Eclipse TD307MK3 compact loudspeaker
If you are going to enjoy your music while you work there are plenty of good reasons to use a speaker like the Eclipse TD307MK3. Eclipse makes single drive unit speakers, it always has and always will. The Japanese company likes this approach because you get a genuine point source, that is all the sound is coming from one place, there are no tweeters or woofers just one full range driver. The benefit of this approach is that it removes the need for a crossover between amplifier and cone and it means that all the sound produced should have the same character. The majority of hi-if speakers combine two or more drive units in order to produce a wide bandwidth or range of sounds, and the benefit is that they can deliver lower bass and higher treble than a full range design. The drawback is that it’s very difficult to integrate two or more drivers so that the point where the woofer hands over to the tweeter is totally seamless.
There are no hidden subwoofers or tweeters on the compact Eclipse TD307MK3 desktop speaker, it has a single 65mm drive unit at the front of its beautifully formed cast aluminium case. It’s quite a fancy drive unit with a fibreglass cone that’s small enough to reproduce treble up to a claimed 25kHz and bass down to 80Hz. These are -10dB figures, which means that the highest and lowest notes will be notably quieter than those in the middle of the spectrum. In practise however the vast majority of musical information is in the so-called midrange which centres around the 2kHz point and this is the area that the Eclipse TD307MK3 specialises in. If you want bass that will vibrate your internal organs, or maybe just the desk, a subwoofer will be required, ideally an Eclipse TD520SW which is a serious beast with two 8inch drivers and a 250 Watt amplifier on board.
The Eclipse TD307MK3 is not an active loudspeaker system, there is no amplifier built into its elegant form, so a separate amp is required to use them. This puts it into a niche among desktop speakers which generally do have amps onboard but it means that the sound is not compromised by cheap electronics, this may be a small speaker but it is designed for high resolution. There’s a cross section image on the Eclipse site which shows just how much effort has been put into making the Eclipse TD307MK3 as inert as possible. The egg shape of the cast chassis is intrinsically stiff and Eclipse add a ‘mass anchor’ to the drive unit’s magnet system in order to reduce vibration to a minimum. This is a technique that Eclipse uses across its range but not one we have seen in other loudspeakers.
The support strut that connects the speaker to its base is fixed by a hex bolt under the speaker, this allows it to be set at an angle that suits its placement. It allows a wide arc of movement, the speaker can be above or below your ears but still remain pointing at them or firing so that their axis cross in front which is Eclipse’s preferred set up. The set up page of Eclipse’s site suggests that there are both ceiling and wall mount options and that the speaker can be rotated 180 degrees on its stalk for maximum flexibility of installation.
Eclipse TD307MK3 sound quality
I used the Eclipse TD307MK3 on my desk either side of a fairly wide (27inch) screen Mac PC and used them primarily to listen to music sent for possible review, the speakers were powered by a fairly modest TEAC AI-301DA compact amplifier with its own DAC and connected to the Mac via USB. For best results in this situation it pays to use audiophile software such Audirvana, JRiver, Bit Perfect or Roon, I used the latter and accessed music files stored on a good quality server.
This combination produced strong imaging and plenty of energy but sounded a bit coarse in a digital way, a balance that works with smooth sounds but can get fatiguing with anything busy or lively. It became apparent that the amplifier was the source of this problem when I switched over to a Cyrus 8 DAC converter/amplifier.
This proved to be a very useful upgrade, producing a relaxed yet well defined sound that encouraged extended listening. Critically it allowed the Eclipse TD307MK3s to show of their excellent timing capabilities. Eclipse go on about impulse precision on their site and what this means in musical terms is speed of attack and decay, notes don’t have any sense of lag in the way they are presented. They stop and start very quickly with little or no blurring, it’s very enjoyable indeed because your brain isn’t having to work, it can relax and go with the musical flow.
Bass extension is naturally limited but bass lines are perfectly clear, it’s only the lowest notes that pass unnoticed. It’s a lot better than headphones or normal small speakers however, the sound has body and rhythms have muscle where its required. The mid and higher frequencies produce impressive image scale, with the speakers pointed upward the sound produces a picture as high as the screen which is probably 50cm higher. It’s really open with tracks that have plenty of reverb like Mop Mop’s Spaceship: Earth and Trüby Trio’s A Go Go, tunes where the groove is irresistible with the Eclipse TD307MK3s even when they are at a low/medium playback level.
Even with online sources such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud where signal quality is MP3 at best the results are surprisingly open and enjoyable. Likewise the musical wormhole that is Youtube where sound quality varies considerably, fortunately quite a lot of it stands up to the resolution that the Eclipse TD307MK3 speakers bring to the party. Hania Rani’s recent live performance of On Giacometti being one of many highlights that have been distinctly enhanced by playback through the black eggs. It occurs to me that gamers would also benefit from this degree of clarity, after all a lot of effort goes into the audio side on that front.
Eclipse TD307MK3 verdict
This is not your average desktop loudspeaker, it’s not even limited to that application and could be used anywhere where high volume is not required. Used with a decent amplifier the Eclipse TD307MK3 is an exceptionally engaging loudspeaker that times beautifully and brings out the best in pretty well anything you play on it. Combine this with class leading build and finish and you have a very tempting proposition in a highly flexible form.