Emerald Physics CS-2, Opinions Please

Hello all:

I found and read a couple of older threads regarding these speakers, I've been talking with the dealer, and I have read everything I could find on the internet. I understand the DSP's role and the need to bi-amp. The last step befor I plunk down the plastic, is to ask those of you that have them what you think?

What are the pluses and minuses? If you have had them for a couple of months are you still happy? any regrets?

Best regards,

Absolutely NO regrets! Fantastic speakers in every regard..although you've likely read some of my waxing posts already here on the goN. Listen, Ive always loved Electrostatics and was not willing to give up my Quads purity, speed and naturalness no matter how good or dynamic a speaker was...well the CS-2's changed all that for me. The plus list is extensive IMO:

Fast, Natural presentation, Tonally accurate, Pin point imaging and deep sound-stage. Deep tight bass that will have you smiling ;-)..If you've never heard good Open-baffle bass..your in for a treat!..Smooth and extended highs, beautiful upper mids with no compression or congestion (think E-stats) The Behringer in stock form does a very good job and offers choices in preset firmware from EP. Gain adjust to match your upper and lower amps ( can be done by ear with confidence) There's a LOT of speaker here at $3500....A huge plus!

Minuses: You need at least 1 meter out from the front wall and preferably more. (You can be very close to the side walls)

Of course you need 4 channels of amplification. Any combo of amps is possible. 2- stereo...4 monoblocks..etc.. I would try to keep power ratings kind of close(but not necessary) ..Gain inputs of the amps should be close too..In other words my Nuforce has 28dB gain and my Bel Canto has 27dB..Gian... and power outputs of the amps can be compensated for within the DCX..so really not to big an issue here. I am now using some TAD 1000 tube monoblocks on top..its the best ive heard so far. Every change is easly heard.

Of course if you already have a multi-channel amp..your there!

A buddy of mine is still breaking in to some extent... He sold off some very expensive and well regarded speakers after hearing the CS-2's..

Break in, as with any new speaker is a minus..but surprisingly, the CS-2 sound very good just out of the box..The Compression driver will sound better than the bass..the 2-15" bass drivers need a bit of play time to open up. I found they really got deep and tight at about 200 hrs..and then again at 400 hrs they really disappeared leaving the music completely neutral and free breathing.

I take it you've already peered over on Audiocircle to read some of the post owners have been posting.

I love these speakers and think they compete with and beat out many fine and expensive designs. This speaker is going to seriously PO some of the big speaker companies for their expensive offerings compared to the CS-2..IMO.

If you were local here in the Atlanta area..you would be more than welcome to drop by for a listen.
you live in talonville. no need to plunk down plastic out of boredom for any speaker. relax and enjoy your system.
Jaybo..you're a riot! ;-) LOL!
Thanks for the responses.

Jaybo; I'm not bored with the Talons, I just can not find a sub that can keep up with them, without spending more than the Talons cost. My only knock on the Talon monitors is the lean bass (@ +/- 35Hz). There is some music (truthfully, not much)that I know would be better with the next level of bottom end.

Additionally, my major use is for TV and I am getting tired of packing them, the stands, etc, up and down stairs from the music room to the living room.
my 2 cents..the coincident troubador grand or the verity tamino x2......used, both go for around 2k, and play with any new 10k loudspeaker. as balanced and organic as you'll get..you'll even listen to cd's again too..ps you have great stuff
one more thing...i saw a mint pair of the talon chorus on audio classics' website for around 4.4k. like getting a deal on the best house in the neighborhhod
You already have my 2c..that from someone who actually HAS the speaker your asking of..

My FWIW...Get the speaker YOU want, and forget what anyone else says otherwise. Yes, you have great stuff...doesnt mean you cant have something else or better. Best wishes with your decision either way. At least you've heard from someone who has the CS-2's..
Every six months or so in high end audio there's another power cord, speaker, amplifier, digital source, (you name it) that's got the hot buzz among audiophiles. Within a year (or less), the latest hot-buzz item is seen for sale in the classifieds as owners move on to the next hot-buzz product.

It's as certain as death and taxes.
Tvad makes a very good point.

The CS2's right now have a lot of buzz and much of it stemming from a very good showing at this year's CES. I had one friend, a dealer, who picked up the line after the show. However, I'm not sure they are worthy of the hype.

I think the CS2's are an ok pair of speakers and the price is pretty fair given the usual difference between cost of manufacturing and final dealer price. I estimated that I could build a pair for about $1200 so the $3.5K is about right.

Except for using the DSP on the Behringer for fixing the bass problem, the CS2's break absolutely no new ground(and even that is not new in DIY circles). A two way speaker using a compression driver and a horn for the mids and highs and an open baffle for the bass goes back over 70 years. (let's avoid an argument over the semantics about whether a waveguide is a horn or not) Do a search for the old Western Electric 'Wide Range' speakers designed in 1931. Altec and JBL made their reputations on similar designs (albeit with bass reflex enclosures for bass and not open baffles).

I do find that speakers using this geometry when done right are very dynamic with smooth sound through the mids and highs. Of course, most horn fans will say I told you so. Compression drivers are incredibly linear and sound unbelievable when coupled with a properly designed and implemented horn.

The CS2's try very hard to cheat the laws of physics. As I said, open baffle bass go way back. They were used before bass reflex enclosures and certainly way before sealed enclosures. However, the drawback to an open baffle is the cancellation due to the rear wave. The way to defeat this naturally is to use a wide baffle. Check out the JElabs page about open baffle speakers. http://members.myactv.net/~je2a3/open.htm

But people want bass below 40 Hz and want their speakers small at the same time. i.e. trying to beat the laws of physics. Hence the use of equalization. DSP is essentially advanced (or not) equalization in the digital domain. One of the main problems I have with the CS2's is that I hear the digital artifacts introduced on the sound by the crossover. Several of my friends hear the same thing. Of course, everyone hears and likes different things so YMMV. The benefits from an open baffle hardly outweigh the negatives from a digital crossover especially if you listen to vinyl.

In my experience with the CS2's, I found the sound very odd and unnatural. My dealer friend gave me a frantic call one day because he received his speakers but they sounded very bad using the stock programs from the factory. Very different than at the CES show he told me. I went to his store to help set them up. With his electronics, I had to use a very different crossover program to get them to sound right. The stock programs did not work at all. Another friend did like them at another dealer but the other dealer also tweaked the stock crossover program. Maybe the pair I heard was just not set-up right. Still no amount of set-up was going to fix the vibrations from the plastic waveguide (aka horn).

I would suggest listening to other speakers that use a horn mid/high and a dynamic cone for a bass before buying the CS2's. In my opinion, the CS2's are not bad but other speakers using a similar geometry sound far better and use much better quality drivers. The CS2's are a good buy money wise because they use pro audio compression drivers and bass drivers. Effective and cheap but you can do much better. A JElab style open baffle using Great Plains Audio 604H-II drivers cost about half the price of the CS2's and sound much better and only need one amp. $3500 is not a bad price but you do need to factor in the cost of a second amp. You could buy a used pair of Altec Valecians, Altec model 19, JBL 4330 monitors, etc. for less than the CS2's.

If you are interested in open baffle speakers, check out speakers based on PHY-HP drivers which are designed for open baffle use. (Ocellia, Auditorium23, Musical Affairs) If these are a bit pricy check out the offerings from Hawthorne Audio (http://www.hawthorneaudio.com/index.html).

It is better to do a bit of homework before putting down the cash. Of course, if you really like them then get them. Utimately, each person has to decide what they really want.
Very nice pair of Altec 19 listed for sale today for under $2k. Wish I had the room for them. Classic loudspeakers.
The link for Hawthorne Audio is http://www.hawthorneaudio.com/.

The Altec 19 is a classic and unfortunately rather large. The JElabs open baffle is rather large width wise too. Hard to beat the laws of physics. The bass from the old Altec speakers are phenomenal but you do pay a price in size.
Again, thank you all for your responses.

I have no intention of starting a flame war or anything of that ilk.

Regarding the talons I own, and many of the other brands mentioned above, I have not heard any speaker at multiples of their price (+/- $3,500 when I bought them new) that I liked better. Whether or not they or any other speaker is overpriced, is another discussion. There have been other speakers (the Talon Chorus is one) that did better on certain music primarily because of the bass. The reproduction was more "complete" is my way of expressing, interpreting, what I heard and what I wanted.

Regarding "flavor of the month" items, I too have falen victim to hype and "hot-buzz." I have a number of interconnects, speaker cords, power cords, etc, that I dare anyone to identify in a blindfolded test. I don't mean just say that one is grainey, that one is relaxed, etc, but actually be able to say (correctly) Analysis Plus or Zu. They do all indeed sound a bit different, but not a difference that justify's a jump from $300 to $3,000. Incremental changes with huge price increases for *&%#*&* wire. The manufacturers and seven layers of middle men should be ashamed of themselves.

Regarding cheating physics, I look at the DSP as being analagous to the Apollo space craft. We would not have gotten to the moon by jumping harder. We "cheated" physics (Newtonian in that case) by adding boost to our ability to jump. We actually used physics to get where we wanted to go. If the "traditional" design of speakers is lacking the ability to completely reproduce the music we wish to hear, and only has the ability to color what it can reproduce, so that it appeals to one segment or another of the listening public, then maybe we should go back to Phil Spector's "wall of sound" designed for crap car speakers circa 1968. That stuff rocked in the VW, but is unlistenable over even a mid-fi set-up. Similarily, horns, folded horns, ribbons, electrostats, enclosure designs, material used for the box, dampening, room treatments, and so on, are all "cheating physics" in that they are attempts at reproducing music "completely" using speakers that are obviously (my opinion, go ahead and hate me) not up to the task.

My concern with the CS-2's is that I will be again trading one color for another, when what I want is "complete" reproduction. A piano forte should sound exactly like a piano forte, nothing more or less. And yes I know, the room the piano forte is in will affect it's sound but there is only so much I can wrap my brain around at one time so I am looking for speakers not universal perfect pitch.

While I've got this stream of conciousness thing going, how about the Beatles Abbey Road album? The music, lyrics, etc are excellent, brilliant (pick the superlative of your choice), but the recording just sucks! Someone at the mixing, had just discovered stereo and it was his first chance to play with more than one track. Thankfully, they got it better than just "right" on the White Album.

So, back to the CS-2's, I agree that there is no new ground being broken here. My question is, does the combining of known technology (speaker design) with recently available technology (the DSP) allow for the "complete" reproduction of music, and do these guys do it?

To get to that answer I first asked if those that have been listening to them for a few months, have any regrets in the purchase. I was hoping to hear of regrets which would indicate "flavor of the month" and/or different strokes for different folks (tubes vs SS, digital vs analog, etc.).

Since Kehut appears to be the only one that has extensive experience, and apparently no regrets, and all of my other reading of reviews and opinions (here, Audio Circle, on-line mags, etc) are universally exuberant, I'm stuck with buying the damn things.

I'm starting to understand the downside of searching for the Grail.
First off, I'm not interested in a flame war either. I'm offering some perspective that I believe is valid regardless of the item in question.

So, a few additional thoughts...

...I first asked if those that have been listening to them for a few months, have any regrets in the purchase. I was hoping to hear of regrets which would indicate "flavor of the month" and/or different strokes for different folks (tubes vs SS, digital vs analog, etc.).

Consttraveler (System | Threads | Answers)

It's simply too early in the product cycle to expect any critical user opinions to surface. Would an owner of two or three months admit that a product was not to his/her liking? Would they admit to themselves that they made a mistake? Would they hurt the chances of maximizing the resale value of their item by being publicly critical? Unlikely on all counts.

Having watched the process unfold with several products over the last five years, the first signs of buzz-kill are appearances of the product in the classifieds. Then, usually one brave soul will offer his/her honest, yet critical observations in these threads (but usually only after his/her item has been sold).

Since Kehut appears to be the only one that has extensive experience, and apparently no regrets, and all of my other reading of reviews and opinions (here, Audio Circle, on-line mags, etc) are universally exuberant, I'm stuck with buying the damn things.

Consttraveler (System | Threads | Answers)

Stuck with buying the damn things? LOL!

Rchau has already made some cogent, and less than exuberant points about the speakers just above.

I respect Kehut's comments, and he has long and varied user experience as his system has changed over the past four or five years, including at least four pairs of loudspeakers...maybe five (B&W, Zu, Usher, Quad, Emerald...) Perhaps the Emeralds are exactly the right fit for him, but I'm reserving judgment util they've remained for at least a year. Being myself guilty of riding the audio merry-go-round, I never say never...or done!

The Emeralds require some significant system changes to make them work optimally (primarily regarding bi-amping, and then possible crossover modifications/upgrades). You have excellent gear. It seems a shame to blow up your system and start over, unless that's part of the fun for you. In that case, enjoy the journey!

The speakers are available with a home trial. Might as well try them. You've nothing to lose.

BTW, there's a used pair listed for sale right now.
Thanks for laughing, I was/am trying to use humor, probably to avoid conflict, maybe just because most of the discussions in this and other forums strike me as humorous.

With all of the big brains out there you would think there would be one speaker design, amp, cable, front end (I vote for vinyl by the way) and so on, that gets it right. Instead, we have to keep going back to the pusher for another fix of the almost right stuff.

Rchau did not say how long he had been listening to the CS-2's and frankly (and I don't think for a minute maliciously, please believe me) his comments are tinged with a combination of big brain (I can explain why it is not right so what is your problem, just keep sticking that needle in your arm), and more expensive has got to be better because they charge more (dismissal of pro drivers because they don't cost as much as diamond coated super tweeters). I am far from dismissing his comments regarding speaker design because I agree with the science his comments are based on. However, I don't think others understand that I don't care what the components are made of. Taken as a whole, the components should get the music right, and if the CS-2's get it right I don't care if they use recycled bong water to coat the waveguides' fabric.

I may not know much, but I'm sure I know two things: First, I know that I have never heard a system that got it right, without regard for cost. And second, nature gave us opposable thumbs so that we can pick up a stick and beat the problem into submission.

Measuring how close to right you get, is not picking up the stick.
Rchau made suggestions of several speakers that are basically in the same price range as the Emeralds, so I don't understand your comment where you stated, "Rchau did not say how long he had been listening to the CS-2's and frankly...his comments are tinged with a combination of big brain...and more expensive has got to be better because they charge more."

On the contrary, I believe his message is just the opposite of "more expensive has got to be better because they charge more", at least in his most recent post. The Altec 19 essentially uses pro drivers, so he's certainly not dismissing pro drivers. Rather, he makes the point of the advantage of pro drivers for their excellent dynamics. In fact, he pointed out an alternative speaker that he claims uses better drivers than does the Emeralds, and yet is a less expensive speaker. So, you and he appear to agree on the point of more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

On the contrary, he seems to be offering many options to consider before making a final decision. That's all good, isn't it?

I'm not getting the same message from his posts as you seem to be, so I'm a little baffled...no pun intended.

Look, I’ve never heard the Emerald speakers, so like you my observations are based on what I’ve read. I’ve just grown cautious of the Rah-Rah! Bus after seeing several driven off the mountain side in recent years.

Bottom line, if you have your heart/head set on buying a pair of Emeralds, then you should absolutely proceed.
Guys..you all make very good points..well thought out and intelligently discussed. Yes indeed, I too have been Very guilty of going with the hype of the latest greatest products over the years as well. I think Tvad and I have very similar preference in what we like sonically. I know when a component is not gonna do it for me before too long Sometimes it takes some time (usually not long though) to decide .."hey..I cant live with this or that"..just not gonna do it for me! Many of us feel we have been duped along the way and are tired of being "burned" by that hype....

Now, does that mean Ill have the CS-2's forever?...probably not. I do know that I loved my Quads and was not planning to sell them..but again..In this hobby..we change components for the thrill of the next level of sonic enjoyment.

I can say, that after hearing the CS-2's in my home now for a few months..I hear much of what I always wanted in a speaker or my music. No speaker is perfect..that we all agree. The CS-2 does so many things well and gets the music right IMHO and the negatives are at a minimum for me and my preferences. I could have them be even more dynamic..if I had some SOTA front end equipment before them and maybe Clayton's new DSP unit at some point...but as you can see from my system, I prefer a warmer, less analytical sound..evidenced by no less than 17 tubes taking up residence and (adding heat!) in my set up. Even with my modest equipment, this is a well balanced and quite dynamic sounding system.

With respect to the drivers..I too have read about how the drivers are fairly inexpensive compared to other well regarded speakers and other OB designs...But, in the end..Consttraveler is correct..Taken as a whole, the system equipment, room, and speakers should get the music right first and foremost. Not dismissing the good science that went into the making of other well made and good sounding speakers nor solid work and physics that enabled them to be what they are, I think the heart of the matter for me is that the Emerald Physics speakers have managed to accomplish a benchmark sounding product. There is no new "groundbreaking" technology here..as Rchau correctly points out..only the proper application and forward thinking use of exsisting technology. That forsight has enabled a speaker to sound as good or better than many much higher priced speakers..and that folks I believe is the real buzz and not hype.
Another pair of CS-2 listed. New in the box.

Now, two opportunities to buy a slight discounts...
Oh..Grant..You got the order of previously owner speakers correct! LOL!..I didnt know you were keeping track! ;-) Funny.
Oh..Grant..You got the order of previously owner speakers correct! LOL!..I didnt know you were keeping track! ;-) Funny.
Kehut (System | Threads | Answers)

Frightening, huh?

If you haven't figured it out, I'm a physicist by trade so I do view things a bit from the science standpoint. Hard habit to break. BTW-I use DSP in some of my data analysis so I know full well the advantages and disadvantages.

It seems you have made up your mind so some of comments seems to have rubbed you the wrong way. I never intended to do so. As long as it makes you happy, it doesn't matter what I or anyone says. I was just expressing my opinions based on my experiences and my own personal preferences.

My main point was that many of the good qualities of the CS2's are due to the use of compression drivers, properly made horn, etc. and less to due with the DSP or open baffle nature of the CS2. So it is not a bad idea to listen to some other examples of speakers before you buy.

I do not own a pair of CS2's but my friend is a dealer and I hang out at the store most weekends so I get lots of listening time with the CS2's using a variety of electronics. He also asked me to him set-up the speakers so I did spend a fair amount of time playing with them.

I never dismissed pro drivers. They are very effective when used properly (operative word is properly). They have many key advantages like power handling and efficiency. I use Altec drivers which are essentially pro drivers. My point was that you could get a speaker with parts that have a better design for less. I did not intend to mean more expensive was better. Just that the component needs to be designed to do the intended job. The 'wall of sound' is very effective in creating a wall of sound just not music reproduction. Pro audio and home audio have different design criteria and needs.

That's why I suggested looking at Hawthorne Audio. Their drivers are made by Eminence, the same company that makes the bass drivers for the CS2s and the OEM for the drivers used Zu speakers. The main difference is that the drivers used by Hawthorne have a qts value optimized for open baffle operation so they don't need to use DSP to compensate for the bass. Same story with the PHY-HP drivers. They are designed for open baffle use and don't need equalization.

Since you have or are buying the CS2's, I do agree with using the digital input on the Behringer. The extra analog to digital stage really is a negative. Not sure what to do with vinyl playback other than an outboard A/D. One thought I had about the CS2 was to replace the Behringer crossover unit with the DEQX PDC2.6 (with or without preamp). The DEQX has a more flexible crossover and will also allow for room correction. If you are going to use this stick then you might as well get a bigger stick.
Not to pile on here, facts are facts.. the Eminence Beta drivers used in these new open baffles are about 50 bucks, the waveguide is about 6 bucks.. And the DSP unit is about 199.00 online, and it is HORRIBLY cheap and not very good sound compared to the DBX P.A. speaker management unit for about 399.00 online, far higher grade..

That being said the design of these emeralds is very interesting.. Not bad, but so easy to copy and get these off the shelf parts and build an open baffle like this that it would cost anybody very little time or money..

Now the real issue comes in on the Multiple needed cables, amps.. and Room acoustics with this design and keying in on the DSP settings will not be for the novice.. So I mean its again interesting, but far over complicated if you ask me with the variety and quality of designs around..

Maybe at 3500 you can't do much better but again as mentioned above this simply looks like a system out of the norm and sorta advanced, but there is nothing magical or advanced done here, quite the opposite be exact, its just a very crude way to keep something very cheap to produce, yet have some advantages over conventional designs IF you can deal with properly tuning and implementing the design in your environment.

The proof of the DCX is in the listening..Clayton wouldnt choose to put a bad sounding unit in the mix..yes, there are better DSP's and one coming down the line from EP very soon/

Quite the opposite in fact re: room acoustics... The presets are very user friendly and you will find your usable preset almost immediately by ear depending on your distance from the front wall. Not a big project to get good sound. As for multiple cables, amps. What's so hard about hooking up another pair of IC's to another amp?

The CS-2's are designed so that the room has as little bearing as possible on the sound..Its why they sound so consistently good whether in a hotel at a show or in your basement listing room. You are majoring on a minor point with this speaker.

Oh...and the reason that the currently listed pair is up is because he's a dealer who was going to sell them as demo's.. but, since now there is only one authorized dealer in the US..he cant sell them as either new or demos.
Matrix-In my original post, I refrained from giving the exact breakdown on the parts used in this speaker. You didn't pull any punches here. I was a bit more gracious in the $1200 estimate. :-)

Kehut-My experience with the CS2's seem very different from yours. The reason my dealer friend called me for help was that none of the presets worked at all in his room with his electronics. I painstakingly created a new setting for his set-up from scratch and it was very different (almost opposite) of the factory presets. Everyone who heard the comparison between my program and the factory program thought the factory program was a non-starter. I found that very odd given the very positive comments at CES.

Perhaps my listening preferences are very different than Clayton's because I was hearing both digital artifacts from the Behringer and acoustic artifacts from the plastic waveguide. The waveguide artifacts are not due to the DSP but from the waveguide interactions.

I do agree the concept of the CS2 has merit. It would be intersting to DIY a similar speaker using bass drivers meant for open baffle operations (say two PHY-HP H30LB15), making the baffle a bit wider, adding sides and a top along the lines of the A23 Solovox (the Solovox cabinet uses a neat trick to deal with the rear wave cancellation problem), a damped metal horn, and a compression driver designed for audio. Or you could just stick an Altec 604 in an open baffle and call it a day.

Interesting...Your experience is I believe..quite rare. if everyone had these issues with their Behr ..EP would be out of bus by now. Dont know what "digital artifact" your hearing??hmmm. No waveguide issue here. They are as natural as my Quads were..cant get too much more natural. anyway...these float my boat. No more from me here..
I'd like to know who Rchau's "dealer friend" is since E-P speakers now have only ONE North American retailer and he absolutely LOVES the speaker.
Paul..I was thinking the same thing...okay..Im done..really...
What's the point of having one US dealer?

How much customer service can one US dealer provide to justify the dealer's mark-up?

Might as well go factory direct with an in-house sales rep.
Tvad..As I understand it...The point is that the one dealer has vast experience in the retail sector for marketing purposes. This enables better advertising and marketing for EP and allows EP to concentrate on building and filling orders which are at a break neck pace!
I for one have enjoyed my friends set of CS2s. Every time I hear them I'm amazed at how good they sound.
This dealer arrangement more closely fits the profile of a sales/marketing rep, and it does not seem to benefit the customer other than more timely delivery.

It's basically the new Von Schweikert business model as far as I can tell.
Some random and not-so-random observations:
Every six months or so in high end audio there's another power cord, speaker, amplifier, digital source, (you name it) that's got the hot buzz among audiophiles. Within a year (or less), the latest hot-buzz item is seen for sale in the classifieds as owners move on to the next hot-buzz product."
Probably true, and for every 'hot buzz' product there's a guy who hasn't heard them who says they can't be much good for this reason alone. Fascinating indeed.
The manufacturers and seven layers of middle men should be ashamed of themselves.
We actually used physics to get where we wanted to go.
I don't care what the components are made of.
Agree; these are cogent and perceptive observations that tend to observe the world for what it is, not what some externally imposed 'ideal' says it should be.
The CS2's try very hard to cheat the laws of physics
These are not laws created by man or beast. They are natural laws and as such cannot be cheated. (Worked around, perhaps). Otherwise they would not be called laws. EP never stated they were trying to cheat anything, least of all YOU.
I do not own a pair of CS2's but my friend is a dealer
And this fact, being a dealer, makes him somehow all things in one: Golden Ears, supremely intelligent, and so on? Last I checked it was ridiculously easy to become "a dealer". Heck, even ** I ** was offered a dealer deal once (I passed). There are several poorly represented brands out there that will sign on any warm body to be a dealer. What have they got to lose? The dealer buys inventory and may even make a sale or two a year. Now, if you said SUCCESSFUL dealer along the lines of a Kevin Deal or, um, let's see, UnderwoodWally, who just happens to be the biggest single-person operation in the audio world, and who has marched out on a limb and said in writing, and says so every day: "The Emerald Physics CS-2 sounds more like live music than any under $30k speaker that I have ever heard." Walter's been kicking around this game for way longer, quantity AND quality-wise, than anyone I've corresponded with. Oh yes, he sold me my pair of CS2s. As for the 'one dealer' argument, what does this have to do with how they sound? If it centers around the possibility that the dealer and mfg are somehow linked, note there were several dealers until a few weeks ago but their franchise with EP was terminated. I believe the reason was that few of them understood this speaker, certainly none as well as Walter did.
Look, I’ve never heard the Emerald speakers, so like you my observations are based on what I’ve read.
Well, THAT certainly renders everything you say credible.

Not bad, but so easy to copy and get these off the shelf parts and build an open baffle like this that it would cost anybody very little time or money..
So why doesn't somebody DO it? Last I checked it was still a free market. If someone can do better for less then it follows that they will, assuming the target is already doing well, which EP is.

As to the cost of parts, etc, here is a post I made on AA over a year ago. The whole thread is a good read:

I guess we need to tell the guy who bought the latest Picasso for $xx million that he only bought about $5 worth of paint and canvas and got horribly ripped off.

I was going to stay out of this thread as it rarely makes sense to get into a pissing contest when the other guy has nothing to piss with, but the constant jabbing just to put someone or something down "just because", even though the weak pisser has never experienced the product, got a little too much to take. I own a pair of CS2s. I have owned, in the past 5 years, not one but two pairs of speakers that now retail over $10k. I don't miss them one bit.

The issues about multiple amps, cables, the physics and cheating thereof, the parts cost, are all smokescreens. I was a little daunted by the dual-amp thing. What I find is that it has been a sort of release, in that I can buy an amp for the bottom end that is good in that regard, and likewise for the top. How many times have you read users agitating about great treble or midrange but weak bass, etc? (eg tube amps). Or a great bass (many SS amps) but grainy or etched treble? These problems have now become non-issues. I recently bought an ICE-powered amp for the bass that has been noted for a 'whitish' upper region and I thought the treble was a bit etched, but does a fantastic job in the bass. Great, no problem. Like low-powered Class A or tubes for their mids and highs? No more worries about the bass!

Long post, I will end it now and await the spray.
Kck, since some of your comments are pointed at me, let me address a few of them:

Probably true, and for every 'hot buzz' product there's a guy who hasn't heard them who says they can't be much good for this reason alone.

I never wrote that any of the hot-buzz products can't be good, and I never wrote that the Emeralds aren't good or worthy of purchase. The OP said he hadn't read anything negative about the Emeralds, and so he was going to proceed with his purchase. My comment was strictly about the buzz some products get at the outset, and how the buzz eventually abates, and how some mitigating opinion(s) often surface several months down the road. The take-away from my posts is that it's simply too early in the Emerald's product cycle to know if and when any critical opinions will surface. So, to base a purchase decision primarily on present user commentary is premature, IMO.

I have heard some of the hot-buzz products through the years, and I have commented about them already in other threads. There's a lot of marketing BS that permeates high end audio (remember the original DK Design), and I like to encourage people to dig deeper.

Well, THAT certainly renders everything you say credible.

Your comment was in response to a statement I made about not having heard the Emeralds. Again, I wrote nothing about the sound of the speakers, or their build quality or their design, and in fact I have suggested to the OP that he buy a pair to audition in his home. I admitted to not having heard them to add fairness and perspective to my comments.

You've spun the meaning of my comments to suggest that I am somehow against the product. This is simply not the case.

Enjoy yours for many years.
Tvad: There are many ways of persuading. I am not interested in any of them, as I have confidence in my own ears and as the saying goes about art, "I know what I like".

One method is that of insinuation, of using irrelevant examples or allusions to cast doubt upon the object under discussion. Why talk about the six-moth hot buzz in your very first response to this thread if you did not mean to imply be association that EPs also fall into this category?

Yes I noticed you are careful enough to cover your tracks by not directly criticizing the sound, and even being magnanimous enough to tell the OP to try/buy them. Very big of you, except that he seems to have a mind of his own and it appears doubtful he will or will not do something based on what you did or didn't say. And if you were to actually READ what he asked, in a few sentences he made the point twice:
those of you that have them what you think?
If you have had them for a couple of months are you still happy? any regrets?
Here are a few examples of what he did NOT say: if you have read assorted ramblings about them and would like to add your own doody to the pile, please waste cyberink and everyone's time. Or: if you would like to recommend other speakers because you haven't heard these, please spew names which everyone knew but many have forgotten. Or: If you think the parts are worth the cost of the speaker and the designer's art and science are worth little to nothing, please post your 7th-grade financial analysis. Or: If you believe having seventeen dealers makes a speaker sound better, please let me have the names of all those speakers and dealers so I can waste my time and money buying them. Or: As I can't read the classifieds for myself, please let me know how many EP speakers are for sale so I can wonder why these people are selling them.

No. Re-read what he asked. As free as this country is, you have no place in this thread unless you will admit you simply intend to distract. Go hear them, properly set up as the designer intended and took great pains to explain in the manual, then come back and favor us with your real-life observations. Until then, STFU.
I was a dealer for Clayton, and remain a friend of his. Just for the record, he received a Golden Ear Award for the CS-2 in the June/July issue of The Abso!ute Sound.

What Clayton did that is imho extraordinary is he pushed into bold new territory as far as what can be done in an affordable speaker design. [I betcha he had one eye on the Zu Druids - another over-achiever.] Clayton brought together a combination of characteristics that had never been tried before commercially, to the best of my knowledge. While his CS2 isn't perfect, as a competitor let me say that the prospect of stepping into the ring against it is quite daunting. He sets the bar very high.

Wow, I seemed to have stirred the pot.

No point in attacking Tvad whom I hardly know. I'm the one who did not like the speaker.

Paul-If you want to know who my dealer friend is feel free to send me a PM. I have nothing to hide. I call it as I see it. The reason I didn't disclose the name here is that I'm basically saying something he used to sell is not that great. Although it wouldn't be the first time.

As for EP having only one dealer, that seems to be a more recent event. EP had a great showing at CES and a number of dealers picked up the line in January. My friend started carrying the line after the show. He was not the only one. I remember seeing several dealers advertising the CS2 after the CES including here at Audiogon. I first listened to the CS2's in mid February; the speakers arrive about a month after the CES. As I of my last visit to my friend's shop, he had sold his demo CS2 and he is not carrying EP anymore. Which is in agreement with the new single dealer policy. Dealers change lines all the time.

BTW-when I say I hang out at the store, I really mean I hang out at the store. I have often referred to that place as an audio version of Cheers.

In my original post, another friend of mine did listen to the CS2 at another dealer I know in LA. That friend liked the CS2 and I do trust the dealer's taste since I used to hang out at that store when I lived in SoCal. It is ironic. Another of my friends listened to the pair at my friend's store and did not like the speaker. The three of us went through the exact same arguments in this thread via e-mail for several weeks. Feels like deja vu.
Interesting. I have not heard these...so no comments on the sound.

The CS2 system is a stereo, bi-amplified design requiring a high and low frequency range amplifier for each channel......Passive crossover networks in conventional speaker inflict far more damage to the signal.

Little by little the word is getting out about the benefits of eliminating passive crossovers from speakers and using separate amps for treble/mids and bass. Another convert to active speakers! It is great to see speaker manufacturers that embrace technology and progress instead of devoting the largest portio of their efforts at simply making better looking "furniture".

For the record, I was not insinuating that you made it up. I just found your dealer's reaction quite surprising given that, at the very least, these are simply very good speakers. I would say that the reactions I have seen/heard (dozens) have been probably 95+% positive - most very positive indeed.

As for them not being 'revolutionary' - so what? With speakers, the devil's in the details. And, frankly, they are rather innovative. The magic seems to be due to the combination of very complete frequency response, correct dispersion/power response by the ingenious coupling of open-baffle and a waveguide (the guide takes over where the bass drivers are beaming) (power response is THE critical area neglected by almost all conventional designs), and the complete time/phase alignment offered by the DSP. The result is a speaker that honestly seems to have no dynamic compression whatsoever, has accurate timber, and portrays a very realistic soundstage.
[A lot in common with Duke's designs, incidentally, which also get around the power response problem by coupling a woofer to a similarly-sized waveguide. Duke, if I'm screwing that up please correct me!]

There is no such thing as a perfect speaker, and there are probably better speakers in certain ways, but these things did drop my jaw at RMAF last year and yes, I did finally order a pair.
These are not active speakers - they are speakers that use an active crossover.

To me, active speakers - putting the crossover and amps INSIDE the speaker to ensure that it gets the worst affects of vibration possible - is and was a compromise based on convenience, not sound quality.

In my experience, *simple* passive crossovers are Ok and can be a great solution. Complex passive xovers, however, steal far too much of the signal to be tolerable.
Paul-I never for a moment thought you were insinuating. I was just offering since you asked.

My parting commennts.

I do agree with all of the CS2 advocates here that the CS2 are not dynamically compressed. It is unfortunate that a lot of speakers these days are dynamically compressed.

My main point in my original post was that there are a whole class of speakers out there (many decades old) that have the same characteristics as the CS2s and it is worth taking a listen. Unfortunately, most of these speakers are not in the mainstream audiophile consciousness at least in this country or thought to be too old to be any good. A little education goes a long way.

Paul-your comments about your friend Duke's design is interesting. In my original post, I mentioned the old Western Electric 'wide range' speakers. I did not mentioned that they weren't actually that great. They had a variety of problems. This led to the famous Shearer horn, a two way speaker with a multicelluar horn on top and a folded bass horn driven by a dynamic cone driver. BTW-a waveguide is just another form of horn.
These are not active speakers - they are speakers that use an active crossover.

Whatever - but you are really splitting hairs.

To me, active speakers - putting the crossover and amps INSIDE the speaker to ensure that it gets the worst affects of vibration possible - is and was a compromise based on convenience, not sound quality.

I understand. There is still a huge anti-active speaker attitude amongst audiophiles. It is their loss.
Kck, my original post was unnecessary. You're right.

I emailed Clayton yesterday asking for my local Southern California dealer, and have not heard back.

Who is now the USA Emerald dealer?

Where do I hear these in Southern California?
Duke mentioned Druids. I might as well say here that before the CS2, I owned Definitions, and before that, Druids. Kehut bought my Druids when I got the Defs. I bought the CS2 after hearing them at his place. And the world turns.

Re Zu speakers, you will not hear anything bad about them from me. I am still a fan of their philosophy, design and products. But the Druid is not a realistic match for the CS2; it is, frankly, outpunched, despite being a delightful speaker in its own right, and one of a handful I would pick to be my 'deserted island' speaker. The Defs have some strengths the CS2 may be a little behind in. But that is a far more even match, and guess who finally won in my house. Note the price differential BTW, which I do admit was part of the decision. But I lost nothing of significance due to this decision, and gained quite a bit.

I re-read my post to Tvad above and realize it may come off as a trifle aggressive. It was written in frustration, but not because the CS2 is being picked on... that baby can fight a great fight for itself. It is about this whole audio"phile" thing, where some find it incumbent upon themselves to cast aspersions on product they haven't even heard. No doubt there is some agenda there, but I can't figure it out.

Having been around these forums for several years, I have had my fair share of gear pass through my hands. Nearly all of it has been fairly good to very good. About the only thing I would trash is some of the products put out by AV123, and that was a few years ago; I haven't heard their more recent lineup. So guess what? I don't talk about it! Is that so hard?

So back to the CS2. Is it the second coming? Unlikely. Even Clayton is working on an improvement, a.k.a. CS1. Is it a surprisingly competent speaker that releases the average audiophile (eg, folks like myself) from some of the constraints of this wallet-busting hobby? You bet your sweet patootie. I now have well under $10K in my whole system and wouldn't be embarrassed to demo it to anyone. Its bass is realistic and live-sounding, its midrange is competent, and treble is unfettered. Before anyone thinks calling the midrange merely 'competent' is damning it with faint praise, know that to me competent is another way of saying 'as good as it should be'.

What do the parts cost? Who gives a damn? Are you buying parts or a product that makes sound? Did you read my post about Pierre? Or maybe you want to know if the designer is ripping people off and perhaps you want to show it should have a market price of, say, $1K. Fine. If you want to build and sell a competitive speaker for that, go ahead. If the market thinks it sounds as good or better, then you will be rich(er) and poor old Clayton may have to start living out of a refrigerator box. But for some reason I don't see that happening.

From Duke you heard that he used to be a dealer but now isn't, yet admires the speaker and is still cordial with Clayton. That says something for both Duke and Clayton. BTW, when Duke was a dealer and made some positive posts about the CS2, I read those and they helped me decide to give them a try. It was also the audition at kehut's, and last but not least the incredible conviction I heard in Walter's words when he began talking to me about them. I am among the more cynical people you will meet (not particularly proud of it), but Walter melted my stone heart that day.

OP and tvad, may I suggest you give Walter (underwoodwally) a call? He will tell you what you need to know; his knowledge on this speaker in particular and audio in general is encyclopedic. He may be able to set up a demo for you.

tvad: you really should contact Walter. It is his job to explain, set up demos and sell. If Clayton did all those things he wouldn't have time to design and build, and even if he did he then wouldn't need Walter. However, on the occasions (AFTER purchasing) that I've needed to talk to Clayton he has been very reachable. I'm not saying he's avoiding you; I have no idea. Just that if you use the established channels, you should get faster results.
Underwood HiFi is the lone dealer as far as I know.
This is a recent change and its reasons are unknown to me but few "ex" dealers might still have a demo pair on display.
Hey Shadorne wait till the Origen housed 8 channel digital crossover/music server with optional touch screen display is released. It should eliminate the preamp,dac and DSP when it is complete.
Paul - Yes, there's a lot of conceptual kinship between what Clayton is doing and what I'm doing. We're both shooting for room-friendly speakers with controlled radiation patterns using prosound drivers, for much the same reasons.

As far as passive crossover complexity, my belief is that it's not the parts count but the load presented to the amplifier that makes the most difference. Usually but not always, complex crossovers present a more difficult load than the drivers alone would. I use high parts-count crossovers but they present a smoother load than either of my drivers would even with no crossover at all.

Tvad, the USA dealer for Emerald Physics is Underwood Hi-Fi.

05-17-08: Kck
No doubt there is some agenda there, but I can't figure it out.
Not from me there isn't.

Walter contacted me about an audition after Clayton forwarded my email to him.

I don't own the proper amplification to bi-amp the speakers, and for reasons of time and convenience, I'd rather hear them in someone else's system who has dialed them in properly.

The closest owners in California that were suggested by Walter are not geographically convenient to me. So, it appears hearing the speakers is uncertain at this time.

There was once a dealer within a mile from my home, but he is no longer an authorized dealer. If he happens to still have them installed, I may hear his.
I re-read my post to Tvad above and realize it may come off as a trifle aggressive.

You got that right. Agressive being the operative adjective; trifle being the understatement of the week. Chill out, my friend. I saw the thread up until then as the standard cyber bs session. I am intrigued, but also a bit put off by the commentary about difficulty in set up due to DSP programming and the need for 4 channels of amplification. I have dealt with Wally before and he is a real pro (which is one my highest compliments)! However, from what I am hearing, this is a speaker that might be pretty difficult to properly "demo" via the one dealer, internet sales business model. Too bad, I'd like to hear them.
What I gather after exchanging a few emails with Walter, is that there are a few owners who might be approached about hosting a demo, but understandably, Walter wants only serious buyers doing this who would promise to purchase the speakers from him if the propective buyer likes them.

I'm not a serious customer, yet I'd like to hear them to know what the excitement is all about.

So, it appears a casual listen...once a possibility at a local B&M audio store...is difficult to arrange.

Perhaps Emerald might do a "tour" to a few US cities so folks could hear them?
EP has more in common with Zu than being in Utah and being my two fave speaker brands to date... they both operated with a limited dealer network. Zu started with direct sales and still do those, but have added the 'listening post' concept. Perhaps the EP model is not that different but is still evolving.

Swampwalker, fine about the usual bs thing, except I really fail to see the point of it other than bad behavior. In most other forums which have moderators involved (I mean posting in addition to policing) this is called threadcrapping and is at least regarded as poor etiquette and probably more like a no-no. It is harmless... until it is done to you, that is. Put yourself in the shoes of the OP (of any serious question-based thread, not just this one) when your question becomes a mudslinging contest, veering so far off course so as to completely lose the original point. Not so amusing any more, is it? What is so difficult about according people common courtesy? My response was simply fighting fire with fire and I make no apologies. My statement you quoted was an acknowledgement, similar to saying "I punched you because you punched first. Now let's both get back on track". It was said with peacemaking in mind but not an apology. I'm sure you got that.

Tvad, sorry you can't get a demo. Walter has a point about the 'serious buyer' thing, and he told me the same thing. Even though he is a bicycle ride away for me, I went ahead and ordered the speakers without audition at his place, because as I noted, I had heard them already. Perhaps a way to audition will make itself available to you before too long.
What I find amazing with the CS-2's..Is that this is the very first speaker of many Ive owned that I listen to and DONT find myself wishing for a bit more of this or that..With one speaker..I may have liked the mids, but wished for more bass..another, liked the bass, but the highs were just to forward and bright..etc.. I liked the vertical imaging with one...but wanted more lateral imaging in addition... had room interactions that were horrible and were tough to correct..etc...

I listen and still find myself captivated. I am actually listening to spot the weakness ( of the transducers..and not the recording, which is easily and immed. recognized) or critically listening for the faults..The balance, tonal honesty, and uncompressed dynamics are spooky at times. I find that when Im done listening for the day...Im a happy smiling camper, and thankful I have such a nice sounding system!