The Absolute Sound Magazine’s (USA) annual High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide 2018 is out, featuring yet again Estelon’s XB and X Diamond.
The Estelon XB is all about style — both the aesthetic and musical varieties. The speaker, like all Estelons, has one of the most sensuous silhouettes on the market. But the XB also features resolution so extraordinary, timbres so richly fleshed-out, and imaging so stellar that it can take the listener beyond engagement with the music to engagement with the hearts, minds, and style of the players behind the music. Note, though, that the speaker will only do this under the right circumstances. Being of modest sensitivity, the XB requires substantial power. Also, if toed in even a little, the Accuton ceramic tweeter can prove harsh. With these caveats duly noted, Alan Taffel sums up the Estelon XB as a rare component that forges a rare listener connection. (255)
Estelon X Diamond
The knocks against big, multiway ceramic-driver speakers, like this gorgeous, quasi-hourglass-shaped number from Estonian designer Alfred Vassilkov, have always been a slightly sterile presentation of timbres, a somewhat limited range at the loud end of the dynamic spectrum (they are superb at the soft one), and (with diamond-tweetered numbers) a lack of overall coherence. With it’s dead quiet, molded (literally from stone and acrylic) enclosure, its greatly improved crossovers, its three (per side) highly select Accuton drivers, and the superb blend of its diamond tweeter (which has to be one of the most seamless implementations of an exotic dome JV has yet heard) the Estelon X Diamond appears to have successfully ameliorated all three problems. The result is a speaker that disappears—both in a seamless, top-to-bottom sense and in a physical one—the way certain omnis and line arrays do. Highly transparent and detailed, with exceptionally fast, tight, well-resolved, and deep-reaching bass and, as noted, the best treble this side of a ribbon (with a better disappearing act than most beryllium/titanium/etc. tweeters), the X Diamond contends manfully for JV’s large, full-range, dynamic loud-speaker Palme d’Or. (228)