Waterfall Audio is not a well-known name in the UK but the French company has been pushing the speaker design envelope for the last 15 years. It specialises in creating innovative, arty speakers for home cinema and hi-fi use, and one of its latest audio brainwaves is Hurricane Evo, a set of speakers fashioned from a single panel of glass.
Waterfall offers these as part of its ‘Ultra Flat Line’ and they’re not kidding – at 8cm deep they’re perfect for wall-mounting either side of a similarly stylish flatpanel TV. The 2.1 system we have on test includes a pair of Hurricane Evo speakers and the company’s High Force Multimedia (HFM) 2.1 subwoofer to add extra low-end grunt to movie playback. There’s a choice of three other subwoofers that you can opt for instead – HF1, HF2 or HF3 – or if you prefer you can piece together a 5.1-channel system with five Hurricane Evos and any of the subs, but at around £800 a pair you’ll need a fairly healthy bank balance…
For that money though, you get an extremely well crafted set of speakers. The use of glass obviously makes them more fragile than, say, your average floorstanders, but the toughened glass does feel remarkably sturdy. The glass panel is sandwiched between two parts of a robustly built die-cast aluminium speaker enclosure – the tapered rear section sports a pair of high-quality silver binding posts on top. Two grooves run down the entire length of the speaker at the back, allowing you to channel speaker wires inside them (Waterfall sells cables specifically designed to fit inside). At 280 x 190mm they also won’t take up much wall space.
But for all their originality, we can’t say that we were completely blown away by Hurricane Evo’s design – they’re certainly striking and distinctive, but there’s something about the tacky squares running down each side of the glass panel and the raised dots around the tweeter that makes them seem slightly dated. But they do look much classier with the grilles attached, and in any case, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
However, there’s been no attempt to match the subwoofer to the speakers, certainly not in our test package, but that won’t necessarily matter if you hide it away in a corner. And that aside, it’s not a bad-looking bass box, sporting a sleek black finish with an eye-catching silver semi circle on top. We’re also highly impressed by the rugged build quality.