Cesti Tower review by Audioholics

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Reviewer James Larson and editor Gene DellaSala at Audioholics on their review of the Cesti T speakers, which has some positive quotes and comments.

http://www.audioholics.com/tower-speaker-reviews/markaudio-sota-cesti-t

Cesti T review

Setup and Appearance

“The Cesti T towers arrived in boxes with a clever locking mechanism that kept the packaging safely together and also made it easy to unpack.”

“…the speakers arrived at my doorstep in excellent condition.”

“Out of the box, the Cesti T speakers looked snazzy. They have a sleek, modernistic design, and that vibrant red color with its exquisite polish certainly gives them flair.”

Design Overview

“since the MarkAudio drivers in the Cesti have very similar cone profiles and cone compositions, their behavior will be very similar, so you get a very close match in performance over the crossover frequency and will be less prone to the problems that occur between considerably different drivers such as a typical 5” midrange driver and a 1” dome tweeter.”

“Since the Cesti drivers are so alike, the behavior of the MarkAudio drivers should blend very well off axis as well as on axis, in what MarkAudio-SOTA likes to call the symmetrical sound field, where the dispersion characteristics are the same from both drivers.”

“The Inductors and capacitors are sizable and look to be up to the task. As stated above, the rationale for such a simple crossover is that the cones are so much alike that they will be able to blend easily, so there is no need for a complicated crossover with steep slopes.”

“One interesting thing about these waveguides is that they are not symmetrical on each speaker, but the waveguides do mirror each other as a speaker pair. One half of the waveguide opens up on one side of the cabinet while the other keeps contained in the front baffle. This is intended to allow broader dispersion of sound on one side of the speaker, which can be used to either minimize side-wall reflections or heighten them, depending on the user’s preference.”

“The binding posts have a little divider between them, which is a nice touch that helps to prevent strands of cable from accidentally touching the other polarity and causing a short. I wouldn’t mind seeing this on more binding posts in the future.”

So How Do They Sound?

(Subwoofers were used in some instances to assist in low-frequency playback with content with strong bass dynamics, using an 80 Hz crossover frequency. Speaker distance from listening position was about 10 feet. Most of the below listening was done with the Cesti T speakers facing straight ahead rather than toed-in.)

Vocal

The vocals on this album were rendered exquisitely by the Cesti towers. Imaging was quite good, with stable positioning of the instruments and vocals”

“The Cesti T speakers pronounced the slight harmonic shimmer of Enya’s voice that a darker speaker would subdue. I enjoyed ‘The Celts’ on the Cesti T speakers and felt they did a fine job with this classic recording.”

“…Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Virgin’s recording performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Bach

“The Cesti T speakers nailed the imaging, with a convincing soundstage with nicely detailed instrument signatures. Woodwinds sounded centered with some depth, which is what one would expect in a typical orchestra. String instrument placement sounded like it was spread out across the stage a bit more, with a clavichord also taking center stage. I would say that the Cesti towers caught the delicate character of many of these instruments without losing the grandeur and cohesion of the larger orchestra.”

An album with music that ranges from simple and minimal to rich and dense is ‘Night Silence Desert’ by Kayhan Kalhor and Mohammad Reza Shajarian.

Night Silence Desert

The Cesti speakers placed the instruments well when they were mixed in a conventional recording style but also conveyed the intended effects on those instances where the sound engineer decided to have some fun with panning and an ultra-wide stereo image for certain instruments.”

“The Cesti’s rendition of Shazarian’s voice was rich and lifelike. Listening to ‘Night Silence Desert’ was a pleasure, and this album as reproduced by the Cesti speakers made me want to dig into classical Persian music more.”

Shazarian

“I can happily report that Billy Idol sounded pretty good on the Cesti speakers. Billy was squarely anchored to the center of the soundstage with the guitars, bass, and percussion raging all around him.”

Movies and Television

Movie and TV

“One movie I thought would be right up the alley for the Cesti T tower speakers is Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic ‘The Doors,’ which contains a superb sound mix with music nearly from the beginning of the movie to the end in a variety of acoustic environments.”

“The Doors’ sounded great with the Cesti T speakers. Dialogue was clear and intelligible against the background music and environmental sounds. The music itself sounded great on the Cesti speakers. This is the kind of movie that the Cesti T speakers are made for and is what they excel at.”

“These speakers will handle dialogue and typical acoustic music at healthy loudness levels,

Bosch

“One thing I listened for was to hear if the sibilance on some of the rock recordings could be heard on dialogue in the sound mix of a typical drama, but it didn’t seem to crop up. Dialogue and music sounded natural and even. The opening credits were punchy and tuneful on the Cesti T speakers. The ambient sounds of Los Angeles was not lost in the dialogue or action scenes on the Cesti T speakers, and the sound mix of the show felt distinct but also cohesive. The Cesti T speakers made for another absorbing season with Detective Bosch”

Measurements and Analysis

“From low frequencies to high, we see that the Cesti T speakers have somewhat elevated bass with respect to the mids. This elevation gently tapers off into the midrange frequencies where we see a nicely flat response up to 8 kHz, and we also see what might be a slight comb-filtering effect from the drivers interfering with each other, but it is very mild and was not something I could hear.”

“At 20 degrees angled to the closed end of the waveguide, the response is really quite good, and I would advise users to have that angle facing the listening position, which, in many cases, would have this speaker facing straight ahead in parallel vectors. The problem remains that acoustic reflections from room surfaces can still bring in some of that elevated treble response. I will repeat that on recordings that do not lean heavily on these high frequencies still sounded very good- perhaps a little forward but detailed without being edgy.”

“We can see that the Cesti T speakers are tuned to about 50 Hz from the saddle between the peaks in the bass frequencies. The Cesti T speakers do not pose a stiff electrical demand on amplifiers. Impedance never dips under 5 ohms at any point. Impedance does consistently hover around 5 ohms for the treble frequencies, but even here the phase angle is never severe, so this should be an easy load for any amplifier.”

“This speaker does not need a heavy-duty amplifier to get loud”

Conclusion

I will say that their greatest virtue is their midrange sound. To my ears, the midrange was crystal clear, and many vocals sounded lifelike and three-dimensional on the Cesti Ts. It is in this frequency band where MarkAudio-SOTA’s design philosophy pays off.”

“I also dig the aesthetics of the Cesti speakers; they are stylish without being over-the-top or ‘loud’ in appearance. They are not large or heavy either, so they will not dominate the room. Since they don’t have to be toed-in to sound their best, they can stand parallel with other furniture in-room without losing sound quality.”

“I recommend using them facing straight ahead instead of angled toward the listener. I like the idea of asymmetrical waveguide edges whereby you can ‘customize’ their sound using acoustic reflections from the walls by swapping the left and right speaker’s positions. Room acoustics will always be a big determinant in the end sound of any system, and in this clever design feature, MarkAudio-SOTA is using that to their advantage.”

“These are not party speakers, and they would make for a poor fit for someone looking to blast some heavy-metal for some head-banging.”

“That being said, the Cesti T speakers are likely able to get louder than what most people are comfortable with…”

“To my ears, the Cesti T speakers sounded good for orchestral recordings, jazz, contemporary instrumental recordings like ethnic music, solo vocals, pianos, strings, and so on.”

“If your tastes run toward more ‘refined’ recordings, and you live in an apartment or condo where music can not be blasted, they may be a great fit for you due their rich midrange sound and their stylish appearance, low weight, and small footprint. If that sounds appealing to you, give them a try, since they can be returned for a full refund in 30 days if you do not like them.”

“I think for certain people’s tastes, the Cesti T loudspeakers will hit their ‘spot’ nicely.”

Conclusion

Link to conclusion page: http://www.audioholics.com/tower-speaker-reviews/markaudio-sota-cesti-t/conclusion

 

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