When a hi-fi manufacturer teams up with one of the most well-known interior design distributors, Habitat, there is always something quite surprising. What purpose can a speaker serve if its main feature is to be pretty? This is exactly what we wanted to find out when listening to our favoutite lossless and lossy files on Elipson’s latest release – the Timber.
With its rustic name, Timber, which brings to mind North American lumberjacks, there hides a log-shaped speaker, the latest brainchild of designers Pierre Favresse for Habitat and Jean-Yves le Porcher for Elipson. This speaker hasn’t come about because of a crazy idea. Jean-Yves le Porcher is well known for his ?acoustic design’. He’s the figure behind famous models such as the Elipson Planet L and the Elipson Planet LW, as well as the new Utopia range from Focal.
The Elipson Timber speaker is an active model with one stereo analog input adapted to the size of a mini jack, a USB port for smartphones or tablets (iPad takes advantage of the intensity of the relayed current) and a Bluetooth A2DP controller, both compatible with any laptop computer, smartphone or Bluetooth tablet. Elipson has placed two 0.3 inches wideband drivers sealed in a bass-reflex enclosure. The MDF structure is covered with 3D acoustic fabric and its sides are finished off in natural walnut. The Class-D amplifier delivers 2×15 Watts, which is adequate.
What are its assets?
In terms of acoustics, the Elipson Timber relies on its air capacity, which delivers perfect low frequencies. Drivers benefit from a perfectly tuned bass-reflex enclosure, roughly 80 Hz, which isn’t particularly low but gives the sound a certain kick. There’s no point in trying to get 3 inch drivers to hit 50 Hz and it’s better to use them in a frequency range where they can produce sound without little interference.
The choice of wide band drivers is interesting as no passive crossover is required, which clearly benefits the transient phase.
Let’s be clear, the aim of the Elipson Timber is not to compete with floor-standing speakers, but the fact that its acoustic solutions go towards improving performance is to be congratulated. The two wide band drivers are sturdy and deliver well set-out mediums and a convincing yet discreet treble. This is no bad thing for a speaker whose aim is to reproduce compressed digital music files which often have a tendency to indulge in high frequencies.
Is it really easy to use?
Yes, as well as being a beautiful object, the Elipson Timber wireless speaker is easy to live with. It’s so easy to match it up with a smartphone or a tablet, you could even do it with your eyes closed. You just have to press the tactile metal button on the side ? or at the top of the speaker ? for the pairing diode to light up and be detectable. Then follows a short ?beep?. You can then use the integrated audio player to stream MP3 music files.
Is the Timber musical’
It’s not audiophile, but it’s very pleasant to listen to, particularly with Internet radio streaming or acoustic music. We wondered if this Elipson Timber hadn’t been calibrated for jazz. The natural efficiency of its drivers in the low-medium and medium add to the overall enhanced sound of string and wind instruments.
Is the analog input any good’
During testing, it didn’t seem to be as good as the Bluetooth connection. We connected a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. We had to give it a try, didn’t we? Connected to our faithful audiophile network player the Pioneer N-50, the Elipson Timber offers something different and reveals itself to be highly satisfactory, especially with FLAC files. Listeners wishing to benefit from optimal listening quality will be able to connect a small DAC to the Elipson Timber.
Would it not be better with WiFi?
We wondered if the choice of Bluetooth technology was the best choice as a WiFi controller would have provided other opportunities, as much practical as qualitative. Elipson has gained in quality by integrating WiFi. The speaker would have lost out in terms of ease of use. Almost everyone can link up a Bluetooth device.
Why buy it?
Above all, for its aesthetic qualities, the Elipson Timber is appealing. It produces a clear sound, which is balanced for a small living room or for a close-up listening in a large listening area. This speaker is undoubtedly aesthetically pleasing and does exactly what is expected of it. Not bad, don’t you think?