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Product Review
 

Krix Symphonix Floor-Standing Speakers, KDX-C Center Channel Speaker, and Seismix 3 Mk2 Subwoofer

May, 2004

Piero Gabucci

 

Specifications:


Symphonix Tower

Drivers: One 1" Dome Tweeter, Two 6 1/4"
    Mid/WoofersMFR: 35 Hz - 20 kHz
Power Handling 150 Watts RMS
Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms
Crossover Point: 3 kHz
Dimensions: 41" H x 10" W x 12" D
Weight: 44 Pounds Each
MSRP: $2,740/Pair USA

 

KDX-C Center Channel

Drivers: One 1" Dome Tweeter, Two 5"
    Mid/Woofers
MFR: 50 Hz - 20 kHz
Power Handling: 110 Watts RMS
Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohms
Crossover Point: 2.6 kHz
Dimensions: 7" H x 17" W x 10.5" D
Weight: 20 Pounds
MSR: $750 USA

 

Seismix 3 Mk2 Subwoofer

10" Driver
MFR: 22 Hz - 120 Hz
200 Watt Amplifier
Dimensions: 16.5" H x 14.25" W x 17" D
Weight: 44 Pounds
MSRP: $1980 USA

 

Krix Loudspeakers

http://krix.com.au

Introduction

OK, who wouldn’t be excited by the prospect of receiving a new speaker package from a manufacturer with whom you’re not familiar. I enthusiastically awaited the delivery of a set of Krix speakers from Shawn McLoughlin of Full Compass, in Wisconsin, the USA distributor of this Australian manufacturer.

Surprisingly, I found very few Krix retailers in my area, and my first words of wisdom might be that if you can find them, listen to them. Although Secrets has reviewed several Krix models in the past (Esoterix, Lyrix), I had never heard them myself.

Included in the review set were four Symphonix tower speakers to be used as fronts and surrounds, a matching center channel, the KDX-C, and the Seismix 3 Mk2 subwoofer. Although pricey, this sub is actually the “baby” of the Krix subwoofers available. The set represents the middle range of home theater speakers from Krix.

The Design

Let me first state that these are very beautiful speakers, with a solid feel. For those who think speakers should also be furniture, look no further. They are well constructed of cabinet grade MDF board with lacquered Australian Jarrah veneer. The veneer is also applied to the face of the cabinets for those who might want to remove the fabric grilles.

Conservative in design, these are visually appealing classic speakers that blended well with the cherry wood finishes in our living room. The tower and center channel speakers have similar designs with a center tweeter flanked by bass drivers (D'Appolito array).

The Symphonix, quite tall (41”) with a narrow face (less than 10”), and a somewhat deep footprint (12”), sports dual 6 ½” fiber reinforced polymer base drivers, between which is a 1” fabric dome tweeter.

The speaker comes with a slightly wider base or plinth and carpet spikes, and once placed, they were firmly planted. The Symphonix is also bi-wire and bi-amp capable.

The KDX-C center speaker, arranged with dual 5” drivers and 1” centered tweeter, is similarly designed. Turned on its side and because it’s placed on the television, according to the manufacturer’s literature, the resulting bass loading has crossover compensation. Both (tower and center channel speakers) are rear vented and provided with foam inserts for additional bass control, depending on your room placement (more on that issue later).

I must admit I was most impressed with the subwoofer. Again elegant in design, and very simple to set up, it has a nominal 10” diameter paper cone driver and is front vented. Although the unit sent to me had an alternate veneer in beech, it was also face veneered. Featured with auto power on/off, volume control, phase control and a high and low pass line, this is the smallest in the Krix line of subwoofers. (I always love the detachable power cord.)

Setup

Setup was straightforward in my 12’ x 16’ living room; the main fronts were placed approximately 24” from the back wall, tilted towards the middle about 10 degrees, and about 8’ apart. The center channel was set firmly on my television and slightly horizontally higher than the flanking mains. The surrounds were set facing each other about 12’ from the front wall. The subwoofer took a bit of adjusting, but I found it performed best halfway between fronts and rear loudspeakers facing into the room. At this point, sitting on the couch, I realized the height and placement of the drivers and tweeters on the Symphonix were perfectly placed horizontally.

This speaker package is very easy to set up and somewhat forgiving in their placement. Slight changes in their placement had no discernable difference in sound performance. Using both my sound meter and alternatively my Avia DVD, I found the initial arrangement nicely balanced. At this point I was curious about those foam rear inserts, so I placed two Symphonix next to each other, one with the insert and one without. I sent a mono signal to both, switching back and forth I listened for bass response in the room. Surprisingly for my taste, I preferred the foam in rather than out, so I’d encourage testing for your own listening environment rather than assuming you will like it one way or the other.

Finally, Listening . . .

With the late arrival of the second set of Symphonix, and my anxious nature, I had time to audition the first set of Symphonix in stereo mode with some of my favorite CDs. As a traditionalist, I wanted to evaluate in two channels without the subwoofer. I was also concerned that my modest receiver rated at 110 WPC into 8 ohms wouldn’t challenge these 4 ohm rated speakers, but after 10 minutes that concern went away. The Krix speakers performed so remarkably well with this receiver, that I was curious how they would perform with less power so I hooked them to my retired 55w/channel two-channel receiver and was pleasantly surprised by their performance.

They were very musical at lower power and never lost much detail, so this only made me wonder how these very forgiving speakers would perform with an abundance supply of power. Naturally, when I hear new speakers for the first time, I tend to dust off some of my older CDs to hear them again. With my musical tastes ranging greatly, I began with Supertramp’s Crime of the Century and its opening song "School". This piece includes some wonderful instrumentals, and the sound was clean and precise, as well as natural, and the midrange was never aggressive.

Vocals continued to impress me with other CDs from Harry Connick, Jr’s Blue Light where I’ve always felt his voice was a bit thin. The Krix revealed more depth in his voice in this horn rich Big Band swing music CD. Robert Plant’s voice, as many times as I’ve heard it around the house, is raspier and lingers longer with the Krix. Least I forget female vocals, Linda Ronstadt’s both sweet and powerful voice was breathlessly portrayed.

So, the second set of Symphonix arrived, and the complete package truly revealed itself as a top-notch system once I began listening to the multi-channel music titles in my collection. Now listening in full surround mode, I admit I’ve become obsessed with high resolution audio. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon left me jaw-dropped on my couch, the bells, the bells! The Krix speaker’s elegant imaging and clarity pulled me into the music very nicely, demonstrated by both Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road and the Beach Boys' DVD- Version of “Pet Sounds”. (I think Brian Wilson was a genius.)

Led Zeppelin’s How the West Was Won DVD-A and in particular the rendition of "Going to California", John Paul Jones’ mandolin came alive. On the classical side, Vivaldi: La Notte Concerti per strumenti diversi by Musica Pacifica which I previously enjoyed more in my car for its intimacy, revealed such a spaciousness and depth that I truly reveled in this recording at home. Regardless of the music I played, I found the transition from surrounds to center channel fluid and effortless, like the grin on my face.

Before I get to movies, the first DVD I put in was The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over live concert. I believe in terms of music reproduction, this DTS version is outstanding. The Krix delivered the vocal harmonies and excellent acoustic guitars so accurately I stopped and played it again.

I couldn’t resist listening to Diana Krall’s jazz Live in Paris DVD, which has a wonderful bass challenge for the subwoofer, and the Seismix 3 Mk2 handled it wonderfully, neither boomy nor soft. Imaging to me is everything, that ability of speakers to place you in front of the musicians, and watching this DVD was no exception.

Enough music you say? I could not think of a better DVD-V to begin than The Lord of the Rings' extended version of The Two Towers. Once again, the subwoofer was impressive: marching orcs, sweeping battles, and a wonderful soundtrack. I swore I’d never go to a theater again. I never strained to hear subtle sighs and breathing from the center channel. Voices and dialogue were smooth and warm.

A long favorite movie of my family is Ridley Scott’s Legend, not because it’s a particularly great movie, but the music and Tim Curry’s performance as Lord of Darkness are worthy entertainment. He is first introduced to us by stepping his hoofed foot through a mirror. The crunching sound of the weight under his foot is chilling with a great subwoofer, which the Krix Seismix is.

Both the theatrical soundtrack by Tangerine Dream (which I prefer) and the Director’s Cut version which includes a more romantic mythical score by Jerry Goldsmith are wonderfully lively. Once again the Krix delivers. Over the time I’ve had these speakers I can only say confidently, every movie I watched in my theater with the Krix, they never disappointed me.

Krix has produced a very easy to listen to product, with a fine midrange. And just like the music, the sounds produced when I watched DVDs were seamless from speaker to speaker, never making demands on my ears to find the notes, the instruments, or the vocals. If you’ll excuse the wine analogy, these speakers remind me of my favorite California cabernets: deeply rich, full bodied, complex,  and with a great finish.

Conclusions

A conclusion seems an inappropriate term here, and quite depressing. Let’s face the issue that it may seem easy to recommend a pair of speakers costing as much as this entire package. As you’ve read in many reviews from some very knowledgeable and competent writers on Secrets' staff, speakers costing half the amount can sound just as amazing. The Krix have excellent construction and quality materials, and I can only tell you though that these are long term investment speakers that look substantial, feel substantial, and sound substantial.

I could easily see myself building a quality home theater system around these speakers. It’s nice to see home-grown pride in the “Made in Australia” logo on the back of these beauties. Krix has definitely spoiled me with this system. I’m convinced that a timbre matched speaker system is the way to go, and so it will be for me as I look to replace my own aging speakers. Did I like the Krix? Try and wipe the grin off my face.



 - Piero Gabucci -

 

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