The two-way driver complement consists of a 170mm bass/mid unit, with a flared, doped 120mm cone and a fixed and rigid dust dome, crossing over to a 25mm soft-dome tweeter. Twin terminals allow each driver to be addressed individually if so desired, though the review pair came with brass strips that connected the terminals together, with access only to the bass/mid terminal pair.
The in-room far-field averaged measurements are very impressive indeed. Much of the band holds comfortably within ±3dB (or even tighter!) limits, so superior neutrality is guaranteed. The bass extension is pretty good too, registering -2dB at 30Hz and -9dB at 20Hz under our far-field measure, alongside a relatively even, albeit slightly dry balance.
A very slight trend in the overall output maximises output above 600Hz while minimising output below that point, which possibly helps project vocals slightly. Although this is a very slight characteristic, it did tend to over-emphasise Bob Dylan’s harmonica on John Wesley Harding [Columbia]: a fact that might well have something to do with the recording!
The sensitivity is a quite low 84dB/W on our measurements, which is a whole lot shy of the 87dB claimed. However, it does look like a very easy load to drive (over and above the essential simplicity of sealed box loading), remaining above eight ohms throughout. For the record, the main driver/box resonance occurs here at 64Hz.
Speech, from radio or TV, was particularly clear and open, but listening to music programming at higher volume levels, did have a degree of ‘forwardness’ that could become a tad wearing, depending upon the mix (see later). I suspect all speaker designers are faced with the dilemma of whether to achieve the best balance at low or at high volume levels. Arcaydis’ decision to opt for the former makes good sense for this listener, who has found his taste for high volume levels declining with the passing years.
This isn’t all that big a deal, frankly, but it does suggest that the EB2S may be better suited to those who prefer to listen to their music at modest levels. I’ve previously mentioned Dylan’s harmonica sounding a tad aggressive on ‘John Wesley Harding’, but that isn’t my favourite Dylan track (an honour that goes instead to ‘Visions of Johanna’ from Blonde on Blonde [Columbia], which has a delightful guitar riffing away instead of a harmonica.) Once again it seemed to work fine when played at a fairly quiet level, though this time any aggressiveness was only audible after changing the cartridge (!)
Back with the Rega Aphelion cartridge, there was no hint of aggression when playing Joni Mitchell’s excellent Hejira[Asylum] – possibly my favourite of all her albums (as long as Travelogue remains a CD-only release) – so it would seem that much of the difference comes down to the individual mix.
During the listening tests I changed the cartridge, substituting an Audio-Technica AT-ART 1000 for the Rega Aphelion in my Rega Naiad turntable/arm combination. And although the result was satisfactory enough, the sound did have a little extra brightness over the Aphelion, and therefore tended to push things a little too far in that direction.