Eclipse TD307 Mark III (£600)
Review by Mr Underhill
IntroductionEclipse speakers look like something of a vision of the future in a 1960s film. I love the look. As with all small speakers their form presents a physical constraint, there is going to be little in the way of deep impactful bass here, and so it proved. Were there other balancing attributes? Well, one is the price at £600 for a pair.
The speakers themselves are the usual eliptical ovoid, made in fibreglass, that we have come to expect from this company’s speakers. This houses the single full range 6.5cm driver. This single driver can therefore act as more of a point source than a multi driver multi location speaker system.
The new version is more than a simple step change than an increment in the ‘Mark’ may suggest. These improvements include: Updated and uprated neodymium main and sub batteries; larger cabinet volume; improved terminals; amongst twelve improvements. The result is an extended frequency range over the Mark II, now being 80Hz – 25KHz (-10db), note the -10db rather than the usual -6db; these are not the most efficient speakers quoted as 80db/w. The lower end extension is assisted with an on axis port.
Replacing my usual Sound Artist LS3/5a with the Eclipse speakers released a lot of space, as the built in support was able to stand direct in my desk. The adjustment is simple using a hex bolt directly under the speaker. The built in stand is highly adjustable, this allows the speakers to sit on a desk, be suspended from a ceiling or placed on a side wall. This opens up their use for AV as well as HiFi use.
I initially had the each speaker pointing directly at my ears, while this worked well it was suggested to me to have the speakers point so that the crossing point was just in front of my face; this was how the majority of my listening was done.
The Eclipse TD307 Mk III specifications can be found HERE.
Test TracksI deliberately decided to repeat the playlist I used for the review of the Sonus faber Lumina I. As self effacing as these speakers are I needed to use acoustic foam to position and tilt them, making them rather more apparent than the Eclipse TD307 Mk III.
The tracks were selected to allow:
- Comparison of local and Qobuz sourced versions of the same tracks;
- Comparison of standard and remastered versions of the same track;
- The presentation of uncompressed LP rips served digitally;
- Comparison of older and modern tracks, with their different mastering priorities.
The Chord Hugo TT is the pre-amp as well as the DAC.
Following my Sound Artist LS3/5a and the Sonus faber Lumina I the Eclipse made my desk feel so clear. What immediately impressed me acoustically was the freedom I had to move my head and continue to enjoy a musically cohesive experience. This was with the drivers directed at a point just forward of my head.
These speakers have some tremendous strong points that will make the ‘must haves’ for certain listeners, but there are areas where other speakers outperform them. It is important to understand whether, for you, the investment in time auditioning them will be useful in your case.
If you listen to music that relies on a heavy bass presence then these are not the speakers for you. In fact these speakers are not especially extended at either frequency extreme. This leads you to concentrate on the mid-band, and vocals in particular. This in combination with the sound field had me listening to happily to the Eclipse TD307 Mk III for many happy hours.
Pariah, To the Bone, Steven Wilson, Qobuz, 9624
The mid-range are where these speakers truly function. The guitars left and right are joined by Wilson’s vocals which just draw you in. The bass lines are present and can be followed clearly, but the presence and size are reduced.
Angel, Mezzanine, Massive Attack, Qobuz, CD
Not a track that plays to the strengths of the Eclipse TD307 Mk IIs. The ‘massive’ bass is curtailed, but the track is still well presented. Using these speakers I find myself concentrating on areas in familiar music that arn’t normally highlighted.
Killing Me Softly with his Song, Killing me Softly, Roberta Flack, Qobuz, CD
Thoroughly enjoyed Flack via these speakers. She has a wonderful voice that is beautifully rendered. This is a track which shows the strengths of the Eclipse speakers to their best effect. Musical.
Gladiator Medley, Live in Prague, Hans Zimmer, Qobuz, 2448
This track opens with a bass note that underpins what follows, not so much via the Eclipse. The full scale of this track is one that is too much for small speakers, the Eclipse presents a smaller scale and detailed version that while acceptable is not a balanced representation of the music.
O Freude nicht diese Tone, Beethoven 9th, Von Karajan (1963), Qobuz, 9624
Whilst constrained in scale the four soloists are engagingly positioned in the sound scape, and each vocal line can be followed with ease. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Ooh La La, Supernature, Goldfrapp, Qobuz, CD
Electronica that works well on these speakers. The lower bass throbs do not have their usual presence but still fun.
Agnus Dei, Sancta Civitas Dona Nobis Pacem, Vaughan Williams, Qobuz, 2444.1
Right in the wheel-house of the speakers. Floating Soprano in a cavernous acoustic.
ConclusionThere are small speakers that make a better fist of giving some idea of the scale of bass in a wider range of music. However, these speakers do present their bass with a clarity that reminds me of the Naim SBL.
What you you gain with the Eclipse TD307 Mk III is a clarity of sound stage together with an excellent mid-range. This works strongly with any vocally based or acoustic music. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to music such as Newton Faulkner’s, ‘Live & Acoustic’ or Simon & Garfunkel’s, ‘Live at Carnigie Hall’.
Whilst the Eclipse’s small drive units can hardly move air like a larger speakers that should not imply that they only work on small scale music. As I note above I enjoyed listening to Karajan’s 1963 Beethoven cycle 9th Symphony ‘Ode to Joy’. The presentation of the soloists in front of the choir was well realised and pulled you into the piece.
Plugging my Sound Artist faux-LS3/5a back in to my nearfield system sounded a tad plodding and veiled.