CAF 2018: Amphion, Benchmark and the Beauty of the Setting Sun

Amphion is focusing more on the lifestyle aspect of their products,” Trevor Fedele said to me as I entered his exhibit room at the 2018 Capital Audiofest. Trevor is part of the sales and marketing team for this Finnish loudspeaker manufacturer—I think he may have been referring to my pleasant reaction to the beautiful lighting of the room, a layered glow that reminded me of a sunset on the west coast of somewhere gorgeous.

Midnight at the Oasis

Amphion has created a quiet little niche for themselves over the last few years—their loudspeakers are well-built and attractive, and they offer strong value. I love the distinctive wave guides for the tweeters that create an illusion of balance and cohesion up and down the front baffles, something that carries over into the sound. The entire room felt like a calm oasis, with Trevor offering a pleasant respite from the some of the bombastic high-dollar rooms.

Trevor was showing off three pairs of loudspeakers: the flagship Krypton3 ($18,750/pair) in a warm wood veneer, a ghostly white pair of Argon 7Ls floorstanders ($5630/pair) and a tiny white pair of Helium 410 desktop speakers ($750/pair). The system was powered by the new line of small and distinctive-looking 4 Series components from Benchmark—these beautiful little gems were featured in several rooms at the show, and they certainly added their own sultry glow to the listening space.

The Kryptons were definitely impressive—the side-firing woofers, which can be placed either inside or outside, were beautifully vented along the side of the cabinets and gave these big towers a more streamlined look. The Argons sounded very similar despite costing less than a third of the Kryptons—the deep bass was especially convincing.

Lighter Than Air

The tiny Heliums might have been the most impressive. On my first visit to the room, the 410s were hooked up and playing so beautifully that I had to walk right up to them and ask, in my doofiest voice possible, “Are these the ones that are hooked up right now?” Trevor said yes, aren’t they amazing? I concurred, thinking that while the Helium line is billed as sort of a computer audio solution, they certainly filled the room with a surprisingly full sound.

I found all three pairs of loudspeakers to be confident and satisfying, with a natural and relaxed feel from top to bottom. I have a good friend who owns Amphions and continually tells me how great they are—now I have a reason to believe him. Great job, Trevor!