Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Vinnie Rossi LIO with AVC module, COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; ; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE UP NC500MB; Linnenberg Audio Adagio [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan], Black Cat Cable Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: £16'890 for 4-piece system

I was becoming a proper elitist slut.
Moving to Ireland in the spring of 2016 had meant tschüss and au jamais revoir to Switzerland's enviable hifi infrastructure. That had more than twenty premium brands to pick from. In Eire, I now had loads of sheep. Then one fine rainy day, Scottish importer Mark Chargill of Elite Audio UK contacted me via his secretary Kirsty Turnbull. Out of the blue or overcast gray, I was offered up for review anything from their eclectic catalogue some thirty brands deep. Without obliging makers to ship in from far abroad, such loaners would just hop back and forth across the Irish sea. No VAT either. Plus, I'd get broken-in floor samples. Becoming slutty had considerable benefits. That said, today's subject is anything but elitist. If you are—an analog purist—read no further. Your piousness will get converted to digital. Everyone else, read on. With Eden Acoustique's Tômei speaker system, just add a digital transport à la DAP, SD card reader, streamer, server, PC, Mac, Oppo; or an analog source; and you're sorted. Done. Dusted. Everything else has been taken care of by the French Canadians of Saint-Eustache.

Back to the beginning, we rewind by two years. From my HighEnd Munich 2015 show report, " second juiciest pre-show announcement came compliments of Canadian newcomer Eden Acoustique and their four-piece Air speaker system. This natty acrylic and Walnut affair combines a pair of open-baffle two-ways, an open-baffle subwoofer and an amplifier/DSP control unit with "new-gen class D amplifiers and DACs for each driver and a 40-bit/192kHz electronic crossover". Had the openly baffled speaker finally become house-broken? Purely on looks, I felt compelled to say a very loud yes! Of course the proof would be in the listening. Just so, it was translucently clear that someone had thought long and hard on how to circumvent the usual cosmetic objections to this breed of speaker which is a Siegfried Linkwitz favourite."

Wooden prototypes.
Subsequently, Eden's Jean-Pierre Boudreau had checked in. "You may remember me from my time at Gemme Audio. Since 2009 I've been behind the scenes. During that time I started a freight transport broker company (Jet Set Logistics) that still does pretty well. During my pastime, I continued to work on audio projects which is my passion. After partnering with my son-in-law, we worked for the last two years on the speakers that became the Air system. Christian created its industrial design. Many look at these small delicate speakers and can’t believe they play full range, especially being open-baffle speakers. But the active drive does the trick.

"To give you some hint about the sound, I must first admit that I'm a tube amp fan. I would say that with the probably best class-D amps (Anaview) and best DSP (Accuton) installed in this system, inner detail and musical textures are excellent. Sometimes the sound brings me back to my best tube amps. Some of these sell for more than the entire Air system combined. The sound is really full range, digging low into the 20s with the real McCoy, a 12" driver. This is full bass with impact. The mids and highs really escape the speakers and live in their own space outside the drivers. That is what we call open-air design."

By 2017, the optics had been further refined, the woofer grown to a 13" unit, DSP gone to 384kHz Danville Signal and class D to Pascal U-Pro. Tômei was ready for prime time. Before you ask, that's Japanese for transparency; of sonics and aesthetics alike.

At left, prototype with Mundorf AMT and Eton mid/woofer.