- Design: 2-way vented-box. Frequency Response: 65Hz-40kHz. Sensitivity: 88dB/2.83V/1m.
- Impedance: 8 ohms (minimum 7.5 ohms). Power Requirement: 50-100W recommended.
- Tweeter: Purified aluminum ribbon tweeter with pleated structure.
- Woofer: 5.2″ polymer compound cone. Enclosure: MDF with real wood veneer.
- Loudspeaker Dimensions (HWD): 13.8″ X 7.4″ X 7.5″. Price: $650 pr.
The Eficion Ficion S20 is a two way high quality speaker system that Eficion sells as a surround speaker. Fortunately Eficion recently opened a showroom in the Redmond Town Center in Redmond Washington just a short 16 mile drive from my home and Peigen Jiang the owner and designer of Eficion loudspeakers was able to meet with me and supply a set speakers for evaluation. I initially went to visit Peigen and hear his incredible sounding Eficion Ficion F300s (which are worth a visit to his shop if you are anywhere near Redmond Washington) but I was impressed when I heard these little speakers so I decided to do a review for A$$A.
The $650.00 Eficion Ficion S20 is a small 13.8” H X 7.4”D X 7.5”W, front ported two way monitor consisting of an Aurum Cantus 4 inch aluminum ribbon tweeter and an Aurum Cantus 5.2 inch Polymer compound coned woofer. Sensitivity is rated 88 db for one watt at one meter, frequency response is rated at 65Hz – 40 Khz and impedance is nominally rated at 8 ohms. The crossover point is 2.5 Khz and power handling is rated at 100 watts. The speakers come in either Santos Rosewood veneer or Cherry Veneer. Internal wiring is all Teflon insulated Ohno, continuous casting cable and only top quality parts are used in the crossover. The fit and finish of the cherry veneer on my sample pair was quite nice, in fact you would be hard pressed to find a real wood veneer on any speaker at this price point. Additionally there is a set of high quality five way gold plated binding posts and a provision for wall mounting on the rear of the enclosure.
I did all of my listening to the Ficion S20s using a Krell KAV 400xi integrated amplifier and a Primare D30.2 CD Player. I am presently using Discovery Essence interconnects and Discovery Essential speaker cables. For the A, B speaker comparisons I used a pair of ProAc Tablette Reference Eight Signature Monitors or Infinity Primus 150s mounted on their Target lead and sand filled speaker stands. To start I set up all of the speakers equidistant to the listening position and toed in slightly 16 inches from the sidewalls and 48 inches from the rear wall. I mounted the S20s on a set of 23 inch high Plateau lead and sand filled speaker stands for the duration of my listening sessions in my 18’ X 15’ X 7.5’ listening room.
Listening Ficion S20
The Eficion Ficion S20s are good entry level monitor speakers, they image very well and when mounted correctly on stands they have surprising bass response. When initially comparing them to my ProAc monitors it was revealed that they were more efficient, a tad softer on top and not quite as extended in the bass. However the S20s are very refined, lacking the etched and harsh treble that most speakers under $1000.00 often exhibit. I placed Diana Krall’s jazz CD Love Scenes into the CD Player and played track 2 “Peel Me a Grape” to gain a reference. This CD is an intimate recording, just Krall on piano Russsell Malone on guitar and Christian McBride on bass. With this type of music you can really hear the differences between good and excellent speakers. The Ficion S20s simply sounded smooth and refined when compared to the Infinity Primus 150s I had on hand, Krall’s voice gained sensuality, texture and presence, Christion McBride’s bass sounded relatively full and musical especially for the size of the speaker. The Piano sounded clear and vibrant with especially good image stability. From upstairs in the living room it almost sounded if Diana and the boys were playing downstairs.
Next, I played track 6 “Ride Across the River” from the Dire Straits CD Brothers in Arms. There is a lot going on in this recording; percussive elements, keyboards, guitar, drums and bass. On poor sounding speakers many of the subtleties are lost and the sound becomes diffuse. You miss the insect noises, the drums and delicacies of the melody. The S20s did an admirable job of relaying the information imbedded in the recording, the midrange was detailed, clear and articulate. Knopfler’s guitar and vocals were extremely well portrayed within a large and wide soundstage. Compared to the larger Ficion F200 there is similar family sound, a richness of texture if you will that makes these speakers so satisfying to listen to. Of course the F200 sounds larger, much more detailed and refined but the S20 provides more than a glimpse of what high end sound is all about.
The first full length CD release on Verve from Melody Gardot, Worrisome Heart is a really wonderful sounding recording from this budding jazz vocalist. Although she is severely disabled due to a horrific traffic accident while riding her bike, she never ceases to amaze on this wonderful CD. The nicely recorded title track “Worrisome Heart” sounds warm, full and alluring. In Particular the intimate somewhat breathy Gardot is simply stunning. These little speakers do a great job relaying the subtleties of her voice with amazing detail, she sounds almost “there”. One of the things that quality monitors do with good recordings is almost disappear in the soundstage, and the Eficion Ficion S20 is no exception. Gardot’s voice is centrally placed with the layering of the supporting instruments in the depth behind her. The piano sounds as full and natural as you will hear on a speaker of this size and there is no clustering of instruments around the speaker positions as can happen with lesser designs.
This is a great little speaker system with excellent fit and finish when compared to other speakers in the price class! When partnered with a good quality source and amplification it sounds better than anything at this price point has a right to. Since it is designed with a front firing bass reflex port the S20 is very flexible and can be placed on wall or shelf in a pinch. To obtain maximum performance I would suggest stand mounting on a mass loaded rigid stand away from the side walls a foot or so and toed in towards the listening position. Although the bass response is augmented when the S20 is placed closer to the rear wall you will lose some depth of soundstage when they are placed too close. I found that in my room optimal balance was obtained when placing the S20 51 inches from the rear wall. I enjoyed my time with the Eficion Ficion S20 speakers, it has a balanced sound the will compliment any fine recording and genre of music. If you are just getting into this hobby the Ficion S20 is a great place to start!
- Audible Illusions Modulus 3A Preamplifier
- Cary AES Sixpac Mono Blocs
- Krell KAV 400xi Integrated Amplifier, Krell KPE Phono Preamplifer
- Primare D30.2 CD Player VPI HW19 MKIV Turntable Rega RB 600 Tonearm
- Benz Ruby 2 MC Phono Cartridge
- Eficion Ficion F200 Monitors
- ProAc Tablette Reference Eight Signature Monitors
- Discovery Essence Interconnects, Discovery Essential Speaker Cables
- Zebra Balanced Interconnects, Zebra ZC SP12SD Speaker Cables, Zebra ZC SP14DBI Speaker Cables
- Acoustic Zen El Nino Power Cord
- Synergistic Research Master Coupler Power Cord
- Grant Fidelity PC 1.5 Power Cord
from aﬀordableaudio, By Todd Arthur