What is Bulgaria known for except it’s name? I’m not certain, but I know that it should be known for its loudspeakers – specifically, the stunningly modern beauties produced by Everything But The Box. These cast-aluminum, mostly-spherical enclosures are of extreme quality and – as the name implies – they get around the “boxy” sound of ordinary loudspeakers by dispensing with wooden boxes. Smart, reasonably economical, somewhat “green” (if deforestation is your issue), and really attractive. The speakers come in a variety of automotive paint finishes, making them very decorator-friendly for modern climes.
The beauty of a great two-way is the way in which the drivers’ outputs cohere seamlessly, and the way in which the enclosure becomes “invisible” to the sound. With ordinary boxes, there is a frequency that corresponds to the width of the front baffle – and as frequency gets lower, the loudspeaker begins to project more like an omni-directional loudspeaker – or what the congnoscenti refer to as approaching 4-pi Steradian space. (for more on loudspeaker spatial loading, check THIS LINK). With mostly-spherical enclosures, that frequency is less determined by the baffle width and more determined by the width of the low frequency driver itself. In the case of EBTB’s Luna II, with what appears to be about a 4″ midwoofer in an 8″ oblong sphere, this is probably going to start “going omni” (or otherwise begin losing acoustic power) around 1kHz or so, and as the frequency gets lower it will reach its full baffle-step loss of -6dB.
This has two interesting outcomes:
Because the loudspeaker begins to radiate its acoustic output in all directions as frequency gets lower than the “baffle step frequency” – the sound of the loudspeaker begins to emulate omnidirectional loudspeakers, which will lend the sound additional spaciousness in rooms that aren’t over-damped.
Because the loudspeaker “loses” 6dB of apparent output as it moves from operating in 2-pi Steradian space to 4-pi Steradian space, it requires more power to deliver the same apparent sound-pressure as measured from the listening position in front of the speakers. (for more on diffraction loss, check THIS LINK)
Now this is an overly simplified way of explaining a really complex topic that is modified by a LOT of variables in the actual listening environment, but a little theory goes a long way when you want to understand why small speakers are inherently considered “inefficient” (diffraction loss) and also why they do such an amazing good job at acoustically “disappearing” and casting 3-dimensional soundstages with amazing imaging (omni-radiation).
EBTB’s Luna II rings in at roughly $1,400/pr USD (converted from 999 Euro/pr), which would be a reasonable price for a very highly-resolved monitor with such high build-qualities as this. So the question remains … is EBTB’s Luna II just another pretty face? Or does it deliver the goods?
Srajan Ebaen of 6Moons.com lends his insight as he takes the Luna II from the comfy climes of Bulgaria to his listening-lab in Vaud, Switzerland: