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Evett and Shaw Elan Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 March 2000
Article Index
Evett and Shaw Elan Loudspeakers
Page 2

The Music
I found most of my listening to the Evett and Shaw Elans is done at very low volume levels. During the day, while on the phone or in the office with my door open, I rarely have the chance to crank things up. The effect of soothing music during the day makes a marked improvement to the mood and flow of my day. I use the tempo and intensity of the music to motivate or calm me, depending on the situation. Coltrane and Mozart work well while writing and editing articles or speaking on the telephone, while Stevie Wonder and Van Halen serve well to get over those late afternoon doldrums.

The first time I had the chance to crank up my desktop system, I was working late and had Stevie Wonder’s Musiquarium Disc Two (Motown) in my Mac. I took an extra second to up the system level in the control panel of my computer and then pushed the volume to the max. On "Sir Duke," the ascending horn rift simply leaves the two-dimensional world of loudspeakers and moves into the three-dimensional realm of music. The decay time on the cymbals is right on, while the splashes are crisp and far beyond the physical limits of the loudspeakers.

In an ongoing search for a desktop adrenaline rush, I dropped in Van Halen’s 1984 CD (Warner Brothers) and left the volume pegged. On the intro to "Panama," you can hear Eddie’s legendary "brown sound" firmly planted on the left side of the soundstage, while the reverb and delay effects are clearly hard panned right. By the time Diamond David Lee Roth was done the first verse I was singing along. Did I mention that this system sits on my desk?

The Downside
The Evett and Shaw Elans and Flatte 50 make a very resolute playback system that can reveal a less than perfect eight-bit CD-ROM drive’s audio capabilities. Most built-in sound cards start off by creating a less than wonderful sound before you even get to a system capable only of reproducing what you feed it in a very accurate way. If you even take the plunge for the speakers, you will also want to consider an after-market soundcard. You may also contemplate skipping running the system through your computer altogether and opting for a CD changer or a high performance CD player. The addition of a subwoofer isn’t needed, as the Elans extend audible bass down to 55 Hz, but the sub does make a noticeable improvement in low-level detail, which is the system’s main reason for existing.

You will need to be careful how you assemble your desktop system to avoid AC power problems and hums. I had a hum until I rearranged my wiring to move an interconnect to avoid an AC power strip. I also found that using an outboard CD player helped avoid entangling cables in messy nests of desktop wires, which in turn helped avoid ground loops and hum.

I sit in a Relax The Back orthopedic chair and at a little shy of 6’3" tall, I found the initial height of the Elans on my desk to be far too low to get optimal imaging. I frequently stack two CD jewel cases under the front spikes of my Elans, greatly improving the imaging. Evett and Shaw should provide larger spikes as an option for taller users. Additionally, the lack of spike holders has caused me to scratch my new desk’s finish. At $2,200, Elans should also come with simple silver receptacles for their spikes. This would prevent you from attaching the Elans to your desk until you had your imaging down. Then, when you’re ready, you’d be able to save your best speaker location without ever damaging your desk.

Evett and Shaw Elans are not for everybody. If you love music and have a penchant for exotic toys, Elans will be hard to resist. They simply blow away any plastic injection-mold loudspeakers you can buy for your PC. The Elan is a statement of your dedication to and love of music. They bring joy to your personal work environment. The Elans are built to extreme levels of perfection and have the sonic performance to warrant their heavy price tag. If you love music and have sufficient discretionary income, you should consider purchasing of Evett and Shaw Elans as a dramatic lifestyle improvement.

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