In the great Elipson saga, I would like W35 Xi, the Black Star, the new speaker from the iconic French audio brand! With its 35 cm diameter, the big ball that the firm founded in 1938 has just launched stands out in the world of living room speakers with its extraordinary design. Does the habit make the monk? 20 minutes tested it.
An anti-vibration sphere
Anyone who loves hi-fi at all knows Elipson. Founded in 1938 by Joseph Léon, a genius inventor, the French gem has long been able to impose its concept of spherical enclosure, later taken up by Cabasse Or Devialet. With its audio “balls”, it notably had its hour of glory by equipping the studios of RTF, the Radiodiffusion Télévision Française, then of the ORTF, the Office de Radiodiffusion Française. Spherical? Yes, because according to Joseph Léon, the process makes it possible like no other to perfectly damp vibrations and avoid any distortion.
AirPlay 2 and Chromecast
With its 35 cm diameter, the new W35 Xi is therefore the worthy heir of its predecessors. But the proud speaker no longer contains a single driver, but four, each independently amplified: two 165 mm mid/bass speakers and two 25 mm tweeters. They are placed on either side of the speaker, which allows it to broadcast sound that is not directional, but enveloping, although offering a stereo sound image. The result is 350 Watts of power, all the same. If you have the space (and the wallet!), it is possible to couple two W35 Xi to form a stereo pair, or even to associate them with more speakers from the brand, this model being multiroom.
Bluetooth, it is above all Wifi, and what’s more is AirPlay 2 compatible (for Apple products) and Chromecast (for Android). This allows it to stream music without loss of quality from most streaming platforms. streaming musical. The W35 Xi is also Hi-Res audio compatible for perfect compatibility with uncompressed audio files (i.e. 24 bits/192 kHz), the holy grail for purists. It has a mini-jack input (so you can connect a vinyl turntable or an external player), an RJ45 Ethernet socket, but no HDMI socket.
Adapted to all registers
The listening experience is really punchy and rich, with particular attention to the midrange and treble register. Surprisingly, its app doesn’t offer an equalizer. A shame, because we would sometimes have liked to boost the bass a little more, or simply give certain pieces more roundness and warmth.
The fact remains that this speaker can adapt to all registers, from the most musically demanding to the most commercial, with, what’s more, a power that lifts the eardrums… for, all the same, an investment of 699 euros! The W35 Xi also has several supports available as options from 49 to 119 euros to suspend it, hang it on the wall or place it on a stand or tripod.
If you cannot invest 699 euros in the W35 Xi, it is possible to purchase the previous generation, the W35 +, currently at 399 euros (compared to 899 euros when it was launched!). Less connected (it is neither AirPlay 2 nor Chromecast), undoubtedly lower, it remains otherwise in every way identical to the Xi, its heir.