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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, OSX 10.8.2, PureMusic 1.89g in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Audirvana 1.5.5 in direct/integer mode 1, Metrum Acoustic Hex, AURALiC Vega, Astell & Kern AK-100 [RWA modified, ALAC files], Apple 160GB iPod Classic [AIFF files], Pure i-20 & Cambridge Audio iD100 digital docks
Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, TruLife Audio Athena, Bakoon AMP-12R, Gato Audio DIA-250 [on review]
: First Watt SIT1, FirstWatt SIT2, JOB 225
Speakers: A
mphion Audio Ion+, Gallo Strada II w. TR3-D
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, KingRex uArt USB cable with Bakoon BPS-02
Artesania Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with TT glass shelf, Rajasthani solid hardwood console for amps
Powerline conditioning: GigaWatt PF2
with Vibex Two 1R on amps, Vibex Three 11R on front-end components
gear: 160GB AIFF-loaded Apple iPod Classic, Cambridge Audio iD100 digital-direct dock, Wyred4Sound mINT, Gallo Acoustics Strada II on Mapleshade stands, Gallo Acoustics TR3D subwoofer, Zu cabling - alternate speakers
Amphion Ion+ on Ardán Audio EVP-M1 stand
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review component retail direct from Poland: $1.495/pr for piano gloss black, white or red with CNC engraving and single-input Tripath amp,
20% surcharge for art graphics, laser engraving in the back and RAL colors other than the standard three lacquers

The Eryk S. Concept Superioro sticks a specially developed Japanese widebander with 1-gram membrane into a 28 x 28cm Plywood box of 11cm width, adds a rear port, claims ~40Hz-45Hz contingent on room gain (boundary boost), engraves the logo in the front and basic tech and related data on the back. A variety of modern graphics can adorn the sides or a customer can submit a 300dpi 262 x 262mm TIFF/PDF graphic or photo to be printed directly to the cheeks. $1.495 buys factory direct or through eventual dealers including a small Tripath amp.

So-called luxury versions paint the sides in other high-gloss colors or modern art print. Shown below are two stock colors at an art exhibit where I overlaid a funky upgrade graphic from Eryk's collection. "The normal/dynamic switch on the back allows sonic fine-tuning. Because I wanted a natural eco wood texture, the box is made from merely polished raw Plywood." As the Ancient Audio Studio Oslo monitor also from Poland covered already, a small wideband driver in the extreme nearfield of the desktop puts things less than one meter from your ears.

This can act surprisingly full range especially with port loading and/or electronic equalization. Where Jarek Waszczyszyn's €750 box is class A/B self-powered, includes tone controls and nearly endless custom lacquer finishes, Eryk Smólski's much costlier Superioro (its model name could suggest a direct reference at its domestic competitor) is passive to move its amplifier offboard. This still lends itself to electronic EQ if it were built into the amp. Was it? No. "The standard package is a pair of Superioro + 25wpc Tripath 2021B with one RCA input and volume control for as direct a connection as possible.

"That's because I hate op-amps for EQ or standard voltage gain. A good direct-driven full-range driver with the newest digital or classic single-ended tube amplification yields the most astonishing results. I also see almost everyone using response correction in their PC though I always recommend to start out flat. The 87dB/4-ohm Superioro can handle 30 watts each. If the client demands more output, for example 50wpc or a USB input, this can be custom ordered. I also offer a single-ended EL84 pentode amp. The back switch on the speaker gently boosts from ~4.5kHz+ in 2dB steps. The actual 12mm thick Ply box (comparable in rigidity to 18mm MDF) is lined with bitumen and felt mats and stuffed with wool. With such small panels no additional braces were needed. Actual assembly reverses the standard process where you first put together the raw wooden walls, glue them and follow with veneer, lacquer and polishing steps. We must final-finish each wall before the box is glued together. This leaves zero margin for error to be complicated and costly. We also polish the raw Plywood four times to achieve a super-smooth surface without any lacquer. This highlights the organic feel I was after. A related mission for this project is promoting modern Polish art and its artists. Aqualoopa for example create fabulous murals, animation and paintings and provide us with your earlier overlay."

$1.495/pr gloss red speakers, $1.390 matching Red Beauty single-ended pentode EL84 amp with Russian 6N2P-EV (similar to ECC82/83) . 6wpc, 1 x RCA input, volume. Rubycon, Nichicon Gold, paper-in-oil signal-path caps, Dale resistors, gold-plated ceramic tube sockets. 20Hz-30kHz bandwidth -3dB, 500mV input sensitivity, 20x30x15cm, 5kg. Standard finishes red, white or black lacquer. All other RAL colors add 20%.

In the passive desktop speaker scene, Amphion's €999 Ion+ is a dealer-sold sonically very stiff direct competitor. With a loaner on hand I could make that comparison. In the active scene, Genelec's full-metal 150wpc Syno 20 at €820/pr is another Finnish competitor which on true bandwidth, linearity and undistorted SPL should make life very tough on the Superioro indeed. Luckily for our artsy Pole, I didn't have a Syno 20 with its extensive pro roots on hand. In this context and as any resourceful shopper would quickly realize, it's simply fair to say that the Eryk S Concept speaker is priced high for what it is - a small widebander in a small gussied-up Plywood box sold initially direct which is to include eventual dealers.

But the included Tripath amp adds value with a proven budget recipe for good sound. Whilst we probably shouldn't expect too much from the optional USB input, it would get you going PC-direct. And that seems to be the whole point. Capiche.

If the colorful patterns at right suggest kiddie room, perhaps that's intentional too? I could definitely see this set driven from the even-toddlers-have-one iPhone and serve the youngsters. How about more jaded adults? I signed on to find out exactly that...