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Snap AV Episode ES-700-TWR Review

Aug 16, 2010 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin

An aesthetically pleasing loudspeaker for residential or high-end corporate environments.

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Snap AV Episode ES-700-TWR

On occasion, contractors and integrators worrking in commercial AV find themselves in need of loudspeakers that would be more likely found in a suburban home theater environment. Of course, some contractors do not limit their practice to just commercial or business-oriented clients; many specify audio and video technology to home¬owners in residential settings. But even in the commercial environment, there are certainly applications for attractive, furniture-quality loudspeakers—in particular, imagine an ultraposh urban office for an advertising executive, a stadim VIP suite, or an architecturally significant museum. For this type of application, high-quality traditional loudspeakers can be a better choice than in-wall or in-ceiling loudspeakers, largely for aesthetic reasons.

To serve this type of application, Snap AV offers the Episode ES-700-TWR, which is the tower version of the company's 700 series loudspeakers. I evaluated a pair and discovered a good-quality loudspeaker that is appropriately priced and hence a great choice for a contractor tasked with specifying an aesthetically pleasing traditional loudspeaker for either residential or upscale commercial applications.

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The loudspeaker is a little more than 12in. deep, 7.5in. wide, and 37in. tall. It is constructed of 3/4in. MDF, and it features substantial internal bracing. The purpose of the heavier construction is to arrive at a solid cabinet that does not resonate or otherwise suffer alterations to its shape or integrity. The loudspeaker weighs in at a little over 39lbs.—not super-heavy, but still a nice, solid foundation. The loudspeaker features a gorgeous glossy black finish that results from multiple applications of paint and clear coat—again, a very good choice for applications that call for a handsome loudspeaker to complement attractive furniture. Both rubber feet and spikes are delivered with the loudspeaker to facilitate use with virtually any kind of floor.

Topologically, the ES-700-TWR is a bi-ampable, dual-woofer, single-tweeter ported loudspeaker design. The woofers are 6.5in., with cones formed of a paper/Kevlar hybrid material and sporting a Nomex spider. Snap AV states in its specifications that these cones are created in a "multistep drying process" to arrive at a "natural, open-cell structure" for "well-damped, natural acoustical characteristics."

In my listening to these loudspeakers, I would describe the low end as solid, if a little uneven over the range of bass frequencies. I've heard plenty of woofers that wobble and flop away in a manner that doesn't bear a perfect resemblance to the input signal by any stretch. Fortunately, these loudspeakers do not exhibit the tubbiness that results from a lack of damping, something that's very important to my ear. The loud¬speakers exhibit a relatively long throw, enabling them to move a lot of air—an important attribute for a smaller woofer like this. The choice of two 6.5in. woofers versus one larger one contributes nicely to the aesthetics. Two 6.5in. woofers have nearly as much surface area as a single 10in. woofer. Large subwoofers connote high-power, high-volume, concert-level sound, which is not likely the intended visual imagery in the office or residential setting. Visually, I perceive loudspeakers with smaller woofers as delivering fidelity versus SPL, and I believe that most people subconsciously make this same connection. But on the other hand, to deliver a quality flat response, there must be sufficient low end, and the two 6.5in. woofers in the ES-700-TWR largely accomplish this, assisted by dual tapered, downward-firing ports.

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