Emerald Physics, the brand known for flat-panel, DSP-controlled, open-baffle loudspeakers has been crushing audio show demos for several years now. Part of their success is due, no doubt, to the fact that they digitally correct the performance of the system to provide an as-good-as-possible acoustic fit to the room they’re found in. The impact is almost impossible to overstate — quite simply, these demos are routinely among the very best-sounding, and likewise almost always among the very least expensive. That’s quite a testament to the approach, if you ask me.
Shown here at RMAF was the new EP-4.3. Another open-baffle design, featuring a controlled-dispersion architecture — this also means “focused” and “minimal room interaction”. The 4.3 is a 3-way, 3-driver design — the concentric drivers up top for mid/woofer + tweets, and a single larger 15″ bass driver down below. Interestingly for Emerald Physics, this speaker is also fully passive, which means good things for those of us not looking to add extra amplifiers to our budgets. If you want to bi-amp, you can with the included DSP2.4 external crossover box that comes with (in the non-bi-amping solution, this box is just used as a digital EQ). Prices start at $4,995, and the unit is also user-upgradable to the EP-4.7, which features improved drivers.
The EP speakers were driven by the new EP100.2SE amplifier, it’s 100wpc in stereo mode bridged for this application, providing a total of 275 watts mono per box (per channel). A DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core was used as a preamplifier and digital room correction device.
Package price for the EP speakers, amp and DSPeaker was an on-site special of $5,995.
As source, the team was using a Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2DSD SE converter ($2,549) and MS-2 Server ($2,499). Call cabling was from Wyred 4 Sound as well.
DSP, flat panels, digital amplification … all of this seems to violate several widely held views of what’s right and proper in the land of the high-end. Be that as it may, the sound in this room was undeniable. Powerful. Grand, when needed. Delicate, when called upon. It’s really hard to find fault with what was going on here, so I’m not going to try.
The future may not yet be here, but this is one of the clearest views yet.
This was also a very popular room. My apologies to those I stepped on and over to get the pictures I did.
One last thing — I did see some very interesting power conditioning devices in the room. Still in prototype, I understand, but there’s an active regenerator and a power cord with a passive filter — both look very interesting and I’m staying tuned on that front.