Offering a stand-out design with stand-out stands as part of the package, Paul Rigby reviews these full range, midrange speakers
I could call the TD510ZMK2 speakers unique but that would be wrong because Eclipse now has quite a range of these speakers, with their eggy form factor. They do stand out from the crowd, though. Emphasising curves rather than flat slabs of cabinet MDF and veneer, Eclipse’s aim is to combine great sound with style.
Each speaker is built around a custom-made, 10cm full-range driver with a bespoke circuit to ensure a high magnetic flux density from the attached magnet.
A conical anchor sits at the rear of this magnet, acting as a mass sink to ground the driver, encouraging the piston movement of the drive unit.
A star shaped construction called a ‘stay’ provides physical strength to the inside the egg-shaped chassis, reducing vibration and noise.
That cabinet is sealed tight, air tight in fact for reduced vibration transmission. The shape of the cabinet prevents internal standing waves building up which is an issue for rectangular cabinets on other speakers.
The chassis is connected to the purpose-built stand using an all-point, three-legged mount with a locking ring. You can adjust the angle of the speaker chassis from -10 to +15 degrees.
Meanwhile, the forward slanting stand has been constructed from a combination of extruded and die-cast aluminium. It also features internal damping. In fact, the stand is filled with high-density, irregular sized kiln dried sand.
Stand isolation is provided by five 20m bullet-shaped spikes.
So how do these speakers perform?
I began with a vinyl version of Morgana King’s 1973 Paramount album, New Beginnings… and the track Like a Seed that featured a rather funkified, jazzified, hippified, orchestral backing plus harmony backing vocals.
I have reviewed the TD510ZMk2’s bigger brother, the 712s and noted then that the positioning of the speakers were critical when attempting to get the very best from that speaker’s performance.
This is why I repeated my toe-in tasks here. I began by toeing in the TD510Z enough for each speaker to run past its relevant ear, skimming past but not pointing at that ear. Hence, the left channel speaker was running just outside the left ear and vice versa.
Like the 712 speakers, there was a coolness in the upper mids with a slight emphasis around the treble area and during vocal crescendos but also that signature air and space around the soundstage. This element of the presentation was truly wondrous because it just opened up the entire delivery from the TD510Z. The acreage that the 510s gave music not only provided room for musicians to manoeuvre but it also allowed the effects of percussion, guitar and other instruments to decay properly and with some style.
Another facet of the space given to the music from the 510s was the middle bits of notes. What do I mean by that? Well, consider the hitting of the drum. It consists of three phases. The first is the initial thwack. That first impact. Then there’s the sound from that impact. That’s where you’ll hear the character of the instrument. Here, you will recognise just what sort of drum is being hit. The third bit is the decay. This is where the notes sustain and reverb hang about an trails slowly into the ether.
What the TD510ZMk2 offers is more of that middle bit. And it puts a real smile on your face as well. Giving you more of that character adds a sense of richness to the music. It sort of fattens out the information and contributes a sense of complexity and layering to the music. There’s just more going on here.
I then increased the toe in so that the sound crossed about a foot in front of me, the left-hand speaker skimming past my right ear and vice versa.
The effect was to lessen the airy and spacious nature of the midrange and the characterful nature of the instruments but it did also reduce the cooling nature of the upper mids. Crescendos were now more neutral in their delivery.
There was a tweaking thing going on here, as you might expect. The idea, at least during my test, was to find the sweet spot between air, space and character, against the cooling upper frequencies.
Once found, the resultant sound was impressive. Yes, there was a tiny degree of coolness still in the presentation but much reduced and the amount of detail and midrange insight remained impressive.
Hence, if you do plump for the TD510ZMk2, I would recommend time doing the toe-in shuffle. It will benefit the overall sound in the long run.
Turning to high-energy music such as Wishbone Ash’s new album Coat of Arms, some coolness was present but so was the impressive instrumental separation that added an expansive sense to the soundstage. Bass, considering the cabinets are relatively small, produced an impressive response that forced a notable impact. Sure, the bass notes couldn’t reach down into the caverns of that particular frequency but these speakers provided a degree of tonal balance that was always satisfying. You never felt short changed.
Detail from the likes of the lead guitar, vocals and cymbal strikes was solid, definite, it never shirked, never pussy-footed around and dug around the corners of the mix to produce every bit of detail it could find.
Eclipse features a sonic signature that I’ve heard now over three designs: these speakers, the TD712zMK2 top of the line models and the desk top models, the TD-M1. They sound solid state in their presentation and add to that a host of brilliant positives that exposes a typical sound mix like few other speakers I’ve heard. To be honest, when considering the sonic balance and tonality as well as the blend of price and performance? I actually prefer these speakers, the TD510ZMk.2, to the top of the range designs.
And then there’s the looks. The TD510ZMk2 speakers provide a visual feast, move way away from the ‘me too’ design school of flat-sided cabinet boxes and provide an instant art installation in your listening room. The Eclipse TD510Z are definitely worthy of your attention.
ECLIPSE TD510ZMk2 SPEAKERS
Price: £2,000 each (i.e. £4,000 for a pair)
Tel: 05602 054669
GOOD: aesthetics, stand included, spacious soundstage, airy mids
BAD: slightly cool upper frequencies
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