I just bought a pair and am awaiting shipment. I auditioned them in an audio shop while on vacation and was very impressed with their detailed yet non fatiguing sound. I will keep you posted when they arrive and let you know how they are.
Well - they arrived yesterday , and even though I'm a cpa and its tax season, I set them up at 9PM and stayed up till midnight for a listening session. So far, right out of the box, I'm impressed. I am driving them with a muse model 9 signature version 3, batvk5i, levinson 331 amp. Haven't set up the vinyl yet, but I will soon. Interconnects are old fms and audioquests. I'm sure I'll get or make some cables (I am of the school that thinks most of the cables out there are a total rip off). Speaker cables are some very plain old moster cable (yes I know, get better cables - I'll get to that eventually).
While placement is on a bookshelf (yes I need stands, I will also get to that), the sound was quite good. Warmed up considerably after two hours. Initial impressions with a variety of music ranging from Mark Lanegan, Rickie Lee Jones, Beethoven, Chopin, New York Rock N Soul Review, Peter Gabriel - was that they are MUSICAL. Thats the biggest impression that I got was that they are very very musical. It was hard not to just close your eyes and lose yourself in the music. The highs were crystal clear without being etched (read non fatiguing), very very airy extended top end, - midrange was luxurious - sweet, clean, immediate and present. Male and femal vocals were hauntingly clear. Every breath was audible. I was hearing things on these recordings that I hadn't in the past. The sound was cohernet and integrated - that was one of their finer traits as well. The sense of unity was astounding and cohesiveness of the speaker was impressive. Bass was good - a solid foundation - even though ported - they did not have that ported sound that many speakers get that have ports when pushed. These speakers can play extemely loud with ease and no sense of strain or fatigue. I was at between 20-30 on my pre (up to 99) and found them to be plenty loud. I did get a bit of bass boominess at louder volumes, but I am certain thats because I had them on the bookshelf - I will report back when I get proper stands for them and push them to higher volumes when properly set up away from the back wall/bookshelf. I am ceratin that this will solve that issue. The owner's manual is great and tells you in layman's terms about proper set up and about room interaction and how to mititage it. So far, I think these are giant killers. I'll report back as they break in more. I think I'm going to be very satified with these little speakers!
You are right on about the Europa's, and I can tell
you that when you get them on stands, they will not
have boomy bass at all. The bass is fast, tight & deep.
(as deep as the little 6" woof can get) Quality bass!!
And I should mention that the imaging is superb also
with a wide & deep soundstage. They play like big
big speakers, as I have them in a 20x20x12 room and
they can light it up.
I have a pair of GM C-3's on order that should be done
soon, and I cannot even imagine what they are going to
The Europa's are going to a friend of mine when the C-3's
I also have another friend who bought a pair of GM's
1.5's and his impressions are like mine & yours.
Roy really know how to build a great speaker!
Brief update - While I do not have proper speaker stands yet - they are on order - I did the old college trick with some crates and have the speakers properly set up, away from the back and side walls, equidistent from the listening position and toed in properly. Wow is all I can say. Gone is any sense of bass boominess when pushed. They are rock solid - speedy - articulate. Imaging is superb - and talk about prat - these guys really have it. I am truly blown away by these speakers. Giant killers in every sense of the word.
Green Mountain designer Roy Johnson has done his homework. While living in Colorado Springs, I had the privelege of working with Mr Johnson for a few years. We would spend countless hours at his home or shop evaluating the effects of x-over components. In fact, he spent over 20 years working to eliminate crossover problems that other speaker designers mask. You hear the results of that work in his speakers. One thing you need in order to be a truly great speaker designer is to know MUSIC, not just audio. Mr Johnson spent years recording the symphony in Colorado so he understands recording techniques, the true sound of instruments, mic placement, etc. The man has been amazing me for the better part of three decades now. I'm glad I'm finally in a position to afford his wonderful speakers as opposed to merely listening and wishing. Can't say enough about these speakers. Listen to them. Thank you Roy Johnson for bringing us all closer to the music.
I've just passed the 200 hour mark of the break in on a set of Europas and thought I'd post my impressions. The speakers that I was using before the Europas are the Triangle Titus, which I think are also a good bang for the buck.
I'm using a Wadia 830 cdp as a source; a Levinson ML-11(50w) amp powered the first portion of the break in then and then a 47 Labs Gaincard (25w) for the duration. All wiring including power cords is 47 Labs OTA.
Something unexpected happened to me during this break in period. I'd previously been getting away from listening to rock and listening to more acoustic jazz, finely detailed electronic recordings, and even classical music. This suited me fine as I was getting off on the detail and the complexity of the music that I was listening to. I just assumed that this was a natural progression in my musical tastes, which was only partially true. The truth was that rock sounded anemic on my system before the Europas and most of my listening to the rougher stuff would take place in my truck.
I was sitting in an adacent room about halfway through the break in period when I noticed the low frequency energy from the bass moving through the walls. It was this surprising bass response that made me get up and start pulling out discs like the Who, Thin Lizzy, Gentle Giant, Soundgarden, Van der Graaf Generator, the Pixies, Urge Overkill, Roxy Music (Viva), Tin Machine, Snakefinger, and well ,you get the idea. I'm not saying that all of this stuff suddenly sounded great, but I could actually listen to a lot of it and enjoy it. My collection is much more accessable now with the ability to play discs that got little play before. Of course I still own some recordings that are simply recorded horribly and will only be played in the truck where road noise and attitude make great equalizers.
I'm not sure how this time/phase aligned, marble encased 45 pound 2 way mini brute manages to sound so good, but it does. There is a natural ease to the presentation with the Europas that allows my brain to relax and enjoy listening to music not only the cerebral level, but also on the gut level. The experience is similar to the one that I had while listening to a friends Green Mountain 1.5's, which impressed me enough to purchase the Europas in the first place.
I was skeptical that a speaker that could play rock like this could actually pull off a lights out, late night listening session with the more intricate recordings, so I put it to the test. The soundstage is a very wide one, really remarkably so. All of the nuance, inner detail, depth and complexity that I've come to expect from familiar recordings were there along with a more authoritive delivery and even some detail that surprisingly I hadnt heard before. I have to say here that the life, liquidity, detail, transparency, and honesty that exist in my system are largely traits of the 47 Labs Gaincard and the 47 labs OTA. These qualities are not lost, but passed along nicely through the Europas. The Levinson was no slouch either and was an enjoyable listen, just not on the same level as the 47 Lab gear.
In a nutshell, yep, I like them a lot. These little speakers are built like a brick house (with the exception of the grill) and sound like they should cost a lot more.I think they're a great deal on a two way that's bound to leave a lot of others in the dust.
(I posted this on the 'best amp' thread for Europas but thought I'd include it here also for those just checking out the speakers)
I've tried two amps on the Europas, a VAC avatar and a Classe DR-9. Both work great...they are kinda a ying and yang of pedigree amps, the Classe giving a stronger (particularly bass), warmer (yes it's 'warmer' than the tubes) seemingly 'faster' presentation while the VAC has a smoother, more liquid, ambience.
Must first impression on hearing the speaker was "smooth" and the second was "clean". Great integration and transparency lets one really hear what behind the speakers.
Kudos to Roy at Green Mtn! Also to David Reich and Kevin Hayes for beautiful sound.
Peace be with you...
I just got my Europas a few days ago. I only have 9 hours on them. They sound good, but now jaw dropping great like people have been proclaiming on this message board. Will their sound change quite a bit over the breakin? Thanks
Kclone...like any properly designed time/phase correct speaker...the Europas dont have a confrontational, "in your face" sound like many speakers do(and on first listen may be not as exciting)...however...over time you will appreciate their non-fatiguing, very musical, and very involving approach...so what you are experiencing is your ears getting used to THEIR sound...relax...and enjoy....
My Europas have changed quite a bit. I'm at 50 hours presently and in the beginning the Europas sounded a bit restrained and lacking some refinement. They have opened up quite a bit in the last 10 hours and I'm told they will steadily improve up until 200 hours. The dynamics were lacking right out of the box and that's because the woofer is very stiff and needs time to loosen up and break in. I'm very impressed with their sound and prefer them to the many monitors I've listened to, some of them costing substantially more. Microdynamic shadings and vocals are especially noteworthy, very live sounding.
KcClone - I echo phasecorrect's comments. I think over time you will find that they are musically very involving, and have a very articulate character. This is a tough balancing act. Just as a frame of reference, these have repaced a pair of full range electrostatic hybrid speakers in my system. These stats garnered rave reviews in quite a few of the hifi rags. The stats had some qualitites which were superior to the europas (mainly transparency - soundstaging is a tough call - its close), but overall I think the europas are better at many things (musical invovlement, coherence, prat, off axis response, waf, less maintenance) and at about 1/10 of the price.
You'll definitely hear improvements as the woofers loosen up and then finally as the tweeters break in. If I remember correctly, at the 80 hour mark the sound was noticeably better and then again at around 150 hours I noticed significant improvement. Run 'em all day if you can and beat'em up real good.
I recently received a pair of Europa's from Green Mountain last week. I am waiting on a pair of the latest C-3s and in the interim bought the Europa's which I will later move to the bedroom and alternatively maybe use for recording monitors. I admit to being predisposed to liking Roy Johnson's designs. His phase and time coherency goals along with minimized cabinet contribution and simplified crossover schemes seem to result in a more clear communication of the musical artist's intent. Spending time once a week on the live mixing side of a console at my church (9 piece band plus 7 vocalists)has provided me with some insights into listening to music that I did not have when I was only an audio hobbiest.
In terms of the Europa's, which are not yet broken in, I am quite please with their performance. They are easy to drive (tried Anthem AMP2-SE, VIVA Aurora SET and Sharp SMSX1 50 watt digital integrated). They can play quite loudly with no strain, go reasonably deep in the bass (kick drum and bass are solid with impact), develop a well defined soundstage (varies recording to recording...good indicator), seem very low in coloration as far as I can tell so far. On good recordings, I can more easily hear the techniques and skill of the artists that truly separate the good from the great artists. Pretty reasonable price for all it delivers. I will post another report once they are broken in and I get over that initial honeymoon effect you experience with a new toy.