The Short Form
|$6,080 (as tested) / LEONSPEAKERS.COM / 888-213-5015|
|A custom system that delivers beautifully on your investment, paying rich dividends in sound quality|
|• Natural sound from a compact system
• Custom finishes and custom sizing on
the LCR soundbar
• Bulletproof build quality
• Full-featured external subwoofer amplifier
|• Surrounds could use a little more kick
• Subwoofer's small size limits performance
• A tad pricey
|• Horizon Hz414-X-A ($2,495): 1-in Morel tweeter, 4-in Peerless HDS woofer; 47¾ x 6 x 3¼ in, 45 lb
• Hz/PR114-S-X-A ($1,395 a pair): 1-in Morel tweeter, 4-in Peerless HDS woofer; 6 x 9½ x 3¼ in, 12 lb
• A3-400-IR ($1,195): 8-in woofer; 15 x 12 x 4 in, 35 lb
• L3-1K subwoofer amplifier ($995): 1,024 watts into 4 ohms, 512 watts into 8 ohms; 17½ x 4 x 13 in, 35 lb
As I opened the shipping cartons, I thought to myself, "These are no ordinary speakers." That's because I'd been told that the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Leon Speaker Corporation does something few others do: build to order, matching its front LCR soundbar speaker to the depth of any flat-screen TV and completing the job in 3 to 5 days. (Leon will also put custom finishes on all its speakers.) But seeing, as they say, is believing.
Along with the Horizon Hz414-X-A soundbar, the company sent me a pair of Hz/PR114-S-X-A surrounds and an A3-400-IR subwoofer accompanied by an external L3-1K amplifier. As you can see from the family photo, this system isn't your usual 5.1 deal. One heads-up: Leon uses similar model numbers for several versions of its speakers. Mine had the "X" designation, which means that they're packed with "premium" drivers, and priced accordingly.
The Hz414-X-A LCR is one long slab with a removable grille cloth. Underneath the grille are soft-dome tweeter/dual-woofer pairs for left and right, and one woofer/tweeter/woofer combo for the center. Four ports are aligned across the front as well. Around back are three sets of binding posts for the speaker cables. The surrounds each have a tweeter/woofer combo (but no port) and binding posts in back. Oddly, the surrounds don't have grilles.
The A3 subwoofer can be bought in an in-wall configuration, but my sample was designed for in-room use. Various bases are available. (Mine was chrome.) With a 4-inch-thick cabinet and a front-firing driver and port, the sub can also be configured for on-wall use. The only connections to the subwoofer are conventional binding posts.
The sub's imposing L3-1K amplifier is rated at 1,024 watts into 4 ohms and 512 watts into 8 ohms. (The sub is rated at
6 ohms.) This beast has front-panel controls for variable phase, cutoff frequency (30 to 200 Hz), and gain, as well as a parametric equalizer with controls for frequency, bandwidth, and level. Around back are line-level inputs, a selector for on/auto/12-volt trigger, a trigger input, and a pair of speaker binding posts to connect the sub. Separate rack ears are also provided with the amp.
All of the speakers, and especially the amplifier, exhibit tremendous build quality. One complaint: The trés chic faint-gray lettering on the amp's front panel was very hard to read.
Installation didn't pose any problems. It was a simple matter to heft the soundbar under my TV's screen, set the surrounds on speaker stands, and position the sub in my usual spot along the front wall, halfway between the room's center line and the side wall. Because the surrounds are intended for wall mounting, I butted them up against my rear wall. I also spent some quality time massaging the sub amp's controls, especially the equalizer, for optimal bass response in my room. I was pleased to see such a complement of bass controls, and the ability to fine-tune the bass response helped. In particular, I used the equalization to add a narrow boost at around 70 Hz to pack a little more punch.
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