Evolution Acoustics Maestoso Loudspeaker -- Los Angeles Audio Show 2017

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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48
Beverly Hills, CA
#1
The Evolution Acoustics/darTZeel/Wave Kinetics/Durand/Analog Audio room, orchestrated by Jonathan Tinn, was the first room I visited on Thursday. Kevin Malgram was there fine-tuning the system. Leslie Brooks, of Analog Audio Inc., was busy calibrating an Ampex ATR-102 so he could play his master tapes.

The system set up by this team in a large room last year at the Irvine Hotel won my Best of Show, so I was expecting another state-of-the-art performance. I was not disappointed, but I was surprised.


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Expecting to see again the large and impressive Evolution Acoustics MM3EXACT speakers, I was surprised to see a brand new speaker making its debut: the EXACT Series Maestoso (price to be determined). The Maestoso is a very thin, medium height floor-stander, with an M-T-M module on top and a line source of small woofer drivers below. The tweeter is an air motion tweeter.

The crossover for the speaker is the most amazing-looking crossover I have ever seen. It is a large box about two feet square, with two levels of circuits boards on which were affixed a beautiful collection (if such things ever can be considered beautiful) of capacitors and inductors. (Kevin removed the side panels of the crossover boxes so the elaborate innards were visible.)


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Kevin mentioned the design of the speaker has been on-going for several years. Kevin said the tweeter is a special air motion tweeter made to his specifications. Each small driver in the long column of six drivers has 32mm of maximum excursion. Kevin said these little woofer drivers could be used as full range drivers because they are low in distortion up to 20 kHz. Kevin believes that by distributing the low-frequency load of the speaker over many small drivers he is achieving the low frequency extension of a 10 inch woofer, but with lower distortion. Kevin attributed the low-frequency extension of the speaker of -3dB at 25 Hz and of -6dB at 15 Hz to the cabinet's transmission line design. I found this design intriguing and innovative. It is consistent with my general theoretical personal preference (although I am the first to agree that implementation is at least as important as design) of using a vertical line array of smaller drivers, rather than one or two 12 inch or 15 inch drivers, to generate low frequencies.

Tantalizingly, Kevin suggested that the next model in this range will double up the vertical in-line woofer array and create a complete M-T-M speaker, with the AMT in the middle of the speaker, a midrange driver above and below the AMT, six woofer drivers above the upper midrange driver and six woofer drivers below the midrange driver. (This is the same concept utilized by Rockport Technologies when Andy doubles up the woofer driver complement on an Altair II to create a d'appolito configuration Arrakis.)

Associated components included darTZeel NHB-458 monoblock amplifiers ($170,000); the NHB-18NS Preamplifier with built-in phonostage ($40,000); the Wave Kinetics NVS direct drive turntable ($45,000); the Durand Tonearms Kairos tonearm ($6,450); and the Ortofon MC-Anna cartridge ($9,000).

If you covered my eyes and sat me down to listen I never would have suspected that so much transparent, dynamic, believable sound was coming from such thin, medium-height, floor-standing speakers. The stunning-looking crossovers must be contributing to the purity and naturalness of the sound. This speaker is one to watch. I will be fascinated to hear its taller brother in the future. That tall system, which could provide the height and thus the scale which I value, coupled with a pair of subwoofers (my personal preference; Kevin suggested no such thing) could be a near state-of-the-art Evolution Acoustics option for people whose rooms cannot accommodate MM3s or MM7s.

On Friday morning, when I returned to the room with my wife, Leslie played his tape of Simon & Garfunkel Live in Central Park. Leslie told us that this tape was the exact physical tape sent by the recording company to Paul Simon. It never reached Paul Simon’s hands, and, somehow, Leslie “Tape Sherlock” Brooks acquired possession of it. It is, indeed, a fantastic live recording! Anyone who is participating in the resurgence of reel-to-reel tape should get to know Leslie and his fantastic library of low-generation master tape copies available for purchase.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,091
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#2
great write-up Ron, you captured it perfectly.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,052
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48
Beverly Hills, CA
#4
No -- for the speaker Jonathan's equipment list says "$T.B.A."

I think pricing the Maestoso is going to be an interesting conundrum for the Evolution Acoustics folks.
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
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Eastern WA
#5
The MTM design limits dispersion that causes reflections from the ceiling and floor. It limits off-axis radiation patterns some so you loose more when you get out of the sweet spot. So it's less crowd friendly for perfect listening, but way less difficult to get perfectly adjusted like Wilsons.

Clearly they've shelving some of the sensitivity off them in order to EQ (in crossover) the small drivers to achieve such nice low end performance. I wouldn't recommend them for home theater, but for music should be great. The Xmax looks like it must be pretty good for the bass-mids.

You can get 10 and 12 inch drivers to move like them if they're Servo controlled. But that adds to complication since they need to be active.

Did anyone get a pic of the backside?

One would hope they'll offer a thin crossover where they stack the plates and turn them 90* upright so it can be hidden behind the speakers even.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,483
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#7
That looks like a Heil type AMT tweeter like the Micro One. Should be interesting...
 
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reverendo

New Member
Mar 10, 2014
102
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Dallas, TX
#8
Thanks for great write up. I'm guessing that this is the speaker that initially had been labeled MicroTwo. I can't even believe that it's finally coming. Any info on when? Would you also have an approximate height?
Thanks in advance
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,012
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Marina del Rey, CA
#9
Great write-up, Ron. One interesting thing I learned about this speaker is that all the ceramic drivers are now produced in-house. Also, in regard to the crossover he's using a series one vs. a typical parallel version.
 

DSkip

New Member
Aug 26, 2013
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0
Arlington, TX
www.audiothesis.com
#12
I figure $8k to $10k.
I find that hard to believe looking at it. If it does hit that price mark, it will be one heck of a speaker for the money. I assume the final product won't have external crossovers, but given that the MMMicroOne is $4500, my expectations would be around the $15k mark. It's all speculation though.

I do hope they are able to get it under the five figure mark. If they do, it will be one might speaker to contend with.


My one complaint aesthetically, which could be due to the light shining up, is the way the lower, long-throw woofers throw off the look of the top two woofers. That's being nitpicky with a gorgeous speaker.
 

es347

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Midwest fly over state..
#13
I find that hard to believe looking at it. If it does hit that price mark, it will be one heck of a speaker for the money. I assume the final product won't have external crossovers, but given that the MMMicroOne is $4500, my expectations would be around the $15k mark. It's all speculation though.

I do hope they are able to get it under the five figure mark. If they do, it will be one might speaker to contend with.


My one complaint aesthetically, which could be due to the light shining up, is the way the lower, long-throw woofers throw off the look of the top two woofers. That's being nitpicky with a gorgeous speaker.
..seems like just yesterday the MicroOne was $2500 and made in China
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#14
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
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Seattle, WA
#16
I figure $8k to $10k.
I don't think that is their target. I asked him to give order magnitude pricing. He wouldn't. I said I just want to know if it would be "$10K, $20K, $30K, or $40K" and he still gave me an incredulous look and told me about the expensive crossover. So I think it will be north of these prices.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
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Greater Boston
#17
I don't think that is their target. I asked him to give order magnitude pricing. He wouldn't. I said I just want to know if it would be "$10K, $20K, $30K, or $40K" and he still gave me an incredulous look and told me about the expensive crossover. So I think it will be north of these prices.
Think so too. Way north.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,091
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#18
Think so too. Way north.
with your eyes closed this speaker performs with the MM2/MM3 even 'Exact' versions.....for whatever that is worth.
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
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Marina del Rey, CA
#19
Huh? That makes zero sense... all crossovers above 1st order use series and parrallel elements, and probably 90% are above 1st order.
historically EA uses first order crossovers. This one was a bit different and Kevin was pretty excited about how unusual the design was and that he only had 10 degrees of phase shift across the range. I asked what other manufacturers used a series crossover and he said only a few small speakers. I'm sorry that I'm a layman here - perhaps JTinn can comment further.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#20
with your eyes closed this speaker performs with the MM2/MM3 even 'Exact' versions.....for whatever that is worth.
I wouldn't be able to close my eyes enough for that to happen Mike. :D

These are gorgeous little speakers. Their market would be for luxury buyers. I don't think they should be the target of any audiophiles in that price range. They are super inefficient and require tons and tons of power. Other than looks, I don't think they had any of the qualities of your speakers. Or other MM3s I have heard at the show. You just can't create scale and dynamics in a little tower speaker. Playing loud as they did is not the same as having dynamics.

To that end, I think it is a mistake to put that big and expensive crossover box behind them. That would deter luxury buyers and potentially create a noman's land.

I also thought at this show they should also brought their larger speakers. Putting 100% focus behind this was not wise.

BTW, i went there twice and my impression did not change.
 

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