Issue 80 / January 2003

Loudspeakers: Alón Lotus Elite Signature

Alón's Exotica succeeds brilliantly in its uncompromising pursuit of transparency, accuracy, and purity. And it can play reasonably loud, certainly loud enough for music systems. But for home theater enthusiasts, the Exotica does have some loudness limitations, for example due to the small size of its woofer that is required to obtain such a pure midrange. So, if you want your home theater very loud, where do you turn? To Alón's Lotus Elite, which now includes design concepts borrowed from Alón's huge Exotica Grand Reference system.

The Lotus Elite employs more conventional cone drivers for woofer and midrange, and a metal dome tweeter (instead of a ribbon tweeter as in the Exotica). It also uses two 8 inch woofers instead of one as in the Exotica. These drivers give the Lotus Elite more loudness capability, especially at the bass and treble spectral extremes. Although these drivers are not as pistonically accurate as the ones in the Exotica, and therefore do not sound as transparently revealing and coherent, they still allow the Lotus Elite to do very well in comparison to other speaker systems that also use conventional cone drivers, and they sound cleaner and purer than drivers used in earlier Alón systems of past years.

The $7999/pr Signature version of the Lotus Elite employs more expensive Alnico magnets for its two woofers and its metal dome tweeter, and also uses an external passive crossover with premium parts. The standard version of Lotus Elite costs half as much (just $3999), and uses an internal crossover. The Signature version (which is the one we evaluated) is said to be more transparent and dynamic than the standard version, and also is quoted as having more extended bass response, to 28 Hz vs. 35 Hz for the standard version, thanks to the better woofer magnets.

Each of the two woofers is in its own sealed enclosure, and the two bass enclosures within each midi-tower are of different volume, which staggers and smoothes out the bass resonances and rolloffs, thereby yielding better quality bass. The midrange and tweeter drivers are mounted on open baffles (like many earlier Alón speaker systems), so they radiate backward as well as forward. This provides a big, spacious sound from the rear reflections - and that in turn enhances your perception of system loudness, as well as broadening the stereo image to larger, more impressive size.

There are many high quality mid tower speaker systems you can choose from, that give you lots of loudness capability for home theater. The Lotus Elite Signature is among the best of them. And, although we haven't yet heard it, we would venture that the standard Lotus Elite would, at half the price, also be an excellent competitor against other similarly priced speakers for home theater.