Amphion+Nuforce Helium 410 System Review

Sections

Pros

  • Incredible sound integrity at low volumes
  • Stylish, handmade design
  • Tremendous flexiblity
  • Surprisingly loud
  • Powerful bass for a 2.0 system

Cons

  • Jaw droppingly expensive

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £899.00
  • UDD sound dispersion technology
  • 2.0 80W two way, vented speakers
  • Optical, coaxial and USB input
  • Amp & USB DAC

Finland is a famously quiet country. Courses in small talk are popular
and with the lowest population density in Europe (just 41 people per
square mile), it could be argued much of Finns’ taciturn nature is by
consequence not design. As such it makes perfect sense that a Finnish
speaker maker would go against the grain and promote the quietness of
its latest speaker ahead of its volume.

5

The
‘Helium 410’ represents a new ‘entry level’ 2.0 arrangement in Amphion’s
audiophile product range and it comes with a simple philosophy: what you
hear at low volume is just as (if not more) important than what you
hear when it’s loud. The theory is solid, more often than not you
cannot blast your speakers due to family and neighbours. It also exposes
a dirty industry secret: many speakers need to be blasted before they
come alive. The obvious question is whether this is just a marketing
ploy?

Certainly straight out the box the Helium 410s are unusual.
They eschew the traditional use of wood and instead are constructed
from a composite material available in a matt black or white finish. The
effect is unusual – perhaps even polarising – but the build quality is
exceptional, which is unsurprising given all Amphion speakers are
handmade. A nice touch is the metal speaker grills are removable and
available in a wide collection of colours should you fancy a change.

7

Key
to the 410s is their versatility. Each speaker weighs 3.5Kg and
measures 259 x 132 x 220mm making them small enough to use as desktop
speakers, yet substantial enough to hook up to your TV. The former role
is assisted by a focus on near field listening, while Amphion promotes
the 410’s ‘3-dimensional soundstaging’ and correct placement of voices
to make them equally at home in the latter.

The 410’s are two way,
vented speakers with a 1in titanium tweeter, 4.5in paper mid/woofer,
crossover point of 1,600Hz, 8ohm impedance, 86dB sensitivity, 60 –
20,000Hz frequency response and 20-80W power recommendation. Amphion
also offers the 410 as a bundle pack called the ‘Amphion Nuforce Helium 410 System’ (which is what we have here) which includes a
Icon-2 amp which can operate as a USB
DAC.
The combination offers a great deal of flexibility since the Icon-2 can
take input via USB, an optical jack and coaxial sources. Everything from a PC to games console, TV to phone or MP3 player can be connected with the Icon-2 happy to swap between them
at the turn of a dial. 

10

So is quiet the new loud?

Amphion
is certainly onto something. Even at whisper-quiet listening levels the
Helium 410 maintains its intelligibility with highly detailed, yet warm
and full bodied sound. This has a welcome affect on listening habits as
you start to listen to music at lower levels because it remains
satisfying. If you value your hearing or the sanity of your partner
and/or neighbours this will prove a revelation.

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