Gramophone Dreams #59: the Ojas System, EJ Jordan Marlow loudspeaker Marlow Measurements

EJ Jordan Marlow Measurements, from May 2022 (Vol.45 No.5):

Intrigued by his small, full-range drive units, I used to chat with the late Ted Jordan at hi-fi shows when I lived in the UK. So, when Herb Reichert told me that he was reviewing an LS3/5a-sized standmount speaker that used the latest version of the Jordan driver, I volunteered to measure it.

The EJ Jordan Marlow is sold direct from the UK and costs £1960/pair (equivalent to $2650/pair at the time of writing) including free shipping to the US (footnote 1). HR enthused about the sound of the Marlow in his April 2020 Gramophone Dreams column: The EJ Jordan Marlow "offers a unique form of unmitigated clarity that will not be easily matched by conventional boxes with multiple drivers and crossovers," he wrote. "Its superfocused imaging and extraordinary transparency made recordings sound unusually direct and unsullied." He did caution that the Marlow's 4" drive-unit "cannot move enough air to sound big, strong, or real," adding that the Marlow "cannot deliver commodious deep bass or play loud." Nevertheless, he found that when he played deep-bass dub reggae and sub-bass ambient jazz, the Marlow went low enough to satisfy his needs.

Like the LS3/5a, the Marlow's grille fits over a recessed front baffle. I asked HR: Had he auditioned the Jordan speakers with or without the grilles? "I listened both ways, but mostly with the grilles on," he replied. His characterization of the Marlow's sound quality in Gramophone Dreams was with grilles. Accordingly, I left the grille on for these measurements.

I used DRA Labs' MLSSA system, an Earthworks microphone preamplifier, and a calibrated DPA 4006 microphone to measure the Marlow's farfield behavior, and an Earthworks QTC-40 mike for its nearfield and in-room responses.

Fig.1 EJ Jordan Marlow, electrical impedance (solid) and phase (dashed) (2 ohms/vertical div.).

EJ Jordan specifies the Marlow's sensitivity as 86dB/W/m; my B-weighted estimate was slightly higher, at 87dB(B)/2.83V/m. The impedance isn't specified. Measured with Dayton Audio's DATS V2 system, the magnitude (fig.1, solid trace) remains above 8 ohms in the treble and most of the bass with a minimum value of 6.13 ohms between 360Hz and 400Hz. The electrical phase angle (dashed trace) is occasionally high, which will increase the loudspeaker's demand for current from an amplifier. The EPDR (footnote 2) drops below 4 ohms between 50Hz and 65Hz, between 120Hz and 295Hz, and between 900Hz and 2.5kHz. The minimum EPDR is 3.06 ohms between 161Hz and 176Hz. The Marlow will work best with amplifiers that have no problems driving 4 ohms.

Fig.2 EJ Jordan Marlow, cumulative spectral-decay plot calculated from output of accelerometer fastened to center of side panel (MLS driving voltage to speaker, 7.55V; measurement bandwidth, 2kHz).

I investigated the enclosure's vibrational behavior with a plastic-tape accelerometer. The highest-level mode was at 176Hz, on the back panel. This mode was also present at lower levels on the top and side panels. There was also a strong mode at 1.2kHz on the side panel (fig.2), though this resonance is too high in both frequency and Q (Quality Factor) to have audible consequences.

Fig.3 EJ Jordan Marlow, anechoic response on drive-unit axis at 50", averaged across 30° horizontal window and corrected for microphone response, with the nearfield responses of the port (red) and woofer (blue), and the complex sum of their nearfield responses (black) respectively plotted below 360Hz, 300Hz, and 300Hz.

The saddle centered on 41Hz in the impedance magnitude trace suggests that this is the tuning frequency of the port on the front baffle. The red trace in fig.3 shows the port's nearfield response. Its output peaks at the tuning frequency and the upper-frequency rolloff is clean. The blue trace below 300Hz shows the response of the woofer, again measured in the nearfield. It has the expected minimum-motion notch at the port tuning frequency, which is when the back pressure from the port resonance holds the cone still. The black trace below 300Hz in fig.3 shows the complex sum (amplitude and phase) of the nearfield woofer and port outputs. The usual boost in the upper bass, due to the nearfield measurement technique, which assumes that the drive units are mounted on a plane that extends to infinity in both dimensions, is absent. The EJ Jordan's woofer alignment is therefore overdamped, which suggests that the Marlow will benefit from the low-frequency reinforcement that result from a placement close to the wall behind the speaker.

The black trace above 300Hz in fig.3 shows the Marlow's farfield response averaged across a 30° horizontal window centered on the tweeter axis. The speaker's output rises by 5dB in the upper midrange, presumably because with no crossover, baffle-step compensation isn't possible (footnote 3). The output drops in the presence region before rising to a 7dB peak at 11kHz. I repeated the farfield measurement without the grille. The only difference was about 1dB greater output in the mid-treble region.

Fig.4 EJ Jordan Marlow, lateral response family at 50", normalized to response on drive-unit axis, from back to front: differences in response 90–5° off axis, reference response, differences in response 5–90° off axis.

Fig.5 EJ Jordan Marlow, vertical response family at 50", normalized to response on drive-unit axis, from back to front: differences in response 45–5° above axis, reference response, differences in response 5–45° below axis.

I use an Outline computer-controlled turntable to examine the off-axis behavior, rotating the loudspeaker under test in 5° increments. Measured in this way, the EJ Jordan's horizontal dispersion is shown in fig.4. (The traces are normalized to the response level with the center of the drive unit, which thus appears as a straight line.) The radiation pattern is well controlled in the midrange, but the small suckout at 2.75kHz in the on-axis response fills in to the speaker's sides. The Marlow's output becomes very directional above 4kHz. This will tend to compensate for the on-axis peak at 11kHz, but without toe-in to the listener's position, the sound will be too dull. The vertical radiation pattern over a ±45° range, again normalized to the response on the drive-unit axis, is shown in fig.5. As expected (because there is only one drive-unit and so no interference to affect the vertical response), it is similar to the speaker's behavior in the horizontal plane.

Fig.6 EJ Jordan Marlow, spatially averaged, 1/6-octave response in JA's listening room (red), of the Vivid Kaya S12 (blue), and of the GoldenEar BRX (green).

The red trace in fig.6 shows the Marlows' spatially averaged response in my own room. For reference, the blue trace shows the spatially averaged response of the Vivid Kaya S12 that HR reviewed, also in the April 2022 issue, and the green trace that of the GoldenEar BRX, which I reviewed in May 2020. Like the EJ Jordan speaker, the Vivid and GoldenEar are standmounts, and all three pairs were placed on 29" Sanus stands in the same positions of my room to generate the traces in fig.6.

All three speakers would have benefited from placement closer to the room boundaries, as their low frequencies shelve down below 150Hz, though to slightly different extents. The spatial averaging tends to average out the peaks and dips below 400Hz that are due to the room's resonant modes. Above 400Hz, the Vivids and GoldenEars have very similar in-room behavior, with the slight downward slope in the treble due to the increased absorption of the room's furnishings and the tweeter's increasing directivity at high frequencies. (One thing you don't want to see in this type of measurement is flat treble output, as this would sound too bright.)

The outlier in fig.6 is the spatially averaged response of the Marlow. The boosted upper midrange seen in the farfield response in fig.3 is present here also. With a noise signal, I could hear this as an "aww" coloration. I could also hear the small peak above 10kHz. With music, the boosted upper mids may well have contributed to the added sense of recorded detail that HR reported hearing. But whether the Marlow is perceived as having too much upper midrange or suppressed lower midrange and treble will depend on the recordings being played.

Fig.7 EJ Jordan Marlow, step response on drive-unit axis at 50" (5ms time window, 30kHz bandwidth).

Fig.8 EJ Jordan Marlow, cumulative spectral-decay plot on drive-unit axis at 50" (0.15ms risetime).

In the time domain, the Marlow's step response on the tweeter axis (fig.7) indicates that the full-range drive-unit is connected in positive acoustic polarity. Other than a slight discontinuity just after the peak, the step response is time-coincident, which will contribute to the stable, accurate stereo imaging noted by HR. Some oscillations with a period just below 1ms can be seen in the decay of the step response. The Jordan's cumulative spectral-decay plot (fig.8) has an associated ridge of resonant energy at 1.15kHz, the frequency of the notch in the on-axis response, and there is a faster decaying ridge at 11.2kHz.

So, what to make of the EJ Jordan Marlow's measured performance? (My measurements were similar to those provided by the manufacturer.) Of necessity, all loudspeaker designers have to make trade-offs between different aspects of performance In the Marlow, the use of a single drive-unit allows superb performance in the time domain. The trade-off is the frequency-domain behavior.

I am reminded of something the late Art Dudley suggested in 2004. We were discussing Stereophile's Recommended Components, and I mentioned a loudspeaker he was reviewing that had, shall we say, "idiosyncratic" measured behavior.

I asked Art what he thought I should say in my concluding remarks. "Write that this loudspeaker's sound character will be for special tastes only," he replied. He said he wished we had a symbol to denote that a product was "for special tastes" or "for special systems." "[This] would be great for speakers that have imperfect amplitude response but superb dynamics and sensitivity," he said. "This would be the hardware equivalent of a 'conditional rave' for music aimed at special tastes—Captain Beefheart, say. The Spotlight Kid is without a doubt a Class A album, but it sure isn't for everybody!"

The measured performance of the EJ Jordan Marlow suggests that this, too, will be a loudspeaker for special tastes or special systems.—John Atkinson

Footnote 1: Buyers have 30 days to return their Marlows, also with free shipping, for a full refund minus a £30/pair restocking fee. EJ Jordan Ltd. Tel: (+44) 777-977-5356. Web:

Footnote 2: EPDR is the resistive load that gives rise to the same peak dissipation in an amplifier's output devices as the loudspeaker. See "Audio Power Amplifiers for Loudspeaker Loads," JAES, Vol.42 No.9, September 1994, and

Footnote 3: This adjusts the loudspeaker's output to compensate for the fact that its radiation pattern changes from omnidirectional at low frequencies to just the forward direction above a frequency related to the size of the front baffle. See

thethanimal's picture

That EJ is rather insensitive compared to other speakers based on full-range drivers that I’ve seen. Because it’s tuned for higher excursion to coax more bass out of a 4” driver?

I still would like to hear your take on high-efficiency full-range drivers mated to the Elekit and (borrowed from Steve G?) Decware.

remlab's picture

Just click on "Jordan" to see the different measurements..

Herb Reichert's picture

I've been using a JX92X for over 20 years


remlab's picture

..distortion is on that driver. Literally Scan-Speak levels!

MattJ's picture

The man clearly has no pets! My dogs and cats would destroy that in about 10 seconds. But WOW that subwoofer! Elephants in India probably think their cousins in Africa must be talking to them. O_o

remlab's picture
Look at the price!!

Anton's picture


chtgrubbs's picture

Hey, it says if you buy quantities of to-10,000 you get a 10% discount!

tres hombres's picture

for introducing more music in 1 review than all others in a year - an artist of words for the blind.
Thank you sir.

remlab's picture


Turnerman1103's picture

Poor little Falcon Gold Badge’s . Herb has proven to be a heartless fickle lover . After years of Herb convincing many of us that the Falcon’s were the greatest thing since sliced bread - suddenly in the blink of an eye , his beloved Falcon’s, that he just recently described as “conspicuously grainless ” and “unabashedly liquid “ are now callously referred to as “ misty and grainy” . Herb dumped his faithful little Falcon’s (faster then KK could dump Kanye for Pete D ) for a pair of “ lively pleasure inducing “ Marlows and their “pristine unmitigated clarity “ . Alas , all is fair in love and war ..

Herb Reichert's picture

Those Falcons that sound like headphones will always be my reference — they are my truest love. We are married for life.


Turnerman1103's picture

Thank you Herb - I don’t doubt it ! My “Fickle Falcon” post was all in good fun . I’m forever indebted to you for turning me on to Falcon Gold Badge Ls35a’s . I’ve owned literally dozens of different speakers ( including 3 different sizes in the Harbeth range ) over the years and none have brought me as much joy as my beloved little Falcon GB’s . We shall never part … that is unless Falcon introduces a platinum version lol

Jack L's picture


Sorry, I would NEVER placed anything between the front loudspeakers & "listening chair" & between the left & right loudspeakers!

Acoustically, the music soundwaves should travel from the front loudspeakers to our ears without any obstruction, reflection & deflection in order to get the best livelike reproduction. Anything placed in the way of the soundwave propaganda is undesirable, affecting the sound. Period.

My humble audio+TV system in my house basement is placed some 6ft BEHIND the front standspeakers (including the L & R active subs).

Only the L+R channel active sub is allowed, without choice, to be placed lowly on the floor in betweem the L & R front standspeakers. Thanks goodness, the lead-granules+fine-sand stuffed loudspeaker spiked steel tripods are well taller than the lowly sub box. So the soundwave interference between the L & R standspeakers caused by the centre sub should be redued to minimum !

Not forgetting the music 'softwares'. Hundreds of CDs/DVDs/cassettles are all placed on a DIYed wooden super shallow wooden shelf hung against the left sidewall away from the left standspeakers. My 1,000+ LPs are housed in carton boxes (shaped like those in record stores) placed side by side on the floor against the left sidewall as well. Unaffecting the loudspeaker soundwaves radiation at all.

In a nutshell, NOTHING should be placed between the front loudspeakers & the sweet spot.

Above said, I have seen quite some home audio setups, including my 2 friends large multi-cellular horn+bass boxs, similar to the Ojas setup above. Visual display of the hardwares seeminlgy comes before the sound !

Listening is believing

Jack L

PS: Sorry, mult-cellular horns are not my cup of tea !!!!!

JHL's picture

...I've ever heard came from multicells. And, by current standards, in the least acoustically-correct space and room.

The experience was absolutely exquisite.

Anton's picture

Think of his floor as a diffuser!



Jack L's picture


Whatever you want to name this massive music-wave blocker, be my guest!

Ignorance is not a guilt.

Listening is believing

Jack L

Anton's picture

"Wave blockers!"

As Colonel Kurtz would say, "The horror!"

Heck, think of all those musicians in front of other musicians blocking the musical waves.

You make a great point: some audiophiles are best listening alone with open floor space.

It's interesting some audiophiles just know how someone's system sounds without ever hearing it.

It can be a solipsistic hobby.

Jack L's picture


Yes & no, my friend.

For a concert, the musicians play on the podium overlooking the attendance from a height. So the music blocking will be minimized if we sit not too far away from the podium.

That's why my favourite seat will be some 13th row centre to reduce the frontal music blocking & sound impairement by the hall PA system & hall reverberaton.

At home, there is no podium like a concert hall to raise the audio system to a height to avoid music wave blocking. That's why we should not put anything, not even a coffee table, in between the louspeakers & the sweet spot to get the best possible reproduction.

If you check again my above posts, I never mention about how good how bad would be Ojas sound system as I never heard it. Though I did audition quite a few similar massive large multi-cellular horn systems in different homes with similar pile-up like Ojas's. So far I am NOT impressed yet.

I simply point of the acoustical aspect of the reproduction of the massive hardware there. I can promise if all such massive centre pile-up be removed out of the way, the sound will be much much better. I've done with mine at home with flying colour.

This is physics.

Listening is believing

Jack L

Glotz's picture

is why I love Herb's writing and audio passions... I always learn something new and turned on to new music as well.

Wavelength's picture

The DQ10 used a piezo not a ribbon tweeter. I remember meeting Jon when I was in college as I ran an audio store there. He was a great guy and I think the version we sold was a DQ10-K.

In college (and I still have the letters) I sent a bunch of ideas to Jordan. We built a number of arrays of the 50mm driver with KEF B139 woofers in a bi-amped arrangement. I designed my first circuit board with blue & red tape for a 24dB electronic xover, yes silly, 12dB would have been fine. I was young didn't know better. I had an 8 array 50mm speaker with a super modified ST70 on the top and a solid state 50W amp I designed for the bottom.

Fun times, Herb keep it up good article.

Herb Reichert's picture

but I couldn't bring myself to buy one of those $3 piezos on Canal Street.



Wavelength's picture

But the piezo made it easier to design the xover :) That was the reasoning, all those drivers were making the nextwork too complicated and the piezo made it easy.
I couldn't stand those things. But back then I was making pretty low effecient speakers and higher powered amps (EL34PP and 6550/KT88PP). It wasn't till 1988 that I built SET stuff.

Hope your doing well. BTW I emailed you a while back I have a stack of really old stuff I dug up the other day. Have too much stuff if you want it email me.

Jack L's picture


Agreed. Only a cap with a bypass resistor will do the job.

But piezoelectric tweeter can be horn type & paper-cone type. I would NEVER go for horn type. Sound way toooo horny !!

Even a soprano sounds horny to my skeptical ears.

I'v settled down with Motorola 15D paper-coned piezo tweeter to supplement the infamous Danish SEAS 87H soft impregnated fabric dome mid-tweeter (1KHz X-over frequency) for my KEF front standspeakers since day one decades back.

I chose this mellow sounding Danish wide-dispersion soft dome mid-tweeter to replace that original KEF T15 Melinex dome mid-tweeter which drove me nut with its ringing. Thanks goodness, no more ringing with the Danish dome tweeter.

Yes, I also used my upgraded TRIODED Dynaco ST-70 power amp to drive my passive DIY-bi-wired KEF standspeakers for so many years until I replaced it with my DIYed all-triode 5W+5W SET power amp some 6 years back. SET sounds better than PP, IMO !!!!!!!

It seems we both DIYers share pretty common interest !

Listening is believing

Jack L

Jack L's picture


I thought I was a cheapie enough cheapskate. Yet I won't go for a $3 piezo from those thrift shops.

FYI, the Motorola 15D paper-coned piezeoelctric tweeter is posted on eBay today for $49.99 each. I assume paper-coned piezo should cost much more than horn piezo.

Jack L

Briandrumzilla's picture

Yeah, from that angle it does remind me of "Doc" Brown's giant speaker.

mcrushing's picture

Interesting that you mentioned this system's appeal for art students, Herb. Photos of earlier iterations of Devon's setup (the fireplace was still visible) started appearing in my Pinterest feed a while ago.

Most often, it was posted by people interested in interior design.

Pinterest doesn't always offer much in the way of context, so I had no idea who the system belonged to at the time. Later I came across another amp and speakers unmistakably of the same design aesthetic, this time as part of a gallery installation from artist Virgil Abloh. I'd later learn that setup was Devon's work and that he and Abloh, who sadly passed recently, were close friends.

Devon's current setup looks more 'artist's studio' than 'listening room.' That's a huge plus in my book. I think some folks neglect the roles of the other four senses when it comes to experiencing music. It's the visual beauty of copper coils and vacuum tubes that inspired me to start tinkering lately, and it's also worth noting that my most enjoyable recent listening sessions have been in the company of non-audiophiles.

Seems to me the more inviting I've been able to make my listening space and the less fussy I've been about getting folks into the sweet spot, the more time I've spent enjoying good music, good wine, and good conversation while the album sides get flipped.

Thanks for a great column, Herb. And Devon, if you're reading...a chance to listen to your system is officially on my bucket list.

Jack L's picture


I have visited enough second-hand audio shops having similar massy yet messy hardwares display offshore during my annual business trips years back.

Affordable pricing to get the sales & sound matching good or not is none of those vendors business. Final sales, period.

Jack L

Anton's picture

We used to use "Middle Grey," which IIRC was "18% grey" when framing black and white photos.

I like the speakers' esthetic.

thethanimal's picture

Herb, until I can stop by Bed-Stuy or you can swing through Atlanta I’ll gladly share the virtual tea ceremony with you. I see all your excellent music recommendations this month and raise you Arooj Aftab’s 2021 album “Vulture Prince.” I’m listening in MQA from Tidal right now — meditative soundscapes, shading, dimension, reverb, and a pervasive feeling of longing jump out at me. Evidently she’s based in Brooklyn, so you might be able to find a live show nearby.

Herb Reichert's picture

I am listening to Vulture Prince as I type. You are right I love it – especially the pacing of the songs
keep the recommendations coming


MBMax's picture

...all the angst over acoustics with all that gear in between the listening spot and speaker array, but you know what I like about this?
It looks really, REALLY fun.
Fun gear, ability to flip and change out records quickly, ability to change source, amp, preamp, etc. on a lark, on a whim, on a spontaneous impulse.
Regardless of audiophile "shall-not-be-dones," the system apparently sounds amazing and is just crying out for extended sessions of music with rum or whiskey, conversation and laughter, planning and scheming over other amp and speaker ideas. A little slice of heaven in a really rough world.
And Herb, when you decide you've had enough of the little Falcon ladies, please let me know. In addition to a fair price, I'll even throw in a lovely bottle of your favorite sipper.

RiteofSpring1961's picture

If you really like to hear a single-driver speaker with some decent bass, you need to find a pair of Alpair Super Pensil 12.2ps. I know they're DIY, but they really sing. I built mine two years ago and I'll be hard-pressed to change.

PECwines's picture

Herb - I’ve been interested in the Sibelius speaker from Pearl Acoustics for some time now. They use bespoke 4” drivers in transmission line cabinets of somewhat unusual construction. From what I have read, the Sibelius is an especially good single driver speaker, with bass performance that is much better than expected.

If you can get a review sample I’m sure many here would love to read your impressions. The only drawback is that currently Pearl Accoustics has no formal distribution in North America unless that has changed very recently.

CXB's picture

As usual Herb, your column re-enforces what drives the passion around music and listening and always brings an extraordinary perspective. Thank you