Review: Eclipse TD 307
Developer: Fujitsu Ten
The Rolls Royce of Mini Speakers
If you’ve tried some mini speakers, to listen to music from your computer or your iPod, you may have been disappointed. While some systems offer surprisingly good sound for their size, most of them offer muddy sound with poor depth and resolution. While this type of speaker is acceptable for playing games on a computer, it’s a shame to listen to music on them. You get so used to poor quality sound that you no longer realize what you’re missing.
Enter the Eclipse TD 307, a set of mini speakers with maxi sound. These speakers, little brothers of the company’s 512 studio-quality speakers, will astound you with the clarity and purity of the sound they offer. Listening to these speakers makes you realize just how much you miss when listening to systems designed for their small size. These speakers sound as good as they look.
I confess to having been totally blown away by the sound that comes out of these speakers. Never before have I heard compact speakers that reproduce all the music on a recording. It’s not only that they have pure and true sound, but they bring out all the instruments and sounds that you often don’t hear on your stereo, and probably never hear on your earphones or headphones. These speakers use Time Domain Theory to create a soundscape that astounds with every note. Time Domain Theory “aims to reproduce the original audio waveform, which contains the amplitude/phase frequency characteristics, through the speaker, without change.” Part of the magic occurs because of the shape of the speakers, but the rest is the result of voodoo electronics inside the speakers.
There are some caveats, however. First, like x-ray glasses, these speakers show you what is truly behind the music. If a CD is recorded poorly, or if you listen to an old CD that was not remastered, you’re likely to hear something that you don’t like. These speakers are unforgiving to such recordings; any CD with hiss in the background will be hard to listen to, and any muddy recordings sound, well, even muddier.
Good live recordings sound great; Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive, with its judicious use of crowd noise to enhance the live atmosphere, makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the arena during the show. Stan Getz’s final recording (People Time, recorded with pianist Kenny Barron), recorded live in Copenhagen, sounds like it’s being performed in your living room, and ascends to a new level of emotion. Or listen to Bill Evans’ live recordings from the Village Vanguard in June with your eyes closed, and you might think you’re sitting at one of the tables with a cigarette in your hand and a drink in front of you. Somehow the music envelops you and seems to come from all around, even with just two speakers.
Studio recordings get even more of an improvement, as long as they were recorded well. Put on any of Pink Floyd’s classic albums (Dark Side of the Moon or Wish You Were Here, for example), and take a trip into musical space. Or if you’re a classical music lover, listen to a good recording of a string quartet. Close your eyes and your mind can situate the location of each performer in the space in front of you. One of the most astounding recordings I listened to with these speakers is Brad Mehldau’s studio version of Exit Music (For a Film), from his album Songs—Art of the Trio Volume Three. Jorge Rossy’s subtle drum and cymbal playing is brought out in front of the speakers, making it sound like the kit is in the middle of the living room.
The system is much improved by the addition of a sub-woofer; the basic setup is two speakers and an amplifier. If you don’t listen to bass-heavy music, you can get by without one, but just about everything sounds better with a sub-woofer.
These speakers aren’t cheap, but if you want to hear what music should sound like, you owe it to yourself to check them out.