Amphion Turns Down the Volume, Turns Up the Emotion
When I walk into the room, Amphion’s Anssi Hyvönen is demonstrating a small, attractive system made of Audio Analogue electronics and Amphion loudspeakers. He talks about the calming nature of music, and then he does something unexpected: He turns the volume down.
During an event that is so often dominated by thrilling high frequencies and gut-shaking lows, held in a city that focuses so intensely on spectacle, this is a refreshing change of pace. Hyvönen’s small audience seems puzzled, but I am delighted. Even at this low volume, or perhaps because of this low volume, the music is involving and soothing.
“Do you hear that?” Hyvönen asks. “I like to do this when I come home from work. I set the volume low, and I just bring it lower and lower and lower.” This practice relieves stress, Hyvönen continues. “You can feel everything just falling away.”
The other gentlemen soon depart and I am left alone with Hyvönen in silence. I soon get the sense that music and hi-fi are, for Hyvönen, an integral part of the world in which we liveand not only the world, but natureand should be treated as such. “We’re trying to create a solution that allows people to experience the beauty of music. We want to show people that they can get something, emotionally, from hi-fi.”
For Amphion, that means taking advantage of the sonic deficiencies in two popular areas of consumer electronics: TVs and computers. “I’ve never been so excited about hi-fi,” Hyvönen exclaims, “because now I can create good, emotionally involving sound, using sources that people already have.”
We turn to a second small system, set up on a credenza. A NuForce Icon2 integrated amplifier ($349) is partnered with a MacBook Pro running the Spotify digital music service. The speakers are Amphion’s Helium 410 ($995/pair, seen here in gray; Amphion cabinets and grilles are available in a variety of bright colors). The sound has impressive impact with immediacy and warmth. “I made this speaker for my family,” Hyvönen admits. His young sons were listening to music through their cell phones and Hyvönen wanted to offer them something better. It took only a weekend with good sound to get his sons hooked. “They were asking, ‘When can we have these speakers?’”
By the end of my visit with Anssi Hyvönen, I found myself wondering the same thing.