Test in Professional Audio
May 2019 by Denis Sauerborn
" Pure joy of performing"
He looks attractive and high-quality, the small near field studio monitor from reProducer Audio. The South German manufacturer is new to the market and is starting in the shape of the reProducer Epic-5 with its first product. The two-way active monitor was able to inspire in our test and sounded much larger than it is - but above all: sauschnell (sow-fast).
At the end of 2018, reProducer Audio celebrated its premiere with the Epic-5. For the design and development of the monitor designed as a studio speaker, which is due to its size and weight but also suitable for use on the go, collaborate the young producer reProducer-audio located in south Germany in Breisach near Freiburg, with the specialists in electro-acoustic design, United-Minorities. The result can be seen - and above all - listened to it.
The fun starts with the unpacking: the pair reProducer-Epic-5-Monitor comes with stable Transport case in carbon look. On the inside, this is fitted with a precisely fitting foam, form of the loudspeakers, which are additionally packed in a fabric bag, a bomb-proof hold. So nothing stands in the way of the use of the relatively small speaker outside the house. And with a roundabout weight of 5.2 kilograms per box, the whole thing can be carried quite comfortably.
As optical inspection, the high-quality workmanship and the exquisite choice of materials of the small near-field monitors are immediately noticeable. The solid aluminum front panel - meticulously milled and anodized - as well as the rear panel, also made of solid metal and designed as passive cooling, are reminiscent of the Magico high-end box. And the black wooden surround of the rest of the housing also makes a difference thanks to the metallic surface structure. Because of the unusual "kink in the optics", the housing tapers forward to allow the smallest possible front panel, which benefits the radiating behavior of the tweeter. Visually, the tested monitors stand out from other speakers.
With the epic-5 reProducer we have it with an active analogue dual, It also has a proprietary development system, which features an ultra-light 1-inch metal calotte with a resonance chamber as a tweeter and a 5.25-inch midrange woofer. The two class D amplifiers each provide a generous 75 watts (RMS) of continuous power. The peak is even at 150 watts (PMPO). In addition, there is a passive 6.25 inch radiator with special coating, which according to reProducer Audio was also developed on its own. This is built-in on the underside of the "downfire principle", which is popular with subwoofers, and thus radiates to the ground in order to prevent any unwanted signals from reaching the listener. There was also room for the radiator on the underside. To allow it to radiate the deep bass frequencies, the box stands on three distinctive spikes, which are on sensitive silicone pads to protect sensitive surfaces, if desired.
How the reProducer Epic-5 sounds like
First impression: The Epic-5 does not sound like a large tower speaker - but he does not want that in view of its small housing volume. The studio loudspeaker, which is designed as a near-field monitor, but also in the midfield, ie with a listening distance of just under two meters, feels very well, as our test showed.
And above all: He beamed - in the literal sense - from the beginning of great enthusiasm and above all, almost immediately convinced with a stunningly balanced sound. The limitation relates to playtime, as the Epic-5 needed at least 72 hours burn-in time until the minimum sharpness in the highs disappeared and the mid-high range blended smoothly and harmonically into the low midrange.
After this process, the small studio monitor sounded very much bigger and much bigger than it actually is - especially when it comes to dynamics. For example, if Norah Jones was really serious in "Do not Know Why" in between, the Epic-5 did not go away without problems. Only rarely did the monitor reach its limits at high volume levels - and this was indicated by a brief flashing red of the otherwise white LED indicator light. In addition, the little reProducer also knew in terms of impulse fidelity no negligence, he was able to accelerate from a stand lightning fast like a Ferrari Testarossa and also slammed fast consecutive, violent drum impulses - from the bass drum to the TomToms all the way to the pelvis - into the listening room with power, verve and high precision. Even the finest nuances in the attack intensity, the monitor worked out amazingly differentiated.
All in all, the Epic-5 not only reproduced the treble very naturally, finely and without aggression, but also solved the mid’s in a very clean and differentiated way and - especially considering its modest size - also knew how to play in the lower bass range. Although the draft is understandably limited downwards, below 60 hertz nothing works, but the basses sounded very clearand precise, without looking thickened. Here, the developers have gladly held back and interpreted the bass range according to the motto "quality goes before quantity". The prerequisite for high precision, however, is that the loudspeaker stands on an extremely stable and resonance-free surface. All in all, the small speaker, thanks to its well-tuned midrange and woofer, was a very balanced, homogenous sound. For example, this was clearly indicated by the number "Limehouse Blues" by Arne Domnérus. The flute in the title Bourrée in the style of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) on the album "Between the Lines" by Blue Li, It also sounded very finely and subtly resolved via the Epic-5, while being lively and three-dimensional.
Only in the lower mid’s did the reProducer Epic-5 should be emphasized, once again - sound as clean and rich in detail as in the entire sound spectrum from top to bottom, but here he thought, if you take it exactly, something with restraint. So the xylophone in the "Limehouse Blues" was a bit lacking in physicality. One of the Epic-5's great strengths is its phenomenally good spatial image, both in width and depth. Said "Limehouse Blues", which was recorded in a jazz bar in Stockholmwas so convincing because the monitor was able to map the spatial conditions so realistically.
Young manufacturer reProducer Audio leaves a surprisingly strong first impression with its monitor debut. The two-way studio loudspeaker system Epic-5 convinced us in our test on the whole line, both the construction and the design as well as the especially for such a small speaker realistic and above all enormously dynamic sound image with excellent stage image. Other models are currently in the development phase, so you may be curious.