Having had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with all four models by way of the now-complete redevelopment of both the A2(c) and A3(c) platforms, I would like to take a moment to touch on this one last time.
Originally Posted by MarsianMan
The Arx A5 treble was crisp and any comments about forwardness was directed at this range only. I just thought that long term listening may lead to a headache or ears hurting. The midrange was not as present as I would want and maybe I mean warm. The midrange (or what i think of mids) just felt overshadowed by vocals and sounds like cymbals. I also thought that voices didn't have the timbre I expected.
Frankly, the A5 audibly has the most relaxed treble in the range. It's slightly the warmest model in the range too.
Neither trait are strikingly so, but of all models, the A5 has just a touch of reserve in the highs that the A1b and A2c, for example, need ever so slightly more of to be balanced. The A5 is a powerful bass system and has a trace more underlying power down low that at even low volumes hints at what it can do when pushed harder in larger rooms, its natural best home. At no time in our system and room can I make this model become even slightly bright. I cannot get it to harmonically fracture unless I overdrive the amplifier, at which point is an amplifier issue.
Buford's comments about the A5s midrange drive also came to mind in tuning the A2c and A3c against the A1b and A5: The A5 has a light and lift in the midrange that indicates it's got that extra something you can get from a three-way system. There's just more information there, and while the A5 may be considered a choice for a higher-output home theater, to me it actually has the illumination and perspective that this week for me made a single acoustical guitar a somewhat more engaging experience than it did from the two-way models. I love the sheer integration potential of simple systems, but in this case they cannot go as loud or mine quite as as much middle-range information as the three-way.
I have to admit that the remarks above are one of the more genuinely perplexing commentaries I've tried to sort out. There are things I wish all four models could do that they naturally cannot, and the A5 is no exception. I wish it could embody the sheer scope and pop of a classic time-aligned design. I wish it could hit a solid 25Hz. I wish it imaged like a point-source fullrange driver, soundstaged like a linesource, and had the immediacy of a great horn system. It cannot but within its limits I honestly cannot say I find it - or even make it - either bright or fatiguing.
TAI routinely offers advice about sources and amplification and I think this could be one of those times. The A5 is a 5 ohm speaker, rated nominally at 6. It is sensitive, and from its 5.25" woofers does not reproduce the bottom octave. It will absolutely respond to what it's being driven with and from and it will probably not like amplifier sections that struggle into 4 ohm loads. It will translate the sounds of the front end and electronics as it should.
In this thread I'd like to recommend medium-sized power amplifiers of good instantaneous current delivery capacity at the same time I recommend against typical low current Big Brand receivers. The A5 is not intended for a $500, or in some cases, even a $900 receiver with far more of a feature set than a real amplifier section. It's intended to be driven by a electrically-capable amplifier of as little as 40w - it was voiced on, among other things, a 15w differential current-sourced ZNFB triode amplifier with very fast recovery time and very low distortion. An equivalent solid state amplifier technically doesn't exist and the user certainly won't need one, but a 40w@8r / 80w@4r amplifier from a good brand is going to give excellent, comparable results. The same holds for a 125w/~180w rated amplifier.
As always, if we can help out with more specific suggestions, please call on us to do so.