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Arendal Sound 1961 Tower review (by Erin)

jhb74

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I’m about to purchase a set of towers to drop into a 2.1 system for music only. I’m trying to decide between the Arendal 1961 towers and the Emotiva T2+. I’d be curious on opinions take since both got really positive reviews. The system is currently running an Iotavx as a pre-amp into a Parasound 2125v2 that drives a pair of Elac DBR62’s with a Rel T7/x helping with the lows. I love it but looking to change things up and I could upgrade a different system with the Elac’s. I’ve been mulling over this for 2 weeks. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
 

Shazb0t

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I’m about to purchase a set of towers to drop into a 2.1 system for music only. I’m trying to decide between the Arendal 1961 towers and the Emotiva T2+. I’d be curious on opinions take since both got really positive reviews. The system is currently running an Iotavx as a pre-amp into a Parasound 2125v2 that drives a pair of Elac DBR62’s with a Rel T7/x helping with the lows. I love it but looking to change things up and I could upgrade a different system with the Elac’s. I’ve been mulling over this for 2 weeks. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
I would go with the Arendal 1961 Towers. The T2+ was good for the price, but the tweeter fell apart in the compression testing at higher levels. I like that the Arendal looks to have more dynamic range capability.
 

jhb74

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Thank you. That’s helpful input. This setup isn’t typically used for max spl but now and then then GF’s kids come home and like to play stuff crazy loud. Appearance matters as well, all things being equal the 1961’s are much more fun to look at. I wasn’t sure if my bias towards the looks was steering me in the wrong direction - I didn’t realize that the tweeter was a weak point on the T2’s as well.
 

Ultrasonic

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Interesting that the ported configuration offers little to no additional bass extension according to Erin's ground plane measurements.

I'm also confused by the apparent lack of difference between the sealed and ported outputs. The sealed results show the expected ~12 dB/octave fall-off but the ported results don't drop to the expected 24 dB/octave fall-off. It's almost like there was unintentionally something still blocking the port?

Any thoughts @hardisj ?
 

hardisj

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It's almost like there was unintentionally something still blocking the port?

200w.gif



IMG_4326.jpg







and per my site:

Sealed vs Ported​

The speaker was tested in sealed configuration. I did perform an outdoor ground plane check to compare the difference between sealed and ported and have provided that in a section below. Note, however, the response is cut off below 40Hz as the noise floor the day I performed these tests was higher than acceptable to get proper < 30Hz response accuracy. The difference in response above 10kHz is almost certainly for the same reason. When a speaker is more directional and there is less SPL to overcome additional noise, the accuracy diminishes. But, this should give you a general idea of what you get in terms of low frequency response compared to the sealed configuration.
 

Ultrasonic

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200w.gif



View attachment 184468






and per my site:

Sealed vs Ported​

The speaker was tested in sealed configuration. I did perform an outdoor ground plane check to compare the difference between sealed and ported and have provided that in a section below. Note, however, the response is cut off below 40Hz as the noise floor the day I performed these tests was higher than acceptable to get proper < 30Hz response accuracy. The difference in response above 10kHz is almost certainly for the same reason. When a speaker is more directional and there is less SPL to overcome additional noise, the accuracy diminishes. But, this should give you a general idea of what you get in terms of low frequency response compared to the sealed configuration.

No offence meant but I had already read all of that. Does the ported response looking essentially identical to sealed look right to you? I'm genuinely confused how it could be.

Edit: and if I'm being thick and missing something that should be obvious I'd be very grateful if you could explain :).
 
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Ultrasonic

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I should have looked before (apologies) but I see that Arendal's own data looks similar. I'm still confused as to how the ported response manages to fall off more slowly than the sealed response though.

Graph_Frequency_Response_1961_Tower-1200x676-1.png

I'm more used to seeing differences like the example below that I've taken for XTZ's website as I remembered seeing it there (source). The solid line is sealed and the others are for different ported options.

sub-12-17_5196242_Image2.jpg

Does nobody else think the Arendal response looks unusual? Apologies if I'm being really thick here.
 

sdiver68

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The Arendal love here for speakers that gets objectively stomped by JBL, Infinity, BMR, Revel, Emotiva, KEF and Polk offerings among others is amazing.
 
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Ultrasonic

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The Arendal love here for speakers that gets objectively stomped by JBL, Infinity, BMR, Revel, Emotiva, KEF and Polk offerings among others is amazing.

Are you factoring in price there? Note that the 1961 series are Arendal's cheaper range, not their best.
 

Sancus

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The Arendal love here for speakers that gets objectively stomped by JBL, Infinity, BMR, Revel, Emotiva, KEF and Polk offerings among others is amazing.
Not sure what you mean tbh. These are comparable to the Revel F35, and their measurements are both pretty good and in the same ballpark. However, this one has an extra woofer and will likely play louder overall in the low bass and mid-bass.

Picking between the two would be a personal choice, there's no stomping going on at all.
 

sdiver68

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Are you factoring in price there? Note that the 1961 series are Arendal's cheaper range, not their best.

Yes, price, measured performance, and "black box" style. 3 examples of many‐

Polk R200 $ 650 PS 6.3 Arendal 1961 $ 700 PS 4.4

Emotiva T2+ $1099 PS 5.8 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Infinity R263 <$1000 PS 6.0 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Just using PS as a proxy but look at the objective measurements, price and finish. It seems Arendal's only claim to fame in objective measurements is they play loud. I'm not in that camp for music.

Also, not dumping on anyone's subjective choice. Amplifyng the voices stating they seem in the objective also-ran category.
 
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RMW_NJ

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Yes, price, measured performance, and "black box" style. 3 examples of many‐

Polk R200 $ 650 PS 6.3 Arendal 1961 $ 700 PS 4.4

Emotiva T2+ $1099 PS 5.8 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Infinity R263 <$1000 PS 6.0 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Just using PS as a proxy but look at the objective measurements, price and finish. It seems Arendal's only claim to fame in objective measurements is they play loud. I'm not in that camp for music.

Also, not dumping on anyone's subjective choice. Amplifyng the voices stating they seem in the objective also-ran category.
I don’t know. For me, looking at the data, I see quite phenomenal horizontal dispersion and compression results, with pretty good extension for a relatively compact speaker. And Erin explained the cause of the drooping FR. IMHO, I think I’d take these over the two you mentioned, or the Revel Concerta F35 for that matter.
 

Steve Dallas

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Yes, price, measured performance, and "black box" style. 3 examples of many‐

Polk R200 $ 650 PS 6.3 Arendal 1961 $ 700 PS 4.4

Emotiva T2+ $1099 PS 5.8 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Infinity R263 <$1000 PS 6.0 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Just using PS as a proxy but look at the objective measurements, price and finish. It seems Arendal's only claim to fame in objective measurements is they play loud. I'm not in that camp for music.

Also, not dumping on anyone's subjective choice. Amplifyng the voices stating they seem in the objective also-ran category.

Comparing the little sealed 1961 bookshelf with the huge ported R200 is absurd, as the use cases are completely different.

The PS is a nifty number, but its application is very limited. This tower suffers a lower PS due to its tilted back posture, therefore comparison by PS is essentially useless.

I have used the PS to rule out a quantity of low performers, then applied my selection criteria from there. I never worry about one speaker being a few tenths (or even a few points) higher or lower than another, once they are above the threshold.

These speakers do some things better than your listed competition and some things worse. Objectively, Adrenal is good enough to be worthy of consideration, assuming they are within budget.
 

abdo123

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@Ultrasonic
It could be possible that they made the port simply to lower woofer excursion at the tuning frequency, instead of tuning it to more bass.

It’s weird but it ‘s possible.
 

sdiver68

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Comparing the little sealed 1961 bookshelf with the huge ported R200 is absurd, as the use cases are completely different.

The PS is a nifty number, but its application is very limited. This tower suffers a lower PS due to its tilted back posture, therefore comparison by PS is essentially useless.

I have used the PS to rule out a quantity of low performers, then applied my selection criteria from there. I never worry about one speaker being a few tenths (or even a few points) higher or lower than another, once they are above the threshold.

These speakers do some things better than your listed competition and some things worse. Objectively, Adrenal is good enough to be worthy of consideration, assuming they are within budget.

Comparing the R200 to the Arendal is spot on when asked the question I was asked above, are you considering price? If we are including size in the passive category then OK i see your point.

The rest we will agree to disagree, but not in an argumentative sense rather just that I'm not seeing the same reedeming objective qualities as you that would put them in the worthy of objective consideration category.
 
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Steve Dallas

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Comparing the R200 to the Arendal is spot on when asked the question I was asked above, are you considering price?

The rest we will agree to disagree, but not in an argumentative sense rather just that I'm not seeing the same reedeming objective qualities as you.

Price is irrelevant when the design specifications are completely different, which they obviously are. The two speakers are designed for different applications. The Polk is 3.4 times the volume of the Adrenal, for example.

In any case, price discussions never go anywhere unless boundaries are set. One man's expensive is another man's bargain, and those men rarely have the ability to relate to one another.

Staying with the bookshelves and quickly glancing at the data, the Adrenals have lower distortion in several frequency bands--especially treble and upper bass. The Adrenals also have more even directivity, with much less narrowing above 8Khz. Adrenal has also nailed dynamic range. The Adrenals are objectively better in at least those three areas, assuming they matter in your environment. Those things alone could make these little speakers worth the extra cost over a less expensive option in their class.
 
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Ultrasonic

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Price comparisons will of course be rather different in Europe, where the Arendals will be cheaper and the US brands more expensive.
 

Sancus

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Polk R200 $ 650 PS 6.3 Arendal 1961 $ 700 PS 4.4

Emotiva T2+ $1099 PS 5.8 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Infinity R263 <$1000 PS 6.0 Arendal 1961 $1699 PS 5.1

Keep in mind there's a relatively large error in the score, confidence rating is 0.8 points, which means there's only about 66% chance a score is within 0.8 points of the "real" blind tested value. Additionally, the R263 and the R200 have not been properly measured on a Klippel, which means their scores are not even comparable due to low resolution measurements. They will drop if they're Klippel measured, potentially a lot. For example, the RC263 WAS Klippel measured and the score dropped by 0.7 points compared to the vendor measurement.

For Klippel measured scores, I would consider +/- 1 point to be "equivalent, consider other factors" and for scores from other sources I would raise that to +/- 2 points. And that's completely ignoring all the things the score doesn't consider -- like SPL output, which does matter a lot in the mid-bass especially.

I would agree the Emotiva T2+ is a better tower than this one, in general. It's also literally *double* the width(the Arendal is a shockingly narrow 16.3cm/6.4") and much uglier with exposed screws everywhere and overly busy frames. Arendals are available in white and they have a very clean appearance with good fit and finish. They're for clearly different use cases to me, the Arendal 1961s are for unobtrusively fitting in small european living rooms, the T2+ are... definitely not.
 
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TurtlePaul

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A large part of Arendal’s low pref scores is the lack of bass. It is more interesting to compare the pref with sub scores vs the competitors as that is there intended use. On the other hand, shocking that a speaker with no less than four 5.25” woofers has abhorrently anemic bass. Why not just use two woofs if you are going to tune it that high? Competing solutions with this many 5.25” drivers in a tower are able to do so much more in the 40-70 hz range.
 

sdiver68

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@Sancus The R200 was measured here, and spins for the R263 are available from Harmann. Not sure what you mean by proper spins...

@Steve Dallas Price is not irrelevant when price was the question asked...

In any case, I've stated the case for anyone researching and comes across these speakers.
 
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