Jadis Eurythmie II loudspeaker
The Jadis Eurythmie speakers ($37,000/pair) arrived in a multitude of oversized boxes. Importer Northstar Leading the Way's Frank Garbie dragged them into our downstairs lobby and broke them open, elevatoring the individual modules up to our door. This happened on one of my office days, but Kathleen pushed me out the door in the morning with a "Don't worry cherie, I can handle it..." She phoned in periodic updates on Garbie's progress. Remember that old Stan Freberg routine? "I got it, I got it...I don't got it!" I arrived home just in time to hook up the amps.
Frank had set down the Eurythmies in roughly the same position the Avalon Ascents had occupied on the 10' by 4' MDF platform (this screwed and bolted through to the floor and beams below). This left the Eurythmies in the familiar nearfield listening position. We powered them with our Jadis JA200s at first, as we were all still waiting for the single-ended Jadis SE300Bs to appear. Frank had been enjoying the '200s on the Eurythmies in his Durango, Colorado listening room, so was familiar with this pairing's voice. (The '200s are a classic push-pull class-A pentode design of approximately 130W, and our long-time reference amps.)
How practical is it to use high-powered push-pull on a horn speaker? Well, the Eurythmies are a hybrid design of sorts. The 103dB-sensitivity horn arraylower-midrange driver up inside the "butterfly" enclosure, a time-delayed tweeter sitting atop a similarly delayed upper-midrange mahogany hornis sited above a bass cabinet enclosure containing two 96dB-sensitivity 15" woofers in an "Isobarik" arrangement. Each speaker's external crossover features a potentiometer, adjusted with a digital voltmeter, which varies the sensitivity of the horn array in relation to that of the woofers, thus optimizing the amp/speaker cable interface.
After a day or two fiddling with the crossovers, we realized we still weren't getting them to perform as best they might. Problems revolved around several points. To begin with, I heard that hootie horn coloration I dislikesaxophones sounded like they were made of wood, for example. The imaging was offI wasn't getting the spread and depth that we've grown accustomed to. The bass wasn't very tight or well-integrated into the overall presentation, and there was a noticeable lack of dynamics.
That particular week John Atkinson was in town, and stopped by to visit. I was nearly cross-eyed from a vicious and debilitating weather-induced migraine, but managed to keep the fires litjust. Between draughts of Veuve Cliquot, JA focused on the horn coloration, and agreed that the Eurythmies were a touch uninvolving and polite-sounding.
I'm carefully noting these anomalies to make you aware I didn't turn a blind eye to what many consider to be inherent (and terminal) problems with horns of whatever design. But it also occurred to me that, with the renewed global interest in single-ended triodes, it should come as no surprise that advances might be made across a broad front, and that some of these new designs might well succeed in vaulting over the very horns of the dilemma, especially given the advances in materials technology we enjoy today.
A welcome break
As it happens, Kathleen and I had planned a 10-day holiday around then. Like most guilt-ridden New Yorkers, I kept telling anyone who'd listen that it was our first getaway in three years. That's what everyone says. "Oh, I know, me too!" In the event, we had a heart-to-heart with importer Garbie and suggested a post-vacation rendezvous with the two French architects who'd designed the Eurythmies, and Jean-Paul Caffi of Jadis. Thirty-seven-thousand-dollar speakers do not hoot, I was sure.
I thought so, and with that, Kathleen and I bid au revoir to M. Garbie and disappeared into the wilds of Southern California to think no more of high-end audio. We began our vacation with four days of sailing with a waterlogged audio victim of our acquaintance. Nautical activities centered around a 38' racing sailboata Catalina. Coming from a sailing family, Kathleen loved every minute at sea, but as for me...taxi!
After several days consuming mass quantities of Dramamine, followed by (even I have to admit) a keenly enjoyable keeled-over faster-than-fast return from Catalina Island to Newport Beach, we found ourselves back on blessed terra firma. (I didn't kiss the ground, but I considered it.) We rented a total piga hard-steering barge of a Bonneville strayed far, far from its '60s roots. Cursing Detroit, we headed north out of L.A. for my first taste of the Pacific Coast Highway, complete with a souvenir speeding ticket. Our plans were to visit several SoCal audionuts we have the pleasure of knowing as we headed north up to Fremont near San Francisco, where liveth the Shun Mook Monks and their new Bella Voce "tuned" speaker (what else?). Five kay the pair. More Monkish speaker matters later, he said innocently...
Back in New York...
...we had but one Sunday to decompress before the French Foreign Legion showed up, shepherded by Importer Garbie and his partner at Northstar, Scott Isaacs. We read the Sunday Times, and caught up on audio gossip. Monday morning, off I went once again to the office, encouraged out the door with a smile and one of those very French shrugs accompanied by that they-all-do-it expressive-beyond-words pursing of the lips. It's usually accompanied by a slight shrug of the shoulders and a breathed-out "Ouff." I know, I know...she can handle it!
That evening when I returned, there were Frenchmen scattered everywhere in our loft. Bonjours to Jean-Paul Caffi; the Eurythmie's designer, Jean-Bernard; and his associate Jean-Phillipe; and right back to work. Everyone looked innocently around as I noted that the speakers were set even farther back in the box and fairly close to the sidewalls, finished off with a mild toe-in. I was happy to see the Jadis SE300Bs up and running, wired up with all-XLO. Digital datalinks were the fantastic new Illuminati Orchid AES/EBU, Aural Symphonics glass gooped with ioGel, and the newest Marigo Apparition Reference Signature.
The speakers' aluminum forward bottom-plates were supported on large Audiopoints set into their brass bases. The crossovers had been adjusted to 2.9 ohms, which I was informed is the Jadis amps' ideal setting. Setting the crossover is quite straightforward. The multiple Jeans played Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert ECM 1064 (you can use any well-recorded piano) and listened for an imbalance between the right and the left handsthe treble and bass clefs. When the energy seems equally distributed, and one register doesn't overpower the other, you're there. Piece of gateaux, no?
This leads me to a Scullgression®. I spotted Robert Harley in my review of the Wavelength Cardinal XS for pronouncing the Infinity Composition speakers with their powered woofers as the way to go with single-ended triodes. I demurred, feeling that many aficionados would prefer to listen to single-ended full-rangeas one can certainly do with the Eurythmies, in spectacular fashion. However, Jadis's Jean-Paul Caffi, responsible for the Eurythmies' passive crossover, will be introducing an active tubed crossover as an optional replacement sometime soon. Those chasing the final degree of musical perfection might then employ push-pull or big single-ended tubes on the bottom, such as the 211 or 845. The question is, when this further evolution of the Eurythmies' crossover is ready, will I eat my words? (A writerly punishment, no?)
In any case, with the gemlike Jadis 300Bs driven by the Jadis digital front-end (J1 Drive/JS1 Symmetrical Converter) and a JP80MC preamp, things were much improved. I checked the wood factor (tut, tut, tut...) with Saxophone Vocalise, Delos DE 3188. I always get a kick out of listening to track 2, Heiden's (no, not that one) Diversion for Alto Saxophone and Band, which sounds like it was written expressly for the Hercule Poirot series.
I don't know if you're a fan of the diminutive Belgian sleuth with the hyperactive leetle gray cells, but we love his "remarks most pointed." Listening to that track, I couldn't help but visualize Captain Hastings at the wheel of his open Lagonda, an alarmed Poirot at his side keeping his hat in place with the silver beak of his walking stick. Should you suffer from saxophone sweet-tooth, this disc will put you in insulin shock with works by Gershwin, Massenet, Bruch, and several other composers I confess I'm unfamiliar with. The recording is a lot of fun, and the horn in question is beautifully, lovingly recorded. For another check on wood (and imaging), I played "The Nearness of You" from that old favorite Trio Jeepy (Columbia CK 44199) by Branford Marsalismy favorite thing he's done. Final verdict? No wood. (And no jokes!)
The Eurythmie II
I'll both paraphrase and quote verbatim from the Eurythmie's spec sheets. "Sculptured to reply the laws of nature, they are surprising by aesthetic in appearance. As they cannot be hidden, we have made them into works of art and have used craftsmen's techniques in their manufacture." But of course! One night after they'd first been installed, Kathleen jumped up in front of them and starting dancing sinuously. "Jon-a-ten..." (hence the J-10 moniker, get it?), "they look like hula-hula girls!" That they do, ma cherie. Keep dancing!
In a not-quite-white paper we're reminded that our brains do not actually "hear" acoustic energy; rather they analyze electrochemical data created by the movement of the eardrum. The Jadis Eurythmie speakers create these electrochemical reactions by utilizing horn transducers from 180Hz and above, which allows "30 times as much energy as a traditional speaker. By economizing on the power of the amplifiers, these systems also have the advantage of minimizing the effect of the room due to the controlled direction option." I'll presume we're talking about dispersion here.