There are two reviews of the TSAE Evince Loudspeakers here. One was done by Stuart and one by Linette. Both were written completely independently and without sharing of notes, though we did listen together – hey, we’re married.
SCHERER, the brand of TSAE (Thomas Scherer Audio Engineering) and the owner Thomas Scherer is a German based audio engineer who manufactures just two loudspeakers, the standmounted Elation and the floorstanding Evince which we’re looking at here.
The Evince is a transmission line design using a five inch fullrange driver. Low frequencies from the back of the full range speaker are channeled through a dedicated tube/duct and output in-phase with a forward facing driver. The shape of the transmission line used here allows the bass frequencies to travel through the line but mid-frequencies are reflected back in on themselves at the corners so that only bass frequencies are emitted from the mouth of the line. The cabinet is made from birch ply covered in a composite material that looks very sleek and well finished – it feels like very highly polished stone to the touch. The review pair were white but you can have pretty much any colour you want. It’s a very interesting and modern looking design with an interesting profile for which Thomas has been granted a patent. Basically where all other transmission lines I’ve seen hide the transmission line within a box the Evince has it unfolded and forming the body of the speaker – have a look at the photographs and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not a huge speaker, though it is deep from front to back, and it is very slim (220 x 944 x 873 mm w/h/d). The speakers weigh 25.5Kg. Purely from an aesthetic point of view I think it’s a winner, but I’m sure there will be some for whom the design is just a little too radical. They are, for all their unusual design very unobtrusive in the room and I can see them finding favour in ultra sleek and modern rooms, but also in more conventional rooms where a person wants a statement piece. Attached to the loudspeaker base is 4 cones but other feet are available to suit your particular floor type.
Plugging in the usual 300B amp which gives 18 Watts per channel it quickly became apparent that this was not the amplifier for the job and so we plugged in a Gainclone of 25 Watts (ClonesAudio 25i) which immediately gave us more control and grip to the loudspeakers, with much better and less exaggerated mid frequencies. Sensitivity of the Evince is measured at 90 db/ 5 W/ 2m listening distance (this refers to a real listening situation in a room rather than the usually quoted db/ 1 W/ 1m listening distance, which Thomas claims is a useless measurement/statement) Loudspeaker cables used were quite bulky and I was worried that they would be too big as the single pair of WBT Nextgen terminals is located under the loudspeaker. I needn’t have worried as they fitted fine. It’s actually quite an elegant design and means that there’s no strain put on the cables at all.
Setting up the Evince loudspeakers is a breeze. We plonked them down, well into the room, about six feet apart and with a slight toe in to the main listening position. These are really simple to set up and really aren’t fussy about placement at all.
First up on the CD player was Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong “The Great Summit”. Double bass was the first thing to stand out from the recording on the first tune Duke’s Place. It was bouncy, well defined, clearly separated in the soundstage and not at all flabby. The image of the bass player stood to the left of the stage was clearly ‘visibe’. The beautiful timbre of Louis Armstrong was well produced with the decay at the end of phrases being apparent. Drums were a real treat and the swing of the piece being obvious – you can visualize the drummer being very relaxed and loose whilst playing. Pianos stopped and started properly and sounded …well it sounded like a piano with different emphasis on the keys been easy to hear. Dynamically you could hear the different nuances in the music – quiet passages or instruments were well described with loads of detail. This is a nicely balanced speaker my notes say and I just wanted to keep on listening to the album and enjoy it for what it was. Soundstage is high and wide but very natural and didn’t feel over exaggerated or artificial.
More laidback vibes were the order of the day and so to Gil Scott-Heron’s “Did You Hear What They Said?” Again a nice representation of the soundstage with pinpoint imaging – clearly the point source single driver at work here! Guitar had a nice tone and attack whilst bass was clear, easy to follow but not over dominant. Flute was breathy and natural sounding and vocals were beautifully portrayed with every little shade of emotion being heard. These are a fairly small speaker but the big sound and the amount of bass produced belies their stature.
If you’ve read other reviews of mine you’ll know that I like to listen loud but I wanted to see what the these loudspeakers would sound like at the kind of levels that people with neighbours would listen at and so we turned the amplifier right down and put on Nolwen Leroy’s “Brettone” album. It has a wonderful version of Alan Stivell’s “Tri Martolod and is worth buying just for that one song. Despite the low volume the music was detailed and the Breton inflection in Leroy’s breathy voice was clear as a bell and with nice tone. I moved from the “hot seat” to sit on the sofa, which is at 90 degrees to the loudspeakers and much further away, to have a glass of wine and a slice of pizza. Immediately it was evident that off-axis these things still manage to throw up a very good soundstage with little loss across the frequency range. The sound in the hot seat was better with more pin point imaging but on the sofa it was still wholly believable. A good loudspeaker for those who listen as a family and in real world houses I think. I spoke to Thomas later about how he manages to achieve this and he claims this is down to the way he measured the loudspeakers during tuning and for the design of his filter. Basically rather than measuring the speakers on axis he measures all around the speaker and then takes an average of these measurements and tunes accordingly. Here’s what he says: “Transmission lines are seen as being really difficult to build. I’m using a measurement technique that I think is unique (we call it “Tonal Measurement”) which depicts the dipole characteristic of a TML at low frequencies, which relieves in fact the tuning of its bass response. Many full-range drivers can sound nasal or dull and the real frequency response is not depicted with conventional measurement methods. With our method we are able to tune the required filters properly; as a result we achieve a correct transient response. Now the speaker shows a perfect tonality with “drive in the bass part”.
I listen to a lot of Breton music, both live and recorded and the traditional instruments used on some of the tracks on Nolwen Leroy’s album were well produced and very believable. You get a real connection with the music and it’s sometimes difficult to listen critically to these things. They’re very nice loudspeakers and certainly something I could live with long term I think.
Now, one of my fellow Hifi Pig reviewers (no names….Jerry) mentioned that I’d listen to anything so long as it played dubstep well…but I do listen to quite a wide range of music. However, anything that is to be given houseroom for anything more than a few days has to pass the Hardfloor test…more of that later though as the next album onto the CD was ‘Happy Woman Blues’, the breakthrough album for Lucinda Williams. The volume was turned back up. I was really being drawn into listening to much more ‘acoustic’ music with the Evinces. The first track, ‘Lafayette’ is a Cajun tinged tune and I soon had my feet tapping to the snappy drums underpinned with the slow and loping bassline. Bass is good on these loudspeakers – full and tight. There was a real feeling that the album was recorded ‘live’ and as a band rather than individual musicians recording their pieces separately and the fiddle was fast, tight and with no overhang of the notes. As she says in the tune “I might just dance until three”.
“Ok, Jerry you’re right” I thought to myself and headed over to the rack with the intention of pulling out some nice, fat, synthesized bass, but instead I was drawn to ‘White Light/White Heat’ by the Velvet Underground and the track ‘The Gift’ was chosen. I’m sure you know the tune, it tells the sad and sorry tale of one Waldo Jefferson whose girlfriend leaves him to go to college. Upset by her absence he decides to parcel himself up and send himself through the post with tragic consequences. Vocals on this track are panned right over to the left with everything else over to the right. John Cale’s Welsh drawl comes over perfectly and sounds just like someone telling the story down the pub whilst the rest of the band screech and drone away over to the right. Perhaps not the best track to use in a review actually but it’s clear the speakers are pretty much accurate and very fast.
And so to Half Man Half Biscuit’s “Dickie Davie’s eyes. The cheap, plasticky 80s synth is produced just so you can hear how horrible these things were, but the drums are crisp, snappy and tight. Perhaps here, for the first time I noticed the bass is not as full as I’m used to. However the swept cymbal splashes sounded great with the tom to the end of the tune being very life-like. This is low-fi music and this comes across well with the Evinces. It’s at this point I notice that I’m actually digging further back into my collection than I’ve done in a while.
Right, that’s it! It’s time for some Hardfloor and the track ‘Once Again Back’. For those that don’t know it it’s a great tune for testing out how a speaker responds to low bass. The start of the track sounds as it should and the speakers feel like they’re doing the job of good monitors in the studio. The imaging is pin-point accurate. When the bass does come in it’s clear that this is a different kind of reproduction to that I’m used to in the reference system – it’s much tighter and drier and there is less of it. It’s not trouser flapping but what is there is good. This makes me think that this is actually a more accurate sound than my current speakers. Words I wrote down here with relation to the bass were tight, taut and accurate. The Roland 303 may not be most peoples’ idea of the perfect instrument to use when reviewing a pair of loudspeakers but I know the sounds the little silver box can produce like the back of my hand and the Evinces manage to convey the raspy, screeching harshness of the ‘instrument’ very well indeed.
These are not cheap loudspeakers coming in at €12 140 (£10 360 at today’s exchange rate) but had I the money they would certainly be on my must hear list and I could certainly live with them long term I think – actually I was working out what I could sell to raise the funds for these before they were taken away from me such was their impact.
Thomas has gone to a lot of trouble to make these a speaker for real world situations and one of the stand-out features for me was the superb off-axis performance which is down to the way he measures and the subsequent design of the onboard filter. They are certainly a loudspeaker for using when entertaining guests as everyone gets to hear great reproduction rather than just the person in the hot seat.
They do imaging and soundstaging superbly (especially when you’re in the hot seat) but you don’t get the impression that the soundstage is artificial and this is another of their positives.
Upper frequencies are clean and crisp and I’d suggest that these speakers are pretty flat across the spectrum. I think anyone with valves, particularly 300Bs with their exaggerated (to my ears at least) middle frequencies, may want to ensure that they benefit from an extended home trial as I don’t believe they are a good match.
Bass is astonishing from such a small driver and design and it is perhaps more precise than I’m used to, but it doesn’t drive the room in the same way that much bigger drivers do – you wouldn’t expect them to.
On acoustic music they offer up a real image of the recording environment and on electronic music they behave very much like monitors when in the sweet spot.
Add all of the above together and you get a loudspeaker that sounds great in real homes, across a wide range of genres and at both high and low volumes, but you also get something else and that’s a unique and interesting piece of modern sculptural design – they were certainly a talking point when anyone came to our house whilst they were in place.
Author – Stuart
The Aliens have landed.
I’ll be honest, I really, really like loudspeakers that are a bit, well…different. Life is far too short to only ever have boring, black boxes in your system so when something that looks like it has been beamed down from another planet arrives for review, I get very excited.
The Evince is certainly different, and you could be forgiven for thinking that they are just too ‘try hard’ in the looks department, that Thomas Scherer has dreamt up a ‘wacky’ design just so his speakers stand out from the crowd.
The truth is though, the Evince looks like it does because it is the ultimate expression of that age old adage, ‘form follows function’.
In true Bauhaus spirit these stunning speakers are how they are because the design has been stripped back to basics. The transmission line would usually be folded up and tucked away in a box, but Thomas has freed it from its prison and let it dictate the overall shape of the Evince.
The result is an incredible shape; different to any other speaker I have ever seen.
They are actually quite diminutive in size, which I was surprised about as I thought they would be much bigger, but they look very elegant rather than being too room dominating.
The future’s white, the future’s Scherer.
The speakers are truly beautiful, neither matt nor shiny, they are finished in a thick coating of Titanium White GetaCore, which is a composite material that looks and feels like stone or perhaps porcelain.
It really is gorgeous and you just want to stroke it and has the added advantage that if you do something stupid like scratching your speakers, it can be polished out.
There seem to be a lot of white speakers on the market at the moment, much in evidence at Munich this year, probably down to the ever increasing force of the WAF, but these really stand out as being a top quality finish.
The GetaCore also has the added advantage of strengthening the speaker and making it incredibly rigid, which helps stop vibration…form follows function again.
You can, if you like, have the Evince in a different colour, but I love them in white and having that juxtaposition of a super futuristic speaker in an old, stone house.
Surrounded by sound.
So lets get down to the nitty-gritty, how do these babies sound, there is no point them being dressed up in a glam designer frock if the sound quality isn’t there.
I was actually a little worried that they may be too small for our room, but the immediate thing that grabs you is how they seem to throw the soundstage much further than they look like they should.
The sound is very defined and crisp but also mellow, there seemed to be no harshness at all.
Shut your eyes and listen to them and you are enveloped by the music…open your eyes again and you think you should be looking at a much bigger pair of speakers. It messes with your head a bit!
You could (and we did) listen to these non stop without getting fatigued or bored; they are the perfect speakers to live with.
What makes them even more perfect to live with is some very clever tweakery that Thomas has done with them.
Unlike a lot of speakers, you don’t actually have to be sat in the sweet spot for them to sound right.
I was in the kitchen which is off the main room and at a lower level and they still sounded fantastic. You can even walk around behind them and, although not completely omni directional, they are on the verge of it.
This is a great thing because it makes them a lifestyle speaker, not just an audiophile speaker. Get on with your life while you enjoy the music!
As I mentioned earlier, we really gave these speakers a good listening to and we listened to just about every genre of music that we had in the house, from jazz to country to guitar rock to Breton folk music, there was even some classical in there!
Everything sounded fantastic on these, but me being the basshead that I am, they had to have dance music thrown at them.
Play anything by Hardfloor, especially ‘Once Again Back’ or their remix of ‘Blue Monday’, and you really separate the men from the boys in the bass dept.
The Evince’s certainly didn’t disappoint, they have an incredible capacity for clean, well defined bass.
They sound fabulous at a lower level but really come in to their own when you crank it up a notch.
And then, (and I can hear Jerry gnashing his teeth and wailing from over the Channel!) we got the Dubstep out.
The Dubstep Washing Up Crew (the alter ego of our youngest teenaged son, so named because he puts on his headphones and washes up whilst listening to Dubstep and generally chips every bit of crockery in the sink) was well impressed with them too, even that big fat dirty ‘hoover’ bass of the Dubstep genre sounded great.
These speakers brought with them a proper party atmosphere, they made you feel like you were dancing around getting ready for a ‘big night out’ …but then you don’t bother going out because the music is so good, just invite every one back to yours!
12000€ is a lot of money, but you are not just buying a pair of loudspeakers here; you are buying two works of precision, German-engineered art.
They won’t date because they aren’t following a fashion fad, they are not afraid to stand out from the crowd and be different.
They are speakers to be lived with and enjoyed, whatever your music taste, and appreciated as incredibly beautiful and well made.
Author – Linette