Review: Green Mountain Audio Europa Monitor

Category: Speakers

They finally arrived and the fear that I just sold a great sounding pair of Legacy Studios for speakers I have never heard, is beginning to fade. I know I still have 200+ hours of brake-in ahead of me to really know...but some things I can tell already. There is a sense of 'more power', and less effort for the speakers to produce more sound. I descibe it like this: let's say you have a Honda Civic that you have been working on making it faster, with the latest electronics and turbo and all the trick stuff..and its really fast. Then Larry the mechanic moves next door and comes over and says "Let's put a Chevy V-8 in that bugger and see what it does". So we cram this V-8 into it, change the suspension etc. so its driveable. Now remember, Larry isn't soffisticated and has grease under his finger nails and the instalation isn't all pretty and color coordinated....but when you turn the key to turn it on you get goose bumps and your heart rate increases...and it now does stuff your pretty little sooped up Honda engine could never do. The Europas aren't pretty and they are very hand made and come in a plain box; but wait till you turn the key! More after 200 hours.

Associated gear
B&K avr202, Denon DVD-2800, Signal Cable cabling.

Similar products
Legacy Studios
Yep, you will not miss the Legacy Speakers one bit. Nice purchase and great upgrade! Good Listening...

C'mon, Jceisner. You must be 200 hours in by now? Maybe not.

By the way, does everyone subscribe to the break-in prescription of putting the speakers closely face-to-face, wiring them out of phase with one another, and playing a monaural source through them at high volume (but not too high)? I'm told most of the sound cancels out and this makes it tolerable to live with the things playing 24x7 for however long it takes, or at least playing for time than you would normally play them during the day. Of course, you miss out on the simulated bipolar disorder we get to go through as our new speakers sound awful, then good, then mediocre, then great, then dreadful, then...
Approaching the half-way point of the first 100 hours; hoping this isn't like watching mold grow, or irritating the more knowledgeable among you, I wanted to check in. I wish the Europas came with a 'Roymeter' for keeping track of listening time, so I'm just guessing on the actual time...but about 3 weeks. Tonight my Europas 'disappeared', wow. I was just sitting on my couch and all of a sudden I noticed they were gone. Something changed! I know how it is...did that really happen, am I just imagining that, do I just want them to be like what others have said...... Well, they are gone now and they just sound better. For those that continue to be skeptical of these changes that come with tweaks and upgrades, just do yourselves a favor and make your wives happy and get that Bose system with those cute little speakers that aren't so big and ugly. Speaking of tweaks, I wanted to mention another thing that has performed beyond its price (like the Europas), its like spending an extra $1-2000 on your system for under $100. Bigger soundstage, more clarity, more sound.... Get this upgrade, keep your lesser electronics and buy the Europas for under $900 and you will feel like you bought a whole new system. Honest. Its like stealing.
I have had the Europas about 10 months and have probably 75 hours on them. I realize from the reviews of other owners I may be 150 hours from Nirvana, but they don't seem to be getting better and if so, only in small insignificant increments. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good speaker that almost always gets the timbres and harmonics right. Though, I wish they had more bass; the bass I have heard is not bad but not very deep and seems slow and farther behind the mids than it should be. I am sure some of this is my room which is 22X12 and has 13 ft almost cathedral ceilings. Nevertheless, I followed Roy's recommended setup to the tee. My crticism of the speaker beside the bass, is that it tends to shelve back the upper midrange to the point that it sounds flat, that is, not dynamic.And I don't mean volume because these cans get loud. I previously had a pair of B&W Matrix3MKII columns which were very good, but a little bit forward and bright, NOT metallic or hard either. So, I may have gotten used to the sound. Finally, I am hoping to downsize but upgrade my electronics. I have an Aragon 4004 MKII amp and modified CJ PV-8 pre-amp. Nice with plenty of watts. But both are 15 years old whose sound might now belong to another era of electronic achievement--I am sure there are better and reasonably priced sounding units out there that can best what I currently have. I am now considering the Plinius 8200MkII integrated.( discontinued but gets great reviews) That might make a difference in the mysterious flux of sound.... Comments welcomed!!
go to this guy modifies some tube amps and they just did a review of his amps and the europas and said they were amazing with his amps. He's a very nice guy and might be helpful in making a decision.
Thank you for the compliments! And my thanks to the others here for theirs.

There may be several factors at work here, Sunnyjim-

The speakers probably need more break in, especially with hard-driving bass at a fairly loud level. You should notice substantial changes after 12 hours of continuous play. Contact me if you want to discuss this more. Drubin above gives good advice on this.

The amp is fine- not the weak link right now, especially for the things you are hearing.

On the CJ, I would suspect the tubes, but I'm no expert- perhaps the tube forum folks would have something to say about the specific things you are hearing, or not hearing.

The "flat upper midrange", to my knowledge has never been a criticism of the Europas- thus, I suspect the tubes and also the first pair of interconnects in the system from the CD player. I would strongly recommend the current version of Audio Magic's "Sorcerer" interconnect cable. The clear yet suave way it presents the music is exceptional compared to the many other cables we have heard.

With your shape of room, the cathedral ceiling is a challenge, as that's often "where the bass goes"- into a lot of cubic feet. Bass reproduction may also be a problem from your ~2:1 ratio between the room's length and width. You would best sit NOT at the halfway point- bass would disappear there, from a standing wave null. A room's effect on the bass is hard to predict from size alone- the construction of the floor, walls, and ceiling, along with the presence of windows and doors affect everything below 100Hz.

Hope this helps! If you do notice a problem in a certain tone range, it's important to play a lot of music of that tone range to expedite the break-in process.

Contact me directly if I can be of assistance.

Best regards,
Roy Johnson
President/Product Designer
Green Mountain Audio

719 636-2500

PS: Jceisner is right about that fellow's tube amps!