Axiom to Eikona – a full-range loudspeaker journey

Ken Rownd is one of our US customers and he recently completed his first Eikona loudspeaker project – a larger version of our Reflex 7 enclosure. He had a number of questions along the way with which we were happy to help out. We asked what he thought of the final result and he was good enough to provide a full review. We hope you enjoy reading it:

I got my first full-range driver speaker some years ago, a 1950’s Stromberg Carlson mono receiver and speaker. Although I liked it, I considered it just a novelty. I have expensive (to me) multi-driver systems and massive subwoofers too. Over 40 years I have accumulated multiple systems, most of the amplifiers are from 1959 to 1963 with a couple from early 70s – all tube stuff. I love the old equipment.

A couple of years ago I saw a pair of big, beautiful, custom speaker boxes for cheap. I found they contained Electro Voice full-range drivers. I liked them so much they ended up in my bedroom.

I then read a little about the desirability of point source and minimal (or lack of) crossovers. So when a year later I saw two more beautiful custom boxes containing Goodmans Axiom 301 drivers – I purchased immediately. I love these Goodmans speakers, everyone to whom I show them say “they sound real”. These are mine forever.

Since I seem to like 40-50 year old full-range designs I decided to look for a modern system. I selected the Jordan Eikona 2, based on the designer’s previous work at Goodmans. I did not get to hear a sample and even had to purchase the drivers from the UK. Remember when you could take audio equipment home to audition? All I have near me are TV stores!

With a custom-guitar builder, I designed a box based on the Reflex 7. I went with a small box as I have too many speakers already and did not want another big box in case I did not like the result. The enclosure cabinets are made from Zebra wood, Peruvian Walnut, and Maple. The laser-cut grills are thin Birch plywood.

I found the initial sound of the Eikonas playing Janos Starker’s Cello (Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites) to be stunning – in fact powerful. Blues and jazz vocals (Bonnie Raitt / Madeleine Peyroux) were brighter than I prefer.

EJ Jordan Designs say there is no break-in period on the Eikonas, however I found that 4-5 hours of operation tamed the brightness and days later it was completely gone (break-in or ear adjustment?).

I did increase the internal box volume for the Reflex 7 by about 40% but these are still a small speaker. I got a small subwoofer just in case but did not really want to use one. I do not have sound measurement equipment but test tones give strong response at 50Hz and very good response at 40Hz. The 30 Hz is audible but diminished.

I love the clean, articulate sound these speakers provide. They are surprisingly powerful even on symphony or rock music. I am a full-range driver convert for sure. 

As for box size – I wish mine were bigger just because the boxes came out looking so beautiful. For sound delivery these small boxes are everything I hoped for. I compared them to some massive cabs and came away impressed. The cab size does matter – the Goodmans and the Eikonas do not sound the same with a 1kHz tone applied.

As expected from the difference in driver sizes – the Eikonas have more high frequency energy while the Goodmans have more low frequency energy. Adding the sub gave the Eikonas louder bottom end but had marginal effect on my enjoyment.

The 4-inch cone Jordan Eikona 2s are a serious audio experience; mine are in a large room with vaulted ceilings and fill the air with powerful, controlled, convincing sound. I have auditioned them in 3 different systems and rooms using modest tube power.

I am so glad I got to take this trip. Are they better than the Goodmans? Perhaps. These two are a bit different but I find it very hard to choose between two systems that give such pleasurable performance. I am keeping my Goodmans – the Eikona reflex speakers are keepers as well.

EJJ Note: It is perhaps not surprising that Ken likes the Goodmans 301 as it was also worked on by Ted Jordan during his time as technical director at Goodmans

 

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