IXION – launch of a new hand-built all-in-one Hi-Fi
Last night saw the launch of IXION, the smart audio company from Norway, at Harrods.
IXION took the wrappers off their first two products; the Maestro, a smart audio music centre, and a smart satellite speaker called Solo:2 at the prestigious Knightsbridge corner shop called Harrods.
The star of the show was undoubtedly the main Maestro unit.
IXION Maestro, according to Tom Austad, CEO of Tandberg Radio, shares the very best parts of smartphones, tablets, digital audio players and Hi-Fi.
The steel frame construction is sandwiched by aluminium ends and a smart glass touchscreen interface.
The IXION Maestro certainly looks the part, and so it should. The all-in-one unit is the product of five years of development, a £4 million investment and the input of Norwegian uber-designer Bard Eker. Eker’s previous handiwork includes the Hydrolift and Koenigsegg cars!
The Android-based interface is accessed through a touchscreen which is comparable with an iPhone 4 and is just as slick.
This gets you access to all the options on the device as well as pre-installed apps such as TIDAL – remember when that used to also be Norwegian?
The Maestro stands on gorgeous looking spikes that are double rubber isolated from the chassis. Speaking of isolation, the electronics are also isolated from the audio components.
It’s starting to be clear that a lot of thought has gone in to making the IXION Maestro – right down to the speaker drivers being tuned to match the resonance of the cabinet.
IXION Maestro specifications
The IXION Maestro plays nice with 24 bit and 192kHz hi-res audio with MQA support in the pipeline and, loaded on to the Android-controlled quad core processor, are no fewer that 110 audio codecs which means it should play anything you throw at it.
You can of course also play wirelessly, via a Wi-Fi networked NAS and Bluetooth with full smartphone control.
There are three drivers: two 2.75-inch units at the front, which handle mids and highs, and a 5.5-inch downward firing subwoofer on the bottom.
As well as the Maestro’s built-in streaming services built-in, including Spotify, Tidal, Wimp and TuneIn radio, you get FM/DAB/DAB+ radio and aptX Bluetooth for streaming from mobile devices. Other connections include digital optical, RCA, 3.5mm auxiliary, USB and an ethernet port for a wired internet connection.
Even the power supply has been carefully selected. The unit used, according to IXION, is four times larger than needed. Why? The aim is to help reduce heat levels inside the speaker and in turn give it a longer life. Each Maestro speaker comes with a five-year guarantee.
IXION Solo:2 speaker
The other item was the Solo:2 extension speaker. This can’t be used as a standalone speaker as it needs to be part of a system with the Maestro.
Following the clean lines of the Maestro, the only connection you’ll find on the Solo 2 is for the power – but this is also a power line network connection which links with the Maestro to create full multi room flexibility and family friendliness.
Each speaker has its own DSP, which will be upgradeable over the air, and up to seven Solo 2 speakers can be connected to one Maestro.
Ixion has said it plans to introduce an update that will allow two Solo 2 speakers to connect together to create a stereo pair – as well as the possibility of syncing Maestros.
IXION – hand-built Hi-Fi
The team are rightly proud of their new products. One of the key features that Tom Austad was particularly keen to point out was that each IXION Maestro and Solo:2 are hand built and finished in-house.
Each Maestro is burned in for 48 hours to ensure nothing is missed or forgotten. The products have a five year warranty such is their confidence in this product.
IXION Maestro sound
In the short demonstration, the Maestro certainly sounded impressive, especially for its size.
Further more, as updates happen over the air this means that, should something go wrong, it can also be fixed remotely. If an error appears on your unit a notification also appears at IXION HQ.
Also, as the EQ has been tuned to create realistic and faithful reproduction of the source material, there may be plans ahead to offer leading studios, producers and musicians to offer customised tuning as extras to the control app.
I really look forward to giving it a full trial at home, which will happen as soon as they can send me one – they are hand made remember!
IXION smart audio price and availability
The products are freshly launched and are available in Harrods where the Maestro is retailing at £1099 and the Solo:2 is £299.