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Eclipse TD-M1 review: These US$1300 wireless speakers excel as near-field monitors

Michael Brown | Nov. 19, 2014
There's a lot to like here, but the TD-M1 needs a more powerful amp and better bass repsonse to fully justify its lofty price tag.

Touch-sensitive controls on the right-hand base let you switch input sources and control the volume. There are both up/down buttons and a slider for the latter. A series of multi-colored LEDs below the controls tell you which input is active and the volume level when you adjust it (the volume indicators go out after a few seconds so they're not distracting).

Unless you enjoy deciphering hieroglyphics, download the complete user manual for these speakers before you set them up. The fold-out pamphlet that comes in the box is next to useless. You'll need to go to Fujitsu's website anyway to grab the USB driver that's required to use the system with a PC. You can use AirPlay in either Direct or Wi-Fi mode. Using the latter enables you to access music stored on other devices on your wireless network, while the former doesn't require you to have a Wi-Fi router at all.

Ears-on time
I tested the TD-M1 in AirPlay mode with a fifth-generation iPod touch (using AirPlay) and a Windows home-theater PC (using the USB connection and running the Media Monkey media player/organizer). AirPlay automatically converts any track you stream to Apple Lossless, but many of the tracks I listened using my iPod touch were already encoded that way because I sourced them from the Bowers & Wilkins' Society of Sound music service.

Cara Dillon's voice on "The Lass of Glenshee," from her Live at the Grand Opera House album, came across absolutely transparent. The speakers distinctly rendered the fiddle, flute, and acoustic guitar backing the folk singer.

But the reliance on such a small full-range driver, versus a woofer and tweeter linked to a crossover circuit, limits the system's bass response. When I switched to Peter Gabriel's cover of Talking Heads' "Listening Winds," from Gabriel's Scratch My Back album, I found that the system's performance lacked the acoustic foundation that the bass strings were there to provide.

As with the Dillon recording, Gabriel's voice and the strings and other instruments at higher frequencies came across beautifully, but I wanted to hear more at the bottom. I think a subwoofer would deliver that, but that's not currently an option with this system--and one worthy of pairing with it could easily double its price tag.

I was also mildly disappointed in the TD-M1's amplifier. The system couldn't quite fill my small home theater (12 feet wide, 16 feet deep, with a 9-foot ceiling), so quiet passages in classical music became so soft that I could barely hear them. I'm basing this complaint on the system's performance with another SoS recording: the London Symphony Orchestra's recording of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, directed by Bernard Haitink). My experience using the system as a USB audio device connected to my home-theater PC was no different.


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