Energy Veritas v2.8 loudspeaker

If Canada has emerged as a hotbed of loudspeaker production in the past few years, the folks at Audio Products International must be positively sizzling. Of their three lines—Mirage, Energy, and Sound Dynamics—Mirage is perhaps the best known in the US, with Energy running a distant second. Mirage, at least in their flagship M series, features rather esoteric bipolar designs, while Energy sticks to the more conservative, forward-radiating approach. Stereophile has had extensive exposure to the various Mirages (a review of one of the M-series babies, the M-7si, is scheduled for a future issue); our exposure to Energy has been virtually nil, save for the odd Hi-Fi Show and CES. And thereby hangs a tale.

At earlier Las Vegas CESes, API exhibited in a large, round room at Caesar's Palace—a tasteful two-story corner suite in red, black, and fake marble, with a raised-platform Jacuzzi overlooking the Strip through a huge window-wall. A great place to do business, perhaps, but no place to seriously listen to anything. Mirage was in one corner, Energy in a second, Sound Dynamics in a third, Perreaux (no longer distributed by API) in a fourth, salespeople in a fifth, and bar and Jacuzzi in a sixth (it was a round room, remember). So I never had a chance to properly hear, at a CES, what Energy was up to. Or perhaps I just missed a separate demo room hidden away someplace.

Energy had their own room at the January '93 WCES. My friend Randy Tomlinson (footnote 1) and I wandered in to see what was new—or even what was what, as neither of us had ever spent any time with Energy loudspeakers. John Tchilinguirian (footnote 2), Energy's young major-domo of design, was showing off the new Energy flagship, the Veritas v2.8. I didn't expect much; but, considering my experiences with sister-company Mirage, I should have known better.

Veritas, of course, means truth. And "truth" seemed an apt description, based on my brief exposure. I left the room muttering something about "best sound of the Show." Randy stayed longer; when I met up with him later, he was buzzing about the little Energy Excels (footnote 3), which I'd missed, and was also seriously considering buying a pair of Veritases.

He did. I resolved to review them.

The 50"-tall, 100-lb Veritas v2.8 is far from the largest, heaviest loudspeaker we've recently reviewed, but neither is it a minimonitor. Its size and unique appearance demand attention. The hammer-tone, pearlescent gray finish (gloss black is also available) is perhaps the most distinctive I've ever seen on a loudspeaker; you can almost look into the textured, deep, glossy surface. It looks like a show-car's paint job, though it's more subdued than the Day-Glo orange favored by the auto teaser-trade.

The cabinet is unusually shaped. The front face is slightly beveled on the side and top edges—a rectangular truncated pyramid. Harry Olson, an early pioneer in loudspeaker design, noted in a 1951 paper (footnote 4) that enclosure shape had a significant effect on a loudspeaker's frequency response. The best shape turned out to be a sphere, with the more practical rectangular truncated pyramid—produced by a deep bevel around the perimeter of the front baffle—a close second. The bevel in Olson's experiments was as wide as the front baffle itself.

Energy's White Paper on the v2.8 seems to imply that the speaker uses a full truncated pyramid shape. It doesn't. However, Energy argues that they used computer modeling extensively in the design of the Veritas. Perhaps their research—computer simulations and actual prototyping—indicated that minor departures from Olson's configuration did not seriously compromise the result. In any event, it's likely that the v2.8 derives some sonic benefit from its shape. Visually, at least, it's a pleasing departure from the ubiquitous box.

The walls of the enclosure are made of 1"-thick, high-density fiberboard. Four internal braces, and bituminous pads glued to the insides of the cabinet walls, act to damp vibrations. To further minimize vibrations at the source, isolation mountings on the mounting flange and under the magnet of each woofer reduce transmission of mechanical vibrations from the woofers to the enclosure itself.

The design of the 8" custom woofers is based on proprietary cones injection-molded from homopolymer polypropylene and embedded aluminum strands. This combination is said to possess a desirable blend of a high Young's Modulus (the ratio of stiffness to mass) and damping. The woofers operate in tandem in their ported, 90-liter (just over 3ft3) enclosure up to their 380Hz crossover frequencies.

Above 380Hz, Energy's Convergent Source Mid/High Frequency Module takes over the load. The name alludes to the fact that the 3" midrange dome and 1" tweeter that comprise this module are mounted in close proximity. The faceplate, made of Spherex® (a low-resonance resin material), is covered by a single protective mesh screen which gives the tweeters a unified look. These two different drivers, crossed over at 2.5kHz, have much in common: light, thin, aluminum-alloy, hyperbolic domes; edge-wound voice-coils on Kapton bobbins; and cotton suspensions. The midrange driver is mounted in its own 0.52-liter, sealed sub-enclosure, within which its response is said to extend down to the 380Hz crossover frequency (at -3dB). The latter is a very low figure for a dome midrange, even one as large as this.

Footnote 1: The same Randy Tomlinson whose modified JVC XL-Z1010 was praised by Barry Willis in his February '94 "A Bolt from the Blue" (Vol.17 No.2, p.53). Randy wrote reviews for me back in the Stone Age (late '70s), when I published my own rag, StereOpus, and has been around the audio block a few times. He and I also agree on sound quality more often than not.—Thomas J. Norton

Footnote 2: Pronounced "Chillingurian." I think.—Thomas J. Norton

Footnote 3: Review by Steven Stone forthcoming.—Thomas J. Norton

Footnote 4: "Direct Radiator Loudspeaker Enclosures," published in The Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. This information was, I believe, reprinted in the original Audio Cyclopedia (not the most recent edition), and may be available in well-stocked libraries.—Thomas J. Norton

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