At around $5,000 to $6,000, the consumer can begin to expect performance from loudspeakers with few compromises. The latest version of the Coincident Super Eclipse embodies to which medium-priced speakers now offer what, not long ago, was available only for much more money. This version of this speaker, which in an earlier model was compatible almost exclusively with triode amplifiers, particularly the Manley designs with which it had been voiced, matches well now with many more amplifiers, though it is still partial to triode tubes.
The well-finished Super Eclipse is a tallish, narrow, rather deep box veneered in cherry. The reinforced cabinet makes the speaker heavier (at 92 pounds) than its moderate size suggests. The cabinet's front face holds two 5.25 - inch magnesium - cone midrange drivers flanking a 1 - inch ScanSpeak Revelator silk - dome tweeter in a mid - tweeter - mid configuration. On one side of each cabinet is a pair of heavy - duty , long - throw woofers. On the back panel are the woofers' port and a hefty pair of binding posts (bi - wiring option is available). There are no provisions for grills. The speaker's frequency response is specified as 28 Hz - 35 kHz, no mean feat.
The speakers may be set up with the woofers facing in or out. The designer, Israel Blume, recommends that the buyer experiment to determine which configuration works best in a particular room. In my shoe boxed - shaped room, the woofers - in position worked best and was used for all evaluative listening. The Coincidents wound up placed with their front faces nearly 7 feet in front of the back wall, 5.5 feet from the shelving on that wall, somewhat further apart than most speakers I have used, with their centers 7.5 feet apart and their outside edges 32 inches from the side walls. Experimentation resulted in the speakers' axes being crossed at a point well behind the listening position, with little toe - in. The Super Eclipses also need a fair amount of break - in, some 100 - 150 hours , before sounding their best.
When it comes to creating a virtual soundspace, the Super Eclipse is first rate. With its narrow front baffle, it can throw an extremely deep and broad soundstage, wherever a recording allows it, and vanish as an apparent sound source. It also describes with considerable clarity and specificity the space it projects, and evenly illuminates the entirety of even the largest soundstage. Vangelis' Oceanic [East/west 16761-2 (German CD) ] is a special delight, and the Coincidents let all the vast artificial spaces through into the listening room. With the Lamm ML - 1 amplifiers, which specialize at sorting out the positions and sizes of instruments and giving sufficient elbow room to all, the Super Eclipses truly excel at replicating the soundstage.
Dynamics are also a Coincident strong suit. This is a very lively speaker that tracks transients extremely well. Bernstein's Candide Overture [ Reference Recordings RR-87HDCD] and The Thin Red Line soundtrack demand great dynamic capability to sound convincing and the Super Eclipses handle them with aplomb. Low - and mid - level dynamic contrasts are also well handled. The most common shortcoming in speakers at this price point is power in the true low bass, but the Super Eclipses deliver meaningful and well - defined bass into the upper 20s. The famous Reference Recordings bass drum was sharply focused and had great force on Candide and Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man [ RR- 93 HDCD]. Performance of this quality in the lowest octave would be impressive in a speaker costing considerably more. Further up in the bass ranges, the Coincidents impart a commendable sense of size and heft to acoustic instruments like cello and bass viol. The groaning double basses in "Saturn" from The Planets [London CS 6734] have the necessary body and gravity. The four 8 - inch drivers move a lot of air, and while they do not have the massive impact of a large planar speaker, their midbass authority is exceptional.
The latest version of the Super Eclipse takes a dramatic stride forward in the area of treble performance. The ScanSpeak tweeter offers far smoother and better - integrated high frequencies than did the earlier version?s metal - dome tweeter. Where the earlier speaker often sounded aggressive and edgy, particularly with the Lamm ML - 1 amplifier, the revised speaker offers a winning combination of detail, sweetness, and extension. The string orchestra on Elgar's Introduction and Allegro [Argo ZRG 573 ( LP ) ] is luscious, with a rich and harmonically complete sound catching all the nuances of the orchestra's interpretation.
With my solid - state reference amp, the Jeff Rowland 8T, the Super Eclipses have tremendous deep bass but from there on up are dimensionally flat and dull- cut- out ships sailing on a cardboard sea. With tubes, however, the speakers invariably come alive. The Atma-Sphere MA-1 Mk II. is a good match; its transient speed highlights the speakers' dynamic prowess and superb soundstaging. The almost supernatural focus and remarkable image density of the extraordinary Lamm ML -1 amps reveal a somewhat discontinuous clustering of bass images between the speakers, but the Coincidents do not give short shrift to the Lamms' cutting - edge ability to unravel inner detail. Of course, the combination of the $20,000 Lamms with the $5,500 Coincidents is one likely to be found only in the context of a reviewer's system.
The Super Eclipse shines with two solidly engineered low - powered amplifiers: VTL's wonderful little Tiny Triodes provide solid and ingratiating performance. They have an extended top, but slightly loose bass and a beautiful midrange. The sweet, forgiving character of the VTLs does not quite extend to overt euphony, but their comfortable and easygoing sound, particularly in triode mode, makes a rewarding match with the Super Eclipses.
Manley Labs' 300B Neo- Classic amplifiers prove the ideal partner. Offering but 12 watts in single - ended mode, 24 in push - pull, this amplifier's predecessor was used in the Super Eclipse's final voicing. A bit of tinkering with the adjustable modes and negative feedback of the Manleys resulted in an optimized setting of 1db of negative feedback in the single - ended mode. Carly Simon's Film Noir [Arista 48984-2] shows the sublime mutual affinity between speaker and amplifier. Simon's voice is rich and lustrous, bewitchingly floated and fixed in her somewhat too- audible isolation booth. Despite the Manley's low power and minimal feedback, bass guitars on Steely Dan's Two Against Nature [Giant 24703-2] and Brian Wilson's Imagination [ Giant 24703-2] have a rich, deep purr and are well controlled. No engineer captures a silkier string sound than Tony Faulkner, and Sir Granville Bantock's Celtic Symphony [Hyperion CDA 66450] is one of his most seductive efforts. The Manley/Coincident pairing sounds wonderful on this sonic pillow of strings and harps, with plenty of fullness and palpability in the cellos and basses. Dynamics, even on the roof - raising storm - at - sea portions of Bantock's Hebridean Symphony and "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II" from Roger Water's wonderful new live CD In the Flesh [Columbia C2K 85235] have wallop to spare.
The Super Eclipse does have a character. What in its earlier incarnation was a tendency towards edginess and aggressiveness in the lower - to - mid treble has been substantially tamed. The last remaining vestige of this character is a slightly yang quality in the mid- tweeter transition range. This emerged most noticeably with the Lamms but was apparent with the Atma-Spheres to a lesser degree.
Given the speaker's tube - friendly impedance, the Super Eclipse merits a serious audition from anyone who has the patience and a preference for triode tube amplification, particularly of the 300B variety. In such a context, its combination of dynamics, detail, and near full range response, combined with a moderate price, may well make it an unbeatable choice.
While Paul is correct in stating that the Super Eclipses mate particularly synergistically with triode tube amplifiers (the relatively high sensitivity and the flat 14 ohm impedance being largely responsible), we respectfully submit that he may have overstated the point. We have evaluated the Supers with a whole range of amps, from 47 Labs to Pass to VAC, with superb results. Reviews of the Super Eclipses in (several other publications]), reported excellent results with amplifiers such as Bryston, OCM, Chord, Audio Aero, Cary and others...
Israel Blume, President
Coincident Speaker Technology