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Architect Martin Hakiel Combines Love for Design and HiFi with Amphion Speakers

The Amphion Krypton3’s in walnut veneer shifted Martin Hakiel’s lifestyle and living room aesthetic. An interesting look at the convergence of design and sound.

Amphion Krypton 3 Loudspeaker Pair Angle

For Berlin-architect, Martin Hakiel, his adoration for design and functionality runs deeper than most. With a career spanning fifteen years, Hakiel has experience with international projects, but now works as Director at gmp in Berlin. In his spare time, Hakiel unwinds by listening to music. Though he had audiophile-grade speakers prior, he never experienced music on an emotional level until his friend introduced him to the Amphion Argon 3L.

“It was really a game-changer. From the first moments I listened to them it was such a huge difference; the clarity and transparency of the sound was incredible.”

After researching the Amphion home speaker line Hakiel was able to purchase a pair of second-hand Krypton3’s in a walnut veneer to celebrate a milestone birthday. “In my career I deal so much with my eyes and my hands when I am drawing. I am focused on the shapes and the lines. I realized that I don’t use my ears with the same level of focus until I sit down with the Krypton 3’s to play music,” he added.

Martin Hakiel standing outside by train tracks
Architect Martin Hakiel standing outside of one of his projects, the New Podium Building in Berlin.

An Architectural Sensibility

Hakiel’s architecture background allows him to appreciate how design influences the functionality of a product. “When I saw the Krypton’s I thought of my favorite architect of all time, an American man named Louis Kahn. His design of the Bangladesh Parliament resembled the Krypton3 speakers,” Hakiel noted. Kahn is known for using elemental geometric forms like squares, circles and triangles to create modern, monumental buildings. Hakiel believes geometry is an integral part of building, which is also represented in the Krypton3’s.

The Krypton3 towers consist of a tall, rectangular cabinet that stands on a square platform. The three circles on the face represent the tweeter and two midranges in an MTM design. 

To achieve true full range sound, Krypton’s elegant and timeless cabinet design incorporates a 10” side firing woofer positioned below the triangular shaped cardioid pattern on the exterior of the cabinet, an innovation that helps with dispersion despite the size of a room. “In a way, I can see similarities for how Amphion designs their speakers. I believe they have a very architectural way of approaching their loudspeakers. Their design represents what is going on inside the speaker, which helps produce realistic sound with precise imaging,” Hakiel explained.

Amphion Krypton 3 Loudspeaker in room at night
Amphion Krypton3

One Step Further 

The handmade Finnish speakers have also inspired the architect to redesign his living room with a new media table to match the speakers. “It is painful for me if components do not match,” Hakiel said. Once the Krypton3’s were placed in the living room, the preexisting white cabinet that clashed with the walnut veneered speakers.

Since Hakiel is accustomed to working on large-scale designs he was eager to work on a smaller, more intimate level. “It became interesting for me to design a cabinet that I could construct it with my own hands.” Over the next year, Hakiel was meticulous in sourcing the materials for the project. ​ With connections formed on larger architectural projects, Hakiel asked for help from his carpentry contacts who were able to carefully wrap the walnut veneer over the edges by using their tools to help Hakiel’s design come to fruition. 

“I wouldn’t build something unless it could be compared to a professional product. I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” Hakiel admitted. Inside the cabinet is a red polished lacquer that Hakiel polished for weeks before it shined in the way he envisioned. “I learned a lot. At times it was even frustrating. The process showed me how important it is to understand how far you can go. I know what is theoretically possible, but the application of this cabinet helped me understand how things are really done on-site to achieve a better product,” Hakiel said. ​

Cabinet Build Process Collage
A collage of images during the cabinet build process.

The Main Event 

The cabinet plays a role in Hakiel’s listening experience. “When I enter the room, I have to open the door carefully before I can switch on the devices inside,” Hakiel explained. “I enjoy the process like it is a meditation before I begin listening.” Hakiel listens to a range of music including classical, jazz, electronic and popular through Tidal, Qobuz, Roon and vinyl. “The Berlin music scene is so great that I used to go out often to listen to live music. A side effect of the Amphion’s is now I find myself staying in more because I do not need to go out. If I’m not attending a concert at the Berlin Philharmonie, with its world-renowned acoustics, I can almost be sure I’ll have a better listening experience at home,” Hakiel added. ​ 

For the last three years, the Krypton 3’s have become a centerpiece in Hakiel’s life. He often hosts dinner parties for his friends and takes the opportunity to introduce them to the world of hi-fi.

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“Music is usually a side effect of parties, but with the Krypton 3’s it becomes the main event,” Hakiel notes. “When I put on the Krypton3’s my guests listen in a way they didn’t before. We stop talking and listen to more consciously.” Hakiel passion for Amphion’s hi-fi speakers continued when he invested in a pair of compact Helium410 bookshelf speakers. “Though the Helium410 and Krypton3’s are drastically different, they still carry the same Amphion signature sound,” he notes.

Hakiel has mobility with the Helium410’s and carries them over to friends’ houses. “When I go see a friend, I bring the Helium’s with me and leave them for a week so my friend can experience the difference.” This generous offering has resulted in three of Hakiel’s friends purchasing their own pair of Amphion speakers.

As for the Krypton3’s, they continue to be part of Hakiel’s everyday life. “Often, I sit down by myself and simply listen to music. It became so involving that I realized how much I missed before in the recordings.”

Amphion Krypton3 Loudspeakers Front
Amphion Krypton3 loudspeakers with the matching cabinet designed and built by Martin Hakiel.

Related reading: Amphion Debuts Krypton3X 3-Way Flagship Loudspeaker at High END Munich 2023 for $24,000/pair.

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