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warren2503

Review : SGR Audio CX4F Mk2 Active speakers

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SGR Audio CX4F Mk2 Active Loudspeaker System

 

Let me begin with a bit of background – about 6 years ago my 50th birthday was approaching and after discussions with my wife (Joanna) it was agreed that I would upgrade my system as a birthday present. After reading everything that I could get my hands on I came up with a short list of speakers to audition. These included a pair of B&W 802s, a pair of Wilson Watt/Puppies, and possibly a second-hand pair of Focal Utopias – if available. After listening to these I was looking to pull the trigger on a pair of a second-hand pair of Watt Puppy 7s I had found – budget with amps in the low $30k range. In addition to reading all of the articles I also read a bit about active speakers on SNA, in particular models from local outfit SGR Audio. I thought, well I might as well have a listen before I went ahead with the Puppies–trying to tell myself, have an open mind and see if there really is anything to this active thing–but really thinking if I am going to get something that was costing a lot then I wanted it to not only sound good but also be well-known and with audiophile street cred. Watt/Puppies had all this – yeah, shallow I know.

 Well I visited Aaron’s showroom where I auditioned a pair of SGR Audio CX4F active loudspeakers and to say that I was blown away by what I heard that day would be an understatement. The sound was remarkably clean and fast but not cold or analytical like much of what I had heard elsewhere. No matter what I played I felt like there was very little between me and the emotional centre of the music. I just shook my head in disbelief, this was so different but it sounded so right.

As I said at the time, a used pair of Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy 7 loudspeakers was at the top of my shortlist, and at much more than the asking price of the CX4Fs. I should say - Boy did I want to believe the Wilsons sounded better; I left Aaron’s place feeling rather perplexed.  A few day later I had talked myself back into the Watt/Puppies, though much more than the CX4Fs, they were a still a bargain and given how well known they are, I felt that I could easily resell at any time down the track. I said to Joanna that I had made my mind up but would like her to come for an audition of both. I didn’t tell her anything about price or my opinions of either. What I really wanted was for her to tell me the Watt/Puppies sounded better and allow me to trick myself into believing it too. First we went back to Aaron’s and then to Five Dock to listen to the Watt/Puppies. I waited for Joanna’s opinion. She said that they both sounded good. But to her the CX4Fs sounded a step change better. Hey how could that be? In both of our subjective opinions, the CX4F speakers were superior to the Wilsons sonically and we both preferred the aesthetic of the CX4Fs.

I asked Aaron if he would mind hosting me for yet another listening session, this time with my teenage son tagging along. The arrangements were made and one evening after work we dropped by, sat in front of the CX4Fs, and again I couldn’t help but comment on how much better they were than the Wilsons that I had been considering. My son sat there with a goofy schoolboy grin that matched my own.

A few days passed during which I tried to talk myself back into the used Wilson speakers. I was torn between the bragging rights of owning a well-known hi-fi trophy and the deep satisfaction of choosing a path less followed, a path which for me, clearly lead to audio nirvana.

I contacted Aaron and a few weeks later he meticulously installed my very own pair of SGR Audio CX4F active loudspeakers, finished in the stunning Birdseye maple real wood veneer. I was shocked when I heard them in my home for the first time. I was one very happy camper!

Weeks turned into months and months turned into years, all the while the musical satisfaction was enduring with my CX4Fs, except for those times when I would visit Aaron’s showroom and hear the much larger and considerably more expensive MT3F active loudspeakers, still the finest system that I have ever experienced.

Then, one day out of the blue, I got a call from Stuart, asking me if I would be interested in upgrading my CX4F speakers. “Upgrade them to what?” I asked. Stuart explained that he had developed a new current drive amplification system along with a new dome tweeter and mid-bass driver, as well as some other improvements.

I was hesitant at first, after all I was already happy with my CX4F speakers and I couldn't quite imagine how all of the new improvements would come together. Stuart went on to explain to me that the CX4F Mk2 would be like a brand-new speaker, much more in line with the flagship MT3.2 speaker, the ones I had been dreaming of.

Brand new shipping crates were delivered to my home and Aaron popped around to assist in the packing of my beloved CX4F speakers. The next day they were whisked away, bound for the SGR Audio factory in Melbourne. The anticipation was reminiscent of waiting for Christmas as a child and when my speakers returned to their proper home, I was like a 5-year-old on Christmas Day.

Ten seconds into the first LP, my wife looked at me,. She said, “these are so much better!” And she was right. My CX4Fs, now just like new in their Mk2 guise, sounded very much like the mighty MT3.2 flagship that haunted my dreams after every visit to Aaron’s place.

The bass was deeper and tighter with more weight. The low frequencies didn’t call attention to themselves but rather provided a confident foundation for the rest of the music. Sonic images were more stable within a wider and significantly deeper layered soundstage. Dynamics were even cleaner than I remembered prior to the speaker upgrade surgery. High frequencies were more extended with more air around voices and instruments and yet the sound was more natural and relaxed at the same time. I could play the system less loud while hearing even more musical information than before.

I don’t know how Stuart managed this but he has taken the sound of my system to a level I never thought possible. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is not possible to get a sonic upgrade of this magnitude by spending $5k on any other part of an audio system. If you own a pair of the CX4F active loudspeakers and if you can afford it, then you would be crazy not to have them upgraded to Mk2.

Don’t dismiss the CX4F Mk2s because they aren’t expensive enough. You are getting an Australian product which has been subject to tight control on the total design and manufacturing process, no matter how small. I am as happy as a pig in you know what. Every listening session is as exciting as the first, the novelty factor just doesn’t wear off.

 

Edited by warren2503

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Satanica   

Great, but where are the photos? You know we all think it's the best part. :cool:

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Grimmie   

Hmmm........

 

"very much like the mighty MT3.2 flagship that haunted my dreams after every visit to Aaron’s place"

 

I am indeed an owner of said night-stalkers, I wonder if the new current drive is available for them too.........

 

Great write up Warren, SGR's really do get under your skin don't they. I got to meet Aaron many a moon ago when he was over at Harry's place. A passionate audiophile and nice character, was every bit as convinced that SGR had a real future producing amazing Hi-Fi in Australia. He's obviously just as dedicated to the cause now and living his dedication.

 

All the best with your new(er) babies.

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Grimmie   

P.S. Where the hell are the pickies, it's all a lie without photo's !!!!!!!

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warweary   

No audiophile cred til photos posted.

 

Glad you're liking those aussie SGR's.

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Hey warren--make sure you show the backs! (With the fronts on mine--and turned off--I can't tell them from the Mk 1 model.)

 

Greg

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Great write-up Warren. We're really glad to hear that the CX4F Mk2s are treating you well! Hate to add to the pressure, but we are looking forward to seeing the photos of your setup :D

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31 minutes ago, Robert SGR Audio said:

Great write-up Warren. We're really glad to hear that the CX4F Mk2s are treating you well! Hate to add to the pressure, but we are looking forward to seeing the photos of your setup :D

Robert - what do these retail for?

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Thank you @Juicester for your inquiry and for those who have PM'd, please contact your local representative depending upon what state you're in.

 

If you're not sure of your local representative, feel free to e-mail [email protected] with your details and we shall forward them on to the appropriate representative.

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Darren69   
6 minutes ago, Juicester said:

ta mate. shite - I didn't realise they were in this price bracket. they look superb though.

 

You got plenty Brother, go on, you'll never see Armaguard following a hearse. :D

 

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sorry guys Pics are going to have to wait till the long weekend - flat out this weekend and away next 

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