Feniks Essence Speakers Review
Our reviewers are sometimes spoiled, and it's not just because they get to review cool hardware. While nice audio equipment is usually last on the list for most gamers looking for an upgrade, Dmitry doesn't need to worry. His ears are usually enveloped in the Sennheiser HD800s, which retail for $1,000 or more and are considered some of the best headphones in the world. Can his coddled ears be blown away by the Feniks Essence speaker set, which is available on Kickstarter and aims to be one of the best in world?
Feniks set out to creative a harmonic cohesion between speaker design and audio properties with the Essence speaker system, which was designed and produced in Switzerland. The compact pair are available in a variety of color combinations, with a metal exterior featuring a matte front surface and glossy sides. The modern design language looks sharp, while still being totally friendly to a computer desk or small space.
The main housing for the 4.5-inch drivers is elevated in order to create enough area for the bass port to breath. The design helps tremendously with the bass response, which is surprisingly deep for a speaker set of this size. The Essence set is active, with a 24bit 96kHz USB and TOSLINK DAC processing audio inside the speaker to guarantee the best quality for the digital pass.
All of the main inputs and outputs are on the right speaker, which also houses a power jack and a mini-XLR plug for the two-metre cable to the left channel. There is an Aux input, 3.5mm subwoofer and headphone jacks, asynchronous USB Type-B (with a cable included) and a TOSLINK optical jack. The speaker also has two buttons to switch between input and mode, which are color coordinated and sit beside the volume wheel. The volume wheel has a precise amount of resitance, allowing really fine adjustments that speak to the incredible build quality here.
Under the hood, the Essence speakers offer diverse usage scenarios as analog and digital signals work in parallel. If youíre running an analog signal it isnít convereted to digital, which is awesome because it allows true analog playback for turntables. You can also have your headphones plugged in, and just switch between inputs via the button without needing to re-plug things. The set surprisingly lacks a remore or mute function, but it seems like all the other bases are covered.
On to the sound. The speakers donít have to be too far apart to create fantastic stereo imaging. Having them a little over 1m apart is enough to create this audio projection that is right in front you. Left and right channels beautifully merge to create a cohesive delivery.
As for sound properties, we are hearing amazing clarity through the range. The way these handle volume increase reminded Dmitry of how the HD800 headphones handle extra amplification. You get louder output without any frequency disruptions. The bass region is wonderfully deep and controlled without spill, its not boomy in any way and the bass doesnít overpower. Itís there when needed to give power and skedaddles when unnecessary.
We have wonderful proessing for vocals, acoustic genere comes through with such reality, the high end region is well controlled without harshness but with superb clarity. Piano and classical were fantastic experiences.
Dmitry's musical tastes tend towards the electronic, with a good chunk of trance, EDM and house. The precise bass hits resonated well in his space and would be great even in a smaller room, creating not only drool-worthy imaging but filling the room with enough volume for the best clubbing experience outside a club.
Dmitry actually enjoyed these more than the HD800. They both share fantastic detail and frequency control, but the ESSENCE speakers have more body in the sound. They are not forgiving with lower quality files, which is understandable since their strength is in clarity and detail throughout the range.
The sound is so impressive that Dmitry actually wasn't able to discover any flaws, because the sound signature, especially coming from the HD800s, is exactly where he likes it. One one of the little rubber pads at the bottom did fall off during use, and that does throw off the balance of one of the speakers. Feniks are onto something with this focus on compact, active, powerful and clean speakers that would live on a standard desk to deliver an absolutely fantastic listening experience.
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