December 1, 2009
Searching for the Extreme: Building the
EgglestonWorks Andra III
After my positive experience with EgglestonWorks
Dianne loudspeaker -- launched at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, and reviewed by
me in May on Ultra Audio -- I decided to speak with the companys owner,
Jim Thompson, about the more ambitious Andra III, also launched at CES 2009. The Andra is
the firms best-selling speaker to date, and the one most people immediately think of
when the name EgglestonWorks comes up; the III is only the second update since the
Andras inception. I asked Thompson for a little background on the Andra:
"The original Andra was introduced in 1997 -- really,
in late 1996, but [we] didnt really hit full production until 1997. It was at CES
that year that we made a splash and were reviewed in Stereophile in October,
subsequently being named Speaker of the Year in that magazine. The Andra II debuted in
Thompson also gave me some background on EgglestonWorks
itself, which has kept a somewhat low profile in the last few years. But it seems that in
2009 EW is back and stronger than ever, as evidenced by my visit
there -- one stop on The Great North American Loudspeaker Tour.
More of the backstory from Thompson: "EgglestonWorks
as a name brand was established in 1992, though it has gone through major changes both as
a product and a company since that time. I came to work for EgglestonWorks in 1997, right
before the Andra being named Speaker of the Year [in Stereophile]. EgglestonWorks
was one of those really cool companies in Memphis at the time that no one really
understood. I mean, I talk to people now who glaze over when I tell them what I do. Some
people dont get it, and thats OK.
"I came in at a pivotal time for the company. In late
1998, the founder of the company left, and in 1999 one of the original investors acquired
the company outright. I stayed on and worked my way from an accounting/management position
into sales and marketing. The process of building speakers fascinated me, and I read
everything that I got my hands on. I was also lucky in that my father is a professional
pianist/organist. Tinkering with musical instruments and appreciating music comes
naturally when you grow up in a music store. Though I didnt get into this directly
to build speakers, that became the passion. Over the next decade I took over the reins of
the design side as our product line began to grow. In 2004 I bought the company, and hope
to further our position in the industry through innovation and exciting products."
Here is a pictorial account of the construction of the
Andra III. My full review of the speaker will appear early next year, right here in Ultra
EgglestonWorks co-owners, Jim Thompson (left)
and John Callery, holding panels that comprise sections of the Andra IIIs internal
Left: An Andra III multilayered baffle ready to be
screwed and glued.
Right: A partially constructed Andra III cabinet showing the separate internal chambers
that house the speakers two 12" woofers.
Sanding down the Andra III cabinets takes a lot of
A laminate is applied over the raw MDF cabinets to
cover seams -- a step thats said to aid in the finishing process.
Freshly painted Andra III cabinets. The rough section
you see will be covered by side panels of machined aluminum.
After the cabinets are completed, the drivers and
crossovers are installed, followed by the final testing. Perhaps the set you see here are
the samples that will be shipped to the Music Vault for my review!
. . . Jeff Fritz