REVIEW: KRIX HOME CINEMA LOUDSPEAKER SYSTEM
One of Australia’s oldest and arguably the most successful local loudspeaker manufacturers, Krix has an unrivalled pedigree when it comes to delivering movie sound, in both cinemas and the home. We take a look at one of Krix's home cinema speaker packs.
Home Cinema Loudspeakers
Comprising Neuphonix Mk2 ($4995 pair), Epicentrix Mk2 ($2495 each), Dynamix Mk2 ($1095 pair), Volcanix ($2095 each)
A wise man once said, ‘for big sound, you need big speakers.’ Well, I’m not exactly sure who that wise man was, but a truer hi-fi proverb couldn’t be more so. Physics dictates it.
Loudspeaker design and miniaturisation have come along in leaps and bounds over recent years with the likes of satellite/subwoofer combos and soundbars delivering sound much bigger than their physical footprint.
However, to genuinely move air molecules and recreate that cinema experience in the home, you still can’t do it better than with a collection of big boxes.
One loudspeaker company that has known this for more than three decades is Krix. One of Australia’s oldest and arguably the most successful local loudspeaker manufacturers, Krix has an unrivalled pedigree when it comes to delivering movie sound, in both commercial cinemas and the home. Chances are when you're watching the latest blockbuster at your nearest cinema complex, a bunch of big Krix speakers is most likely delivering the sound.
For this review, Krix put together a 5.1 channel collection of its higher-end domestic loudspeakers, comprising the Neuphonix (Mk.2) floorstanders as main fronts, Epicentrix (Mk.2) centre channel, Volcanix subwoofer and a pair of Dynamix (Mk.2) for rear surround duties.
Physically, this is quite an imposing collection, with some of the best domestic designs Krix has to offer.
The Neuphonix are Krix’s flagship floorstander. An impressive looking 3-way design which employs no fewer than five 130mm bass/midrange drivers and a 26mm dual concentric diaphragm high-frequency tweeter, the Neuphonix have been designed to deliver big sound in a big space, be it for both movie or music use.
They’ll take some amplifier grunt too, rated at a nominal 6-ohm impedance and 88dB sensitivity, while power handling is stated at 50 to 300 watts.
Build and finish are both mighty impressive. Each speaker weighs 30kg and is heavily braced internally. Both the midrange and tweeter occupy one sealed chamber, while the bass drivers reside in a larger chamber with a rear-firing port. This means it’s best to give the Neuphonix some space to breathe, but you can experiment with the distance from the rear of the speaker to the wall.
Matching the floorstanders up front is the equally substantial Epicentrix centre channel speaker.
In any multichannel home cinema speaker system, the centre channel is by far the most influential, handling around 70% of cinema soundtrack information. Krix knows this and went all out on the Epicentrix.
Using the same drivers as the Neuphonix, this massive centre speaker is not for the faint-hearted, or a small room. Four bass drivers and one midrange driver are matched to the same 26mm waveguide centre plug tweeter. It’s essentially a horizontal version of the Neuphonix, with a driver layout designed to deliver centre channel duties.
As you would expect, the matched trio presents a very cohesive sonic front.
The deep and rumbly stuff is delivered courtesy of the aptly named Volcanix active subwoofer. Another substantial piece of home cinema furniture, it’s Krix’s biggest domestic sub.
Packing a long-throw 305mm (that’s 12-inches in the old scale) and Krix’s own design ICEPower Class D digital amplification rated to 450 watts; it’s certainly got what it takes to lend serious weight to movie soundtracks.
A nice touch is that the subwoofer controls aren’t round the back as is usually the case, but all adjustments can be made on push-button controls behind the front grille.
The bass reflex cabinet is forward-firing also, meaning you can pop the Volcanix in a corner or up against a wall without ensuing ‘chuffing’ or too much bass reinforcement from such room boundaries.
Providing the surround effects, the Dynamix Mk.2s employ the same 15 degrees angled front baffle as its commercial cinema surround speakers.
They're a two-way design with 130mm paper cone bass/midrange driver and the same 26mm tweeter as used in the Neuphonix and Epicentrix. They are designed to be wall-mounted up high and have brackets built in.
Collectively, this Krix system is rated at between 88 to 90dB sensitivity and a nominal 6-ohm load. What this means in this case, is the ballsier the home cinema amplification, the better!
The system will take some serious current and promises serious decibels as a result. As always, the proof is in the listening…
My present living abode was just big enough to accommodate the Krix’s - admittedly I’d have liked a bit more room. But, one thing’s for sure - I knew that I was in for a right royal surround sound treat and that I’d be hearing from the neighbours before not too long.
Common decency be damned, I thought to myself. I’m always far too nice and considerate, so decided that the best way to get the ball rolling with this particular speaker system was to grab them by the hypotheticals and let myself and all within ear and rumble shot hear and feel the power of this system…
Hooked up to an Onkyo TX-NR828 AV receiver with additional Musical Fidelity power amplification for the main front channels, I had the means to create quite substantial decibels.
Deciding on the first slice of movie material wasn’t easy, but I went old school and chucked on a DVD of U-571 for the old depth charge carnage scene.
For sheer knock the breath out of your chest, this is a savage sounding few minutes and with the volume nudged, the Krix system delivered the underwater assault with immense dynamic clout and deft steering of surround effects.
To describe it as immersive is somewhat of an understated pun - rarely have I experienced such a home cinema onslaught, but it’s not just all-out action, there’s method within such movie madness also.
This Krix collection can really open up movie soundtracks, and it does so almost effortlessly.
The seamless integration here is spectacular. There’s so much sonic integration between speakers that the system almost seems to disappear and become part of the listening environment.
Subtle nuances are extracted with incredible precision and accuracy. The sonar pings sound so real that you can’t help but imagine being on the confined submarine just waiting for the depth charges to arrive.
Moving to some slightly more up to date material, the fabulous Blade Runner 2049 is one of those films whose scale of sound matches that of the visuals.
I remember seeing (and hearing) it on release, more than likely on a commercial Krix system. I came out of the cinema reeling – both from what I’d just seen, but equally heard.
In a domestic system, or at least without spending close to six-figures, the closest you’re going to get to replicating this massive soundscape is through a surround sound speaker system such as this.
Dialogue and other centrally-placed effects sound incredibly life-like and substantial. Tonal quality is excellent with real weight and a natural timbre given to speech, while the front soundstage created between Neuphonix and Epicentrix is vast, but it all comes together with amazing sonic uniformity.
As a whole, this Krix system packs a hefty surround sound punch, ideal for the larger listening room. It puts in a muscular home cinema performance but combined with ample levels of detail for those more subtle movie moments.
But, it’s far from just about movies. This system turns it on with music too. Both 2-channel and in multi-channel mode.
In stereo, the Neuphonix delight with their musical abilities. Playing Nielsen’s Symphony No.4 these floorstanders revelled in the complex orchestral arrangement and as things get more sonically hectic, the Krix’s handle the wide-ranging dynamics with absolute ease.
Bass performance is excellent, there’s refinement to the midrange and it's delivered unforced and with bags of finesse.
Bringing the remaining speakers into the mix, an SACD of Patricia Barber’s Companion live album is something to experience. As close as you’ll get to actually having been there, this is probably one of the best recordings of live female vocals and intimate instrumentation you’ll hear, and through this Krix system as an entirety, the experience is utterly captivating.
With a few things in place for the Krix system to perform at its best, such as room for the speakers to breathe, decent AV processing and amplification, it's just captivating in so many ways.
At just under $11,000 depending on the chosen finish, this Krix speaker collective will deliver home cinema sound with both muscle and finesse.
For more information visit Krix.
As the former editor of AVL Magazine, a highly regarded HiFi publication throughout the 80s and 90s, Nic’s love of HiFi and Audio Visual sees him return once again to his true passion focusing primarily on 2-channel audio, the latest digital trends and vinyl playback.