A new name to most readers, EB Acoustics is no relation to PMC (which lists an EB1i in its product portfolio), but is actually part of Worcester-based Arcaydis.

Unlike its parent company, the two EB Acoustics models are only available direct from the manufacturer, controversially bypassing the traditional dealer and his demo room and hence saving a significant chunk of money.

Essentially, it's a strategy to cope with the influence of the internet in boosting 'mail order' hi-fi sales. A 30-day money-back guarantee is offered, to cope with the uncertainty of buying 'deaf' (though you'll have to pay for the carriage!)

Sealed-box loading

Superficially a simple and relatively large two-way standmount of around 20 litres, the EB2 is beautifully finished and decorated in a natural oak real-wood veneer (or gloss-black oak).

The neat flush-mounted drivers include a 170mm bass/mid unit with a 110mm doped paper cone, while a 25mm fabric dome tweeter is loaded by a short horn. However, in two key respects the EB2 does differ significantly from the norm.

First, there's no reflex port. Instead this speaker uses sealed-box loading, which is not unknown, but is certainly very rare these days and has significant implications for the bass alignment and performance.

Sealed-box loading has (presumably) fallen out of favour because it absorbs rather than uses the sound radiated from the rear of the cone. And while the end result will have less peak bass output, it will also have a more gentle roll-off, with greater phase accuracy and ultimate extension.

Secondly, acknowledging that the enclosure is the most important part of a hi-fi speaker (its radiating surface area is much greater than the drive units), the box has a 12mm plywood carcase covered in a further 6mm of MDF beneath the veneer, with further internal bituminous pad panel damping.

Behind the scenes EB Acoustics doesn't provide much detail in its specifications, but its claim for an 87dB sensitivity rating looks about right. It's not a high figure, but it should be seen in the context of a very easy-to drive amplifier load, as well as fine bass extension.

The driver/box resonance is around 64Hz, and below this point output will roll off at 6dB/ octave, but room gain will provide good compensation, so that the ultimate in-room extension is a very respectable -8dB at 20Hz.

The overall tonal balance holds within +/-5dB right across the band, which is very impressive under in-room conditions. Apart from inevitable bass unevenness, plus a dip around 330Hz and a prominent zone 700-900Hz, the response is very flat, with no trace of a dip around the 2.3kHz crossover.

Forward character

In performance, it only took a few seconds to appreciate the influence of the two key features that we mentioned earlier. The bass is dry, quick and extended and cabinet coloration is particularly well controlled.

While the bass end is clean and extended, its dry nature and freedom from box coloration do tend to leave the upper mid and treble a little exposed.

The minor peak around 800Hz seen in the in-room measurements and the lack of a presence zone dip, helps to define a slightly forward overall character that delivers plenty of detail, but which can, unfortunately, become a little aggressive as the volume is increased.

Dynamic expression

Close-to-wall siting will boost the mid-bass, but also leaves output in the upper bass and lower midband rather lacking. Low (480mm) stands in free space gave the best bass alignment.

Dynamic expression is rather weak, but imaging is spacious and well focused, helped by the wide dynamic range. As a large standmount that reminds one of the value of serious enclosure engineering and sealed-box loading, the EB2 looks decent value. Its character might not suit those who like their music loud, but it's a real seducer at modest levels.

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