The sub has a downward firing 6.5in driver and is ported, which helps shift air to improve bass response.
For testing we tried a range of music with different styles. The first track we tried was, ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ by Pink Floyd and we found that we were soon involved in the track with the high strung vocals creating a powerful mood.
The Foo Fighters created a wall of sound, that sounding powerful and impressiv. The bass sounded a touch boomy but things improved when I lowered the bass volume on the sub-woofer. The set was notable for going quite loud and seemed to be hitting the spot.
What we needed though was some tough competition and for that we unboxed another sub-sat set - this one was from Hi-Fi specialists Acoustic Energy (AE). The full review of these will be forthcoming so I don’t want to give too much away. However, suffice to say that these quickly spoilt the party for the iRythms A-211s, which were no longer able to assert their Acoustic Authority.
The AEs were simply better, with a tighter, crisper sound. Instruments to be placed more accurately and the whole soundstage was more enveloping and 3D like, yet also more natural. Switching back and forth between the two, the Acoustic Authority sounded comparatively muddy, and the bass looser and woollier.
The iRythms also seemed to have less frequency repsonese.
The delicate vocal sibilants in a string vocal track such as George Michael’s cover of ‘The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face’, was a good demonstration of this, with the sibilants sounded rounded and indistinct on the A211’s compared to the Acoustic Energy.
Moving to tracks where fast bass response was needed, such as Madonana’s ‘Die Another Day’ and whereas we were foot tapping with the Acoustic Energy, we were frowning slightly with the iRythms.
The story repeated with all the music we tried. Overall then the iRythms were shown up by the Acoustic Energy set. Even so they aren’t actually bad speakers.
A bigger issue is that in the UK the SRP will be £199, which rather amazingly is twice the price of the Acoustic Energy set. This is unfortunate as in the U.S.A, the same set can be picked up for $180 – currently £95. If they were this price then they’d be worth considering as while you could get better sound quality for the money this can be offset by the convenience of the remote control and of course the iPod dock.
However, this isn’t the case, which makes the A-211 very poor value for money.
A reasonable sounding set of sub-sat speakers with a handy remote and iPod dock, but when you can get a much better sounding set for half the price, it’s pretty much impossible to recommend the Acoustic Authority iRhythms A-211s.