus the mythical loudspeaker that has a totally neutral response. There is also a dip that occurs off-axis at around 16kHz, but that is much too high in frequency to have any significantly audible effect. The off-axis response bears a terrific correlation with the on-axis response, so this speaker should hold the same tonality over a wide listening area. It also makes this speaker easy to equalize if the user wanted to change its tonality manually, and the speaker is more likely to match the target responses of automated EQ systems like Audyssey or Dirac. Furthermore, such a nicely controlled directivity lessens the need for acoustic treatments since the reflected sound is going to have a greater resemblance to the direct sound. 

See: Benefits of Early Reflections

Given the above-measured responses, my advice would be to have the speakers facing the listener directly for the most even, consistent response. The sound won’t change that much to off-axis, so long as it’s not too far off-axis, but it looks to me like the on-axis response is the most optimal from this set of curves.

1723 s 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 loudspeaker measurement article.

Here we can see the waveguide maintaining a nicely even control over the tweeter’s band all the way up to 10kHz. There is a small flare-up of off-axis energy above 10kHz, but it is too high in frequency to be consequential. What is counterintuitive for many people is that the waveguide can actually widen the dispersion of the tweeter at high frequencies versus a flat-baffle-mounted tweeter, which usually narrows at high frequencies, and we see that here. That means if the listener is seated in an off-axis position, they will hear the higher frequencies clearly with these types of waveguides instead of hearing an upper treble roll-off which would be had with the usual dome on a flat baffle. The regular 1723 series with their 8” woofers are able to restrict the dispersion down to a slightly lower frequency than the 1723 S with its 6.5” drivers. I am not sure of the audible advantage of that- perhaps slightly more precise imaging of midrange frequency content? It would be an interesting exercise to compare them back-to-back to see the audible difference. My guess is that it would not be a major difference. The main takeaway from this graph is to stay within a thirty-degree angle of the tweeter in order to be met with the most consistent sound of the 1723 S Towers.

1723 s vertical responses 

The above graph is a sampling of some of the vertical angle responses at and around the on-axis angle. Negative degrees indicate angles below the tweeter, positive angles indicate angles above the tweeter, and zero degrees is level with the tweeter. On this chart, I didn’t bother posting negative angle responses since the tweeter is mounted relatively low and few people will be listening at such a low angle. Most users will be listening at or above the tweeter height, and the good news here is that the response hardly changes at all in that region. The 1723 S Tower is not a speaker where you have to keep your head in a tight spot to experience good sound. To be honest, I was expecting a more restricted vertical angle of listening since the woofers in MTM designs tend to nullify output at off-axis angles with respect to the plane of the woofer’s alignment, but that doesn’t occur at any reasonable vertical listening angle on this speaker- very good news indeed!

1723 S bass response 

The above graph shows the 1723 S Towers’ 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). Arendal provides port plugs for both ports so a sealed configuration or single port open configuration can be implemented if desired by the user. Most people would be better off just leaving both ports open. That yields a nice solid response down to about 36Hz, and room gain will shore up the response a bit below that point as well, so I would expect strong bass to nearly 30Hz in practice so long as the room isn’t huge. By plugging a port, you halve the output that can be generated by the ports in exchange for some deeper bass extension. The only reason to do this is if the speaker wasn’t being run very hard and was also situated in a smaller room. Doing so can probably attain extension below 30Hz for some truly deep bass. The option is there for sealing both ports and taking away any port-generated output, and the only reason to do that is if the user was having problems integrating the speakers with a subwoofer. By sealing the ports, the acoustic phase produced by the speaker is greatly simplified, and this can make it a lot easier to phase match the subwoofer at the crossover frequency. Even then, that would only likely be an issue for an unusually low crossover frequency, so the advantage in sealing the ports would only exist in rare circumstances.

1723 s impedance 

The 1723 S tower presents a rather benign 4-ohm load, making it relatively easy to drive.

The above graphs show the electrical behavior of the Arendal 1723 S Tower. Our measurement is a very close match to that shown on Arendal’s product page for this speaker. This is a very even electrical load up to the tweeter’s frequency band. The four woofers have a very stable electrical impedance and must be wired in a combination of series and parallel circuits to hold this kind of response. The dip in the low-frequency saddle indicates that the port tuning frequency is about 36Hz much as we saw in the groundplane measurement for this operating mode (both ports open). Much like Arendal specifies for this speaker, it is basically a four-ohm load. This is rather benign for a four-ohm speaker since there aren’t any nasty dips below four ohms nor are there any steep phase angles at a low impedance point except at the crossover frequency of 1.5kHz. Most amplifiers will be fine with these speakers, although I would not encourage users to blast them with entry-level AVRs or small chip-amps, but few people who buy these $3k speakers will pair them with such cheap electronics.

I measured the sensitivity of the 1723 S Towers to be almost an exact match with Arendal’s spec of 89dB for 2.83v at 1 meter. That is about what would be expected of a design like this, so no surprise there. They aren’t especially sensitive nor are they insensitive. 50-watts for each channel would be more than enough for most people’s tastes, and for those on a mission to rock really hard, Arendal recommends up to 400 watts per channel (mission destination: permanent hearing loss).

Conclusion

1723 s outdoor shot3As always, I will briefly go over the strengths and weaknesses of the product under review, and, as usual, I will start with the weaknesses, since I am the kind of person who wants to hear the bad news first. Fortunately, there is very little in the way of bad news for the Arendal 1723 S Towers, and one has to stretch to find anything to complain about. One thing I might say is they may be a tad bright for those sensitive to upper treble due to the upward tilt above 8kHz. That is too high in frequency to cause excessive sibilance, but very high-pitched noises may come off a bit louder versus a totally neutral response. The good news, as was mentioned before, is that can easily be remedied by some equalization. A shelf filter around 8kHz would take any edge off the treble, but I don’t think that most people will find this speaker to be especially bright to begin with.

If I were grasping at straws for something to complain about, I might have advised Arendal to simply not include port plugs at all, and that they are bound to be more of a problem than a solution. The reason is that the 1723 S Tower should really be run with both ports open in the vast majority of setups. The circumstances that would warrant sealing one or both ports are uncommon, but many people will not understand how they work or what they do and just use them anyway since they are included in the package. This would likely end up degrading the low-frequency potential that these speakers have. I would encourage Arendal to just offer the port plugs as optionally-added accessories for the few people that want to experiment with them. 

1723 S upper 

1723 S pair5With those nitpicks out of the way, let’s go over the strengths that these speakers have, which are many. First and foremost is the performance. The 1723 S Towers give you a nice, powerful, neutral sound with extension well into the mid-30s hertz range. The soundstage and imaging are excellent, and that is partly owed to the well-controlled dispersion characteristics. The dispersion quality also makes these speakers a lot easier to control by equalization for those who wish to do so, whether by manual EQ systems or automated ones. It has powerful bass that can handle nearly anything, although those who want thunderous bass at 20Hz will still probably want to add a subwoofer. Arendal makes some great subwoofers based on our reviews. The dynamic range of the 1723 S Tower is astonishing for a mid-sized floor-standing speaker. These can play very loud without strain and prove that the THX badging is more than just a trademarked logo. To sum up their performance, they sound terrific and would make a great choice whether you are aiming for a 2-channel stereo or a surround sound system.

The dynamic range of the 1723 S Tower is astonishing for a mid-sized floor-standing speaker.

The 1723 S Tower’s greatest strength second to its sound quality is its build quality. It is a very solid construction, and despite not being a large tower, it still manages to clock in at just under 70 lbs. They were no fun to move onto my elevated acoustic measurement platform, but they do exude a sense of luxury and solidity. The drivers are all of a very high-quality design, the crossover uses premium components, and there is nothing on these speakers that seemed cheap or cost-cutting at all. They aren’t cheap speakers at $3k per pair, but they seem like they should cost more.

The appearance and industrial design are quite nice. The styling is simple but classy and refined, and they will fit into pretty much any interior decor due to the minimalist design. The gloss finish is very appealing, but I think the satin finishes would be extremely nice as well. I don’t think that anyone but the pickiest individuals would object to their appearance. They could fit well even in high-end interior designs.

Arendal’s post-purchase support is excellent as well. The Arendal 1723 S Towers are a lot of speaker for the money, and they ship in the best packing I have seen for a loudspeaker costing less than five figures. That shows me that they are serious about making sure that the customer is happy, and it also shows that they have pride in their product and want to protect it. Something else that speaks to Arendal’s confidence in customer satisfaction is that their speakers can be returned for any reason for a full refund within 60 days. Arendal even pays for FREE shipping both ways, even freight which is no small expense for loudspeakers of this size and weight! Those who are interested have nothing to lose in giving these speakers a try, and these speakers definitely warrant interest for anyone shopping for floor-standers in this price range.

 

1723 S badge

In the end, I am happy to see that the quality that floored me from the 1723 Monitors still carries on in the 1723 S Towers. These are extremely high-performing and well-rounded loudspeakers for the price, and I am certain that most buyers will be very happy with this purchase. They certainly provide strong competition against any other tower speaker for the same cost, and if I were shopping in the $3k range, these would be among the top of the list to choose from. Highly Recommended!

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
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStarStar
About the author:

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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Recent Forum Posts:

shadyJ posts on August 14, 2022 19:03
Chromatischism, post: 1568864, member: 99207
Comparing your measurements and looking at the pictures, I wonder if I'm seeing baffle edge diffraction on the Paradigms due to the smaller waveguide.
Baffle diffraction wouldn't be a serious problem with either speaker. What you are seeing is probably waveguide issues. Perhaps the waveguide could use a bit more optimization with that tweeter.
Chromatischism posts on August 14, 2022 17:58
Comparing your measurements and looking at the pictures, I wonder if I'm seeing baffle edge diffraction on the Paradigms due to the smaller waveguide.
shadyJ posts on August 14, 2022 17:26
Chromatischism, post: 1568854, member: 99207
The 80F is the closest to the Arendal 1723 S towers. Crossover is stated to be 2nd order at 1.8 kHz to the tweeter, and 2nd order at 500 Hz to the two bass drivers.

Just from that alone it looks like the Paradigms might be more subwoofer friendly, but what else is there to consider? Does one of these have the edge in sound quality? They seem to have a similar design approach but the Paradigms as you know have a few fancy tricks up their sleeve.

Also the Tweeter height could be different.
It's hard to say who would have the edge in sound quality. They would both be relatively neutral speakers, I would think. Without subs, the Arendal's would be the easy choice, but with subs, that changes things.

Something else you could do is get the 1723 THX Monitors. That will get you more headroom from the woofers.
Chromatischism posts on August 14, 2022 16:51
shadyJ, post: 1568853, member: 20472
Which Founders would you be using exactly?
The 80F is the closest to the Arendal 1723 S towers. Crossover is stated to be 2nd order at 1.8 kHz to the tweeter, and 2nd order at 500 Hz to the two bass drivers.

Just from that alone it looks like the Paradigms might be more subwoofer friendly, but what else is there to consider? Does one of these have the edge in sound quality? They seem to have a similar design approach but the Paradigms as you know have a few fancy tricks up their sleeve.

Also the Tweeter height could be different.
shadyJ posts on August 14, 2022 16:41
Chromatischism, post: 1568829, member: 99207
Great review, as usual. We have a lot more great choices than we used to…

Speaking of, if the choice were between Arendals and Paradigm Founders, what differences should I be aware of? I use subs and like a neutral speaker.
Which Founders would you be using exactly?
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