Get bigger sound by slimming down your speakers with – Expanse Speakers Review [Support The Expanse Speakers IndieGogo Campaign]
I am a huge Blu-Ray collector, and I know many people who are skeptical because streaming quality gets almost the same picture quality and sometimes even exceeds Blu-Ray. But what streaming never quite matches, is sound quality. I rock a Mirage MX 5.1, a Def Tech PC800, and Logitech x540 systems. I really like sound. Sound is the experience of cinema. The visuals bring the “OOO” but the audio delivers the “AAH.” Audio is the feeling, which stands to reason, the better your audio the better you feel. And I have to say, Expanse Speakers feel pretty damn good.
The Expanse Speakers are a complete audio system, from IC One Two, that look to have come straight from the future. The Expanse Speakers are an electrostatic speaker system designed for style, sophistication, and phenomenal sound quality and performance. The Expanse Speakers boast easy to set-up and use audio that is versatile and adaptable for your interior designer needs. Coupled with a dual driver active sub, 2 channel 100w speakers, the Expanse Speakers delivers an audio experience worthy of their gorgeous design. You can support their IndieGogo Campaign and order your set here.
The first focus on my Expanse Speakers review will be on the aesthetic design of the unit. The Speakers I got to check out are called ‘The Beat’ and the subwoofer is known as the ‘The Slam’ while the shorter box is the amplifier/receiver. Aesthetically, Expanse speakers are beautifully unique. The electrostatic speakers have a very thin profile that really capture attention. Everyone will asks, “What’s that?” when they see them. It is similar to Martin Logan ESL speakers, but without the curve and base. The Slam however, does not fit my usual picture of a subwoofer. I maybe biased because of how much I love my Super Cube, but something about a more rectangle design versus a more squared one makes The Slam seem like a less powerful subwoofer, which isn’t the case since at all. The only drawback I have with the design, is the amplifier/receiver unit. It’s just a block, and it stands out wherever you put it. It’s not ugly, but it’s also not something that blends in easily. It especially sticks out if you have everything mounted.
Set-up of the the Expanse Speaker system is simple in terms of the speakers, sub, and amplifier unit. Personally I wasn’t a of fan the computer powered like connections the speakers use to connect to the amplifier, it’s not a big deal, but it felt more like connecting a video card than it did connecting speakers. It has no affect on the performance, but something I’m sure people will notice. Also, the computer-like connection is much bulkier and would likely interfere when wall mounting the speakers. This is a harsh contrast to the sub which uses a typical digital coaxial chord to connect. Where the Expanse Speakers start to become unfriendly to users is the input and operation. Bluetooth connection is not a hard process, but felt less intuitive than what we have become spoiled too. It wasn’t a quick, find device and connect. It was find device, use remote, connect. Completely not a big deal, but again, something you notice. The physical inputs however, it’s actually unpleasant. Footnote, I am a stickler for organized cables. I often take extra bag ties to use for cable organization, as well as have reusable zip ties and Velcro ties to keep my wires nice and neat. The Expanse Speaker system natively only has Analog Red and White inputs. Considering the focus on being connected to computers and televisions, it is not the ideal choice to have as your main input. Granted, with tweaking, it is the most versatile input, and I will concede that as well as analog is generally a better format for input. But it requires tweaking for most common devices. For HD sources, optical is the most common output. To use an optical output, you have to use an optical to analog converter, which is an additional converter unit and 2 extra wires. In the grand scheme, it is a completely trivial situation. But it is an early barrier to using the system, and one that could have been easily avoided by including an optical input into the system.
Now to the part of my Expanse Speakers Review that really matters, the sound quality. I used to sell speakers, so I have a go to crop of ways to test speakers. I test them for music and cinema quality. First I hit them with Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, a good song, not really one of my favorites, but on a high quality set of speakers, you can hear the change in his voice as he turns and angles from the mic. It’s subtle, and I’ve only heard it two sets of speakers in my life. Sadly, the Expanse Speakers are not one of them. I usually don’t mention this because it is a ridiculous standard, but one of the speakers I did hear it one were Martin Logans, which also use electrostatic speaker technology so I thought it was worth mentioning. However, the Martin Logans also cost 20k, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison. You still get an amazing sound quality and hear the heart Jeff Buckley sings into the song. After that, I hit it with Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight. The Slam slammed it hard when that drum solo kicked in, but more importantly, The Beats gave a fully encompassing performance. The sound envelops the listener, but more impressively, there is distinct separation from the toms, snares, and cymbals. The clarity is impressive.
Then I hit it with cinema. To test the higher frequencies, I use the scene from Sorcerer’s Apprentice when they use Tesla Coils to recreate Secrets. During this demo, I was once again impressed by the encompassing of the sound. The electrostatic technology provides a wider more natural dispersion of sound, that provides a natural surround sound experience. When I threw on, The Dark Knight, the scene when Harvey is being transported and the Joker is wreaking havoc on his transport, that’s where the Expanse Speakers really blew my mind. The sound encompassing is ridiculous. It somehow wraps around you, while only being a 2.1 set up. It’s ridiculous. The part where the bullets wrap around the truck, almost feels like something crawls from one ear to the back of your head, to the other. I thought I played it on my Mirages for a second. Needless to say, The Expanse Speakers delivered.
Before I wrap up my Expanse Speakers review, I want to give my recommendations for when I would suggest The Expanse Speakers for your audio experience. If you plan on getting a sound bar for your television, the Expanse Speakers are a much better option for the price. Sound Bars generally cost around $300 for decent ones, so spending that on the Expanse Speakers is not only guaranteeing you better sound quality, but also more versatility in the look of your system. You won’t get better quality soundbar unless you are going Definitive Tech or B&W, but those are in the $2000 plus price range. These also sound better than the Bose sound bar. If you are looking for an amazing pair of desk speakers for gaming, the Expanse Speakers are grades better than Logitech Speakers, and can get almost the same surround effect with far less speakers and wires. Lastly, if you are looking for a unique and stylish set of speakers for everyday music use, the Expanse Speakers work great as a wireless home system.
The Expanse Speakers are a truly impressive set. The electrostatic speakers make it aesthetically unique and will catch the eyes of whoever sees them plus allow for a very natural and enveloping sound that is sure to impress. The only draw backs are the counter intuitive inputs. But once you get set up, the sound quality will outweigh any inconvenience you experienced. The Expanse Speakers are a high quality sound experience at an extremely reasonable price. It will be hard to find a set that can match the quality and price; especially if you take advantage of the early bird pricing. To put it comparable terms, better than Bose less than half the price. For the high quality audio, unique design, price, my Expanse Speakers Review gets a 4.5/5 Stars.