Floor-standing Speakers

Waterfall Audio, Iguasçu Evo Floor-Standing Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

Waterfall Audio is a new player in the North American market but the company was established in Northern France in 1996. It took several years for Waterfall to perfect their technology and produce a commercial product. The engineering team had two areas of technology to develop. One, manufacturing tight tolerance enclosures from glass. Two, controlling vibration and energy in what is essentially a non damped material.

In order to make the cabinets out of glass Waterfall had to find a partner that would be able to cut and finish glass to a tolerance not typical for most glass applications. A 6 x 3 meter glass sheet is roughly cut to the various panels required to build the cabinet. These rough panels are then further machined by CNC equipment to get exact dimensions to +/- 150 microns.

While glass is a very dense material and not prone to transmitting vibrations throughout the cabinet, it can resonate. To control the resonant properties of a non damped material like glass, Waterfall developed several technologies. The main innovation is the Acoustic Damping Tube. This applies to the woofer. The ADT is part of the rear section on the woofer, and helps to limit the energy from the back wave of the cone. It dampens the Medium to High Frequencies with an integrated damping chamber. There's also a hydraulic damping mechanism for low frequencies which also assists in controlling excessive cone movement, which reduces distortion and increases power handling. Last, the ADT uncouples the bass drive from the glass structure and controls the amount of energy transferred to the enclosure.

One very unique aspect of the Iguasçu is a passive radiator at the base of the speaker which can be tuned for extension or bass output. The passive radiator has the option of attaching one of the two weights provided to tune bass response.

The product documentation is a bit vague in that it defines the adjustments simply as; extension to 60hz +2b for no weights, 55hz +1db with the smaller M7 weight, and linear to 50hz with the M27 heaviest weight. It's hard to verify the curve of the boost without proper measuring equipment and a anechoic environment. By ear it does seem to tune bass for greater extension versus bass output. The extent to which I suspect is highly determined by the room acoustics where the speakers will reside.

The towers are relatively short in stature and in my listening environment it put the tweeters almost 2 feet below my ear level. Keep in mind I'm a very tall individual at 6'6" and the tweeter may be closer to ear level for the average listener. This is one reason I've never been a big fan of tower speakers. With monitors you can use stands to get the right height based on your seating situation. I find solutions for doing this with towers to be cumbersome and less than aesthetically pleasing. In practice this proved to not be a real issue.

The towers have substantial aluminum bases with a single set of binding posts. The base has threaded recesses for spikes which were not supplied. The lack of supplied spikes or feet prevents angling the speakers upwards to compensate for their low tweeter height. Purchasing threaded spikes will remedy this, though in practice I never felt the image was too low in space. Experiments to raise the front of the speakers resulted in minimal lifting of the soundstage.