PenAudio 7.6cx

Review by Mikko Mattila

Original review in Finnish Aug 1999
Published in English Oct 31, 2002
Photos by PenAudio

PenAudio7-6cx.jpg (9201 bytes)

It’s often thought that high-end is if not something special, then at least expensive. Here we have an example of speakers which are high-end to the bone except for their price. 


PenAudio uses coaxial 2-way-drivers manufactured by SEAS. Midrange is played by a 14-cm polypropylene cone and the upper frequency is taken care of by a 2.5 cm fabric tweeter. The frequency range’s –3 dB’s point is at about 55 Hz; the range, measured from the speaker’s axis is steady between 100 Hz – 4 kHz; 4 – 8 kHz is a few dB’s alteration, but only measured from the on axis. This utility has been designed to compensate the coaxial driver’s direction features at the usual listening spot. When the speaker is placed to a 60-degree listening triangle and directed a bit outwards from the listening spot (so that it’s sides are visible) the range will be steady all around the spot. 

PenAudio has tried to achieve a "natural replay", neutral tone without coloration. In its prototype phase the 7.6 cx was being developed in co-operation with professional musicians, expertizing in the instruments of classical music. This phase took for about a year, several versions of the speaker were introduced. This review is although based on the original version of the 7.6 cx.

The black-polished speaker gives the impression of an overall finished product. Myself I’ve had the pleasure to try these little speakers with two completely different sets of equipment, three times – twice when the sound of some hugely more expensive speakers was still fresh in my memory, and now for the last time with speakers from the same price group that’ve won tests in local audio journal. 


The designer have done a great job: I perceived, a beautiful, highly detailed sound with an overall balance just slightly brighter than the neutral.

Transparency was very good – presence of the instruments is imminent.

Resolution - was relatively good. At the same time the speaker is missing the overall forgiveness -- some call it "musicality", that is associated with so many almost-high-end equipment.

Soundstage is large and wide, but requires correct placing. The instruments were well focused on the width-depth-scale. 

Treble as I found it, was slightly bright, and maybe a little bit narrow-toned to the best I have heard.

Midrange was neutral, brisk and sharp, perhaps slightly edgy with some female vocals. The transients, such as an attack of a piano hammer, was played quite accurrately without notable coloration. 

Bass was dryish, sharp and colorful; the lowest bass dies out below 50-55 Hz.

Dynamics was slightly constrined, however quite acceptable for a speaker of  this size. 

A decent subwoofer will provide imediate help for the constraint of  dynamics. I hooked a Velodyne HGS-10  with the crossover at 55 Hz nd found that the subwoofer integrated excellently to the system.

The chorus played admirably well; vocals were clear, maybe a little nasal- I  found symptoms of slight sibilance; piano and quitar both sound natural, the brass played well - not too openly, though – and the large orchestra was both resolute and airy. Percussion sounds brisk and a little colored. The pans were light and airy, though more color wouldn’t be a nuisance. 

Few words about positioning: Correct positioning of the equipment is very important for the overall performance and it’s a good idea to think it out carefully to get the best out of the potential of your listening space. Reflections from the surfaces might stress out the frequency range, so it’s a good idea to place the speaker further along the wall – symmetrically, keeping a distance from the walls aside. In order to get the best possible soundstage, place the speakers so that the distance (tweeter to tweeter) will be over 2.5- 3 meters, turned outwards so that the inner sides of the speakers are visible to the listening spot. 


I enjoyed this speaker already the first time I tested it with the Gamut amplifier. I was only more impressed with the TacT. 

It's overall sound was well in balance, richly detailed, with a very good soundstaging capability. For an improvement I missed slightly more delicate treble and less constrained dynamics. 

PenAudio did the job alone quite well as an all-region speaker with acoustic music. Heavy duty bass freaks must take getting a subwoofer into consideration. 

 If I’d be starting my hifi-hobby at the moment (as I did 20 years ago, financially broke as students always are) I wouldn’t hesitate to choose this speaker. 

Briefly: PenAudio is not typical hifi – it’s high-end and absolutely the ’biggest bang for the buck’ for a long time.

Listening Conditions and Associated Equipment

  • Equipment A Listening room over 40 m2
  • Comparison speakers Avalon Eidolon
  • Amplifier Gamut D-200
  • Frontal amplifier Audio Research LS-25
  • Player Audio Research CD-2
  • Equipment B Listening room approx. 30 m2, lightly acousted
  • Comparison speakers Hales Design Group
  • Amplifier TacT Millennium Mk 2
  • Player Wadia 860
  • Speaker cords Cardas

Technical Details

  • Type: 2-way bass reflex
  • Drivers: coaxial (SEAS), 14 cm mid/bass cone, 25 mm textile dome tweeter
  • Frequency range: 40 Hz-20 kHz in room
  • Sensitivity: 86 dB, 1W, 1m
  • Crossover frequency: 2500 Hz
  • Impedance: 8 ohms, min 6.8 ohms
  • Power recommendations: 40-200 watts
  • Measurements: 31 cm (height), 16 cm (width), 24.5 cm (depth)
  • Weight: 6.2 kg







All Rights Reserved
© 2000-2006