Robert Harley’s Best of Show
Best Sound (For the Money)
2016 Newport T.H.E. Show
“The Eddie speaker from a new speaker company called Evoke caught my ear for its tremendous price-to-performance ratio. The $3995-per-pair Eddie features a ribbon tweeter, planar-magnetic midrange, and a cone woofer. Driven by NuPrime electronics, it sounded clean, fast, and transparent—and like it should cost much more than $4k.”
The Absolute Sound, Editor-In-Chief
“Definitely still need to explore my options in the speaker market, but I have a setup in mind with those fantastic Evoke Eddie speakers that @willsw has in his shop and it’s certainly not going to be the cheapest thing in the world to put together. I haven’t heard the Omegas, I’m going to need to swing by Urban Hifi to check them out and do a comparison to the Eddie, but I have a feeling the Eddie is still going to win out for me.”
Ken Davis responds:
“Have to agree… the Evoke Eddies had astonishingly good clarity and presence. I covet them too.”
The Richard Beers Innovation Awards
Best of Show
In memoriam of the late and innovative President, Richard Beers, T.H.E. Show will present the first ever Innovation Awards at T.H.E. Show Newport, 2016.
Eddie was amongst an elite group of established industry leaders for this prestigious honor. Just to be included, from hundreds of audiophile companies was win enough!
T.H.E Show Newport 2016 (Part 1)
07-03-2016 | By Steve Lefkowicz | Issue 86
I know I always start my show report with some kind of a rant about the state of high-end audio. Not this time. I can say this was one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had at an audio show in many years. There were more good sounding rooms than usual, far fewer rooms that made you wonder “What were they thinking?” and exhibitors generally seemed to be more receptive to playing music that people brought with them.
With all that said and done, this show report will focus on a handful of rooms that really impressed with what would have to be considered (in this industry at least) lower cost, high value products.
Maybe some of the complete systems were still pretty pricey, but at least some of the products on display in these rooms were definite over-achievers. One thing you might notice if you remember my past show reports, a lot of the same names turn up here as in my favorite high value rooms from the past, though there are also plenty of new names, too.
Evoke Audio’s Eddie speakers driven by all NuPrime electronics was really putting on a show of how good cost-effective audio can get. The speakers are very reminiscent of the older VMPS 626 speaker, which is a very good thing, though they use completely different drivers. They play way bigger than one would expect based on their size and driver complement. A real solid debut from this new company.
High End Audio and Home Theater
Based in Beverly Hills, Evoke Dealer
[EVOKE note: John has been in the audio industry for years. He was a personal friend of Brian Cheney, owner of VMPS speakers. Johns’ insights are as valuable as his commitment is to the music – not profit – an odd thing when you consider he is also a dealer and makes a living on this!
In the beginning, John and several of his golden-ear friends played a key role in the final tuning of Eddie. The development of Ruby was even more rigorous. John won’t sell anything he doesn’t believe in.
There was secrecy in the last several months of final tweaks on Ruby. Here are some of his reactions after the unveiling and some burn in time:]
“The properties I am still absolutely amazed about are the sound staging, the imaging, the transparency, and the bass for the size of the woofer.
It is always amazing to me that a speaker of this size can, at reasonable volume levels, just fill a soundstage. Width, height and depth are on steroids when the engineer has produced it in the recording. This often takes special attention to phasing and other technology. Now I think the reason the RUBY soundstage is so expansive with certain recording, is the phase coherence and the synergy of the drivers, and the all aluminum front baffle.
But, I have to tell you; I have several specific reference recordings that tell me what a speaker is capable of – when it is actually in the recording.
OMG! While one might be hard pressed to state that this is the best imaging speakers I have ever heard at this price point, when sitting in from of them running from track to track, I cannot remember anything (except their big brother EDDIE) that has this quality so clearly defined.
When I talk about imaging, I am referring to the ability for you to sit in that sweet spot, and hear, not only individual performers, but also their individual sonic identities, and how they blend with the other performers while maintaining their separate sonic positions and personality. I know I am not describing this well, but it is something that is particular to the EVOKE line and sonic personality.
And last, but not least, RUBY has outstanding bass. Now, this is relative to its 5.25″ woofer.
Several specific reference cuts I use to evaluate bass include Kraftwerk (live album) and another from Infected Mushroom (electronic dance music). (MIND BLOWN!) The bass output with these cuts (show) the DYNAMIC abilities.
Bass is not just about SLAM and DEPTH, which are admirable with these little woofs, but it is about harmonic overtones. Those are those sonic qualities that add richness and texture to a bass line. RUBY has it.
That is all for right now but I wanted you to share with you RUBY and her personalities and qualities.”
On the Stones’ Gimme Shelter when Merry Clayton’s voice cracks, I can make out Keith Richard’s “yeah” clearly. Wilco’s One Sunday Morning I can understand Tweedy’s vocals which is a first. Dire Straits Money for Nothing is not blown out on the initial crescendo.
Gilberto’s The Girl From Ipanema is delicate and ethereal on the initial Spanish vocals, identical to my Fostec headphones. I also hear more of the fret between notes on the guitar solos of Marcus Miller. The Blue Oyster Cult Don’t Fear the Reaper gave me goosebumps. Mort Stevens Hawaii 5-0 was crisp and not glaring.”
“I am awed by the music…”
“I chose your setup recommendation and … went back to my 45 Hz subwoofer setting. I also raised the height of my listening position to be level with the planar midrange drivers. I made minor adjustments to the midrange and treble controls to balance the sound (nice attenuators!).
I’m hearing life sized instruments and voices. It’s like my much valued, huge soundstage disappeared to be replaced by musicians and their instruments. Not only do the speakers disappear when music plays, but so do the walls in my room. I’m very, very happy!
Now I am awed by the music I hear and not by the sound equipment I see. Thanks for all your help getting my sound system to this point.”
“I had to laugh aloud…”
“I had to laugh aloud because I was so happy at what I was hearing regarding the soundstage… I was so impressed with all the extra detail I was now [seeing]. Music has a 20/20 focus and clarity. Images are bigger, clearer, and physically more present. Music has a very natural ease to it. There seems to be zero distortion. Dynamic contrasts within the music come through with the same ease and naturalness.” ~Ghandisfist
“Have to agree… the Evoke Eddies had astonishingly good clarity and presence. I covet them too.” ~Ken Davis (Upscale Audio, LaVerne, CA)
Dan and Maureen are big fans…
Here are some excepts from their emails:
(Fatigue and Distortion)
Our music sounds great at low volume and high volume, but at the higher volume, we simply enjoy it more. There’s no fatigue or: “Turn it down, it is too loud.” The only reason we, at times, may have an inclination to perhaps consider turning down Eddie is if we are concern about annoying our neighbors. But seriously, we turn up the volume LOUD because we simply love it; like we are not getting enough good. No other speakers have worked this way for us; we’ve always felt “discord” in sound profiles with other speakers, and that has turned us away.
Eddie’s balance, tonality, clarity…everything is remarkably integrated. The bass is the most pleasing element. Let me divulge for a minute to explain what I mean here. Eddie will play competently down to 25 Hz (I know this from testing with a tone generator). And no, Eddie’s ability is not due to room gain because 25 Hz is clearly audible at low, moderate, and high volumes (yes, at higher volumes, room nodes become interesting, but not a detractor for us). Most critically and importantly, Eddie does not exhibit any “boomy-ness,” which seems to be a characteristic of most other speakers in the ~40 Hz frequency range. We are simply beyond words that Eddie is entirely capable down to 25 Hz, AND without any boomy effects. Maybe it is our room configuration, but explicitly, the tight, articulate bass is a real selling point. I cannot state enough that the controlled bass is one of Eddie’s under stated and most appreciated characteristics for us.
You’re a sound artist and genius, and this is entirely different than someone who is simply a mechanical engineer. Don’t get me wrong on this point as there’s a necessitated balance between best engineering and sound; but to really rise above the fray, all elements of speaker sound must work as a coherent and seamless whole; and that I believe, based on my collection of speakers that I listened to, Eddie has definitively achieved (that).
~ Thanks for that last one, Dan and Maureen! ~ Mark