Video: Artison Flat-panel Speakers
Steve Kindig has been an electronics enthusiast for over 30 years. He has written extensively about home and car A/V gear for Crutchfield since 1985. Steve is also a volunteer announcer in the folk department of community radio station WTJU, where he is one of the regular hosts of "Atlantic Weekly."
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Amanda: Hi. I'm Amanda.
Steve: And I'm Steve and we're here in the Crutchfield studio to tell you about Artison speakers. And we're going to be focusing on their speakers for flat-panel TVs. There are three models: there's the Sketch, the Portrait, and these are their top of the line, the Masterpiece.
Amanda: Yep. Now all of these speakers use some really smart, innovative technology to solve a pretty common flat-panel TV problem. You might have noticed if you've got a plasma or an LCD at home that the little tiny speakers built into the TV can't keep up with the picture. It's a kind of flat, kind of tinny sound.
Steve: Mine is. And TV makers really just focus on the picture, and there isn't room in these skinny cabinets for decent sounding speakers.
Amanda: No, that's exactly true. And at the same time you might not want sort of bigger, bulkier speakers with your really beautiful, sleek flat-panel TV. And that's where Artison comes in. They've actually designed these really slimline speakers that attach right to the side of your flat-panel TV. And they give you some really impressive, actually audiophile-quality sound. It's really good. And they're not like some of the other sound solutions you might have seen before like sound bars, you know, the one speaker that mounts to the bottom of the TV. Sound bars can give you stereo sound or maybe simulated surround sound. But these Artison speakers can actually give you dedicated left, center, and right channel information so you can use them as part of a discreet 5.1-channel home theater system, and that means you're going to get some really detailed surround sound.
Steve: These speakers sound terrific. If you subscribe to any audio/video magazines, you've probably run across some really positive reviews for these Artison speakers.
Amanda: Definitely. In fact even some really picky audiophiles are using these speakers as their main speakers for music, which really says a lot about how good they sound.
Steve: Well, there's a lot of innovative technology inside. They were designed by a guy named Cary Christie, and in case you don't know who he is, he's been designing innovative speakers for decades, and was actually one of the co-founders of Infinity speakers back in 1970.
Amanda: Yep. So now let's take a look at exactly how these speakers sound as good as they do. First of all, there's something called a "stage" tweeter. It's a side-firing tweeter that's built in over here on the outside of the cabinet. Now its job is to broaden the sound stage. That means that instead of the sound sounding like it comes, you know, just out of here and no further, the tweeter actually extends that out to the side so it sounds wider, just more enveloping. It's really cool.
Steve: Another difference is both the left and the right speakers actually reproduce the center channel sound as well, and that's called the DualMono center. And you can see this extra set of drivers over here actually reproduces just the center channel sound, and there's a separate dedicated set of jacks in the back.
Amanda: And that's actually a pretty cool design because the sound then sounds like it comes just right out of the screen rather that just above or just below, like you get with normal center channel speaker placement.
Steve: This sounds a lot more realistic. So now let's take a look at how these three Artison models are different.
Amanda: Yep. Now starting with the Masterpiece, as Steve said, it's their top of the line model. So it's going have sort of the best build quality and some of the coolest features. For example you get this 5-1/4 inch Kevlar woofer. Now Kevlar is a very light but also very strong material, and that makes it ideal, really, for woofers. You get very rich smooth lows. Now the woofer is also designed for really wide even dispersion which is good for, you know, listening to movies and imaging, things like that. Now something else you get with the Masterpiece speakers are adjustable tweeters. That's really cool because you can kind of tweak the sound based on where you're sitting, how wide your TV is — just really dial it in.
Steve: That's a really key feature. Now when you go to the Portrait, it has a 4-1/2 inch Kevlar woofer and the tweeters are not adjustable.
Amanda: Yep. And finally the entry-level model, the Sketch, also gives you a 4-1/2 inch woofer, although it's made of polypropylene instead of Kevlar. Now, we've actually saved one the very coolest things about these speakers for last. When you're ordering a pair of Artison speakers, you tell us what kind of TV you have — the specific model — and then you get grilles that are custom-matched for your TV. Now, we can do that because Artison has actually researched thousands of TVs, so they can give you grilles that just blend seamlessly in with your set. It's a really smart design actually.
Steve: They've done all the hard work. Now once you get these speakers everything that you need to attach them to the TV comes packed right in the box. And the hardware is really well-made, and it's really thoughtfully designed just like the speakers are.
Amanda: I was impressed. Yeah.
Steve: Now almost all flat panel LCD and plasma TVs have standard wall-mount holes in the back, and this hardware uses those same holes. So you don't have to modify your TV, and the speakers are really securely attached.
Amanda: That's definitely important. Now, we also wanted to share a couple of installation tips. First of all because these speakers are really very high quality, they're pretty heavy, so you want to be sure you have someone there to help you attach them to your TV. Secondly, if you're going to wall-mount your TV and your speakers, you want to be extra sure that your TV's wall mount is strong enough not just to handle the weight of your TV, but also the additional weight of your speakers.
Steve: Absolutely, because depending on which model you choose, it can add anywhere from twenty to fifty pounds.
Amanda: Yeah. Now for more details and safety tips you can watch our video about wall-mounting a TV at crutchfield.com/wallmountvid
Steve: Now, these speakers sound really great just on their own, but if you want to put together a complete surround sound system, Artison also makes voice-matched surround speakers and subwoofers.
Amanda: Yep, which is cool.
Steve: And if you want to have that same Artison sound, but prefer an in-wall speaker, Artison makes in-wall versions of these as well.
Amanda: And that's cool because those actually mount flush in your wall. They have paintable grilles, they just blend right in.
Steve: Really slick.
Amanda: So if you want to learn more about Artison speakers just visit crutchfield.com/Artison
Steve: And you can always call us at 1-800-555-9408.