Review: Clearwave Duet 6 Monitor
As we progress in our search for ‘better sound forever’ one can actually come across something that fits the bill (in at least one category). Digital will always progress and improve but amps, cables and speakers can only go through iterations on proven themes.
So, the speaker in question here is the Clearwave Duet 6 monitor. What differentiates this from others is the truly big speaker sound that comes out of a monitor. Robustly built with a 2” front baffle and 1” on all other sides with vertical cross bracing and some proprietary sound deadening inside these ‘monitors’ tip the scales at over 30 lbs. apiece. At 13” tall by 12.5” deep and 8” wide, they are deceptively heavy and inert. The finish I chose is Indian Rosewood which is darkly beautiful, to my eyes.
The drivers are Accuton sourced with a 6” mid woofer and and 1” dome tweeter, both with fixed, perforated metal grills that have no effect on the sound. Out back is a carefully crafted rear port with a really nice looking mounting plate for the Cardas binding posts. As I’ve said, fit ‘n finish is beautiful. It’s rated at 85db and I’m told it behaves more like 88db. I have no problem getting into lease breaking sound with my Marantz PM15S2b integrated (90W/channel).
Neither cool nor warm sounding, the music is extremely clear and clean sounding. My in room measurements with my Rat Shack sound meter gets me +/- 2db from 1KHz all the way down to 40Hz, down 6db @31.5Hz and down another 4db @25Hz. Granted, my room is not that big but this is without any room treatment. This is from the listening position and at about 67db listening levels. As I’ve gotten used to the sound, I’ve increased it to the low 70s so everything is taking on a more lively nature and it’s incredibly engaging.
Being so clean and accurate sounding, tone, texture, timbre and air are rendered in a big and beautiful manner. Dynamics are first rate because as the lower mids and bass kick in, the flatness of the response serves up lots of pressurization in those regions that I’m not used to and it fills the room like an in house event. Again, I’m getting big speaker sound from this monitor. It easily rivals and betters in many ways an old pair of Legacy Classics that I used to have. The main reason seems to be that this monitor is perfect for my space and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in an even bigger space. There’s no need whatsoever for a sub as it already skirts into the upper regions of that lowest octave. My room fills in the rest (with slightly more volume I’m getting 54db @ 20Hz just 1 meter from the speaker).
Vocals, solo instruments, and intimate pieces shine with great lateral spread and center fill. Jazz ensembles are fondled by this speaker. Rock can be bombastic. World Music (for lack of a better word) is finely delineated. There’s no congestion, smear or fogginess. Because of this I’m getting the best stage depth I’ve heard. Nothing wavers or wanders. This kind of coherence can only come from a great crossover as I can’t, for the life of me, hear one. This speaker speaks with one voice. Soulful and rich (not fat or euphonic) are terms I hesitate to use since they can be many things to many people but when rendered correctly, are apt to use, as they imply a sense of realism (to my ears).
When used in my HT setup, soundtracks better my local Cineplex. There’s a scene in “Jack Reacher” where Jack has to prove his mettle to a gun range owner and when he fires off some rounds into a metal plate it takes you to that shooting range. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to one but one never forgets the concussiveness of a 30-06 and the sound it makes when it strikes a 1” thick metal plate. I’ve heard it before on different systems but it never braced me like it does now.
So what we have here is a supremely musical reproducer that covers most of the audible range and does so is such a convincing manner. Heard that one before? So have I. Now I can say it with the conviction of having lived with it for a few weeks. I don’t know what it is with ceramic drivers as I’ve heard some a long time ago and wasn’t really impressed. They appear to have made some might big strides since and now I’m a big fan.
If their size seems right to you and your limit is around $3K, these should be on your short list.
All the best,
Marantz PM15S2b integrated
Marantz SA15S2b SACD player
Marantz ST6000 tuner
OPPO BDP-103 Blu Ray player
Clear Day single run speaker cables
Darwin Silver ICs
Blue Circle Thingee power conditioner
Timbernation equipment rack
Timbernation speaker stands