Estelon receives another great review from Stereophile in the November 2022 issue!
Here are some quotes from the review by Jim Austin, Stereophile Editor-in-Chief:
“A moment came, as I was listening to jazz, when the character of the XB Diamonds revealed itself distinctly. I put on WomanChild by Cécile McLorin Salvant (24/96 WAV download, Mack Avenue). First up, the first track, “St. Louis Gal.” On any good system, Salvant’s vocals on this album are remarkably present. Now, though, they were more so—off the charts, spooky real.”
“What’s more, the accompanying acoustic guitar on the first track (played by James Chirillo)—metal strings—also sounded natural, very present, with no trace of added metallic flavor. This is among my most listened-to albums. I know its sound very well, and this was special.”
“The XB Diamond Mk IIs were talking to me again, explaining their character, but now I’m struggling to express in words what the speakers told me. I was hearing a presentation of great purity—suggesting, I think, the absence of distortion—with cleaner, blacker space between the individual, spot-lit sounds on a stage carved out from the surrounding space, as I have said, by that subtle lift.”
“Assuming it’s legitimate to generalize about a “house sound” across different speakers from the same brand, I can confirm Michael Fremer’s conjecture, in his Forza review, that Estelons are capable of a big soundstage in rooms larger than his. On recordings that contain such information, a big soundstage was what I heard, with considerable depth.”
“And the bass? Ample quantity, approaching full-range depth while perhaps not quite plumbing the lowest reaches. Certainly, the bass was present at full volume down to the bottom note on acoustic or electric bass (41.2Hz), and it comes very close to full volume down to the lowest notes on a standard grand piano (27.5Hz). Acoustic (double) bass was lively and articulate. On tracks with lots of bass—I’m thinking of EDM tracks like Cristoph’s “Reachin’,” from Consequence of Society Vol.1 (16/44.1 FLAC, Noir Music/Tidal), the bass is fun, although the XB Diamond Mk IIs don’t quite provide the bass massage of the big-sister Forzas. In a room smaller than mine, perhaps they would.”
“The Estelon XB Diamond Mk IIs possess a voice that’s distinctive while remaining in that desirable middle space in terms of the key sonic virtues—realism, tonal balance, timbre, etc—occupied by all speakers that reproduce music naturally, including acoustic music. Plus, subjectively, they sound low-distortion. A pristine instrument capable of (re)producing compelling music in any genre. Highly recommended!”
Read the full review on Stereophile.