Amphion+Nuforce Helium 410 System Review - Performance & Verdict Review

Sections

This isn’t to say the 410s falter when you do crank the volume up. The
80W rating is deceptive as it will happily take on and beat higher rated
products including the famously bombastic
Zepplin Air (150W) and you’ll certainly be shaking the windows in
smaller rooms. Equally impressive is how well the 410 holds sound
together at high volumes with minimal distortion and wide, controlled
dispersion. If we are being picky, as a 2.0 system, there is a slight
lack of bass that is noticeable on bass-heavy tracks, though it remains
robust enough to make a fine job of even the most excessive action movie
explosions.

Another
joy of the 410s is their unfussiness. Amphion employs a proprietary
technology known as ‘UDD’ (‘Uniformly Directive Diffusion’) which
creates an even dispersion of sound to minimise the anomalies caused by
wall, floor and ceiling reflections and it allows the 410 to be
positioned almost anywhere. This is a pleasant change from the usual
speaker feng shui which often leads to furniture being rejigged in
search of that elusive audio sweet spot.

All of which means
there has to be a ‘but’ and sadly this but is substantial: price. On
their own the Helium 410 speakers retail for £635. Throw in the NuForce
Icon-2 amp (rear below), itself £319, and the official bundle price is
£899. With this budget a vast array of high quality 2.1, 5.1 and even
7.1 speaker sets are available. In fact our
surround sound product of the year, the 5.1
Jamo A 101 HCS 5, is priced at just £235.

6

Of
course we know what Amphion’s argument will be: these products are not
meant to compete. The Helium 410 (and its NuForce bundle) is something
completely different: a wonderfully subtle speaker set that has
incredible intelligibility at low volumes and enough flexibility to work
anywhere with virtually any product. It is the ultimate low listening 2.0 system for the financially very well heeled.

The
flip side is for £900 we can have the Jamo A 101 HCS 5 for our living
room, the
Bose Companion 20 speakers (£200) for our desktop and, if silence is
that important, we still have £465 left to spend on a top notch pair of
headphones. We’ll take the
Blueant Embrace (£170) and still have enough for a pair of
ACS T15 earphones (£149) for on the move and pocket £145.

”’Verdict”’
In their own right the Amphion Helium 410 speakers are remarkable. They ooze detail, warmth and surprising power with only a slight lack of bass at window shaking volumes. It is a superb achievement for small a 2.0 setup. Better still the 410 is truly compelling at low volumes, maintaining detail and integrity allowing you to listen more quietly without a loss in fidelity. In its bundle pack the 410 and NuForce Icon-2 create a wonderfully flexible package as well, taking input from a virtually limitless array of sources. The problem is cost. Unless you’re seriously into home audio recording, or just have money to burn, you’re better off spending the Amphion’s £899 bundle price elsewhere. If you have the means you will adore the Amphion Nuforce Helium 410 System, but for everyone else there are more sensible alternatives.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Performance 9
  • Features 8
  • Value 5
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Design 9

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.