Sugg. Retail: $2200 pr CA, $1500 US
Matching Stands $650/$450
Size: 17 1/2″H x 9″W x 11 3/4″D
Manufacturer: Audio Products International Corp.,
3641 McNicholl Ave., Scarbrorough,
Ontario, M1X 1G5
(416) 321-1800 FAX 321-1500
(Reprinted from the Almanac 2001 Audio Ideas Guide)
It’s been some years since the first Energy Veritas models appeared, the v1.8 and the larger v2.8. At the time these represented what designer John Tchilinguirian knew about loudspeakers, and were widely hailed for their accuracy and musicality. The former have been my reference since then, so it was of considerable interest to have the first of a new Veritas series come into my listening room.
The 2.2 is a very unusual bookshelf 3-way design. The only other such beast I can recall was from ADS in its glory days. In this new Veritas a similar midrange/tweeter module to the original is employed, though it now contains a 2″ midrange dome (the original was 3″), and like the tweeter it’s made of an aluminum alloy. I’ve always liked dome midranges because they are driven at the periphery by a large voice coil, and are therefore inherently free of diaphragm breakup, and so exhibit very low distortion and can be driven cleanly to much higher levels than a cone driver. This gives the speakers greater dynamic range. The 2″ dome can be crossed over at a higher frequency than the 3″ one, and here it takes over at 550 Hz, and hands off to the tweeter at 2 kHz.
Much of the change in the Veritas series, however, has been made in the bass driver, which here is a 6″ aluminized polypropylene cone with a double voice coil system that makes it impossible for the cone to ever exceed its optimum magnetic gap. According to John, this reduces distortion at high levels by a factor of 10, because the diaphragm is always under control of the motor mechanism and the audio signal that drives it. As well, the driver is not only braced to the cabinet from the rear, but also anchored by a steel rod that screws into the rear of the magnet and is bolted to the rear of the enclosure and tightened to it for extreme rigidity. And because the driver is capable of large excursions at low frequencies, it has been designed without a dustcap, but rather, with a conical phase plug at centre to ensure its freedom of movement; the phase plug is firmly glued to the magnet.
There are also refinements in the tweeter. Whereas the original Veritas high frequency driver was mounted in the teardrop-shaped module on a flat surface, the new one is mildly horn loaded to minimize diffraction.
The look of the 2.2 is elegant, with a sleek cherry finish on the enclosure and matching stand sides with glossy black baffle and rear panels. The curved top plate is reminiscent of the Paradigm Reference models, something that surprises me a bit…the sincerest form of flattery? Who knows.
This Veritas is bi-wirable, with very luxurious-looking gold-plated connectors and a gold plaque denoting the special status of these speakers. There are credits to the complete design team, with all of their signatures. So you know who to call if something goes wrong.
The matching stands are, to my mind, a must, both very handsome and utilitarian. They bolt to the bottom of the speakers (with upward-pointed spikes), and can be sand or shot filled. As is, they are solid, and with the speakers weigh over 80 pounds.
The measurements of the new compact Veritas model were no big surprise, very flat and extended at both frequency extremes. The cabinet is rear-ported, so deep bass can be enhanced by corner placement, and it can be seen that the low end shelves below 60 Hz, with appreciable output at 30. There’s a minor peak just above 150 Hz, with a very smooth midrange, and a mild dip above 2 kHz. The tweeter, however, is very linear to almost 20 kHz, this seen in both the Pink Noise Sweep (PNS) and Summed Axial Response (SAR) curves and the quasi-anechoic just below. In the axial curves response can also be seen to exhibit great smoothness at 0 and 15o, with controlled directivity as one moves off axis. The close correlation of PNS and SAR measurements shows excellent design integrity, the 3 drivers playing in almost perfect harmony and coherence.
Thus it’s no surprise to look at a very smooth impedance curve that dips to 3 1/2 ohms at 200 Hz, and rises to 16 ohms in the midrange. The phase angle is quite smooth, varying by +/-40o or so. You’ll want current to drive this speaker, but it should give you back high accuracy, great dynamics for a small speaker, and effortless midrange power. And that’s pretty much what we heard from the v2.2. Compared to the v1.8 the v2.2 sounds, in general, a little more present, a theme I’ll come back to below. Bass extension and clarity were outstanding, the 6″ woofers able to move quickly, and powerfully, providing articulate bass down into the 30-Hz region. Piano was outstanding, as was orchestral music. This speaker has an ability to provide a great deal of texture and nuance, revealing things that others don’t.
I did note a mild midrange coloration that popped out every time I switched from the old Veritas to the new. It was a slightly cuppy quality in the upper midrange that I think can be seen in the quasi-anechoic and axial measurements at 0 and 15o off axis in the octave from 5 to 10 kHz. It’s about 2 dB too hot for my taste, and this is most visible in the quasi-anechoic curve. Though the measurements add up to be very flat in the SAR, it’s because the farther off-axis ones tend to be more rolled off because of the speaker’s relatively controlled directivity. And that suggests the v2.2 may have just a little too much of a good thing on axis.
Aside from this complaint (and I should note that as owner of v1.8s I’m especially sensitive to differences in tonal balance from it), this is just about the best bookshelf speaker I’ve heard. It does dynamics and bass like a big speaker, has extremely low distortion in the midrange and bass, and a very sweet top end that few other dynamic speakers can manage. The drivers, all three of them, are also extremely fast, providing pretty much the best transient response I’ve heard from cones.
Imaging is superb, with great depth, but this has always been a Veritas trademark. These speakers have soundstage on the soundstage…if only they could make Roy Thomson Hall sound this real, I’d renew my Toronto Symphony seats! The smoothness of the tweeter above 10 kHz may account for some of the air and openness of the sound at high frequencies, and if it were tamed just a hair in the octave below, this would just about be your perfect dynamic loudspeaker. Of course, the same effect could be achieved by sitting back a metre when listening. As it is, the Energy Veritas v2.2 is a remarkable achievement in a compact sized loudspeaker that firmly establishes the credentials of Veritas, gen two.