ECOBOX GRAAL SPEAKERS REVIEW


Ecobox Graal speakers might not ring the bell instantly, but I’m sure that you’ll instantly recall their unique Daydream or A Priori speakers, that feature a quite unusual design and patented fusion between the Dipol and Ripol concepts.

Many of you asked me to write about sensitive, full-range speakers if possible and when I was contacted by the company, their Graal full-range, one-driver speakers quickly filled most of the check out boxes.

We arranged for a review and quickly after Graal speakers arrived for the evaluation.

ECOBOX 

Exobox is a boutique, high-end loudspeakers, and power amplifiers manufacturer, based in Bulgaria.

They’re most highly passionate about pure and realistic sound performance and in their pursuit for perfection they’ve come across of quite an unorthodox approach, that combines unconventional speaker design technologies, such as  DiPol and RiPol.

This allowed Ecobox to achieve stand-out results both in sound quality and aesthetics. Exobox team is a firm believer in unaltered sonic performance, that can intimately mimic the original message in a way that it was intended to perceive. They feel how nothing should be lost in the translation and the original artist’s message shouldn’t be altered in any way.

Ecobox designs its products from the ground up to convert both the music’s information and energy with full potency.

As a few contemporary high-end audio brands, Ecobox strives also to be (as the name suggests) not only ear, by also eco-friendly. All of their products are manufactured with natural, recycled or recyclable materials, thus reducing the negative influence on our surroundings in the best possible way.

Ecobox writes: “Our products are the result of an uncompromising engineering, stylish industrial design, and the finest craftsmanship. They are built to respond to the requirements of the most refined music lovers. Our products are custom-made upon request in order to suit the specific desires of each client. They are made to fit not only your audiophile but your visual aesthetics as well. Our products are hand-made in Bulgaria, with extreme attention to each detail. They accumulate not just our experience and know-how but the passion for audio and strive for perfection.”

THE HOLY GRAAL?

Let us see what makes Ecobox full range speakers uniquely different and interesting. Graal loudspeakers are the latest addition to the Ecobox’s high-end audio speakers portfolio. They are compact, full-range speakers that employ a single, Ecobox’s own proprietary driver.

An impressive frequency range
A product of four-year R&D, EB-02FR driver, provides an impressive frequency range going down to 35Hz and reaching as high as 20kHz. Graal loudspeakers cover almost the complete frequency spectrum without the interferences and imprints of a crossover and in absence of impedance correction. From the very begging, the Graal speakers were planned to deliver a delightful listening experience from the lowest up to the highest note. 
Mid-range clarity and enhanced low-frequency response
The full range speakers act as a point source. They reproduce sound in a natural way, namely, delivering the whole spectrum of frequencies from a single source. In this way, they provide a more precise articulation of sounds, better detailing, and more clear and presentable mid-range. Also, an enhanced low-frequency response is ensured by the transmission line design of the cabinet. This approach helps to deal with the undesired resonances while streamlining the speaker’s energy.

Greater dynamics on higher listening levels

Being full-range speakers, Graals give quality and detail in the mid-level tones, which are typical for this design. What sets them apart from the other full rangers is their ability to handle more power and produce more dynamics on higher listening levels. They play smoothly and with the same ease, both a gentle, woman jazz vocals and a dubstep track. Even hardcore metal is no stranger to the Graals…

Custom-made finish

Keeping aline to the brand name, Ecobox always strives to build its products with the environment in mind. Graal full-range loudspeakers closely follow this philosophy. Their sturdy enclosure is made of 17mm recycled high pressurized paper panels. And just like all of the Ecobox products, they are made upon customer’s request with variations of natural veneer or all possible RAL/Pantone colors in matt and gloss finish.

THE MUSIC 

One of my all-time favorite tracks from a very unusual collaboration between Steve Reich and Pat Metheny is “Electric Counterpoint, for electric guitar, bass guitar & tape: Fast” from album Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint. It’s minimalism at it’s best with recognizing Reich pulsing composing style, that subtly expands and breath with its own pace.

There is so much going on to call upon when it comes to the critical judging. I love the multilayering and pace that is never an easy affair for any loudspeakers. Yet, Ecobox Graals have shown beautifully rendered guitars and channel separation as well as slightly off-beat rhythm pulsation impressively well. At around 0.43 into the track, the bass adds another dimension of sonic covering that calls for a bit step-up ability to fully expand. This is where the full-range driver can show its virtues with horizontal and vertical separation. With usual dynamic, boxed speakers the sound is easily trapped in the box and struggle to expand into the listening space. Graal speakers allowed the allocation of dubbed guitars with unexpected ease.

Another  Pat Metheny’s timeless classic, that is in my favorites folder is cover of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” from the album The well – What’s It All About. Here it’s all about the splendid micro and microdynamics. Lots of hidden beauty is ready to unveil within a properly balanced system and most importantly with the speakers that can sketch essentiality without push forward presentation. A sole guitar recording can too quickly become too dense or congested, lacking the ability to offer enough mid-band weight.

Graal’s advantage of single point sonic output formed a well-established guitar grip and more than a healthy projection of midrange accumulation. Certainly, way about it’s given price point and very different from what’s called the usual norm.

Another The Beatles’ cover that is more than meaningful is “Come Together” allocated on Wood album by Brian Bromberg. This solo flight track with solely double bass encompasses grand energetic delivery without bypassing musical expression.

Ecobox Graal speakers’ tonal warmth allowed denser treble projection without the stick-out, push forward effect; thus more believable rendition of the double bass.

With Ecobox’s full-rangers we cannot really talk about the increased saturation level, as this would translate to the propensities of the parametric equalizer. On contrary… The Graal speakers enroll a richer, more vivid presentation without sonic manipulation, clearly avoiding the the fatigue!

While the dynamic impact of “Chopper” from the album The Hunt For Red October composed by Basil Poledouris calls of gargantuan dynamic ability and the bigger scale speakers, Ecobox Graal speakers still managed to deliver quite a hefty portion of the drama without collapsing and letting the soundscape fall apart. With soundtracks its always about the dramatic impact and sense of suspense that is achieved in one way or another, but never lacking the dynamism. Graal ability to carry contrasting dynamic perspectives is no small feature, especially considering its sheer size. Quite a treat!

With Ecobox Graal the lower register foundation of Bob Marley & the Wailers, Bob Marley’s “High Tide or Low Tide” from the album Catch A Fire threw a remarkable punch even in absence of larger speakers’ physical size. I surely didn’t expect such a substantial formation. Of course we’re not talking about the submarine depths, but a healthy, non-compromised note to note bass delivery. And Graal speakers ensured a plentiful of objective low-level base.

Simply wonderful “You Can Call Me Al (Demo)” instrumental versions found on the Paul Simon’s Graceland (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) calls for another form of dynamism. This additional extra material demo track shows how this iconic pop hit was forged. The Carribean vibe with sort of fast-paced Regge rhythm floats with sort of Ali Farka Touré compulsive throbbing. Ecobox’s ability to present sprawling narrative was instantly captivating. It was highly fulfilling to receive such drive from relatively small size. The impact was encouragingly impressive to say at least.

CONCLUSION

It’s not exactly clear why Ecobox has choose  the Graal name for their full-range speaker mode. One of the meanings reflects an archaic spelling of holy grail. Perhaps naming is connected with seeking of the audiophile Grail. One driver, full range principle does fit such description of pursing the uncluttered sonic purity.

Ecobox’s EB-02FR driver is without a doubt the very epicenter, that whole Graal speakers were built around. It took more than four years of R&D to achieve the desired result and the outcome is certainly something very distini. 
The ease of Graal’s sonic delivery is not something you stumble upon too frequently. Ecobox Graal provides almost a full frequency range, delivering the full scope that extend from 35Hz to 20kHz. There is something highly appealing about the single, full-range driver based speakers. It’s all about the immediacy and absence of either frequency bumps or the phenomena of hearing separate speakers’ drivers instead of wholesome music presentation. 
Like it or not, any order of the crossover introduces some of the particularities and peculiarities. Graal speakers brought back some of the positive memories (25+ years ago) of the time I’ve experimented with single-driver speakers and different enclosures. This also recalled my craziness and affection with the 300B tubes, but that might be a story worthy of a lengthy essay :). Anyhow, the Graals have triggered the right emotional impression! 
Ecobox Graal speakers radiate with an Art Deco feel. Especially the review veneered version with brass parts project an understated elegance. 
Their design simplicity encapsulates something substantially captivating. Most of the typical, English school box-shaped speakers can too quickly fall into boring labeling. Not the Graals. They do captivate the mind and the heart.
The Graal managed to an impressive and lasting sonic impression as well as pleasant aesthetics appeal. Yes, somehow Ecobox epitomize classical elegance. Unlike many speakers, Graals doesn’t grab unwanted attention. They provide enough of cleverly thought-out aesthetic cues for the objective solitude-standing.
Price-performance wise Ecobox Graal speakers value is well balanced. They are not cheap, but also they’re not expensive by the present general high-end audio pricing structure. 
The level of clarity and efficacy allows them to deliver sonic empowerment, which provide  uncomplicated matching with a wide array of amplifiers. 4Ω nominal impedance certainly won’t grant the matching of the ultra lowest power output. Still, the owners of SET and pure Class A solid-state amps should find a happy match with the Graal speakers. With reasonable watts, Ecobox full-range speakers provide easy lock and load without loosing the essence even when played very loud. This alone sets them apart from most of the competition. 
Graal speakers will certainly benefit from simple amp design following the brand’s philosophy of simplicity. Ecobox’s full range speakers were designed from the ground up for the pure, uncluttered music delivery 
Yes, the simplest designs feel most appropriate for these Bulgarian speakers. Not because of failing of being served the proper music delivery by the complex amps’ designed, but simply because they are built around pure simplicity in mind. 
This alone sets them apart from most of the competition. 
Ecobox comes with a greater ability to disappear and the soundstage that can extend well beyond the expected guidelines. The expanse is somehow determined by positioning, but even in a smaller space they can easily escape the physical constraints of the surrounding space. 
In its strictest form audiophiles tend to demand maximal technical functionality. Yet; by overlooking the potency of original music DNA, the music simply fails to ignite our inner clockings. Most of the music lovers undoubtedly seek that unmistaken touch, that revives and charges us with all the right pieces of information that feels real and project a believable illusion. 
It’s not exactly easy to bypass the sense and provide an instant exuberant music impact instead of paralysis by analysis. And Ecobox Graal speakers are a surprising antidote to the vast array of clinically sounding speakers on the market.   
Ecobox Graal speakers make music listening an instant joyful affair, with a refreshing immediacy and lock and load appeal that cuts through all the layers of the logical defense system. In absence of mechanical imprint, the music can come alive and when partnered with a matching electronics and Ecobox Graal speakers are capable of revealing the music as a true harmonic whole instead of creating so often heard, dissecting sonic chaos!•

Matej Isak

PRICE

– 4990 euro per pair (VAT excluded)

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Sensitivity: 96dB/1V/1m                  
  • Nominal impedance: 4Ω  
  • Frequency response: 35Hz – 20kHz by 0, -3dB,
  • Max power handling: 90W 

Dimensions​

  • Height: 985 mm
  • Width: 246 mm
  • Depth: 336 mm
  • Weight (per pcs): 34 kg
  • Transport weight: 44 kg

CONTACT

ECOBOX
Sofia
Bulgaria

Web: www.ecobox.zone
Email: ecoboxfidelity@gmail.com