Everybody familiar with the ECLIPSE brand knows it first and foremost for its passive ergonomic domed/bullet style structure and single full-range driver design. The active TD-M1s are primarily designed to be used near-field: on a desk in the office, a kitchen counter etc. but equally, they can be used to fill bigger spaces.TD-M1_BK_01

One of the speakers incorporates a class D amplifier and a 24-Bit/192kHz NOS DAC which feeds its counterpart with watts via a captive analogue cable which connects to the separate speaker using a 35mm Jack.

Other connections include three methods of digital input: one via asynchronous USB-B (PC/Mac), another via USB-A for direct iDevice and the other via wi-fi – the TD-M1 is AirPlay-compatible and can be controlled using free iOS and Android remote apps.

Also available is one single analogue input via a 3.5mm Jack making connection to any analogue–based device such as a cd or DVD player, tuner or MP3 player an option via the correct designation of cable.

Cabinet construction is solid, the finish is very high end and the attention to detail right down to the touch-sensitive controls and led notification lights is very accurate and impressive.TD-M1_BK_04

THE SOUND

I’m well known for being someone who even though has his preferable tastes in system presentation still always appreciates many variants of sound characters. I appreciate other tastes in equipment and musical tastes and look for synergy and coherence as the most crucial area of any Hifi system rather than what I would ultimately prefer. This mantra converts to reviewing very well as the idea here is to convey to readers what a product does or doesn’t do, if I like the product I will express my personal take and if I don’t the same applies but the main core of the review has to consist of what the product does and what it’s sound character is. If this resonates with the reader and they wish to demo the product on that basis, great, my own personal take on the product and how it sits with me is somewhat of a side issue.
Now this brings me neatly on to the ECLIPSE TD-M1. A brief overview is that fed with good-quality recordings the speakers excel in transparency, soundstage shape and form, expression of detail and musicality. Fed with compromised (compressed) material, the accuracy of the TD-M1 can highlight format limitations, as any transparent monitor would.

Let me try to explain…

I connected the TD-M1’s to my modded Mac Mini via USB, I wanted to utilise the full ECLIPSE system including its in-built 24-bit/192kHz DAC rather than feed it via an analogue input from my own DACs.

My first port of call usually whilst I allow a product to warm up to full operational potential is to play some random albums from Spotify, using its compressed Ogg Vorbis format (160kbps standard, 360kbps premium). What I heard from the little ECLIPSE had a good strong detail retrieval and a pretty strong soundstage which put across to me substantial amounts of depth. The TD-M1’s admirable accuracy did highlight the shortcomings of the low-quality Spotify files, revealing the inherent distortion on the leading edges of upper bass notes, especially kick drums and male vocalists had a grain and haze to their more chesty lower notes.

Following the compressed source material, I purposely played some more music which I could then replicate with the good quality rips I had available. Playing the superior rips through Amarra Symphony on the Mac proved how revealing and transparent the TD-M1s truly were. With the better quality recordings in play the satisfying and distortion-type sound I heard on Spotify’s compressed streams before was, as expected, eradicated.

Now the sound was substantially improved. Bass held fuller and firmer notes that had more presence . Midrange was overall more stable and expressive and the top end had better undertones. As these speakers are of small size bass response is understandably limited although its presence is coherant with the balance of the presentation, notes don’t fall off a cliff, they decay and roll off well making for a more musical and detailed smoothness. A hard roll off point and this tensions up the overall sound and makes it more analytical, although the ECLIPSE are revealing they are not bright or harsh in any way and are very musical.

I was very surprised at how well the ECLIPSE could hold a note, as my first impressions using Spotify’s low-fi files began to fade. The overall coherence of the sound produced was now very linear and the speed and transient headroom the ECLIPSE have is excellent, quick crashes of notes, plucks of strings and artists with extreme vocal ranges all conveyed drama and realistic tendencies which kept me engaged to what I was listening too.TD-M1_BK_02333

To obtain these properties I had to ensure that the placement of the speakers was absolutely spot on. Sitting on my desk I formed an equilateral triangle between myself and the speakers having them angled slightly upwards so that the drivers focused on my forehead. The speaker can be tilted upward in three angles (0°to 20°) by simply using the control lever. Doing so give an image which is completely out of the box and a depth to the soundstage which is unmistakable. In a situation such as this I am sat at the desk in the same position each time, the speakers remain a constant and everything sounds in this sweet spot as good as it can. The TD-M1s can also be used firing out into the room, but are optimised for near-field listening for today’s increasingly desktop-based listening environment.

Now knowing that the placement is absolutely crucial I reverted back to Spotify again, yes things were slightly better but I will confess that it was only when listening at low to medium volumes that the reflection of the less than perfect recordings were listenable. For most users, I’m sure these volumes and the sound would be very appealing but for me, someone who like a bit of volume I would be soon frustrated with the distortion inherent in Spotify’s content.
The use of sub-CD-quality (compressed) music with the TD-M1s, is more likely to reveal the inherent compromises in sound quality.

Most consumers would naturally appreciate the fact that good recordings are key to making the product sing. For anyone whose library comprises lots of compressed material, less revealing speakers, i.e. those that are fundamentally coloured, might gloss-over the inherent imperfections in compressed music at the expense of accuracy.

CONCLUSION

Would I want a pair of these in my system?
Yes. If I had largely good-quality or CD-quality and above rips that the ECLIPSE could utilise, they offer tremendous insight into the performance and give a highly detailed and very musical sound with incredible imaging. I love exploring Spotify’s low-fi content and truly accurate speakers like the TD-M1 act like a pane of glass: they let you see directly into the recording, good or bad, which sometimes shows the limitations of poor-quality streamed music. But, if you have good-quality music to hand, then they really are worth considering.

This review has been the biggest dilemma I have had to date and I almost never wrote it. There’s so much to enjoy about the ECLIPSE TD-M1’s. Their honesty with compressed material might encourage you to avoid it and yet if you understand their attributes and play to their strengths, they come recommended.

Build Quality: 8.7/10RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW

Sound Quality: 7.3/10 with good recordings 8.6/10

Value For Money: 7.9/10

Overall: 7.96 – 8.4/10

Recommended, especially with good-quality recordings. Anything less can show up the known compromises of compressed material.

Dan Worth

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