Review: Green Mountain Audio Europa Monitor
Over the years I have heard Green Mountain Audio mentioned and talked about at several forums,lately with some controversy regarding the merits or lack of regarding the Europa, but with no local dealer, never had the pleasure to listen to a pair. With my
7 month old Grandaughter now living with us for about a year,my present system had to go for peace of mind for all and safety for Shianna. Out went Galante Symphony's, 845 and 300B S.E.T.S. and a Marantz SA-14 ( never found SACDs that special)
Since I already owned a new, sealed pair of 24.5" Osiris stands, a stand mount made sense, when properly filled and set up, this stand is close to being as good as it gets.
I retained all my cabling and the hunt was on for a modest, inexpensive system to get me by for a year. After a lot of research and some demos, my short list of speakers included JM Reynaud Twin, Trente, Spendor 2/3 &1/2 and GMA Europa. Trente was included as deals of over 50% off can be found. I was able to short audition all except the Trente and purchased the Europa at Audio Two in Canada. The Europa are the Ying of the JM & Spendors, cool and clean as opposed to warm and romantic. My pair was purchased by Gene at the old price, a cap. change may have been made on newer version. Ser # 2363 and 2364
Over the Ambassador Bridge and through customs, I headed North with my new toys nestled behind me. On the long ride home I started thinking about an Integrated and CDP (cheap but good). Hitting the AudiogoN ads soon after arriving home I found a Michigander selling a Silver, Audio Refinement Complete Integrated and matching CDP with remote at a most attractive price. After a quick phone call and some chit chat I purchased the pair. That evening I read the owners manual which is excellent and gives the owner an education in speaker design, room acoustics and much much more.
"If, If's and and's were pots and pans the world would be a kitchen."
My actual listening impressions will be short, no need to babble on with a lot of useless audiophile phrases like "the soundstage is so wide it goes out the door and down the street to the second bus stop."
Nor about the Angelic highs that reach the Heavens.......
The purpose of this review is just to inform Inmates that there is an excellent small standmount for under 1K. The ball will be in your court then, you then can choose whether to drop or shoot it.
The Europa's are made from cast marble and weigh around 45lbs ea. Grills are made from what appears to be a black air conditioner filter, plain looking alone, but on the Osiris stands they look very nice and are extremely stable on our carpeted floor. Butt ugly with grills off, so do not remove.(Roy also says to leave on. Hmm???) Single binding posts are of good quality and are positioned high on the speaker. Owners manual recommends using Pledge on speakers, tried it and I like the looks after application.
Woofer.. 6" rigid piston, single-pressed paper/ carbon fiber cone with ultralinear suspension, vented underhung Kapton voice coil. Shielded, radially-magnetized neodymium-iron-boron magnet. Built for us by Aurasound.
Tweeter.. 28mm polymer-coated linen dome of low resonant frequency, aluminum voice coil, liquid cooled. From Morel.
Crossover.. First-order response, electrically and acoustically, at 2850 kHz. Hardwired, using a Theta capacitor and Solen Litz inductor.
Enclosure.. Solid cast marble. Ported. Theater matte-black finish.
Sensitvity.. 89db for 2.83 Volts input at 1 meter, at sea level. Dynamically linear within 0.5 db to 103db
Response.. Free-Field at two meters: +/- 0.75db 80Hz to 20kHz,-3db at 50Hz and 23kHz.. In-room: -3db at 47Hz
Phase Shift.. +/- 1 degree from 200Hz on listening axis.
Rec. Power.. 7 to 170 W, 8 ohm rating
Impedance.. 4 to 5 Ohms from 100Hz to 20kHz, 4 to 10 ohms from DC to 100Hz
Physical.. Height: 18.5" Width 8.125" at base, 9.25" at top. Depth: 10.25" at base, 8.25" deep at top. 45 lbs. each.
On the back are Vampire Wire brass/silver/gold binding posts. Internal wiring is Audio Magic's best silver-plated oxygen free copper with Teflon. All connections made using Cardas solder( the crossover circuit is hardwired- no plastic circuit board)
Literature states that the tweeter dome and woofer cone are extraordinarily rigid for the greatest clarity. This being true, then why do owners including myself beat the tar out of the Europa's for 500 plus hrs? To make the drivers less rigid, of course, clear as mud to me.
No comment by me on time alignment.........
After playing 24/7 at loud volume in another room for 10 days, and another 2 days in listening room. The burn in eliminated a sort of rough and gritty midrange and firmed up the bass, on some recordings a small layer of grunge remained that I attribute to the electronics and or the cheap wires I was using for burn in. Time for final set up. With AP Oval 9s and a pair of Luminous Synchestra Signature ICs in place, I added my JPS Digital AC to CDP and Virtual Dynamics Nite to amp.
Final position of speakers ended up being 22" from rear wall, 8' apart and appr. 3' from side walls with a slight toe in. ( owners manual suggests the speakers to be pointed at your shoulders, did not work for me, to much toe in) Stands were carefully leveled with a good bubble level and then the front of stand was raised a few degrees and filled with a 50-50 mix of shot and sand. 200 lbs. of weights were set on each baseplate overnight, the next day I again leveled and then Blu-Tac was applied to stand and speakers carefully set in place. With listening position about 9' away I adjusted chair to get my ears 3" below top of speaker.
SUBWOOFERS ANYONE ????
My experience with powered subs had been limited to a Bag End Infra 18. When it did not blend well with a pair of Egglestonworks I tried a REL for the second time with supurb results, this is a budget system though?? A quick call to one of my audio buddies asking what he had around in a cheap sub, I was told I could have a new Carver Knight Shadow for 550.00 which is 40.00 over dealers cost, my response was, Bryan, what the hell is a Knight Shadow???? Turned out it's a less powerful clone of the Sunfire for 849.00. ( only 500 watts instead of a claimed 2700) I purchased and it turned out to be a very nice mini sub that Is indeed musical. After a lot of dialing in and fussing with position, I ended up putting it against the rear wall to the right of the right speaker.
Yes, Yes and Yes, Music is portrayed with a clarity that leaves me breathless, neither laid back or agressive. Highs are very detailed and exceptionally delicate. Roy got the midrange right, instruments and vocals have just the right amount of bite that lets the music breathe, almost stat like. Soundstage and imaging all are handled well with the Europa's, the speakers disappear completely. Bass is fast, tight and punchy, no low bass to speak of with sub off. I am not big on all the audio lingo in use today, like microdynamics etc. ( do not have a clue what a microdynamic sounds like) I just know that for me the Europa makes beautiful music at a most attractive price. Rock is handled quite well also, considering that most of it is butcherd in the recording studio first. I have spent many nights listening to the Europas at background volume levels and during the day at much higher levels and have never encountered listener fatigue, buzzing in the ear etc. Music used includes the following artists.
Blue Rodeo, Cowboy Junkies, Sam McClain, Chet Baker, Eva Cassidy, Patricia Barber, Bob Seger, Bruce Cockburn, Jennifer Warnes, Norah Jones, Nancy Bryan, Judy Collins, The Eagles and my favorite Willie Nelson CD, Teatro, this is an awesome CD that most never heard of.
Most stand mounts I have owned with a sub added sounded like a stand mount with low bass, with sub in, the Europa's sound like a big floorstander. With some music I prefer the Europa's naked and with other music I preferred with sub in. Not only does the sub fill in the bottom, it adds a high degree of fullness and a small amount of warmth to the overall sound. Overall I prefer the sub in.
APARTMENT DWELLERS, TAKE NOTE......
I have owned over 55 pairs of speakers and have demoed many others, none that I can recall can match the low volume performance of the Europa's. Detail, air, ambience, resolution, large soundfield, etc. etc. The Europas have it all at low volumes, everything is there, just not as loud. I now find myself listening to more music after the family retires, no " turn down that GD box" yet.
Having now lived with the Europa's for a time, they seem very easy to drive and will play very loud without compression, assuming the amp is powerful enough. Was able to try a belles 250i for a weekend and loved every minute of it, definetly bettered the ARC by quite a bit. The 250i is a mosfet hybrid w/seperate power supply and 125 wpc.@8ohms. Another excellent product with little press.
I found the 50wpc Complete quite adequate for my listening. The more I look at the Europa's on the Osiris stands, the more they look like they were made for eachother. If you have children or pets, fear not, an adult is needed to move any part of speaker stand combo, assuming you have thick carpeted floors.
First, those who favor Vandies, Spendors, Harbeth, VA and other warm sounding speakers may find the Europas to neutral or sterile upon first hearing them.
If you need eye candy, look elsewhere.
Sweet spot is narrow, but not the head in a vise narrow.
Timbre on voices and instruments sound a tad different than what I am used to, maybe it's the electronics???? This was still present with the Belles. It also could be that the speakers are oh so neutral.
Binding posts are mounted high, if you go from a floorstander to the Europas stands you may come up short on your wires.
WE ALL HEAR DIFFERENTLY......
Last week over at AudiogoN, I was reading a review on Dunlavy SC-1Va, The author stated the following "On Cowboy Junkies, Trinity Sessions the foot pounding on the stage is as if he were in my living room." This had me scratching my head. Trinity Sessions was captured live at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, Canada
on November 27, 1987. This being one of my favorite LPs and CDs over the years I can assure you their is no foot pounding anywhere
on the copies I own.
Room acoustics, cabling, electronics, room size and shape, mood, time of day, height and distance from speakers and much more all play a part as to what reaches our ears and how we judge it.
BEST 3000.00 SPEAKER ???
Maybe, maybe not, to many good speakers out there from 1 to 3K and to subjective.
If you are shopping for a high performance stand mount at an affordable price, give the Europa a test drive. Maybe that Porchse you are looking to buy is not really needed after all.
Live life to the fullest, remember, you don't get out alive..........
Learn from your dog. Never pretend to be someone you're not.