I haved owned the Too/Bass for 4 months. I will paste my original thoughts after just 2 days of ownership below. Since that mini review- I have been using them with my Atma-sphere MA1's and like the results even more than the SS amp.
The biggest improvement was the recent addition of Sistrum speaker stands. The Too's on the sistrum are actually frightening - I often think the sounds from LP are actually coming from my room- i.e. maybe my girlfriend is calling me or is making noise in the next room.
I think Bob's cabinet material is the best in the business. I don't think many people ordered the Too/Bass, as people heard what he had done with his lower cost model, and bought the Reference.
My electronics and front end may change - but the Cerious speakers are here to stay. I just don't know what I could replace them with that would sound better, except for Large Soundlab 'stats, or the MBL101E, neither of which I have the room or the budget for.
My original preliminary thoughts..........
I just wanted to post some thoughts about my new Cerious Technologies Two/Bass speaker combo before doing a formal review.
The units I got had been used as demo's and were fully broken in, so I can make some valid comments even though I just got them less than 2 days ago.
My first impression after Bob Grost set them up, was that I'd never heard bass like this before, and especially in my room.
The bass is of an instantaneous nature. It is simply unbelievably fast, distinct and with no overhang. The speed is electrostatic like (think SoundLab- one of my favorite speakers) with the depth and slam of a dynamic driver. It was a real revelation to hear every string of a stand up bass so distinctly, and bass drum notes that just started and stopped on a dime.
Later that night I would hear some piano that is truly unlike any reproduced piano I have ever heard. This speaker seems to handle percussive instruments in a very unique and real manner.
Bob mentioned his reference speaker is the original Quad ESL, which is interesting in that I used to own ESL 63's with the full Crosby mod. I loved those speakers, but due to panels breaking down and the amount of space they require, I had to sell them and go the dynamic speaker route. Now this may be a little unfair- since my electronics have changed since I used to own the quads, but I am getting a level of performance well above what the quads could ever do, and in the areas that Quads perform their best - plus of course all the areas where Quads fall short)
The bass performance in my space was always a bit wooly unless I moved my previous speakers from the long wall facing my sofa to the short wall and facing 90 degrees. With the Cerious Two/Bass combo, I don't seem to be having this issue at all, but it could be due to the fact that the Bass is down-firing and perhaps more omni directional than my previous forward firing driver towers.
Performing a knuckle wrap test on the Cerious is kind of like hitting black hole material. It's like it just sucks the energy away from your hand. It's nothing like hitting wood, MDF or composites. Clearly the cabinet material is revolutionary in it's inability to store energy.
One of the best (and interesting things) is that the presentation and timbre is not foreign sounding. It doesn't stick out in any section of the spectrum (save for the wonderfully deep and precise bass) I have always found that if a product sounds impressive in some way, it's very likely going to be a sonic signature that eventually you'll dislike.
In fact to a casual listener, they might not even notice they are hearing something out of the ordinary for high end. It really took me a few hours of listening (and I am still discovering) to really hear what these speakers are capable of. It's almost as if my ear wasn't refined enough to instantly know what they were doing right.
I recently got the new PS Audio Digital Link III, which may be contributing to this next observation. But so far it seems that even mediocre recordings are so fully fleshed out that they are enjoyable. I always find it a good attribute of a component if it is able to do this, rather than just being able to play only the best recordings. Even mp3's are enjoyable - though low res and "watery" sounding.
I have heard quite a number of systems over the years, and while many of them are resolution kings, the Cerious fits in that catagory but seems to present itself in a natural way that doesn't lead your ear to any particular attribute (other than bass as I had already mentioned)
The magic clearly seems to be in the cabinet structure (synthetic ceramic). It's a shame this technology won't become commonplace, because I truly do believe this is a major advance in loudspeaker design, and combined with some the of unbelievable driver technology that is out there, (diamond depositing ,etc)......
I'm not saying I wouldn't consider trading them for a pair of MBL 101E's (of course I couldn't even afford the amps necessary to drive the MBL's, but I do believe the Cerious has about the best bass reproduction I've ever heard. Now I really want to hear the Cerious Reference!!!
The Rest of my system----
The rest of my system consists of all Cerious cables, (speaker, RCA, XLR, and AC) I had the cables for about 8 months so I had the chance to hear what they did without the Two/Bass.
Integrated (is that a dirty/low end word?) Amp/pre amp - PS Audio GCC-100 control amp with Underwood Audio modification (copper NextGens as opposed to SIlver) and Critical Link fuses.
PS Audio Digital Link III DAC
PS Audio GCPH phono stage
Digital Transport -CD and Uncompressed Aiff - Apple Macbook via USB (really the best transport I have yet heard)
Well Tempered Classic turntable with Black Platter and Sumiko Celebration cart.
PS Audio Powerplant P500 and 5 Noise Harvesters.
My previous speakers were the Source Technologies 106 - they use the Scanspeak 8545 woofer and Revelator family tweeter- the 9500 I think. Not well know but very revealing and musical.