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Alpine X-S65 6.5in Coaxial Speakers


Manufacturer: Alpine Electronics
Website:https://www.alpine.co.uk/p/Products/SingleView/X-S65
Typical Selling price: £349.99



In A Nutshell
An absolute tour de force that blows most speakers clean out of the water for sheer quality of detail, with prodigious bass power, midband clarity, staging and imagery, yet with light weight construction. Designed by the team that made the legendary Alpine F#1 STATUS equipment some years back, reassembled, they have made a career defining product. These are bloody brilliant.



Overall 9.5
Sound Quality 9.5
Build Quality 10
Power 10
Efficiency 9
Value For Money 9





With all the technology and effort put into these, these are right up there with the very best coaxes made by anybody and are also State of the Art within Talk Stuff’s audio genre.










Editor Review : Alpine X-S65 6.5in Coaxial Speakers
Alpine Electronics are up there with the finest when it comes to sound quality. Loudspeakers in particular have always been a strength. To this day there is a cult following for Alpine subwoofers. So when a serious new tranche of technology is announced by Alpine, complete with details and the history of their A-team of technologists responsible for the new developments, the knowledgeable take heed.

The style of Japanese high-technology is about detail and delicacy. Rather than massive constructional stuff, they prefer cunning use of materials with a particular emphasis upon making new technology that offers both advances in sound quality as well as cost effectiveness. In the case of this X-Series front loudspeaker offering in six and a half inch, the X-S65 coax, Alpine have used tremendously high cost, high-grade neodymium magnet technology. The 35mm voice coil on this mid band driver is bloody huge for the size of loudspeaker, although not as bonkers as say, Morel. The magnet to drive the voice coil is actually inside the diameter of that coil, rather than outside as every other speaker ever made. Along with Dual gap Direct Drive, or DDDrive some time ago, this shows flexibility in engineering thought and innovation for speaker motors.

The Alpine X-S65 speakers do not look what you might call ‘flashy’, although I like their purposeful appearance. Nor are they terribly massive in weight, due to the use of posh rare earth magnet technology. But they are packing some serious tech. Here's salient detail…

CONES: For a loudspeaker cone to work perfectly, it must contravene the rules of physics. This is because it needs to be both of limitless rigidity and nil mass. This is not possible, so materials scientists, especially in loudspeaker technology, have been seeking and experimenting with different materials since the dawn of audio. Honest paper pulp is very hard to beat. What this set of loudspeakers has its main bass cone made from is described as being loaded with nano-fibres. Smaller than cellulose in diameter and yet improbably rigid when used in composite, these tiny reinforcement fibres also help damp any resonance within the cone. As well as this special material, the top roll surround is called HAMR or High Amplitude Multi Roll. This is an especially wibbly wobbly way of making a top suspension, in waves that form a bigger single roll. It adds to linear excursion, yet the lower end cut-off frequency of output is a relatively high 55 Hz.

The tweeters are a hard dome, yet rated far into the bat frequencies of all but hypersonic overtones. For many years, we believed that 20kHz was the upper limit of human hearing. However, we now know that overtones and harmonics way above the threshold of what we think we can perceive, are a major part of music and life alike. I know that when young, I used to be able to hear the start of some bats’ squeaks. In recent years, I still get to see bats in the gloaming but do not hear the beginning of those echolocation squeaks. However, I still believe that I can benefit from the incredible tweeters that this set is equipped with. For sat upon the pole in the middle, is a hard dome made of carbon graphite. Hard dome tweeters are often thought to be a little harsh. However, these ones reach up to a perfectly bonkers 50kHz. In fact, Alpine discuss this supposed hard dome tweeter characteristic on their webpage describing the product and state that the carbon graphite exhibits the characteristics of a soft dome.

I am so keen to cop an earful. Tweeters that reach up to the heavens and extra specially rapid bass cones are promised.






Just like other top end offerings, the branding badges for this product are supplied separate for application at the very end of installation. Very desirable. So what did they sound like? First, here is the play-video.







Initially, I started with a really good CD, one I have been using. Expensive for KEF, it was their 50th anniversary special. Mostly really well produced pop. Focal, the French loudspeaker company like to put esoteric rare but insanely well produced music on their Spirit of Sound demo discs. These are keenly sought after by hifi fanatics, since they were never for sale and have breathtaking sound quality. I have used disc #6 for years. However, the tweeters on this set of horribly expensive coaxials (which immediately following upon the coat tails in review order of the JL Audio C3 coaxes, which were very nearly as expensive) are what designates this set as High Resolution audio ready, really needed a workout. So I pulled out a truly unicorn rare combination. To whit, one SONY SACD deck that can also play CD-DA. I have just the one mad remastered SACD disc from Pink Floyd and it has the classic hifi testing tracks. The one with all the ticking clocks at the start has always been breathtaking and became more awesome every time they remastered it from the well-kept analogue treasure houses of two inch tape. That said, I am savagely overdue buying into some full fat way above CD resolution music. I choose the music of Yello, since there are albums I have missed. I have always adored everything I ever heard of theirs and there is a whole catalogue to be had in resolution as rich as Turkish coffee with an ounce of Cornish clotted cream on the top, sweetened with Canadian maple syrup.

OK, so this set of loudspeakers has rubbed my nose in the fact that CD genuinely is seen as a little bit quaint these days. Even when bragging about how many people have heard a popular song on the radio, they talk about streaming - and the numbers of course are in the billions, which boggles this old reviewer.

For the sound had true scale, weight and presence. People looking for audio performance with lightweight components will choose the X-S65, as the design of their motors is radically different and saves a lot of mass as well as offering class leading potent audiophile sound. There is a cylinder of rare earth magnet inside the 35mm voice coil. Along with the tremendously flexible HAMR top suspension, this gives huge excursion yet with real control, just as if that coil lived instead in a world of ferrite heavy enough to anchor a small boat. This tiny magnet gives as much shove as a much bigger normal one and it does it very well indeed. The bass has a taut quality, so you can hear texture and different bass instruments all at once instead of a general boom. There is a track on the Focal disc, with black guys doing a rich backing vocal. You can hear each voice deep and mellifluous. Bass can suddenly get louder when it is already rocking. The Alpine X-S65 coaxial speaker is seriously dynamic.

But it has to be said, and if you have been reading my stuff for literally ever in both home and car audio you will know that I am kinky for superb resolution, detail and texture and adore high-reaching HF transducers. (Who recalls EMIT?) When I am impressed by tweeters I tend to use words like, ‘tinkly’, ‘breathy’ and ‘ethereal’ and these carbon hard domes, genuinely deliver everything Alpine say they do. Like a Bentley Bentayga SUV that can outgun certain Ferraris, this tweeter can play so effortlessly high that all the delicious breathy (oh there I go) sounds of the vocalists and every distinct edge of a struck cymbal is clear. That brassware above the drum kit as well as the sizzling wires underneath a snare drum are one of the hardest things to reproduce perfectly. Somehow, that fabulously fast high-rise time creates reality.

The Alpine X-S65 speakers play a beautiful soundstage, with vocals given utter believability in placement and emotional nuance. Yes they are proper posh audio equipment priced expensively yet they are instantly in the zone of discussion with the finest hifi for both home or car. The chances are, unless you own something of savage recent design and pretty bloody high price tag, the X-S65s will be better than anything in your house.




Specifications

Speaker System: 2-way coaxial
Tweeter: 1in (2.5cm) Carbon Graphite Hard Dome
Woofer: nano-fibre cone, radial ring neodymium magnet inside 35mm voice coil, HAMR surround.
Woofer Mounting Depth: 59mm
Rated Input Power: 110W RMS
Peak Input Power: 330W
Sensitivity: 89dB/W/m
Frequency Response: 55Hz to 40,000Hz


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