Arendal 1723 S Tower THX Speaker Review

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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
1723 S grille on and off2.jpg
From my first encounter with Arendal’s speakers and subs, I have been greatly impressed by their performance and build quality. I was so delighted by the 1723 THX Monitors last year (Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Review) that I had been eager to see what their other speakers were capable of. I opted to review the 1723 Tower S THX, the subject of this article, because I wanted to see what they could do as a tower speaker, but not merely as an extension of the 1723 THX Monitors which I already had experience with. The 1723 S THX series scales back the regular 1723 THX speakers for a smaller size and lighter weight but keeps the same basic design cues. In theory, this should give us a similar sound qualitatively at the cost of dynamic range versus the regular 1723 series. This is probably a worthwhile trade-off for most people since few users of the 1723 series are likely to take full advantage of their dynamic range. Outside of comparisons to Arendal’s other speaker lines, what does the 1723 Tower S THX deliver on its own? $3k is not an insignificant sum for most people, so what does Arendal deliver with this particular model? Does it keep the same value that Arendal has rapidly become known for? Read our in-depth review to find out...

READ: Arendal Sound 1723 S Tower THX Loudspeaker Review
 
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G-wreck

Audiophyte
I think these look like very nice speakers but Given how good the 1723 Monitors are and that the bass crosses over at 100hz to the bottom 2 drivers I get the monitors and subs.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
From my first encounter with Arendal’s speakers and subs, I have been greatly impressed by their performance and build quality. I was so delighted by the 1723 THX Monitors last year (Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Review) that I had been eager to see what their other speakers were capable of. I opted to review the 1723 Tower S THX, the subject of this article, because I wanted to see what they could do as a tower speaker, but not merely as an extension of the 1723 THX Monitors which I already had experience with. The 1723 S THX series scales back the regular 1723 THX speakers for a smaller size and lighter weight but keeps the same basic design cues. In theory, this should give us a similar sound qualitatively at the cost of dynamic range versus the regular 1723 series. This is probably a worthwhile trade-off for most people since few users of the 1723 series are likely to take full advantage of their dynamic range. Outside of comparisons to Arendal’s other speaker lines, what does the 1723 Tower S THX deliver on its own? $3k is not an insignificant sum for most people, so what does Arendal deliver with this particular model? Does it keep the same value that Arendal has rapidly become known for? Read our in-depth review to find out...

READ: Arendal Sound 1723 S Tower THX Loudspeaker Review
I think there are some questionable design choices here. I can see you are worried about phasing.

I do have a correction to your report, or an addition if you like. The crossover to the upper woofers at 1.5KHz is fourth order low pass, but the high pass to the tweeter is clearly third order.

The cross to the lower woofers for BSC is second order.

Now a second order filter at 100 Hz is going to have a very high resistance inductor, and that will be enough to significantly raise the total Q of those drivers, because of the series resistance of the coil in series with the voice coils.

The other problem is that doing this is going to create a significant phase issue between the woofer sets. As the phase shift of the fourth order low pass filter will be 180 degrees, and the phase shift of the second order low pass will be 90 degrees.

You can clearly see the effect of this in your horizontal polar map between 300 and 500 Hz.

You also see it in the FRs, with bass reinforcement at the lowest frequencies, a null between 400 and 500 Hz and then a rise between 500 and 800 Hz.

As you probably know I'm not a fan of very low frequency passive crossovers because of these sort of issues. I'm surprised you did not hear these irregularities, even though the are likely a little subtle.

Your point about the problem of integrating these speakers with a sub is very well taken. If you cross these speakers at 80 or 60 Hz, then with that narrow spread between the two crossovers, the band pass gain will be horrendous. These speakers will not be sub friendly at all.

The design choice here seem to me strange, and frankly unwise, given current customary applications.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
Thanks, Shady! Another great write-up.

Do the non-"S" towers share similar design in the driver and XO areas?
 
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brian6751

Audioholic Intern
Great review shady. I have been enjoying these speakers a lot. I have them sealed and Crossed over at 80 right now but I will try them with no plugs and set to large later.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 
O

Oggaaaa

Enthusiast
Great review. How would you compare them to the SVS Ultra Towers and Prime Pinnacles?
 
B

brian6751

Audioholic Intern
I think these look like very nice speakers but Given how good the 1723 Monitors are and that the bass crosses over at 100hz to the bottom 2 drivers I get the monitors and subs.
For me, choosing between these and the 1723 monitors came down to not wanting to use stands. I have these in my basement where kids are often hanging out. I didn't want to risk the big monitors getting bumped off stands.

If you're not worried about the speakers being bumped and are OK with stands, I would suggest the big monitors with the 28" Monolith stands.

One nice thing about this design; the height of the tweeter matches perfectly with using their center speaker on a standard height 24" TV stand. It puts the tweeters for LCR right at the same height and makes for a very nice front sound stage. Transitions across the front are seamless

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 
B

brian6751

Audioholic Intern
I think there are some questionable design choices here. I can see you are worried about phasing.

I do have a correction to your report, or an addition if you like. The crossover to the upper woofers at 1.5KHz is fourth order low pass, but the high pass to the tweeter is clearly third order.

The cross to the lower woofers for BSC is second order.

Now a second order filter at 100 Hz is going to have a very high resistance inductor, and that will be enough to significantly raise the total Q of those drivers, because of the series resistance of the coil in series with the voice coils.

The other problem is that doing this is going to create a significant phase issue between the woofer sets. As the phase shift of the fourth order low pass filter will be 180 degrees, and the phase shift of the second order low pass will be 90 degrees.

You can clearly see the effect of this in your horizontal polar map between 300 and 500 Hz.

You also see it in the FRs, with bass reinforcement at the lowest frequencies, a null between 400 and 500 Hz and then a rise between 500 and 800 Hz.

As you probably know I'm not a fan of very low frequency passive crossovers because of these sort of issues. I'm surprised you did not hear these irregularities, even though the are likely a little subtle.

Your point about the problem of integrating these speakers with a sub is very well taken. If you cross these speakers at 80 or 60 Hz, then with that narrow spread between the two crossovers, the band pass gain will be horrendous. These speakers will not be sub friendly at all.

The design choice here seem to me strange, and frankly unwise, given current customary applications.
I can't argue with anything you said (because I'm not knowledgeable regarding crossover design lol) but, these speakers sound fantastic to me. I will have to assume the designer knew what they were doing.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 
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luis1090

Enthusiast
I can't argue with anything you said (because I'm not knowledgeable regarding crossover design lol) but, these speakers sound fantastic to me. I will have to assume the designer knew what they were doing.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
I agree; sometimes we focus to much on the technical data and forget that with audio equipment we need to trust our ears. Eleven years ago was the last time I was in the market for speakers. I was set on a B&W bookshelf speaker that have rave reviews but to me the sound was a little too soft on the highs and the midrange although prominent to dry for my taste. The next week I auditioned a pair of KEF's and I was sold, fast forward I'm in the market again and in my budget I have auditioned like a dozen of option and 2 finalist for my taste: Polk audio R700 and Martin Logan Motion 40i. I like the sound of the Polks a little better with the bass being just outstanding for speakers of this size and price on the other hand the Martin Logan tweeter to me is pure heaven. Wife love the Matin Logan but just for the look...tough choice will see.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
I think there are some questionable design choices here. I can see you are worried about phasing.

I do have a correction to your report, or an addition if you like. The crossover to the upper woofers at 1.5KHz is fourth order low pass, but the high pass to the tweeter is clearly third order.

The cross to the lower woofers for BSC is second order.

Now a second order filter at 100 Hz is going to have a very high resistance inductor, and that will be enough to significantly raise the total Q of those drivers, because of the series resistance of the coil in series with the voice coils.

The other problem is that doing this is going to create a significant phase issue between the woofer sets. As the phase shift of the fourth order low pass filter will be 180 degrees, and the phase shift of the second order low pass will be 90 degrees.

You can clearly see the effect of this in your horizontal polar map between 300 and 500 Hz.

You also see it in the FRs, with bass reinforcement at the lowest frequencies, a null between 400 and 500 Hz and then a rise between 500 and 800 Hz.

As you probably know I'm not a fan of very low frequency passive crossovers because of these sort of issues. I'm surprised you did not hear these irregularities, even though the are likely a little subtle.

Your point about the problem of integrating these speakers with a sub is very well taken. If you cross these speakers at 80 or 60 Hz, then with that narrow spread between the two crossovers, the band pass gain will be horrendous. These speakers will not be sub friendly at all.

The design choice here seem to me strange, and frankly unwise, given current customary applications.
The crossover slopes are not purely electric, they are electro-acoustic, so the natural response of the drivers are factored in those slopes.

I am not so sure that the low-frequency response is attributable to the phase differences between the woofers at the lower woofer's low pass filters. Phase effects can be unpredictable in real-world situations. Regardless, the response errors in that range aren't very severe.

I agree that with such a low low-pass frequency on the lower woofers, subwoofer integration could be tricky if you don't have some kind of sophisticated auto-eq system like Dirac. It's not impossible though, it would just require a bit of measuring and experimentation. Like I said in the review, the thing to do is run these speakers full range and calibrate the system like that. That gives you more sources of low-frequency emission to reduce standing waves of the room.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Thanks, Shady! Another great write-up.

Do the non-"S" towers share similar design in the driver and XO areas?
Yes, they use the same tweeter and same crossover frequency.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Great review. How would you compare them to the SVS Ultra Towers and Prime Pinnacles?
These are a cut above the Prime Pinnacles, as they should be given the price difference. I can't speak about the Ultra Towers since I have no experience with them.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
I agree; sometimes we focus to much on the technical data and forget that with audio equipment we need to trust our ears. Eleven years ago was the last time I was in the market for speakers. I was set on a B&W bookshelf speaker that have rave reviews but to me the sound was a little too soft on the highs and the midrange although prominent to dry for my taste. The next week I auditioned a pair of KEF's and I was sold, fast forward I'm in the market again and in my budget I have auditioned like a dozen of option and 2 finalist for my taste: Polk audio R700 and Martin Logan Motion 40i. I like the sound of the Polks a little better with the bass being just outstanding for speakers of this size and price on the other hand the Martin Logan tweeter to me is pure heaven. Wife love the Matin Logan but just for the look...tough choice will see.
The Polk R700s will have a more neutral, accurate sound. The MartinLogans will have a much wider dispersion in the tweeter's frequency band. If you want something that has great bass, a neutral tonality, and wide high-frequency dispersion, check out the Philharmonic BMR Towers.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
The crossover slopes are not purely electric, they are electro-acoustic, so the natural response of the drivers are factored in those slopes.

I am not so sure that the low-frequency response is attributable to the phase differences between the woofers at the lower woofer's low pass filters. Phase effects can be unpredictable in real-world situations. Regardless, the response errors in that range aren't very severe.

I agree that with such a low low-pass frequency on the lower woofers, subwoofer integration could be tricky if you don't have some kind of sophisticated auto-eq system like Dirac. It's not impossible though, it would just require a bit of measuring and experimentation. Like I said in the review, the thing to do is run these speakers full range and calibrate the system like that. That gives you more sources of low-frequency emission to reduce standing waves of the room.
I was quoting the electrical slopes from the crossover picture, as you can work out the electrical slopes easily. Obviously I have no idea of the FR of the drivers.

I have built 2.5 ways before, in fact my studio surrounds are 2.5 ways, and my center channel is. I suspect that the anomalies in the polar map I referred to are due to the choice of the electrical slopes chosen for those two fill drivers. There is a lot of acoustic overlap between the main and fill drivers, and I have found phase aberrations need to be kept to a minimum. This is best achieved by a minimal phase first order crossover for the fill drivers.
 
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luis1090

Enthusiast
Thanks Shady! I read your review on the Philharmonic and they are amazing speakers but currently @3900 plus shipping above of my budget. I can get the R700 for $1900 a pair for example and willing to pay more for the Martin Logan for the WAF. Also I will be driving the speakers with my Yamaha A-S801 Integrated amplifier. The Philharmonic are quite low in sensitivity and the Revelator woofer very power hungry so not sure 100w/ch is enough to drive them properly; my listening room is roughly 2200 ft3. I will be going full separates probably Emotiva with plan to get 2-3 times more powe but that's probably next year.
 
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P

paulgyro

Junior Audioholic
The Polk R700s will have a more neutral, accurate sound. The MartinLogans will have a much wider dispersion in the tweeter's frequency band. If you want something that has great bass, a neutral tonality, and wide high-frequency dispersion, check out the Philharmonic BMR Towers.
It's surprising to hear the R700s are more accurate. How about the R700 vs 1723-THX Monitors?
 
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luis1090

Enthusiast
It's surprising to hear the R700s are more accurate. How about the R700 vs 1723-THX Monitors?
Well the 1723 monitors are bookshelf speakers, very big bookshelf speakers indeed but still a different category. I will say that the r700 are more direct competitors with the 1723 S tower. You can check the review of the r700 here in Audioholics, that was what convinced me to audition them. The r700 are quite big towers with two 8" woofers, at roughly $2000 a pair they are an outstanding deal given the performance that you get in return. Love the Martin Logan as well, with perhaps the bass being a little soft, but the top end is just amazing with a big window of sound. I guess the only way to audition the Arendal offerings is biting the bullet and purchasing with the 60 day return policy, what concern me is who pays for the shipping in case you return them.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
It's surprising to hear the R700s are more accurate. How about the R700 vs 1723-THX Monitors?
The R700s will have a more neutral response, but the 1723 Monitors will have better directivity control over a larger bandwidth. The R700s will have deeper extension and more headroom in bass, but the 1723 Monitors should have more headroom in the midrange and probably treble. Both are absolutely fantastic speakers.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Well the 1723 monitors are bookshelf speakers, very big bookshelf speakers indeed but still a different category. I will say that the r700 are more direct competitors with the 1723 S tower. You can check the review of the r700 here in Audioholics, that was what convinced me to audition them. The r700 are quite big towers with two 8" woofers, at roughly $2000 a pair they are an outstanding deal given the performance that you get in return. Love the Martin Logan as well, with perhaps the bass being a little soft, but the top end is just amazing with a big window of sound. I guess the only way to audition the Arendal offerings is biting the bullet and purchasing with the 60 day return policy, what concern me is who pays for the shipping in case you return them.
Arendal will now pay for return shipping.
 
L

luis1090

Enthusiast
Hmmmm...tempting! I really like the look of the Arendal towers they seem to be built to last although truth to be told I never had any speakers failing on me.
 
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