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Grimani Systems Rixos-L Review (Active DSP Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 7.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 50 29.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 87 51.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 21 12.4%

  • Total voters
    170

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Grimani Systems Rixos-L active DSP speaker. It was sent to me by the company and costs about USD $8,200.
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Review home theater active speaker.jpg


Speaker is designed to go into the walls or mounted on them and then covered by a screen for home theater applications. The former is aided with a depth of just 6 inches. Each speaker is manufactured in US and can have its termination customized for each use (my sample had a "pigtail").

Configuration is 2.5 way (one woofer playing to higher frequency) and actively driven through a four-channel compact DSP amplifier from Italian company, Powersoft (Mezzo 604A):

Grimanisystems RIXOS-L powersoft mezzo four channel amplifier.jpg


Grimanisystems RIXOS-L powersoft mezzo 604A four channel amplifier.jpg


Typical of products in custom installation domain, Phoenix type connectors are used for both speaker terminals and inputs. The amplifier can be managed and fully configured over the Ethernet network. A free application is provided which to a new user seems impossible to use. But once you get past the start-up pain, you are greeted with the standard screen for configuring filters. Here the combination of crossover filters and corrections for each output.

Woofer 1:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Woofer 1  frequency response measurements home theater active s...png


Woofer 2:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Woofer 2  frequency response measurements home theater active s...png


Tweeter:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Tweeter  frequency response measurements home theater active sp...png


Grimani System's primary business is design of world-class home theaters and these speakers were designed to allow their integration simpler into this application. As such, full room EQ can be incorporated into the same DSP interface after manual measurements. To that end, what I measure is the stock configuration and you could make frequency response corrections yourself as you see fit.

The one thing I did not like much was fair amount of hiss generated by the amplifier into the tweeter. It is audible to 2 to 3 feet but not at listening distance. If seating distance is too low for the noise to be inaudible, an L-PAD can be put in to lower the sensitivity of the tweeter, or use the lower in line speaker that has less sensitivity. The discrete implementation of a DSP speaker allows more options than when we run into the same with integrated powered monitors.

Note that the stock configuration has a high-pass of 80 Hz, making it ready for subwoofer integration which is standard for this type of application.

Having seen our company, Madrona Digital jump through hoops to integrated traditional speakers into a custom theater, I was all smiles as I saw the capabilities and thoughtful design of this speaker.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Reference axis is specified by the company as -10 degrees V and 20 degrees H. This is would (more or less) be the natural angles of seating for a flat mounted speaker. Performance is notably improved using these angles, especially the vertical axis.

Note: I have know the company founder, Tony Grimani for years. While we have not had direct interactions (until this project), I consider him one of the top home theater designers in the world and a great teacher of said technology.

Grimani Systems Rixos-L Measurements
As usual, we start with our frequency response graphs:

Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 frequency response measurements home theater active speaker.png


At first the response seems rough but the variations are small. Company explains that this is an aspect of the design. One could correct them using the built-in EQ but the variations are too small psychoacoustically be worth the correction. We see evidence of very good directivity other than a minor variation around 1.1 kHz. As noted, the low frequency roll off is intentional.

Here is the early window reflections:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 early window  frequency response measurements home theater acti...png


As noted, the standard assumes free-standing speaker which would be rare for this product. Eliminating the rear wall bounce would improve things although as is, it is pretty close to the on-axis which is what we want. As a result, predicted-in-room response is very good:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Estimated in-room frequency response measurements home theater ...png


Here is the near-field response of all the drivers:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Driver frequency response measurements home theater active spea...png


It is a relatively good match to the programmed EQ curves. Notice the effect of the second woofer extending the response. Toward the end, I think that woofer is starting to struggle a bit, causing some distortion:

Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Relative THD Distortion measurements home theater active speaker.png


Outside of that, the dynamics capability is excellent:

Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 THD Distortion measurements home theater active speaker.png


Beamwidth shows the very controlled directivity:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 horizontal Beamwidth measurements home theater active speaker.png


The reference axis is assymetrical and hence the deviation there. Otherwise, this will make for an easier speaker to design the room around as the reflection angles can be nicely computed. And in a broadband manner. Here is the same as a heat map:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 horizontal directivity measurements home theater active speaker.png


The reason for -10 degree vertical becomes obvious when you see the vertical dispersion:
Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Vertical directivity measurements home theater active speaker.png


Here is our waterfall and step responses:


Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 CSD Waterfall measurements home theater active speaker.png



Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 Step Response measurements home theater active speaker.png


Rixos-L Listening Tests
As you can imagine, this speaker plays with authority. There is no hint of strain as I kept increasing the volume until I could no longer stand it. I found the tonality a bit bright as I often do so used the standard EQ tools as a way to create a room curve:

Grimanisystems RIXOS-L CEA2034 EQ home theater active speaker.png


The dip is a standard room mode that I have which needed some correction here. So again, none of this is correction for the speaker but for my taste and room.

With that in place, the sound was good on music but there is no deep bass response. Indeed attempting to play anything with sub-bass content, just produces faint sounds in that department. A proper evaluation would call for an optimized sub-woofer which I did not have time to setup.

Conclusions
The Rixos-L is really a component of a custom/much larger system. Evaluating it in a vacuum was somewhat challenging. Still, we managed to get measurements which correlated well with company's own CEA-2034 measurements (ours being higher resolution). Overall performance is competent with design factors which should make integration much simpler than traditional speakers made for this application. Inclusion of DSP means you can have any sound you want given the excellent directivity.

In working with the company, not only do you get insight about their speakers, but how to integrate them into a home theater system given the depth of knowledge in the company. So ideally, you would buy this speaker in consultation with the company designing the whole theater for you.

Within the limited context I could evaluate this component, I can recommend it. Love to hear it one day as part of a complete system.

Let me thank the member which reached out to the company to send me a sample last year. And the amazing patience and perseverance the company showed in working with me to test this speaker over period of many months. I even extracted two boxes of nice Chocolate from Tony! :)

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L Frequency Response.zip
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Last edited:

Cars-N-Cans

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Interesting to see the listening window extend down to 300 Hz since the waveguide is about the same dimensions as the woofers. Wonder how much of a difference it makes compared to regular loud speakers that don’t control below about 800 Hz? One would think it may make the neutral room response a bit flatter since there is less off-axis energy, but Amir still had to tame it a bit. Edit: Could just be due to the lack of bass as well…
 

pierre

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Score is 2.0 (3.7 with EQ). The interesting one is with subwoofer since this speaker is designed for HT.
Score with sub is 5.2 (6.9 with EQ). Output capability is high (as high as the price).

Code:
         SPK auEQ
 -----------------
 NBD  ON 0.69 0.54
 NBD  LW 0.66 0.48
 NBD PIR 0.69 0.44
 SM  PIR 0.56 0.81
 SM   SP 0.68 0.88
 LFX       79   79
 LFQ     2.23 2.23
 -----------------
 Score    2.0  3.7
 w/sub    5.2  6.9
 -----------------

An EQ improves the score by making LW and PIR flatter but that's small variations and we would need to listen to both to hear if there is an improvement or not. With EQ, it is likely to be less bright. You can improve the score by making the LW a bit more sloping down.

filters_eq.png


Second EQ: i lower the maxQ to 3 and score drop a bit but things are more realistics:
Code:
EQ for Grimani Systems Rixos-L computed from ASR data
Preference Score 2.0 with EQ 3.4
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.16
Dated: 2022-06-23-10:00:50

Preamp: -1.7 dB

Filter  1: ON PK Fc   140 Hz Gain -2.06 dB Q 2.89
Filter  2: ON PK Fc   264 Hz Gain +1.60 dB Q 3.00
Filter  3: ON PK Fc  1080 Hz Gain +1.60 dB Q 2.99
Filter  4: ON PK Fc   180 Hz Gain -0.64 dB Q 2.97
Filter  5: ON PK Fc   401 Hz Gain +1.19 dB Q 2.95
Filter  6: ON PK Fc  3100 Hz Gain -1.36 dB Q 2.93
Filter  7: ON PK Fc  4805 Hz Gain +1.18 dB Q 2.94
Filter  8: ON PK Fc   592 Hz Gain -0.99 dB Q 2.95
Filter  9: ON PK Fc  3487 Hz Gain -0.75 dB Q 3.00
 
Last edited:

digicidal

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Definitely interesting, alas the budget for my whole theater (including electronics) would be completely busted on the front 3 channels - so definitely only for those with much deeper pockets than mine.
 

Newman

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Reference axis is specified by the company as -10 degrees V and 20 degrees H. This is would (more or less) be the natural angles of seating for a flat mounted speaker. Performance is notably improved using these angles, especially the vertical axis.
...
View attachment 214171

The reference axis is assymetrical and hence the deviation there.

Thanks for this Amir. There is something I don't quite understand in the sections I have quoted above.

Are you saying you put the measurement axis 20 degrees off the perpendicular to the baffle? That's the only explanation I can see for the asymmetrical beam width plot above, since I can't see anything in the physical drivers to explain it.

In which case, every graph is relative to a 20 degree off-axis reference, including what you call the "on axis" line in your FR plot (the first measurement graph in your review)? We don't even get to see what the true FR is in a direct line perpendicular to the baffle?

thanks
 
Last edited:

Interference

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I would have been curious to see the Powersoft on the bench as well! Hope there will be a chance in the future.
 

Maiky76

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French, leaving in China
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Grimani Systems Rixos-L active DSP speaker. It was sent to me by the company and costs about USD $8,200.
View attachment 214157

Speaker is designed to go into the walls or mounted on them and then covered by a screen for home theater applications. The former is aided with a depth of just 6 inches. Each speaker is manufactured in US and can have its termination customized for each use (my sample had a "pigtail").

Configuration is 2.5 way (one woofer playing to higher frequency) and actively driven through a four-channel compact DSP amplifier from Italian company, Powersoft (Mezzo 604A):

View attachment 214158

View attachment 214159

Typical of products in custom installation domain, Phoenix type connectors are used for both speaker terminals and inputs. The amplifier can be managed and fully configured over the Ethernet network. A free application is provided which to a new user seems impossible to use. But once you get past the start-up pain, you are greeted with the standard screen for configuring filters. Here the combination of crossover filters and corrections for each output.

Woofer 1:
View attachment 214161

Woofer 2:
View attachment 214162

Tweeter:
View attachment 214163

Grimani System's primary business is design of world-class home theaters and these speakers were designed to allow their integration simpler into this application. As such, full room EQ can be incorporated into the same DSP interface after manual measurements. To that end, what I measure is the stock configuration and you could make frequency response corrections yourself as you see fit.

The one thing I did not like much was fair amount of hiss generated by the amplifier into the tweeter. It is audible to 2 to 3 feet but not at listening distance. If seating distance is too low for the noise to be inaudible, an L-PAD can be put in to lower the sensitivity of the tweeter, or use the lower in line speaker that has less sensitivity. The discrete implementation of a DSP speaker allows more options than when we run into the same with integrated powered monitors.

Note that the stock configuration has a high-pass of 80 Hz, making it ready for subwoofer integration which is standard for this type of application.

Having seen our company, Madrona Digital jump through hoops to integrated traditional speakers into a custom theater, I was all smiles as I saw the capabilities and thoughtful design of this speaker.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Reference axis is specified by the company as -10 degrees V and 20 degrees H. This is would (more or less) be the natural angles of seating for a flat mounted speaker. Performance is notably improved using these angles, especially the vertical axis.

Note: I have know the company founder, Tony Grimani for years. While we have not had direct interactions (until this project), I consider him one of the top home theater designers in the world and a great teacher of said technology.

Grimani Systems Rixos-L Measurements
As usual, we start with our frequency response graphs:

View attachment 214164

At first the response seems rough but the variations are small. Company explains that this is an aspect of the design. One could correct them using the built-in EQ but the variations are too small psychoacoustically be worth the correction. We see evidence of very good directivity other than a minor variation around 1.1 kHz. As noted, the low frequency roll off is intentional.

Here is the early window reflections:
View attachment 214165

As noted, the standard assumes free-standing speaker which would be rare for this product. Eliminating the rear wall bounce would improve things although as is, it is pretty close to the on-axis which is what we want. As a result, predicted-in-room response is very good:
View attachment 214166

Here is the near-field response of all the drivers:
View attachment 214167

It is a relatively good match to the programmed EQ curves. Notice the effect of the second woofer extending the response. Toward the end, I think that woofer is starting to struggle a bit, causing some distortion:

View attachment 214169

Outside of that, the dynamics capability is excellent:

View attachment 214170

Beamwidth shows the very controlled directivity:
View attachment 214171

The reference axis is assymetrical and hence the deviation there. Otherwise, this will make for an easier speaker to design the room around as the reflection angles can be nicely computed. And in a broadband manner. Here is the same as a heat map:
View attachment 214172

The reason for -10 degree vertical becomes obvious when you see the vertical dispersion:
View attachment 214173

Here is our waterfall and step responses:


View attachment 214174


View attachment 214175

Rixos-L Listening Tests
As you can imagine, this speaker plays with authority. There is no hint of strain as I kept increasing the volume until I could no longer stand it. I found the tonality a bit bright as I often do so used the standard EQ tools as a way to create a room curve:


View attachment 214176

The dip is a standard room mode that I have which needed some correction here. So again, none of this is correction for the speaker but for my taste and room.

With that in place, the sound was good on music but there is no deep bass response. Indeed attempting to play anything with sub-bass content, just produces faint sounds in that department. A proper evaluation would call for an optimized sub-woofer which I did not have time to setup.

Conclusions
The Rixos-L is really a component of a custom/much larger system. Evaluating it in a vacuum was somewhat challenging. Still, we managed to get measurements which correlated well with company's own CEA-2034 measurements (ours being higher resolution). Overall performance is competent with design factors which should make integration much simpler than traditional speakers made for this application. Inclusion of DSP means you can have any sound you want given the excellent directivity.

In working with the company, not only do you get insight about their speakers, but how to integrate them into a home theater system given the depth of knowledge in the company. So ideally, you would buy this speaker in consultation with the company designing the whole theater for you.

Within the limited context I could evaluate this component, I can recommend it. Love to hear it one day as part of a complete system.

Let me thank the member which reached out to the company to send me a sample last year. And the amazing patience and perseverance the company showed in working with me to test this speaker over period of many months. I even extracted two boxes of nice Chocolate from Tony! :)

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
@amirm
Gain at LF?, the EQ plot you shared is missing something compared to the biquads listed?
I know about the notch because of your listening environment.


Here is my take on the EQ.

Please report your findings, positive or negative!

The following EQs are “anechoic” EQs to get the speaker right before room integration. If you able to implement these EQs you must add EQ at LF for room integration, that is usually not optional… see hints there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...helf-speaker-review.11144/page-26#post-800725
Probably need professional tuning....

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 1.9
With Sub: 5.1

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • With on board DSP, there is no excuse to not make the speaker exactly as the designer intended...
  • Jagged response
  • Vertical directivity issue (double LF driver?)
  • great H directivity
  • PIR too flat?
Grimani Systems Rixos-L No EQ Spinorama.png

Directivity:

Better stay at tweeter height
Horizontally, up to 20/30deg
Grimani Systems Rixos-L LW better data.png



Grimani Systems Rixos-L 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

EQ design:

I have generated one EQ. The APO config file is attached.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.
  • No attempt was made for LF, it is suposed to be paired with an array of subs.

Score EQ Score: 4.3
with sub: 7.4

Spinorama EQ Score
Grimani Systems Rixos-L Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Grimani Systems Rixos-L Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal
Grimani Systems Rixos-L Regression - Tonal.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Grimani Systems Rixos-L Radar.png



The rest of the plots is attached.

Amirm's EQ:
Score: 3.1
with sub: 6.1
Grimani Systems Rixos-L Amirm EQ Spinorama.png

Grimani Systems Rixos-L Regression - Tonal.png
 

Attachments

  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L Raw Directivity data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L Raw Directivity data.png
    561.5 KB · Views: 28
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L Normalized Directivity data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L Normalized Directivity data.png
    352.1 KB · Views: 28
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    451.2 KB · Views: 20
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    452.8 KB · Views: 19
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    347 KB · Views: 20
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L LW data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L LW data.png
    175.1 KB · Views: 22
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
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  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L EQ Design.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L EQ Design.png
    259.6 KB · Views: 21
  • Grimani Systems Rixos-L Reflexion data.png
    Grimani Systems Rixos-L Reflexion data.png
    160.9 KB · Views: 26
Last edited:
OP
amirm

amirm

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Are you saying you put the measurement axis 20 degrees off the perpendicular to the baffle? That's the only explanation I can see for the asymmetrical beam width plot above, since I can't see anything in the physical drivers to explain it.

In which case, every graph is relative to a 20 degree off-axis reference, including what you call the "on axis" line in your FR plot (the first measurement graph in your review)? We don't even get to see what the true FR is in a direct one perpendicular to the baffle?
That's correct. The reference axis has been changed to be the way the speaker needs to be listened to per its design. Other guys computing the score show you all the angles. Or I can grab them tomorrow.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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@amirm
Gain at LF?, the EQ plot you shared is missing something compared to the biquads listed?
Oops. Forgot to hit the drop down to show all the filters. Will update tomorrow.
 

Waxx

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Looks a good speaker, but way overpriced. The parts are stock B&C drivers (woofer is the 8MDN51, tweeter probally a B&C also), a CSA horn that is nothing special (but probally works well) and the Powersoft standard modules for smaller systems that are sold as OEM to builders. That is not worth that price i think.

I know a guy in the region of Brussels, Belgium, who makes a diy system like that (exact the same config with the same dsp and amp modules) that sell it on small scale for about 3K + taxes for a stereo setup. It's not on the official market, but hand build on order for those who know it (not advertised) as custom garden system by a woodworker who is also a speaker builder as sidejob. He uses the DE250 compression driver in a very similar horn made OEM for him by B&C. It does sound very good altough with a subwoofer (he builds a sub with 12" B&C drivers for it, not included in the price, but running from the same amplifier module). And it's very popular down here for garden parties with electronic dance music and so...
 
Last edited:

YSC

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looks good but really expensive, I wonders when it's rolled off below 100hz on purpose, what to do with the system to fill it back up for a really nice home theater or hifi use
 

thewas

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So is this the mature version of the IKEA SYMFONISK picture frame?
The 40 times cheaper IKEA scores a bit higher and goes in the bass deeper :p

Seriously now, I find it for $8k not good enough, FR shows too large wiggles, vertical directivity isn't also optimal and it has the mentioned distortion issue. In a $1k loudspeaker I could overlook these but not at that price region.
 
Last edited:
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