Emerald Physics CS3 Loudspeaker

A better look at the CS3's open baffle design.

A better look at the CS3's open baffle design..

May 7, 2008 Premiering recently at AKFest 2009, Emerald Physics CS3 loudspeaker joins the acclaimed CS1 and CS2.3 as part of the company's unconventional line-up. Similar in concept to Tannoy’s Prestige range of speakers, the CS3 employs a 12 inch point source driver with a compression tweeter mounted in the center of the driver. This coaxial design is also far more efficient than conventional driver arrangements, making better use of your available amplifier power.

Despite having a lower price point than the CS1 and CS2.3 models, Emerald Physics says it hasn’t compromised on sound quality with the CS3. The drawback with the speaker's eye-catching baffle design is that you’ll get a lot of reflected sound emanating from the back of the speaker requiring the CS3 to use an external EQ/DSP unit. While this allows you to account for acoustical anomalies in the room, I’m always skeptical of speakers that require an external processor to sound “right.” Often the lack of bass (due to the lack of an enclosure) is artificially reproduced by the required EQ/DSP unit.

There’s also the matter of connection to an appropriate amplifier. Many amps on the market these days lack the dedicated stereo pre-out/pre-in that an external processor generally requires. But as with any speaker on the market, you really need to listen to them before you part with your hard earned money and consider how you’ll integrate them into your system.

Many manufacturers have had success (and a dedicated following) with speakers that stray from conventional design, requiring external processors. The Bose 901’s are a good example. Some 30 years on from the original design, the 901’s are still sought after. Given their striking looks, this may be exactly what Emerald Physics has created with the CS3.

A great example of creative design, and as much a conversation-starting piece of furniture as it is a speaker, the CS3 is available in a standard black wood finish for USD$2999. The optional mahogany, cherry or maple finish will set you back USD$3295.

Tim LeFevre

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