By Rafe Arnott
Emerald Physics is a company I’ve been curious about for a while, I’d seen glowing reviews of their open-baffle speaker designs and become intrigued.
Do they live up to the hype? Well, the answer is somewhat complicated for me, as I’m a dyed-in the wool fan of that tubey SET sound, (I’m in the minority, I know) but I couldn’t help but be impressed with Emerald Physics’ speakers and their amplifier/pre-amp/DAC capabilities for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that their new KCII (open baffle, controlled-dispersion loudspeaker featuring dual 10″ proprietary woofers and the company’s 8″ Godzilla point source midrange/tweeter) has few peers producing this level of sonic integrity at $2,495 US.
Mark Schifter, who designs most of the Emerald Physics gear, was showing off his latest model and had many enthusiastic admirers of the sound in the room as I fought my way in — I had to wait to get a seat! And even then, Schifter and Emerald Physics owner Walter Liederman were hard pressed to even speak with me about the new design as the two were fielding questions non-stop during my time with them.
The KCII was being fed a mix of high-res and Redbook files via an iPad through the Emerald Physics EP100.2 SE, a 100 wpc hybrid digital amplifier ($2,200 US) and the DSPeaker Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0 pre-amp/DAC/room correction device ($1,200 US). The speakers throw an astonishingly wide, clear sound stage despite the room’s very small, physical size (a tribute to Emerald Physics’ “room correcting” DSPeaker as well). It was a fast, tight, catchy sound, with plenty of bottom end.
This is well worth checking out if you’re looking for a digital file based system that integrates seamlessly.