Apertura Edena Evolution

The Isotactic material used for the Edena’s bass-mid driver plays a big part in the speaker’s natural sense of body, warmth and integration – but one thing polypropylene isn’t is stiff, which helps account for the limited mid-band immediacy and the subtle absence of body to the upper registers, while the single bass-mid driver, compact cabinet and decent bandwidth mandate the modest sensitivity, realistically quoted as 89dB. Although the large tweeter can match the energy of the cone-driver through the crossover and the deft execution of that crossover limits any apparent differences in dispersion (but note the sidebar on set up) the top-end will always offer more bite, the bottom-end more body, so you are looking for an amp that ameliorates that with a combination of overall speed and sweet upper registers. The Goldmund’s speed and transparency are impressive but do leave the upper registers sounding a shade thin and spot-lit. The CH, on the other hand, is just the ticket, the combination making the most of the pairing’s temporal and dimensional coherence while the amplifier’s even spectral balance helps fill out the speaker’s top-end, the speaker repaying the favour by not mangling the signal. The result is beautifully balanced and, in the best sense, utterly forgettable: the music produced has that rarest of qualities, the presence and expressive freedom that allows it to just inhabit the space beyond the speakers without drawing the listener’s attention to them, or to the process that got it there.

The curved wall, asymmetrical cabinet construction of the Edena Evolution with its non-parallel baffles

The I1 isn’t cheap, starting in basic form (no USB, network or phono inputs) at €36,000, but the Aperturas are a more than capable partner for the amplifier, in part at least one suspects, because of their shared DNA. I did try a brief excursion with the even less price-appropriate Engstrom Lars mono-blocs and Monica line-stage, which indeed demonstrated just how articulate the Edenas could be, as well as their deft phrasing, but it also underlined the fact that they do come alive with at least 100 watts connected to their terminals. Late in the day (very late as it happens) I received the latest iteration of Gryphon’s Diablo 120 integrated, an amp that’s much closer in price to the Apertura speakers and whose musical attributes fit it like a glove. Choose your cables carefully (the Gryphons are picky when it comes to wiring and like to see plenty of metal to help with their enthusiastic current delivery), and the results can be spectacular, if still not exactly affordable. Does that mean that the Edenas won’t work with more modest amplification? No, but you won’t get the best from them and, considering just how good that best is, I’d question whether it makes sense. In that context, a speaker like Focal’s Sopra 2 might ultimately prove more rewarding. But if your ambitions stretch higher, then the Apertura floorstander won’t just grow with your system, it will take some serious effort to outrun it.

Open wide…

Apertura translates (from Spanish) as opening, suggestive of access and clarity. For once in an audio world that occasionally risks sinking under the weight of its self-regarding verbosity, it’s an appropriate name that fastens on the products’ goals and achievements. Like any window, throw it open, and I can’t guarantee you’ll like the view, but the Edena Evolution at least guarantee that you’ll see – and hear – what’s there. They let you see into the performance as well as look upstream at the driving system. Best of all, they operate with the lightest of touches, obscuring neither a musician’s technique nor the emotional and physical effort their performance demands.