Review: Eggleston Works Andra mkII Speaker

Category: Speakers

The purpose of this review is to comment on EW's Andra II upgrade. There were several thorough reviews of the Andra in 1996 and 1997, and Paul Bolin just did a very thorough (and from what I've heard, completely accurate) review of the Andra II's in the November 2002 Stereophile. But while he reported that EW had a program to upgrade the Andra to Andra II for $2750 plus shipping, he didn't say anything about the differences between the two. And they are enormous.

The original Andras, which I lived with for more than two years after buying them used, were wonderful speakers, but not perfect. At roughly $15,000, they could compete with the Revel Salons and B & W Nautilus 801's (B & W's top speaker then) on some bases, but not others. Their strongest points were that, on the one hand, a stereo pair projected a simply enormous soundfront, had dead stable imaging, and the strongest center image I had heard--no wandering or split soloists with these babies--and, on the other, they had a small footprint, were attractive but not intrusive in an R2D2 way, and--critically for me in a New York apartment--were designed to be positioned back against the wall. The reviews in 1996 and 1997 suggested 10 inches. I found 20-24 better, but compare that to comparable speakers, which require 4-6 feet! The Andras' main flaw, as far as I was concerned, was that they were a bit thin in the lower midrange/upper midbass range (not the low bass--how much low bass do you want in a New York apartment?)--and a bit forward at the upper midrange/high frequency crossover. (Enter the Purist Dominus.) Also, the image height was a bit low, because the speaker was small, and the tweeter height around three feet from the floor. Still superb, still very transparent--but not perfect. (What is?)

A word about the upgrade. It took about 5-6 weeks from my initial call to EW to final delivery, but that also included shipping me empty cartons for the Andras. Of those 5-6 weeks, shipper delays probably took up half the time. Total shipping costs, three ways, were a little under $600, to New York, where the shipping companies make a delivery of heavy items a day at Jurassic Park. The people at EW were pleasant, efficient, and knew what they were doing. The speakers which came back were immaculate (all dings gone), beautifully finished, and as far as I'm concerned, beautiful. The extra 7 inch height makes them more graceful, and they fit in better with my Salamander cabinets, but they do demand more attention. No one walks into my living room (23 by 13.5 by 9, open to dining area on left) without noticing them any more.

If you want an Andra with more bass, forget it--this is a totally different speaker. Sure, it has more bass, a prodigious amount, in fact. And probably because the speaker is now 7 inches taller, the image height is no longer anything you even notice, any more than you notice it at Carnegie Hall. Which brings us to the real point--you really do not notice anything particular at all. The overall sense is simply of natural, accurate sound, the way it sounds from my 8th row center seat at Carnegie Hall--not, of course, in degree, but in kind. Low level detail is just there; loud passages simply happen. No strain. No distractions. To speak audiophile-ese--the speakers are far more transparent from top to bottom, image extraordinarily well, are as smooth up and down the spectrum as anything I have ever heard, and are absolutely eerie on low level detail. Turning the volume down further than I have ever comfortably done (and bearing in mind that they are far more efficient than the Andras were), the detail is still there in quiet passages, and loud ones lose no transparency, which they did on the Andras. Blast the system, and you are in hog heaven until the police come.

This brings up my last point. I have always used rear speakers, with a rebuilt 80's ambiance unit (but without the front channels going through it). This opens up the hall sound, creates a fuller and richer listening space, and compensates for the artificialities of stereo sound without subjecting me to gimmicky surround sound where some engineer wants to demonstrate how creative he can be. The Andras, like every other speaker I have owned, profitted from this. My point is, that when I settled down to listen to the Andra II's, I kept marvelling at the way they filled the room. After two hours, I realized that while my rear channel amp was on, the ambiance unit was not. The rear speakers were off, but I hadn't even noticed.

My last word on the speaker conversion itself: compared to what I have put into this system elsewhere, the Andra II conversion at $3300 (including shipping), is such an extraordinary value it makes virtually every other expenditure I have ever done seem ridiculously extravagant. If you have Andras, do it! If you don't, they're around used. If you are contemplating $20,000 (gag) for new speakers, you have to hear these. (From what I've heard at dealers, and other people's homes, these can stand up to the Revels and B & W's and just about anything else in that range.)

Final piece of information: my listening is almost exclusively classical, and is LP, CD and SACD. I have thrown everything from the Solti Ring to Moravec's Chopin at them, and am simply overwhelmed. If you need to know how they rock, you're on your own.

Associated gear
SME 20 turntable, SME 5 arm. Koetsu Rosewood Signature, Classe Omega SACD, dCS Purcell and Elgar, Rowland Synergy IIi preamp, Classe CAM-350's, Lamm LP2 phono amp,Burmester line conditioner, Purist Dominus cables, rear channels: Sony 505ES ambiance unit, NAD C370 amp, Egglestonworks Isabel speakers

Similar products
Andras, B & W Signature 800's, Revel Salons, Dynaudios, Wilson Watt/Puppy 6
This is a very helpful review, as I have recently purchased a pair of Andras and have not been able to find any direct comparisons between the original and version II. The upgrade in sound quality you describe does seem hugely impressive, given how good I think the original Andras sound. Having auditioned a number of other "big name" speakers the Andras clearly stood out as being something special to me. I'm now looking to upgrade my amp to get the most out of the speakers, I note you are using Classe CAM-350s, did you audition the likes of Mark Levinson and Krell (which I've been told have a good synergy with EW speakers) before choosing the Classe and if so would you be able to give a quick description of the different sonic traits of each? I would also be interested to hear of any other amps you might have auditioned with your Andras. Thanks for your help.
Mgottlieb the reason why I post this, because my friend
is convince that Krell 300 is the answer but Iam not
convince, Krell are excellent amp, but they are not
my preference, I would rather spend money for the modication
of Andra, thinking the andra's upgrade will improve the sensitivity, to make my monos amps more effecient.
Well I finally had the chance to Audition the krell FBB
300, the sound is very very good,but its not musical
compare to my oddyssey extreme monos, with my audio
art preamp, the sound of krell in my system is not
natural, I have been hearing people describing the metallic
sound of this amps,but never belive them,After 2 days
of auditioning them, I realise in my system, they do.
The Krell are good amp,but I cant listen for too long.
Jayctoy is referring to my system.

I use Krell and they do mate very, very well with the Andra's. Only Jayctoy did not like my sound but everyone else did. That same group also deemed Jayctoy's set-up unlistenable. Heavy biases and to each other's preferences, I guess.

Remember, for what it's worth, Wes Philipps of Stereophile evaluated the Andra using, for one, a Krell amplifier. It was a rave review leading to the Andra being named Speaker of the Year.

I do not claim to be an expert but I'd weight the opinions of one expert- Wes Philipps of Stereophile- and another "expert" Jayctoy (who everyone in out little circle loves ;)
Mgottlieb, we share a few common things.

Check my system out.

Do you think it's time to upgrade my Andra's to the II's?
Tonet I am not referring to your system, I dont know you.
And, no plans to know you more.PEACE
I do respect Wes Philip, but our preferences in terms
of music and sound is differrent,He might have love
the sound of His Krell, I am happy for Him,I use
reviewer as a reference,I doesnt mean they like,Krell that
I should like Krell also,Again they are not for me,
for my taste they are too mechanical, they sound good,
yes but not musical,and they run like space heater,
even Audiobuff username told me the same thing, even here
at AGon, Tonet if you like your system, Enjoy it, dont
get offended, thats when you can prove, you respect
your own ablity to put up a system,I know someone
who bought Krell 400cx after less than a year is for
sale again, Maybe He realise its too mechanical, I respect
this man, He knows music not sound, Even audiobuff,The
bass of krell are not natural, they overhang,they did
overpower the Andra without musicality in my system,
This are the gear that are good, but no thanks,my ear
hates them.
Thanks Mgottlieb, Audiobuff, and ajmorales, my Andra's are in the hands of Eggleston for the upgrade.

Looking forward to hearing it s rebirth!

BTW, this nice gentleman who had his Krell 400Cx did sell his 400Cx for a killer deal on expectedly better Edge amplifiers. (Even helped him pack his 400Cx!)

And he is on the market for new speakers and Andra II is in his short list.
Jayctoy, thank you for not placing my paraphrased, out of context comments in quotes. Althought I appreciate your respect of my abilities, I prefer to comment on my own.

Thank You.
At least there was enough decency left when Jayctoy left out the name of this gentleman:


"I know someone who bought Krell 400cx after less than a year is for sale again, Maybe He realise its too mechanical, "

But again, he would have preferred to comment on his own.

It was a placing a presumption on his reasons and not his real reasons.
Thanks for the excellent review. I am considering Kharma midi Grandes to mate with Atma-sphere MA-2.2's in a 23 X 13 room with high valuted ceilings and wonder whether you compared the Andras to the Kharmas? (I hope it's yes)
System: KV-50; ML ref 32 preamp; Dominus i/cs.
Tonet you are talking about decency, I dont remember you
having one, did you change already? I doubt it.Its
Paul statement to me, we are not even referring to your
system,we are talking about Krell in general,and you
being a lunatic psychopath,full of ego,You are not the
one who has the right to talk about decency,you dont
have integrity at all, You made all the excuses when
you and Toni blew my Harman Kardon amp,remember that?
So you will not pay me $500, you even use your wife
as excuse?Be a man,You also borrows equipment
for 3 months then claim you dont like it? Is that decent?
Ricardo instructed his worker that you pay whole
amount before you can borrow, thats a shame you know?
Is that decent?How about selling the Andra to Toni for
less price, then the next day, you want my Logan center
channel,begging me to buy it,You think I am stupid to
sell it to you, after all you treated me?Is this decent
Mr Andaleon?When I borrow you 80 pieces of cds, how long
before you return them? months?I found out later you do use them to promote, t your business, IS THIS DECENT?
mr ANDALEON? So I guess I have to stop here, the statement
above are more than enough to tell people,you dont have
decency,I will reserve some for now my fingers are
getting numb.Meet me Face me face. If you want ,dont be a
coward.We dont live too far.

Fo every line item above there is a powerful, truthful retort! But as adviced by people you know too, why stoop and bother?

To all,

My apologies for causing a a distraction on a beautiful review of a wonderful speaker.
Well after more than a month of wait and a few preparatory reps of squatts in the gym, I got them back in place.

You are very right Mgottlieb!

The Andra II is a totally different speaker and the most bang for the buck (I spent $3450.00 with shipping) I have spent in audio. You can easily blow that amount away in cables and tweaks and would not bring the impact the upgrade brings.

Ahh, the mid's are much more right and bass has definitely more authority!

I remember talking to Sarah Brightman backstage after her concert here in Chicago in February 2004. Playing her music reminds of that proximity. Goosebumps boys! Goosebumps!!!!

If you own the Andra, you owe it to yourself to explore this "ultimate tweak".

Thanks to Audio-buff for the invaluable help in positioning these speakers.
i have upgraded andras (1-2). they look a little ugly, and the build quality is not as good as the wilson's that sit down at the local shop. i have compared the andras to watt puppys, maxx's, grand slamms, theils, jm lab, sonus faber (extremas), b&w. haven't heard kharmas, or avalons (heard the ascents a long long time ago). conclusion- the andra's sound (MUCH) more like REAL MUSIC. they image well, but they are not as good as wilsons in that regard. SURE, i would rather have my egglestons "hot rodded" with a more handsome finish, better looking carpet spikes, nice burled walnut, whatever. maybe the cabinets could have thicker walls/even more bracing. but, just as they are, they sound absolutely wonderful, period exclamation point.
only my brother's sonus faber extremas are as good, and guess why (same tweeter/super duper cabinets). - my not so humble opinion(s).ps- it pains me to see andra's going for $6k used. also pass aleph amps going cheap too (they sound just as good as the halcro's i just heard the other day- and the halcros sound damn good).
Just saw the last comment. I agree with the favorable remarks as to sound, but I'm really puzzled as to the build quality conclusion. As far as I'm concerned, the rebuilt II's are almost impeccable as to finish (at least mine are), and the cabinets are as rigidly braced, and the speakers as heavy for their size, as anything out there. You like the look, or you don't, but they are, in my opinion, as well finished as the other speakers mentioned.
don't get mad, get glad...
i'm referring to slightly uneven seams where the granite
meets the mdf, esp. at the top of the speaker. we're talking
1/16 of an inch. i can be very picky, and "wilsongloss" has a deep metallic MIRROR finish, with beautiful custom-made carpet spikes in black or silver (or if you prefer, sonus fabers with huge perfectly finished slabs of real wood- not veneer). or go run your hands over a pair of b&w 800's wood-sanded silky smooth (altho' not exactly my preference sound-wise). the andra does after all cost $19k. perhaps, if i were them, i'd do a "signature" edition (but i'm a nobody who's never built more than a bowling-pin lamp). with ALL of that aside, does it sound out of this world? - YES (repeat 20 times)...
Eggleston did a very fine job refinishing mine.

Looked better than before! The polishing was impeccable!

More importantly it sounds much, much better than before!!!

Although I do get what Frenc_fries is saying. I also adore how those Sonus Faber, B&W's and Avalon's look. But I, again, also confirm I like the sound of the Andra II better.

Compared to the Wilson's and Verity's, I'd say the Andra's are as pretty.
i've e-mailed eggleston to see if they would either provide me with some BRASS carpet spikes (instead of unfinished steel) or at least give me the thread size/screw diameter
so i can ask "mapleshade audio" to make me some ($35/ea).
i think that would be a nice tweak, and complement the gold face-plate. each unto their own, but imho comparing the finish on an eggleston to a wilson is like comparing a cadillac to a bentley. otoh, a local audiophile i know has a pair of quads (63's) with the grills removed, wires all over the place, and a 30 yr.old thorens (no cd's). his system sounds 95% as good as the best i've ever heard.-
ps- anyone out there handy that can give me the hardware spec's?

Where do you live? I live north of Chicago.

I have and extra set. I sent my Eggleston for update without the spikes.

They sent me the speakers back with a new set.
hi, mr. tonet, i.e.,
hola, senor! i live in miami, fla.
your (original) spikes are aluminum, and are not as
sturdy as the new steel set on the andra-II.
i talked to j.thompson of eggleston today about getting brass spikes that would serve the same function as steel.
i made him abundantly aware of just how natural sounding the egg's sound (to me). the only thing that "bothers" me is when i listen to large ensembles, choruses,etc., it becomes more difficult to delineate individual voices/instruments.
is this the fault of the stereo, the room, or the recording?
i don't worry too much about this, though, and put on some chamber or jazz (fewer voices, easier to follow). but some reviewers make a very big deal over this- with a $35k digital front end, or alon grand exotica's, or whatever. in a house with the usual building materials, augmented by carpeting and some echo-busters, i consider myself luckier than most, and unwilling to spend a billion dollars to re-create the sound of the ny philharmonic in my living room. but it's a fun hobby, and there's nothing wrong with imagining it...
My original spikes are also steel and I was just going to give them to you but looks like Jim is taking care of you.

Happy listening!