Word association: what do you think of when you think of ‘Fujitsu’? For many, the answer will be ink-jet printers pimped via cash-back offers and air-conditioning units that are, according to their down under marketing slogan, “Australia’s favourite Air”.
The more aesthetically adventurous audiophile might add loudspeakers to that list. Fujitsu Ten’s Eclipse series is the result of a development partnership with Toyota and I’ve been eyeing their TD-M1 active monitors on an ongoing basis since first spying them at the Munich High-End Show in 2014.
Our showroom hosts on the ground in Denver – Hideto Watanabe and Paul Burnip – explain that the mini-Eclipse’s 8cm fibreglass drivers are each housed in an egg-shaped resin case in order to minimise internal standing waves.
However, I’d prefer that they simply fessed up to the other truth: that the enclosure shape was so designed because its speaks to the future more than it nods appreciatively to the past.
On audible performance, Fujitsu Ten’s design pivots on letters T and D. That’s Time Domain.
Reaching back to the 2014 press release: “The use of more than one driver introduces unavoidable distortions due to delayed delivery across the frequency spectrum. Similarly, the use of rectangular, sharp-cornered cabinets creates diffraction effects and panel resonance, aberrations that become immediately audible when compared to a correct time-domain design. Additionally, multiple drivers require a crossover network that creates phase anomalies and adds further coloration to a speaker’s sonic signature. Eclipse engineers understand that optimum time-domain performance is achieved by engineering out all the mechanisms that make other speakers sound compressed, non-coherent and unnatural.”
In the TD-M1, two single drivers, each with no crossover, are driven by Class D amplification in a master-slave configuration. The internal DAC can be fed via USB or Apple Airplay and is of the NOS variety – aka filterless. Price? US$1299.
RMAF this year was my second overseas show exposure to these desktop-centric minis in 2015 alone. Or was that third? Did I not see Team Fujitsu at CES in January? Or was that Munich (again) in May? Or was it both? Clearly, the track has been lost. No mind. I show up, I make enthusiastic noises and with each successive demo attendance, we inch closer toward a review pair being shipped directly to my door from Japan.
For those with higher-end loudspeaker leanings there’s the Eclipse TD712; a bigger egg, sans active drive. The newer MK2 iteration (US$10,600/pair) saw go juice at the Marriott from Luxman electronics. Also reporting for duty was a new subwoofer (US$6400) whose model name I failed to catch. Details are easily lost when simultaneously listening to Peter Gabriel’s brooding “Mercy Street” and observing how a glass of water placed atop the subwoofer’s cabinet stubbornly refuses to go full Jurassic Park.
Mirroring 10th-floor neighbours Resonessence Labs introduction of a mid-tier model, the intention behind Fujitsu Ten’s more recent Eclipse TD508MK3 passive loudspeaker is to bring some of the big boys’ magic to a more affordable price point – US$1490 – as well as accommodate smaller listening spaces.
Reportedly the culmination of forty-two (42!) prototypes, each of which aimed to balance rigidity and flexibility, the TD508MK3’s 8cm driver is “very different” from that found in the TD-M1. The eggshell is slightly larger too.
Maintaining in-room placement focus are the accompanying stands which add US$760 to the final RRP. However, once you clock the stands’ 3-spike neck joint – so designed to maintain low-end action – and the HEAVY base plate – which uses the same steel as found in Toyota’s car disk brakes – their optioning becomes almost mandatory. Speakers with stands, US$2250 all up.
We don’t choose furniture based on function alone. Choosing a coffee table solely on its ability to help a cup of the black stuff avoid the intrusion of gravity is to ignore an equally important facet: the table’s aesthetic appeal.
Loudspeakers are pieces of furniture – by their very nature they cannot be tucked out of sight. In considering form we subconsciously ask: what do loudspeakers say about/to us aesthetically? The Eclipse range from Fujitsu Ten wraps the more traditional single-driver topology in a modern eggshell. Nicely done.
Further information: Fujitsu Ten Eclipse TD