|Athena Technologies S3 Satellite / P3 Subwoofer / P1 Subwoofer / C1 Center|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Thursday, 01 June 2000|
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Athena Technologies is a new line of speakers from API, the company that brings you the Mirage and Energy speakers. Athena’s pedigree is very solid and the Athena line fits in nicely between Energy and Mirage. The speaker combination I reviewed consisted of the top-of-the-line subwoofer/satellite combination for the four corners, with the smallest subwoofer paired up with their center channel. The retail price for the system I selected was a very reasonable $4,125 (C1 $250 each, P1 $275 each, S3 $600 per pair, P3 $600 each). Several finishes are available. The cherry wood review samples were well finished and aesthetically pleasing. The S3 is a three-way satellite with a 1" tweeter, 5 _" midrange and 8" woofer. The P3 subwoofer is a 150-watt amplifier driving a 10" driver in a ported enclosure.
The Athena lineup consists of three subwoofer options, the P1, P2 and P3, three satellite options, S1, S2 and S3, and one center channel, the C1. What makes this system so unique is its ability to mix and match to create something that fits your needs and your budget. The satellites are purchased in pairs, while the subwoofers can be purchased individually. The satellites can be used with or without the subwoofers. The S2 and S3 can be used with either the P2 or P3. The P1 and S1 can only be joined to one another. A large variety of mix and match options are available to fit just about any room. The Athena website has an interactive page (www.athenaspeakers.com), allowing web browsers to try out different combinations and see the resulting retail price. When the satellites are used with the subwoofer, they are docked together both physically and electronically. Kudos to designer Gordon Van Kessel for this creative and well-thought-out design. The satellites dock to the top of the subwoofer through a conductive rail system, which not only physically locks them together but also transmits the signal from the subwoofer to the satellite.
Connecting and disconnecting the speakers is quick and easy. After the speakers are physically joined, you have your choice of hook-up options. The easiest and probably most common method is to run a single length of speaker cables to the subwoofer. Other options include separate runs of speaker cable to both the subwoofer and satellite, or speaker cable to the satellite and line level connection to the subwoofer. If the single speaker level connection is utilized, some other innovative features come into play. In this configuration, the speaker cables are hooked up to the subwoofer but the jumpers are left in place, allowing the signal to run through the filter system, up through the docking rails and into the satellites. The filter system is the part that got my attention. Anyone who has set up a subwoofer satellite system knows the difficulty of blending the subwoofer with the satellite. To achieve the proper results, it is possible to spend hours adjusting, phase, crossover and level controls. With the Athena system, you simply connect the wires, set the switch on the subwoofer to the appropriate satellite and adjust the level to taste. Setting the switch to the satellite automatically contours the crossover and phase, saving much time at the controls and getting you into the listener’s chair that much sooner.
Current satellite owners are not left out. Even when the unique matching ability of the Athena system is bypassed, the subwoofers can be used with other brand satellites. The subwoofers have a continuously variable crossover and a two-position phase switch in addition to the aforementioned level control.