Arendal 1723 S Speakers & Subwoofer 2S Review

1723 S Speakers
Build Quality

1723 Subwoofer 2S
Build Quality
PRICE $7,996 (complete system)

Impeccable build quality
Small in size, large in sound
Stylish design, superb engineering
Could be considered pricey
Subwoofer app was a bit finicky

The complete package—the Arendal 1723 S speakers and 1723 Subwoofer 2S—looks great and sounds even better. If you want small size yet big sound this is a system you should definitely consider.

Arendal, not a name many people know. Ask your friends about them and I'll bet most look at you with a bewildered stare. I first ran across the company around 3 years ago but at that time they weren't doing much in the US so I filed them away in the “check back at a later date” section of my product review list. I guess you can consider it a later date as I now have before me a 5.1 system consisting of the following:

• Two 1723 Tower S
• One 1723 Center S
• Two 1723 Bookshelf S
• One 1723 Subwoofer 2S

The entire 1723 line is physically smaller than the driver quantity and their size would suggest, it's clear Arendal is going for room friendly here. The S in the speaker name actually stands for "smaller" (relative to their flagship 1723 series). Each speaker in the S line is THX Ultra certified meaning rated for reference level volume in rooms up to 3,000 cubic feet at a 12 foot listening distance. Products that have achieved Ultra certification are seriously capable, an impressive accomplishment considering their size.

Arendal includes free shipping and a generous 60 day in-home trial. There is a 5-year warranty on electronics, 10 years for everything else.

First Impressions
It's often said you don't get a second chance to make a first impression, start off on the wrong foot and it's difficult to make amends. Here's how my first interaction with Arendal went:

Everything they sent me came wrapped in black plastic to protect it from the elements, a nice touch. The boxes themselves are triple walled which is very rare. Inside you’ll find special corner edge protectors, the longest dimension is reinforced with cardboard slats to resist crushing forces. Sturdy foam covers the entire top and bottom, in some areas it's 2.5" thick. Protecting all 4 sides of the cabinet are individual blocks of foam that have been custom cut depending upon what they're shielding (amp, driver, etc).

After extracting the speakers and subwoofer from their protective foam cocoon you'll find them tucked inside a satin-like drawstring bag. Grills are contained in their own cloth bag, separated from the cabinet and securely held in distinct cutouts in the foam. Accessories include white cloth gloves and a product-line specific owners manual. For the subwoofer there's also a power cord and unpacking guide.

Calling what Arendal includes an owners manual is probably a bit of a disservice, so extensive is the information that they actually refer to it as a handbook instead. I wholeheartedly agree, it's possibly the most impressive of its kind I've seen to date. Almost no one reads documentation, except me that is. I pour over everything from cover to cover, that's been part of my review process since the very beginning. For budget items it doesn't reveal much—if you're manufacturing entry level products documentation is frequently an afterthought—but for a system that costs several thousand? I have expectations then.

From the moment you open the Arendal handbook you can't help but be impressed, words like “classy” and “elegant” come to mind. It harkens back to a day when companies made an effort to showcase their products. The pages are made from thick glossy stock, lending to the sophisticated image. They include artistic hi-resolution pictures, an explanation of their tech, placement options, setup and a connection guide with in-depth instructions on all the configuration options.

Part of the reason I read the documentation is because I feel you can tell a lot about a company and their ethos by the material they provide. Case in point, the folks at Arendal have a wicked sense of humor. Here are two excerpts from the Safety Instructions section of the handbook...

• "Do not shower or bathe with this product. It does not like water nor soap."
• "Large house pets like dogs, big cats or bears should be trained not to cuddle or sleep against to avoid overheating, scratch marks or bites."

To highlight those points they even include irreverent depictions. How can you not like a company who pokes fun at the ridiculousness of safety instructions? It’s not all fun and games mind you, they do include legitimate items as well, but they’re interspersed with amusing anecdotes. Even the subwoofer unpacking guide gets in on the act...

• "Carefully turn the box over. You may ask your mother for help."
• "Remove the box, raise the curtain and reveal your new baby."
• "Prepare your neighbors for some proper earthquakes."

Guess what image is on the front of the guide? The aforementioned bear that shouldn't be allowed to bite your subwoofer. Cheeky buggers these Arendal folks, I like them already. My first impression is positive.

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trynberg's picture

Prices for each speaker are not included in the review or specs...

Also, a 2-way MTM center channel design at this price point? Surprising, given the large compromises inherent in such a design.

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