i think you can never catch the beauty of the midrange of EİDOLON with J.M.LAB
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Gladstone, I've waited to see if you would get some comments that specifically compare the two speakers, as you requested. But, it doesn't look like there are too many people who may have had teh opportunity to compare these speakers, although Bmpnyc has helped with his comments from listening to two different systems. So, at this point I thought I might wade in with some comments about the sound of the Eidolons that you can take for what you deem them to be worth as you try to sort things out. And keep in mind that my listening bias is almost exclusively to acoustic instruments and voice.
I own Eidolons - I am biased. I think they are exceptional speakers that do a great many things extremely well. They are very neutral, very very quick (nearly as quick as the best electrostatics I've heard), and exceptionally dynamic. At the same time they are exceptionally natural and "musical". These speakers reproduce the timbre of instruments very accurately, and catch all the delicate harmonic overtone shadings that contribute so greatly to creating the illusion of listening to the real thing. They are capable of creating the most incredibly realistic soundstage of any speaker I have ever heard - laterally, vertically and in depth. Because of their incredibly even dispersion characteristics, even when listening well off-axis soundstaging and tonal balance are better than many good speakers heard on-axis. (I will admit that I place a higher premium on accurate credible soundstaging that will some listeners.)
With respect to bass reproduction, be prepared for bass response that is not emphasized or highlighted. Eidolons were designed to be very neutral top-to-bottom. They can have very deep and authoritative bass response when the recording calls for it. They also have very dynamic, agile and detailed bass reproduction. Eidolons are always "articulate." A problem I have more often encountered is with speakers that are subtly bass boosted for real world applications, and that over-drive rooms with too much inarticulate boomy bass - including some very expensive "high-end" speakers claiming flat anechoic response.
I have never heard the JM Labs, so I cannot compare. I can only share with you my impressions of the Eidolons and those characteristics in which I think the Eidolons demonstrate great strength.
Perhaps other people could share their impressions of either the Eidolons or the JM Labs independently of each other if not as compared to each other? Kindest regards,
Rushton, your description echo's my own impressions exactly. I have also taken some time to come to the the same conclusion regarding the bass. It is not typical to hear an accurate bass, and took me a while to adjust to hearing it properly presented again. I also have extensively heard the model just below the Eidelons' (forget their name), and had the exact same experience with the soundstage as you described. They are definitely doing something right at Avalon.
Heard both, on different occasions & about 2-3 yrs ago. So, pls, don't be mislead by what I (think) I remember.
Utopias I heard were driven by an Ongaku (no sound), Krell mono (Bmpnyc speaks for me), Spectral (superbe). Eidolons were driven by triodes (! no sound), Spectrals (prodiguous).
Comparing the two w/ "matching" amplification. The Utopias were very analytical, "aggressively" analytical. The tweater set-up super fast and razor sharp (enough to trim your hair). Eidolons less so. Eidolons clear imaging, clear and musical (I remember I wasn't "looking" to hear anything). Bass resolution: excellent, on both. Speed: Ferrari, both.
Τhe Eidolon has remained in memory as the more "musical" of the two, now that I'm attempting the comparison. So, better.
But then, maybe I was in a better mood during the Eid/Spectral audition?
Good luck, both are great -- and difficult to drive -- speakers~)!
Great comments, Gregm. And thanks for the follow-up Bmpnyc. I think the Avalon speakers next down in their lineup that you are thinking of are called "Opus." These got a very positive review by Robert Harley in TAS some months back. Anectdote: the first time my wife and I heard the Eidolons, we absolutely could not tell where the sould was coming from in the dealer's listening room. Some very nice music was playing when we walked in, but we could not tell that the speakers sitting in the middle of the floor were the source they so completely disappear. Had to actually walk up to them and get close to the drivers to be sure they were the ones playing. Yes, I agree - Avalon is definitely doing something right.
I'm not sure I can agree that the Eidolons are "difficult to drive." Avalon has had that problem with prior speaker models, but I think one will find that the Eidolons are a lot easier to drive than many assume. Of course, they will take about as much power as you wish to deliver to them, but their impedance curve is fairly benign (never below 3.5 ohms, nominal 4 ohm) and they will operate quite reasonably well on moderate sized amplifiers at lower volumes. When I first got mine, I drove them for a couple of months with a pair of vintage Marantz 9's at 70 watts per channel - could play a live volumes and the bass was soft, but the mid-range and highs were quite good.
Of the dynamic speakers I have auditioned in the last two months, the Avalon's are the best I have heard. Even the Avatar sounds great. Their soundstaging is non pareil
and imaging is superb. The transparency is excellent for a
dynamic speaker. The comparison should be to the
other "Lab" company, Sound Lab, in particular the M1s.
See past discussions on the merits of electrostats/dipoles
versus dynamic speakers.
One note: all the Avalons take gobs of power; as anyone
tried the VTL MB1250s??? The Spectral DMA360s(and I love
my Spectral gear) were not enough, particularly on Bruckner and Mahler.
Second note: Setup is very crucial to hear the best out
of them because if not they could sound like very,very
expensive Cerwin Vegas. If you had to place them on the back
wall,forget it, buy Gradient Revolutions instead.
The Eidolon is a superb speaker but requires IMHO plenty of high quality power to bring out its best. I found ARC Ref 600 worked best.Sounding staging, timbral accuracy and speed are its outstanding attributes. Only beaten by the
(more expensive) Pipedreams, 7' Reference my current speaker. The Utopia (not Grand) is less refined (ie musical)and the bass is not as 'accurate', but otherwise a great speaker.
I've had Eidolons for the past 10 years now and a good buddy of mine whom I swap gear with has ALto Utopioa Be's.
Fast bass, midrange presence and palpability... Eidolon.
Silky highs, buttoned down comfy sound, and bass extension... Alto.
You need to listen to both driven with moderately powered amps (we both used NP100Premium golds) for a fair comparison. Eidolons are a lot more difficult load but the Altos have putt putt muddy bass when underdriven.