Epos are a brand with quite a bit of history behind them, they were originally founded in 1983 and since they have manufactured a number of loudspeakers that were highly regarded back in the day and the Epos had a bit of a cult following as a result. Over the subsequent year the brand name changed hands a few times, being owned by Mordaunt Short for a period of time and in 1999 they were acquired by Creek Audio.
Fast forward to 2020 and Karl-Heinz Fink, the founder of FinkTeam Speakers and the head of the acoustic design consultancy ‘Fink Audio Consulting’ acquired the name and brand from Creek Audio. Karl-Heinz always had an interest in Epos as a loudspeaker company and he felt it was a perfect opportunity to take a classic speaker design and improve upon it using modern design and more up to date engineering techniques.
A classic speaker returns to the future!
The original ES14 was arguably the most famous Epos loudspeaker from back in the day, it was a large 2-way standmount speaker and it seemed fitting to start the new Epos brand with a resurrection of a classic model. Visually, the new ES14N has an unmistakeable classic Epos look to it, but they really went back to the drawing board to ensure that it would perform to the very highest of standards.
The new design has almost the same internal cabinet volume as the original ES14 – a calculation derived from the drive unit size and the bandwidth of the speaker, but the new design has a slightly different shape. As you can see from the images the cabinet is tilted backward – this time aligns the tweeter and the mid/bass driver togethers which has the benefit of increasing coherency and also reducing standing waves.
It is a rear ported reflex design, and the shape of the tube was designed to reduce airflow noise, a number of small openings have been inserted in the centre of the tube, covered over with a soft material which eliminates port resonance.
Weighing in at 16kg the cabinet is fairly substantial, construction is a double layer of mdf sandwiched together using dedicated damping glue, a lot of additional internal bracing has been added to cabinet to make it as solid as possible and to reduce unwanted cabinet radiation.
The front panel is solid and is glued and screw into place on the cabinet, if you look carefully at the front baffle you will see it has a 45 degree chamfered edge – this is for sonic purposes and isn’t cosmetic – it aids with diffraction and off axis response.
A grill is provided, for the very best performance it is recommended that the grill is removed for listening, the tweeter has a perforated metal domed protection plate over it!
The mid/bass driver is a 7 inch unit and the tweeter is a 28mm aluminium/ceramic compound design. The tweeter sits in its own cavity within the cabinet and is protected by large metal perforated grill (the speaker was voiced with this in place). The large metal plate of the tweeter is only touching the cabinet on 4 points around the screws (an idea taken from Roy George of Naim Audio with his blessing) to reduce the transfer of energy between tweeter and cabinet baffle.
Dedicated speaker stands are available for them, which stand at around 50cm when built, they are nice looking stand and certainly compliment the look of the speaker. The middle section of the stands is a made from a large wooden bar, combining 4 layers of wood, glued together with same damping glue used internally in the speaker itself. The top plate is a double layer steel plate with a Bitumen layer in between and the bottom plate is a thick steel plate to hold adjustable spikes. The Speaker can be shipped without a stand, so other stands can be used as well.
With dimensions of 491 mm high x 250 mm wide x 385 mm deep they are a nice sized cabinet, certainly not compact, but not too large for the average sized room.
The ES14N are not particularly difficult to drive, as always with a speaker at this level they deserve to sit in front of a good amplifier to help get the very best from them. They have an incredibly well balanced presentation, they are big and bold, with superb dynamics, but they also have a very delicate way about them and they offer great insight into the music and can uncover plenty of nuance and subtlety that other speakers could not reveal.