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Krix Phoenix Floorstanding Speaker Review

by October 27, 2008
Krix Phoenix Floorstanding Speakers

Krix Phoenix Floorstanding Speakers

  • Product Name: Phoenix Floorstanding Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Krix
  • Performance Rating: StarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStar
  • Review Date: October 27, 2008 09:08
  • MSRP: $ 1700

Frequency Range: 35Hz - 20kHz in room response

Power Handling: Maximum 150 watts RMS amplifier power into 4 ohms

Sensitivity: 90dB for 2.83 volts at 1 metre

Configuration: Point source dual 6½ inch 2 way bi-wirable / bi-ampable

Bass Driver(s): Fibre reinforced moulded polymer baskets with 2 x 165mm (6½") doped paper cones. 25mm (1") vented magnet, voice coil wound on high temperature aluminium former

Tweeter: 28mm (1") doped fabric dome. Ferro fluid cooled. Double magnet shielded

Crossover Points: 1.9kHz

Impedance: Nominally 4 ohms

Enclosure Type: Bass reflex, rear vented with internal / external flaring

Dimensions: 935mm high x 205mm wide x 320 deep

Material: 17mm MDF, heavily braced

Finish: Vinyl or lacquered timber veneer

Volume: 39 litres internal

Weight: 19kg each


  • Deep bass
  • Small form factor for a floorstander
  • Wide soundstage/good off-axis response


  • Limited dynamic range
  • Bright highs
  • Recessed mids at normal seated position
  • Highest fidelity convergence too low for tradition seating


Krix Phoenix

Krix_GrillOn.JPGIf you've been around as long as I have, it is rare that someone mentions a major speaker manufacturer and you don't recognize their name. I'm embarrassed to admit that this was the case with Krix. Clint had come across the Krix Phoenix speakers and wanted to set up a review. My first reaction was, "Sure!" My second reaction was, "Who?" Krix has been around since in the early to mid 70's. They have both a consumer and commercial line of speakers. You might have heard their speakers at one of the 80 cinemas they have installations here in the US or maybe if you have been to Germany, Korea, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and a few others. All in all, they have over 2100 theaters featuring their speakers. Krix is the largest and oldest speaker manufacturer in Australia. Their consumer line of speakers have been slowly crossing national borders and being distributed all over the world. The fact that I haven't heard of them probably says more about me than their efforts. The new Phoenix speakers are an MTM design and retail for $1700 a pair.

First Impressions and Build Quality

Krix_inBox.JPGI actually received these speakers just before leaving for CEDIA this year. I barely had time to set them up before I left. They arrived well boxed and although the speakers were undamaged, the same could not be said for the boxes. The speakers are surrounded by about an inch and a half of foam on all sides and are packaged very tightly. This will protect the speakers from most bumps and small punctures but it might not be enough for some of the jostling I see with some of my deliveries.

The speakers are a slight 37" tall and are veneered with real Atlantic Jarrah - a very rosewood looking timber. I'm not a wood expert but I got a kick of telling people that they were "Atlantic Jarrah" and seeing the confused looks. There is a seam around the front and back (basically, the sides, top, and bottom look like they overlap about 1/2 inch). The front panel is veneered and the back is wrapped in textured vinyl. I've seen this same sort of design on other speakers and I'm not a fan. The back doesn't bother me so much but I like the front to be seamless. The top/side transitions are flawless with no perceivable breaks. The edges and corners are a little sharp and I would have preferred a more rounded, less pointy corner look. The grain is very attractive while not standing out. The finish is very flat with minimal reflections.

Krix_Back.JPGThe speaker is rear ported about a third the way up the height and arrived with a foam port plug. The directions enclosed with the speakers suggested that you remove the port plug unless you plan on placing the speakers near a wall. I wasn't, so I removed it. The port plug is composed of a dark gray foam and fits snuggly without being too hard to remove. I'm generally not a fan of port plugs because people tend to want to use them but the giant warning from Krix to remove them in most cases made them OK for me. I actually liked that they were thinking about how to make their speakers sound good in non-optimal placements instead of waiting until someone called with a complaint and telling them to shove socks in the ports. There is a small black base already attached to the bottom of the speakers that overhangs just a bit. It is flat black and only an inch high. It is beveled and rounded at the front with the farthest point about an inch from the front of the speaker. The sides overlap by about 1/4 inch and the back is nearly flush. The rear has two sets of 5-way binding posts for bi-amping.

Krix_Grillpost.JPGThe speaker grill is a latticed plastic design and runs about 4/5ths the length of the front while taking up most of the width of the speaker. The grill is definitely a little flimsy from the front but doesn't torque too easily. Basically, you might break through the front but you won't crack the whole frame. Just avoid playing baseball in the house and you'll be fine. There is a Krix logo attached at the bottom of the grill. The grill posts are plastic and have a ball at the end. They snap securely into place and I detected no movement or vibration from the grill. I've had experience with the type of plastic posts used and they have a tendency to break off if you aren't careful. To me, the grill seems oversized though it does harken back to your more traditional speaker design where the entire front was grill. People I've shown these speakers to generally either like the looks or feel they are plain. You'll need to decide for yourself.

Krix_tweet_diff.JPGThe Phoenix speakers sport an MTM design with two 6.5 inch woofers and a 1 inch soft dome tweeter. The tweeter is set flush to the front baffle with the woofers slightly overlapping. I generally don't like all black drivers on the front of a speaker but these tend to work for me. The woofers have a sheen to them and the tweeter has a dark spot in the center that gives the illusion of an eye and appears to be a copy cat design of a Dynaudio tweeter employed by many manufacturers these days. With the red of the veneer, this actually looks pretty nice together. The only real problem with the design is the height of the tweeter. Here at Audioholics (and just about everywhere except in the engineering department of Dynaudio) we suggest placing the tweeter at ear height. Either Australians are really short, they sit on the ground, or the Krix Phoenix was designed to have the tweeter at chest height. At only 27-1/2 inches off the ground they are a good 10-12 inches lower than nearly every other floorstanding speaker I've reviewed. I'm operating under the assumption that this was on purpose and that the speakers are voiced for this design (and not that I'm supposed to build a stand for them which is ridiculous for a speaker in this price range and genre it is in).

Krix_spike.JPGCarpet spikes are provided which are very similar to the ones I get with many speakers. They are black, thin, and have an adjustment nut. These spikes are EXTREMELY sharp and can be hard to work with. With this set, the nut will screw all the way off the end and the spike will go nearly all the way inside the base if you try hard enough. If you can't tell, I'm not a fan of these spikes. I'm sure you could buy some aftermarket spikes if you wanted or an outrigger setup (my preferred solution). Remember that the base is attached so if you decide to go with outriggers it might look a little awkward.

Removing the drivers, I noticed that the woofer baskets were plastic (Krix says - Fibre reinforced moulded polymer). This is actually preferable to a stamped metal basket but not as good as a cast one. The tweeter is very heavy duty and encased in its own metal enclosure. The cabinet is constructed out of 5/8 inch MDF and has two internal braces. The two braces meet on the front baffle between the tweeter and the lower woofer. They run at angles away from this point with the lower one at about 45 degrees and the upper about 30 degrees (I didn't have my protractor on me so don't hold me to that). The bottom and top areas are stuffed with polyfil and they have polyfil glued to the back. The Krix Phoenix responds well to the knock test. They are about as inert as the other speakers I've reviewed in this price range. The crossover is attached directly to the plastic binding post case and uses low gauge air core inductors, and a combination of polypropylene capacitors and electrolytics with ceramic power resistors to pad the tweeter sensitivity down to match the woofer response.

Krix_Open.JPG     Krix_Crossover.JPG

Krix Phoenix Setup and Measurements

Krix_Drivers.JPGAttaching the spikes was an exercise in frustration, not because they were hard to attach, but because they were nigh impossible to level. If Krix had used a spike with a stopping point for the adjustment nut (instead of a nut that screwed all the way off the spike) I could have had a universal starting point. Instead I had to just eyeball it (never good enough for audio tweaker types). There are no rubber feet so I'm not sure what you are supposed to do if you want to place these speakers on tile or hardwood flooring. I've got carpet so that wasn't a problem.

The first thing I did was experiment with placement. I always place review speakers a minimum of 2.5 feet from any wall so I removed the port plugs as suggested by Krix. This turned out to be a mistake. As you'll see later, the Phoenix are a very bass heavy speaker and I'm not sure how large an auditorium you'll need to place them in before you decide that you don't need the port plugs. I recommend using the port plugs regardless of placement or room size. With the speakers pointed straight out, I was getting a decent center image and wide sound stage. I next tried them pointed directly at me. This compressed the width of the soundstage significantly without an appreciable benefit to the imaging. In the end I decided on a very slight toe-in (like a couple of degrees). You'll definitely want to experiment in your own room though. Overall, the off-axis response of the Phoenix seemed very uniform which will give you a very large sweet spot and make placement very easy.

Measurements & Testing

Using the Sencore SP395A FFT Audio Analyzer and a Sherbourn 2/75B amp, I measured the Phoenix's in-room on and off axis frequency response with 1/12th octave resolution with the port plugs in. Generally, what you do when you measure a speaker is look for the conversion point. This is the point where the speakers measure the best. It usually find it a hair below the tweeter. Generally, this is also very near ear height when seated. Thinking that the Phoenix's were voiced differently, I initially thought to make my measurements at ear height - just above the center of the top woofer. I quick glance told me that these measurements were so poor that I had to rethink my strategy. The high end was boosted and the midrange was dropped very low. Fiddling with the mic position for quite some time, I determined that the Krix Phoenix did indeed give me the best measurements just below the tweeter. I'm not sure what was the design goal behind this.


Phoenix 1 Meter Frequency Response (1/12th Octave) On Axis
(note - this is not a 1 watt measurement and is not intended to show efficiency)


Phoenix 1/2 Meter Frequency Response (1/12th Octave)
Pink - On axis, Orange - 15 degrees off axis, Yellow - 30 degrees off axis

Disregarding the graph below 200Hz (due to in-room measurement inaccuracies) the on axis frequency response looks fairly linear with the exception of about a +5dB bump above 6kHz. They do exhibit a very uniform off axis response. As you can see, the upper end is voiced very high, likely intentional since the tweeters are so low to the ground. This makes for a bright speaker, especially when pushed hard. With the port plugs out, the bass is also accentuated which subjectively makes the boosted treble not so noticeable but further emphasizes an unnaturally recessed midrange. If you want to know what the other graph looked like, just think of the old “smiley face” V curve with EQ’s.


Phoenix Impedance (port open)

The Sencore consistently measures speakers about 1 ohm lower than they actually are. There is an impedance minima right around the 40Hz tuning frequency. The Phoenix present a fairly easy load that will work with most mid-fi receivers (even though it does dip into the 4 ohm range). Increased amplification would probably be appreciated for those with larger rooms.

Krix Phoenix Listening Evaluation and Conclusion

Krix_GrillOff.JPGThe 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.

Michael Buble - It's Time
Krix_Buble.jpgI'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
Krix_Hunt.jpgThe 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.


Krix_Logo.JPGIf 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.

Krix Phoenix

$1,700 / pair

14 Chapman Road
Hackham SA 5163
AustraliaT 61 8 8384 3433


About Krix
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.

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 QualityStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
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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