Apertura Edena Evolution

Meanwhile, the speaker maintains the sense of direction and momentum in the playing, the overall shape of the piece so critical to its emotional impact. It’s an impressive achievement on a disc I regularly us to separate those systems that play music from those that reproduce sound. Few speakers at or near the Apertura’s price can match its lucid musical articulation, allow the music to breathe as easily and freely, or reveal the effort as well as the considerable technique that goes into this remarkable performance.

Where does that uncluttered sense of calm come from? Partly from the speaker itself and partly from a judiciously chosen partnering amp – of which more later. But before I start talking about matching amplification, I want to examine a few of the speaker’s specifics in detail and, in particular, a couple of crucial factors that it takes more seriously or treats differently to more generally accepted or familiar designs. An awful lot of ink and pixels get expended on how a loudspeaker’s drivers and cabinet behave, but the emphasis always seems to rest on the pass-band – what a driver does and how it behaves within its operating range – and what a cabinet does to limit or dissipate energy within its structure. Yet look at the Edena’s feature list, and it is immediately evident that some considerable effort has been expended beyond those boundaries. While the phase benefits of first-order crossovers are widely understood and their proponents are quick to claim associated gains in terms of musical expression and timing, they ignore the damage done by out of band driver behaviour. Recent work done by the likes of Focal and Living Voice (amongst others) has demonstrated how even low-level out-of-band artefacts can have profoundly intrusive effects. Yet shallow crossover slopes do little to deal with this problem. So, if a loudspeaker designer wants the all too audible musical benefits of a low-order crossover, but wants to avoid the associated sonic costs, then he’s going to have to get smart: which is precisely where I’m guessing that the composite slopes of the DRIM crossover come in, allowing a gentle transition between drivers followed by a progressively steeper roll-off to limit out-of-band intrusion, while also avoiding sharp corners in the drivers’ outputs or the horrors of a brick wall filter. I suspect that this – along with the tuneable mechanical roll-off possible with an Isotactic polypropylene cone – plays no small part in the almost seamless integration of the two drivers.

Different under the skin…

Of course, when it comes to the ins and outs of undisclosed crossover topologies, any conclusions are mainly surmised. But the other detail I want to look at is both easily accessible and its contribution easily tested. Given his background at Goldmund, where he worked closely with Georges Bernard, the man who developed the Goldmund Reference turntable and the “mechanical ground path” amongst other things, it should come as no surprise that Christian Yvon has equipped the Edena with a central ground path. What is a surprise is just how impressively (and demonstrably) effective it is. Given my predilection for mechanically grounding everything else in the system, perhaps I should have expected it, but the musical impact of this simple solution floored me. As previously noted, the underside of the Edena features a large aluminium cone screwed into the speaker’s centre of gravity. You’ll also note the two outrigger beams, with adjusters on each end. The speaker is set up resting on the point of the cone, stabilised by the easily adjusted, ball-tipped, aluminium adjusters. On my wooden floor, I used a stainless-steel footer to couple the central cone to ground, with decoupled footers (with Delrin spike cups and felt undersides) to maintain the single path arrangement. What that also means is that it is easy to investigate the speaker’s footing by stages, first removing the footer under the central cone (thus disconnecting it) and placing solid footers beneath the four adjusters and then replacing the adjusters themselves with spikes.