Earthquake Sound Titan Telesto Speaker System

Earthquake Sound's origins are deep in the world of 12-volt (that's car stereo to you and me), where they take their bass, and their SPLs, very seriously. So while I was a bit dismayed by the size of the carefully shrink-wrapped pallet that its Titan Telesto-based speaker system arrived on - it could easily have contained a whole-house stand-by-generator - I was not particularly surprised. Most of the bulk was accounted for by Earthquake's Titan Telesto towers, and its massive Supernova MKVI-15 subwoofer, a dual-15 monster about the size of a four-ton central-air compressor.

Earthquake's suite incorporates a number of interesting design elements. The Telesto towers include both a horn/waveguide-loaded tweeter (the pointy thing near the top) and a pod-mounted "super-tweeter" that only conveys frequencies above 10 kHz, as well as side-firing woofers. The slim PN-4421 center-channel speaker, from Earthquake's Platine Noirée line, houses unusual over-under dual tweeters (a design that should deliver a tight vertical-dispersion pattern at high frequencies, reducing "bounce" off floor or ceiling) along with four mid-woofers. Even more uncommon, it has a top-mounted 10-inch passive radiator to extend output (image below). The PN-2421 surrounds qualify as the conventional member of the family: dual-2-way "dipoles" (more on that later) in the familiar truncated-cheese-wedge shape.

SETUP

All of this stuff comes in beautifully finished, gloss piano black. Setup was an aerobic workout in itself, but proceeded without any trips to the osteopath. All of the Earthquakes supply metal multiway binding posts, and all but the surrounds provide dual sets for bi-wiring or biamping.

With the Titan Telesto towers in my usual front-speaker positions and my preamp set for full-range stereo output, my initial impression was of a powerfully capable speaker with, frankly, too much woofer output: On typical pop-music recordings, its bass sounded almost overpoweringly full and warm. Convinced that this couldn't be what the designers had been shooting for, I began experimenting, and found that two factors utterly transformed the Earthquake towers' sound. First, I pulled them further out until nearly 6 feet separated their front baffles from the front wall. Second, I adjusted the Telestos' rear spiked feet so as to eliminate their slight back-tilt and even tilt them forward by several degrees.

The first move obviously smoothed bass response in my room, eliminating what must have been a nasty wall "bounce" in the 60-Hz region; the second adjustment aimed the towers' treble output much more directly at seated ear level. This proved quite critical, since the Telesto's horn loaded tweeter, which, like most any high-frequency horn, appears to have fairly tight dispersion, is nearly 46 inches above the floor - nearly a foot higher than the typical "seated-ear-height" assumed by most speaker designers.

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