Reviewers' ChoiceIn Greek mythology, Amphion, the son of Zeus and Antiope, was a gifted musician; so much so that when he played his lyre, he caused great stones to move and form themselves into the city walls of Thebes. Anssi Hyvönen, the founder of Amphion Loudspeakers, may not expect his speakers to move stones, but he seeks to make them a pathway through which music can move the soul. Many other companies espouse the same goal, but the Amphion philosophy is that this is best accomplished if the loudspeaker acts as a neutral conduit for the music, rather than adding its own “musicality.” In a nod to this ambition of neutrality, all of Amphion’s home-audio speaker models are named after noble gases—elements that do not react with substances with which they come in contact.


Amphion currently offers three speaker lines for the home: Helium, Argon, and Krypton. The Argon line, which is the most extensive, comprises three minimonitors and two floorstanders, ranging in price from $1560 to $7000 per pair (all prices in USD), although Amphion prices and sells them singly; there is also a center-channel model. After considering the size of my room—12.25′ × 25′, with large openings onto two other rooms—and my affinity for symphonic music, Hyvönen felt that the largest Argon model, the Argon7LS ($7000/pair in white or black painted finish; $7200/pair in walnut veneer), would be most appropriate for me to review.


The Argon7LS is a slim floorstander measuring 7.5″W × 12″D, atop a plinth that measures 9.25″W × 13.5″D. It is 46.75″ tall, including the carpet-piercing spikes; metal disks are supplied to prevent marring of hard floors by the 60-pound speaker. The design is stereotypically Nordic: clean and rectilinear. Amphion CNC-machines the cabinets from MDF and adds stout internal bracing to reduce resonances. My knuckle-rap test showed the top part of the cabinet, where the drivers are located, to be fairly inert, while the bottom sounded somewhat more resonant.

Though not as luxurious as the piano-gloss finishes on some competing designs, the semi-gloss white paint job on my pair of review speakers was expertly applied. While Amphion speakers are only available in three finishes, the driver grilles (Amphion calls them grids) come in eight standard colors, with custom colors also available. Because Amphion considers loudspeakers to be an investment that you keep for the long term, the driver grilles are interchangeable; if you alter your room’s décor, you can swap out the grilles rather than having to replace your speakers. Amphion let me choose the grille color for the review pair, and the gray finish complemented the design of the drapes behind the speakers in my room. The combination of narrow front profile, modest overall dimensions, and ability to match the color palette of its surroundings makes the Argon7LS an easy fit for almost any room.


The Argon7LS is a two-way design, with twin 6.5″ aluminum-cone midrange-bass drivers mounted above and below a 1″ titanium-dome tweeter, which is nestled in a waveguide 6.5″ in diameter. (More on the waveguide momentarily.) Both drivers are manufactured to Amphion’s specifications, with robust motor assemblies for high power handling. The tweeter is specifically designed for use with a waveguide, and accommodates the Argon7LS’s low crossover frequency of 1600Hz.

Waveguides have been a hallmark of Amphion speakers for the past 25 years, and the design is now in its fifth generation. The company calls its proprietary technology U/D/D (uniformly directive diffusion) and claims a few advantages over non-waveguided tweeters.

First, waveguide loading of the tweeter allows for a lower crossover point without compromising power handling. This has several benefits: the crossover is moved out of the 2–5kHz range where the human ear is most sensitive to distortions, and that entire critical range is reproduced by the tweeter; the outputs of the midrange-bass drivers will be far down in level by the time they hit their breakup frequency; and the tweeter and midrange-bass drivers are more equally balanced, in terms of the portion of the audio range each is required to reproduce.

Second, the waveguide controls the tweeter’s dispersion characteristics—the way that sound from the tweeter is directed into the room. At higher frequencies, a dome tweeter radiates most of its energy forward. With lower frequencies, the tweeter radiates more energy off to the sides, where it can reflect from the room boundaries. The waveguide keeps the energy directed forward throughout the frequency range, so that boundary reflections are reduced and the dispersion characteristics of the tweeter match those of the midrange-bass drivers at the crossover point.


Finally, the tweeter is set back from the front of the baffle such that its acoustic center is in vertical alignment with that of the midrange-bass drivers, leading to better time alignment and, hence, better approximation of a point source. For a further explanation of Amphion’s U/D/D technology, see the SoundStage! InSight video with Anssi Hyvönen and designer Martin Kantola on our YouTube channel.

Rather than augmenting the low-frequency output of the midrange-bass drivers with a port, the Argon7LS employs two 6.5″ passive radiators on the back of the enclosure. Amphion claims that its rear-facing passive radiators, which are aligned with the midrange-bass drivers on the front baffle, provide better bass control than a port, and interact less with the room. At the base of the rear panel is a plate bearing a single pair of binding posts and a switch to increase the treble output by 1dB, if desired.


The Argon7LS has a specified frequency response of 28Hz–25kHz (‑6dB), sensitivity of 91dB (2.83V/m), and nominal impedance of 4 ohms (with a minimum of 3.6 ohms). Recommended amplifier power is 50–150Wpc. It’s worth noting that Amphion’s warranty term for the Argon7LS is only two years, which is on the short side for loudspeakers.


After removing each speaker from its packaging, I screwed the four floor spikes into the threaded inserts in the plinth. Using the provided protective metal disks beneath the spikes, I placed the speakers 6.5′ apart (center-to-center) along my room’s shorter wall, with the left speaker about 2.5′ from the side wall and the right speaker 3.5′ from the opposite wall. The back panel of each speaker was 3.5′ from the drape-covered window behind it. For most of my listening, I was seated 8′ from the speaker plane with the speakers angled in to cross at about my listening position. As my seated ear height is an absurd 52″, I adjusted the floor spikes to tilt the speakers back 8° so that the axes of the tweeters were aimed just below my ears.

I powered the Amphions with two markedly different amplifiers: my NAD M23, a 200Wpc class-D power amp based on Purifi Audio’s Eigentakt technology, and my Graaf GM50—a vacuum-tube integrated amp producing 50Wpc. I used a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ as a DAC with the Graaf, and as a DAC-preamplifier with the NAD. The Mytek received digital data from a Harman Kardon CDR 20 CD player/recorder via a coaxial connection, a Google Chromecast Audio via optical, and a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme via USB. Other sources were an Ayre C-5xeMP universal disc player, a Magnum Dynalab Etude FM tuner, and a Michell TecnoDec turntable with Never Connected power supply, modified Rega RB300 tonearm, and Shure V15 TypeVxMR cartridge. I used both a Trigon Vanguard II phono stage and the phono stage built into the Mytek for the turntable.


The dimensions of my room create a peak in bass output at 45Hz, a larger one at 90Hz, and several smaller peaks at higher frequencies in intervals of 45Hz. Partway through the review period, I measured the frequency response of the Amphions with Room EQ Wizard and a miniDSP UMIK-1 microphone. I used the results to create filters to correct for these peaks with the Equalizer APO app, which applies equalization to any audio streamed from my computer to the designated USB output. Unfortunately, this approach requires resampling all content to 48kHz, but I have found the improvement in bass evenness for all the speakers I’ve heard in my room to more than compensate for a very slight loss of clarity. Except when noted, my listening impressions refer to the Argon7LS speakers being driven by the NAD M23 with this bass equalization applied.


In my auditioning, I regularly switched the treble setting on both speakers between 0 and +1, trying to decide which one was more accurate and, of equal importance, which one I liked better. There are few instruments that produce the wealth of high frequencies yielded by cymbals, so I cued up “Armando’s Rhumba” from the Chick Corea Trio’s Trilogy (24-bit/96kHz FLAC, Concord Jazz / Qobuz). With the switches in their 0 settings, Brian Blade’s hi-hat and ride shimmered softly at my front wall, a few feet behind the speakers and a little back from Corea’s piano. Set to +1, the cymbals were certainly brighter, but not harsh or irritating, and they came forward in the mix to be just behind the speaker plane. This put them at about the same depth as the piano. The attacks of sticks on brass or skins were clear and articulate on both settings, but slightly crisper on +1. Depending on the microphone techniques used to capture the performance, and any equalization performed, the presentation of either setting could have been an accurate representation of the original recording.

I needed a recording I knew more about, so I turned to “Lucy,” from Macy Gray’s Stripped (24/192 AIFF, Chesky Records). This album was recorded using a binaural dummy head, and no subsequent equalization was applied. While I don’t know the frequency response of the microphones, Chesky recordings have a reputation for neutral tonal balance. On the 0 setting, Ari Hoenig’s cymbals were also a little soft; there was a more natural sound of struck brass on the +1 setting, but without as much of a shift forward as I heard with the cymbals on Trilogy. When Wallace Roney’s trumpet enters, far back and to the right, the +1 setting delivered what sounded to me, as a former brass player, to be a more accurate representation of how a live trumpet would sound at 20 feet. (This recording has a tremendously deep soundstage.) Roney’s trumpet also sounded great on the 0 setting, but a little mellower than reality.


Generally, my preference is to hear everything that is on a recording, for good or ill, so I left the switches in their +1 positions most of the time. The 0 setting was kinder to some hot recordings, as I’ll describe, so I could see other listeners—whose preferences or musical diet are different from mine, whose room is even more reflective, or whose partnering equipment is brighter—leaving the switches on 0. With neither setting was I bothered by any instruments jumping out of the mix, suggesting a smooth frequency response overall.

I continued my evaluation with Leonidas Kavakos’s recording of Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä (16/44.1 FLAC, BIS Records / Qobuz)—an album I’ve been using to evaluate audio equipment for two decades. Through the Amphions, the muted strings that introduce the first movement were set well back from the speaker plane. When the solo violin enters, centered between the speakers, it was in front of the orchestra, yet still set slightly back; both orchestra and soloist immersed in an entirely believable hall ambience. The soundstage thrown by the Amphions gave me the impression of hearing the orchestra from partway back in the hall, which I’ve concluded—across the wide variety of equipment through which I’ve played it—is the proper perspective on this recording. The timbral palette of the violin matched that spatial perspective perfectly, with the high notes singing but never searing and the appropriate amount of rosiny bow-scrape across the lower strings.

When I played Ole Bull’s Concerto Fantastico, performed by Annar Follesø with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under the baton of Ole Kristian Ruud (24/44.1 FLAC, 2L / Qobuz), the Argon7LS floorstanders similarly presented the orchestra well behind the speaker plane. This time, however, the violin soloist was upfront and in sharper focus. Congruent with this up-front placement, Follesø‘s violin had a brighter timbre, with more horsehair-string texture throughout the instrument’s range. Morten Lindberg, 2L’s founder, has said that he chooses microphone techniques that draw the ear’s attention to the soloist in the same way the eye’s attention is drawn when watching a performance, so the spotlighting of the violin by the Argon7LS speakers was, again, a faithful representation of what was on the recording.


I use the above-mentioned Sibelius recording in reviews not only for its neutral tonal balance and natural soundstage, but also for its exceptionally wide dynamic range. This album contains Sibelius’s original 1904 version of the concerto and his later revision—the latter being the version most often performed and recorded. At 7:11 in the first movement of the 1904 version, a phrase played by the solo violin is followed by a rapid crescendo and a sforzando in the brass. Playing back the violin part with C-weighted SPLs in the mid-60s put the brass accent at 100dB, and the Amphions handled it with aplomb. Not only was the accent shockingly loud, but the crescendo leading into it scaled marvelously, showing scant evidence of compression. The brass section has many opportunities to be heard throughout the movement, and the Lahti players make the most of them. At about 11 minutes in, the French horns and trombones begin a call and response that crescendos over a few bars and reaches fortissimo—here, played particularly enthusiastically by the trombones. And those trombones sounded appropriately edgy—that is, edgy in the way of a trombone being played loudly, not edgy in the way of a loudspeaker misbehaving.

Curious to discover the dynamic limits of the Finnish floorstanders, I turned to the finale from Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, performed by the Minnesota Orchestra under the direction of Eiji Oue, from the Reference Recordings HRX sampler (24/176.4 WAV, Reference Recordings). The bass-drum thwacks are by far the loudest part of this track, and it’s good practice to start out playing it at lower volumes to avoid breaking anything. The clean presentation of the Argon7LS speakers encouraged me to keep turning up the volume knob. While the orchestra continued to sound more and more glorious as it grew louder, I did reach a point at which I heard a knocking noise in the left speaker accompanying the bass-drum strikes. After turning the volume down by 3dB, I listened again with an SPL meter in hand and registered 104.5dB on those peaks at the new, lower volume. That’s pretty impressive performance for what is ultimately a modestly sized loudspeaker, and it was plenty loud enough for me to feel the bass drum as well as hear it. If you want even more impact in the lower bass, you’d either have to go with larger speakers or—probably better—hand off those duties to a subwoofer.

For something more consistently loud, I put on “End of All Hope,” by the symphonic-metal band Nightwish (Century Child, 16/44.1 FLAC, Spinefarm Records / Qobuz). This type of music begs to be played at the highest levels your ears can tolerate. For me, that was with C-weighted SPL peaks in the mid-90dB range. The Argon7LS speakers delivered all of the aggressive energy of the track—making it an immersive experience—but did so just as cleanly as they had done at lower levels. My only quandary was whether I would’ve rather been playing air drums or air guitar.

When I have friends over, I generally pass DJ duties to them; I find this an excellent way to get exposed to music I wouldn’t otherwise listen to. Recently, one friend who is into K-pop was shocked that I’d never heard anything by BTS, so she put on “Trivia: Just Dance” from the album Love Yourself : Answer (16/44.1 FLAC, Big Hit Music / Qobuz). Getting that “club feel” meant cranking the volume, and the Amphions graciously obliged. Again, I was especially impressed by the speakers’ bass performance. They gave a visceral “kick” to the kick drum, and when the swooping bass notes come in, the Amphions energized my room. The vocals on this track are a little hot, which led me to prefer it with the treble switches in the 0 position. So configured, the Amphions didn’t cover up the excessive sibilance, but they did take the edge off to make the track more enjoyable, especially at those higher volumes.


Taylor Swift is another musician with whom I had minimal familiarity, and a different friend rectified that gap in my musical education. From an audiophile perspective, one of Swift’s more interesting tracks on her 2022 album Midnights (24/48 FLAC, Taylor Swift / Qobuz), is “Snow on the Beach,” which also features Lana Del Rey. The song opens with pizzicato violin and something more metallic—perhaps a guitar played very close to the bridge—which the Argon7LS speakers rendered with clear and clean, but not excessive, attacks and realistic decays. The vocals on “Snow on the Beach” are more complex than on other tracks on Midnights. Swift’s voice is at the core, but it is layered with overdubs, some processing effects and, at times, contributions from Del Rey. While the Amphions placed the lead vocals squarely at the center of the soundstage, those additional effects added a halo around Swift’s voice—instead of the tight image I heard on other tracks on the album—contributing to the surrealism of the song. Other elements that are added throughout the song—such as the jingle bells, wind chimes, and other vocal parts—were distributed across the soundstage and all placed behind the main vocals. Also worth mentioning is the way the Argon7LS floorstanders filled my room with the sustained bass notes that kick in at 35 seconds, balancing the more ethereal parts of the sonic palette. There’s a lot more going on here than in the typical pop song, and it seems a shame that relatively few of Swift’s fans are likely to hear it the way I did through the Amphions.

Argon7LS with tubes

When I first received the Argon7LS floorstanders, I connected them to my Graaf GM50 integrated amplifier. That combination produced the slightly sweeter, more tonally saturated sound characteristic of vacuum-tube amplification. The midrange, in particular, was a little more fleshed out. With smaller-scale recordings, such as Alison Krauss & Union Station’s Paper Airplane (16/44.1 FLAC, Rounder Records / Qobuz), I heard a slightly greater sense of real voices and instruments in my room, albeit at the expense of the NAD’s shocking transparency. But with large-scale recordings, like the Stravinsky, the NAD was more able to allow the Argon7LS speakers to demonstrate their facility with dynamics and capacity for reproducing a cavernous soundstage.


While the tonal balance of the Argon7LS was still fairly neutral when driven by the Graaf, there was a little extra prominence to the upper midrange. In many cases, this just added some presence, but when playing back a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky (16/44.1 FLAC, Altair/Qobuz), which is strident under the best of circumstances, it was too much, making me feel assaulted by the violins. Bass was pretty satisfying when driving the Argon7LS pair with the GM50, but powering them with the M23 seemed to add half an octave to the low end, while taking the already-good bass articulation to the next level. These performance differences result in part from the inherent sound of the Graaf amplifier, but more, I believe, from the impedance characteristics of the speaker. The takeaway is that you can drive the Argon7LS with a vacuum-tube amplifier, but you’ll get the best performance out of it with a good solid-state amp.


I compared the Argon7LS review pair to my Esoteric MG-10 minimonitors (discontinued, $6000/pair when available). The MG-10’s driver complement comprises a 1″ tweeter and a 6.5″ midrange-woofer, both fabricated from ceramic-coated magnesium. A front-venting port extends the speaker’s low bass. Esoteric specifies the MG-10’s frequency response as 41Hz–44kHz, with a sensitivity of 87.5dB, a nominal impedance of 6 ohms, and a minimum impedance of 3.8 ohms. I set up the MG-10s atop 30″ Plateau stands, filled with kitty litter, in the same positions as the Argon7LS floorstanders. Per the recommendation in the MG-10’s manual, I toed the speakers in to cross 2′ in front of my listening position. Although I drove both pairs of speakers with both amplifiers, my comments pertain primarily to driving them with the NAD M23.

Unsurprisingly, given the difference in size and driver complement between the two models, the Argon7LS floorstanders could play far louder and far deeper than the MG-10 minimonitors. When the Esoteric speakers were asked to play loudly, they didn’t misbehave in any egregious way, but they did compress the signal and, more problematically, shifted the frequency balance toward the treble. The Amphions simply got louder.

The MG-10 has average bass depth for a speaker of its size, but I’ve always been impressed with the cleanliness and articulation of that bass. When driven by the NAD, however, the Amphions matched the Esoterics in bass articulation and thoroughly trounced them in both depth and impact. Bass performance was closer when driven by the Graaf, with the Argon7LS speakers still leading on depth and impact, but slightly trailing the MG-10s on articulation. When driving the speakers with either amplifier, however, the MG-10s rendered Christian McBride’s bass on “Armando’s Rhumba” with a little more tonal specificity. Both speaker models energize the same bass modes in my room—that’s just physics—but the significantly greater bass capabilities of the Amphions meant they benefited more from equalization; the Esoterics simply can’t overload a room with bass.


Adding my usual REL R-328 subwoofer to the MG-10s did give that system a bass-depth advantage over the Argon7LS pair, but the bass of the Amphions remained punchier. I did also try integrating the REL with the Amphions for a direct comparison of these setups, but the subwoofer added so little to their already impressive bass performance that it hardly seemed worth the effort.

When I reviewed the MG-10s, way back in 2008, my listening room was considerably smaller and more heavily damped. I’m in my third listening room since then, all of which have been substantially larger and more reflective than my 2008 room. In that original room, the MG-10s impressed me with their ability to create a holographic soundstage. In my current room, the Esoterics still deliver good image specificity, with layered depth and a good sense of space, but not the same level of holography. In my current, moderately reflective listening environment, the Argon7LS floorstanders manifested both more specificity and appreciably more cavernous acoustic environments (where they existed on the recording) than the MG-10s—a feat I credit largely to the Argon7LS’s waveguide.

The MG-10s did surpass the Amphions in the related areas of detail and sense of transparency. On Trilogy, that meant a hair more differentiation in the attack of piano notes and a shade more texture on the cymbals. Likewise, on Paper Airplane, the plucks of banjo and guitar strings were marginally more precise and their decays more realistic through the MG-10s. I suspected that some of that sense of detail was due to the treble of the Esoterics being more prominent than that of the Amphions, but I still heard similar differences after shelving down the high frequencies of the MG-10s by 1.5dB. As do many audiophiles, I do enjoy hearing a healthy amount of detail in recordings, and my ideal speakers would combine this aspect of the Esoterics with all of the strengths of the Amphions. Between the two models, however, I preferred the Argon7LS floorstanders on nearly every track.


Some audio components impress on first listen by doing one or two things extremely well; over time, however, flaws that were initially overlooked may detract from the listening experience. While I thought the Argon7LS speakers were good performers from the beginning of my audition, my appreciation for them grew further over the time I had them in my system. It is a trope of audio reviewing to say that a component made one interested in discovering more music, but that is exactly what happened with the Amphions. Their evenhandedness worked with every genre I played through them, making me as interested in exploring new styles and artists as I was in hearing familiar recordings.

The Argon7LS is not inexpensive. The price, in part, reflects that the speaker is made in Finland, and the fact that Amphion doesn’t enjoy the economies of scale that help a company like Dynaudio mitigate the costs of European manufacture. That acknowledged, the Argon7LS is an almost full-range speaker, and is capable of impressive dynamic contrasts; a pair of the Finnish floorstanders can cast a wide, deep, and precise soundstage, even in a minimally treated listening environment. The speaker’s modest dimensions and the ability to choose essentially any grille color help it fit into any room’s aesthetics, and the treble selection switch allows some tailoring to sonics of the room and partnering equipment. These characteristics, along with its neutral tonal balance, should make the Argon7LS appealing to almost any listener.


As I was finishing up this review, I thought it only appropriate to play a selection from Sibelius’s Finlandia. Rather than the usual orchestral arrangement of the tone poem, I turned to an a cappella version of “Finlandia Hymn” by the YL male-voice choir, from Masonic Ritual Music (16/44.1 FLAC, BIS Records / eClassical ). Upon hitting play, the front of my listening room dissolved into Helsinki Cathedral, with the choir stretching fully across my front wall. I could easily pick out individual voices, but that didn’t stop the choir from blending into a harmonious whole. There were microdynamic shadings, macrodynamic swings, and a wealth of detail. Most importantly, the Amphion Argon7LS floorstanders made the piece sound sublime, and as it concluded, I did, indeed, feel my soul moved.

. . . S. Andrea Sundaram

Associated Equipment

  • Loudspeakers: Esoteric MG-10.
  • Subwoofer: REL Acoustics R-328.
  • Amplifiers: NAD M23, Graaf GM50.
  • Digital sources: Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP, Google Chromecast Audio, Harman Kardon CDR 20.
  • Analog sources: Magnum Dynalab Etude FM tuner; Michell TecnoDec turntable with Never Connected power supply, modified Rega RB300 tonearm, and Shure V15 Type VxMR cartridge; Trigon Vanguard II phono stage.
  • Interconnects: DH Labs Revelation, QED Silver Spiral, JPS Superconductor.
  • Speaker cables: Tributaries CS-144.
  • Power conditioner: Equi=Tech Son of Q.

Amphion Argon7LS Loudspeaker
Price: $7000 per pair.
Warranty: Two years, parts and labor.

Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd.
Vitostie 1864
70800 Kuopio
Phone: +358 17-2882-100