The R & D department at Montana Loudspeakers never stands still. You might think we would be reckless to consider changing the "Stereophile Class A Rates" Montana EPS. However, the one trait all forward-looking technology companies have in common is the need to constantly improve. If your products don't improve they will stagnate and eventually be rendered obsolete. With the constant advancements in our computer design and optimization techniques, we felt it was time to apply some of our evolving technology and improve our most popular loudspeaker to date. Hence the EPS2.
More than just a box
The proprietary asymmetrical hexagon cabinet of the EPS2 has been slightly re-shaped to better control internal standing waves and to create a smoother, wiser sound radiation pattern. Furthermore, the accuracy of our new state-of-the-art CNC machine has allowed us to fine-tune the internal bracing, producing a more refined enclosure. These latest revisions have markedly improved the rigidity of the enclosure while decreasing the overall weight for easier handling. The resulting benefits are a slimmer new look and significantly improved imaging and soundstage focus.
All new Drivers
After working for months with the engineers at SEAS, we have reengineered and modernized our driver baskets for optimal strength and internal cabinet resonance control. At the same time we added all new high power motor structures with highly accurate magnet gaps and proprietary voice coils.
Our new proprietary 1" textile dome tweeter has received an improved long travel suspension as well as a newly redesigned impedance tuned rear chamber. You will hear sweeter, more transparent high frequencies as well as a reduction in distortion when demanding upper midrange frequencies are encountered.
The completely redesigned 4" midrange driver features a novel low-diffraction basket, advanced cooling efficiency and a more powerful motor structure. A newly reshaped cone profile and dust cap enhances imaging and reduces cone breakup. These advances were achieved using the latest laser measurement techniques during the design phase. The new EPS2 simply disappears while exhibiting lowered levels of techniques during the design phase. The new EPS2 simply disappears while exhibiting lowered levels of coloration without sacrificing any of the speed and dynamics that Montana Loudspeakers are famous for.
The all new 9" woofer benefits from a new ultra quiet motor structure and features extended linear travel (15 mm) in the magnet gap to yield powerful deep bass and greater impact at the sub- bass end of the musical spectrum.
Computer optimized crossover
The new drivers have been optimized to allow the crossover points to be located outside of the critical midrange region (225Hz and 3500Hz). This approach translates into pin-point imaging and harmonic delicacy, and to an increased power handli
The PBN Montana EPS2 speakers are extraordinary in three regards --- performing in the upper middle range of competitiveness against speakers at twice their price --- ca. 20K speakers --- where the Montana's cost but 10K) --- these are 1) fullness, richness, palpable presence, tonality, liquidity and just flat out realistic heft and weight to the music, 2) stereo imaging --- casting an image 3 feet to the left of the left speaker and three feet to the right of the right speaker (given the right electronics and right room) --- great size, depth, and height plus wonderful separation of instruments in space --- truly remarkable, and 3) the ability to never sound congested (no matter how complex the music passage), always sound relaxed and unstained --- while still being exciting and engaging. As far as clarity, dynamics, tight bass, PRAT (pace/rhythm and attack) --- the EPS2's are upper competitive at their price point.
These speakers will play as well as the signal inputted into the speakers --- that is, great electronics = phenomenal performance. Good electronics = great performance.
There are no trade-offs with these speakers other than price --- on the absolute basis, 10 large is a great deal of money for speakers (and another 7 large for electronics) makes for an expensive hobby. That said, I have heard Vandersteens, Theils, Verity Audio, Wilson, magnepan, Canton, B&W, Vienna Acoustic, Martin Logans (all good overall) and a dozen or more speakers in the 10-25K range and well... relative to these, the Montana's are a veritable bargain --- again upper-middle competitive against 25K speakers overall.
Of course, they are big and heavy and need space --- so a dedicated room is ideal. Then again, if you drop this kind of change for a system, you would be a fool not to provide for that system a suitable context for listening.
Overall --- awesome speakers that play everything well. Last point --- they sound like 2-way monitors in their imaging, coherence and immediacy --- but with wildly better richness, fullness, body, dynamics and heft. At first listen some might suggest that they do not have the bass presence that one would expect
from such a large speaker --- that is because the bass is realistic (fast, tuneful) not enlarged or over-exaggerated. No, not bass presence but rather realism.
I bought the Montana SPII ten years ago but got the itch to upgrade. They still look brand new and are great speakers, but it was time to shop around. I home auditioned the Sonus Faber Cremonas but they only sounded good on certain types of music and were too aggressive on some music. I listened to the
Vienna Mahlers and was close to buying a pair until i played a tune from
an early Traffic album. The Mahlers missed a prominent piece of the song...
notes that should have attacked were recessed. It wasn't accurate and i never
heard any speaker treat the song in that manner...so much for the Mahlers.
I listened to the Revel Ultimates, Krell, Martin Logan Vantages, Audio Physic
Scorpios, Avalon Acoustics and others. I liked the Audio Physics and Martin Logans but didn't want to pay that kind of money, so i bought a pair of Monitor Audio Gold Signature 60s for $4000. Listened to them for about 5 months...they
were good rock speakers but a little bright for my tastes. Bummer, i liked my old SPIIs better...tried to sell the Monitors but couldn't get near my asking price. After
all my auditioning, i finally called the owner, Peter, at PBN Montana. Luckily,
there are no dealers in my area so I worked the trade on the EPS2s and waited a month for the speakers. Gotta admit, I had buyer's remorse in that month. I really didn't want to kick out more money and i was having a tough time justifying the nearly 9 grand i paid for my upgrade. The SPIIs were so good...what was i thinking? Fast forward...was it ever worth it ! The EPS2s are fantastic speakers...incredibly dynamic, harmonically true and beautiful to look at. I got the premium finish in piano black and they look magnificent. THe speakers have
great clarity, depth and tremendous drive and best of all, they maintain
their character at low volume levels too. Percussion sounds terrific, instruments
are so accurately portrayed,,,the highs are clean and sweet, bass is tight and punchy. Read the Absolute Sound review on PBN Audio's website. These speakers sound great on all types of music...a real "live" sound that's hard to
find in the marketplace. Audition a pair if you're near a dealer. I don't normally
buy a pair of speakers without auditioning them. I've done it twice now
with the Montanas and both times i've been extremely grateful. You can't go
wrong with this speaker. Plus, the owner Peter is a great guy as well. Best
money i've spent in 10 years.