When designing a new loudspeaker, the major challenge comes at the end of all the technical tests. What does it sound like? Is it the best we can achieve? And how do we know we’re not fooling ourselves?
The new Jordan Marlow is designed to enable Ted Jordan’s Eikona full-range speaker to perform at its absolute best, and to do so in a relatively compact, traditional loudspeaker enclosure. We wanted the Marlow to look classic but be made from the best modern materials, all sourced as close to home as possible.
In refining the sound, there was never a question of ‘voicing’ the Marlow. Without a crossover to obscure the the signal, there was no opportunity for subtle electrical adjustments; everything was down to the cabinet, its components and how well they were implemented. Although measuring similarly, slight changes to cabinet construction or damping radically altered the acoustic picture. This was a clear testament to the efficacy of the BBC cabinet and the Eikona’s inherent transparency.
This painstaking procedure took months and then, once we were satisfied with the sound, came the scary part – asking someone else to judge them.
Fortuitously, at that point we received an invitation from Ian at the LencoHeaven forum to bring our new babies for an informal listening session. We did one better, sending the Marlows on their own so they could be assessed as honestly as possible.
It wasn’t a technical test, but it was objective in that no staff from EJJ were present. The Marlows were used with a number of amplifiers, ranging from a 200 W Hypex nCore to a one-off 4.5 W triode, in a 2.27 x 6.0 m room. So how did they fare?
Playing the Marlows after the [Eikona] TL Arrays words like “very impressive” and “sophisticated” were used. Despite their diminutive size (think LS3/5a) they threw up a huge soundstage equal in height, depth and width to the Arrays. Not surprisingly the only real difference was in the bass output but all of us were amazed at how much bass the little Marlows could produce, remember we were sat quite some distance from the speakers.
… I have heard, indeed owned LS3/5a’s in the past. In my opinion, the Marlows are superior!
I pretty much concur with Ian regarding the Marlows, although I would also say they are very different to a LS3/5a in their presentation, a much more ‘live’ and bassy sound i.e. they sound like Jordan not LS3/5a. I was quite surprised by them as I was expecting yet another LS3/5a clone, which they are not, they are quite an exceptional speaker in their own right!
Mark Manwaring-White (amplifier designer and MingDa importer):
Well, I must also agree, that the Marlows were an eye opener or should I say Ear opener. To be honest I am not generally a fan of stand/shelf type speakers, big and brash is my taste. BUT – on this occasion – I was somewhat staggered by the results … especially with the valves.
I can honestly say that the 20 Watt Piccolo PP (£999) really brought them to life… perfect synergy! Quite a staggering sound from a small box. To be honest, I think they will blow normal LS3/5a to pieces!
Finally, Alan’s own OTL build, a gorgeous looking valve amp pushing out around 4.5 W into the 6 Ohm load of the Eikona drivers. Despite the low power, it easily filled the room with lush, involving music.