Egglestonworks, Hegel & Merason at Audio Deluxe
The Egglestonworks Viginti is a substantial loudspeaker, it weighs 255lbs (116kg) and is nearly two foot deep, which makes it difficult to get through 30 inch British doorways such as the ones on my studio. But I wanted to hear them and Auden Distribution were thinking of some way of doing this when the idea struck that these loudspeakers were being demonstrated at Audio Show Deluxe. If I could get to Whittlebury the evening before it would be possible to spend a bit of time with them.
Thus it was that I found myself in a large room in front of the system you see in the pictures, the amplification consisted on Hegel’s new P30 preamplifier (£7,000) and two H30 power amps (£17,000 each). The H30 is a brand new design which contains a pair of huge transformers that allow it to deliver 300 Watts per channel in stereo. When used as a monoblock the two channels are combined into a push-pull configuration that produces no less than 1100 Watts and is stable into one Ohm loads. So it could drive an arc welder let alone any pair of speakers on the planet.
The Egglestonworks Viginti (£46,000) was developed to celebrate the Memphis, TN company’s 20thanniversary, the name is Latin for 20. The bass cabinet houses a pair of ten inch (250mm) carbon fibre coned drivers and is loaded with a slot shaped reflex port. Midrange is provided by a pair of six inch carbon dome drivers and the treble is covered by a beryllium tweeter, a luxury driver array if ever there was. The cabinet is heavily constructed with carbon fibre and aluminium in all the right places and internal bracing where it’s required. The result is a little imposing in a dark star kind of way but the Egglestonworks Viginti is clearly an uncompromised design
The system source was my own Melco N10 server/streamer connected by USB into a Merason DAC 1 Mk2 (circa £7,000), a product that made a strong impression when I reviewed its predecessor; it undoubtedly contributed to the immensely transparent sound that this system produced. The scale and depth of image was quite surprising, the unfamiliar room and system could not disguise the fact that I was hearing an awful lot of fine detail and atmosphere on familiar recordings. Melanie di Biasio’s No Deal was particularly vivid, this is a decent recording for its genre that offered up a soundstage which was reminiscent of a live concert, with the singer’s voice precisely positioned at its centre, the quiet backing placed well behind her and creating all that space.
Egglestonworks Viginti, Memphis muscle
The distinctly bass rich sound of Massive Attack’s Man Next Door was extremely powerful, the low frequency energy on this can easily become an amorphous blur of heaviness but here the system articulated it with ease. Giving shape to the various elements that combine to produce the dark muscularity of the piece and revealing the work that went into the production. It’s clearly been made to sound overblown which ratchets up the tension, the way the snare splashes outside the central morass of bass intensifying things further.
I also enjoyed Leonard Cohen’s rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Jungle Line with Herbie Hancock on piano (River: The Joni Letters). This is a piece where the low pitch of the voice can be blown out by speakers that have deliberately thickened bass. The Egglestonworks Viginti do not fall into that trap, they are totally clean and even right down to the lowest notes. This means that Cohen’s gravelly voice can be appreciated in all its expressive glory and the brilliance of the song comes through loud and clear.
I could have spent a lot longer enjoying this system and it would have been fascinating to have heard a streamer in between the Melco and Merason, such things usually introduce a bit more drive and dynamics to the proceedings, but it has to be said the results without one were pretty spectacular. It would be fascinating to hear some of these components at home but physics is not going to let the magnificent Egglestonworks Viginti speaker through the door. This is just a snapshot of what this system is capable of and I hope to get the other elements in to try in future, anything that can produce a sound like that is going to be thrilling to have at home.