In Greek mythology, Lysithea was a daughter of Oceanus and one of Zeus’s lovers. In astronomy, Lysithea is a satellite of Jupiter that was discovered by Seth Barnes Nicholson in 1938 at Mount Wilson Observatory. In high-end audio, Lysithea is a great-looking three-way loudspeaker manufactured by the Italian company, Eventus Audio.
When I found out I was going to get these speakers for review I did some preliminary research on the Lysithea’s specifications, as well on Eventus Audio. In Chicago-speak, “da following” is “da facts”:
Speaker Type: Bass reflex
Woofer: Carbon fiber cone 7,5″
Midrange: Carbon fiber cone 5″
Tweeter: Ring radiator
Crossover: 3-way, elastically fixed
Frequency Response: 30 Hz – 45kHz.
Sensitivity: 89db at 1W/1m
Power: 30 – 300 Watts (RMS)
Dimensions: 41(H) x 12(W) x 21(D) (inch)
Weight: 99 lbs (45 kg) ea.
The crossover typology comes from the Eventus Audio’s top-of-the-line Nebula. Eventus states that the Lysithea employs a modified version of Eventus’ patented Simulated Anechoic Cabinet Construction [SACC] technology, whose goal is to reduce cabinet vibration and internal reflections.
The Lysithea is a very attractive speaker. The overall design looks like a large stand-mounted monitor, but don’t be fooled.
The “stand” is composed of a black base on which is mounted a round, polished silver post that supports the weight of the speaker itself. The “stand” is non-removable. The crossover is located outside of the cabinet at the back of the loudspeaker, and is damp-mounted in a long sleek black housing that runs the vertical length from the top of the speaker to the bottom of the base. The speaker wire connectors are located at the back of the base, so you don’t have wire trailing down the way you would with other stand-mounted speakers.
The Lysithea is not small, but its sophisticated appearance and relatively modest size for this type of speaker makes it a very good choice for a living room/formal entertainment area. It’s quite deep at 21.3 inches but not very wide at 11.8 inches. The width and depth accommodate the side-firing woofers that are meant to point inward.
Thus, from the point of view of the listener, the speakers appear smaller than they actually are and present very clean sight lines. The style can be described as “modern” and has an elegant feel. In fact, I’d say that the Lysithea is one of the more attractive speakers I have seen. Several people who abhor speakers in a living room commented that the Lysitheas looked like very nice modern furniture.
My life was made very easy by the folks of Eventus Audio USA, located in Batavia, Illinois. They came over and carried the speakers into my house and set them up in the room where I was going to warm them up. Not that the Lysitheas are hard to move or position – quite the contrary. However, it was very nice to lounge around and watch someone else do the work.
The Lysitheas were originally placed in my family room and powered with the Pass Labs amplification system of the $20,000, X-600.5 monoblock amps and the $10,000, 3-chassis XO.2 preamp. The source was a David Schulte (The Upgrade Company) modded EMM Labs CDSA SACD player. Cabling was with Silver Audio Appassionata balanced interconnects, Tributaries interconnects and Monster original flat speaker cable, which had to go under a rug. The Power cords were by Silver Audio and Kimber Kable.
I let them play at a low level for a few days to make sure everything was properly warmed up. I did not do any serious listening that first week, but the sound was obviously very smooth, though it seemed a bit bass-shy when using the Pass amps and the Silver Audio interconnects.
In the interim, I received the Plinius Tautoro preamp and SA 201 power amp. I decided that I needed to break them in, so I substituted them for the Pass equipment. After a day or two, it became clear that the Plinius is an excellent match for the Lysithea, with a very smooth presentation, good dynamics and better bass. I’m not sure what there is in the synergy of those components, but they really worked well together, and my first serious listening session occurred with this combination.
This first serious listening session with the Lysitheas was quite unconventional.
We were scheduled to host a fundraiser in our home for the local symphony. The fundraiser’s theme was Hausmusik, with the performer being Leon Bates, one of America’s leading pianists. In addition to performing with the likes of the Vienna Symphony, the Strasbourg Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Atlanta Symphony, Mr. Bates is a tireless goodwill ambassador to schools and amateur symphonies, teaching students and helping raise funds. He was scheduled to play at our home on February 16th. The pieces were Edward MacDowell’s Sonata No.4 in E minor, Samuel Barber’s Nocturne and Ballade, Billy Strayhorn’s Chelsea Bridge, A Flower is a Lovesome Thing and Lush Life, George Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me and Louis Moreau Gottshalk’s Le Banjo.
We expected way more people than could fit in our living room, which is where the piano is situated. As a result, I asked for help from an acquaintance, John Born, who works for Shure Corporation setting up microphones for concerts. He miked the piano and set up wireless transmission to three sound systems located in three separate rooms in the house. One of the sound systems was the Eventus Lysithea/Plinius combination. Leone Bates put on a great performance, and I was able to walk into the living room to listen to him directly and then walk to the room where his performance was transmitted through the Lysitheas. The presentation by the Lysitheas was nothing short of top-caliber. Every note was presented with great tonality and dynamics. Listening in the “Lysithea Room” was every bit as satisfying as listening in the living room where you heard Leon Bates in person.
The day after the Leon Bates performance I went to phase 2 and moved the Lysithea/Plinius combination to my basement listening area. You may think that it is strange that I kept moving the Lysitheas into rooms other than my main dedicated listening room. I started that approach when I reviewed the Canton Vento Reference 7 speakers. I played them in three separate rooms with different components so I could evaluate their flexibility. I’ve done the same with my review of the YG Acoustics Kipod, and am doing the same with the Daedalus Audio Reference Series Ulysses speakers I currently have under review.
The Lysithea’s love affair with the Plinius components continued in my basement. Even though the listening area wasn’t very broad and the floors are ceramic tile, the Lysithea maintained its very smooth presentation. However, with the opportunity to play a wide variety of recorded music, I was able to discern another defining characteristic of the Lysithea: its dynamic prowess.
When listening to most “smooth” speakers I get the distinct impression that they lose something in dynamics. They don’t really make me jump when playing music that moves rapidly from quiet to explosive passages. That was not the case with the Lysithea. The Lysithea was always a very lively speaker regardless of the amplification I used. When paired with the Plinius equipment (and later with my main system equipment) the sound was smooth and rich, yet lively. The Lysithea also demonstrated that it sounds pretty good with lower powered “midfi” components. I connected it to my Denon AVR-1705 receiver and, although there was clearly a drop-off in the force and definition of the bass, the rest of the presentation remained very listenable and lively.
Moving to the Main Room
After two weeks in my basement listening room, I moved the Lysitheas into my main listening room. I won’t list everything, but it consists of a modified Esoteric P-70/D-70, MBL 5011 preamp, Electrocompaniet Nemo monoblock amps and B&W Nautilus 800D speakers. Cabling is all Silent Source Silver Signature cabling and power conditioning is Walker Velocitor on the front-end and preamp, and Audience Adept Response aR1p’s on each Nemo. (Audience Adept Response aR1p reviewed by Jack Roberts. –Ed)
The Eventus Audio Lysithea is not set up for biamping (which I don’t think it needs), so I only used 1 set of speaker cable to connect it to the Nemos, versus two sets on the B&W’s. Greg Onesti of Eventus USA originally suggested a straightforward setup with no toe-in, and that is how I started out, with the speakers about 8 feet apart. The soundstage was nice and wide, with excellent separation and depth. The characteristics I heard in previous listening sessions again manifested themselves: smooth, sophisticated sound with excellent dynamics. Played though my main system, the sound became richer, the bass acquired more force and body, and the top-end became more extended.
I have been used to a very strong center image in my main listening room, and I toe-in my B&W’s very substantially, pointing the tweeters nearly directly at my ears when in the main listening position. I decided to do the same with the Lysitheas. I placed them further apart (nearly 12 feet) and angled them to point directly at my ears. My center position became incredibly distinct, even more so than with my B&Ws. However, the placement of the bass instruments became a bit amorphous, so I moved the speakers slightly closer together and lessened the angle, pointing the tweeters to a spot about 6 inches to the side of each ear. I found that this was the positioning that I enjoyed the most. It produced a strong center image, a wide soundstage with very good depth (better than my B&Ws) and very good performer placement.
Compared to my B&W 800Ds, the Lysitheas were smoother, as dynamic, but with less really deep bass. I really enjoyed small combos, vocalists, flutes, violins and piano with the Eventus. These instruments can sound screechy even in very good systems, and they sounded like nothing but music through the Lysitheas. The sophisticated manner in which the Lysitheas presented these instruments was remarkable and very enjoyable. Jazz had the feel of a smoky jazz club. Symphonic music was a total treat, with the Lysitheas creating the ambiance of an orchestra in my living room.
The bass was surprisingly good from a 7.5-inch woofer, but it clearly can’t match the two 10-inch woofers of the 800Ds when compared on a side-by-side basis. However, I can truthfully say that I never thought about the bass when just listening to the Lysitheas. They presented an integrated, holistic sound that invited you to listen without judging individual characteristics. This included rock and roll, perhaps because most rock actually has very little deep bass. In any event, I didn’t notice it much except when I deliberately compared it to the bass of the B&Ws.
One More Round
A few days after I had disconnected the Lysitheas and reconnected my B&W 800Ds, I received my Lyngdorf RP-1 RoomPerfect digital room correction system (see review in May 2008 edition of Dagogo).
As I mentioned in my review of the RP-1, it took everything to a new level, particularly restoring bass that is negatively affected by my room; one visitor actually thought I had purchase a new set of B&W speakers. I loved the sound I was hearing and was very reluctant to make any change, but after a week I decided to reinsert the Lysitheas into my system. WOW! The Lysitheas benefitted tremendously from the RP-1’s room corrections. In particular, the bass improved very significantly. It still obviously couldn’t go as low as my 800Ds, but the foundation laid by the bass was now more realistic and impactful. I could also really hear the Lysitheas’ top-end extension, which was very extended yet very seductive, with no unrealistic glare. (Having the RP-1 makes me want to re-review some speakers I previously thought were shy at the extremes.) In any event, this experience clearly showed me that the Lysithea’s bass was better than I had originally thought and was being negatively affected by my room.
The Lysithea’s sound matches its elegant appearance. It is extremely smooth, natural and dynamic. This is a combination of primary characteristics that is just a tad rare. Many “dynamic” speakers lean a bit to the aggressive side, while some “smooth” speakers have trouble with really rockin’ music passages. Not so with the Lysithea. I don’t know if it’s the SACC technology, the selection of materials or something else, but the Lysithea is like James Bond – smooth, but not too polite. As for its appearance, I must say that I was very enamored with the Lysithea’s exquisite visual presentation and I would not hesitate to put these speakers into an elegant living room. If these qualities sound like what you are looking for, contact Greg Onesti and audition these speakers.
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