Vol. 13#3, 2000/2001
Coincident Technology Loudspeakers Model: Total Eclipse
Coincident Speaker Technology Price: $7,999.00 U.S.
Rating: (highest rating awarded- state of the art)
With this new design, Israel Blume, president and chief designer of this Canadian manufacturing firm is rapidly approaching the ultra high-end performance category where sonic accomplishment, not price, is the critical issue. His designs show a marked advancement in both engineering and understanding of a loudspeaker's function as this relates to the end result- the musical information we hear. In business for over 10 years, Coincident Speaker Technology, as the company is now named, has 5 models in the line-up, ranging in price from US $1,099 US to $7,999. All models share a sonic imprint, a common signature that sets them apart from other brands and may be regarded as the "Coincident Sound". Price increases are in line with performance increases, which simply means that, range, finesse, cabinetry and components are improved as we approach the top of the line-his latest model, the Total Eclipse.
Though very tall, measuring 52 inches high, the front baffle is only 9 inches wide, which renders an all-round slim, unobtrusive frontal view, even though the cabinets' depth is 22 inches to accommodate two woofers on the bottom side portion of each enclosure. Each cabinet weighs 165 lbs. The tall and narrow frontal physiognomy of these loudspeakers and their immaculate finish render an altogether elegant work of cabinetry that can, and will, enrich any listening room's decor.
The Total Eclipses are actually two separate enclosures contained in one cabinet. The top section, in which the tweeter and two midrange drivers are arranged in a D'Apollito configuration, is sealed, while the bottom section accommodating the woofers is ported. Blume chose a most effective bracing system to accomplish as much rigidity as possible. As the surface area of the enclosures is rather large, all panels of the structure were strengthened to inhibit vibrations and the ensuing resonances. As the enclosures accommodate two large woofers, they feature tight tongue-in-groove construction with a spline joint. The sealed top sub enclosure has three horizontal braces above and below the tweeter, while the bottom part of the enclosure utilizes a further three horizontal and four vertical braces. As with all Coincident enclosures, the fundamental resonance frequency is tuned to a high, sonically benign 350Hz. Blume's research has revealed that resonances at 350Hz, while being nearly inaudible, are easily dispersed out the enclosure and transformed to thermal energy.
As indicated above, the midranges and tweeter are housed in their own sealed sub enclosure to prevent intermodulation distortion caused by the large air turbulence created by the dual woofers. This sealed sub enclosure produces a perfect .707 Q for the midrange drivers and rolls off the low frequencies acoustically rather than electrically, as Blume wanted to avoid the use of further contaminating capacitors.
The drivers include a hand-picked Scanspeak Relevator tweeter, capable of very high sound pressure levels at vanishingly low distortion. Two 6 1/2 inch midrange composition drivers (the previously reviewed Super Eclipses-Vol. 11 #4 used 5" midrange made of magnesium cones) boast very large magnet structures with low-mass but very rigid cones and are optimized in this design to handle frequencies from 100Hz to 3000Hz. The dual side-firing woofers are the 10 inch versions of the 8 inch units used in the Super Eclipses, though their magnet assemblies are almost twice the size, specifically designed and manufactured to reproduce low frequencies from 125Hz down to 24Hz with less than .5% intermodulation distortion at 24Hz @ 100db.
As with all Coincident speakers, only first order crossovers, with premium passive parts such as polypropylene capacitors, large gauge OFC air core inductors and metal oxide resistors are used. The system is hard-wired and matched to 1% tolerances . The inductor used for the woofers weighs in excess of 10 lbs. The Total Eclipse comes with new all brass, dual tapered (pat. pend.) spikes and all mounting hardware is made of stainless steel. Internal wiring features the new Coincident cable. The port used for the woofers is the specially flared aeroport. This port minimizes air noise while reducing low frequency distortion by 20% over conventional cylindrical ports. The specification sheet quotes the frequency response from 24Hz to 25kHz, with a sensitivity rating of 94dB @1 watt/1 metre and an impedance rating of 14 ohms (no misprint). Now to the important stuff:
The Sound: We used three amplifiers to establish the loudspeakers' disposition with different technologies. Thus, we first connected them to Antique Sound Lab monoblocks, reviewed in the last issue, the new Wyetech Lab Topaz 572B amplifier (reviewed in this issue) and the Bryston 8B amp (a four-channel amp bridged to render over 400 watts/ch). The ASLs are push-pull vacuum tube amplifiers, the Topaz is a single-ended vacuum tube amp and the Bryston is a fabulous solid state design. These amps were connected with the Wyetech Lab Opal preamplifier (reviewed in Vol. 10 #2) for all our auditioning sessions. Our Alchemist/Elite CD playback system as well as the Audio Aero CD player (reviewed in this issue) served as source components. Nordost Quattro Fil interconnects, the AudioQuest Everests (reviewed in the last issue) as well as the Nordost SPM speaker cables made up our wiring. The cleanest sound was achieved with the Wyetech Lab Topaz. This amplifier brought the TEs to new heights, fulfilling absolute bass energy with resolving integrity most of our listeners can only dream about. Clarity in the midrange area has always been a Coincident-trade mark, but in this design, perspicuity is brought to new heights, distinctly radiating mid-band information without a hint of colouration. This, of course, allows inner detail to blossom, depicting instruments and players on a high, wide and deep sound stage. High frequency energy is in line with the midrange segment and, without emphasizing or diminishing, the information reaches way up into the inaudible range with fulfilling tonal execution.
With the slightly warmer sounding Acoustic Sound Lab monoblocks, the highs were a bit sweeter in character, though not quite reaching the ultimate culmination. In other words, these amplifiers were not as accurate as the Topaz, but managed to "sweeten" the sound so that some of our panelists actually preferred this combination. Midrange clarity and appropriate "bloom" was second only to the Topaz/TE system. Bass, while not as resolute as with the Topaz, still maintained full-bodied very respectable culmination, while imaging was as good as one can get it.
The Bryston amplifier introduced the pinnacle of resolution at the bass, somewhat harder in sonic character, but also somewhat faster, seemingly more in control. Midrange clarity was comparable with the Topaz, but also sounded a touch harder/faster. High frequency information was surprisingly smooth. Imaging, focus on instruments and voices, subtle details and spatial sense was a bit "dryer" than with the other amplifiers which is to say that the overall sound was more precise, but not as affective for some of our listening panelists.
Synopsis & Commentary:
The TE's most appreciable sonic quality is their proficiency to reveal every tonal nuance within the specified frequency range. This trait, though desirable to be sure, calls for back-up components of elevated status. Inexpensive wiring, preamps, amps and source components simply will not do. To get the best out of these speakers, we recommend a good single-ended vacuum tube amplifier, such as the Topaz we used for this evaluation. When price is an issue(most folks have a budget), the Antique Sound Lab monoblocks will deliver remarkably fine sound, almost in line with the Topaz. Without a doubt, the Manley 300B Retro monoblocks, tested with the Coincident Super Eclipse speakers in Vol. 10 #2, will also provide a great match. Solid state amplifiers, such as the Bryston, the Rotel and the Chord also deliver outstanding sound quality. As always, the desired sound is up to the end-user. One thing is assured, no matter which amp one may choose: deep bass, produced here by the separately enclosed woofer (almost a subwoofer), is tops, while the balance of the audible frequency response can be described as sufficiently accurate to allow tuning your system with the help of the back-up components. When all is arranged, sit back and enjoy the speakers for the purpose they have been made namely the music.