Dusted off my old Epos ES14 but underwhelmed

This might be a bit embarrassing and prove that I have cloth ears. I first got into hifi in the early 90s. Saved like crazy and ended up with a core of 62/90 into Epos ES14s. Really believed that I was THE kid on the block, lol. Sounded good and just having Naim made my mates green. I kept that system for years. In fact, all still here, but in various cupboards as I now have 282/250.2 into Dynaudio Focus 160. But, I have tried the ES14s a couple of times and they sound a bit, well, so so. I feel like a heretic just saying it. The mid/bass is a bit congested and the treble is over bright and fatiguing. Have they aged poorly, do they need attention or have my tastes just changed. Perhaps my Dynaudios are modern and better? Any thoughts on whether it is me, or the ES14s.

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Bungs in or out?


The top end is probably the area where the ES14s show their age the most. These days the capacitor that’s essentially all there is as any kind of crossover is well past its best and worth replacing. If your ES14s are sounding a bit “off” then this would be the first thing I would do.

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I also have some ES14 that I used for years on my naim system, I tried them over Christmas on my system and they sounded dreadful, so put them away once again.
I was going to sell them years ago when I got my SBL’s but kept them as I once liked them, but something has changed as I wouldn’t put them on a second system now.
As you say may not have aged very well being stored away for years? Or maybe they are just what they are and things have got much better over the years. But they did have a bright sound if I remember right back in the day

I am a bungs out person and they sound worse, to me, with bungs in

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I agree that with the bungs in they sound overly damped and a bit flat. However, try replacing the bungs with cut down and bunched drinking straws (while you can get them!).

Thanks Richard. I have heard that recommended before plus I was told that my pillar stands are wrong as they need an open frame stand, such as the Heybrook HBS1 that I used to own. However, I fear that I am tweaking and tuning whereas it sounds a bit more fundamental than that, if you know what I mean

The stands are important. HBS1s are fine, but best by far are stands that don’t have any solid top plate - i.e. are open at the top. The later Epos stands are like this of course, and an excellent choice, but there are also others out there too. It makes a big difference to how they perform.

The only component in the ES14 “crossover” is the capacitor. I refurb’d a pair a while back & replaced the old electrolytic caps with plastic film type & the owner was most impressed, not surprised as one was open circuit. Any brand of film capacitor is OK, all will be better than the cheapo electrolytic’s that Epos fitted, I used ClarityCap. I understand that Epos changed the capacitance rating over time, 2.2uF 3uF & 3.3uF, not sure why but best stay with the same as fitted.

Thanks for the information and I have just ordered some ClarityCap ESA capacitors, which I hope are the right ones. Not expensive and so I am happy to give them a try and see if there is an improvement. Whether that diverts me from my upgrade itch is yet to be seen!

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