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Product Review - Krix Apex 3 Loudspeakers - February, 2001



David Wurtz - Editor, Australia


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Specifications

Power Handling: 100W RMS

Frequency Response: 40 Hz - 20 kHz (-3dB)

Sensitivity: 87dB for 2.83 Volts @ 1 meter

Crossover Point: 1.6 kHz

Impedance: 8 Ohms

Size: 885mm H x 200mm W x 285mm D

Weight: 14 kg each

Price: $1,300AUS

 

KRIX Loudspeakers Pty Ltd,14 Chapman Road, Hackham, South Australia, 5163 Australia; Phone +61 8 8384 3433; Fax: +61 8 8384 3419; Web: http://www.krix.com.au  E-Maill: krix@krix.com.au 

USA Distributor, David Morgan, Denver, Colorado, 303-777-4449.

Introduction

Australian manufacturer "Krix Loudspeakers" has been around for about 27 years now and is Australia’s longest standing and probably most well known speaker manufacturer. This company has a strong grounding in professional theater installations, which in turn lead them to design and manufacture consumer products. Their latest domestic release is the Apex 3 loudspeaker which I have under review. With a reputation for producing outstanding products in my mind and the fact that the Editor-in-Chief uses two pair of Krix floor-standers for his reference home theater loudspeakers, I was really looking forward to running these latest releases through their paces. This is what I found:

The Product

The Apex 3 is designed as a thin-tower floor-standing loudspeaker. It uses a 165mm (6 inch) doped paper-coned bass driver which has its voice coil wound on a “high powered” aluminum former and a 25mm (1 inch) doped fabric domed, ferro fluid cooled tweeter. The tweeter is double magnetically shielded and mounted directly above the bass driver at the top of the box. The enclosure is a bass reflex design, has an internal volume of 32 liters, and is made out of 17mm MDF with a lacquered timber veneer. The box I have under review was finished in Beech veneer and as far as I could tell, completely unblemished. The bottom of the box sits on a black pedestal, which is quite a popular finish these days, and I must admit, looks very smart. They are supplied with four speaker spikes (per speaker) that screw directly into the base and are fixed by a locking nut.

The most interesting feature of the design has to be the grille. It is made out of a piece of flat stainless steel (available in black as well) with the cloth being stretched across it, and you have to physically bend it to get it onto the four studs coming out of the front of the box which gives it that curved effect. This was quite a task at first when I initially unpacked it, as I thought it would have to bend it too much to get it on the baffle. It is a very tight fit but is designed that way, so that under no circumstances could the grille be accused of being loose or making any noise. It is just not possible.

The 60mm port is mounted on the back of the Apex 3, and there is a single pair of gold plated binding posts, which was a little disappointing, as these days, I would expect to find bi-wiring on a speaker of this quality build and construction. The speakers also came with a very detailed explanation of speaker clipping and distortion and how it affects loudspeakers. This is a great idea as it is very important information.

The Sound

So, into the Sony CDP-C545 CD player and Redgum RGi120 power amp setup they went. Placement of the Apex 3s was very easy, for a change. I found the sweet spot almost instantly. Being a rear vented design placement is generally quite critical, or maybe the place I have set aside for the positioning of the main loudspeaker is the right spot, which is about 3 meters apart and about 1 meter from the back and side walls.

Let me start by saying that my father-in-law is an avid supporter of all things audio and often takes time out to come over and listen to the latest piece of equipment I have under review. In this case I was quite curious to get his opinion on the Apex 3s, as he had never heard a Krix loudspeaker before, and has been a little critical of other speakers I have owned in the past. To say he was impressed was an understatement. To say he was even more impressed after I told him the price of $1,300AUS was an even bigger understatement. Being a pianist, he has a very detailed ear for the "twinkling ivories" and on the Apex 3s, he had formed the opinion that these were the speakers for him after a very short period of time listening. I almost had to stop him putting them into his car and taking them home about 3 days after I first received them. Needless to say, he immediately made way to purchase the pair I had under review. So, if nothing else, that is a great recommendation for the product.

Now to my opinion, if that counts for something, Dad!

Having a sensitivity of 87 dB/w/m, they are not really all that efficient, but the 120 watts of the Redgum were a perfect match for the Krix (and I suppose really the Redgum has been a perfect match for most speakers I’ve heard - that’s why I bought it!), and normal to above average listening levels were achieved easily. A print mag in Oz had already reviewed the sample boxes I was sent so they were quite well run in and this was evident by the fantastic sound I heard immediately. I found the Apex 3s to have tremendous amounts of everything - just the way I like it. They were just as “at home” belting out “Limp Biscuit’s” latest album or carefully caressing one of Mozart’s finest.

Bass extension was excellent without being overbearing or "boxy" sounding, which can sometimes be the case when you put a smallish driver in a large box to obtain more bass and not do it correctly. Lower mids were where I thought the Apex 3s were exceptional, producing the bottom end of vocals almost perfectly. Midrange was a little more laid back (this was probably because the lower mids were so detailed), and the higher frequencies were smooth and only a little forward at about 10 kHz. All in all a great effort and a great sound box!

I swept a signal generator through from 20 Hz - 20 kHz, and with the aid of an SPL meter, found the crossover point of 1.6 kHz to be engineered very well with only a very slight dip.

All forms of music I played seem to be handled nicely. Krix actually labels this speaker as "a slim tower designed for stereo listening, whilst lending itself to home theater applications", which is a very interesting label, but is realistically what most people will do with them these days. In home theater (hooked into my Yamaha DSP-A1), the Krix performed admirably. I played several DVDs, ranging from "ID-4" to "Silverado" and was never disappointed.

At high SPL (Sound Pressure Levels), I noticed a bit of power compression as the Krix ran out of go, but I would not listen at these levels normally. This was just a test to see how they handled it. Note that I’d better not let the father-in-Law read this part of the article or he may think I gave his new speakers a flogging.

Conclusion

Well-done Krix! Excellent speaker, excellent performance, and top value!

 

- David Wurtz -

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Copyright 2001 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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