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The Emerald Physics CS3 Loudspeakers, Wyred 4 Sound mINT, and REL T7 Sub-Bass System A Seestem-atic review
"In fact, much of the time I spent listening to the CS3’s I spent marveling at how much of that time was spent NOT paying attention to the speakers. I mean—as big as they are you really cannot hear them out as sources of sound! It’s actually freaky at times. It’s just so liberating to sit down for a change, and feel like music is happening somewhere up there on a stage, and that those wooden panels are just kind of standing there for no apparent reason- because the sound doesn’t seem to be emanating from them. In this regard, it really is like listening to a ‘mini-monitor on steroids’- but without the artificial ‘laser pinpoint’ thing I find artifactual and distracting. Rather, even well-localized images are dimensional and physical—bigger and more realistic."
"One thing about the EP set up I especially loved was the way the Behringer frees you from the usual tedium of having to make tiny subwoofer crossover adjustments to ensure a sub like the Rel mates seamlessly with your front speakers. With the Behringer doing that kind of work for you, you need only position the sub well, then twiddle your subs volume control to taste. Easy! In point of fact, all told, it took longer to unpack and ‘assemble’ the CS3’s than to set up the entire system under review."
"I’ve definitely heard EP-like openness and depth before from the panels I’ve owned in the past (Soundlab Dynastats, Martin Logan’s, Maggies, Quad 63’s etc), but none of these speakers were doing the open ‘n airy dipole thing whilst serving up so much dynamic verve – carrying as big a set of Bowls-- as the CS3s. In this regard, the CS3s were revelatory."
"What I’m saying is, in terms of macro and micro dynamics the EP CS3s are more or less unrivaled in my experience. In fact, I came to think of them less as fragile ‘audiophile’ speakers and more as pro audio devices that tell it like it is, and are unbreakable in the process."
"In short, at times, it’s a lot like being there."
"In sum, I’d say I’ve heard some speakers do some things better than the CS3, but I’ve never heard a speaker do so many things so very well—and for so relatively paltry a sum. That last part’s pretty much unprecedented.
Here we have a high-efficiency dipole with balls to the wall micro and macro dynamics, spooky imaging, fuss free positioning/subwoofer integration and a flat in-room frequency response in YOUR room, which works and plays well with all manner of amplifiers.
What’s that kinda integration worth to you? How ‘bout $2,995.00 for the speakers and crossover ala carte."
Review quote from the Affordable Audio CS3 review:
"Overall though, I absolutely love these speakers. They image better than anything I have heard (including floorstanders that retail for $40K), they are relatively easy to drive (95 dB), flexible about placement, and they make most any other speaker sound "lifeless" in comparison. Sure, there are inconveniences here too. The best part about the speakers (the Behringer DCX2496 and its associated settings from Emerald Physics) also happens to be the worst part. Be sure that you seriously consider the practical limitations of this device (and even the system upgrades you might be considering) before committing to a pair of these. I can only conclude this review with a classic audiophile compliment/criticism that you see in so many classified ads for used Hi-Fi. You know the line...."I liked component X so much, that I immediately upgraded it to model Y from the same company". I feel the same way about these speakers.
I am so impressed with the CS3, that I now have my sights set on their top-of-the-line CS2.3's."
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Review starts on page 3
Emerald Physics CS3 Loudspeaker System ($2,995.00/pair): After only a couple weeks into our relationship, I was smitten by these rather unusual visitors from the future. The CS3 is the apartment-friendly baby of the Underwood Hi Fi managed/owned EP line, and consists of two flat panel speakers employing very high efficiency, large, concentric drivers, whose power handling stats fall just shy of Metallica’s touring rig. The system is designed to be used with a sub – kind of a must, as the main speaks hit bottom at about 70Hz or so. So now we’re talking ultra-high efficiency, super high power handling, large concentric drivers paired with a separate sub??!! Sounds like a mismatch in the making, right? And it would be—if you, my friend, were controlling how it all blends. Thing is, you aren’t. See, the crossover is external and completely digital and this processor also improves tremendously upon the system’s measured in-room performance, allowing for astonishingly flat in-room frequency response and ease of placement that would make a table radio jealous. But it all wouldn’t matter if… this system didn’t deliver punishing dynamics, the best imaging I may ever have heard from a pair of loudspeakers (it’s really uncanny at times!) and lightning quick pace. Yep—the computer-aided perfection extends to the tonality as well, making this system among the most amazing speaker systems I have yet to hear. Oh—I should probably add—at any price. (words by David Abramson: extra vote by Clement Perry, Editor)
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