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Eficion F300 Speaker Review

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Configuration and Set-up – Round 2

With room issues out of the way, I assembled a reference system that enabled the Eficion F300’s to truly shine. This included the Pass Labs X350.5 amplifier, the Pass Labs XP-20 preamplifier, (you will read about the XP-20 on these pages in the coming months), Zesto Audio Andros PS1 phono stage, Merrill-Williams R.E.A.L. 101 / Ortofon TA-110 / Accuphase AC-3 record playback system, Aural Symphonics Magic Gem v2t power cords, and TRS Audio Pure Note Designer’s Edition interconnects and speaker cables. The Pass Labs XP-20 and Zesto Audio phono stage both proved to be necessary ingredients in the final system as they offered significant improvement over my reference components, as the Eficion F300’s demonstrated time and time again throughout the review period.

The Sound

Eficion F300

The Eficion F300’s offer a far different sound and audiophile experience from that of my full range electrostatics. First of all, the sonic images the F300’s create are properly sized, large and small. Unlike the case with the CLS’, singer’s mouths are not three feet wide, nor are acoustic guitars five feet tall. On solo work especially, the images portrayed by the Eficion F300’s were, quite simply, far more believable. One of the main reasons I have held onto the CLS 2z’s for so long is the fact that as a single-driver full-range (almost) speaker, their top-to-bottom coherency has few, if any, peers.

Well, here again the Eficion F300’s were a complete surprise. The 2-way, 3-driver top unit has that level of coherency. In fact, I would have to commend the speaker’s designer, Peigen Jiang for the extraordinary results in driver matching. The cone mid / mid-bass unit crosses over seamlessly to the air motion transformer and rear-firing ribbon. With the air motion transformer coming into action at 1300 Hz, and going onward and upward to well beyond the human hearing range, it is responsible for much of what is heard and that certainly is a good thing. Not only are the highs very finely detailed, but they are delivered with bite, speed, delicacy, and this uncanny unbroken smoothness and consistency that even electrostatics cannot match. The additional high frequency extension beyond that of which the CLS’ are capable, enables the Eficion to outclass my beloved CLS’ on most every piece of music I played throughout the review period. It enabled live recordings to be more alive, and also enabled intimate recordings to be more intimate albeit within a larger defined space.

When playing some of my favorite classic rock albums and even some jazz-rock, some notable observations emerged. The Eficion F300’s are incredibly dynamic and can play about as loudly as any speaker I have ever heard, and that includes even some horn speakers. They also play this loudly without getting the prodigious Pass Labs X350.5 barely above idling temperatures. In fact, the Eficion F300’s seemed far more efficient than their 89 dB/1meter/1 watt sensitivity rating would suggest. For reference, the efficiency rating of the CLS’ is 86 dB.

While the Eficion F300 has outstanding spectral coherency, from about say 200 Hz and upward, such is not quite the case below that. On some recordings I noticed a small suck-out located somewhere at or just above the woofer’s crossover point. The top portion of the F300 actually has a tuned port that is plugged up with a rubber puck. I experimented with removing this puck to see if this condition would improve. I determined fairly quickly that while the speaker’s overall balance did change some and perhaps in a way that would favor playback of rock recordings, I definitely preferred having the ports sealed up.

As far as deep bass performance is concerned, the quality of the bass was absolutely stellar and definitely up to the task with keeping up with the speed of the rest of the speaker, but I found it somewhat lacking in the lowest registers despite the speakers’ prodigious size. This observation may be more a function of the room and not entirely the speaker. I have been spoiled for many years by a pair of very fast and detailed active Martin Logan subwoofers that can be pushed to deliver the goods in just about any room environment.

The performance of the Eficion F300’s was such that I depended almost entirely on my analog rig as the source; since it happened to offer the very best my system was capable of delivering due to notable enhancements that occurred during this review period. In fact, Mr. Peigen Jiang himself suggested, nay insisted, on reference quality source for this review process. This is a man who is truly passionate about his work and equally passionate about how his speakers perform in various environments. He even suggested sending me his own equipment if I continued to have bass issues! This is not something special he was offering up to a reviewer. As it turns out, this is the level of passion and service he provides to people that express interest in auditioning his speakers in a home environment, as he indicated that his amplifier was already loaned to a potential customer. I commend him for having that level of enthusiasm and for believing so much in his product. I assured him that I was definitely good to go now that the environmental issues were taken care of.

The music I played during this review period ranged from Neil Young, Patti Smith, Adele, and Cat Stevens, to some “prog” such as Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, just to name a few. I also played some original Sheffield’s such as the original Pressure Cooker and James Newton Howard and Friends, some jazz, such as a couple of LA4 LP’s and a live Pat Metheny LP, for instance, and even a couple of classical LP’s (normally not my thing) from the Telarc and Mobile Fidelity catalog, and some “alternative” stuff like PIL, Talking Heads, Ramones, Jonathan Richman, etc. The take away in the raft of notes that I amassed over this period is simple. The Eficion F300’s are definitely not a “single genre” speaker. They are fully engaging and enjoyable regardless of what is played. They play loud, very loud exactly when they need to; and they do so without ever hinting at loss of composure or strain; the fact that they do this so cleanly and so matter-of-factly without seriously altering the emotion and power of a piece of music, enables them to be remarkably engaging. Where they clearly excel well beyond any panel speaker and certainly over that of an electrostatic such as the Martin Logan CLS, is how they are able to provide a fully engaging sound at low volumes without the loss of detail or micro dynamics. This is extraordinarily hard to pull off and few speakers and systems manage to do it well. This system does it very well.

In full disclosure, I must admit that the exemplary sound I was getting from this system was not only as a direct result of the superb Eficion F300’s, but also due to the transformation that had taken place during this period through insertion of the Zesto Audio Andros PS1 phono stage the Merrill-Williams R.E.A.L. 101 setup, and the Pass Labs XP-20 linestage. You will definitely read more about these pieces in future essays.

In Summary

Once settled into my environment, the Eficion F300 impressed the heck out of me. In fact on many occasions throughout the evaluation period, they had me thinking long and hard about reevaluating my love affair with the CLS’. There are few speakers that get me to that point. With an MSRP of $16,900, I opine that the Eficion F300’s are in a very strong position at that price. There, of course, is no perfect speaker. The speaker is a system’s voice and as such it is a highly personal decision when putting together a system. That said, it did not take much deliberation at all to come to the conclusion that despite the undeniable strengths of my beloved CLS IIz’s and their absolute accuracy, the Eficion F300’s were simply more engaging. They offer the opportunity of bringing you closer to a performance than any electrostatic I have heard. While it will be an economic struggle for me to continue this musically-drunken binge, I have opted to buy my review samples. The Eficion F300’s are my new reference.

I have to commend Peigen Jiang for his outstanding effort in the F300’s. They definitely sang and won my heart as few speakers have been able to do in recent memory.

3 Responses to Eficion F300 Speaker Review


  1. We are the New Zealand distributor for Eficion loudspeakers and I must say how impressed we are with the F300 loudspeaker. I think your review has captured & explained the Eficion F300 loudspeaker very well. I am very pleased you also decided to buy your review pair, this action in itself helps backs up your very positive review. The Eficion F300 is one of our reference loudspeakers at Parmenter Sound and we would like to recommend this loudspeaker very highly as one that can play all music genres with wonderful dynamics and finesse. Thanks for your excellent review. From Jason Parmenter.

  2. Ray Seda says:

    Jason,
    Thank you for your kind comments. Indeed, now one year later I have no regrets with my purchase. In fact, I have managed to continue to learn ways to optimize the F300’s sound in my particular environment. So in essence, I am even more impressed with this speaker now than when I wrote the review. You’ll want to look out for my review of the F300M satellites. It should be published sometime in the near future.

    Cheers,
    Ray

  3. chris says:

    I have been a high-end, reference kind of guy for 25+ years.I have owned tons of speakers, all big namers. Prices range from $5000 to $130,000 wilsons and JM Labs. I thought the Vandersteen model 7 was my speaker of choice, never to be bested. My Great God in Heaven, when I bought my f300s on a quick sale, if I didn’t like them, I had a buyer lined up before I bought them. This was not too be. I can speak of the pro’s concerning these wonderful speakers for a day and twenty but, the most beneficial means to give a loud yell, concerning these beautiful piano black singers , is to simply say: these are the best performing speakers both for movies and my Sweet Lord, for music reproduction I have ever heard to date. The F300 have no equal. The best of the best. Also, the designer of these speakers, is a wonderful person. This man is kind, humble and ever helpful to offer assistance, Christopher

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