Chesky Audio C-1 - Who has heard them?

They have some good press and they look very interesting on their website. Who has actually heard the C-1 or bought them? Are they as good as others claim?

Heard 'em at the big show (Home Entertainment Expo?) in New York, 2001 I think. As I recall, they'd just been released into the market, so the latest may be improvements on the original. To my ears, they were most impressive--very musical and non-fatiguing (which was notable to me after a half day of listening to other systems). Of course, the electronics driving the speakers and the room acoustics were factors, but I do remember the speakers most of all. Nice to look at, too.
I heard them at HE2003 in SF, driven by Atmasphere monoblocks. Other associated gear was MSB Super DVD Audio Player with analog volume control and Silver Audio cables. I currently own Meadowlark Heron-i and was attracted to them due to their compact size and specifications (especially the SEAS drivers).
I spent close to two hours in the room playing mostly redbook CDs of every genre (jazz, rock, etc. however mostly concentrating on classical). They produce a most beautiful sound with refined pearly tone, hence non-fatiguing. I could listen to them all day. Nice imaging, depth and height. Good resolution and focus: details are all there but in perspective. Nice PRaT. They gave you the sense of being there (you can feel the room pressurized at orchestral crescendos, uncanny realism). They almost trounced my Heron-i’s (and this is quite impressive), until I started playing renaissance, baroque and medieval music. This repertoire presents a lot of high treble energy from various woodwind instruments. This is where the C-1s reveal their only weakness. The liveliness that I heard before with other music was gone and was replaced by a cool and dull presentation. I spoke with the designer Brian Ganz who is also the designer for Voce Divina speakers. I found out from him that the SEAS Millenium tweeter used in the C-1 was a modified version. This may be the cause for the roll-off I heard. However, Brian insisted that this dullness was due to the impedance matching device that was used between the Atmasphere and the C-1.
In the end, I decided not to by them. There’s a pair currently for sale here at a very good price. If you don’t listen to renaissance baroque repertoire, then you have nothing to worry about. Good luck.
A friend of mine owns a pair so I'm quite familiar with them. I couldn't imagine a better speaker for small to medium sized rooms. No, they won't pound you with bass, but what's coming out of them is very articulate, refined and highly musical. Intersting, but in my opinion, classical music is what they are especially good at. Strings sound so airy and sweet and I've never thought they were dull sounding. Actually, the refinement and extension of the treble is quite remarkable.
I agree with you. The C-1s are great with the majority of classical music and other music as well. They only fell short with Renaissance Baroque repertoire of which I listen to frequently. The treble energy in Renaissance music (hurdy-hurdy, recorder, sackbutt etc.) is very hard to reproduce. It either comes across as hard and edgy (too extended) or liveless and dull (not extended).
When I played this repertoire on the C-1s, the presentation was no match for the one I heard them with other music. I guess the C-1s do other things so well that in comparison, the short-fall seems rather pronounced IMHO.
Like I said, if you don't listen to this repertoire, by all means consider them on your short-list.
They produce a sweet sound that's very addictive. In comparison with the Totems for example, the Chesky C-1s possess an introverted personality while the Forests possess an extroverted personality. The latter wears its heart on its sleeves more apparently and more often.
Thanks for your responses. This will be a speaker I will strongly consider. My listening room is 29 x 17 with the speakers on the shorter wall, would the C-1 get lost in this size room? I normally listen around 35db - 50 db jazz, classical, rock and any type of female vocals.

Thanks, Bob
Hello Bob,

I take it you normally listen at very low volume levels (35-50 dB seems extremely low to me, but maybe I just need new batteries for my hearing aid). If you get the chance, audition a full-range electrostat before committing to the Chesky's. I personally really like the original Quad ESL (the "57"), but you might also consider the Martin Logan CLS or any of the newer Quads (63, 988, 989). The reason is, full-range electrostats have superb clarity and inner detail at low volulme levels. And it is very rare for a multi-way system using conventional drivers to really come to life at low volume levels. Maggies likewise - they need to be cranked up a bit before they sound right.

Also, for very low volume listening, I find tubes generally sound better than solid state.

Just my $.02. Now off to buy that new hearing aid battery...

The average background level in a typical home is in the 40 to 50 dB range so it's highly unlikely that Bob is listening at 35-50dB. Even normal conversation is around 55-60dB. Suggest you check you actual levels with an SPL meter.
I use a BAT integrated and my CDP is fully balanced (Electrompaniet) when I purchased a XLR balanced IC for my CDP it dramaticily increased the volume level, so 35 -50B is my normal listening level. I will occasionally listen at a high level like 80DB - 90 DB. Thanks for your feedback.