Audio Review: Intelix Audisey Athena
Apr 10, 2009 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin
Ease of use, power, and small size make for an attractive matrix mixer.
The system can be controlled by computer via USB, Ethernet, or an RS-232 serial port if your computer has one. The control application is called Athena Design, and it facilitates control over every parameter on the amplifier. It's easy to set up inputs and even use presets. The software facilitates naming each input, control of its input gain; determination of whether the channel is being fed by an analog or SPDIF input; DSP; mono or stereo pairing; and channel assignment, level, and panning. Clicking on the green button in the DSP column opens a new window to display the details of that channel's signal processing. The top of that screen portrays the signal chain from left to right, and clicking on the parametric EQ icon in the center of that chain opens yet another window displaying a frequency-versus-level display that shows the curve of the EQ. The bottom half of the original DSP window displays the overall effect of the EQs a bit larger. Additionally, dragging the lower-right corner of the parametric EQ window expands it as large as your monitor can display it—very nice. In the DSP window on the output side, that larger spectral display at the bottom of the screen is particularly important because it displays the cumulative spectral effect of all EQs and tone controls. It's nice to see the overall spectral curve of the output. There are also icons for the output-channel delays and compressors. The compressor graphic is of the standard input-versus-output variety, and it nicely portrays the compressor's settings in a graphical way.
The Athena-16 that I test-drove included four zone-control devices intended for wall-mounting. Intelix makes systems with up to 16 such controls available. The provided controls, made by Intelix partner Calypso Control Systems, featured eight programmable buttons available with graphics that make sense to users. These particular controls offered the input options of a DVD player, computer, microphone, and auxiliary. They also sported mute and level controls. Intelix has gone out of its way to make the programming of these controls as simple as possible to enable smaller and less-sophisticated contractors to land larger, more complex bids.
Bottom line: I'm very impressed with this system. As I said before, it's very nice to have matrix mixing, digital signal processing, and amplification all buttoned down in one box. The Class D amps in the Athena system sound great, as does all the digital signal processing. The Intelix Audisey Athena matrix amplifier is definitely worthy of consideration.
John McJunkin is the principal of Avalon Podcasting in Chandler, Ariz. He has consulted in the development of studios and installations, and he provides high-quality podcast-production services.
- Company: Intelix
- Product: Audisey Athena
- Pros: Solidly built; nice integration of multiple features.
- Cons: No USB driver for Windows Vista yet.
- Applications: Any audio distribution application.
- Price: $3,440 (Athena-8); $4,957 (Athena-16)
- Frequency response: ±0.5dB 20Hz-20kHz
- Dynamic range: >105dB
- Crosstalk: Better than -90dB
- Input impedance: 20kV electronically balanced, 10kV unbalanced
- Nominal source impedance: ≤600V
- Nominal input level: +4dBu RMS
- Max input level: +26dBu RMS
- Maximum voltage gain: 60dB
- Equivalent input noise: -129dB @ 50V 20Hz-20kHz (mic preamp stage)
- Phantom power: +15VDC
- Input gain/trim range: 60dB
- Monitor output impedance: 440V electronically balanced, 220V unbalanced
- Nominal monitor load impedance: ≥600V
- Nominal level: +4dBu RMS
- Maximum level: +26dBu RMS balanced, +20dBu RMS unbalanced
- Output master volume range: -100dB to 0dB
- Output channel volume range: -88dB to +12dB
- Monitor dynamic range: ≥112dB (IEC-AA) range
- Loudspeaker outputs: 100W/channel max, 400W total per matrix (800W total per matrix for Athen-16), 25V/8V distribution (70V requires Audisey 70V-AM)
- THD+N: <0.05% @ 1W, 8V load, 20Hz-20kHz
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