Newport 2016: Exogal brings Ion canon, Emerald Physics goes carbon-flat


Newport250x2501If you haven’t been keeping up, Emerald Physics is ahead of you.

The company, currently under the leadership of Walter Liederman (whom many of you may know as Underwood Wally, from his dealership days — he sold me my first Peachtree Decco about a million years ago), has been very busy updating and perfecting their line of dynamic-driver open-baffle speakers, as well as adding some matching electronics to boot.

Shown here at Newport was the “new Carbon Series speakers, the EP2.8. The Carbon series uses new custom Emerald Physics designed Carbon Fiber cast basket midranges and woofers. The EP2.8 as well as the EP3.8 and EP4.8, use both carbon-fiber midranges as well as woofers. The entry-level Carbon models, the EP4.4 and EP2.4, use carbon-fiber woofers too, paired with a new polyester compression-tweeter.” Price for the 2.8, which comes with their proprietary and optional DSP system, is $9995.00/pair. Shown here in the same crazy hand-painted Cocobolo we saw back in AXPONA.

As you probably know, or can tell from the photos, the EP speakers in whatever line, all use a concentric driver arrangement — you can see the tweeter “region”, hidden behind the dust-cap in the center of the driver at the top of the baffle. Woofers, if the model has them, are mounted below that. “The EP3.4 just uses the upgraded polyester compression-tweeter, as it has no woofer and is meant to be run with subwoofers.” The reason? Point-source sound — and the EP2.8 is a 4-driver, 3-way, dipole, controlled-directivity speaker. All of this means — room elimination, for the most coherent, in-room experience possible, with or without room-correction hardware or software. This is a serious option with EP speakers, as Walter also suggests that folks consider it — and further suggests that the DSPeaker solution might just fit the bill.

But the EP speakers don’t need to be EQ’d — it’s just an option — and one of the reasons is the way that dipole speakers interact with the room. That is, they can load it but don’t tend to boom, which is just fantastic when the room is something less than the audiophile ideal (see the note about the DSPeaker system for when things go completely pear-shaped — the pain is real). Anyway, Walter explained that part of the bass performance of the EP speakers had to do with what he called “Aperture Bass loading and Propagation Technology” and the “Bass Reservoir”. To quote:

This proprietary system is used for the two (2) custom Emerald 15″ cast basket Carbon fiber dipole woofer system and improves low-frequency power, extension and linearity, while delivering improved speed and articulation. The new woofer moves 100% more air than the original CS2 or CS2.7 woofer and is almost 3Db more efficient than the woofer used in the EP2.7. The EP2.8 is 100dB efficient when bi-amped, and 97Db run full range. Bass response extends to 20Hz.

Also new from Emerald Physics: the EP200.2SE ($2,995). Well, new-ish — we did see this back in AXPONA, but in case you missed it, the new amplifier is a stereo integrated with a remote! 200 watts into 8Ω, 400 into 4Ω, the EP200.2SE also features a line-out/line-in feature (think: tape loop) for use with an outboard DSP.

The system was made up of:

Total system price for everything used in the room was $24,150.

I checked in with Mohammed, who offered the following:

It was early Friday morning, and the show floors were still just getting started. But as a looked into room 1208, the seats were filled and I needed to pop my head in to find out the scoop.

A big dynamic sound was coming from the room; it was a pair of Emerald Physics top of the line EP 2.8 open baffle loudspeakers. They were being used in a tri-amped configuration. Something I hadn’t seen before.

I could see why the seats were filled… easily the best dynamics & guitar reproduction I had heard from an open baffle speaker at THE Show. The fit and finish on the speaker was beautiful.

AXPONA coverage brought to you by Underwood HiFi, Exogal and Emerald Physics


The other “big thing” in the room at AXPONA was actually in the “other room” from Walter, this time featuring LSA loudspeakers, the fabulous LSA1 Statement ($1599/pair). New from Exogal — the maker of the FPGA-based Comet DAC ($2,995) that we loved so much last year: the new Ion ($3,250, with standard power supply).

Ion was teased at AXPONA, but it was here live and in the flesh (or aluminum, by why wreck a perfectly good cliche). What it is, is a “power DAC”, which just sounds cool. Yes, it’s an amp — it puts out 125 watts/channel (250 into 4Ω). Yes, everything is kept “completely digital” — all the way through from the input to the Comet all the way out to the output stage of the Ion. A special cable (HDMI) is used to hook the (required) Comet to the Ion, which creates and completes the system. Combined (a system that Walter is advertising at $4,995), you have a fully integrated, all digital, component system. ION is shipping now.

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.


    • The LSA 1’s were one of the best monitor speakers I heard at the THE Show. They paired well with the Comet/Ion combo. Great imaging, tonality & detail.

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