The Atomix is designed to be small in size yet big in sound, delivering detailed accuracy and stunning clarity.
The Atomix are the ideal all-rounder, versatile for any application, from compact stereo speakers, front and rear channel speakers in your surround sound system, use in a second zone, or even in a desktop environment. The two-way bass reflex design features a 26mm ring radiator tweeter and a 100mm diameter bass driver.
The Atomix is a little speaker that will offer a dynamic experience.
by Stephen Dawson
Everything ‘ix’ in the world of speakers
has to be from Krix, based in South
Australia, purveyors of both home
and commercial cinema speakers
and systems. This surround pack consists of
the company’s entry-level models for all six
elements of a 5.1-channel surround speaker
system, and represents the lowest price for
which a package from Krix has ever been
offered, to our memory. And of course they
are all affixed with the Krix suffix of ix.
Despite this being the company’s entry-level
system, the speakers come finished in a
beautiful, flawless piano-glass black. Do allow
yourself a bit of unpacking time with this
system. Each component is double-boxed —
that is, it comes in a close-fitting cardboard
carton which is in turn fitted into a looser
carton, polystyrene blocks providing clearance
between the two. These are thus very well
protected in transit.
Six with an ‘ix’
This is the lowest entry-level
system ever assembled by South
Australian cinema gurus Krix.
Can they shrink their sound
signature as well as their price?
There are two floorstanders (the 87cm-high
Rhythmix), one Sonix centre channel, two
Atomix surround/bookshelf speakers, plus a
new variant of Krix’s Seismix subwoofer, this
one called the Seismix Cube.
The Seismix Cube is not precisely a cube,
but it’s not far off either. And at 295mm wide,
it’s nicely compact. This packs a 200mm
downwards-firing driver with a 38mm voice
coil on an aluminium former (allowing
improved heat dissipation). The cabinet is
bass reflex loaded, with the port also firing
downwards. With all this acoustic activity
down there, the cabinet is held clear of the
floor by four integrated legs (below right).
The unit is designed pretty much solely
for home theatre work, having only line-level
inputs, although there is a low-pass filter
control knob and a phase reversal switch, in
addition to the level control. In general it’s
best to leave the filter knob set to the highest
possible frequency, as this will reduce any
unfortunate interactions with the filtering in
your AV receiver.
The unit has auto switch-on and switch-off,
and these seemed to operate efficiently. With
some systems we can find ourselves noticing
that whatever we are listening to is missing a
bass foundation for a while after switch-on,
and then it belatedly kicks in as the subwoofer
comes to life. There was none of that here: the
bass was on tap instantly.
The other speakers are based around a
26mm dual-concentric diaphragm tweeter
in each unit. This is quite different from your
common dome tweeter. The diaphragm is
made of a soft material forming two concentric rings. At the centre is a plug that in a
larger loudspeaker driver would be called a
phase plug. This tends to reduce interference
between the same frequencies being reproduced on different parts of the driver surface.
The tweeter uses a neodymium magnet.
The floorstanding Rhythmix loudspeakers
are fairly compact at 875mm tall. That puts the
centre of the tweeter at only 700mm above the
floor since it is situated between two 130mm
bass/midrange drivers. That makes it difficult
for the loudspeaker to act as a true point source
because for it to do so the tweeter should be
firing directly at the listener’s ear level.
The centre Sonix and surround Atomix
speakers use the same style of tweeter and
similar but smaller (100mm) bass/midrange
drivers. The Sonix gets two of them, the
Atomix speakers each contain one. The
speakers are nicely compact: the Sonix just
435mm wide and 125mm tall, the Atomix
125mm wide and only 215mm tall.
All the speaker cabinets are bass reflex
loaded, rear ported for left, right and rears, but
wisely front ported for the centre channel. This
allows the Sonix loudspeaker’s use in more
compact places than if it were rear ported.
We coupled the system with four different AV
receivers, all rated at between 60 and 110 watts
per channel, three of conventional design and
one using Class-D amplification. When we ran
the auto-calibration system on three of them
(the fourth didn’t have this feature) they all
suggested that the speakers were quite a bit
larger than they actually are.
One receiver, in fact, set them all to ‘Large’
(which would mean that they’d receive the full
range of sound while the subwoofer would
receive only LFE). The others said ‘Small’ for
all the speakers, but considered them to be
big ‘Small’ speakers, setting their crossovers
to 60Hz for the front and surround speakers,
40Hz for the centre.
One receiver treating them like this we
would have thought an aberration, but three?
It seems to us that these speakers have such
balanced sound down to their various bottom
ends that they actually tricked the receivers.
We’d suggest that if your home theatre has
the capability, you set the centre and surround
channels manually to ‘Small’, and apply a
crossover of 80-100Hz for the surrounds, and
60-80Hz for the centre.
As it happens, we did use the system for a
few days with the 60/40/60 setting from one
of the receivers, and it sounded excellent. The
only reason we’d change that is that some
rare music mixes include prodigious amounts
of bass in all the channels and this could be
damaging to these loudspeakers if fed into
them at high level. By sending it instead to
the subwoofer they are released to provide
greater levels of performance in the upper
bass, midrange and treble. Krix has designed
the subwoofer with a 26Hz high pass filter for
a similar reason: this protects the unit from
futilely attempting to reproduce bass which it
simply cannot manage, soaking up amplifier
power and pushing the driver to the limits of
its excursion, thereby reducing the amount of
audible bass it can actually reproduce.
And indeed there was a surprising amount
of that. This little subwoofer managed the
unusual feat — for a small unit — of producing
both good high levels and good bass extension.
To our ears the 25Hz bottom end claim
seemed to be pushing it a bit, but there was
clearly plenty of reproduction in the low 30s.
Plenty, and effortless.
We often find that package subwoofers tend
to be a little undercooked for the surround
speaker pack with which they are supplied, but
in this case we thought it a perfect match. With
the crossovers managed by the receivers, the
melding of its output into those of the other
speakers was acoustically invisible. It did not
produce any audible distortion or other noise
which might draw attention to its location.
The centre channel delivered a clean
and nicely articulate dialogue, which is so
important with many modern movies. That’s
because movie makers feel freer these days
(with multichannel digital sound in movie
theatres) to present the human voice in a
greater range of conditions, including that of
mumbling and murmuring. If it is capable of
being understood, the Sonix centre channel
did as good a job as any.
The Atomix surrounds and the Rhythmix
fronts were all excellent sonic matches for the
Sonix. We did most of our listening without
using any EQ available from the home theatre
receivers, and the handover from speaker to
speaker was smooth, even with a vocal ‘walk
around the room’ test, which is often rather
challenging. Between-speaker surround sound
imaging was first class.
The only significant limitation was that
ultimate volume levels were restricted to
the highly powerful in our largish listening
room, rather than the entirely deafening. As
we advanced the level they did harshen up a
little, gradually and sensibly protesting the
additional work to which they were being put.
That meant that there was a kind of natural
protection to them being overdriven. Kept
within those constraints — with still high
output available from the system — they were
clean and balanced.
Results were similar with stereo music.
There was a good soundstage, decent imaging
and good levels. The Rhythmix were a trifle
blander and less dynamic than our much
larger speakers (we reckon that you could
pack eight Rhythmix into each of them!), but
that was no surprise. Instead they delivered a
good balance of all the desired characteristics:
control, detail and tonal balance.
If the goal of Krix with this system was
to overcome that issue that in the past its
lovely range of speakers has commenced at
a price-point just a little too high for many
potential purchasers, it has succeeded. With
these newer entries at, well, the entry level,
many more listeners will be able to enjoy the
performance of this fine Australian brand.