The review leaves the impression that the value statement for this design revolves around the RAAL tweeter, if that's what floats one's boat. If the rest can keep up and deliver as well, this might be a contender. 90db sensitivity is a plus assuming low end is not too compromised accordingly.
Lots of competition in many different flavors at that price point! I'd have to hear these before getting too excited. I'd be going in a bit skeptical. I've never been a fan of ribbon tweeters in conventional box designs. Tube amp friendliness would be a desirable feature.
I have these exact speakers, I run them with a Pass XA30.5 with a whopping 30 watts and these speakers have incredible bass, best I have ever had in my system. The high efficiency is spot on.
As an aside, the only speaker that I have heard in person that betters these are the Proac Carbon 8s at $46k per pair. Good luck!
I am very skeptical of inexpensive designs built around expensive SOTA tweeters these days.
THe reason is that I started out in audio with a tweeter fascination and soon realized that was a bad strategy. Why? Because very little in music occurs in the range covered by a tweeter. Tweeters contribute presence and brilliance, which is important but is an embellishment (like bass) to most of the music which occurs in the midrange. SInce most of the music occurs in the midrange, logic dictates to get that right first, then worry about the rest.
Plus, these days, there is very little that can be measured to distinguish between high performance tweeters, of which there are many. Not to say some, perhaps even RAAL, might be better in some ways, but it is very subjective determination.
SO building an inexpensive speaker around an expensive tweeter is a bad strategy in my mind.
FOr cost is no object type designs where few or no corners will be cut, that is a different story.
In the case of the RAAL, which does not cover midrange well relative to others from what I have read, the best approach in a smaller package would seem to be in a smaller 2-way monitor design probably with limited bass extension where the bass driver can also cover the midrange more effectively in lieu of the RAAL, or in a larger 3 way design that would probably also be more expensive.
The Clearwave was actually designed around the Accuton drivers. NOT the RAAL. The Accutons were chosen for the open effortless midrange, speed, detail, bass slam and control. Find me a better driver than the Accutons for midrange presence. Better yet, do a search of all the speakers employing the Accutons for bass/mids and check their price.....usually in the $20k range.
The reviewer hounded on the RAAL, but maybe because he simply likes it. Who really knows? Reality is the Clearwave was designed around the dual Accutons and was originally designed and built with a silk dome tweeter. The Clearwave was not built around the RAAL, or even the tweeter for that matter. Quite the opposite. Read the review again, it was clearly the reviewer's take on his love for the RAAL, not reality of the design. Despite this, the RAAL really is that good and does warrant highlight. Just don't let it overshadow the rest of the speaker which was designed as a no-holds barred attack at state of the art.
The internals, cabinet and everything else in the speaker are anything but inexpensive. In fact I think you would find most of the internals reserved for speakers with a price tag far north of $10k or even $15k. At $7200 this speaker is not inexpensive, but not outrageous either.
I don't want to get into an uncomfortable debate, just sharing my knowledge of this fantastic speaker and I wanted to correct your assumptions.
I also own these and am quite pleased. Furthermore, I find the RAAL to be fantastic. It took some time for the Accuton's to break in, but the RAAL amazed me from the first listen and still does.
The reviewer in this case seemed off the mark to me in his approach.
I am not familiar with details of the Accuton but have heard some good things and have read where RAAL ( or perhaps even just ribbon tweeters in general) may not be well suited to a large 2-way full range design in general, ie other drivers, in the case of a 2-way design like this the bass driver(s), will be tasked to cover the midrange to a greater extent perhaps than with other tweeters?
This makes sense to me based on recollection of various designs using ribbon tweeters that I have heard over the years.
The ones using ribbon tweeters that seem to do better to me in terms of midrange presence along with the rest are smaller two ways with limited bass extension and larger 3 ways. ALso perhaps planars using larger ribbon tweeters like Magnepan, but that is a whole different ballgame.
I am glad to see that someone was able to come to the defense of the design! I would like to hear these sometime.
I have seen 3 way RAAL designs (Philharmonic speakers) that report very impressive flat frequency response. Are there frequency response charts for the CLearwaves available? That would probably alleviate any concerns somewhat in lieu of actually hearing.
Last RMAF I was very interested in buying this very speaker. I was able to spend about an hour with them by myself in the Wyred4Sound, with my music.
My impression was that they are a smooth and refined sounding speaker, but ultimately too laid back for my taste. If that's the sound you're looking for, these do it very well. But I was hoping for something a bit more lively and energetic sounding ... so I went a different direction.
J_fav, those speakers were not broken in, they later changed a lot. I do not find them laid back.
Nothing wrong with sound being somewhat "laid back". I've heard many great sounding systems that are, probably the majority. That also often translates to less fatigue, longer listening sessions, and more enjoyment in the end. ALso probably healthier for the ears over the long haul. Could be an advantage with the Clearwave that goes along with the name? YMMV.
Brian, in your gorgeous but I would assume also quite lively sounding log home/room, you might never have to worry much about laid back sound!
I recall once in college taking my original OHM Walsh 2s, which were notoriously laid back, to a rental log cottage for a week during spring break and the sound there was suddenly breathtakingly in your face (which worked well for a bunch of college kids on spring break) and no longer laid back! Totally different presentation!
I did my listening Saturday evening ... after playing Friday all night and then Saturday, I'd have to think they were close to being broken in.
No, there's nothing wrong with laid back. There's noting wrong with the Clearwave sound I heard, just that it wasn't what I was looking for personally. They were a very nice sounding speaker, and built well for the price with quality components. I just wanted a bit more excitement is all, different strokes.
Well, those speakers from RMAF are in my living room and I can say without question that they were not fully broken in; I was looking to sell them the first week.
May be true Mapmn; that said, I have had some systems that were laid back. I suspect if I didn't have vaulted ceilings it would be a greater issue.
Thanks Mapman. For the frequency response it is available, I have seen it for my speakers, I am not sure if Jed has them posted on his web or not, but he does have them. They are very ruler flat, I can see if I can post mine or someone could ask Jed to post on his site if they want to see it.
As far as the design they are actually a 2.5 way (not 2-way) design so the Accutons are doing a lot if not all of the midrange vocals. They blend and cross over invisibly with the tweeter, but yes, the mid/woofer Accuton is doing a lot there.
As far as laid back that is surprising, it could have been the break in as Brian has said. To me, they are anything but laid back. I could actually understand someone saying they are too aggressive, but not too laid back. The speakers were actually voiced for loud, aggressive and dynamic Rock music.
Hope this helps. I am just very excited about these speakers and happy to see some people talking about them.
I suppose it is all relative.
All that really matters is the end result!
I'd curious to know what setup you found to be laid back in your room in comparison?
I had a Mac 402/46 combo with W/P 7's that was a bit laid back with a recessed mid-range. I must say it was suggested that I swap out the C46 but I was too stubborn, something I greatly regret.
The speakers were actually voiced for loud, aggressive and dynamic Rock music.
Seems like an odd statement. If I cared I would ask Jed.
I manufacturer the speakers at http://www.clearwavespeakers.com
, so I feel a reply to Acurus's comment, "The speakers were actually voiced for loud, aggressive and dynamic Rock music," could use some clarification, since it has been brought up here, and recently brought to my attention.
The Symphonia 72R and 7R-- conceived in early 2011, using the Accuton and RAAL drivers, point to point crossovers, etc., were created to be neutral to the source yet not invoke listener fatigue. This characteristic was considered and engineered into the crossover network by incorporating a response that results in the smoothest power response possible. Many networks result in a peak in the presence region off axis where the ear is most sensitive. This is not the case with the Symphonia 72R crossover and resulting summed power response. Therefore, recordings that often are aggressive (some associate this with rock music) sound tolerable with the Symphonias, because they do not overemphasize the flaws in the source. In conclusion, it's not to say the Symphonias will lack detail with other music.
I hope that helps clarify my intent as the designer. I appreciate all forms of music and think speakers should convey each genre accurately and musically. I believe the Symphonia Series is no exception to that philosophy.
I don't make it over here very often, so if anyone has further questions, feel free to shoot me an email. I'm happy to talk things over in more detail.
I have owned these now for 6+ months and have to say they are very impressive. Finish and build quality is 1st rate. More importantly, the sound is phenomenal - detailed, yet not at all clinical, with a very powerful bass response. Would recommend an amp that is voiced on the neutral to slightly warm side, as I think the Accutron drivers do best with a fuller amp. They are efficient so 50 + watts should work great. They work very well with my Audia Flight 50 amp, which is 50 watts Class A. I think these are a really great value.