Amina ALF120 in-wall subwoofer review

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posted on Sunday, 25th October 2015 by David Slater

Amina  Subwoofers  Loudspeakers  Architectural 

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Amina Technology is renowned worldwide for producing some of the best Invisible speakers in the market. Its high-end Opti-drive panels have always been more than capable of producing some stunning mid to hi frequencies but if you were after deep bass for your movie soundtracks you would have to couple them with a standalone subwoofer. And until now, if you wanted a hidden subwoofer of real quality you more than likely would have to opt for the Velodyne range of in-wall powered subs. This all changes with the launch of Amina’s ALF120...

Amina ALF120 in-wall subwoofer: Technology
The ALF120 has been designed from the ground up to produce deep natural bass from an ultra slim enclosure. It’s a sizable beast, some 1.6m tall, but should fit easily within standard 400mm stud wall bays that you will find in most UK homes. The only visible point of the speaker is the vent, that measures 315 x 14mm; this can hide behind some engineered groves in the skirting board.

One unique feature of this sonic slot is that it can be rotated 90 degrees. It allows the subwoofer to be fitted in walls, ceilings or even under a sofa, if you don’t want to cut holes in your customer’s walls. Included with the speaker is a paintable rectangle plate, useful if you don’t have the joinery skills (or budget) to custom make slots in skirting.

ALF120-3 Copy _crop

Alf 120-4 Copy _crop

Amina ALF120 in-wall subwoofer: Installation
The ALF120 proves very easy to install into a stud wall; all you need is a 1605 x 345 x 118mm (h/w/d) space between the two joists. The cabinet comes with felt pads that you install between the enclosure and stud work. As the unit is completely sealed there is no need for any special sound acoustic treatment. The cavity depth required is 121mm, which allows the cabinet to be fully supported while allowing mechanical decoupling from the structure.

The ALF120 is a passive subwoofer, which means it requires external amplification. When setting up using a AV receiver, the sub-pre output should be fed to an external DSP amplifier which will power the subwoofer. The ALF120 requires DSP protection to ensure that it performs without being overdriven. This signal processing can be done within a DSP amp or  via a speaker management system before being fed to a standard power amp. The DSP requirements are laid out in the ALF120 manual but in short, it needs high and low pass filters, providing crossover and LF driver protection, with some parametric EQ to ensure there is no distortion. A maximum power output needs to be set to prevent overdriving the unit.

Amina ALF120 in-wall subwoofer: Performance
When it comes to performance, the fully passive ALF120 generates a flat response between 26 -120Hz, and can pressure load a room to an amazing 110dB. Amina has worked hard on producing an impressive clean and fast response that it puts down to exceptionally low group delay. Key to this high sound pressure level output is the highly efficient transmission line design.

The power amp used with our review sample was no more than 75W, but that proved more than enough for the ALF120 to perform. In Oblivion, when Tom cruise is lowered into a bomb crater, the alarm tone ringing every couple of seconds is followed by a burst of LFE as he is being chased by something alien -  the bass delivered is truly tight with no flab. The ensclosure never seemed to struggle, even with the gun blast that almost threw me off my chair.

The ALF120 isn’t just effective for movies. It has a role to play in music systems too. The drum beat from Dire Straights’ Money for Nothing rang out so deep I thought the drummer had popped up in front of me. Amina says the ALF120 goes down to 27Hz and we have no reason to doubt this, as the levels achieved from our demo discs were extremely low.

Amina ALF120 in-wall subwoofer: Verdict
If you are looking for the complete invisible speaker solution, in my opinion nothing beats Amina’s range. Look to couple the ALF120 with the brand’s flagship Evolution AIW 750 in a 7.1 array, and you’ll have a stunning sounding room without the clutter of any visible speakers. Clients will think you’ve performed miracles!  Overall, we couldn’t fault the performance of the ALF120 on any content we propelled through it. The levels of true bass achieved from such modest power amplification are truly breath taking.

The Amina Technology ALF120 subwoofer is available now.
Trade price: £1,200 (ex Vat)
For more on Amina’s range of invisible speaker solutions, visit our partner page here.

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a
popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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