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Alpine SXE-1725S


Coaxial two-way loudspeaker system, rated at 40w RMS and 220 watts peak, they are sold without grilles and are intended as direct quality upgrades for stock locations in a list of no fewer than sixteen marques of motor car. This is due to their standard six and a half inch diameter but also the provision of twenty differently placed and shaped holes or notches in the outer edge of the injection moulded chassis, to fit with the fixing dimensions of all the named car brands. The box holds all the data a fitter may need, printed on the outside which is a 'green' route through the packaging issue as all these Alpine's use is printed card and two small polybags. The tweeters are Mylar domes, the cones made of honest paper pulp with a shiny coat on the front while the shallow profile injection moulded chassis equates to an ally cast job at these powers and makes it ridiculous VFM from the off. The midbasses have pretty large magnets and by their high efficiency are optimised for use with headunit power, despite being able to be used with an amplifier. They were tested on both a single car radio unit and a proper car audio amplifier of very high quality by way of 'reference' rig. The headunit used was a Pioneer DEH- P88RSII on the posh amp and a Sony in-car single-DIN SACD player (a format of higher resolution than CD that requires a special disc and player.) called the  MEX-DV1000.

- Power Handling 40w RMS
- Sensitivity 92dB 1w/1M
- Passband 60Hz to 20kHz
- Tweeter diameter 25mm
- Mounting Depth 46.5mm
- Cone: Long fibre natural paper pulp
- Polymer foam inverted top roll suspension
- Tweeter: Mylar-Titanium balanced dome with Neodymium magnet
- Chassis: Injection moulded polymer
- Complete with: eight screws and eight panel screwclips
- Perforated stiff card template on box, along with applications table, saloon car diagram and response curve printed on box' tabs

Review by Adam Rayner

These coaxials still fit in a classic gap. That which is created by corporate greed and profit.

On the one hand, the car makers know they must offer electronics and they use specialist companies like Alpine to help them do it. It's called OEM or Original Equipment by Manufacturer. This stuff is what you get when you buy the car and it is getting better in general. However, speakers are a specialised engineering item and they cost money to make.

Trouble is, any part used to make a car gets added into the whole profit-adding process and by the time you get to buy that horribly mass produced and of necessity cheaply-constructed speaker as part of your car's sound system, you have had around four separate sets of mark up and profit applied to the five-dollar speaker as it is sold to the maker who sells to the exporter and who sells to the dealer networks over here and so on. Even UK-made cars and even the 'posh' ones of those, with 'premium' sound systems in them have severe limits on what they can spend. As far as I know, Lexus/Mark Levinson, Bowers & Wilkins/Jaguar and Naim/Bentley are the only exceptions to this rule. What that means is that for a slice of extra engineering, like a cast polymer chassis and a coated carefully shaped cone and real Neodymium magnets for the tweeters and a much higher real power handling limit, enabling the use of an amplifier, you are only being asked less than thirty quid a pair!

These were the speakers to christen the new speaker test enclosures from Acoustic Wood, so needed some wires assembling. One feature I really hated on these was the position and lack of polarity marking of the standard lug terminals. A tiny excressence on their super-precision tooling would have obviated this for idiots. ('Hellooo!') They are sized differently but you have to know the standard (In Japan, NOT the USA) that the negative is the smaller lug and the only label is on the box. Plus they are so close to the body of the chassis that you cannot use a standard armoured crimp connector with a high quality wire, you are forced to use a skinny wire with clear skinny sheathing. In an ideal world this is irrelevant and my worry stems from bad practice, or wear and tear through vibration and movement. With old fashioned and horrible lug-fixers, you got a piece of compressed waxed board and this was riveted to your pressed steel chassis and each side had an 'L' shaped piece of conductor riveted onto that. One end had the tinsel wires soldered upon it and these would go off into the speaker and the other was the lug itself, subject to bending, breaking and falling clean off. This new terminal gets around all that as the lugs are fixed deep into the injection moulding. But I feel they could be better positioned and marked for the self fitting ignorant types, is all.

That old fashioned lug mounting method meant that the two terminals were a good distance apart and often also meant that the two wires were leaving at 180 degrees to each other, making any possible frayed wires that very much less likely to ever touch each other and thus short circuit your amplifier. Off board amps are all mostly protected from this sort of short circuit but you don't really want to find out the hard way. So make certain your wires are neatly and solidly terminated. I did, then fitted the SXE-1725Ses into the boxes and plugged in the Genesis SM100 'known good' test bed amplifier which Talk Audio was given for the purpose, as well as trying them out on headunit power from the Sony SACD deck.

The detail from the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon recording was awesome for less than thirty quid and that tweeter is quite a peformer! It can do some amazing stuff for the money. I was getting the edges of strings and some of the odd breathy stuff you cannot hear on the CD version. When it came to CD on the Pioneer DEH-P88RSII, I played some of that Spirit of Sound #6 disc yet again, on the blues item, with the croaky dude and the serious amounts of slid strings on guitars. I reckon that if you replace your stock speakers with these, you will notice a whole world of detail leap out at you.

Fact is, I felt that the forward high frequency zone was a bit much, then realised that these things are meant to be hidden behind those thicker-knicker grade stock grilles. No sparse designer look metal grilles, just have to speak through the metal grille and cloth or whatever the factory grille is made of. Thus, a forward voicing makes sense. What didn't make sense was the amount of weight and scale these had.

Ridiculous!

They are £27 odd notes, with a biscuit for the dealer, so just how bloody cheap are the stockies, I wonder? 'Cos these are amazing!

But like an amazing thing, say a super-beach-perfect Mini Moke, there are limits and with the Alpine SXE-1725S coaxes, it's a limit of weight, dynamics and scale of sound. All of which would be bloody silly terms to even use in a review of such cheapness under normal circumstances. The fact they do work so well that these are the issues in question, is what's remarkable.

In Alpine terms, they are 'only' a seven for SQ, but then that IS to recognise just how far upstream Alpine do go with their speaker technology and R&D and thus sound quality. But despite not winning any flags, I personally would heartily and no-brain easily recommend these to anyone for any car with the right size holes - as they come in the other sizes, it makes sense. For just over fifty quid, you will get a mad-bonkers hike in purity and quality of sound over the stock speaker drivers in your factory sound system. These are speakers for folks who wouldn't normally get involved in our hobby and will be amazed once they just have to replace a factory crackly one.

So they get an EDITOR recommendation if not scoring the numbers on the Talk Audio Top Trumps scoring system - this is because they are not made cash-wise to handle more power than a stock head unit or a 4x50w power chip. All the money has gone into the sound quality (at the price) so a seven is just silly when other ones that have scored those three extra points for a SQ 'ten' on Talk Audio for this factor can cost £1,750 a set!

Great product and in an ideal world, I'd give 'em an eleven for VFM. (Now there's a thought! More control than the Joomla review software allows me,hmmmmm!)

POSTSCRIPT UPON CHANGING CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM:
Now, we HAVE that ideal world, so I changed it!

Sound Quality 7.0
Build Quality 9.0
Power Handling 6.0
Efficiency 10.0
Value For Money 11.0
Overall rating 8.6


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