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The Krypton³ reduces side- and front-wall reflections by up to 20dB. As Robert E. Greene wrote in his article Finish Magic,  "the Krypton³ joins this honor role of designs that really address the problem of the room around them, and address it with remarkable success." This opinion was even more valuable to me in that its author, the editor of The Abso!ute Sound, uses as his reference the same speakers I do: Harbeth M40.1 monitors.

Sound. A selection of recordings used during these auditions: Assemblage 23, Bruise. Limited Edition, Accession Records, A 128, 2 x CD (2012); Carol Sloan, Little Girl Blue, Sinatra Society of Japan, XQAM-1036, HQCD (2010); Dead Can Dance, Anastasis, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, PIASR311CDX, Special Edition Hardbound Box Set, CD+USB drive 24/44,1 WAV (2012); Depeche Mode, Enjoy The Music 04, Mute, XLCDBONG34, maxi-SP (2004); Diary of Dreams, Panik Manifesto, Accession Records, EFA 23452-2, CD (2002); Delius, Cello Concertos, Jacqueline Du Pré, EMI Classic, 9559052, 2 x SACD/CD (1965/2012); Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Pass, Take It Easy, Pablo/JVC, JVCXR-0031-2, (1973/1987); Hilary Hahn, Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, Sony Classical, SK 62793, Super Bit Mapping, 2 x CD (1997); Imogen Heap, Speak For Yourself, Sony Music [Japan], SICP-1387, CD (2007); Novika, Tricks of Life, Kayax, 013, CD (2006); Pat Metheny Group, Offramp, ECM, ECM 1216, CD (1982); Portishead. Dummy, Go! Disc Limited/Universal Music [Japan], UICY-20164, SHM-CD (1994/2011); Radiohead, The King Of Limbs, Ticker Tape Ltd, TICK001CDJ, Blu-spec CD; The Montgomery Brothers, Groove Yard, Riverside/JVC, JVCXR-0018-2, XRCD (1961/1994); This Mortal Coil, HD-CD Box SET: It’ll End In Tears, Filigree & Shadow, Blood, Dust & Guitars, 4AD [Japan], TMCBOX1, 4 x HDCD, (2011); Vangelis, Spiral, RCA/BMG Japan, 176 63561, K2, SHM-CD (1977/2008); Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin, Hush, Sony Music/Sony Music Hong Kong Ltd., 543282, No. 0441, K2HD Mastering, CD (1992/2012).

As is usually the case in the presence of stately simply large speakers, we subconsciously expect a torrent of sound and the kind of bass that would sweep us out of the room. This is understandable and relates to experiences from concerts where larger ‘boxes’ are better. In the home environment one also meets this type of design but it is intended only for large or very large rooms. In smaller spaces it miserably fails. In this regard the Krypton³ will surprise even seasoned music lovers and audiophiles. With the majority of recordings whose accent or center of gravity sits in the midrange or mid bass, this speaker will sound like a mid-sized monitor. A large monitor like the Harbeth M30.1 whose size more or less equals Amphion’s d’Appolito section sounds larger and more expansive to echo to some extent what large floorstanders do.

What then does it mean that the Krypton behaves like a monitor? It means extreme precision, fantastic dynamics, great selectivity and resolution. If I listened to them blind behind a curtain and didn’t cue up something energetic in the bass like an album by Portishead, Depeche Mode or other electronica, I’d swear that I really was listening to studio monitors suspended above the mixing board. The discrepancy between what you see and hear is so large that it takes a lot of time to assimilate and form a new mental image of how this speaker’s appearance and sound actually interrelate.

This is true all the more so as this design isn’t properly described in a single sentence or even a few. It’s truly multi-dimensional wherein each sonic aspect combines with others on usually several levels for mutual conditioning. Take for example the volume of sounds. That characteristic describes how physically expansive the virtual images get. Nearly always it’s a fixed characteristic for a specific design resulting from the relative amount of midbass/lower midrange and overall harmonic saturation. There are low-volume and high-volume speakers which, interestingly, isn’t necessarily related to the amount of low bass they produce. Here the Amphions are different. It’s not about big or small sound per se but rather, the big or small sound of a particular recording. The Krypton³ differentiates this by a few leagues better than almost any other speaker I’ve ever heard. These Finns allow you to forget that speakers have limits to penetrate more deeply into recordings than other designs enable.

Hence one can perfectly hear the difference between the recorded volume of Portishead’s debut album and for example Imogen Heap’s Speak for Yourself. The latter is the apparently more spectacular recording with lots of spatial information. Even so it turned out to sound far thinner and smaller than the former despite the fact that the Portishead album also reminds me of a mono demo tape with little frills. Yet it was that ‘demo’ recording which displayed the beautiful big sound with wonderfully focused foreground sources. The same happened on purist acoustic recordings featuring just vocals and guitar - Hush-A-Bye by Carol Sloane from 1959 and Take Love Easy by Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass from 1974. Sloane’s album left a much more significant impression on me than Fitzgerald’s which I’d previously regarded as rather round and warm (read: large). It was in fact much smaller than the far older recording of Carol Sloane.

This stupendous ability to differentiate is the key to these speakers. But this volume aspect is just one of many which the Amphions show more accurately than the vast majority including studio monitors. It’s true also for dynamics. The latter seem pretty ordinary during the first acclimatization. ‘Normal’ is a good word in every respect and would seem the perfect goal to pursue. That ‘normal’ however is normal only in the context of other speakers, not reality. In the real world dynamics are incomparably greater than even the very best of home speakers. In fact every speaker we listen to at home compresses dynamics. Only huge PA speakers can somewhat approach true dynamics, unfortunately killing off resolution and color while they’re at it. Perhaps herein lies the growing popularity of ‘vintage’ speakers featuring large paper-cone woofers with paper/cloth suspension and horn-loaded tweeters. They simply exhibit a far more efficient energy transfer than conventional speakers.