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Arendal 1961 Bookshelf review (by Erin)

sweetchaos

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Thanks to @hardisj for another review.
DSC02905.JPG


This is the 2-way (5.5" woofer) bookshelf from Arendal.
Retails for US$700/pair.

CEA2034%20--%20Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Horizontal%20Contour%20Plot%20%28Normalized%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Vertical%20Contour%20Plot%20%28Normalized%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf_Compression.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Preference score (according to Erin): 4.4 (7.3 w/ sub)

Erin's conclusion:
I rarely, if ever, use the term “best” but I have to think this is the best speaker in its size class I’ve reviewed to date.

Discuss!
 
Last edited:

Descartes

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Thanks to @hardisj for another review.
DSC02905.JPG


This is the 2-way (5.5" woofer) bookshelf from Arendal.
Retails for US$700/pair.

CEA2034%20--%20Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Horizontal%20Contour%20Plot%20%28Normalized%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Vertical%20Contour%20Plot%20%28Normalized%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf_Compression.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Preference score (according to Erin): 4.4 (7.3 w/ sub)

Discuss!
“I rarely, if ever, use the term “best” but I have to think this is the best speaker in its size class I’ve reviewed to date.”

Better than the KEF LS50 meta?
 
OP
sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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This is one of the speakers that cases, where the speaker has a lower (than normal) preference value but highly recommended (by Erin, in this case).

For example, at this point...
Bookshelves Under US$700/pair:
RecommendationPSLFX
#1Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 (Amir)5.843
#2Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 (Amir)5.641
#3Polk R100 (Erin)5.652

Whereas the Arendal is PS of 4.4.

Ignoring the implications, this is interesting...
 

hardisj

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“I rarely, if ever, use the term “best” but I have to think this is the best speaker in its size class I’ve reviewed to date.”

Better than the KEF LS50 meta?

Keep in mind, this is my "final takeaway" as a whole. The 1961 bookshelf is small. Photos don't do it justice. It's smaller than the Neumi BS5 bookshelf speaker.

By the metrics, the 1961 bookshelf is 0.2478 ft^3 while the Kef LS50 Wireless II (I tested, I didn't test the passive Meta version) is 0.6752 ft^3. Assuming I grabbed the correct dimensions. That puts it at under half the volume of the LS50 WII.
 

HammerSandwich

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I ain't saying the Arendal's the better speaker, but its size & price must have caught Buchardt's attention.
 

hardisj

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This is one of the speakers that cases, where the speaker has a lower (than normal) preference value but highly recommended (by Erin, in this case).

For example, at this point...
Bookshelves Under US$700/pair:
RecommendationPSLFX
#1Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 (Amir)5.843
#2Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 (Amir)5.641
#3Polk R100 (Erin)5.652

Whereas the Arendal is PS of 4.4.

Ignoring the implications, this is interesting...

The 1961 bookshelf doesn't have the same LF extension these do. Nor does it have the HF linearity due to the waveguide.

But, again, pay attention to what I said: best in its size class. As a package, this is true. It beats the Polk R100 in output as shown below. We don't have the compression data for the other two but I'd bet it bests those as well.

We all know the limitations of the score. Namely wrt output capability. But, in this case, this bookshelf speaker impresses me based on its performance vs size. I haven't seen better from the speakers I have reviewed in this size class. Again, it's smaller than the Neumi BS5. Heck, it's nearly the same exact volume as the Edifier MR4. :eek:








Arendal%201961%20Bookshelf_Compression.png




Polk%20R100_Compression.png
 

Sancus

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This is one of the speakers that cases, where the speaker has a lower (than normal) preference value but highly recommended (by Erin, in this case).

For example, at this point...
Bookshelves Under US$700/pair:
RecommendationPSLFX
#1Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 (Amir)5.843
#2Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 (Amir)5.641
#3Polk R100 (Erin)5.652

Whereas the Arendal is PS of 4.4.

7.3 w/sub is pretty good though. This speaker obviously suffers a lot from its poor LFX. Which doesn't matter that much for a HT speaker, really.

There's an obvious tension between perfect directivity and response and ability to play loud. To have both, you need to spend a lot more than this costs and go bigger. For budget HT offerings, I think this speaker makes all the right tradeoffs.

You would never want it for stereo listening without a sub, for sure. Which is the use case the score was specifically designed around.
 

abdo123

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The box tuning is a bit on the weird side for a sealed home theatre speaker but very impressive performance.
 

Xmech team

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I presume that the only Achilles' heel to Arendal's 1961 series is the centre channel (off-axis response). I can't wait for @hardisj measurement on the entire lineup and make a firm decision. Maybe its size and waveguide might widen the off-axis response
 

Arnandsway

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Excellent small bookshelf with regards to it's output. The f3 does seem a lot higher than the specifications suggest.
Eyeballing the graph, it seems f3 is 100hz, while Arendal specifies an f3 of 75 hz. That's just incorrect.
What's your take on this @hardisj?
 
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