It seems that I am one of a select few that have gone and ordered the Crescendos, and will have to take great care in reporting on their sound...
To be continued next week- delivery is scheduled for Tuesday.
Looking forward to your report. There's only been one review so far as I know, by Jim Merod in some webzine. He loved them. Would love to hear more opinions and also very much interested in comparisons against other speakers. What else did you compare these to?
I got to hear these speakers a few weeks ago at an audio meet. They were driven by a pair of Tim Rawson build Aleph monos which was driven directly by an Ayon CD-2 with AZ cabling throughout.
They sounded pleasant to me. Gigantic stage, very full bodied but nimble sound, very resolving but somehow they missed a certain magic for me. Speaking with other attendees after the event, it appears I was not alone in this regard.
My speaker budget is a little more than 1/3 of the price they fetch and to me it was a relief that I didn't go home and hate my system. In fact I appreciated what it does more.
I would add that I suspect they'd do significantly better with tube power.
I hope they work well with your gear and room! Congrats on the purchase they are gorgeous.
Hey Gopher, I was there too. The Crescendo's in that room certainly had a bass problem. It may be the dreaded one note bass that I usually find typical with transmission line enclosures.
The overall speaker just didn't sound coherent to me either. A piano piece I played sounded more like an electric than a live acoustic grand. Maybe it was because the speaker sounded so overly controlled. The lifelike quality just wasn't present IMO.
I was expecting a lot from this speaker and came away disappointed also. Setup? Amp mismatch? Who knows but it didn't work for me.
I am most definitely not experiencing one note bass. In fact, the bass of the Crescendos seems more articulate than my previous speakers, Monitor Audio GS 60's.
I am hesitant to post any type of full review just yet for several reasons. The speakers are too new, an I'm no Harry Pearson.
Here are a few comparisons with some speakers I've demo'd in my house recently:
ZU Audio Definitions- the treble is much better integrated in the Crescendos. The Definitions had certain high frequencies that would just leap out at you. They also did not image as well as the Crescendos. The guys at Zu suspected an amp mismatch, and I have no reason to dispute this. Bass was not as articulate as either the GS 60's or the Crescendos.
Reference 3a Grand Veena- This speaker sounded very good overall, but would harden up at any volume over 95db. I would expect this in a small stand mounted speaker, but this was a 50" floorstander. The Crescendo does not sound quite as open, but does high volume much better. Bass in the Crescendo is also fuller, and to my ears just as articulate.
Monitor Audio GS60- This is a great speaker. I have spent 3 years looking to better them. What I don't care for in them is a lean tonal balance. What I love about them is their very open sound and a tremendous ability to play loudly with no strain.
Take these comparisons for what they are- I don't have a perfect room, nor perfect ears. I am not necessarily going for absolute neutrality, but a sound that is pleasing to me.
Lastly, these thoughts are based on 3 day old speakers, hardly broken in. The amplifier used is the LSA Signature integrated.
I will post further thoughts as they break in.
James, curious what kind of music you listen to?
James, I've demoed those speakers several times, including at the aforementioned meet.
I agree that their bass is anything but "one note". I found their low end well defined and very extended.
But when you audition them by standing in the back or corner of the room, with people standing all over the place, usually chatting away, I couldn't think of a worse way to audition anything. There was also a mini DAC shootout that took place that day and both DAC's were a little loose in the bottom end.
My tastes run the gamut- in some semblance of 'airtime':
Rock / pop 40%
50's / 60's Jazz 20%
World/Ethnic/Anything goes 10%
What I EMPHATICALLY don't listen to are so-called audiophile recordings.
Just want to add I had a similar issue with Zu Definitions on bright top end as a result of a lean midrange---turned out it was a very poor match with my BAT integrated. I switched to a McIntosh and things fell right into place.
It was very similar to JA's view of the Essence in Stereophile---he switched to a tube amp for the same reasons. With no crossover, I've never heard a speaker so amplifier dependent---it's like the amp goes straight to the coils of these speakers (same could be said probably for Audio Note, Avantgarde, and other HE speakers).
Zu Definitions should be paired with warm SS (ala McIntosh) or a tube amp imo. I think AZs should be paired with tube amps as well from my limited experience with the Adagios.
I heard unbelievable sound on the Crescendos when i was at
the 2009 RMAF show in Denver. The owner played a few
cuts of some CDs i brought and it was maybe the best
sound i heard. Prompted me to sell my fantastic Montana
EPS2's and Martin Logan Spires (never could warm up to the
Spires). Since selling, i've gotten cold feet at spending
so much $ even though the sales would cover the price.
Plus, i'm tired of lugging around heavy speakers like
the 150 lb Montanas and 125 lb Crescendos. Might
scale down to PSB Synchrony One's. I really like their
big sound, small footprint, incredible clarity and
Now that they are run in... what do you think?
You said you would be back with more info... one would think a year later ought be enough to have them fully run in.
Did ya sell 'em or still got 'em?
I still own them, and I'm about to get rid of the boxes- they're staying.
Their tonal balance is on the warm, forgiving side, which is what I have been looking for. Prior to the Crescendos, I had a small parade of speakers that were too analytical for my tastes- Grand Veena, Zu Definition Mk2, and the Monitor Audio GS60.
I don't care for a lean tonal balance, and the heap of detail that comes with it usually becomes annoying after a short period of time. The Crescendos are a 'listen for hours on end' speaker, not the least bit fatiguing.
I have a couple of thousand CD's, and would rather have a system that does not bring out the flaws in every recording.
When I first had them, the Crescendos sounded a bit closed in vs the MA GS60's, but they seem to have opened up somewhat in the past 11 months. I still would not say that they are as open some other speakers I've heard, but again, my personal preference is for a full-bodied sound.
A HUGE caveat to my impressions is that I have tilted my components and wires toward fullness. The LSA amplifier is probably not considered analytical, nor would the Bryston BCD-1 player. I also am using KCI gold Silkworm+ IC's.
What I'm trying to say is don't let my warm sound assessment be a negative in considering this speaker. It is truly a contender, and for me it's a keeper.
James_edward, you still have them? Any more negatives after living with them?