Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref, AURALiC Vega
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B, Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150 & 120; Acelec Model One
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000 and 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; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €4'990/pr (free shipping within EU)
Running rings. Around something is how the common phrase completes. Rings or circles is what widebanders run around filter-induced phase shift and time delay. And yes, this assumes that the diaphragm works pistonically across its full bandwidth so parts of its surface don't actually move anti phase. But there's certainly no denying that instead of splitting the audible spectrum into multiple bands, to be reproduced by different drivers then being magically fused into a seamless whole by our ear/brain, one driver handles it all. That's the ideal of the point source even if it's not a pulsating sphere. Coaxial drivers—or tri/quad-concentrics like Cabasse—adhere to the same point-source notion. They just don't eliminate the take-apart/reassemble process of multi-way signal separation.
On a, um, whole, contemporary widebander proponents began their quest with single-driver speakers. Many subsequently shifted to either augmenting their main driver with a super tweeter à la Ocellia, Zu or sound|kaos; or beefing up the bottom octave/s like Cube, Rethm and Voxativ do with built-in or add-on active bass modules.
But purists like AER, Camerton and certain Cube/Voxativ models still uphold the eternal bachelor's faith of being single. And by Lancelot, today's Graal from Ecobox does so, Guinevere be damned. As its mythical model name shows, it's wholly proud of the fact.
Its maker cites four-year R&D for a proprietary driver and +0/-3dB bandwidth of 35Hz to 20kHz with transmission-line loading. We see claims of 96dB/4Ω sensitivity and 90-watt power handling. That would get very loud indeed.
Dimensions are 98.5 x 24.6 x 33.6cm HxWxD, weight is 34kg.
But Ecobox don't just inhale the singularity vapors for solitary health. They also have three-ways, two of them dipoles with Ripol bass. As such they don't promote their Graal as the one and only way to crack the nut or peel the onion. Like all other ways, it comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. You the listener are tasked with deciding which solution best plays to your musical matters.
It's how one runs rings around dogma and one-size-fits-all beliefs. As for Bulgaria where today's ripples originate, this country also hosts the very fine brands Antelope, APL Hifi, Everything But The Box and Thrax. And that's not blowing smoke.
Which now has killed our pesky ring worm for good.
We can finally stop going in circles.
Instead let's celebrate the simple—hopefully right not wrong—angles of today's Graal boxes. They do away with the open baffle's Raal ribbon, its six-pack of tiny Alpair mids, its 15-inch kissing woofer cousins. Consider how leisurely that work load divides. Doesn't it make the Graal's solitary driver look like a high-stress workaholic? Could less really be more; or at least different enough to make its very own appeal to your wallet and senses?
Marketing consultant Georgi Lazarov whom I'd worked with on prior Antelope and Amphion assignments certainly thought so. If it didn't, I could always blame him.
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