Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com


John E. Johnson, Jr.,Phd.
Editor-in-Chief
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
165 Cervantes Road
Redwood City, California 94062
Phone (415) 366-1644 Fax (415) 367-9630 E-Mail   JEJ@fastpointcom.com

 

Volume 3 Number 3
Product Review - August, 1996

John E.. Johnson, Jr.

 

Osborn Speakers; Osborn Eclipse; Floor standing; Three way vented; One 1 1/4" fiber glass dome tweeter, one 7" neoflex mid-range, one 8" polyglass woofer; Frequency response 35 Hz - 18 kHz plus or minus 3 dB; Crossover frequencies 400Hz and 3.5 kHz second order;
Sensitivity 9E dB/w/m; Power handling 120w rms. per channel; Nominal impedance 8 Ohms(min 5.8 Ohms); Size 43"H x 11 3/4"W x 17"D; Weight 92 pounds each; $3,500/pair. (Bubinga wood);
Osborn Titan; Monitor; Two way vented; One 1 ¼" Kevlar dome tweeter, one 7" polyglass mid-bass driver; Frequency response 40 Hz - 19 kHz plus or minus 2 dB; Crossover frequency 3.7 kHz first order; Sensitivity 89 dB/w/m; Power handling 70 w rms. Per channel; Nominal impedance 8 Ohms (4 Ohms min); Size 18"H x 10 1/2"W x 14"D; Weight 56 pounds each; $2,500/pair (Bubinga wood);
Osborn Speakers, 17 Hammersley Court, Taylors Lakes, Victoria, 3038, AUSTRALIA.; Phone 613-9390-1564; Fax 613-93904775;
USA: By Universal Sinema Systems 316 South Halsted Street. IL Chicago 60661
Telephone 312 669 1949. Fax 847 940 1855
Email - sinema@interaccess.com

 

Gee, I'm glad 1 did not have to lift these out of the packing box. They are massive - - - and extraordinarily beautiful. Some recent Australian speakers we reviewed were veneered in Jarrah, and the Osborns arrived finished in Bubinga wood. I had never seen either of these woods until we began reviewing Australian speakers. You fellows really know how to build cabinets! The close up photo does not do justice to the burl on the Bubinga, but it will give you some idea anyway. Such wood finishes always add a substantial amount to the price, but this kind of beauty is really worth it. The basic construction is 1 ½" MDF.

The Osborns are both rear ported designs, with two sets of gold plated binding posts for bi-wiring and bi-amping. Greg Osborn states that bi-wiring provides the best sound for his speakers, so we removed the jumper plates,. and tested them in a bi-wire configuration.

(Nordost Super Flatline). Associated equipment included the McCormack CD transport and DAC, NAD 208 MOSFET Power Amplifier, Carver Silver 9t Power Amplifiers, Nordost,
Kimber, and AudioQuest cables.

 

I will be frank with you. At first, I did not like these speakers, at least the Eclipses. I felt they were too heavy in the mid-range. Even after extensive playing, they still had a very full bodied sound, and a bit of a laid back upper end. However, I realized that I had conditioned myself to a sound that had a laid back mid, which is simply my preference. So, I asked others in the lab to listen to the Osborns,. single blind, comparing them to several other speakers. Most (2 out of 3 of us) preferred the Osborns, citing their smooth top end. The forward midrange is less apparent on the Titans, but still noticeable. . (- to me). In any case, however, the bass is astonishing. I was worried that the small magnet structure on the Eclipse bass driver would allow the speakers to be easily overdriven. Not so! The Eclipse was powerful, deep, and responsive at thunderous SPL. The Titans were also capable of being driven loudly; but both maintaining their sonic composure. This has to do, not with just the drivers, but the damping and bracing of the enclosures. Of course, the bass is more intense with the Eclipses, but the Titans deliver amazing bass for their size. I liked the Eclipses best with the tweeters at ear height, and the speakers toed inward so they were facing almost directly at me when I was sitting about 8 feet away. Standing up produced a noticeable tonal change, probably due to the phase plug on the mid-range driver. Moving around did not change the tonality so much with the Titans.

We could not hear any harmonics generated from sine waves at very low frequencies from either the Eclipse or the Titan. Both speakers produce usable sound at 25 Hz (the Eclipse down to 20 Hz), and the tone was among the cleanest we have ever beard. In fact, this type of bass performance comes close to a servo feedback subwoofer! Superbly designed enclosures are the only way to achieve this, and Greg Osborn has done a fine job. The slightly laid back high end is apparent from the frequency response tests, so my ears were correct in their assessment. A little EQ can bring the sound to my own preferences, but for the majority of listeners, they will perform exquisitely as is.

John E. Johnson, Jr. P.H.D. Editor.


Update - September, 2000
Recently, Greg Osborn sent me some new drivers and crossover network boards to install into my original set of Eclipse speakers. The replacement units consisted of Focal Polyglass coated midrange and Focal woofers (Focal makes extremely high quality drivers). The tweeters were not replaced. The new crossover network boards had larger air inductors and higher quality capacitors.
Colin Miller installed them for me by removing the drivers from the front of the enclosure and unscrewing the crossovers, followed by unsoldering and re-soldering the connecting wires to the drivers and crossovers.
The sound of the new drivers and crossovers is much different than the originals. Bass is now tighter, the treble clearer, and the forward mid-range is gone, having been replaced with a much more balanced mid.
The improved sound quality, coupled with the still awesome enclosure finishing, keeps the Osborn Eclipses a remarkable speaker in its price class. Spouses everywhere will approve of their beauty, and husbands will delight in their power and clarity.

John E. Johnson, Jr. P.H.D. Editor.

Manufacturers Comment

The Eclipses are now fitted with a new midrange driver which is Polyglass coated instead of acrylic. The magnet has also been enlarged by 35%. This results in a smoother performance. The bass driver crossover point has also been changed from 400 Hz to 125 Hz. Previously there was an excessive overlap between the midrange and bass driver. This results in a smoother, less bloated midrange, thus eliminating the negative comments made ny John E. Johnson.