Artison Nano 1 subwoofer review

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posted on Monday, 18th January 2016 by Steve May

Subwoofers  home cinema  Lifestyle 

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The Artison Nano 1 (née One) isn't so much a subwoofer as a cub-woofer. This diminutive boom box looks barely big enough to be out growling in the real world, but while ultra compact it's certainly got grown-up presence. If you’re looking to bolster bass but are limited to just how big a box you can unleash, it’s an intriguing proposition.

Artison Nano 1: Design and features
The footprint of the Nano 1 is almost ridiculously modest. The sub measures just 23cm front to back and 19cm across. Yet it accommodates two back-to-back 6.5inch bass drivers, concealed behind a fabric frontage. Driving this duo is a 300W digital amp tuned via DSP, with a claimed peak of 900w.

Build quality is substantial. The sealed cabinet design doesn't rattle and it doesn't hum. The aluminium enclosure appears solid enough to combat resonance and features a nice powdercoat finish. Artison claim a frequency response down to 32Hz, topping out at 160Hz. The sub weighs a substantial 11kg. The Nano ships with a very basic remote zapper, although I suspect most users will simply leave it in Auto mode.

Obviously the small size makes it relatively easy to accommodate, but adding to the fun is a wireless transmitter, which sells for around £125. The receiver is already built into the Nano 1 as standard. This opens up more placement opportunities, particularly if your chosen listening room has hard wood surfaces and affords little scope for cable deployment.

The transmitter can pair with three Nano 1’s; the range of the transmitter is said to be around 30ft, which should be OK for most media room applications. The Nano transmitter is a titchy box offering a Pair button, 3.5mm LFE input and a mini USB port which provides power from a 5v supply.

Inputs (2)

Controls

Inputs are all recessed down below, along with an assortment of toggles. The LFE input is via a 3.5mm jack (a phono adaptor is supplied in the box). There's a low pass filter, variable between 30- and 160Hz. When used with an LFE feed though, this needs to be dialed hard past 160Hz, which defeats the LPF. This is how most systems will use it. There's also manual Phase Control.

Control options include a 12v Phoenix trigger and IR control. The subwoofer can be set to activate in one of three ways: Auto sense, via 12v trigger or Forced On. In general use, the Auto Sense is a bit sluggish. The Nano would slowly engage when it really should have been booming. I took to leaving it permanently On. Depending on your partnering speaker set up, there's also a high level input using more fiddly 4-pin Phoenix connectors. For our audition this was unused. Distributor Redline can offer black and white cabinet finishes.

Artison Nano 1: Performance
If you’re looking for a room shaker from a salt-shaker, you’re going to be disappointed. The Nano 1 doesn’t defy the laws of physics. However, that doesn’t diminish its appeal. Indeed, this is a really musical box. Because it's not all bass extension, it holds a melody like few subs can, and proves a brilliant accompaniment to smaller bookshelf speakers.

Think of this Artison as a media room woofer, rather than a home theatre sub. As a consequence, it's relatively easy to accommodate within a variety of speaker speaker setups; that said it’s equally quite easy to localise - so there's some need to be careful with placement.

The Nano 1 is at its most influential at around 50Hz and tonally it's quite mellow. While not really up to bringing deep space to Interstellar, I found it adept at adding weight to DD5.1 TV shows and fast enough to keep up with complex gaming soundtracks. Want to tweak? There's an LPF Slope, with 12dB and 24dB/octave settings. 

Usability can be a bit of an issue though. The Nano 1 communicates via an LED fuel gauge, which is obtuse at best. There’s a handful on on-body buttons. One toggles between Music (blue) and Movie (fuchsia) EQ settings. The latter adds +6dB of gain. Another represents the input sources (LFE, High Level or wireless). Two are simple volume +/- buttons. Pairing the sub with the wireless transmitter is also a bit hit and miss.

Transmitter

Feet

Artison Nano 1: Verdict
The Nano-1 isn't a miracle alternative to a full-blown sub with 12-inch drivers and a bad attitude, and it won't dislodge plaster or herald the arrival of an Indominus Rex. But what it will do is plump out a room with plenty of mid-bass, bolstering the performance of satellite speakers with a surprising musicality. It could equally transform the performance of a soundbar based TV system. And as a piece of audio engineering, we rate this compact enclosure as nigh-on extraordinary. Well worth an audition.

The Artison Nano 1 subwoofer is available now
Retail price £800
For more visit www.red-line.co.uk 
Nano -Black -3-qtr Copy _trim

 

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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