Computer desktop audio and hifi converge in the form of several products each year. The newest submission by Eclipse is called the TD-M1 wireless speaker system. The bullet-shaped casing from each of the mounted speaker cabinets houses a single 8mm driver and is rated for 20W output from the built in amplification. Also included in the mix are an interesting selection of inputs that include Apple’s Airplay, your standard computer USB input and a USB input from a direct connection to an iDevice. The overall layout of the system screams for desktop and nearfield listening, although the setup can still be used in a pinch for a makeshift bookshelf or kitchen stereo.
A satisfying gloss finish further complements the TD-M1’s external appearance. The review pair that was received was set in black but a white model is also available for purchase. The 8mm driver is slightly recessed into the front of the airplane engine shaped module and feels like a fairly tight little package overall. The 11-½ lbs. combined weight of the pair certainly contributes to the sturdy form factor. The adjustable tilt from the non-removable stands is a godsend for getting the sonic delivery adjusted to your liking and is fairly easy to use and setup. While the height of the speakers is locked in, this designated distance from the ground keeps the setup from becoming to intrusive against tight desk quarters. The protruding clip found hidden in the rear design allows for the tilt to be adjusted in much the same manner as a car steering wheel. The removable antennae in the back may allude to Bluetooth connectivity, but alas, the M1 is restricted to Wi-Fi usage on the wireless front.
On board controls located on the left speaker base include a power button that doubles as an input selector as well as a volume control. The limited interface took a little to get used to (the volume selector was a bit jumpy) but the M1 is also easily controlled from your source device via Airplay. There aren’t really any visible labels for the light up input selector, so users will end up having to memorize the pre-selected rotation of Airplay – USB B – USB A – AUX (3.5mm analog) if they want to accurately switch between the options. Both these items turned out to be really minor setup adjustment quibbles in the end. The Eclipse was designed with compactness in mind, and once the initial setup is over, users are sure to appreciate the efficiencies made by eliminating overextended indicators and controls. Volume control worked effortlessly from nearly every source that was connected including wire-connected iDevices, iTunes and even audiophile grade playback software like Audirvana Plus via Airplay.
Airplay playback actually comes in two flavors, direct and “Wi-Fi” mode. The direct mode is the simplest, a computer or iDevice connects to the M1’s self-generated Wi-Fi network and then is selected from the Airplay dropdown. This quick and easy setup is all well and good, however it doesn’t allow your device to access its own internet connection, so streaming from a service like Spotify isn’t possible. However, with a little extra setup the “Wi-Fi” mode will leave you with a connection similar to what you expect from an Apple TV or Express experience. Using a computer’s browser to one-time log in the M1 to your local network allows it to be actively found and remotely controlled from any iDevice on the network. From this Wi-Fi mode both Spotify and Audirvana worked seamlessly. For the full fidelity rundown, hardcore users will most likely opt for the wired connections the M1 provides. Through the wired connection volume control through Audirvana Plus was restricted to the M1’s own internal control. The internal indicators from Audirvana did confirm a satisfying 24/192 resolution compatibility for the DAC for all file types sans DSD. Airplay playback was restricted to 16/44.1 as a result of the wireless protocol, even through Audirvana Plus.
The big takeaway is the upgrade in sound quality from streaming to native file playback, which was immediately noticeable. While this observation may strike the hard-core audiophile as nothing more than a quick visit from Captain Obvious, the potential benefit to prospective buyers is nearly a prerequisite for a hifi system. The M1’s internals are up to snuff to allow this fidelity to pass though. The pokey guitars and piano parts from Brian Eno’s Complex Heaven snapped into focus from Spotify’s stream to the high-resolution playback. Both the initial attack and placement of these instruments scaled nicely and left with much more believable sense of space and location. Given this acute sense of delivery, the M1 has a nice base to build from in terms of fidelity.
Of course the main drawback from any 8mm driver is going to be bass response, no matter what enclosure you seek to drive it from. Preliminary bass tests seemed to fall in line with the reported 70Hz cutoff spec from the manual. Given this knowledge, the M1 still did perform adequately within its given range. There was no soupy effort to inflate the bass signature, which could have resulted in a grotesque muddled mess at the low end. It was simply absent. Bass lovers might find a better fit elsewhere, for the connections in the back do not allow for a separate subwoofer to be added. But in reality, the M1 seems to be designed with a more near field, low-level office environment in mind. Max volume levels will fill a small room with sound, but it hardly seems like the products true destiny. Given the on board stand adjustments, the M1 could be the perfect companion for those looking to give their office a little hifi boost without sacrificing too much space. The 70Hz limitation feels very close to the threshold where a physical rumble would start to penetrate walls or floors. They won’t shake your morning cup of coffee off your desk, but they won’t shake off your cube-mate’s either. This cutoff is also close to the point where the visceral feeling of music can suffer the most, so a double edged sword of sorts within this type of application.
Treble response from the egg-shaped duo was well balanced with the rest of the spectrum. There was no need to over emphasize the highs in order to simulate more transparency. Cat Steven’s Wild World in 24/192 from Tea for the Tillerman pushed enough information forward to hear the natural pick strokes across the guitar strings separated from Steven’s higher range vocals and the occasional high hat tap. The M1 is a very easy system to listen to, but maintains an engagement that is not overdone or fluffed up artificially. Again, the soundstaging here was a real highlight, listening to the Persuasion’s a cappella version of Angle of Harlem really felt enveloping from the tiny speakers, especially at close range. With the lack of strain on the bass, the M1 could really break out and hone in on its clean-cut presentation with style and finesse.
The M1 is a feature-rich package. Airplay alone helps it stand out from the pack of traditional hifi contenders, just as high resolution USB makes it stand out from the barrage of Airplay speaker packages available. This hybrid/crossover approach may be the target that hits home for many consumers, the $1,300 asking price certainly implies as much. The Eclipse is a computer desktop complement at its core, performing a well-finessed balancing act along the murky-water border of the audiophile market. They provide just enough bite to them to draw in those looking for a little more definition from their desktop, just before you take the plunge into the more costly full size separates.
When compared to the A2+ budget desktop loudspeakers by Audioengine, the M1 emerges as somewhat of a mixed bag. The two-way A2+ has more bass in terms of overall presentation and extension. The previously mentioned desk shaking was more prominent in the A2+, which can be drawback or a plus depending on the listener’s individual needs. While the M1 felt a little drier by comparison, its malleability for near field listening really stood out. The tilt adjustments and single point sound dispersion ultimately allowed for a very solid three-dimensional soundstage in close quarters. Its well-executed control and decisiveness really helped bring value to the presentation.
The Eclipse TD-M1 is a solid contender within the computer audio desktop market. It’s feature list/bag of tricks includes a very useable Airplay protocol, but those wanting the get the absolute best out of their investment will still want to wire up with its 24/192 compatibility. The small size and big soundstage are a great combination for desktop use, as are the included adjustable tilt mounts the loudspeakers rest upon. While the lack of bass may prove to be a blessing for office situations, the remainder of the spectrum is balanced, neat and tidy. The on board streaming allows the M1 to have flexibility with placement, from the desk to a shelf or any household location in between. Those who opt for the desktop complement will even find an Apple friendly charging station for their phone with the iDevice USB connection among the multiple perks. Sonically the TD-M1 is a fine balance of enthusiasm without being obnoxious. A little on the laid back side, the tonal structure is easy going on the ears with plenty of contextual information readily available. If you were looking for a step up in performance from your computer audio desktop setup but didn’t want to clutter up your space with extra electronics, your ship may have well come in. The Eclipse TD-M1 has a solid array of bells and whistles for the modern day enthusiasts that pairs well with its no-nonsense approach to sonics. Land ho.
- Product - Eclipse TD-M1 Wireless Speaker System
- Price - $1,300
- Product Page - Link
- Source: MacBook Air
- DAC: AudioQuest Dragonfly (original version)
- Headphones: Audeze LCD-3, Audeze LCD-XC, Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser Momentum, JHAudio JH16
- Amplifier: The Calyx Integrated
- Loudspeakers: Zu Soul MkII
- Playback Software: Audirvana Plus
- Cables: AudioQuest Victoria, Zu Mission RCA Mk.II-B
About The Author
I’m a recovering musician turned audio reviewer. I currently manage and write reviews for Audio-Head.com and freelance with several other publications. I love tech and the tools of music, especially the ones involved in reproduction. After I finished my undergrad degree in business I went to the local community college and got one in photography, which was way more fun. I like it when people have unbridled enthusiasm for something and I have the utmost respect for individuals who try to create, even more for those who are good at it.