Originally Posted by rutgersftw
All right, about an hour of play time on my E680s with familiar material. Snap judgment time!
+ Neutral presentation
+ Very sensitive
+ Surprisingly detailed
+ Above average imaging
+ Bass is not wooly or boomy, even when close to the wall
+ Smooth, non-fatiguing highs
- Feel a little cheap (light enclosure, flimsy binding posts)
Conclusion: A great pair of speakers, competitive in the $600/pr
category with the likes of the Primus 362, Polk Monitors, JBL, etc. Musically rewarding with enough thump to satisfy my movie taste. At $258 shipped, these are one of the best speaker deals I've ever gotten.
For music, I played the Band's "Music From Big Pink" album. The first track "Tears of Rage" starts off with an open bass note and some tom activity. These 3 seconds are a great indication of how a speaker's overall bass management will be - if they're drawn out and woolly or lightweight and limp I know I've either got placement issues or the speaker isn't up to snuff. With the E680s, I thought the passage was presented reasonably well - a little flabby, but with some weight. When Danko's vocal came in, I was impressed by how well it integrated with the lower frequencies.
I moved on to Sun Kil Moon's 2008 album "April," specifically the song "Lost Verses." Kozelek has a rich tenor that tends a touch to the nasal side. Some speakers - Polk's Monitor line, JBL's CS and Studio L series, and Aperion's bookshelves come to mind - exaggerate and exacerbate this characteristic, making the album all but unlistenable (and it's a really great album, so this can not stand). Kozelek's voice came through rich and natural, and as the song adds textures and layers, shifting from solo acoustic to full band to electric, it holds together well. I was impressed with the performance.
Last up was Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" album. "Unknown Legend" is mixed with a lot of vocal reverb, particularly on the backing singers in the chorus. Infinity's Beta line makes this passage positively huge - it feels like you're listening in a cathedral. The Jamo's can't quite match this spaciousness. The presentation was nonetheless pleasant, and I can live with the shrunken soundstage. The female singers in this song can sometimes exhibit sibilance - not so on these tweeters.
So overall, the speakers are satisfyingly musical considering both their list and sale price.
For movies, first I watched Toy Story 2. The opening scene has Buzz Lightyear flying in from unknown sectors of the Gamma Quadrant to defeat Zurg and his evil minions. This is where the Jamo's bass presentation comes up shortest. There was little to no impact, especially compared to Infinity's Primus 362 which contains two smaller 6.5" drivers and a front port, for crying out loud.
On the other hand, this material revealed just how detailed the E680s are. When Buzz lands on the planet, his jets scatter pebbles and debris in all directions. Each and every pebble had a distinct fall against the rock. Buzz's footfalls in the steel tunnel had amazing precision as the sound panned from right to left.
JCVD, the strange and wonderful Jean Claude Van-Damme meta-biopic from last year, begins with a one-take action sequence with lots of ass-kicking and explosions. Again, the impact is all but non-existant, but the presentation was dynamic and well-scaled. Dialogue remained clear, and as I run sans center that's of the utmost importance to me.
Am I happy with my purchase? Yes, yes, a thousand times less. While a tad boxier than the E8s I remember (likely owing to the lightweight, resonant cabinet) they are nonetheless capable of big dynamics without strain. At the closeout price, these are pretty much unbeatable. They don't offend in any important way and do almost everything right.