Epos M12i review

This version of Epos' most admired product is notably clearer and better controlled than before – but it loses out to its rivals Tested at £525.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Single-minded in their approach, the M12is are still right up among the front-runners


  • +

    Handsome and well finished

  • +

    forceful, rapid sound with detail to spare


  • -

    Fractionally remote treble can be provoked if poorly partnered

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It's been over a year since this latest incarnation of Epos' perennially respected standmounter scored the full five in its First Test.

But if a week is a long time in MPs' expenses claims, 12 months is an epoch in loudspeaker terms – so it's high time we unboxed them again and made sure they still have what it takes.

Free of their packaging, the M12is are tallish, beautifully turned-out speakers, their rounded wood-veneer cabinets and overall standard of finish impressive.

The repeated 'epos' logo around the mid/bass unit's surround may read 'soda' from certain angles, but we can live with that.

Speedy, dynamic and solid sound
And if you value a speedy, dynamic and implacably solid sound, you'll live with M12is too.

They're happiest out in a little free space, and when suitably positioned, Professor Longhair's Every Day I Have The Blues is a surefooted romp in the Epos' hands.

The barrelling 12-bar arrangement is impressively timed and effortlessly lucid, with real bite and attack on tap when required.

The low frequencies are taut and muscular, and the M12is demonstrate an exciting eagerness to go loud.
That's not to say they're unsubtle, but they're far from wallflowers when the going gets noisy.

New rivals do it better
Switching to Richard and Linda Thompson's When I Get To The Border, though, demonstrates where these speakers have been caught (and, in a couple of cases, overtaken) by the opposition.

They're not short of the insight and expression the song demands (the vocal harmonies, particularly, are skilfully communicated), but there's a suggestion of coarseness to the upper midrange that's absent in the best rivals.

And there's a slightly remote, detached air about the highest frequencies, a marginally bumpy integration with the midrange – without careful system-matching, the M12is' treble could prove problematic.

Of course, we made the same observations – that these Epos speakers are a low-fat, low-sugar sound, richly informative but not entirely neutral – last year, and it's still the case that a pair of M12is should be on everyone's shortlist.

But they're no longer a default choice, thanks to the efforts of at least two competitors, the Dynaudio DM2/7 and EB Acoustics EB1.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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