Apertura Edena Evolution

The flip side to this open, communicative quality is that although the Edenas make the most of less than stellar recordings, rather than fastening on their shortcomings, to do it they place a higher than average demand on the partnering amplifier, not so much in terms of being a problematic load but in being specific as to their requirements – while leaving you in no doubt if they’re not met. Which invites the question, if the Edenas went internet dating, what amplifier would Match.com send along? On paper, there’s nothing scary about the Apertura’s electrical characteristics, its 8 Ohm load and reasonable ratings for sensitivity and bass extension suggesting that any competent amplifier should manage. However, in practice, there are a couple of warning signs that are worth noting, not least the combination of the eight-inch bass driver with a substantial port, a pairing that demands a measure of control if it’s to pull off the tricky task of seamless integration with the ribbon tweeter. Experience with the isotactic polypropylene cones in the Wilson Benesch speakers suggests that they are notably well-behaved, but that they also enjoy an amp that gets hold of them – and they don’t expect an eight-inch unit to reach from 35Hz all the way up to 2,800Hz!

Appropriate partners…

What’s more, one of the things that history tells us is just how difficult it is to integrate planar tweeters and cone drivers – and the bigger the diameter of the cone, the harder it’s likely to be. We know the Aperturas can pass that test, but not surprisingly, the driving amplifier has plenty to say on the subject. For all of these reasons, the Edenas proved if not exactly picky about partnering amps, undoubtedly critical of their quality (and qualities). Brief experiments with a number of affordable tube designs proved unrewarding, and I quickly defaulted to solid-state models, setting a mental lower limit of 100 watts/channel whilst paying more attention to the nature of the power rather than the sheer quantity. Levinson’s 585 proved an effective price/performance match, the pairing delivering impressively entertaining musical results, the amplifier having more than enough grunt to make the bass driver behave, along with the body and weight to exploit its dimensionality. But it was switching to two rather more ambitious integrateds that revealed the Apertura’s true capabilities. Given the shared heritage, it should be no surprise that Goldmund’s expensive but minimalist Telos 590 wrought a spectacular transformation in the Edena, laying the soundstage wide open and instilling a real sense of drive and purpose to proceedings. But the amplifier I finally settled on was CH Precision’s I1, a single box that allowed me to play digital and vinyl sources and which, if it didn’t quite match the sheer dynamic jump of the Telos 590, offered a far broader tonal palette and greater harmonic development, a blend of virtues that dovetails perfectly with the Edenas one real shortcoming.