AXPONA 2014: Endeavor Audio Engineering and Your Final System


Part-Time Audiophile contributor Mal Kenney was a big fan of Endeavor Audio when he caught them at the California Audio Show last year. Big fan. I mean, there was the whole dial-it-up-to-eleven after hours next to the room he was crashing in, but hey, details.

Leif Swanson was here at AXPONA with the same speakers, the EF-3, now retailing for $6,995 a pair. There are four drivers, all from Vifa, a ring-radiator tweeter, a woven-kevlar mid, and a pair of aluminum bass drivers, separated for some optimal acoustical goodness. The front-end was also very similar — a Your Final System (YFS) HD Ref-3 server ($15,500) hulked solidly center on the audio rack. That monster has 32G of RAM and several TB of solid-state storage, with custom wiring and boards, and a 22″ touch-screen monitor. There’s also a pair of external linear power supplies, one for the computer and one for their custom-for-YFS USB board. It’s a lot of dough for a “server”, to be fair, but it’s also a ton of unique, hand-built work that goes into each one of these tank-like steel-chassis machines.

The electronics in the room were also top-shelf stuff. A DAC from EMMLabs, the $15,500 DAC2x hid on the bottom. A Constellation Audio Virgo II Preamplifier ($28k) and a Centaur Stereo Power Amplifier ($24k) secured the center space. All the cables were custom from Master-Built.

Lucky me, Endeavor was set up across the hall from my room.

I came in mid-afternoon on Thursday, dropped my bags and popped open my laptop and promptly had a half-dozen day-job related calls. During that time, I heard Chris Jones’ “No Sanctuary Here” — the one with the thunderous bass — 528 times. It might have been 530, now that I think about it.

Naturally, I stomped across. I might have dropped the f-bomb a few times. But Mal was absolutely right. It’s not because I was angry. Far from it. That room sounded fan-freakin-tastic. Leif complained that dialing in the bass was a little problematic (a trend I heard repeatedly, and not happily, from many other setup vets). I told him I knew exactly where it was — in my room. He laughed and asked me when in the morning that it was okay to crank the system, and sure enough, when the appointed hour arrived, he blasted me right out of bed and into my day. And yes, it was that same damn Chris Jones track. Smug bastard.

Anyway, I think this speaker is stupid-good, and I’m thrilled to read what Mal has to say about it — he’s going to be getting a review pair soon.

Also in the room was a Mac Mini setup, with the outboard YFS power supply. This was very interesting to me, and I learned that they’ll pull out the Mini’s switching PSU, install a $645 filter which can be used to wire in their $1795 external linear power supply. I’ve heard nothing but good things from the YFS guys, and if the Mini’s PSU helps out as much as they say it does, it’s gonna have to hit my to-do list.





About Scot Hull 1063 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.


  1. I’ve got to add a tiny little drop of cold water. The Black Keys sounded far more forward/ aggressive than my UnicoCD/Odyssey Kismet/AZ Adaggio setup or anywhere else I’ve heard it. Of course, maybe the band intended it to sound exactly the way it did in this room?

  2. I heard Leif’s speakers at 2013 RMAF and was stunned by them, especially when Dean Peer played live bass through them- I thought they might explode. Great sound , and deep tight bass from a small footprint, 3D soundstage, great job Leif.

    • Good point. Ivor Tiefenbrun (author of Linn’s so-called “Audio Hierarchy” when the LP12 TT arrived early ’70s) would approve. Back in the day Linn instructed dealers to install the best tonearm only on the top grade TT, and the best cartridge only on the top grade tonearm.

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  1. AXONA 2014: Wrap Up | Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile
  2. Newport 2014: Endeavor Audio brings a Constellation to create Your Final System | Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile

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