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Arendal 1723 Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 32 12.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 144 56.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 75 29.4%

  • Total voters
    255

amirm

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This is a review, listening test and measurements of the Arendal 1723 "Monitor" THX rated speaker. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $2,499 for a pair.
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater Review.jpg

This is one substantial "bookshelf" speaker! It weighs around 58 pounds. The cabinet simultaneously feels nice and rigid. The back panel binding posts are a work of art and would be at home in a $20,000 speaker:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater binding posts back panel.jpg


Speaker is designed in Norway but manufactured in China.

I used the center of speaker as reference design and tested it with my Klippel Near-field Scanner without the grill. You get two foams to block the rear ports. I briefly tested the unit with them blocked but the rest of the measurements are with the port open.

Arendal 1723 Measurements
Let's start with our usual speaker frequency response measurements:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater Frequency Response Measurements.png


As noted, response is almost flat on axis with a slight shelving up above 2 kHz. Being an MTM design (dual woofers), we naturally get cancellations in that axis:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater vertical and horizontal Frequency Response Measu...png


So while the speaker is advertized to be usable in horizontal axis for home theater use, It is not the optimal choice there. Due to mixing of the vertical response, full earl window reflections show unevenness:

Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater early window Frequency Response Measurements.png


Predicted in-room response is much smoother though:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater predicted in-room Frequency Response Measurements.png

We basically have a lifted > 2 kHz response which I noted earlier. And perhaps a dip around 1.4 kHz.

Near-field measurement shows a pronounced port/cabinet resonance but this did not show up in our anechoic measurements:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater near field Frequency Response Measurements.png


A major benefit of dual woofers is low distortion and we clearly see that:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater relative THD distortion measurements.png


Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater THD distortion measurements.png


Per above, I tried to test the in-room response with or without the port stuffed but clearly I didn't do a good job as the response difference should be larger than this.

Our beamwidth and directivity tell us what we already know:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater horizontal beam width Measurements.png


Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater horizontal directivity Measurements.png



Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater vertical directivity Measurements.png


Here is the impedance and phase:
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater impedance and phase Measurements.png


Finally, we have the step response (sorry, forgot to run waterfall):
Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater Step Response Measurements.png


Arendal 1723 Speaker Listening Test and Equalization:
Due to weight, I tested the 1723 in our living room as the review picture shows although the location was to the left with no adjacent walls. Out of box performance was excellent. There was no hint of distortion except when I ran my tests with sub-bass. There, there was a tiny hint of distortion which was far, far better than just about any bookshelf speaker (most can't even play that range). I was really surprised how clean bass response was in general. I am wondering if the dual ports help a bit with room loading. High frequency detail was very nice as well so I thought I check to make sure that is not due to excess energy with a shelving filter:

Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater Equalization.png


While I liked it with the filter, I must say the higher level of detail without it was rather captivating. :) Our youngest son was here so I had him listen. He definitely thought without the filter it was too bright for him and had strong preference for the EQ.

FYI, i tried to fill the directivity dip but it just made the sound brighter so I abandoned it.

Conclusions
The Arendal 1723 makes a strong showing in build and finish quality and power handling. Its frequency response is almost perfect with a slight hint of treble brightness which you may prefer. The MTM configuration works well in vertical axis. Not so sure about horizontal. While I usually don't take price into the consider, I must in this instance: what makes the 1723 great is the low cost for this level of performance. I think you will have a hard time finding an alternative that competes with it in price performance in bookshelf configuration.

I am happy to put the Arendal 1723 speaker on my recommended list. I am also happy that the company was willing to have its speaker tested by sending it to me.

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DMill

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First off thanks for the review @amirm . Inevitably we are going to get a bunch of members who will say the Kef or Genelec or Revel model this or that is a better performer at $2500. Based on your measurements it probably wouldn’t be my first choice, but I can’t deny this looks to be a really solid option. Also, kudos to Arendal for sending them in. It takes guts to open themselves up to a review here. I don‘t know much about them, but everything I read about the brand points to some smart engineering. They just went up as a company a notch in my book. Really nice speakers.
 

Ageve

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In developing the 1723 Series, part of the reason for using a waveguided tweeter was that it offered controlled dispersion, plus a lower crossover point than a traditional tweeter flat mounted on a baffle. Lowering the crossover point, removed concerns about turning the 1723 Monitor on it’s side for use in the horizontal format under a screen. As such, the 1723 Center is the same speaker as the 1723 Monitor but sold separately and with the grill badges moved for aesthetic purposes. Tonally, it is a perfect match for The 1723 Monitor and 1723 Tower.

Hm...

Arendal 1723 THX Monitor Speaker Home Theater vertical directivity Measurements.png
 

Descartes

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In developing the 1723 Series, part of the reason for using a waveguided tweeter was that it offered controlled dispersion, plus a lower crossover point than a traditional tweeter flat mounted on a baffle. Lowering the crossover point, removed concerns about turning the 1723 Monitor on it’s side for use in the horizontal format under a screen. As such, the 1723 Center is the same speaker as the 1723 Monitor but sold separately and with the grill badges moved for aesthetic purposes. Tonally, it is a perfect match for The 1723 Monitor and 1723 Tower.

Hm...

View attachment 296595
Obviously not good for center channel, would rathe use KEF R6
 

rvsixer

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IMO Arendal needs to step out and send something in that has not already been 3rd party tested (since the 1723 monitor already has)....and make a 3-way center channel as well. I'd buy in a heartbeat as Arendal's are a very good price/perf value proposition.
 
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kemmler3D

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I can't for the life of me understand why MTM's are still being manufactured.
I think it's the least bad way to employ 2 of the same woofer to gain sensitivity... and although the directivity is not good, at least it's symmetrical if you put it sideways. MMT configuration has tradeoffs and you lose (even more of) the ability to use it as a center.

If you happen to be in a scenario where MTM makes sense, but you don't want to do MTM, you have to use a more expensive, and/or bigger woofer and cabinet, and/or increase amp power, and/or add another way to the crossover.

It's a compromised design concept, but one that is sometimes hard to escape depending on other design constraints.

Given that they were going for THX certification at $2500 per pair, and seeing the measurements here, I think they weighed the tradeoffs in a reasonable way. I would probably rather spring for a bigger 2- or 3-way than this, but it's not a total farce despite the vertical problems.
 
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paulgyro

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I can't for the life of me understand why MTM's are still being manufactured.
Really? Perhaps consult the Loudspeakers Design Cookbook if you want a deep dive on the topic. They do thing other speaker designs can't. All designs have tradeoffs. MTMs have a consistent horizontal radiation pattern and a controlled vertical dispersion.
 

Newman

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So many companies seem to fall in the trap of having a flat on-axis frequency response above 2kHz combined with constant directivity...this always equals a bright in-room sound. At least it is equalizable.
If that were true, all the Revels would sound bright in-room. Which is not something I have seen in the many reviews.
 

Remlab

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Really? Perhaps consult the Loudspeakers Design Cookbook if you want a deep dive on the topic. They do thing other speaker designs can't. All designs have tradeoffs. MTMs have a consistent horizontal radiation pattern and a controlled vertical dispersion.
Controlled vertical dispersion? Really? More like "Out of control" vertical dispersion. The first Corian D'Appolito loudspeaker I ever designed and built was from that book. I also have Dunlavy SC-1's in storage. I bought those in 1996.
 

rvsixer

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So many companies seem to fall in the trap of having a flat on-axis frequency response above 2kHz combined with constant directivity...this always equals a bright in-room sound. At least it is equalizable.
EQ'able below 10K at least (due to DI above that). No matter...I can't hear much beyond 13K nowadays anyhow lol.
 
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