The Cyclops was PHI's first commercial loudspeaker.
It came about after a lengthy search for drivers for
a tapered quarterwave pipe, itself intended to
display the virtues of the Sonic Impact T-Amp. We
found that this little amplifier simply couldn't
drive the ported boxes we had at hand and the
intention was to build a pair of high-efficiency
loudspeakers with small fullrange drivers. An almost
impossible feat, we realised.
The initial Cyclops was a spare-no-expense solution
to building a loudspeaker around these 75mm Kevlar
drivers, able to outperform commercial loudspeakers
priced up to ten times higher than our intended sale
price. It was a tall order, but we pulled it off.
Measuring 91dB/Watt at 1m, the efficiency couldn't
exactly be called high. But it was high enough to do
the T-Amp justice and it was just about as much as
one could coax out of a 3 inch driver without using
a impractically large horn. The initial Cyclops had
a concrete base with cavities filled with lead shot.
The enclosure was entirely hand-made from a sandwich
of MDF and solid Sapele mahogany; the filter box
from beech, Panga-panga and glass. This
elaborate filter and crossover box sported a custom
designed adjustable MOSFET pre-amplifier as well as
high quality passive crossover components. Interconnects were
custom designed; NOS vintage components were used.
At one point we counted four rare earth metals in
the design. It was, in short, a lot of hard,
Reviews were flattering to the
extent that the Cyclops is still in production. The
original was a tough act to follow. We created the
from the original Cyclops – a bit taller and sleeker
and in some ways better. We went back to the
original but amended the filter unit, housing many
of the components inside the boxes as one has come
to expect. We adapted the aesthetic to our current
two-tone design feel.
present incarnation of this loudspeaker is much less
elaborate than the original and, predictably, sounds
a bit better. But it was by no means easy.
The Sonic Impact T-Amp