Along those same lines the K1 is really in its element establishing a beat and keeping a listener’s toe tapping. And for that I have to credit the fortuitous arrival of The Beatles in Mono 14-LP box set (reviewed in this issue’s music section). The K1 and these marvelous reissues—cut from the original analog mastertapes, no digital finagling—seemed to have a natural affinity for one another. Perhaps it’s the K1’s British monitor roots, but there were moments during songs like “Blackbird” or “Mother Nature’s Son” that I felt like a fly on the wall of the control room at Abbey Road.
Although the K1 doesn’t always pull a full-Houdini and vanish into the soundstage such as, say, a classic like the ProAc Tablette, its image focus is still very good. On Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” from the 24-bit/96kHz file, the K1 preserves the distinct quality of the lower-level harmonies of Lindsey Buckingham and Christie McVie as they backup Stevie Nicks’ lead. There is just minor smearing of complex groupings of images, things that top-notch ribbons and beryllium tweeters can resolve all day. Still, back in the real world, the K1’s imaging is unashamedly solid.
Bass response is very good, actually excellent for a speaker whose height doesn’t even break the one-foot mark. It’s decidedly tuneful and well controlled, with a pleasing roundness and resonance. Extending into the fifty-cycle range isn’t peanuts for a speaker this size, and the K1 will give listeners more than a mere impression of soundstage information and timbral detail. There’s a little thickness in the 80–120Hz range, but it doesn’t cloud over the responsiveness and clarity of the mids; rather, it helps to anchor the stage, preserve dimensional cues, and make up in midbass authority for what the K1 lacks in the lowest octaves.
Epos is proud, and in my opinion justifiably so, about its implementation of its slotted port. It not only saves baffle space, but also allows high volumes of air to pass without overhang or the “chuffing” effects commonly found in conventional tube ports. The result, says Epos, is significantly improved low-frequency response and power-handling with minimal coloration from a relatively small driver and modest cabinet volume. Also to its credit the K1 mates smoothly with a good fast subwoofer like the REL S5 (review to come). If you want to really get down to fundamentals—the sort that a pair of big tom-toms deliver—a sub on the order of the REL is a must. More than adding extension, which it most assuredly does, the REL defines initial bass transients and timbre with greater clarity and color than the K1 or any small monitor can manage on its own.
The Epos K1 is one seriously classy little speaker with genuine sonic integrity. It sports many of the virtues that endear us to the finer, pricier two-way compacts, while minimizing the common shortcomings in its “blue plate special” price category. A hugely satisfying effort from Epos to say the least, and as you’ll read in the sidebar the story doesn’t end here. To be continued....
SPECS & PRICING
Type: Two-way bass-reflex, compact loudspeaker
Drivers: 25mm tweeter, 6" mid/bass
Frequency response: 51Hz–30kHz
Impedance: 4 ohms
Dimensions: 11.8" x 7.3" x 8.9"
Weight: 12 lbs.
108 Station Road
Great Neck, New York 11023
(516) 487 3663