OK, who wouldn’t be excited by the prospect of receiving a new speaker
package from a manufacturer with whom you’re not familiar. I
enthusiastically awaited the delivery of a set of Krix speakers from
Shawn McLoughlin of Full Compass, in Wisconsin, the USA distributor of this
Surprisingly, I found very few Krix retailers in my area,
and my first words of wisdom might be that if you can find them, listen to
them. Although Secrets has reviewed several Krix models in the past (Esoterix,
Lyrix), I had never heard them myself.
Included in the review set were four Symphonix tower speakers to be
used as fronts and surrounds, a matching center channel, the KDX-C, and the Seismix 3 Mk2 subwoofer. Although pricey,
this sub is actually the “baby” of the Krix subwoofers available. The set
represents the middle range of home theater speakers from Krix.
Let me first state that these are very beautiful speakers, with a solid
feel. For those who think speakers should also be furniture, look no
further. They are well constructed of cabinet grade MDF board with lacquered
Australian Jarrah veneer. The veneer is also applied to the face of the
cabinets for those who might want to remove the fabric grilles.
Conservative in design, these are visually appealing
classic speakers that blended well with the cherry wood finishes in our
living room. The tower and center channel speakers have similar designs with a center tweeter flanked by
bass drivers (D'Appolito array).
The Symphonix, quite tall (41”) with a narrow face (less than
10”), and a somewhat deep footprint (12”), sports dual 6 ½” fiber reinforced
polymer base drivers, between which is a 1” fabric dome tweeter.
comes with a slightly wider base or plinth and carpet spikes,
and once placed, they were firmly planted. The Symphonix is also bi-wire and
The KDX-C center speaker, arranged with dual 5” drivers and 1”
centered tweeter, is similarly designed. Turned on its side and because it’s placed on the television,
according to the manufacturer’s literature, the resulting bass loading has crossover compensation. Both (tower and
center channel speakers) are rear vented and provided with foam inserts
for additional bass control, depending on your room placement (more on that issue later).
I must admit I
was most impressed with the subwoofer. Again elegant in design, and very
simple to set up, it has a nominal 10” diameter paper cone driver and is front
vented. Although the unit sent to me had an alternate veneer in beech, it
was also face veneered. Featured with auto power on/off, volume control,
phase control and a high and low pass line, this is the smallest in the Krix
line of subwoofers. (I always love the detachable power cord.)
Setup was straightforward in my 12’ x 16’ living room; the main fronts were
approximately 24” from the back wall, tilted towards the middle about 10
degrees, and about 8’ apart. The center channel was set firmly on my
television and slightly horizontally higher than the flanking mains. The
surrounds were set facing each other about 12’ from the front wall. The subwoofer
took a bit of adjusting, but I found it performed best halfway between fronts
and rear loudspeakers facing into the room. At this point, sitting on the
couch, I realized the height and placement of the drivers and tweeters on the Symphonix
were perfectly placed horizontally.
This speaker package is very
easy to set up and somewhat forgiving in
their placement. Slight changes in their placement had no discernable
difference in sound performance. Using both my sound meter and alternatively
my Avia DVD, I found the initial arrangement nicely balanced. At this point I
was curious about those foam rear inserts, so I placed two Symphonix next to each other, one with the insert and one without. I sent a
mono signal to both, switching back and forth I listened for bass response
in the room. Surprisingly for my taste, I preferred the foam in rather than
out, so I’d encourage testing for your own listening environment rather than
assuming you will like it one way or the other.
Listening . . .
With the late arrival of the second set of Symphonix, and my anxious
nature, I had time to audition the first set of Symphonix in stereo mode with some of my
favorite CDs. As a traditionalist, I wanted to evaluate in two channels without
the subwoofer. I was also concerned that my modest receiver rated at 110 WPC
into 8 ohms wouldn’t challenge these 4 ohm rated speakers, but after 10 minutes
that concern went away. The Krix speakers performed so remarkably well with
this receiver, that I was curious how they would perform with less
power so I hooked them to my retired 55w/channel two-channel receiver and was
pleasantly surprised by their performance.
They were very musical at lower power and
never lost much detail, so this only made me wonder how these very forgiving
speakers would perform with an abundance supply of power. Naturally, when I
hear new speakers for the first time, I tend to dust off some of my older
CDs to hear them again. With my musical tastes ranging greatly, I began with Supertramp’s
Crime of the Century and its opening song "School". This piece
includes some wonderful instrumentals, and the sound was clean and precise,
as well as natural, and the midrange was never aggressive.
continued to impress me with other CDs from Harry Connick, Jr’s Blue Light
where I’ve always felt his voice was a bit thin. The Krix revealed more
depth in his voice in this horn rich Big Band swing music CD. Robert Plant’s
voice, as many times as I’ve heard it around the house, is raspier and
lingers longer with the Krix. Least I forget female vocals, Linda Ronstadt’s both sweet and powerful voice was breathlessly portrayed.
the second set of Symphonix arrived, and the complete package truly revealed
itself as a top-notch system once I began
listening to the multi-channel music titles in my collection. Now listening
in full surround mode, I admit I’ve become obsessed with high resolution
audio. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon left me jaw-dropped on my couch,
the bells, the bells! The Krix speaker’s elegant imaging and clarity pulled
me into the music very nicely, demonstrated by both Elton John’s Yellow
Brick Road and the Beach Boys' DVD- Version of “Pet Sounds”. (I
think Brian Wilson was a genius.)
Led Zeppelin’s How the West Was Won DVD-A and in particular the rendition of
"Going to California", John Paul
Jones’ mandolin came alive. On the classical side, Vivaldi: La Notte
Concerti per strumenti diversi by Musica Pacifica which I previously enjoyed
more in my car for its intimacy, revealed such a spaciousness and depth
that I truly reveled in this recording at home. Regardless of the music I
played, I found the transition from surrounds to center channel fluid and
effortless, like the grin on my face.
Before I get to movies, the
first DVD I put in was The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over live concert. I
believe in terms of music reproduction, this DTS version is outstanding. The Krix delivered the vocal harmonies and excellent acoustic guitars so
accurately I stopped and played it again.
I couldn’t resist
listening to Diana Krall’s jazz Live in Paris DVD, which has a wonderful bass
challenge for the subwoofer, and the Seismix 3 Mk2 handled it wonderfully,
neither boomy nor soft. Imaging to me is everything, that ability of
speakers to place you in front of the musicians, and watching this DVD was
Enough music you say? I could not think of a better DVD-V to
begin than The Lord of the Rings' extended version of The Two Towers.
Once again, the subwoofer was impressive: marching orcs, sweeping battles, and
a wonderful soundtrack. I swore I’d never go to a theater again. I never
strained to hear subtle sighs and breathing from the center channel. Voices
and dialogue were smooth and warm.
A long favorite movie of my family is
Ridley Scott’s Legend, not because it’s a particularly great movie, but the
music and Tim Curry’s performance as Lord of Darkness are worthy
entertainment. He is first introduced to us by stepping his hoofed foot
through a mirror. The crunching sound of the weight under his foot is
chilling with a great subwoofer, which the Krix Seismix is.
Both the theatrical soundtrack by
Tangerine Dream (which I prefer) and the Director’s Cut version which
includes a more romantic mythical score by Jerry Goldsmith are wonderfully
lively. Once again the Krix delivers. Over the time I’ve had these speakers
I can only say confidently, every movie I watched in my theater with the
Krix, they never disappointed me.
Krix has produced a very easy to listen
to product, with a fine midrange. And just like the music, the
sounds produced when I watched DVDs were seamless from speaker to speaker, never
making demands on my ears to find the notes, the instruments, or the
vocals. If you’ll excuse the wine analogy, these speakers remind me of my
favorite California cabernets: deeply rich, full bodied, complex, and with a
A conclusion seems an inappropriate term here, and quite depressing. Let’s face
the issue that it may seem easy to recommend a pair of speakers costing as much as
this entire package. As you’ve read in many reviews from some very knowledgeable
and competent writers on Secrets' staff, speakers costing half the
amount can sound just as amazing. The Krix have excellent construction and quality
materials, and I can only tell you though that these are long term investment
speakers that look substantial, feel substantial, and sound substantial.
I could easily see myself building a quality home
theater system around these speakers. It’s nice to see home-grown pride in
the “Made in Australia” logo on the back of these beauties. Krix has definitely spoiled me with this
I’m convinced that a timbre matched speaker system is the way to go, and so
it will be for me as I look to replace my own aging speakers. Did I like the
Krix? Try and wipe the grin off my face.
- Piero Gabucci -