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October 2023

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Alexandria Audio Monitor Loudspeaker Review
Road to Bali, or Bali high-mids and lows... from a surprising newcomer within Indonesia.
Review By Ric Mancuso

 

Alexandria Audio Monitor Loudspeaker Review Road to Bali, or Bali high-mids and lows... from a surprising newcomer within Indonesia. Review By Ric Mancuso

 

Is It A Soundtrack, Movie, Or What?
I like reviewing audio playback offerings from other countries. A few generations of gear have come from other lands that have matured and demonstrated worthiness to be top contenders in the High-End markets. I received on my doorstep two crates that seemed to come from an Indiana Jones movie. Was there an Arc of the Covenant inside them in two pieces, snakes, monkey heads, or loudspeakers? SNAKES! I hate snakes! Not. I think snakes are cool and mysterious creatures. Audio equipment can be mysterious and unpredictable creatures as well. I got my cordless drill with a Phillips drill bit armed for the unexpected. It took me some time to unpack the secure contents revealing a pair of Alexandria Monitor loudspeakers.

 

Some Background
Let's talk about the designer Henry Kristanto. Henry's ear was influenced by some well-established speaker designs, including, Wilson, Rockport, B&W, Altec, Vandeersteen, and Dynaudio. One of his special favorites was the Rogers LS5/9 which was inspirational to pivot to get serious with his own speaker quest. His passion has driven him since he was 17 years old doing DIY speaker projects. He was also influenced by the book Sound Reproduction by Floyd E. Toole. He says he does not have a specific mentor but takes the best attributes from other designs and incorporates that knowledge coupled with listening with a keen ear to develop his brand. There is a saying in the music business pertaining to musicians. "Amateurs try to copy other artists, whereas original artists steal from the masters."

Alexandria Audio is located in Bali, Indonesia. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby may have made a Road Picture about Bali, but many are not familiar with Bing Crosby's connection to bringing the first magnetic reel-to-reel recording device to the USA. AMPEX, was the company to launch a machine initially bankrolled by Crosby. The acronym AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.

 

 

So, What's In The Secret Sauce?
Here are some stated ingredients of the Monitor Loudspeaker:

Custom-made 8-inch woofer with low inductance voice coil.

A high sensitivity of 90dB/W/m and power rating up to 120 Watts via a tweeter with a powerful neodymium motor. It has a shallow waveguide for the Monitor to have a controlled directivity from 2.5kHz and above.

Their crossover is fourth order, with parts to achieve linearization of frequencies.

The cabinets are made with Birch-Plywood, for rigidity and higher resonance characteristics.

The Alexandria Audio Monitor loudspeaker evaluated is in their polished high-gloss Ebony wood finish.

 

Set-Up
Once uncrated, I took the speakers down to the listening space and searched for appropriate stands to accommodate the rather large Monitor speakers. The Monitors have a footprint that is wider and deeper than most stand-mount speakers, which would be categorized as a large bookshelf design. I traipsed over to a local dealer in search of something that might be of service. I did find some metal lead shot-loaded stands that weighed 80 lbs. each! And they were in the upstairs sound room.

Within the brochure, I saw the Monitors sitting on top of some framed wood stands. When I noticed Birch-Plywood was used in the manufacture of the Monitor, I immediately thought this speaker must be a lossy design similar to what many British speakers employ in their designs. So, I got creative and used the shipping crates as stands. I filled them up with towels and mounted plexiglass plinths on top followed by putting Black Ravioli energy drain pads on top of the Plexi. Then mounting the Monitors on the pads.

I finally got the speakers in a general good near-field position to start breaking them in. Whoops, one of the speakers was not putting out any bass. Tried the usual diagnostic steps to determine if anything in the audio chain was the problem. All checked out. I contacted Henry at Alexandria Audio to see if something was amiss. He said perhaps during the shipping process they might have been opened by Customs searching for contraband. I acquired a Torx screw set and removed the woofer carefully. I found one of the connectors had come off one of the woofer terminals. It was a spring clip on the wire. I reattached the connector and all was good. My guess was that the speaker crate got bounced hard in transit from Indonesia.

 

 

I let the speakers play without witness for about a week. They sounded stiff and bright in the beginning. In the nearfield position, the speakers sounded out of balance. I moved them a third into the room and that made a big difference, but still a bit bright and wooly bass. I changed the speaker cables to Analysis Plus from Cord Company. Now things were more in balance. I played a Reference Recording of Delibes / Sylvia CD, by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. The dynamics were explosive. I was thinking, "I'm listening to a rather large floor-standing speaker!"

I had a Coincident Dynamo EL 34 integrated-tube amp in the system and it had amazing tight bass with articulate highs and that tube magical midrange. The Monitor is 90dB/W/m efficient and will work with the right tube amp. However, I felt the need for more power to make the speaker come to life. By now, the speaker was broken in and sounding well-balanced. On we go!

 

 

Deep Listening Mode
It was time for a shift change with a different amp. I switched over to the Rogue Audio Pharaoh hybrid integrated amplifier. Tube front end with the Hypex Class D module.A bass monster with tight full snappy bass with silky highs. I decided to move the speakers back to the near-field position about 3 feet from the back wall almost 8 feet apart with about 15 degrees of toe-in.

BANG! Now I'm noticing what an 8" woofer can do! Most stand mounts only utilize 6.5" or 5" drivers. I was made aware that smaller stand-mount designs do not have the bass extension and, the power that usually resides in floor-standing designs. You might want to call it "bass starved." Now the trick with a rear-ported design is not to allow a speaker not to become boomy or bass-heavy. Nor to lose bass definition and tunefulness.All this with a carbon/ paper cone woofer. Hard to achieve, however, the Monitor cabinet is large enough to possess the ability to carry it off.

 


Click image to see larger version.

 

The waveguide surrounding the tweeter gives the speaker a little lift and directivity in the presence frequency range. The proprietary silk dome tweeter doesn't give anything up to metal dome tweeters. After the speaker settles in, the uppermost frequencies take on a little sweetness with excellent resolution. It's like a frog jumping out of water and you hear the splash and ripple with the purity of the water. How do you measure that?

Integration to the mid/woofer with the tweeter appears seamless. This Monitor took a solid two months to loosen up. It took some time to get over its jet lag like musical instruments getting accustomed to temperature and humidity changes. The Monitor features a magnetic grill which I think compliments the speaker's performance, plus I prefer not to look at drivers staring me in the face point blank in the near-field listening position. Perhaps, the speakers were looking at me! My listening sessions require a mostly dark environment to focus on hearing and not viewing anyway.

 

 

More Listening
It is now time for a few cuts from a vintage CD recording of Lyle Lovitt's Joshua Judges Truth. The track "She Makes Me Feel Good" surprised me with the B3 Hammond Organ growling at me with a visceral attack. I've never heard this CD sound like it's happening right now playing just for me. Here is the difference with an 8" ported woofer instead of a 6" driver! A bass-starved diet with smaller mini-monitors elevates one's senses when there is real bass present.

I listen to a lot of musical material for critical dissection of pre-mastered and mastered digital tracks. The Alexandria Audio Monitor loudspeakers reveal subtle and macro details in program material. Yet, there is an ease about these loudspeakers that is musical. I remember a long time ago, listening to one of the top models of the Thiel speakers at a Rep meeting at VAC in NC. The ease and detail always left an imprint on my ears. CDs that were deemed unlistenable came through the system with musical attributes that made listening enjoyable. Yes, it can be done!

Acoustical instruments sounded authentic. I played a couple of songs from Yasmin Williams's album, Urban Driftwood. Her guitar sounded real and tangible. Owning 4 guitars of various vintages myself, I know what the real instrument should sound like.

 

 

Vocals are natural sounding and positioned dead center between the speakers, which are 8 feet apart. You can tell what kind of mix the recording engineer was trying to achieve. The Monitor will let you know what sound cues emanate from the speaker. The sound field can be enveloping when the recording is made such that it projects an immersive experience. Back-to-front sonic images are rendered deeply and spacious. The soundstage is wide and tall.

Good piano recordings capture the sound of the brand of the instrument. Steinway vs. Yamaha for example. I can see why this model of the Alexandria Audio loudspeaker was named the Monitor. Because it gives clues to what's in the mix. The speaker breathes in and out organically.

On live recordings, there is an airiness with an open transparent lens to the music. There is the "Toe Tap" that delivers the pace and rhythm of the music. This speaker will play loud with dynamic music without break up. Again, this is like listening to a floor-standing speaker in that regard.

 

 

Epilog
The Alexandria Monitor loudspeaker comes with a price tag of $6500 per pair. I think it compares favorably to monitor loudspeakers within the $10,000 category that I've heard. You will have to purchase directly from the company at this time. There are a few caveats when considering an acquisition of the Monitors. The placement of the speakers is important considering the directivity of the tweeter. Also, the speaker should not sit too close to the back wall because of the porting. The Monitor requires worthy stands to support their rather ample heft and size. Consider that experimentation may be in order with speaker cabling.

The Monitors are easy to drive. The impedance curve is quite friendly to amplifiers. For intimate listening a tube amp can provide very satisfying listening. For more dynamics, more power can be applied to the Monitor.

Alexandria Audio's name comes from the time of Alexander the Great in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. How about, Alexandria Audio Monitor speaker "The Great." Yep, it's that good.

 

 

 

What Music Does Henry Kristan Listen To?
What is your favorite music to listen to on a Saturday night?

1. Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis

2. Labyrinth by Orchestra of the Swan

3. If You Wait by London Grammar

4. Live at Blues Alley by Eva Cassidy

 

What is your favorite music to listen to on a Sunday morning?

1. Harry James And His Big Band by Harry James & His Big Band (Best Of....)

2. Big Band Scale by Kenichi Tsunoda

3. Songs About Jane by Maroon 5

4. Alison Krauss + Union Station Live

 

After all, it's all about enjoying the music!

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: Two-way floorstanding loudspeaker
Tweeter: 28mm dome tweeter with Neodymium motor
Woofer: 220mm carbon / paper cone mid-woofer
Frequency Response: 35Hz to 20kHz
Sensitivity 90dB/W/m
Dimensions: 280 x 450 x 330mm (WxHxD)
Weight: 14 kgs.
Price: $6500

 

 

 

Company Information
Alexandria Audio
Voice: +62 812-5222-1688
E-mail: info@alexandriaaudio.com 
Website: AlexandriaAudio.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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