Acarian Aln Petite loudspeaker & PW-1 woofer system Page 4
Conclusion, context, constraints, Chianti
Overall, I was quite impressed with the performance of the Trio system, but then I thought about how the quality of the bass compared with the similarly extended (but more expensive) Alón II. In my conversations with him, Carl Marchisotto conceded that the PW-1 is a cost-constrained design and that a ported enclosure, because of its inherent ringing, will not be as accurate in the bass as an acoustic-suspension enclosure such as the Alón II. (Porting is necessary to achieve bass extension and high sensitivity with the small cabinets of both the PW-1 and the Petite.) Marchisotto also said that an infinite-baffle bass enclosure like the Alón V Mk.II's is better still. I agree; my Alón V Mk.IIs produce more subtle microdynamics in the bottom two octaves at a wider range of volume levels than do the Alón IIs.
Yet the bass quality of the Petite+PW-1 Trio system is still fairly impressive: a little warmer, more rounded, and slightly more resonant than I've heard from the Alón II, but bass performance that's much closer to the II's than I'd expected. As an analogy for the rock musicians in our readership, the Alón II's bass reminds me of a Fender bass guitar played though a clean and neutral amplifier, while the PW-1's bass is more reminiscent of the rounded, more resonant quality of a Gibson bass.
At the end of the day, I was sufficiently happy with the performance Carl and I had achieved with the Trio system within the constraints of my room that I purchased the PW-1 and took Carl and Marilyn out for a celebratory meal at my favorite wine and food haunt, Manducatis in Long Island City. After a wonderful and lengthy meal and several bottles of the finest Italian wine, I bade the Marchisottos adieu, drove home, and trundled off to bed. As I undressed (hmmm, lots of disrobing in this review), still feeling my own personal "Trio" glow of good food, wine, and sound, I glanced at my credit-card receipt for the evening's entertainment as I laid it on the dresser: the PW-1 had cost me less than the dinner.
When properly set up and accompanied by an amplifier that can give it the power and control it requires without compromising the Petite's delicate midrange, high frequencies, and soundstaging capabilities, the Alón PW-1 is the perfect accompaniment to the Petite for those who want more bass extension. The Creek 4240 SE worked splendidly in this regard.
No, the PW-1 is not perfect, and I'm still not convinced I got the absolute best out of it in my limited room. Yes, for those who have the additional money and the space, a pair of Alón IIs (at $2300) can, overall, outperform the $1495 Trio system (and requires twice as much power). Yeah, I can afford the Alón II, but I'll have to live with the Trio system because I don't have the space for the IIs in my small living room, my wife would have a fit, I really couldn't get the IIs to perform the way I'd like to even if I had a larger room, and...OMIGOD! I've become Marchisotto's target market!—Robert J. Reina