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AXPONA 2018: Emerald Physics wrestles a gorilla and wins

KEF R Series

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Emerald Physics, DSPeaker, LSA, Outlaw, WyWires

Overwhelmingly full sound, the new speakers from LSA were assembled only one day before the show. Breaking in wasn’t even option, yet the crowds were set back in their seats with mouths agape. Prodigious was the bass and scale of these little wonders. There was a 24” open baffle sub in the room, it wasn’t even turned on, though I was.

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The Story

Underwood Hifi purchased LSA a few years ago, but hasn’t rested on what is an acclaimed brand history. Many of the previous LSA designs garnered press industry awards. When I first heard news that the movers and shakers at Underwood were taking over the brand, developing new models, and putting their unique marketing touch to work on the LSA name, I was convinced this was a great home for the line.

Here we are in 2018, and Walter Liederman who more than has his hands full with Emerald Physics, Underwood, and now LSA producing and selling factory direct — isn’t showing signs of an impending fumble. Taking on a gorilla sized show like Axpona with two debut products, one of which was essentially still in R&D one day before the show, Walter pulled it off. First my ears did notice the new LSA 10 Statement reference monitors. Each monitor features all-new custom XB2 driver motor structures developed by Dan Wiggins, which include an aluminum cast basket 6.5” mid/woofer, a 1” copper/beryllium tweeter, and a single rear mounted 5”x7” aluminum bass radiator. Leading the dancing that these drivers do, is a sophisticated 8th order linear phase acoustic crossover. LSA states an in-room response of 35hz-30khz +/- 3db, and we all know that numbers usually don’t account for squat when the +/- starts getting involved — but after hearing them, I believe them. Compared to previous LSA models, were looking at 10hz lower in the bass, and those monitors were no slouches.

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AXPONA 2018 Coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

Mind you all of this “oomph” that was being thrown at me from the LSA 10 Statement monitors, was also likely in part due to its Emerald Physics stepbrother, the debuting EP200.2SE power amplifier. To call it specifically a “power amplifier” doesn’t do it proper service. The new power amplifier from Emerald Physics can be used as a three source integrated amplifier with a digitally controlled remote analog volume control and outboard processor loop for bi-amping, tri-amping, or processor add-ons. The EP200.2SE is a beefy 200 watts per channel at 8 ohms, and doubling that figure into 4 ohms, along with being 2 ohm stable for when things take a dip. Connectivity and integrative system possibilities for this “amplifier” are almost boundless, and I strongly advise a full reading of the user manual before purchasing, as the EP200.2SE could eliminate more than just your current amplifiers after being installed.

DSPeaker was handling all of the digital conversion and preamplifier duties with their Anti-Mode X4 (with DSD/PCM DAC). It is a 4-channel remote controlled analog balanced preamplifier with 2-way electronic crossover and full range room correction with its included mic. The Anti-Mode X4 is a major step up from the previous Anti-Mode 2.0 which went yard with many press industry awards. I can’t remember the names of those awards exactly but I think they were something like Stereophile Class A, and Absolute Sound’s Golden Ear?

The 24” open-baffle sub that was in the room was actually being used as a stand for the electronics. Still in prototype phase, the Emerald Physics OB-SW24 is an folded box design with a driver that has a 46mm one-way X-max value. It will come with a digital room correction device from DSPeaker as well as an outboard 1000 watt amplifier. The preliminary specs for the sub sit at … *gulp*… 10hz at 125db in-room. Perfect for small bedroom systems.

The Sound

Everything about my experience has to be considered initial listening as the speakers were likely still wet to the touch. (see Lacquer drying times).

Impression notes were “thick” and “forceful”. Summing things up best, I heard that something special in the sound, that IT they speak of in Hollywood casting circles. The LSA Statements were giving us all plenty of that. Upon return visit throughout the weekend, I noticed integrating of the mid-range and an overall more harmonious presentation.

The System

  • LSA 10 Statement Reference Monitors – $3,495 pr USD
  • Emerald Physics EP200.2SE Amplifier – $3,495 USD
  • DSPeaker Anti-Mode X4 Preamp / DAC – $3,995 USD
  • WyWires Power Broker AC Distributor – $2,499 – $4,499 USD
    (in partnership with Daedalus Audio)

All cabling by WyWires

1 Comment on AXPONA 2018: Emerald Physics wrestles a gorilla and wins

  1. charles rollo // May 12, 2018 at 1:24 PM //

    Good write up thank you. Got me interested.

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