The Endeavor SE Review - Michael Bump, Enjoy the Music

Damon Von Schweikert

WBF Technical Expert
Sep 15, 2016
64
143
140
California
www.vonschweikert.com
"From a musician's perspective, what I find particularly intriguing is just how revealing and comprehensible musical form is in the ESE listening experience. Exceptional clarity, air, and space, among other acoustic variables, allow compositional intent and performance interpretation to be laid bare without unintentional vagueness. Perhaps most importantly, the ESE helped open the door to the energy of the music. Aside from the technical language that we often defer to in sonic descriptors of high-end audio, the ESE brought forth the intangibles of live music — that which moves both mind, heart, and body simultaneously."

- Michael Bump, Enjoy the Music

We are honored by any and all favorable critical press of our work but when a professional musician who also happens to be an audiophile appreciates what we do, it gives all of us at VSA a great sense of fulfillment since at the core of every design, we strive to recreate the musical event. And then when they decide to keep the speakers for their personal use, well that's just the best! We hope you enjoy this review of the Endeavor SE.

Full Review Here

Endeavor SE-005.jpg
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Congratulations to you and Leif on that great review!
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
10,396
5,432
1,265
Beverly Hills, CA
Is the Endeavor SE the newest loudspeaker in the Endeavor line?

If yes, are there design elements of the SE which will "trickle up" to a new Endeavor E-5 Mk III?
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Which Endeavors were being played at AXPONA? I almost couldn't believe the sound coming out of those! A definite "sleeper of the show". I think the reason they weren't much discussed is because they were not playing all the time but had to playing share time with their big brother, the Ultra 7.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Congratulations and well deserved Damon. I first heard the E3 and E5 at Leifs house a few years ago and was astonished at the sound then. These are a generation or two newer so I can only guess how good they are.
I’ve told Damon that everyone who buys these speakers that not only are they getting great sound they are also getting a great deal as IMHO I think they are underpriced compared to their competition
 

Damon Von Schweikert

WBF Technical Expert
Sep 15, 2016
64
143
140
California
www.vonschweikert.com
Which Endeavors were being played at AXPONA? I almost couldn't believe the sound coming out of those! A definite "sleeper of the show". I think the reason they weren't much discussed is because they were not playing all the time but had to playing share time with their big brother, the Ultra 7.
It was most likely the Endeavor SE since we played them several times. They were the smaller painted speakers. We did play the Endeavor E-3MkII Saturday morning (in walnut veneer) for about an hour but they were immediately sold by the Audio Company after the audition so they didn't get played again.
 
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Damon Von Schweikert

WBF Technical Expert
Sep 15, 2016
64
143
140
California
www.vonschweikert.com
Is the Endeavor SE the newest loudspeaker in the Endeavor line?

If yes, are there design elements of the SE which will "trickle up" to a new Endeavor E-5 Mk III?
That's a slightly complicated question and I'll do my best to answer it. Please feel free to ask follow up questions if I state something confusing.

So as you know, the E-5 MkII was an established model two or perhaps three years before the Endeavor SE was developed. Aside from the concentric array design, it incorporated many advancements over the E-3MkII specifically with the inclusion of the Beryllium Tweeters, upgraded network components and the inclusion of the Rear Ribbon Tweeters being driven by our A.I.R. network (Acoustic Inverse Replication).

So when we initially conceptualized the Endeavor SE, we wanted to take all the elements of the E-5MkII and manifest them in a traditional speaker formfactor. We understood that tall concentric arrays are not for everyone and we saw a great opportunity there, not to mention that ability to provide the lion's share of the performance in a drastically reduced price point; $25K vs. $45K.

So at the bullet point level, that's the differences between the two models. The E-5 MkII is to the Endeavor SE what the ULTRA 11 is to the ULTRA 9.

So here is where I will perhaps reveal information that other smarter business people would not. It would probably be wiser to leave it at the bullet points. But those that know me expect frank talk and I stick to that.

There are often inherent improvements that can occur when even similar designs from the same line are done a few years apart. Perhaps Leif could speak more specifically about what he accomplished in the ESE that he would like to revisit one day with the E-5 MkII. That is VERY common from designers. Well, the ones I've worked with at least.

I can't tell you how many times Leif or my father would say six months after a design was completed and introduced how they wanted to go back and try something different. And my response has always been, "great, put that in the vault for the MkII or MKIII or whichever the next iteration is."

If the designers are passionate about their work, they're never satisfied. There's always some more tweaking to do. And I encourage that. If it wasn't happening, I would be very worried frankly.

But we have a somewhat unique perspective on our responsibility to our customers and the impact of our choices on the very real second-hand market. I would say that smarter, profit driven audio companies are taking those small tweaks and introducing their MkII or MkIII design iterations like clockwork every 18 to 36 months.

It stimulates new sales often prompting owner's of the previous iteration to sell off or trade-in for the upgrade. I think when this is done too often, it's taking advantage of FOMO (fear of missing out) in consumers and keeps people "on the gear buying treadmill" even if they're loyal to one manufacturer or even one model of design.

We don't do that. We're focused on customer satisfaction; it's what has kept us in business even when we were a more "esoteric" brand than we are today ;)

As such, we have a rule of thumb not to release a new iteration of an existing design sooner than 6 years and often closer to 10. This policy has two benefits to owner's of our products. One, it ensures that when they upgrade to a newer iteration of the design they love, they can trust it will objectively be a significant improvement in performance to their previous design.

And Two, it protects their investment in our loudspeakers. By not churning out marginally improved models (as in changing a capacitor on the tweeter and calling it an upgrade) at a rapid pace, our resale value is much higher for our loudspeakers. Just look at the secondhand market. It's very rare to find a contemporary VSA design (less than 2 years old) for sale secondhand. Sure it can happen due to a number of circumstances but it is the exception, not the norm. Most of our models, if you can find them, are more than 10-years old and selling for much higher value than more contemporary models from our competitors.

This is how my father ran the business and I see no reason to change this aspect of it. In fact, Leif and I have leaned into this philosophy over the years and we expect the same from the our dealers. If the dealer isn't focused on customer satisfaction including extensive post-sales service, they're not a a good fit for us.

I think this is part of why we have such a loyal customer base and I will not do anything to break their trust in us.

So with all that said, there is one circumstance I can think of that can break or perhaps bend all the rules we follow that I've listed above. If there is some revolutionary new advancement in materials, that might be a tempting reason to revisit a design ahead of the timeline I've listed above. But even then, it would need to be a dramatically objective increase in performance and we would still take a measured approach at how we introduced it taking all those considerations listed above into account.

So Ron, I know this post is long winded and my answer probably went into areas you weren't asking about but that's how I interpreted your question. I hope it helps.

P.S. Leif still has his E-5 MkIIs in his home system so he must appreciate what they do over the Endeavor SE ;)
 
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WLP3

Member
Apr 7, 2022
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It was most likely the Endeavor SE since we played them several times. They were the smaller painted speakers. We did play the Endeavor E-3MkII Saturday morning (in walnut veneer) for about an hour but they were immediately sold by the Audio Company after the audition so they didn't get played again.
They're mine now!!!
 

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