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Atlantic Technology 4200 THX Speakers

November, 2004

Ross Jones

 

Specifications:

4200LR:
 

Sealed-Box, Magnetically Shielded Two-Way
    D’Appolito Array
Drivers: One 1” Silk Dome Tweeter, Two 5.25”
    Midrange
MFR: 80 Hz –20 kHz
± 3 dB
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Crossover Frequency: 2.5 kHz
Dimensions: 8” x 15” x 9.9”
Weight: 14 Pounds/Each

4200C:


Sealed-Box, Magnetically Shielded Two-Way
    D’Appolito Array
Drivers: One 1” Silk Dome Tweeter, Two 5.25”
    Midrange
MFR: 80 Hz –20 kHz
± 3 dB
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Crossover Frequency: 2.5 kHz
Dimensions: 8” x 15” x 9.9”

Dimensions: 18.4” x 8.4” x 8”
Weight: 16 Pounds


4200SR:


Sealed-Box, Dipole/Bipole Surround Speaker
Drivers: Two 1” Silk Dome Tweeters, Two 4.5”
    Midrange
MFR: 80 Hz – 20 kHz
± 3 dB
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Crossover Frequency: 2.5 kHz
Dimensions: 10.9” x 12.4” x 7.5”
Weight: 11 Pounds/Each


642SB:


Sealed-Box
Amplifier: 300 Watts RMS
Driver: 12” Composite Cone Long-Throw
    Driver
MFR: 30 Hz – 300 Hz
± 3 dB
Low-Pass: 40 Hz – 140 Hz
Dimensions: 19” x 21” 18.5”
Weight: 65 Pounds

5.1 System Price (w/ Maple Finish Panels): $3,500 USA

 

Atlantic Technology

www.atlantictechnology.com

 Introduction

About a year ago, Secrets reviewed Atlantic Technology's 8200 speaker system.

Now comes the 4200 series THX Select system, and while it’s Atlantic Technology’s least expensive THX certified system, I cannot bring myself to use the words “entry-level.”

The Design

The 4200s are another example of trickle-down technology, which might not work as an economic theory but is a wonderful thing for consumers of home theater products. The 4200 system incorporates many of the same features found in the flagship 8200 system, including the “C.O.R.E.” technology that lets you tweak the system to account for listening room characteristics and speaker placement.

The 4200LR and C speakers contain toggle switches, allowing you to compensate for either overly damped or bright rooms, and a boundary compensation switch that counteracts placement of the speaker in a cabinet, or, in the case of the 4200C center-channel speaker, on top of a television.

The 4200 front speakers (4200LR) share the same driver technology (and in some case the identical drivers) to those found in the 8200 system. The 4200LRs are two-way D’Appolito designs, consisting of a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter sandwiched between two 5 ¼” midrange drivers.

The 4200C center-channel speaker uses the same drivers in a horizontal array, with the tweeter slightly offset above the two midrange drivers. Because both the horizontal layout of the 4200C’s drivers and THX requirements tend to limit vertical dispersion, the 4200C comes with an adjustable swivel base that allows you to point the speaker directly at the listener’s head. Both the 4200LR and C speakers are magnetically shielded, and use a single set of five-way binding posts. And for the all-important S.A.F. (Spousal Acceptance Factor), the front and center channel speakers can be ordered with a variety of removable side panel finishes: High gloss black, silver, or maple.

The wedge-shaped 4200SR surround speakers use two sets of 1” silk dome tweeters and 4½ inch midrange drivers, offset at a 90 degree angle. The 4200SRs are rated at the identical frequency response (80 Hz - 20 kHz) as the front/center speakers, making both setup and listening a pleasure (more on that below).

The 4200SRs are switchable from dipole to bipole mode with a flick of the front-mounted selector, for those of us (myself included) who prefer to watch movies using bipole surrounds but prefer the more directional sound of direct-radiating speakers for music listening sessions.

One significant difference between the 4200s and their big sibling is in the subwoofer department. The 8200 system, being THX Ultra 2 certified, uses four separate subwoofer enclosures (mounted directly under the left, right, and surround speakers), powered by a separate amplifier module.

The 4200 system uses a more traditional single box subwoofer, the THX Select certified 642SB. This subwoofer is a sealed-box design, using a front-firing 12-inch composite cone driver, powered by a 300 watt amplifier. The 642SB connects to the receiver/SSP using line-level inputs (no speaker-level inputs are provided), and has a defeatable low-pass crossover adjustable from 40 Hz to 140 Hz. The front panel of the 642SB has a removable grille to access the volume control, while the back panel contains the phase switch, three-way power function, and line-level outputs in case you want to daisy chain a couple of 642SBs.

Setup

Configuring a THX speaker system eliminates a lot of guesswork. Set the crossover on your receiver/SSP to 80 Hz for all five speakers, bypass the variable low-pass crossover on the subwoofer, calibrate volume, set distance, point and shoot. The 4200’s C.O.R.E. technology switches on the front speakers did add another layer to the setup process, but it was a welcome one. I set the toggle switches to “reverberant” to counteract the somewhat bright nature of my listening room (one can only throw so many rugs on hardwood floors), and set the 4200C’s boundary compensation switch to “On” since it was sitting on top of a 50 inch RPTV. I made sure to adjust the front speaker stands (not supplied) so that the 4200LR’s tweeters were lined up at ear level. Then it was off to the movies.

The Sound

The 4200’s did a superb job of creating an immersive movie experience. The five matched speakers completely enveloped me in sound, with seamless pans throughout the soundstage and clear, intelligible dialogue.

The system had excellent horizontal off-axis response, creating a wide sweet spot for the viewer regardless of their position on the couch. And I caught more than one visitor craning their heads around in an attempt to locate the source of effects coming from the 4200SR dipoles, a testament their ability to create a diffuse soundfield.

The 642SB subwoofer integrated well into the package, rendering tight, controlled bass and authoritative slam when the source material called for it. As a THX Select certified speaker system, the 4200s are capable of reproducing 105 dB SPL in a 2,000 cubic foot room (roughly a 20’ x 12’ room with 8’ ceilings).

While I didn’t push them that hard, the 4200s never sounded stressed or compressed. Music, either two channel or 5.1, was reproduced with a wide, expansive soundstage and fine imaging. The placement of instruments throughout the soundstage was slightly less defined than I’ve heard on some other systems.

Conclusions

The Atlantic Technology 4200 system is a winner. The C.O.R.E. technology allows the user to tweak the system to fit the listening space, and the 4200SR’s one-touch switch from dipole to bipole operation provides yet another level of user flexibility. The 4200s will put you right in the middle of the Pod Race. Definitely recommended!


- Ross Jones -

    Related to the article above, we recommend the following:

Primer - Speakers

 

 

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