Comments on Athena speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Gordon*K, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Gordon*K

    Gordon*K Auditioning

    Jun 8, 2004
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    I have been searching for speakers to replace my 10 yr old PSB alpha fronts and center for quite a while. Read a zillion posts here, learned a lot, but could not find a better set in my price range.
    I saw a few recommendations for Athena, but had dismissed them, I guess because they are sold at best buy. I read another good review, so I went in and (tried) to audition them. We don't need to go into detail, save to say BB is a joke where audio sales are concerned. I did get to (sort of) compare them to some JBL E30s, and noticed the JBL had a thicker, duller sound, and even though the Athenas didn't really sound that good, I took a pair of AS-B1's home.
    I'm really glad I did! I know, these are not very expensive, they're sold at BB, and they're made in CHINA! But, I really like 'em. WAY better than my alphas (powered by a Denon 1603 BTW), more detail, better imaging, and a wider soundstage.
    I don't know if they'll get better after the break in period or not, but I listened to music for hours yesterday, and really enjoyed them. I went back to BB and got the matching center (AS-C1) and watched "The Italian Job" last night. Sounded great, lots more capable than alpha center, sounds like the bigger speaker it is. I noticed a bit of sibilance in some voices at one point, but overall much better than what I was used to. My overall impression was "smooth" and capable of LOTS of volume.
    I ordered Athena's monopole surrounds today, to round out the set. The Athenas are keepers. I know, it's more of a lateral move from the PSBs, but especially for music, they sound so GOOD!
    Some have described them as bright, but I would not say so, at least through my denon (they did sound like ass throught the Yamaha and voodoo board at BB though). I would call them detailed, but they are not fatiguing. I think I am pretty sensitive to this too, harsh highs bug me. There's a softness to the highs, and an airiness, that I really like.
    They sound more neutral to me, with lots of detail, I am noticeing little things in the music I hadn't heard before.
    Cosmetically, they are nice as well, and accent some of the silver gear in my system. Build quality seems good, they are heavy, and solid. Joints are tight and neatly finished as well. I could actually look in the port, and see good mdf instead of flakeboard (like my SA-WM40), acoustic dampening material, and much thicker wiring than my PSBs had. Even the boxes are sturdy.
    As far as the center goes, I had heard some dissatisfaction, mostly coming from owners of the larger, floorstanding mdels. Remember, I have the bookshelf units, and for them the center seems a good match. Easily keeps up with the mains, seamless pans (same drivers), good lateral dispersion.
    Anyway, I had seen Athenas kind of dismissed in some posts, people saying look at other brands, etc. Some posters seem to be suggesting no worthwhile speakers could be had at BB. Now, I agree, you are on your own there, but they do have a liberal return policy. I am not an expert, but I have listened to a bunch of different gear, and I say, the Athenas are a GREAT speakers for the money!
  2. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

    Dec 7, 2003
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    I agree with you Gordon. Though I am one of those that are not happy with the AS-C1 center, I think the B1, B2, F2, R1s are all an amazing value...especially at the new lower Best Buy prices.

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