An Epique Tale Is Spun

The story of how the Epique CBT24 came to be was unlike any other at the show.

The tale beguns underwater, where the U.S. Navy was trying to get a consistently coherent signal out of semi-spherical communications equipment. The answer was something called a constant beamwidth transducer. Fast forward some years and designer Don Keele Jr. has turned the now declassified research into the CBT24.

The arc-shaped speaker, an echo of the semi-spherical naval communications gear, divides its twenty-four 2.5-inch full-range drivers into three driver banks, each one receiving a different "shading" or attenuation to achieve even coverage. Walk around the room and there is virtually no change in the musically coherent tonal balance.

Why does such a remarkable (not to mention large) speaker sell for just $1500/pair? Because the company behind the Epique brand is Parts Express, also known for its affordable Dayton amps. In fact, buy the product as a kit and the price goes down to $900/pair.

But the speaker does require a saddle-shaped equalization curve and the EQ hardware is not built in. The demo used Dayton's miniDSP, which adds $205 to the price. You can also use the high- and low-pass filters in a surround processor or receiver. Though the little drivers are said to reach down to 45 Hz, they do benefit from a sub, which in this case was Dayton's 15-inch Ultimax ($150 for passive version, a little more with amp).