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I have made the leap and installed a pair of CBT24 speakers, driven by a miniDSP and McIntosh 240 amplifier. So far, the results have been impressive. This design, by Don Keele, represents a real break from our old system. Sound stage is enormous. Great dynamic range. A very different experience, however, from my Magnepans (which I liked very much).
As I listen to these speakers, I am impressed increasingly by the depth of their sound stage. One can hear layers of sound. The speakers seem like a very good match for a vintage tube amplifier (McIntosh 240). Don Keele tells me that sensitivity is about 88 dB (1W/1m). I certainly do not feel like the amplifier is being pushed.
I also tried the speakers with a modern, Class D amplifier (a Crown XLS 1000), also with very good results. BTW, I am fond of the Crown. Its virtues (power, light weight, seemingly linear response, quietness) are significant.
As I listen to these speakers, I am impressed in particular by their ability to render large-scale orchestral music. The sound stage is deep as well as wide, and they have the dynamic range needed for late 19th century (e.g., Bruckner) composers.
I totally have to hear this...
I made this purchase without having heard the speakers - which is a risk (and probably not well advised). My discussions with Don Keele, however, persuaded me that the risk was worth the potential benefit, and he was correct, at least in my case. The speakers have enormous dynamic range. They image almost as well as the Maggie's I had before, but they have a much broader sweet spot. On orchestral music, they sound (well). Smaller ensemble music (jazz, for example) is well delineated.
If you hear them, try to ensure the setup includes a miniDSP with configuration provided by Don Keele. I think Parts Express has available on their Website the data files needed to configure the miniDSP and speakers.
I am using the miniDSP as a kind of control unit. I takes Toslkink, USB,and analog inputs. The unit is controllable via a universal remote control (Sony code) and its various functions (volume, mute, input selector, equalization configuration selector) can be handled via the remote. So, I can listen to my PC, analog sources (using turntable), and CD player (via Toslink). Yes, the analog is converted by the miniDSP to the digital domain, but Don Keele assures me that the miniDSP is well regarded, and I think it sounds just fine with the one LP I've auditioned. I am still re-assembling my system after months of house renovation, so just getting the gear into the racks and connected (and yes, cables seem lost) has been quite an effort.
The link was to the assembled version. For $500 less, you get completed cabinets to finish your own way, and hours of fun wiring together and installing all those little drivers.
This looks to be a fascinating implementation of line array theory, and simpler (at half the price) than Don Keele's previous design for PE, the 2-way Audio Artistry CBT36K, which requires bi-amping with an active DSP crossover (not included).
I suspect these would work well crossed actively to stereo subs around 100 Hz, taking some of the bass burden off the little "fullrange" drivers.
I purchased the assembled speakers. Using a 15 sub with 80hz cross. Also using miniDSP with eq configuration provided by Don Keele. Great imaging, particularly for orchestral music. Sensitive enough for my McIntosh 240. So far, very pleased.
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