There is no shortage of desktop speakers out there, connecting to your laptop in a variety of ways. The problem is that they all look the same – a kind of wooden box, with a front fascia that can be removed to see a pair of drivers underneath.
The ECLIPSE TD307 MK3 speakers are not like the others. They are a pair of speakers that look more like something you might see zooming down from space in an episode of the X-Files, with some sleek enclosures and sweet little driver covers on the front. They also happen to sound really really good, if you hook them up to the correct hardware.
Tammy loves high end audio, be that a pair of speakers or super cool pairs of expensive headphones. She’s reviewed the likes of the Nothing Ear (2), all the way up to the mega expensive and ridiculously good Meze Empyreans. She tests equipment both in a HiFi and a desktop setting, making sure to get the best out of the kit in question.
ECLIPSE TD307 MK3: Price and availability
They won’t be available from the usual sources, so instead you’ll have to look at more dedicated HiFi shops, such as Richer Sounds (opens in new tab) in the UK, to find them. When you do find them, you pay $300/£300 per speaker, thereby buying them separately. There is more information about stock on the ECLIPSE website (opens in new tab).
This places these pair of speakers in the $600/£600 range, making them a pretty expensive option. If you want to get the best out of them though, you’re going to have to spend a little more on a desktop amp and perhaps even a desktop DAC – these needn’t be too expensive, but they still add to the financial outlay. They aren’t cheap, but they are more than worth it.
ECLIPSE TD307 MK3: What I liked
I feel I need to reiterate how cool these speakers look. They are sat on a sleek stand that is the same color as the speaker itself, with a metal arm jutting out like an airplane model on display. The speakers themselves look like teardrop-shaped spaceships, conjuring images of sci-fi from the 1950s and the cartoon show The Jetsons. In fact, that’s probably the best way to look at them – these are how the people of the past thought that speakers would look in the future, with sleek lines and compact size.
And compact they are – they are around 212mm high, and only 135mm wide. They’ll easily fit onto any desk, either next to a laptop or under a raised monitor. They’re super adjustable too, with those arms that suspend the speakers in the air having tightening pivot points at the top so that you can change where they’re facing without having to move the base around.
Once you’ve found the perfect spot for those flat bases, you needn’t worry about rearranging your desk. That’s good because in order to get the best out of them you’re going to have to fiddle around with their positioning – but more on that later.
Once they are well positioned, you can get started. They hook up with simple speaker connectors – the red plug goes to the red socket in your amp, and vice versa for the black one. Play some music, and you’ll notice the sheer amount of detail on display here.
It’s a stunner, and you’ll hear all the small facets of the music you’re listening to. For example, the conductor shuffles their notes between pieces, with musicians finding more comfortable seats in quiet sections, with the scrape of a bow on violin strings. It’s stirring and brings new life to music you might have otherwise thought you knew well.
Of course, that detail comes in perfectly when listening to something like Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue. The first slide of the saxophone crooning as the orchestra picks up, the piano delicately picked out note for note. The muted trumpet raspy as the player hits his keys. Such detail would usually make things analytical and a little ‘boring’, but the mid-range punch instead allows for a more engaging listen. They’re not a ‘reference’, so they’re pleasing to the ear.
The clarity of the high register and upper mids comes into its own when listening to female vocals, and nothing like Myrkurs Gudernes Vilje highlights this better. The opening of the track dominated by Bruun’s echoing vocals surrounds you like a haunting Scandinavian mist, giving way to the punch of the strings. It’s a beautiful, terrifying experience, and the ECLIPSE, when set up properly, smothers you from all sides in a blanket of sound, layer upon layer of harmonized voices picked out with remarkable precision for a tear-rending sonic performance.
While I found the ECLIPSE at their strongest with more atmospheric music, they are proficient in making other styles sound great. High Contrasts Racing Green moves along at pace, the drums and melody keeping you moving. The ECLIPSE speakers emphasize the space in the recording, putting you in a club room circa 2004, with an excellent soundstage. Again, once you’ve got them set up right, these ECLIPSE speakers are downright magical in their ability to place you on a soundstage.
However, watch a movie at your desk with them and you won’t be disappointed either, although you might wish for a little more bass. Dialogue sounds amazing, and the stereo imaging puts it in just the right place. They’d make for sublime surround speakers as well if you don’t mind your home cinema not matching in regard to the manufacturer.
ECLIPSE TD307 MK3: What I didn’t like
As I’ve continuously eluded to, the ECLIPSE are a fussy speaker to get placed absolutely right. Get them wrong, and they won’t sound bad, but you’ll wonder why you spent so much money on them. They need to be placed with what’s known as a slight ‘toe-in’. You’re going to want the drivers in the front pointing towards your head so that you can get the full benefit of their soundstage and sonic proficiency. Once you’ve got them all set up to your normal desk sitting position, however, you won’t have to touch them again, and they’ll stay exactly where you put them with that tightening pivot at the top of the stand.
The only place you might find them lacking is in the lower frequencies and the bass extension. I quite like it – but when listening to some music you can notice it. For example, playing a movie, explosions lack oomph, or bass lines in dance music that struggle to be more forward in the mix. What bass is there is tight, controlled, and super dynamic, but there’s not much of it. It’s no surprise, given their size and shape – but it’s there, and worth noting.
Finally, you’re going to need to make at least one extra investment in these speakers before you can plug them into your MacBook. These are passive desktop speakers, so there is no built-in DAC or Amp – you’re going to need to provide your own before you can get going.
I used the Chord Anni, a $1000/£1000 desktop amp that also needs to be plugged into a desktop DAC before the music starts coming out. That honor went to the Chord Mojo, a $400/£400 device that converts the tracks to an analog signal that the amp can send to the speakers.
You could skip the DAC in this setup, and plug the headphone output from the Mac into the amp, but I wanted to give the speakers every chance they could get. You also need not spend over $1000 on equipment to get these to sound good.
Plug them into a small desktop amp that will set you back more like $100, and you’ll still be good to go. A good example might be something from Schiit, which makes cheaper desktop HiFi gear. Whatever happens, you can’t just jam a speaker cable into your MacBook Pro and hope for the best.
ECLIPSE TD307 MK3: Competition
There are some great options out there that cost a little less than these and have the ability to connect to your Mac through Bluetooth or a wire without the need for a separate amp.
We really liked the M20 HD from Qacoustics, a very nice pair of wooden speakers that stun with excellent sound quality. They don’t quite have the detail and separation that these do, but they are still an excellent alternative.
ECLIPSE TD307 MK3: Should you buy these?
You should buy these if:
- You want excellent sound for your desk
- You want something that looks like a sculpture
- You’re invested in desk HiFi
You should not buy these if:
- You want powered speakers
- By extension, you don’t want to buy any extra equipment
- You’re really into Michael Bay movies, and love bass
ECLIPSE TD307 MK3: Verdict
The ECLIPSE TD307 MK3 are going to require some extra bits and bobs before you can enjoy them – but once you have them all set up, enjoy them you surely will. They sound stunning, with special attention given to Classical music and female vocals. They also look incredible, really setting off a desk setup with their otherworldly looks.
They might be lacking a little in the bass, so action movies and dance music might not be quite as special sounding as other applications, but you’ll still find an incredible pair of speakers to put on your desk.