Episode is a brand that you may or may not be familiar with. Distributed by SnapAV, Episode speakers are sold exclusively to A/V professionals and custom installers. Episode's President Jay Faison, a custom installer, has teamed up with a design team that consists of engineers who have worked with many well known speaker manufacturers. The result is a company that believes you should never sacrifice performance by cutting corners and all products should come with extras as standard, with a limited lifetime warranty.
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Episode has four different speaker lines, the 300, 500, 700 and 900 series. In each series, the company offers timbre matched in-room towers, in-wall and in-ceiling models, which allow installers flexibility when meeting their client's needs for aesthetics even in the most difficult room configurations. The Episode ES-700 Series Towers consist of a single one-inch titanium catenary dome, ferrofluid cooled tweeter, dual six and one half inch Kevlar reinforced woofers with high temperature voice coils and dual bottom firing ports discretely hidden in the bottom of the enclosure. The speakers measure 37 inches tall, seven and one half inches wide and 12 and one half inches deep, and weigh just under 40 pounds each. The reported frequency response is 35Hz to 23kHz and is rated at 200W RMS (500W peak) at a nominal impedance of six Ohms. Speaker sensitivity is measured at 89db, which is very efficient, making the Episode ES-700 Towers compatible with a wide range of AV Receivers and Home Theater Amplifiers. A pair of ES-700 floorstanding speakers retails for $1,500.
The ES-700 speakers arrived in a very sturdy double thick shipping box. Opening the box revealed a custom molded Styrofoam shell that protected the speakers from impact damage. I cannot express how impressed I am with the way in which the speakers were protected. One box arrived with a hole punched in the side and a corner was torn away from the top of the other. Thanks to the excellent packaging, the speakers arrived without a scratch. Removing the speakers was a simple process and quickly revealed a shiny high gloss black finished cabinet, with a brushed metal face surrounding the drivers. It is a really attractive combination and the promotional photos really do not do the mirror-like finish justice. Also included in the box are the ES-700's magnetic grills and rubber feet for use with hardwood floors and spikes for those with carpet.
Connection to my Onkyo TX-SR707 AV receiver was very straightforward using cables from Transparent Audio. For the purpose of this review, I choose not to bi-amp or bi-wire the speakers, although that is possible by removing the terminal jumpers from the five-way gold plated binding posts. I found the posts to be extremely versatile, easily able to accommodate large gauge stranded speaker wire, spade lugs or banana plugs. My Pioneer DV47ai served as the CD transport and two-channel stereo mode was selected on the Onkyo receiver. After placing the ES-700 Towers three feet off my front wall and approximately eight feet apart, I was ready to begin the burn-in process and start some critical listening.
Read about the performance of the ES-700 loudspeakers on Page 2.