Test Report: Artison Portrait DualMono Speaker System Page 2

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SETUP

Artison’s Portrait LCR DualMono speakers come with a mounting kit, though it’s unlikely you’ll have to deal with it. The intention is for a custom installer to mount the speakers for you. Installation, though, is rather simple. Heavy-duty metal brackets bolt to the back of the TV where a wall mount would normally attach (you can then connect a wall mount to it). The speakers mount to the ends of the brackets. After making sure everything is even and level, the custom-sized speaker grilles attach to the front of the speakers. These match perfectly with the height of your TV, regardless of make, model, or age.

Each Portrait speaker actually combines two speakers in a single cabinet. The bottom driver/woofer combo conveys the left or right channel, while the top driver/woofer comprises one-half of Artison’s “DualMono” center-channel design. (This functions as an additional speaker by creating a “phantom center” image emanating from the middle of the TV.)

The 4.5-inch Kevlar woofers feature an inverted magnet. That big cylinder in the center of the driver that looks like a phase plug is actually the magnet. This is clever on any number of levels, but the two most pressing are that it allows a thinner cabinet design (2.1-inches total with grille) without forcing the use of cheap drivers, and it is a perfect place to put Velcro for the grille to secure to.

The tweeters are “1-inch Vifa Super Audio Tweeters with Phase Plug in Pivot Mount.” I’ll admit to a bit of bias here, as every time I’ve heard speakers that use this tweeter, I’ve loved them. The pivot mount is another clever bit, letting you or the installer fine-tune where to direct the high frequencies.

On the back of each Portrait is another 1-inch tweeter, called the “Stage Tweeter.” This selectable tweeter bounces sound off the wall behind the TV, widening the soundstage and making the system sound bigger (and wider) than it really is.

There’s enough clever design and high-quality parts that you’d think Cary Christie, the guy who designed them, has had experience doing this before. I mean, other than being President and Principal Designer for Acoustic Research. And co-Founding Infinity. So, you know, other than that.

Overall the build quality is rock-solid, installation is easy, and looking at the installed product, you’d never know the TV didn’t come that way out of the box.

Looking, that is. Listening on the other hand...

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