- Drivers: 5.25″ woofer, ¾” dome tweeter
- Construction principle: bass reflex, 2-way, active
- Frequency range: 47 Hz – 22 kHz (-6 dB)
- Built-in amplifier power: 2 x 50 W (woofer), 2 x 25 W (tweeter), class D
- Crossover: DSP-based (crossover frequency not specified)
- Inputs: Analog line-in (stereo RCA), turntable (stereo RCA), HDMI, ARC, optical digital (TOSLINK), Bluetooth 5.0
- Outputs: Pre out (stereo RCA), speaker out, USB 5 V out
- Dimensions and weight: 17 x 28 x 22 cm incl. front fabric / 7.2 kg (set)
- Finish: Black, white, ashb
- Web: argonaudio.com
We recently tested the Argon Audio Fenris A4, and now it’s the turn of the next model in the series, the Argon Audio Fenris A5.
The family resemblance between the two models is obvious. You almost have to have the two speakers set up next to each other to spot the difference. Which is that the Fenris A5 is a few centimetres wider and taller than the A4. And that the midwoofer is 5.25 inches instead of 4. The treble is handled by the same three-quarter-inch dome used in the Fenris A4 and Fenris A55.
The slightly larger cabinet also means that the Argon Audio Fenris A5 is just big enough to cover the support plate on my speaker stands. But they’re still in the super-compact class – and so small and inexpensive that most people will opt to place them on a sideboard or shelf. They also fit nicely on the desktop as computer speakers.
Like Argon Audio’s other speakers, the Fenris A5 has rounded edges on the cabinet. The speakers are available in matt white or matt black finish. But it pleases the heart of an old speaker geek that they are also available in a wood finish. Not the real thing, but a fairly plausible light ash finish.
The units are surrounded by metal trim that serves no purpose other than decoration. If you prefer a subtle look, front grilles in quite nice upholstery fabric is included; black fabric for the black and wood-coloured versions, and grey fabric for the white version. The grilles are attached with invisible, recessed magnets.
Same electronics in all models
The electronics in the Argon Audio Fenris A5 are also a familiar sight, as they are exactly the same as those used in the Fenris A4. To sum it up, there are four built-in amplifiers, one for each driver. The amps for the midwoofer unit are 2 x 50 watts, and 2 x 25 watts for the tweeters. The crossover is digital, and a digital signal processor (DSP) adjusts the frequency response.
There are analogue inputs for turntable and line signal. And optical digital and HDMI inputs. And, of course, Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
All the electronics are in the left speaker. The right speaker is completely passive, but is fed via a special three-metre four-pole cable. Longer cables can be purchased in the webshop.
The sound test of the Argon Audio Fenris A5 is also in many ways a repetition of the pattern of the Fenris A4. In short, it plays the same way, but with a little more headroom and power in the bass.
The bass response is really nice for such a small and inexpensive speaker. And while old hi-fi geeks (myself included) may think that “real” speakers are passive and driven by a massive, separate amplifier, there are things that can only be done with active speakers. Such as playing bass at full level in a cabinet smaller than a shoebox.
Compared to the smaller model, the Fenris A5 subjectively goes somewhat deeper into the bass. On paper it’s only a 5 Hz difference, but deep drums and synthesizer basses come into the music and you can just about feel a certain body sensation.
The Argon Audio Fenris A5, like its little brother, excels in its really nice reproduction of voices without any tendency to stuffiness. It makes it a pleasure to turn up the volume a little and actually listen to the music. But not too loud, because then the illusion breaks when the speakers have difficulty separating the details.
My stress test in that discipline is Disturbed’s cover version of “The Sound of Silence”. Coping with powerful vocals and orchestral crescendo at the same time is a difficult task. And it takes more power and more nuance than the little Fenris A5 is capable of. But more expensive and larger speakers have had to bite the dust over the same test. And the sound doesn’t get ugly and distorted – just unclear and flat.
Sorten Muld’s “The Ballad of Iver and Buske” also proves that electronic music with dance rhythms is not what the Fenris A5 does best.
Perspective and depth are handled very nicely by the Argon Audio Fenris A5. For the price. You can sense that there is a space behind the speakers, but it remains on the sketch level. And that’s one of the things that demonstrates the difference between cheap and expensive hi-fi.
As before, Argon Audio is its own biggest competitor in the price range. The Fenris A5 is slightly more expensive than the Forte A4, which has somewhat better sound but not as much raw power. And the Fenris A4 offers exactly the same connectivity options as the Fenris A5 – including, notably, HDMI input for TV audio – but at a slightly lower price.
Compared to its really successful little brother, the Argon Audio Fenris A5 is a bit more of a good thing. It has the same strengths in terms of an open and well presented sound. It just plays a bit louder and deeper, and with a bit more headroom. As the electronics are the same, it’s an equally good deal at a very low price.
Turntable input and HDMI input make the Fenris A5 a universal solution for the small living room, dorm room or cottage. Just add a TV or turntable and you’re ready to go. Or you can stream music wirelessly from your mobile.
It also still has the same weakness of a slightly less advanced amplifier section and slightly cheaper speaker units. Which for some may be a reason to shell out a few more Euros for the Argon Forte A4 or Forte A5.