The AktiMate Maxi is the second ambitious creation of the Hi-Fi gurus Michael Creek under the logo EPOZ. Whether network player, iPod dock, or external devices – the Maxi never says no. Whether the system can meet the high expectations, clear AUDIO in the exclusive test.
Already, the first child of the House of EPOZ was a resounding success. The active speakers that Creek from the workshop of master Michael, heard the name AktiMate mini (AUDIO 2/08) and among the first offerings, which could elicit the serious iPod HiFi in addition to B & W Zeppelin and Geneva. So Creek together with its Australian partners, succeeded to establish the new brand EPOZ without scaring his customers from the classic HiFi sector (naming not coincidentally reminiscent of his epic speaker).
The dock system was a revelation for the iPod owner, mini so the new creation goes much Maxi. The left box of the two-way system (25 – and 130-millimeter driver) is home to a docking station for the Apple portable player also a USB input for external disk, a network player and amplifier for both boxes. The used player comes from Reciva and can get the data either via a network cable or wirelessly via Wi-FI from the server. But this not enough: On the back of the active speaker (the right speaker is passive and powered with signals from the left) three line inputs and one output space found. So more external player can be integrated into the system eliminates the need for an amplifier. To force non lacking this, the 2 x 60 watts of built-in power amplifiers sufficient but amplifiers from the entry-level loose Paroli to offer and to balance proper level in the room.
The prejudice that network player of lay people are hard to operate, not nourished with the AktiMate at least during start-up. The initial installation is extremely simple, after just a few hand movements (both boxes set up, connect power -, network -, and speaker cable) connection to the server is established. Scrolling through the folder is less practical – the playlist is hard to see on the small four line display from two meters away. This forces the user to place, to fill the playlist or edit before the box. Also annoying, that the user list should scroll completely, get to bands such as ZZ Top or Vivaldi – if you have a large music collection, will be facing a test of patience. Tip the editors: arrange your music archive into subdirectories from A to Z. First you get faster to your favorite pieces.
Secondly, it reduces the cache of the Reciva clients giving it greater stability. The NetWorker is so rare its limits, barely crashes and works significantly smoother and nerve-friendly.
The occasional skips during playback of FLAC files (due to the caching of the data packages) are unfortunately anything to fix. This is a pity, the highly processed boxes but downright dazzled after uncompressed cooking, then more finely and spatial play they can be. To make it sound, but also care for the installation is. Although compact speakers are often also called shelf boxes, one should not be fooled by the small size and then just put them where a place is free. Since the EPOZ speaker are bass easily stressed and have no tone controls, constellations close to the wall, on the desk or even on the shelf are however taboo.
It adheres to this rule, the AktiMate Maxi conjure a dazzling soundscape, which even provides facilities beyond the 1000 euro mark in the shadows. So the compact broke up fine, played dynamically with a strength and taken for granted that much joy came especially for demanding classical recordings. While the AktiMate benefited from his slightly bass-heavy voting.
If Bruckner’s ninth or “Layla” by Eric Clapton, whether from the USB stick, network server or iPhone as a source – sound there was nothing to expose. The Maxi played loose, generously and with a beautiful detail. Looking for their level strength, dynamics and violence of the bass for other complete systems in vain; their lightness reminded strongly of the electronics by Creek – a great compliment given the success, which celebrate the British for years with their amplifiers. The network components from Reciva became apparent as the weakest link in the chain: the sneaky DS or the Akurate DS from Linn of the Maxi played to the signals, it sounded finer and more accurate. In the price range up to 1000 euros there is nothing comparable but in the network complete plant world.
On sober inspection will be the weakness of one or the other found this system – the too small display for controlling from a distance or incompletely network client from Reciva. But who wants a fun machine and adheres to a few operating rules, finds an offer that can give maximum pleasure in the Maxi.