Athena Speaker System Page 2

The Athenas also handled the upper regions of the frequency range nicely. Effects were tossed around quickly and accurately, with better diffusion than you'd expect from a direct-radiating surround, and the C1 center channel delivered convincing dialogue that belied its lack of cabinet depth. Like most center channels, the C1's output isn't as rich as it could be with a 3-foot-deep cabinet behind it—but at less than 6 inches deep, it handled the compromise between soundstage and placement convenience just as well as most that I've come across. Its use of a passive radiator on one side of its 1-inch dome tweeter (with an active 5 1/4-inch driver on the other side) might make you want to alter its placement a bit, but this design does help solve some of the phase-coherence problems inherent to horizontal alignments.

Other connection scenarios to experiment with include one that I hinted at before: running a line-level signal to the sub and a speaker-level signal to the main. Given that most preamps and receivers supply only one subwoofer output, this limits your subwoofer options somewhat, but it does give you more control over the main speaker if you have a preamp with effective filters and crossovers. If you want a little less bass in a multichannel setup, you could experiment by running the front S3/P3s off the single speaker-level input into the sub, the S2s alone in the rear, and a separate P2 in back off the line-level input. Or, if you want to keep the bass but separate your rear-channel sound more, run the S2s alone with two P2s in back by splitting the line-level output from your preamp. Also, you can try the S3s docked to the P2s for a less-thunderous front stage. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

At $3,175 for the 5.1 system we demoed, Athena has obviously placed themselves in a realm of stiff competition, even from other API brands. But flexibility is the key word to keep in mind, both in how you use them and how you buy them. The Athenas deliver a considerable amount of control and a number of options to explore—and those are always good things. Add to this the fact that they sound good and are easy on the eyes, and you've got yourself a pretty solid argument for giving these speakers an audition of your own. Whether or not they (or the system concept they represent) are for you is your decision. Overall, though, it's very safe to say that the speaker-quality ratio of the Great White North has received another boost on the positive side from this latest export. I'll raise a snifter of Crown Royal to that, eh?

Highlights
• Highly flexible in form and function
• Excellent imaging and consistency in two or five channels
• Enough bass for you and your neighbors

HT Labs Measures: Athena Speaker System

This graph shows the quasi-anechoic (employing close-miking of all woofers) frequency response of the Athena system's S3 main L/R (top trace), P3 main subwoofer (upper left trace), C1 center channel (middle trace), S2 surround channel (lower trace), and P2 surround subwoofer (lower left trace). All passive loudspeakers were measured at a distance of 1 meter with a 2.83-volt input and scaled for display purposes.

On-axis response of the S3 measures +2.1/-1.6 decibels from 200 Hz to 10 kilohertz. The -3dB point is at 50 Hz, and the -6dB point is at 44 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 3.74 ohms at 106 Hz and a phase angle of -77.29 degrees at 44 Hz. Sensitivity is 88 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz.

On-axis response of the C1 measures +2.2/-4.9 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. The -3dB point is at 47 Hz, and the -6dB point is at 42 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 3.6 ohms at 218 Hz and a phase angle of -36.67 degrees at 129 Hz. Sensitivity is 89 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz.

On-axis response of the S2 measures +0.8/-2.7 dB from 200 Hz to 20 kHz. The -3dB point is at 55 Hz, and the -6dB point is at 48 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 3.7 ohms at 188 Hz and a phase angle of -41.66 degrees at 37 Hz. Sensitivity is 88 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz.

Close-miked response of the P3 subwoofer, normalized to the average level from 40 Hz to 80 Hz, indicates that the lower -3dB point is at 30 Hz and the -6dB point is at 28 Hz. The upper -3dB point is at 85 Hz.

Close-miked response of the P2 subwoofer, normalized to the average level from 40 Hz to 80 Hz, indicates that the lower -3dB point is at 28 Hz and the -6dB point is at 26 Hz. The upper -3dB point is at 67 Hz.—AJ

S3 Speaker $600/pair
S2 Speaker $375/pair
S1 Speaker $275/pair
P3 Subwoofer $600
P2 Subwoofer $375
P1 Subwoofer $275
C1 Center Channel $250
Athena Technologies/Audio Products International
(416) 321-1800
www.athenaspeakers.com
Dealer Locator Code ATH

COMPANY INFO
Athena
Speaker System
(416) 321-1800
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