This was particularly noticeable when spinning my copy of The Incredible String Band’s The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion, a high quality Joe Boyd production for Elektra that normally works very well, but which did sound a bit ‘fierce’ in this particular combination. That, in turn, made me very conscious of the vital importance of compatibility between source and speakers, and the importance of checking this in an individual system context. This fact alone would seem ample justification for Arcaydis’ 30-day ‘money back guarantee’, which does at least provide this option.
However, the Mobile Fidelity version of the Garcia/Grisman double album Shady Grove didn’t sound at all aggressive when it was played with either cartridge, despite featuring a banjo more or less throughout. This only serves to reinforce my opinion that the net balance on any particular disc is usually down to its final mix.
Box coloration is certainly very low, indicating that the Arcolam cabinetwork is doing its thing with great efficacy. The two drivers are also very well integrated by the crossover network, with an effectively seamless transition between them.
I don’t consider myself particularly old (though I daresay others might disagree, since I’ve collected my OAP for the last five years), but it does seem unnecessary to have loads of power available, when the first watt is really the one that matters most. We might disagree with the manufacturer’s claim for a sensitivity of 87dB, preferring a significantly lower figure of 84dB, but low sensitivity is no real problem with today’s amplification.
That said, a genuinely high sensitivity speaker (of, say, more than 95dB) does seem to have some benefits in terms of dynamic expression, but also usually involves bulky horn-loaded loudspeakers that are domestically unacceptable, especially in stereo. Assuming that such inevitably bulky loudspeakers are deemed unacceptable, there can be little reason to look beyond ‘normal’ loudspeakers, such as these Arcaydis EB2Ss.
This might look like a rather ordinary and unexceptional loudspeaker, but don’t let its somewhat mundane appearance put you off, as its performance is actually superb. Provided that it works well in tonal balance terms when driven by a potential user’s system (which is where the 30-day guarantee comes in), this Arcaydis EB2S is a totally exceptional speaker. It has a dry and slightly forward balance that favours low level listening, and won’t necessarily suit every system, but it is unusually neutral and therefore offers fine value for money.
Cabinet: Composite, closed box
Drivers: 170mm bass, 25mm tweeter
Impedance: 8ohms nominal (5.9ohms min)
Sensitivity: 87dB (2.8V@1m), (83dB measured)
Frequency range: 45Hz to 20kHz
Finish: Natural or Black Oak, matt White
Size (H×W×D): 450 × 225 × 296mm
Tel: +44(0)114 399 0199