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This review first appeared in the August 2007 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement with whereby they will translate and publish select reviews of ours while we reciprocate with one or two of theirs each month. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end auto-links to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of - Ed.

Reviewer: Jörg Dames
Source: C.E.C. TL51XR, Audiomeca Obsession II, Sonneteer Bryon
Amplification: Accuphase E-212, Perreaux R200i, Yushuang Audio Classic 6.6, Myryad MXI2080, Lua 4040C
Loudspeakers: Thiel CS 2.4, Sehring 703 SE, Spendor S3/5
Cables: low-level - Straight Wire Virtuoso, Zaolla Reinsilber NF; high-level - Ortofon SPK 500, Reson LSC 350, HMS Al Cinema
Review component retail: 1,400/pr EU

Genuinely sexy
Perhaps you know the feeling or remember it even though summer isn't over yet - being a kid who fiercely anticipated Xmas when the object of desire turned out different than expected. Well, here at fairaudio, it's permanent Christmas of sorts. We don't receive gifts but don't diss loaners. "Unpack, set up, try out" is the routine which feels celebratory at times. Or not, occasionally. Which is when that feeling sets in.

Because we plan our wish list carefully, this happens rarely but at times, things don't work out and the sound refuses to gel. To write up such components is anything but fun. Instead, it's back in the box with a return to sender.

As you saw coming, happiness is a well-stuffed stocking. With us, a remedy for tears is nearly always at hand. To wit, while not fully depressed, I was somewhat disappointed over another piece of kit when I reached for the Epos M16 to forget my mood.

Unbox and & set up
As the English brochure puts it, the UK-designed, China-made Epos M16 is a 'slim-line' dame. To firm up her footing on wider stance, two plinths are included which bolt to the enclosure via recessed T-nuts. The interface is lined with a viscoelastic layer for even contact and likely acoustic tweaking. The fit of the plinth is beyond criticism -

which can't be said about proper jumpers for the tri-wire terminal which instead were fitted with ghastly tin straps which I flat-out refused to use though they're a common evil.

And here we stand.
The 10kg speakers measure 870 x 174 x 210mm and throw a genuinely sexy profile quite apart from the slim line. Consider the immaculate skin of 'Light Cherry' real wood
veneer on our loaners and then the frame. Front and rear panels aren't marred by sharp edges but harmoniously rounded over. The contrasting plinth with Epos logo wraps it up. But as you'll know, the near-sighted -- yours truly included -- excel close up. Well, only up close. Hence I step close, very close. While confounding bystanders perhaps, it routinely pays off and did here. The driver cut-outs aren't 100% precision cut nor are the baskets perfectly aligned, at least not all. Fine, that's rather pedantic and irrelevant to those listener not struck down by myopia.

All in all, fit 'n' finish on the Epos M16 is rather exemplary. An aside: What do you make of grills? Sonically benign they rarely are. Beyond cosmetic considerations, they exist for protection. If so, why are most nothing but stretched fabric which veritably invites kiddy fingers or various pet critters to drill into? Beats me. If anything be stuck atop a driver, use something substantial like the perf metal the Brits do for the Epos...

The Epos M16 is a 2.5-way where woofer and mid/woofer share sub 150Hz duties. Both ported polypropylene units are 130mm jobbies filtered by a closely placed discrete network. Entry for the 25mm aluminum dome tweeter which is shared across the M-Series is at 3kHz, high-passed with another discrete filter placed closely. Sensitivity is 88dB/2.83V/1m and impedance 4 ohms as predicated by the lower woofer impedance. A load-stable rugged amplifier won't be ill-placed with these. Epos recommends as much on their website.

Apropos Epos ...
Mister Robin Marshall founded this Brit firm about 20 years ago. Core focus of his loudspeaker developments were minimal networks which required tight matching of quality transducers. Already by 1988, Epos was absorbed by another popular loudspeaker maker, Mordaunt-Short who expanded once again when acquiring Creek Audio. Meanwhile its founder Michael Creek underwent a change of heart to buy back his ex company by 1993 and added Epos six years later. The Epos M16 is the latest descendant of that liaison.

Try Out...
"Whoa, that sounds pretty growed up" was the spontaneous inclination upon my first playback encounter. Sure enough, the Epos does real bass without faking bumped-up upper bass. The treble however was a bit fresh. Patience is a virtue as you know, especially with new hifi kit. As per Epos, 24 to 48 hours should do nicely. Which even beyond that period did befit coherence and textures. And the owner's manual advises to create a shallow rake by elongating the front spikes before tightening or leaving the rear ones short.

To my ears, the presentation then indeed opens up on top and expands in overall scale. While on spikes, I generally dislike how they tend to harden things up. With the Epos M16, no such pain really safe for the unavoidable holes in my parquet floors. My aim requires spike protectors bigger than the market provides.

Glancing at my CD rack, I spotted ClockDVA, a spacey though rhythmic affair. Originally an experimental Jazz combo, the band switched tracks in the 90s to release a number of exceptional electronica albums. "Voice Recognition Test" is a cut I know like the back of my hand. It kicks off with a beat that permeates the entire song. Loudspeakers that fake the foundation to cover up fundamental shortcomings soon grate on my nerves. Not the Epos M16. She's good for lower in fact even though
the synth bass grumbling here ain't no acid test for outright slammage. Yet the

Brit dame follows its rather more fluid delineations precisely, a good thing too since this music quickly loses its appeal when quality bass goes bye-bye.

Neither does the upper range suffer malnutrition. "Gently recessed" is far from what the
aluminum dome puts out even after significant break-in. What sounds like a synthesized hi-hat in "Voice Recognition test" becomes quite forward but no fear, problem seen, problem solved - more or less. The sharp treble diminishes with fainter toe-in which also benefits the hissing sibilants on Calexio's "The Black Light".

Set up accordingly, the Epos M16 conjures up the big screen, albeit not of the Technicolor sort. Our dame does it netural, quite similar to the wildly more expensive Thiels. No segment in the spectrum is emphasized or shrifted short.

Particularly voices get the royal treatment on color and mass. Where other and more expensive competitors lack blood iron and seem distanced, the M16 does flesh and blood. That's not peculiar to voices of course and the midrange in general makes a powerful showing. Ditto for resolution and microdynamics.

The song "Holiday" on Celebration suited our late summer season. Katrina Ford's voice was very present and real, less removed and distanced as she is over other speakers. Make no mistake then - especially in the mids and bass, these svelte columns are anything but anemic. Overall, the Epos M16 delivers a full and dense stage perfectly separated from the boxes. The final bars in "Holiday" are terrifically densely orchestrated. It's fascinating how one can dive into the exploded stage with its expansive sonic clouds. Of course you'll need superior speakers and the Epos M16 is fully up the task. Where she differs from dearer colleagues is in the closer contact between the musicians.

While outer stage perimeters are properly scaled and defined, artist-to-artist interactions are toned down to a certain degree even though in this class, I haven't yet heard a speaker that's simultaneously so neutral and colorful and casts as cavernous a stage to additionally excel at image specificity. Even nature hasn't yet produced an egg-laying creamy milk sow, never mind speaker makers in these leagues. Back on terra firma, that remains true but everything here is actually truly remarkable.

If you want to find fault with this well-balanced musical speaker, look elsewhere. Once again "Holiday" provides the course. The tambourine entering early isn't completely fluffy, ethereal and liberated but somewhat compacted. The responsible tweeter simply isn't as resolved as the midband driver. Nonetheless, this took repeat A/Bs on this track to suss out. The alu-cone'd treble paints with a coarser brush than its bigger neighbor. The more sophisticated of ear -- dependent as well on source material -- could react slightly peekishly.

Re-enter the egg-laying creamy milk sow: As stated, the Epos M16 is an attractively slim tower whose 130mm woofers put out fully matured bass. Just don't expect SPL orgies. Forget 'loud' unless you wish to season with distortion.

Last but not least: Not mentioned yet but a respectable plus -- and given the above context, meant with truly zero sarcasm -- the Epos M16 does very well at subdued levels.

I'm quite smitten with this speaker. There aren't many in this class to produce such a ripe sonic image that recalls many facets of far more expensive competitors. This includes material construction, minor nits excluded. A few items should be considered, however. It's a hoary truism by now that system setup especially with speakers can't be anal enough. That's doubly true for the Epos M16 whose aluminum dome is fully capable of launching assaults with the treble storm troopers.

With proper tilt and toe-in dialed, select the amp carefully. A load-stable powerful amp with control in the bass is certainly a good idea. Components which present the upper mids and treble on a silver platter or lack finesse are less suitable. By way of which, the 65-euros terminated 3.5m/pr Reson LSC 350 speaker cables as supplied by our domestic Epos distributor was commendable especially for the price.

The Epos M16 is a neutrally voiced speaker

  • With unexpectedly fulsome, mature and colorful sound particularly in the mids.
  • Producing size-defying bass fundamentals without trickery.
  • With involving, open and spacious staging.
  • With fetching resolution particularly in the mids but also bass.
  • Cosmetically salon-approved.
  • Whose rendition of the upper mids and treble won't always account for sensitive ears.
  • Where ultimate loudness wasn't part of the engineering design brief.

Given suitable care during setup and ancillary matching, the Epos M16 in its price class is quite the hit. And I'm not talking an overtly come-on-ish summer fling that's ultimately superficial. The Epos M16 is a long-term investment and only dimensionally challenged or small.

Manufacturer's website