The EJ Jordan Marlow loudspeaker is a compact design with a single, wideband drive unit in a BBC-inspired cabinet!
If you are unfamiliar with these speakers and their history, the BBC-inspired aesthetic cues of the EJ Jordan Marlow speakers may lead you to believe you are looking at another LS3/5A. But it’s hard to imagine how these tiny British speakers could be more dissimilar.
The Marlows are not subject to the same design restrictions because they are not licensed by the BBC, which has pros and downsides in this instance. I don’t think the EJ Jordan Marlow speaker sounds at all like an LS3/5a-style monitor loudspeaker. This speaker departs from tradition. Users of the Marlow will either be pleased with it or may feel uncertain about it because it has a more energetic and immediate sound and a somewhat different tone.
These small loudspeakers are carefully constructed, yet they only employ a single 3.93-inch (100mm) full-range Eikona driver. You can learn more about Ted Jordan, the company’s designer, by visiting their website. Scan Speak, has made the Eikona driver for the company by putting together crucial components that are British-made.
But what distinguishes the Marlow, is that a Jordan Eikona is hidden below the grille. The Eikona has an innovative alloy cone drive unit that is capable of handling the majority of the musical range. When compared to the conventional approach of using separate woofers and tweeters, it is argued to deliver a more accurate sound. The wood-veneered cabinet is constructed from 9mm Baltic birch plywood that has been substantially dampened, according to the business, and is based on “the groundbreaking research by the BBC.”.
If a precise line of upstream components is used, the Marlows can be appropriately defined. Using sources of a respectable caliber, an excellent amplifier, great cables, and a well-thought-out setup strategy, they can sound fantastic for you. This loudspeaker can handle lots of power and the amplifiers used with it are proof of the pudding. To wit, the speaker was never caught out on large bursts of reserve power; handling it with supreme elegance.
For those who appreciate singers, acoustic classical and operatic recordings as well as responsive rock and jazz tunes without the most powerful swings and twists, the speakers will bring forth the utmost delight.
The speakers were mounted on a pair of EJ Marlow-supplied stands which were intuitively helpful as I spaced them roughly 8.5 feet apart and 24 inches high. It’s crucial to determine the optimal location from the back wall to balance the bass and the bass/mid-range. You may be dissatisfied if you don’t budget a few hours to tweak these speakers.
A pair of DNM loudspeaker cables were provided by the supplier, Robin Wyatt of Robbyatt Audio. The cables were well attuned to the Marlow, and definitively engaged the speakers’ mid-range performance with amazing integrity, at a great price indeed! It must also be noted that EJ Jordan finds these cables so attuned to their loudspeakers that they are all internally wired with them Of particular importance; only the Marlow DNM is wired with DNM cable internally; the model under review here! This was at the request of Robin Wyatt. The standard Marlow EV is wired with Tom Evans’s recommended cable to match his copper binding posts used on that model.
I found the best midrange/bass response in my room at about 3-4 feet from the back wall to the front baffles angled in slightly to cross at my ears at the listening position, This seat was determined to be about 10 to 11 feet from the loudspeakers in my 14 by 26-foot room.
THE SOUND QUALITY
The first thing I learned after starting to listen to the Marlow’s was to expect the unexpected! I was a bit taken aback at the initial sound quality of the Marlow’s. I assumed I would hear a similar type of reproduction quality to that of my Ls3/5a’, however, I was surprised by the difference in the resulting midrange tonality of the Marlow. Indeed, the sound was keenly neutral, if a bit forward in balance compared to my Chartwell Ls35a’s.
Instruments in the orchestra spread were firmly placed on the soundstage and way past and out of the speaker boundaries, all of which I marveled at. As expected, the sound was smooth, natural, and exceedingly accurate in its frequency response with exceptionally precise stereo imaging aspects. You could ‘ pinpoint” each singer in the soundscape as well as the orchestral instruments behind them. Needless to say, the center imaging was just magnificent and judiciously stable.
Things became slightly different in certain ways with the quality or balance of the midrange reproduction. I took numerous types of music for these tests; classical orchestra, popular, light jazz, and operatic arias. What was most informative in the listening tests was the quality of singing voices on the Marlowe. The finest soprano recordings I could find were displayed with elegant clarity, smooth richness, and fine depth of voice and tonality.
Time and time again I marveled at the substantially creamy and fine harmonic shadings of female voices. Arias from Rossini, Mozart, and Verdi were displayed most elegantly and beautifully. The tonality of the voices was quite close to my Ls3/5a, although sometimes they were just a spec less “see-through” or “singing” as the latter. Even so, the depth and crystalline clarity were quite beautiful and you could listen to the vocals for hours on end. I must repeat: beautiful!
Where things became a tiny bit contrasting was with large orchestral pieces be it through streaming, CD or ripped CDs, or in some cases vinyl recordings. In certain instances, the midrange musical response could become a bit “hooty” or “cupping” acoustically with certain recordings. This was mostly obvious once in a while with solo orchestral performances and piano concertos. The sound encompassed a slight “coloration” which caused certain transients to become “glaring” in the resulting audio performance.
I can not explain this in more detail, but it is as if there was a small tiny “cloud” covering the full orchestra and soundstage, as compared to say the Harbeth Compact 7EX-3 XD or the more expensive Q Acoustics Concept 500’s. However, it must be noted that this phenomenon was absent when involving vocal music and all operatic recordings. It was with a full orchestra where it was somewhat obvious.
Marlow EV is wired with Tom Evans’s recommended cable
The limited bass response was to be expected, but this was not as overt as one might think for the limited size of the one-driver enclosure. The typical mid/bass hump, known by BBC enthusiasts (placing them away from walls helps tremendously) was there but it gave a greater bass impact that was palpable more than one could ever imagine. There was a fullness to the full sound emanating to the listener and one could easily entertain its decent bass response on almost all recordings that were played.
EJ Jordan has done a terrific job with its incarnation of this one-drive unit loudspeaker. While it looks and sounds close to the famous BBC LS3/5a, it truly has its particular style of sound and great accuracy within its design implications. Encompassing outstanding stereo imaging, supreme neutrality, and great power handling, this little loudspeaker can be used as a main stereo setup or as a backup set of speakers for the demanding enthusiast.
While it may have a small bit of midrange “coloration”, this may well be dependent on the components used to drive it. Do not be fooled by its size; it plays loud, has a decently nice bass impact, and displays that famous open yet image-specific BBC neutrality with almost all program sources that it was tried with. The EJ Marlow loudspeaker can be highly recommended!
Components used for evaluation: Loudspeakers: ~ Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD loudspeaker ~ Q Acoustics Concept 500 loudspeaker ~ Digital: Mojo Audio ‘Mystique’ X DAC ~ Innuos Zenith Mk.3 server/streamer ~ Audio Note (UK) CD3.1x/2 player/DAC Analog: Audio Technica LP-7/ZYX Bloom 3 mc cartridge Amplification: ~Pass Labs XP-12 preamp, Pass Labs XA30.8 power amp ~PS Audio M1200 monoblocks,~ Cables/ Conditioners: Inakustik AC-3500p power station &, AC-2404 reference Air Power Cord ~ Argent/Pur 12 loudspeaker cables~ Audience Studio 1 interconnects and speaker cables~ Clarus “Crimson” 75-ohm digital spdif / Audio Art 1 e” AC Power Cord
Pricing : DNM Marlow ~ $3195
Marlow Stand is $450
$3645- Included with the DNM Marlow’s is up to 5m of DNM speaker cable included.
US distributor : Robin Wyatt
firstname.lastname@example.org 866 576 3912
EJ Jordan Limited
+44 15394 42052
Hi Robin and Howard
First of all, thank you for the draft of the review. That is a very honest and thoughtful assessment and I’m happy with it.
The only real similarity between the Marlow and the LS3/5A is the cabinet and there was no intention to directly challenge the BBC speaker. Ted Jordan and I started by experimenting with the Eikona in a genuine LS3/5A cabinet and that showed the potential of the thin-wall construction technique. After that, everything flowed from the cabinet alignment required by the Eikona for a good bass response – although I admit I am a sucker for old-school cabinet appearance.
Concerning the mild mid-forwardness, it is possible to bring the sound more in line with BBC balance by increasing the equalization we use but then we lose sensitivity and bring up the bass, so our present mix seems a good compromise and we’re happy where it is.
Thanks again for the review and if you have any supplementary questions, either Robin or I will be happy to answer them.
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