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CAF 2018: Arion Audio, LAMM, Aqua Acoustics and Can You Keep a Secret?

KEF R Series

“I can’t tell you that much about the drivers—I still have two patents pending.”

It was clear from first glance that the Apollo Speaker System from Arion Audio wasn’t using your typical woofers, tweeters or panels to make impressive sounds at the 2018 Capital Audio Fest. These tall, substantial towers were fitted with a vertical array of drivers that looked more like a bank of EMIT tweeters from some massive old pair of Infinity IRS Betas. The addition of a small pair of subs on either side of the two main towers nearly completed that illusion of, in Warren Harding’s words, “normalcy.”

Unveiling the Mystery?

The Arion Audio speakers, however, are far from ordinary. They have a smooth, coherent and musical quality to them that are about as far from gimmicky as it gets. Rollo Audio Consulting, the LAMM dealer for New York City, paired the Apollos with an L2.1 Reference preamp ($26,950) and ML2.2 monoblocks ($43,590)—exquisite amplification reserved for the very best. The Aqua Acoustics La Diva transport ($9000) and FORMULAx HD DAC ($17,000) provided the tunes—with help from with JPS cabling, SGR racks and Gigawatt power conditioning.

You might think the Apollo might be a highly efficient loudspeaker to drive the LAMMs so well, and you’d be right. The smaller Apollo system, the 9 ($16,900) has an efficiency of 105 dB at 4 ohms, and the larger Apollo 12 ($23,900), which I listened to, has a 106 dB efficiency at 6 ohms. The difference between the two models is merely the amount of drivers you get—the model number matches the number of these unusual drivers per tower.

I’ll Take Mine with Everything On it

Whether you pick the 9 or the 12, you still need to buy the subs for $2900 (each subwoofer contains two 10” drivers, and you can use one sub or two). You also need to choose between an analog crossover ($5000) or a DSP crossover ($7000). Once you pick from Column A and Column B, you’ll have a “full-range line source dipole” loudspeaker system that will hit 20 Hz with ease.

Arion offers their own stereo woofer amp ($2395) and a monoblock ($3995) in case you can’t swing the cost of the LAMMs. Then again, I felt that the Apollos really demonstrated why the LAMMs are so delicate and precise in everything they do, even if there isn’t a lot of juice on hand.

I still don’t much about those mystery drivers, but I can tell you that the Arion Apollo produces a coherent, palpable sound that comes from a distinctly different approach in transducers. Hopefully those patents will be approved soon!

2 Comments on CAF 2018: Arion Audio, LAMM, Aqua Acoustics and Can You Keep a Secret?

  1. Marc,

    Thanks for stopping by our room and your generous words describing the Apollo speaker system and the bits of humor too. Sorry about the “mystery” around the system. I try not to shovel out too much info at shows. Some people listen with great interest, some glaze over after the first few words and others run out of the room.

    Just a few clarifications. The late Dr Oskar Heil is the inventor of the heil driver also known as the AMT driver. We take no credit what’s so ever for that invention. Those patents have long expired. Our patent applications are for all the details required to build heil driver that have such an extended range and how to build them so they can be used in a line array. We call our interpretation of Dr. Heil’s wonderful drivers HVTs.

    The retail price for The Apollo System with 9 drivers per tower is $23.900 which includes 2 towers, 2 woofers and the advanced DSP. The retail price for The Apollo System with 12 drivers per tower is $31.900 which includes 2 towers, 4 woofers and the advanced DSP. Extra woofers can be purchased separately for $2900 per pair.

  2. charles rollo // November 27, 2018 at 10:49 AM // Reply

    Mark thanks for stopping in and your kind and thoughtful review. The drivers patent pending are a total in house redesign of Heil transformer driver [ AMT]. Arion calls them HVT drivers.
    charles rollo

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