105db/W high efficiency speaker suitable for low power SET

Arion Audio The Apollo System Open Baffle Line Source Loudspeaker System | Full-Range | Charlotte, North Carolina 28278 | Audiogon

Last week I went to Disney World at Orlando from Seattle by air stayed there for 4 days and then drove 7 hours to Charlotte, NC dropping by Savana, Georgia and Charstown, SC.

I auditioned Arion Audio Apollo System at showroom on Charlotte, NC for 3 hours on 18th of January.

Showroom is 20ft (W) x 30 ft(D)x 12 ft(H).

I brought 7 CDs that I am familiar with.

Mike of Arion is using CEC TL0X transport to drive EmmLab DA 20 and use his own preamplifier.

TJ full music 300b monoblocks are used to drive main unit above 120hz.

Then the bass unit (two 10 inch drivers) was driven by Arion amplifier( 500W for 4 ohm)

He also play VPI turntable.


The first CD is Trio by Schubert played by three maestros.

It has a stable image and musicality.


The second CD is "Songbird" by Eva Cassidy.

It sounds pleasant but fall short of details that I had heard at my system.

I thought it was because of higher details offered by Silbatone 300B amplifier and plasma tweeter of Lansche 4.1 speakers.

But Mike also got disappointed with the sound and played same album on Vinyl with his VPI turntable.

Then it sounded much better with clean details but still slightly fall short of my system.

HIs CEC TL0x may need service.

Mike also mentioned that music server his friend brought sounded better than CEC TL0x.

Nevertheless I kept going with other 5 CDs that I brought.


I played this CD to test layering of chorus and dynamics.

Soundstage is deep and wide matching my current system.

Also I did not notice any reduction of dynamics.

Thus it passed test with good results.


I played track 7 of "Sister Drum" by Dadawa at ear aching volume.

I played this to test ultimate dynamics , low bass and efficiency of speakers (105db/W).

Even with full volume at moderately large room, 8W amplifiers did not show no sign of strain or clipping.

Thus I am inclined to believe high claim of efficiency.

Then I played this CD to test bass and overall atmosphere.

It sounded wonderful with well integrated bass.

When you have line array tweeter and bass unit, bass may get behind.

But his open panel bass unit give quick and controlled sound with no problem of integration with main tower.

I played one more CD to test soundstage and it passed.

Thus this system is worth considering for those who have small power SET amplifier.

After I am back to my home on 19th, I had listened to Lansche 4.1 (99db/W spec but real efficiency aroudn 95db/W) driven by 8W Silbatone SET amplifier with original WE 300 tube made in 1930’s.

I could not play loud as Arion Audio Apollo System that I had heard at Mike’s showroom.

But I got more transparency and details through my system.

I also could play loud enough for most of music in my listening room.

If I use Silbatone SET amplifier on Arion Audio Apollo System, then I may also get nice transparency and details .

Silbatone Acoustics JI-300B Integrated Amplifier Review By Steven R. Rochlin

My listening space on third floor attic is moderate size (20ft x 20ft x 15ft[H])

Thus I do not have enough to place Lansche and Arion Apollos side by side.

If I go for Arion, then I shall set up separate listening space at living room on second floor ( 20ft[[w] x 30 ft[D} x 20 ft[H]).

It is a lot of work with acoustic treatment.

Although I like Arion Apollo system, I have not made up decision to buy it yet.

Some horn based system also have high efficiency but they tend to have some coloration out of horn.

But Arion Apollo system sound very clean without any notable coloration having lot of potential for low power SET amp.
7aeeb429 76a8 4040 a90e 93802cf27573shkong78
Interesting thank you.
Thanks, @shkong78 Very helpful.
@ david_ten

This speaker will work well your 3W SET amplifier.

If you are interested, you may want to audition at his showroom in Charlotte, NC.

@ johnk

You have a nice vintage horn speaker.

Is it WE or Altech?

This Arion speaker is also nice without any horn coloration.
Have many horns vintage and modern pretty much the best of the best. One pictured is a RCA Shearer horn from 1930s
This speaker will work well your 3W SET amplifier.

@shkong78  I will make the effort to audition Arion's speaker, at some point in the future. I currently have three top choices to pair with my 2A3 amp and once I make a final choice (soon), I'll be auditioning other possible pairings, over time.

Thanks again for sharing your experience and impressions of their speaker system/setup.
@ johnk

I would like to get nice vintage horn speaker someday.

You have got a nice one.

It will be wonderful to have chance to listen to your vintage horn system.

I really like Arion Apolllo speakers with 105 db/W high efficiency.

But I am not willing to give up Lansche 4.1 speaker with pristine treble out of plasma tweeter.

I do not have enough room to place two speakers side by side at my listening space on the third floor.

I asked for my wife's permission to set up second listening space at living room on the second floor.

But she is hesitant to give it go.

Thus I can not move on.

But if you are serious SET Audiophile, I recommend you to audition this excellent speaker yourself.
Avant Garde is a horn speaker.

Many people including me find the bass integration of subwoofer with horn is not very seemless.

This Arion Apollo is more coherent and more affordable(?) at 24K$.
Interesting speaker, but more interesting to me is they indicate they are the US distributor for Analysis Audio speakers which are based on Apogee designs. I have always been interested in those speakers so will give them a call just for that but will be sure to ask them about the Arion as well.
@ clio09

I had Apogee Duetta Signature driven by Krell KSA 150 from 1989 to 1999. 

But recently I enjoy nice timber and nuanced details out of SET tube amplifier.

This speaker works well with small power SET.

It will be good idea for you to contact Mike to audition the speaker yoursefl.
Shkong78 those are huge speakers for the second system....You have to really involve the WIFE to buy them....
@ jayctoy

As you mentioned, it is not easy to set up big speakers in living room with wife's approval.

Let me see.

Cessaro's are horns. See above.
Don’t see where he says horns are out of the question 

I will get Western Electric vintage big horn speaker if I can spare 300K$ now.

It is really good with natural dynamics.

I had listened to several model of Avantgarde but I found them not to have good integration with subwoofer.

The problem is their horn sound very fast but subwoofer lag behind.

Western Electric system use field coil unit which integrate well with horn.

Cesaro also offers option of field coil unit.

Most speaker use permanent magnet.

Field coil unit use electric coil magnet which produce much higher efficiency and fast transient.

But it is costly to make good field coil unit.

If I were you, I would keep the JBL speaker for another 2 or 3 years while trying high power SET amplifier like Line Magnetic 508.


Have you heard the GT Audio Works GTA 3.1R or the Pure Audio Project Quintet and if so, can you comment on either compared to the Arion Apollo speakers?