AXPONA 2016: Endeavor indulges in Audio Alchemy


axponaAudio Alchemy, Peter Madnick’s newest project, showcased here a slightly different flavor of gear than I found (and talked about) in the ELAC room. Here, I found the DMP-1 digital media player ($1795), the DDP-1 DAC/preamp ($1995) with optional power supply ($595) and a pair of DPA-1 mono power amplifiers ($3990/pair).

It may be hard to see, but in “real life”, the AA gear is quite nicely turned out, almost to a fault, and the prices all fall in that sweet-spot of “expensive but not heart-breaking” zone. Does that make them the total package? Hard to say, but what it does say is that they really seem like something quite special. At some point, I hope to explore these more fully.

But the star of this particular room is the newly released E3 MkII from Endeavor Audio Engineering, now part of Von Schweikert Audio/VSA. At $8k/pair, the E-3 are also not exactly affordable, but … I want to say that they’re still in that surprisingly-affordable zone, especially when compared with offerings from Zu, Joseph and Living Voice, and a big step up from Polk, PSB and the like. Oh, and the other speaker in the Endeavor line? The E-5 — which is $30k/pair! Not sure that qualifies the new E-3 as a bargain, but it certainly is headed in that direction.

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The shape of the cabinet is a little unusual — the side walls are not parallel, but instead tilt together toward the rear. The driver complement is also a little unusual — a ring-radiator tweeter, a woven-Kevlar midrange, with two aluminum woofers. The speaker is said to be 4Ω and flat, with a 20Hz-20kHz range at 90dB sensitivity. That’s quite a set of specs.

In-room, the sound was a bit throttled by the room (I think they can go much louder), but still managed to punch and roll. I really want the bass to get all badonkadonk, but alas and alack, the boys running the room were far too kind to their neighbors. This speaker is an excellent platform — color me “impressed” (which is usually a cheerful shade of blue, instead of my typically brooding electric-purple).

At some point, Mal Kenney has promised to give us his official take on these speakers — a review we’re very much looking forward to seeing. Stay tuned for that.

About Scot Hull 1039 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.