Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Configuration/Specifications
  • 2.5-Way open-baffle dipole with two mid/bass drivers and one compression waveguide tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 40 Hz – 20 kHz (± 3 dB from target curve)
  • Recommended Power: not specified
  • Sensitivity: 93 dB (2.83 V/1 m), 97 dB when biamped
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms
  • Woofer/Midrange Size: 15”
  • Tweeter Size: 1” compression driver with 12" Treble waveguide
  • Crossover: 1000 Hz
  • Dimensions: 50.5” H x 22” W x 16” D
  • Weight (Each): ~80 lbs. (36.0 kg)
  • MSRP (Pair): $2,490 New on Audiogon (High grade finishes are extra)
The Emerald Physics CS2P features dual 15" pulp fiber cone mid/bass drivers, one open and one quasi-tuned, a custom Emerald Physics ultra-low-distortion 1" compression tweeter with 12" waveguide, an external passive network crossover, optionally upgradable to active DSP2.4 crossover for biamping with EQ for 24 Hz bass extension, and a 3" baffle, all contributing to a controlled-directivity dipole design with an 80° radiation angle.

Link to manufacturer's web site.

Setup and Placement Flexibility

Setting up the CS2P's took a bit of care and attention. They were not the touchiest speakers to position correctly, but not the easiest, either. Part of the difficulty came in trying to get the soundstage stabilized, which never quite happened. More on this below.

Lest the reader be alarmed, this is not to say that the soundstage was not good - it was. But as we tried different positions and angles it did not reach the point where the sweet spot settled nicely into place and with a "welcome home" firmness. It always seemed to be slightly in flux, our efforts just one step away from finding that ideal setup combination, and after awhile we decided the CS2P's ideal location was more like a peak than a plateau, and the narrow sweet spot would be something for the listener to deal with.

The height of the Listening Position never seemed quite right, either. Unless the listener stepped up to the elevated second row of seats or boosted himself up several inches, there was a sensation of missing out on the main sound stream as it passed by just out of reach. The tight dispersion pattern is of course largely responsible for these setup quirks.

I had to sit up straight to stay on the edge of the sweet spot. At 6' 3", I am second tallest of the evaluation squad, and none of us are "shorties." A smaller listener might have been frustrated, or needed a thick extra seat cushion as a booster.

Putting it all in perspective, a longer room might have worked better for the CS2P's, allowing longer reflection paths behind them to help develop the deeper soundstage we were looking for, and the LP - the Listening Position - to be farther away from them where the cone of directivity is broader and allows more LP flexibility. As stated in the introductory post, all these assessments are for the speakers in this room. Given the room constraints and the listening preference goal of achieving the deep soundstage, the CS2P/room combination never quite let us get the kind of developed soundstage stability we were looking for.

Impressions

There was a lot to like about the CS2P's, a dynamic liveliness that could be quite engaging. They have a raw, organic nature about them that I can see being addictive with he right program material.

Frequency Response, Bass Extension

The CS2P's are quite even above 400 Hz, with presence peaks just above 2 KHz and at 4 KHz, a dip at 1.2 KHz, and a gradual rolloff above 5 KHz due to our off-axis setup. The overall profile is fairly bright, with good detail provided by those two peaks. The 1.2 KHz dip helps keep the brightness under control. Bass response is strong and even below a 230 Hz peak with a broad 100 Hz dip - caused by room modes - and falls off steeply below 45 Hz. Not bad for open-baffle bass. The optional DSP unit was not in use.



Room EQ Wizard MDAT file for download: View attachment Emerald Physics CS2P for download.mdat

The high frequencies from the CS2P's sat right on a the edge of being too bright, too forward. A lot of nice detail and liveliness was contained in those two presence peaks, and much of the time they worked just right. But about the time I was deciding I liked it, the highs for a track would be too bright or a vocalist's sibilance would sizzle too hot, and I would want them to be pulled back a couple dB. Joan of Arc was a track that had me reaching for the "less detail" knob, and Some Kind of Nature was another, while it was just right on Them Bones.

We were impressed by the strength and clarity of the bass, especially when we saw the big notches around 100 Hz. The CS2P's were more broadly affected by those room modes than the other speakers at this event, but still felt like they provided solid bass, having almost a full octave of strong bass available below the notch and the same above it. The CS2P's tonality held together very well as a whole, with the strength of the highs being the one factor causing me to have some reservations. On Reasons Why and again on Way Down Deep and The Spirit Remains there was a boxy tone from that 230 Hz peak, and some of the standup bass notes on Tricycle rang out a bit strongly from lower resonances. But the saxophone on Tricycle sounded exemplary.

The specifications for the CS2P's state frequency response within ± 3 dB from target curve. Not knowing that target curve, one cannot say for sure how much of the 100 Hz region dip might be corrected with the DSP unit we did not have time to try out. The dipole design with it's "quasi 2.5-way configuration" could have some response quirks going on in that region independent of the room, but that is only a guess. If I was serious about owning a pair of CS2P's, finding out more detail about that bass region would be a must.

The DSP upgrade would have been fun to play with. Never having been afraid to touch up a speaker's tonal characteristics with a spot of EQ, I would normally be one to jump at this option, which Emerald Physics says will extend the low end - we felt it quite strong, but what could be the harm in some added depth? - and allow tailoring of the overall frequency response - that I would not be able to resist. "Tailoring" might mean choosing among existing presets or having filter parameters to adjust at will, or both. More flexibility means more ways to trash the already-very-good sound of the CS2P's to handle such power with care. I would take the bass extension, relax the range from 1.5 KHz to 5 KHz by one or two dB, resist the temptation to flatten the highs above 5 KHz (SO sensitive to LP angle and head movement), and call it good. Our time constraints and "basic configuration" assumption did not allow for any such tweaking, however, or with the biamp option, even though the DSP hardware was in the next room ready to play. But then similar opportunities exist for any speaker, so the possible variables quickly approach the infinite. Thus our self-imposed limitations. Plus there is an element of adventure in accepting and working with a speaker in its most basic form, organic personality quirks and all.

Soundstage and Imaging

The soundstage we got with the CS2P's was wide and deep. We had them angled outward slightly from pointing straight at the LP, necessary to deepen the soundstage. That might be why our setup position was always on the edge of achieving the desired stability. We noted that a number of individual instrument performances were in different soundstage positions than we had heard them with every other speaker we had worked with before. With other instruments the image would shift for different parts of the song. Other than that, the soundstage was spacious and lifelike, and the imaging fairly tight, about grapefruit size for a recorded point source. The mono version of Revolution Earth was a handy quick imaging tightness check, indicating a fairly tight vertical image line, again roughly a grapefruit's width.

On Ain't it a Shame and Reasons Why, the high gloss and the vocal 'S' sounds stayed tightly centered. I found during Life is a One Way Ticket that leaning far forward in the LP seat made the soundstage deeper, but tonality suffered and highs rolled off, so it ended up being another confirmation that our compromises were balance about right with the current positioning.

On Joan of Arc and again on Your Latest Trick, the imaging was particularly crisp. Dire Straits' percussion and vocal imaging were clean and precise in their placement. Sprach Zarathustra plus Star Trek Main Theme imaged and filled the soundstage so nicely they almost begged for more "live track" play time.

Power Handling

The CS2P's gave us all the volume we wanted, even with bass-heavy tracks, and did not show signs of running out of dynamic range or of being on the verge of bottoming out.

Performance Close to the Front Wall:

Up on the Cedar Creek Cinema stage, the CS2P's were definitely too high and did not sound natural to me. We had to prop up the backs of the base plates to get a better angle on the LP. Then the sound was acceptable with decent soundstage and imaging, but no depth of soundstage. To me, their performance close to the wall was seriously compromised.

A note on propping them forward like we did: The baffle angle with respect to the floor and the distance to the LP are both critical. We did not spend as much time playing with setup variables close to the wall as we did in finding their ideal location. These angles and position measurement are absolutely critical

Physical and Visual

The Emerald Physics look is unique - lots of exposed cone on thick, massive baffle plates with attention-getter finishes. Their tonality and responsiveness are supported by the raw, organic nature of their looks. They are hard to confuse with any other brand of speaker that I have run across. Toddler-finger and pet-claw friendly they are not. Conversation pieces they most certainly are.

Overall Listening Experience

The overall impression I was left with of the CS2P's was a raw, organic nature that was mostly easy to enjoy but could get a little out of hand at times, too. They were occasionally rough and unrefined where I wanted more smoothness and control, especially on more complex tracks.

What These Speakers Are Best For

In the right room, ideally a longer room than our evaluation space, and especially one short on acoustical treatment, the CS2P's might be exactly what is called for. I see the prominent occupation of a large dedicated listening room, where they can sit wherever they sound their best, being their calling. They definitely have a character of their own, so they are a speaker you would want to audition in your space with your music - for me the focus would probably be on more simply recorded material mixed with a live feel, and on live recordings. One should audition them without time pressure, as placement experimentation can take awhile. Given the right room with the right material and some patience setting up, the CS2P's could make for lots of lively listening fun.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
22,577 Posts
In this section:

Performance Close to the Front Wall:

Up on the Cedar Creek Cinema stage, the CS2P's were definitely too high and did not sound natural to me. We had to prop up the backs of the base plates to get a better angle on the LP. Then the sound was acceptable with decent soundstage and imaging, but no depth of soundstage. To me, their performance close to the wall was seriously compromised.

A note on propping them forward like we did: The baffle angle re the floor and the distance to the LP are both critical. We did not spend as much time playing with setup variables close to the wall as we did in finding their ideal location. These angles and position measurement are absolutely critical



What is "re" there in the highlight red?
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
Leonard's Impressions

The CS2P certainly was the speaker that we were most curious about in the group. A unique design and look were certainly consistent with the sound. The open baffle design has an airy, natural feel to it much like many dipoles and planar speakers. I would characterize the sound as stoney, or rocky, with a potential edge that can be either pleasing or disconcerting, depending on one's preferences and program material. I found myself vacillating between the things that I really liked and those that I did not. Detail is abundant in the mid and high end. They are certainly revealing and are unforgiving of poor recordings. I found a bit of sibilance on both leading and trailing transients that I did not care for on some recordings, like the Melody Gardot track.

The soundstage was wide but not as deep as expected, with image precision limited to midrange. The upper mids and lower bass seemed to move around with changes in level and frequency. The mid bass image seemed to hang with the speakers a bit. I think these speakers demand a large room and flexibility in placement and listening position that Sonnie's room does not have. I also think that the open baffle and planar speakers suffer in the lower midrange to deep bass in this room because of the placement limitations and the massive amount of subwoofer area and the room modes interacting. This could be a great speaker in a large room with some distance to the listener and the ability to adjust distance to the walls and listening position. I just felt like it was constrained by the situation.

My preference for detail made me want to really like this speaker, but it seemed lacking in my critical mid bass area in this respect. I could certainly parse harmonies to individual voices tonally but image precision was somewhat lacking.

I would characterize these as a curiosity and a niche product for those who like the combination of high detail and airy sound. Marble as opposed to glass. Cotton as opposed to silk. Not wrinkle free cotton, however. Plan on a challenge placing these properly and the need for a large room and a very small listening window. In that window, however, expect to be intrigued and want for a wide range of music. These are dynamic and present, with much to experience that is unique.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,209 Posts
Joe's Impressions

I like the design of the cabinet – some of the other open baffle designs I have seen tend to be designed with more rigid lines where these have some contouring that gives the speaker some character. The finish would work well in a HT setup and it has enough beauty to be used in 2 channel as well.

As for how these performed on stage, it seemed the best position was to spread them out as wide as possible with toe-in outside the MLP – it created a wide soundstage, but having it that close to the wall really killed the depth and live feeling that I feel you would normally get from the open baffle design. Due to the stage, I thought the second row of seating on the riser was a better place to sit as they sounded much fuller from that distance. We did prop up the face a bit as well before we started listening as it really seemed to "overshoot" the first row.

The first track in our lineup was Nickel Creek's "Ode to a Butterfly", and it is a great track to get a feel for how a speaker handles instrument imaging as there are several instruments that image from all across the stage as well as at varying depths. The CS2Ps did well here - the mandolin imaged perfectly - with the only instrument that felt a bit fuzzy being the violin at around the 1:30 mark as it was hard to pinpoint its depth in the soundstage. Vocals imaged really well - the Roger Water "Three Wishes" track had the female vocal part image direcly left and the genie part panned across the soundstage as expected.

Instruments dynamics - the Flim and the BBs "Tricycle" track is an excellent track to test a speaker's ability to handle large dynamic swings - were handled easily with no signs of compression as were vocal dynamics. Instrument clarity was excellent - I especially liked the how horns sounded on the CS2Ps. The Bluesiana Triangle "For All We Know" and Dire Straits "Your Latest Trick" tracks both had horn sequences that were so clear with no sense of "shoulder cringing" - I could even hear the buzz of the horn player blowing into the mouthpiece in the Dire Straits track which really impressed me.

The "Chant" track showed really good low end impact, but the image was not as tight to the middle as I was expecting and I noticed this on the "Way Down Deep" track as well. The other thing I noticed was that female vocals and certain piano sequences - such as in Bluesiana Triangle's "Life is a One Way Ticket" - did not have the open, airy sound that I have heard on other open baffle designs which is not a bad thing, just a personal preference.

Overall, I thought this was a really good speaker. I really liked the instrument detail and the imaging was very good. We did not use the DSP functionality so I cannot speak to how that integrates.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
22,577 Posts
Wayne... just a quick note about this section, which for now I am going to leave out, but I can add back later:

The DSP upgrade would have been fun to play with. Never having been afraid to touch up a speaker's tonal characteristics with a spot of EQ, I would normally be one to jump at this option, which Emerald Physics says will extend the low end - we felt it quite strong, but what could be the harm in some added depth? - and allow tailoring of the overall frequency response - that I would not be able to resist. "Tailoring" might mean choosing among existing presets or having filter parameters to adjust at will, or both. More flexibility means more ways to trash the already-very-good sound of the CS2P's to handle such power with care. I would take the bass extension, relax the range from 1.5 KHz to 5 KHz by one or two dB, resist the temptation to flatten the highs above 5 KHz (SO sensitive to LP angle and head movement), and call it good. Our time constraints and "basic configuration" assumption did not allow for any such tweaking, however, or with the biamp option, even though the DSP hardware was in the next room ready to play. But then similar opportunities exist for any speaker, so the possible variables quickly approach the infinite. Thus our self-imposed limitations. Plus there is an element of adventure in accepting and working with a speaker in its most basic form, organic personality quirks and all.

This DSP unit is preset at the factory, with no available user adjustments. It is a small black box with RCA in and out, to be place between the preamp and amp. Actually we would have had to place it between the OPPO and the Anthem and use the OPPO as the preamp.

I don't know how much that would effect what you wrote, but it sounds like you are thinking it is a full function DSP, like from Behringer, etc.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
This it?

Here is how they advertise it. Unless we had something else. But this is the only version they mention anywhere.

• 28/56bit DSP Engine
• 24-bit ADC/DAC conversion
• 48kHz sampling rate
• Nichicon Audiophile capacitors
• Master volume control on pot

Audio Processing
• Real time tuning
• Upgradeable firmware
• Low/High pass filters
• Graphic & Parametric equalizers
• Level, Mute, polarity
• Compressor/Limiter / Expander
Control
• Software configurable
• Plug & Play USB driver
• WinXP/Vista/7 and Mac OS X Compatible
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
22,577 Posts
Yep... that is what it looks like. I guess he just did not include the software with it... or let me know it was user programmable. He just told me he was going to program it for speakers being out from the wall and mentioned that it would help with the bass response.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Have you been changing that for me, because I have used KHz everywhere so far.

I thought that powers above one were always capitalized, but by gum you are correct. Had to look it up.

"There is a widespread misconception that prefixes for positive powers of ten are all capitalized, leading to the use of K- for kilo- and D- for deca-. Although this does seem like a useful idea, it is not correct."

From this source.

Just finishing the Maggie post, will correct it there.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top