The Eikon Audio room at the 2020 Florida Audio Expo was sort of an enigma at first sight–a single pair of speakers set very far apart against a very plain backdrop with a faint projection that mentioned the brand–and that it was from the mind of Gayle Sanders. If you don’t know Gayle Sanders, he’s the man who co-founded MartinLogan with Ron Sutherland and he’s one of the biggest legends in high-end audio. These Eikon speakers, however, were very different from the MartinLogan panel speakers of the past. They were dynamic designs in a floorstanding enclosure of somewhat modest dimensions, at least compared to an ESL, although they sported a very unusual shape.
I sat and listened to this pair of Eikon speakers for quite a bit and appreciated the tremendous space and air in the presentation, with an incredibly wide soundstage and deep, deep bass. I looked around the room for more clues and only noticed a couple of components on a small table along the side wall. That’s when I started thinking, hmmm, probably an active design at the very least. Then a gentleman came and sat next to me and started explaining that the speakers were $25,000–well, not just the speakers, but the entire system. That seemed like a fantastic price for the sound I was hearing.
The Eikon Audio system includes the IMAGE1 speakers, which include four dedicated next-generation class D amps for each of the four drivers along with DSP processing, and the Eikontrol, which serves as sort of a full-function preamp/DAC/phono pre/streamer. All you need is a server, which in this case was supplied by Aurender. Everything can be controlled through your mobile device as well. The gentleman then brought me a Yuengling beer and we talked some more, and that’s when I had my “D’oh” moment. “Are you Gayle Sanders?” I asked. He said yes, he was, and I shook his hand and felt like a huge idiot. I remembered what Gayle Sanders looked like many decades ago, when I first saw him standing next to his ESLs in Martin Logan ads. He looks pretty much the same now as he did back then, which is why I wasn’t sure if it was him or not.
The Eikon Audio room was my last room of the day on Saturday–I snuck it in the last half-hour before we gathered for The Occasional Podcast. I wanted to come back to the room first thing in the morning, but Sundays can be kind of nuts, and this was perhaps my biggest regret of the show. The next time I see Eikon Audio at a high-end audio show, I’m going to spend much more time listening (and less time being starstruck–maybe).