The New Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

Green Mountain Audio Eos HX
photo by Vahan Baladouni

Associated Equipment:

Source: Macbook Pro running Pure Music with a large variety of recordings and resolutions.

Amplifier: Anthem MCA-2 class A/B

Computer interface: CI Audio Transient II USB to S/PDIF converter and VDC-5 MK II (power supply)

DAC: Crane Song Avocet DAC/Monitor controller (Discrete Class A)

Power: Shunyata Hydra 2 x 2 and power cables (various: copperhead, sidewinder VTX, Hydra VTX…)

Cables: Audio Magic Sorcerer speaker cable, Excalibur II interconnect, DH labs D-75 BNC to RCA, & Wireworld starlight USB

Eos HX

When you think of traditional speakers you often expect a wooden box of some type with drivers arranged inside. Not so with Green Mountain Audio’s Eos HX. In fact, no wooden cabinets here, except for the lovely Cocobolo wood that surrounds the tweeter. By taking a closer look it becomes evident that unique materials were used to build this speaker. The handcrafted Eos HX from Colorado Springs, CO combines artisanal workmanship with engineering refinement.

The Eos HX Tweeter surrounded by Cocobolo wood
photo from Green Mountain Audio

This HiFi meets steam punk design is the brain child of designer Roy Johnson. Mr. Johnson has spent years researching and developing a full range of speakers, and the Eos HX sits at the top of his 2-way designs. Never quite satisfied, the Eos has seen three iterations: the Eos, the Eos HD, and the latest being the HX. 

These speakers are  full of innovation. Starting with the Q-stone cabinet material, these monitors have a unique ability to be shaped in acoustically appropriate ways while also maintaining a low self resonance. The curved shape around mid/woofer allows for the fullest dispersion of sound, and the adjustable tweeter employs wool felt discs to eliminate early cabinet reflections. Without metallic resonances, the lightweight soft dome tweeter from Seas extends beyond 30Khz. The twin ports for the woofer have  been specially designed to more efficiently handle bass pressure. What you end up with is a truly tuneful bass response with an excellent percussive attack.

The heart of the Eos HX is found in its crossover circuit. Through much refinement, Roy Johnson has arrived on a crossover design (1st order) that works at achieving time-coherence  across the audible frequency range. Further sonic enhancements include Marigo internal wiring and Audio Magic nano stream process for the entire crossover circuit (including internal wire and binding posts). All these combined refinements further the speaker’s ability to reproduce nuances in the music.

The Eos HX rear with Vampire Wire binding posts
photo by Vahan Baladouni

Spending some quality time with the Eos HX proved to be very enlightening. While the bass extension rolls off around 50 hz, these 2 way compact speakers (6 inch mid/woofer and fabric dome tweeter) produce an even and smooth marriage between tweeter and woofer. The dual ported Eos HX maintain an accurate and satisfying extension of low-end, especially in smaller listening rooms. Recordings like Count Basie to more modern pop styles of Beach House were reproduced with greater resolution than I had previously heard. Even micro details were more readily heard, but never in an overhyped way. With such a natural sound reproduction of voice and instruments, I found myself hearing much deeper into recordings. The stereo image is quite amazing for a monitor of this size.

I cannot emphasize enough the emotional quality these speakers reproduce. All the attitude and inflection of singers were heard with an obvious transparency.  listening to multiple voices proved to be very revealing, localization and distinctions from singer to singer became more obvious. When I turned my attention to percussion instruments like cymbals, the articulation of attack was easy to hear and subtle differences between strikes were apparent. Cymbals have never sounded so real and fully textured. Whatever the instrument, The Eos HX have an uncanny ability to reproduce it without adding to or smearing the sound. Most importantly, these speakers produced a highly musical and involving listening experience. Without reservation, I highly recommend auditioning the Eos HX.

Pure oxygen free copper directly gold-plated binding posts
Photo from Green Mountain Audio

Further information on Green Mountain Audio can be found here.

Happy Listening!

Getz/Gilberto on 45 rpm

The Glossy Gatefold of Getz/Gilberto made by Analogue Productions/QRP

Getz/Gilberto* trulystands out as a timeless masterpiece of the Bossa Nova genre.

I’ve had CD re-issues of this famous album, even 24 bit digital remasters. Most recently, I even tried the HD Tracks Hi-Res version. From decent NAD CD players, to a separate Benchmark DAC-1 doing the conversion, my sonic impressions of this album changed with improved audio technologies through the years. While digital music files provided obvious conveniences, it wasn’t until I heard the 45 rpm vinyl that my audio senses were fully nourished. Playing back this record on a modified Rega P3 was breathtaking. Instruments and voices appeared from a black backdrop, and the low background noise seemed to only be the recording electronics of the time.

The piano playing of Antonio Carlos Jobim is gentle and impeccably timed. Joao Gilberto hand-picks the nylon string guitar and sings. Stan Getz plays on the song melodies with his trademark breathy/reedy sax, and Milton Banana fleshed out that quintessential bossa nova groove via drums.The glue holding this quintet together comes from the subtle but deep double bass of Sebastião Neto…And who can forget Astrud Gilberto’s soothing and sexy vocal gracing us on two famous tracks; The Girl from Impanema, and Corcovado.

Sure, I knew that this album contained those intimate recorded memories…but did I? That kind of musical cohesion and graceful bossa nova style sounded like it never had before! Not only could I hear all the intimacy of the recording session, but for the first time, the music was unforced. I heard these musicians playing together in a studio space that was until now merely a facsimile. That being said, Sonically, this 45 rpm vinyl record brings me closer to the live event than any earlier version (save for an original mint pressings).

-This is a must!

*This version was produced by Analogue Productions. Without any sonic strain, your ears will bend back with approval. No digital copies here, this was caringly transferred and mastered by George Marino.

Signal path:
Turntable: Rega P3 w/ groovetracer subplatter, carbon fiber mat, Benz Micro Silver MC

Phono Pre: Sim Audio Moon LP5.3 (hifituning fuse) (Shunyata Black Mamba>Hydra 2)

Pre Amp: Crane Song Avocet (hifituning) (Shunyata black mamba CX>Hydra 2)

Amp: Anthem MCA 2 285 watts per channel into 4 0hms (Power via Shunyata HC VTX>Hydra 2)

Speakers: Green Mountain Audio Eos HD

Power: Shunyata Hydra 2 x2 Black Mamba CX for Digital and Line Level, Hydra HC VTX for Amplifier.

Cables: Audio Magic Excallibur II Balanced XLR/Audio Magic Sorcerer speaker cable

Speakers that Sound Natural

Image

(EXHIBIT A: EOS HDphoto courtesy of Green Mountain Audio 

Green Mountain Audio has been producing fine loudspeakers out of Colorado for some time now. Over the past several years I have been lucky enough to test drive the Eos HD in my system.

The Eos HD is a 2 way time coherent* monitor which employs a 1st order crossover design. This is achieved when the tweeter and mid range speaker driver move in unison or synchronously. Being made of a composite marble material helps dampen cabinet resonances while also allowing the designer to shape the cabinet in more acoustical appropriate ways.  Bottom line: The Eos HD produces music with excellent imaging/localization and a transparency that is truly amazing.

Happy Listening!

*The best comparison I can give to experiencing time-coherent speakers is listening to a DAC (digital to analog converter) with extremely low jitter through headphones such as the Sennheiser HD-600.  Since most headphones have one driver per channel, time coherence is built into the design. While a good pair of headphones and a DAC can reproduce digital music with great results, the experience is very different from sound produced over loudspeakers.

Note: I was able to hear the Lindemann BL-10 at T.H.E. show last year and was very impressed with the sound of this 2 way  speaker (employs a simple crossover design for minimum phase). I have not had extensive listening sessions with the Lindemann, but hope to review it in full in the future.

Happy Listening!