An elegant Eikona Array in Slovenia

One of the services EJ Jordan Designs has always provided is working closely with our customers. We do not just sell loudspeakers and move on; we’re happy to be involved in the design process until we have helped the customer attain the goal they are seeking.

We were recently contacted by a customer in Slovenia who has an elegant, stereo, high-end home theatre system. The loudspeakers he was using were a pair of Grundig Audioramas which, although fitting well visually, did not give him the natural-sounding quality he was after. The aim was to replace them with a pair of Eikona Arrays, built into the structure of his home theatre platform. The question was, how exactly?

There were two features we could immediately make use of – the pillars either side of the platform and a hidden sub-woofer which would provide bass below 80 – 100 Hz.

We went back and forth a few times, assessing the size of room and the preferred listening position. An early idea was to consider a pair of glass, open-baffles. Utilising the two side pillars cut down the width required, but the result was still something which was felt to be visually intrusive.

The process continued and eventually we arrived at a pair of sealed cabinets built onto the side pillars, based on our Triangular Array design. The baffles were angled to give the best stereo image and the cabinets were constructed to look like an integral part of the pillars.

The visual results can be seen below. 

How did our customer react to the sound?

“After a couple of hours I started with serious listening. The sound is very musical, there are lots of new details previously not heard (in other systems / speakers). The mid is just outstanding and I think nothing can compare to this (I used to own various loudspeakers like Martin Logans, Magnepans, Sonus Fabers, Soulsonic Impact, etc.). 

They are quite sensitive to ideal listening position – need sweet spot. Also vertical position is important to hear high frequencies. I regret not having placed drivers a few inches higher, but in the seating position, all is just fine. I have the impression that I’m inventing my tracks all over again. I think that using more Eikonas per speaker makes things better. I probably wouldn’t regret adding a pair or two more on each speaker. 

They look good and sound good. I don’t miss extra high frequencies and the bass is well integrated with my sub. Unlike with other loudspeakers, in this combination, I can’t hear when the sub comes in. I think the Eikona Array speakers would put to shame extremely expensive loudspeakers in terms of sound accuracy, musicality and rhythm. The frequency extremes don’t matter so much to me because 99% of music is happening in the frequency range of Eikona. 

Thank you again for all your support.”

 

 

 

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

 

DIY – Pentagonal Transmission Line

The Jordan Eikona Transmission Line Array was published on our blog in December, after more than two years of development. The design has already proven popular, with several builds in progress. 

The prototypes were constructed by Ian, one of our new Eikona demonstrators and a member of the LencoHeaven forum. He has demonstrated the TLAs to a number of LencoHeaven members and the feedback has been extremely positive. We have collated a page of their listening impressions, which you can read here.

Meanwhile, we had an interesting request from Rob, a US customer who wanted to build an Eikona loudspeaker that was a little different. He was keen to build a pentagonal enclosure, having seen Simon Regan’s craftsman build. In discussion, we quickly narrowed the decision to an Array of four Eikonas, to get the required sensitivity for his low-powered SET tube amps (and also because he was attracted to the enhanced stereo imaging of the line source format). The next question was – which of our cabinet alignments would best suit his requirements?

Rob wanted the loudspeaker to be able to convey the weight of a double bass (the five-string instrument goes down to 31 Hz) so we settled on the TL Array.

Compared to the standard, rectangular cabinet, it is a more challenging construction project but the pentagon is aesthetically more interesting and its non-parallel cabinet walls reduce internal resonances. Placing the line divider at an angle is particularly effective at reducing reflections from the back of the Eikonas.

Click on the image at the top of this page for a closer view of the plan. The Pentagonal design has also been added to the TL Array Design Guide, which is available as a high-res PDF here.

Rob has begun work on his enclosures and we will publish photographs and his listening impressions as soon as they are available.

Listen in colour

Bright, cheerful and colourful. These loudspeakers will make you smile before you’ve even heard them.

Colour isn’t usually a good attribute to have in a loudspeaker. It implies harmonic distortion or, at the very least, an imbalance to the frequency response. However, this new loudspeaker from furniture designer Archie Hands has colour in abundance and on this occasion, it’s a good thing.

Archie first got in touch a year ago and purchased a pair of Eikonas. He went quiet for a while and then a few weeks ago came back with these photographs of his Eikona MLTL38 loudspeakers. We think they look great and are particularly pleased to see that he’s made each speaker in the pair a different colour. It’s bold, fun and unusual.

The MLTL38 is a mass-loaded transmission line (in reality, it’s like a cross between a reflex and a transmission line but the name has stuck). It gives a good output to below 30 Hz and you can find the plans on our website here.

Archie has built the cabinets from Valchromat, a development of MDF with some unique properties; not least the fact that the colour is built into the material. No need for paint or veneer and the colour is not affected by dents or scratches.

So how do they sound? Archie comments:

“They sound absolutely brilliant, and delivered so stylishly. The soundstage achieved with them is enchanting, and as such they have become surprisingly useful for playing competitive videogames. I’m continually astounded by the level of bass response they can produce from such relatively small drivers, and all while maintaining such a clean level of clarity. Definitely a pair I’m going to hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.”

You can find the plans for the Eikona MLTL38 loudspeakers here.

Archie is a professional furniture maker and is open to commissions from anyone interested in having a pair of loudspeakers built by him. Contact him via his website here.

 

PS The pink feet shown below didn’t make it to the final versions …

 

DIY – Eikona Transmission Line Array

 

The benefits of using the Eikona 2 full-range loudspeaker in a line array format has been covered before on our blog. The transient response of a single, lightweight 100 mm cone is retained while greater sensitivity and power handling allow it to compete with much larger systems. The single, vertical line helps overcome problems with room acoustics as well as maintaining a stable stereo image over a wide area.

We have already designed both a reflex and a sealed Eikona Array, but we always knew we could go further by combining the array with a transmission line enclosure.

EJ Jordan Designs has a long history with transmission line (TL) designs. Ted Jordan’s first published article in 1954 described a labyrinth enclosure, a precursor to TLs, and his VTL cabinet has been popular for over 20 years. In recent years, there have been significant advances in the field, notably in software modelling and the types of acoustic damping material available.

The Eikona TL Array has been in development for two years, refining the design to match the characteristics of the Eikona. We wanted an enclosure that combined the natural sound and transient attack of Ted’s iconic drive unit with the resonance-free mid-range and deep bass that truly great transmission line speakers can achieve.

The brief was to design a transmission line that could handle pace and rhythm – many TLs can sound slow, especially in the bass. One of the routes to achieve this was to fold the line a minimum number of times and have the line exit at the port. This immediately makes it sound more open and leads to fewer acoustic problems in-room, with line mouth and drivers closer together. Although the Eikona TL Array looks simple,  it has taken considerable fine-tuning, including careful choice of acoustic damping material.

The Eikona TL Array is straightforward to build as there are none of the awkward folds or angles seen in a number of traditional TL designs. The line partition helps with cabinet rigidity and there are additional braces shown on the plans. The height of the enclosure enables it to be cut from the customary 1.2 m wide sheet side. (Incidentally, although either MDF or high quality birch ply can be used, we strongly recommend the latter for better performance.)

Early builds of the Eikona TL Array have been running for some months now and we’re pleased to report they have matched our design aims. The TL Array has an effortless grace and coherence, enabling it to handle the full scale of any music, from a single female vocalist to the might of a full orchestra. It even does pretty well on the likes of Massive Attack (and thanks to Ian, our early tester, for demonstrating that one!)

Listener feedback has been excellent and we have a page devoted to them. Typical comments are:

“The detail from the speakers was quite extraordinary … there was weight and real solidity to the sound.”

“The level of detail is incredible, you can hear everything recorded, separated but integrated, set in its exact position. The bass is beautifully tight and drums…well they sound like drums, which isn’t as easy a task as it sounds, especially for such small drivers. They also go very loud without losing anything!! The soundstage is huge and has real depth and height.”

 

Benefits:

  • A single fold in the line for a simpler build and improved air flow
  • The line exits at the top – so the sound is cleaner and puts the port close to the drivers
  • Increased sensitivity and power handling over a single Eikona
  • 4 smaller, lighter cones have faster transient response than a single, larger bass driver
  • An easy 8 ohm load
  • Tall enclosure but not too bulky
  • Height designed to fit standard 1.2m sheet

 

You can download the Eikona TL Array construction guide here.

As ever, if you decide to construct this loudspeaker, we are always available to answer queries and are happy to host photographs of your project on our Facebook and Pinterest galleries.

Jordan Eikona SL-B project

The Eikona SL is a compact, floor-standing loudspeaker which takes its inspiration from Ted Jordan’s VTL enclosure whilst being smaller, more room-friendly and easier to build (for more in-depth information, please see our Eikona SL blog. We decided to release the SL in two versions, the SL-A with sloping baffle and SL-B with a more conventional vertical front panel.

Below are some photos of a build of the SL-B enclosure. It was initially finished in dark grey and was then fully veneered.

Here is the builder’s review of his finished loudspeakers:

“I’ve been listening to the SL Eikonas for nearly three hours now … I went through my usual list of test tracks and to be honest I was gobsmacked! OK, they don’t have the weight in the bass of the TL’s nor the effortless dynamics, push the little SL’s hard and they’ll get a little ragged. At sensible – quite loud – levels, tracks like Massive Attack’s Angel sound excellent while gentler stuff like Emiliana Torrini’s Fisherman’s Woman LP sounds quite sublime. If anything, imaging from the SL’s is a bit better than the 4 driver TL’s and the soundstage is ridiculously big for such small speakers with bags of width and depth.

“I ended up putting Karine Polwart’s new album, Laws of Motion, on and sat there totally enthralled by what I was hearing. If you don’t know this album but like a bit of modern folk then you should try this one. Karine has a beautiful voice and the instrumentation behind is quite excellent.

“The fact that I just ended up listening to music says much about how good these little speakers are. My room is a reasonable size (a bit over 21x14ft) and the SL’s have no problem filling it with excellent music. Bass is better than good for the size, imaging and soundstage is superb and tonally they are as sweet as a nut …You should be very proud of this design.”

To read more about the Eikona SL and download the plans, click here.

 

 

 

 

DIY – Eikona SL compact loudspeaker

The new Jordan Eikona SL loudspeaker enclosure is a compact, alternative to our VTL enclosure design. Ted Jordan’s VTL transmission line remains deservedly popular but we have had a number of requests for a cabinet which is smaller and easier to build. The SL provides this without compromising too much on bass extension.

Uniquely, we are offering the design in two versions.

Version A is the no-compromise enclosure featuring an attractive sloping baffle. The 7º slope serves to break up standing waves within the enclosure, strengthens the side walls and provides greater dispersion of the sound from the Eikona full-range driver unit.

Version B is the same height and width but the front panel is vertical and the Eikona placed higher in the cabinet to get it to ear level. In terms of sound, version B requires slightly more damping to reduce internal reflections but is an easier cabinet to build. Some of you may also prefer the appearance.

In both versions, the port is built into the structure of the cabinet, making it more rigid. The cabinets should be built in mirror-image pairs, with one having the port on the left, the other on the right. This gives the option of boosting low bass by placing the ports closer to the wall when the loudspeaker is angled inwards for the best stereo image.

The SL is designed to be operated near a rear wall and features a built-in stand to allow the downwards-firing port to function correctly. The sides of the cabinets can be extended, if required, to raise the Eikona, but should not be reduced below 50mm. The built-in stand makes it possible to fit connection terminals to the base of the speaker and keep them out of sight. The plinth can be increased in area to maintain stability on carpeted floors and spikes can be fitted if required.

We recommend grilles are fitted to protect the Eikona drive units.

Bass response extends below 40Hz in-room and sounds fast and responsive. The Eikona SL is ideal as a compact music system or as part of a home theatre with a supporting subwoofer below 50Hz.

Benefits:

  • Compact
  • Versatile
  • Easy to site
  • No stands required
  • Excellent bass response
  • Straightforward to build

You can download the PDF construction guide here and it includes plans for both versions of the SL.

As ever, if you build this cabinet, we would be interested in seeing photographs of your project and the finished loudspeakers and sharing them on our Facebook and Pinterest galleries.

 

Martin’s Eikona DCR

Over the years, Ted Jordan’s Eikona DCR design has proven to be very popular with our customers. We regularly receive feedback on the quality of the speakers’ sound and they have featured on the blog before. The latest feedback was from Martin, a customer in the UK. He was kind enough to send photos and a detailed description of his construction process, which you can read below:

 

“I first learned of Jordan Eikona drivers from the great thread over at Lencoheaven.

“I work in construction and the challenge of building some cabinets appealed. The driver cut outs are really the tricky part. Holesaws in a pillar drill provide a starting point. This cut is then improved with a bearing-guided router bit. I reached the exact size by varying the cutter diameter in relation to the bearing, until I had two accurate templates.

“The process of making the stepped cuts at first seemed complicated, but really a simple compass to mark the concentric circles is sufficient, lining up the templates on the baffle to these marks. 

 

I decided on 18mm birch ply for the cabinets – I’m no fan of MDF due to its dust. The ply is great to work with and offered the possibility of a reasonable finish without the need to veneer the cabinets. I deviated a little from the DCR plans but the internal dimensions are as recommended. The sides of my cabinets are wider, and stepped front and back.

The back is built in two parts, so is 36 mm thick, and removable. The bottom section is sand filled. I rebated the joints, used glue and pocket hole screws for the assembly and it makes a strong cabinet. After about five coats of tinted Danish oil they were ready for the Eikona drivers and wiring!

“Now I was ready to connect to an amp and finally hear some music. I’m fortunate enough to have a couple of amplifiers and combined with the option of either parallel or series connection to the two Eikonas in each cabinet, this gives a few different possibilities. 

“Never having heard speakers of this type before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The expense and the time had been a bit of a gamble, and the first few minutes of music left me thinking I would need a while longer to figure these out. Well, over a week later I seem to have settled on series wiring (12ohms) and at the levels I listen, neither my 300b amplifier or modestly-powered solid state amplifier have any problems providing sufficient volume.

“As for the sound: The bass is surprisingly good for the size of cabinet and the size of the drivers. The higher frequency seems to have a tighter on-axis response than I’m used to, but it doesn’t lack any extension. They’re fast, vivid, detailed, and I think they’re great at revealing the accurate timbre and texture of sounds and they have a monitor-like clarity. Given this, they certainly don’t flatter any recordings, but for the most part they have put a grin on my face!”

We wish Martin many years of listening pleasure!

For more details of the Eikona DCR, visit our DIY plans pageWe are always happy to help our customers with any queries they may have when constructing their speakers.

Eikona MLTL30 variation

One of our most popular loudspeaker enclosures for the Jordan Eikona 2 is the MLTL30 transmission line, designed by Jim Griffin. We describe it in detail on our blog here.

The MLTL30 is a relatively compact loudspeaker at 80 cm tall, 26 cm wide and 19 cm deep but is capable of impressive performance, producing bass to below 30 Hz in-room.

Following Ted Jordan’s preference, Jim’s original design for the MLTL30 was adjusted to have a wider baffle than is common in commercial loudspeaker systems. We find that this lends extra weight to the mid and bass frequencies.

However, if a conventional, narrow look is preferred, it is easy to adjust the ratio and make the size 21.5 cm wide and 23.5 cm deep. The cabinet height, driver position, and port size and position all stay the same, and the port can now be fitted to the front panel. A sketch of the two sizes is shown below.

The MLTL30 is an ideal compromise for those looking for a solid bass performance from a smaller cabinet. You can find our own MLTL30 enclosure plans here.

Nathan’s Eikona DCR

EJ Jordan Designs has a long history of selling direct to hi-fi enthusiasts, going back to when the company was founded by Ted and Denise Jordan in 1976. One of the pleasures is the interaction with customers, from answering questions to assisting with advice for whichever loudspeaker project they are undertaking. And at the end, we hope, there is the satisfaction of reading customers’ impressions of the final result.

Nathan, in the USA, embarked on building a pair of Eikona DCR loudspeakers almost a year ago. He and his brother Paul (who was handling the woodwork) were determined to produce something very high grade and in the course of their build had a number of interesting questions. (Always useful to us here at EJJ because it makes us think again about how we put the information across on the website.)

Earlier this month, we were gratified to receive an enthusiastic email from Nathan which read:

“These speakers are amazing! Super clean! Accurate!!!! Super good bass as well. Thank you for all your help”

We couldn’t resist asking for photographs and more details:

“Being an ‘Old Rocker’ at heart, the DCR build has completely quenched my thirst for a pair of speakers that can be played at high volume levels in my living space without breaking apart.

“With super tight controlled bass to spectacular crisp highs, they sit proudly in their new living space. The sound stage is wide and the separation of each instrument and note is spectacular. From soft vocals and small instrumental pieces, to heart pounding complexed electronica, these babies push out ear candy that keeps you wanting to hear more. I am so happy to be washed away with sweet high notes and no harsh ripple or static to my ears. I can hear fine details in music that makes me grin from ear to ear. Slight nuances of the breath on horns and fingers on strings, also small background voices that come to new life having been absent or unnoticeable on other speaker systems.

“I wanted a professional finished grade build to accommodate the fabulous sound they produce.

“I thought they should sit a little higher than the actual plans, so I constructed a unique foot for them to stand on that accentuates the dual speaker boxes by using two round pieces that separate the foot, which I think looks quite lovely.

“What a fun build, and what amazing speakers! Thank you for helping make this new addition part of my love for music.”

You can find the Eikona DCR, among other plans, on our Loudspeaker Plans page. And please remember that if you are embarking on a build, we are happy to answer any questions and always interested in photographs of the final result.