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When everything is properly set up, these speakers will create an incredibly coherent presentation with a very even response and for their size a surprising amount of bass. But be under no illusion, there won’t be any lower bass and even the midbass won’t be very rich. These really are small speakers. To augment the range below 80Hz, the Bulgarian have created the giant SubTerranean subwoofer. Because we sit closer than usual, the native bass attenuation matters less. We don’t hear as much of the room and also don’t lose as much bass to it. That means we hear more of the speaker. It’s why everything coheres so well. The sound approaches surround sound not only on spectacular discs like Jarré’s Magnetic Fields but also monophonic recordings like June Christy’s or Perry Como’s Songs Collection.

While with something of Jarré caliber it is about a fantastic illusion involving intentional phase shifts to place things behind and to the sides of the listener, with mono recordings it is rather about being sucked into the window opening in front of us.

The lead vocals are always favored by the sound engineers and ideally in the middle with a prominent presence. Yet the air around them, the noises and reflection seem to come not only from the adjacent instruments but from a wider area even around us. I do understand the monaural mechanism involved but that’s still the illusion of it. We might even mistake it for a stereo recording until we play a real stereo disc like Peter Gabriel’s So. This approach to (re)creating space differs from the classic speaker setup. By asking to be placed closer, the Terra’s direct radiation dominates over the reflected sounds such that sitting in front of them, everything around us simply disappears. This includes the speaker. To our senses, the sound categorically does not arise from them. The audible space is built upon the recorded space without support from our room.

I have the Gabriel disc in one of the less satisfying SACD/CD remasters from 2003. Its sound is quite bright and raw. I never bought a superior copy to use this as truth serum instead. The EBTB sounded neither bright nor offensive. Though one can adjust the relative treble strength, that should be done not for subjective cut or boost from album to album but to find the neutral spot where the Terra II Pro becomes a studio monitor.

On a bright disc like So or a very dynamic potent affair like by Kings of Leon, one doesn’t cut the treble but turns down the volume instead (that too occurs in the studio). Each recording is mastered at a certain SPL, unfortunately all different. The Bulgarian speakers telegraph this clearly and force one to adjust the volume relative to how one should listen to a given recording. The tonal balance is focused on the midrange but becomes neither warm nor closed off. The treble is nice and quite resolved and brilliantly complements what occurs below.

But as I said above, this cannot actually be heard as we don’t know where one drivers stops and the other takes over. The lower end isn’t particularly developed but generates sufficient midrange support to not suggest overt lack. There won’t be infrasonic passages or boisterous dynamics as this mid/woofer couldn’t handle those. One best listens at the levels dictated by the speaker and augments the low frequencies with the matching subwoofer if desired.