Newport 2016: Eclipse, On a Higher Note combine to make a point


Newport250x2501There continue to be a lot of unconventional speaker designs in the high-end, including horns, electrostats, transmission lines, field coils and ribbons. But one particular concept that remains fairly rare is the single point source.

The idea of using just one full-range driver per channel dates far back in hi-fi’s history. Instead of dividing the frequency range up among multiple drivers — many of which often being sourced from different suppliers — a single-speaker design theoretically can avoid problems introduced by crossovers and non-matching cone materials. And having just one source per channel radiating sound into the room also overcomes the time-domain challenges of trying to make a handful of drivers speak at once.

Visitors to the Eclipse/On a Higher Note room at T.H.E. Show in Newport got to see one of the modern applications of the point-source idea. Eclipse, which is owned by Fujitsu Ten, was showing its TD510Z Mk. II speakers ($5,990 a pair). The unusual transducers likely first drew attention from passersby for their styling, which resembles a couple of huge eggs mounted horizontally on forward-sloping stands. But the sound wafting from the door also likely was just as big an attraction.

Each “egg” in the TD510Z has a single 10-centimeter, full-range fiberglass driver. The custom-made cone is attached to the enclosure with a flexible rubber surround. Special care is taken to control vibration throughout the design, from internal damping in the egg to the heavy stand and spiked base.

The result, I found, is a pair of speakers that have an uncanny knack for presenting music as a cohesive whole. Where some two-way, three-way and four-way speakers draw attention to their respective high-, mid- and low-frequency signals, the TD510Z proved to offer an extremely focused soundstage and realistic portrayal of instruments.

After listening to some stirring classical music, I had Enigma sales manager Paul Burnip cue up “H Gang” from Donald Fagen’s underrated “Morph the Cat.” The well-recorded track features a Steely Dan-ish driving rhythm arrangement, overlaid with sinewy guitar work by Jon Herington and a jazzy horn chart.

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

Right from the opening notes, it was clear the TD510Z excelled at capturing the pace of the recording, as well as offering a cohesive aural picture — like looking out a large picture window, as opposed to glancing through multiple panes. “H Gang” has a dozen musicians playing at once, but the song’s melody was what emerged, rather than a collection of parts.

The TD510Z also did a better job than many speakers I’ve tested with this song in allowing me to hear Fagen’s own multitracked backing vocals — something he didn’t often do (without help). In addition, Keith Carlock’s drums were solid and Gordon Gottlieb’s percussion sparkled. All in all, the TD510Z offered a very pleasing, organic sound that would be easy to live with.

At Newport, Eclipse was demoing the TD510Z with two of its TD520SW self-powered subwoofers ($7,200). Each subwoofer contained two drivers in a floating structure to reduce stray vibrations.

It might seem that including the subwoofers would not make this system truly a single point source, but in this case I think that would be splitting hairs. Each TD510Z was run full-range from 42-22,000 Hz, driven by a Luxman L590AX Mk. II integrated amp ($10,000) and fed by a Luxman D05u CD player ($5,000). The subs were filtered to operate between 25-50 Hz. Since very low bass essentially is nondirectional, the egg-towers still were providing most of the relevant one speaker-one ear output for each channel.

For those who’d like to enjoy the Eclipse sound, but are looking for more of a lifestyle speaker, the company also had on static display in Newport a desktop version, the TD-M1 ($1,000). The system — which keeps the eggs-on-a-stand design, but is dramatically shrunken in size — is self-powered and offers wireless access.

Eclipse may not be a well-known name yet, but its work is gaining notice. Neil Dorfsman, who engineered “Brothers in Arms” for Dire Straits, is said to be a fan. Overall, I think the company’s designers are making their point.

About John Stancavage 196 Articles
Contributing Editor for Part-Time Audiophile


  1. First of all have to say I wasn’t there and I haven’ heard this particular speakers.

    However, I have heard quite a number of full range solutions and so my comments are based on that…

    In principle full range has a lot of advantages but I am yet to see a transducer that can do full range without distortion / breakup creeping in. The problem is we can have driver manufacturer claim a wide frequency response and we can indeed hear / measure that range working but if ever there is a way to plot distortion against frequency, that will paint a very different story across that full range.

    So do I believe the Eclipse speakers are capable of near holographic imaging – Absolutely.

    Do I think it there could be (above average) distortion peaks at various points in the spectrum especially the two extremes – Yes.

    Therefore, could there be a loss of detail and resolution especially at higher frequencies – Yes

    Do I think it is a good idea to run two subwoofers placed in a way that can potentially cause phase distortion and cancellation – No

    Do I think it is likely at the high volume levels and ambient noise levels of the demo room a lot of people will notice low end blurring – No

Comments are closed.