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Arendal Sound 1961 Tower review (by Erin)

sweetchaos

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Thanks to @hardisj for another review.
DSC02926.JPG


This is the 2.5-way tower for US$1700/pair.

ERIN's DISCLAIMER:
The reference plane in this test is at the tweeter axis.
Note: As shown in the above photos, when standing upright, the baffle is angled 5° as the typical seated ear-level height is higher up than the tweeter is mounted on the speaker. This means that, while the data is taken at the tweeter axis, the primary listening axis will be 5° above the tweeter axis. This can be adjusted mechanically though by adjusting the front to back spikes, there is a disc on the spikes that can be moved either over or under the spike bar which will change the angle for the listening axis.

Therefore, while the on-axis response shows a downward high-frequency slope, at the typical seated height, the on-axis response would be flat. This is important to keep in mind. There is no way to "correct" for this in the data without physically tilting the speaker forward 5° to flatten out the vertical axis response which is not feasible for test purposes.


CEA2034%20--%20Arendal%201961%20Tower%20%28Sealed%29.png

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

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

Arendal%201961%20Tower%20%28Sealed%29_Compression.png

Arendal%201961%20Tower%20%28Sealed%29%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png

Arendal%201961%20Tower%20%28Sealed%29%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Preference Score of 5.2 (7.5 /w sub) (according to Erin)

Erin's conclusion:
As stated in the Foreword, this written review is purposely a cliff’s notes version. For details about the performance (objectively and subjectively) please watch the YouTube video.

As I discussed previously, the reference axis for measurement in the vertical plane is at the tweeter. The baffle is angled by 5° and, therefore, puts the primary listening axis at this angle, above the tweeter. Why? Well, when you see these speakers, you’ll understand. They are compact tower speakers. The smallest tower speaker I have tested to date. The low height and the location of the tweeter places the tweeter physically below a typical ear position at a typical seated position. However, Arendal made up for this by angling the baffle which aligns the listening axis to this typical seated height. What this means, to me, is that this speaker is designed for the customer who may not have a large listening space or simply prefers a speaker that is less seen and more heard. Personally, I like a big ol’ tower speaker that looks like it would beat you up in a street fight but I understand not everyone does. Nor, does everyone have the space for such a speaker.

Speaking of ‘heard but not seen’ (relatively speaking), this tower speaker can be used in sealed or ported configuration. I tried both and rather liked the sealed version. It did not excite some of the lower frequency room modes and I liked that there was less emphasis in the 100-200Hz region that the ported configuration also results in. You can see the comparison in the above data. Use what works best for you. But also keep in mind that this means you have more luxury in placement of the speaker. No longer do you have to bring them far from the walls. If necessary, you can place them much closer to the walls when in sealed configuration as opposed to placing a ported speaker right near the wall and suffering some response issues (and potentially more wall vibrations). This is all preference, of course. I like that Arendal provides the option here. I think it fits right in-line with the overall design; compact tower that has flexibility in placement for rooms of vary sizes.

Like the Arendal 1961 bookshelf I tested previously (link), this is a very compact tower speaker that has excellent performance at low to high volume. The linearity is really impressive. Compression results are superb. And when you realize just how small this speaker is, the results are even more impressive.

Overall, in my humble opinion, this is an excellent speaker. The size is reminiscent of a legitimate “Tower” speaker; not an oversized “monitor” size, but a true Tower speaker. The cabinet is “dead” and resonance free. Great linearity (again, with the aforementioned caveat). Great horizontal directivity (and, thus, great EQ’ability to season to taste if so desired). Excellent output capability down to that could possibly be ran without a crossover (depending on output needs and low frequency extension). Even better with a proper crossover filter and an accompanying subwoofer. The latter is what I would recommend if ran sealed. Ported could possibly allow you to run without a subwoofer but obviously this is going to be use-case dependent.

Discuss!
 
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hardisj

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@sweetchaos , you missed this part in my review that was placed up front. I request you to edit your post to include the bolded below and put it at the top of your post. Because I guarantee you people are gonna flip when they don't see a perfectly flat line. ;) And, yes, it will of course impact the preference score. This is the problem when measurements are taken without context. We need to be more vigilant in capturing these things.


The reference plane in this test is at the tweeter axis.
Note: As shown in the above photos, when standing upright, the baffle is angled 5° as the typical seated ear-level height is higher up than the tweeter is mounted on the speaker. This means that, while the data is taken at the tweeter axis, the primary listening axis will be 5° above the tweeter axis. This can be adjusted mechanically though by adjusting the front to back spikes, there is a disc on the spikes that can be moved either over or under the spike bar which will change the angle for the listening axis.

Therefore, while the on-axis response shows a downward high-frequency slope, at the typical seated height, the on-axis response would be flat. This is important to keep in mind. There is no way to "correct" for this in the data without physically tilting the speaker forward 5° to flatten out the vertical axis response which is not feasible for test purposes.
 

Jason K

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At the vertical directivity -6dB point is about +/- 20 degree and -3dB is +/- 15 degree. It’s wider than many other MTM configuration speakers.

Following this results, the center speaker’s diretivity maybe almost same with this. (V for H or H for V) If someone listens far from that speaker 3m, -3dB point +/-15 degree will be 2.4m width.
I think this sweet spot width won’t be an critical issue as many other MTM speakers with super narrow vertical directivity.
 

nigio

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Arendal 1961 Tower (Sealed) Vertical Contour Plot (Normalized).png
image.jpeg


Assuming that the 1961 monitor vertical directivity is very close to the 1961 tower and looking at the above graphs,
which center channel is considered slightly better/wider between the 1961 center vs 1723 center horizontally? Due to the "more extended" angle axis on first graph , I find it difficult to make a safe conclusion. Can someone help?
 

Steve Dallas

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Adrenal is looking good across the board, especially in terms of value. I am watching the objective results with much interest. My only wish so far is that their towers would extend into the 30s to make subs unnecessary for acoustic music.

Interesting that the ported configuration offers little to no additional bass extension according to Erin's ground plane measurements. Adrenal's site claims 10dB lower F3 in the specs section, but their published FR graph does not show it (looks similar to Erin's).


1961%20sealed%20vs%20ported.png
 

McFly

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Waveguides (and horns) man. Seriously.

I recon it could get hard to find speakers without them soon.

What the heck is going on with the ported vs sealed response!?!? @hardisj any chance of a NF measurement of the port?
 
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abdo123

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Adrenal is looking good across the board, especially in terms of value. I am watching the objective results with much interest. My only wish so far is that their towers would extend into the 30s to make subs unnecessary for acoustic music.

Interesting that the ported configuration offers little to no additional bass extension according to Erin's ground plane measurements. Adrenal's site claims 10dB lower F3 in the specs section, but their published FR graph does not show it (looks similar to Erin's).


1961%20sealed%20vs%20ported.png
I don’t think the company is getting the tuning right according to their vision.
 

JStewart

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34” or 83.74cm and tilted baffle.
Should be a nice matching center under a flat panel for a lot of folks.
 

Thomas_A

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Anyone have a clue what brand and type those 5,5 inch drivers are?
 

SPFC

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Very impressive and a great option for those in smaller places/apartments. I wonder how these compare to the Revel F206s that retail for almost $4K a pair.
Thank you for the review Erin.
 

TurtlePaul

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I wonder how these compare to the Revel F206s that retail for almost $4K a pair.
The Revel F206 are usable without subs. These aren't (unless you listen to acapella I guess). These are 2.5 ways. The F206 are true three-way with dedicated midrange drivers.

With a price of $1,700, 5.25 inch bass drivers, and a 2.5 way configuration, these are most comparable to the F35 from Revel's lineup which are 2.5 ways speakers with 5.25" bass drivers which you can get right now for $1,760 a pair at Crutchfields right now (sometimes cheaper on sale).

Amir's review of the Revel F35


Edit:

I will also call out Arendal for deceptive marketing where they claim 39 hz for +/- 3 dB, then have a chart immediately below that where 40 Hz is clearly around -10 dB.
 
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SPFC

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The Revel F206 are usable without subs. These aren't (unless you listen to acapella I guess). These are 2.5 ways. The F206 are true three-way with dedicated midrange drivers.

With a price of $1,700, 5.25 inch bass drivers, and a 2.5 way configuration, these are most comparable to the F35 from Revel's lineup which are 2.5 ways speakers with 5.25" bass drivers which you can get right now for $1,760 a pair at Crutchfields right now (sometimes cheaper on sale).

Amir's review of the Revel F35


Edit:

I will also call out Arendal for deceptive marketing where they claim 39 hz for +/- 3 dB, then have a chart immediately below that where 40 Hz is clearly around -10 dB.
Thanks for pointing that out. I would love to see Amir or Erin measure the F206s to see how they compare. both the 1961 and F35 are much newer designs.
 

HooStat

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These plus their matching bookshelf for a center channel is a nice smaller system (and probably plays loud enough for a decent sized room). With a sub or two, this would be great.
 

radix

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Edit:

I will also call out Arendal for deceptive marketing where they claim 39 hz for +/- 3 dB, then have a chart immediately below that where 40 Hz is clearly around -10 dB.
I bet the specs are with in-room extension (i.e. +6 dB as they mention in the paragraph above the carts). They should make that clear.
 
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