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Alpine X-S65C Component Speakers

Manufacturer: Alpine Electronics
Typical Selling price: £449.99

In A Nutshell
Absurdly full range performance, with soaring highs, rich textured bass of improbable capability and a sound stage that you can enter car audio competitions with. Very much in the direction of Japanese top end hi-fi, exhibiting incredible definition and clarity. The sheer size and scale of the output is a bit boggling, as the new magnet system works very well with the special cone suspension, adding up to a state of the art slice of tech. Alpine X-S65C scores a Best Buy but does suffer a single point loss on VFM, for being just under half a grand, or nine times-plus the price of a set of hole fillers. However, these are hypercar grade. The only other choices at this level are about differences in taste, like say Ferrari versus Lamborghini. Bloody awesome.

Overall 9.4
Sound Quality 10
Build Quality 10
Power 10
Efficiency 9
Value For Money 8

An absolute Best Buy (for audiophile power nutters) within Talk Stuff’s audio genre

Editor Review : Alpine X-S65C 6.5in Component Speakers
If you're reading this review, you may well have seen my coverage of this same set of loudspeakers, assembled as a coaxial, for £100 less, the X-S65. The second of the three products in the new X-Series loudspeaker range, before the new woofers, the Alpine X-S65C (C for ‘components’) are effectively the same transducers as in the X-S65 coaxial speakers, but with a passive crossover in a little box on the way to the separately supplied tweeter. This tweeter is a hard dome made of carbon graphite and so unbelievably rigid that it can be accelerated fast enough to play to 40,000 cycles a second - 40kHz. This means a tweeter capable of incredible feats of derring-do. It can play the breathy throaty rasp of Lorde as she sings Royals as well as give you all the definition an acoustic guitarist’s fingernails put on a recording. They can also produce a vigorous sound pressure level, even whilst remaining refined, delicate and uncongested.

The same cretinous sub editor who changed my very first ever piece of paid for copy, from “Planet Zog’ to “planet earth” in my referencing the rock and pop stars who might use a rock bus with sound system on it, also failed to know the difference between ‘material science’ and materials science. One is about established facts that have been published and are verifiable and accepted by the scientific community and the other is the science of stuff. Speakers have always been about the science of stuff. And in this case, we have nano-fibres in the cone material to add stiffness and negate any resonances in the cone, as well as this crazy carbon graphite dome.

I now have some insider account of the first time a senior set of ears at Alpine UK heard these tweeters. I waited until after I had heard them to ask, to avoid bias, but they are amazing. Yet a brace of HF drivers doth not a sound stage make. You need midbass drivers capable of keeping up. And those nano-fibres are still only a small part of the story of the truly ridiculous bass and low mid band that these speakers can make. For one, this lovely cone material has a very special top suspension called HAMR for High Amplitude Multi Roll surround. I have seen this approach used with subwoofers but never a midbass driver before. The idea is that as well as an overall large arch of compliant material, that arch is itself comprised of five smaller waves. It is elegantly constructed and amounts to a midbass cone of very high compliance. That is merely a posh way of saying it is really, really wobbly and goes in and out a long way.

The motive force, the shove, the push, the in and outness always comes from the big magnet on the back of a midbass driver. But as you can see from the video and pictures below, this X-S65C bass speaker only has a petite behind. If you have seen the other review, you will know that this driver has a larger than one inch voice coil, 35mm in fact and the neodymium magnet motor is a cylinder shape inside this coil. Profoundly unique, it has astonishing grip and unlike some neodymium designs where you are quite impressed at the output for the tiny size, if you heard this first, you would expect to see a normal magnet big enough to use as a small stage weight on the back.

And finally I am going to climb off the fence. Yes I love coaxial loudspeakers but I think the component ones are better. Anything placed in the way of that midbass output cannot help. I really think that the extra few watts that this, the component version of the system can handle, is partly down to the midbass cones’ lack of limit in excursion. It might have been an optical illusion on my video camera, causing psychoacoustic misperception… or you can just trust me the bloody things went in and out further and sounded even better than the incredible X-S65 coaxials did.

The first thing that astonishes you when you fire a set of these up, is the sheer scale and magnitude of the sound. This is a set of 6 1/2 inch speakers and yet they sounded like a very serious set of home hifi enclosures. The speed of stop-start of that midbass cone in the grip of that cylindrical magnet and hanging from that wibbly-wobbly suspension, means that the sound quality of these Alpine X-S65C components is likely to far exceed your home hi-fi system, even if you have spent £1,000 on a set of speakers. A big slice of this, in fairness to home audio, is that Alpine haven't had made nor have had to ship any enclosures for this incredible set of equipment. Unlike home audio (and incidentally the biggest reason why I love car hifi) we, the end user or installer are the people who decide upon the enclosure. I use MDF with some internal damping of acoustic foam.

Even after all these years, this grizzled old reviewer got goosebumps and yet again marvelled at what the latest technology could do. But that is like saying “oh you have a posh camera I bet the pictures are good” to any idiot able to afford a DSLR. No, this really is about the team who conceived the products.

Alpine being the kind of company they are, top people spend an entire career with them. Thus a serious slice of years later, the Alpine F#1 Status team, the ones who devised the concept of ‘Microdynamics’ have been got back together. They are still there.. or mostly… I’m hoping to get a go on the 6x9 oval version of these components as well. But of the three pairs available in the X-Series range from Alpine, this model is the most important.

Now, the big question to answer, is why the extra hundred pounds? These are serious money. And that bit is dead simple, you're paying for carbon graphite and a slice of research and development, as well as by necessity becoming an early adopter of this new technology. Like the very finest in smartphone technology, these have the industrial design, the class leading performance and the profound pleasure in ownership that folks happily pay for.

Yes they are awful lot of money, but so is an Audi R8.


Speaker System: 2-way component
Tweeter: 1in (2.5cm) Carbon Graphite Hard Dome
Woofer: nano-fibre cone, radial ring magnet inside 35mm voice coil, HAMR surround.
Woofer Mounting Depth: 59mm
In-Line crossover network: High grade components, phase reversible, three step tweeter attenuation, compact size.
Rated Input Power: 120W RMS
Peak Input Power: 360W
Sensitivity: 89dB/W/m
Frequency Response: 55Hz to 40,000Hz