"Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars". So goes the refrain of an iconic '70s ad for Holden, which highlighted some of our most Australian products.
While Vegemite and Hills Hoists may be at the forefront of our minds, we dare say that when you think "Australian made" you don't immediately think "speakers". While you may have seen local brands like Aaron and Richter in stores, it would be true to say that "Europe" and not "Australia" seems to be the birthplace of the most recognisable speaker brands.
But if you're talking "cinema cred" then surely Krix from South Australia has it in spades. In fact, you've probably already heard one of its commercial cinema systems, as it supplies sound to over 250 venues ranging from the Event cinemas in Sydney to the magnificent Sun Theatre in Yarraville.
Like most Australian speaker companies seem to do, Krix began in a garage in the '70s and has been supplying speakers to homes around the country and the world ever since.
Design and features
The Krix Phoenix is an update on the popular Lyrix standmounters and are designed to work as a stereo system or in conjunction with surrounds, sub and a centre speaker. The Phoenix is a two-way design featuring a so-called "D'Appolito configuration", with two 6.5-inch doped paper woofers mounted above and below a 28mm doped fabric dome tweeter.
The speakers are relatively large at 935mm high with a width of 205mm wide and a depth of 320mm. The speakers are rear ported, which means that they need a fair bit of clearance from walls — something we found out quickly while testing. These are quite bassy speakers, and we're not surprised to find that two of the engineers behind Krix list their favourite hobby as "playing bass guitar".
Krix is a little different from other speaker brands in that it encourages a little bit of "mix and match" when it comes to speaker sets and doesn't have prescribed systems.
In this case we reviewed the Phoenix with a pair of the new Dynamix rear speakers (AU$595), which feature a distinctive wedge design, a Graphix centre channel and a Seismix 3 subwoofer. To help with surround sound imaging all of the speakers (bar the sub, obviously) feature the same dome tweeter.
One of most common experiences you can have when testing new speakers is when you hear details you've never heard before. The same held true for the Phoenix: the speakers are able to uncover mid-range details effortlessly, which belies the price. On other systems, cloth tweeters can sound reticent but here they sound sweet and well extended, with no part of the range given undue attention. As a result, vocals in particular sound rich and natural with a palpable sense of the acoustics surrounding them. The speakers feature a high sensitivity and can go very loud with not much encouragement.