In recent times, it appears that a variety of audio suppliers have actually decided to broaden their product well past whatever it was that placed them on the map to begin with. Such a relocation is strong, however can additionally threaten. In the premium sector, this has actually shown to not constantly be a terrific concept, this change to coming to be “everything to everybody.” I’ll, as a result, confess to a little bit of issue when the editor asked me to examine the Raven Sound CeLest’ speakers, a popular maker– however of hand-built tubed sound amplifiers. Nevertheless, as I promptly discovered, our very own Eric Franklin Shook had not just listened to these extremely audio speakers, Raven Sound’s brand-new entry-level floor-standers, however had actually additionally sung their commends. Per Eric: “Coherence and imaging are scary good, while tunefulness is measured and seemingly dialed in for accuracy. There is nothing entry-level about these towers.” Shade me interested.


Checking Out Raven Sound’s advertisement duplicate, we see that the CeLest’ is implied to be the firm’s entry-level audio speaker offering, along with its “fun” transducer alternative. A hook perhaps? Probably …

I have actually had a little bit of e-mail back-and-forth with Raven’s audio speaker layout man, James Connell. According to Mr. Connell, the layout objective was everything about offering exceptional worth for the purchaser. In his very own words, “the primary consideration… was to create a speaker at the $5000 price range that had as many characteristics as possible from our reference tower which sells for $15,000.” An enthusiastic objective, yes?

I’ll need to state that I believe Raven Sound made a wise action when they made a decision to cause an experienced developer like Connell. He has actually invested years as a specialist artist, tape-recording designer, and also audio speaker developer. If clients anticipate excellent quality and also efficiency from the amplifier line, they have every right to anticipate an equivalent degree of benefits from Raven’s various other offerings.

Layout and also Execution

Externally, CeLest’ appears like a lovely traditional contemporary floor-standing audio speaker. Standing simply over 3.5 feet high, it has a narrow-profile 7.7-inch baffle. James Connell calls CeLest’ a 2.5-way layout, recommending 2 midrange/woofer motorists and also a solitary ring-dome tweeter. Right here, the tweeter is installed over both lower-frequency motorists. While not a specifically big audio speaker, the regularity action is an outstanding 40 Hz– 20 kHz, up or down 2 dB. Level of sensitivity is 90 dB, while the small insusceptibility is a rather lowish 4 ohms. Raven Sound recommends a power variety in between 20 and also 500 watts per network.

Cupboard building and construction is MDF and also appears especially strong. The surface is a remarkably carried out high-gloss black, allegedly used by Steinway-trained craftsmens. The back panel is dual-ported and also sporting activities a solitary set of five-way binding messages.

I asked James Connell to highlight numerous of the significant layout functions of CeLest’. 3 sights gurgled to the top: the waveguided tweeter, the personalized crossover, and also port-tuning regularity.

Taking each of these functions individually, we’ll begin with the waveguide. I virtually missed this, as the foam waveguides were packaged individually from the audio speakers and also require to be mounted by the individual. The waveguide is exclusive in layout- it is supposed to assist manage side diffraction as well as additionally reduce high-frequency area communications, which James claims cause better precision and also much less smear.

James additionally takes a lot of satisfaction in the crossover layout, which all of us understand to be the heart of a great multi-driver audio speaker layout. Right here, his objective was to acquire a level action throughout the regularity range, which is evidently rather tough to do with a 2.5 audio speaker layout. He selected to toss whatever except the kitchen area sink at the layout, consisting of use advanced layout software program, speaking with from outdoors developers, and also great deals of tweaking by ear. Much focus was positioned on the crucial midrange, where most human voice and also acoustic tool accent lie. James is a violinist, so he’s particularly conscious normally replicated tonal precision. He reports that he’s rather pleased with the general tonal action of the midrange, and also my very own assessment informs me that he’s virtually accomplished with the CeLest’!

Lastly, the last huge component is the port adjusting regularity. James Connell declares that several audio speakers audio poor due to the fact that their cupboards are tuned to as well reduced a regularity trying to find raised bass expansion. The outcome is careless, tuneless bass action. Yep, all of us understand this fault when we hear it, right? The technique is to tune the closet to appropriate around 40 Hz, as this stands for the most affordable regularity discovered in 99% of the songs we consistently take pleasure in. Certain, some recordings go lower, however I believe we can concur that tidy, limited, and also tuneful bass action is what a lot of us eventually yearn for. I’ve discovered that catching that last little expansion is unbelievably tough and also practically tough (in addition to costly), so why bother with it? I’ll be sincere right here: I quit going after 20 Hz a long period of time back.

System Configuration

I selected to maintain the system configuration simple for this testimonial. All songs was electronically streamed, either from my very own exterior hard disk drive, or through Qobuz or Tidal. Little bits were fed through USB from my Mac Mini straight to my Crane Track Solaris Quantum electronic to analog converter. Quantity control was taken care of from the front panel of the Solaris (yes, I needed to rise from my chair …), with analog signal going straight to my selected amplifier. Amps made use of were the tubed Linear Tube Sound ZOTL10 (evaluated right here), along with solid-state offerings such as the First Watt F7 (evaluated right here) and also my Pass Labs X2508 (evaluated right here).

Tubes or Strong State?

Provided Raven Sound’s company setting in the vacuum cleaner tube amp market, one may anticipate their audio speaker makes to mate preferentially keeping that kind of amplifier. Nevertheless, when I obtained the CeLest’ audio speakers, the Raven people informed me to go on and also attempt any kind of and also all sorts of amps I may carry hand.

Given that CeLest’ can be found in with a performance of 90 dB, I aspired to attempt my favored flea-watt amps with them. These consist of the LTA ZOTL10, along with the First Watt F7 and also SIT-3 line-up, every one of which supply 30 watts per network or much less.

I cycled with these amps throughout the audio speakers’ burglary procedure and also left really feeling that tubes appeared much better. Not a surprise right here, as I make certain that James Connell articulated his audio speakers with Raven amps. While not component of the official assessment procedure, I really invested a great deal of my first time with the CeLest’s powered by among Dennis Had’s Inspire Triode amps, a splendidly meaningful point with an old heart. And also rather flexible. The Inspire made burglary not just manageable, however additionally delightful.

Nevertheless, after a couple of weeks of hefty usage, I discovered myself desiring a lot more in the method of resolution and also heft. Hence started my actual assessment of CeLest’!

Coming down to company

When with the “getting to know you” and also burglary stages, it was lastly time to place CeLest’ with its rates.

Something that truly signed up with me throughout the assessment duration was exactly how even-tempered CeLest’ was when confronted with amplifiers of varying layout and also power outcome. Was she finicky? Never, which’s mosting likely to be excellent information for a great deal of audiences.

As I claimed previously, I did a great deal of paying attention throughout the first stages with tubed boosting, as I simply felt it to much better incorporate with CeLest’. Nevertheless, I quickly really felt need to return around to my favorite First Watt F7 (30 watts per network right into 4 ohms, according to developer Nelson Pass). I have actually liked this amp since initial hearing it, partially because of its wonderful, sincere audio and also convenience. The F7 showed well that CeLest’ does not require a lot of power to truly radiate, as radiate it did!

The audio I obtained from the broken-in CelLest’s driven by the F7 virtually summarize my general and also enduring sensations for the audio speakers. In other words, these audio speakers provide some awesome worth at $3995!

Permit me to clarify.


James Connell declares that CeLest’ are Raven Sound’s “fun” audio speakers, and also he’s not existing! In my brand-new paying attention area, these audio speakers provide a load of tonal reliability with an additional offering of strike (perhaps even surged a little bit). I truly value (and also require) reality of tone, however it’s the punchiness and also whip-like short-term rate that make these points so habit forming.

Equilibrium throughout the distinct regularity range is additionally spot-on. I believe James made a terrific option in adjusting the ported cupboards to 40 Hz- the bass is splendidly deep, yet tonally proper and also lightning quick in short-term action. With hard-driving techno rock, manufactured bass notes put me in the breast however do not remain. While bass is perfectly replicated with the lower-powered amps like the First Watt F7, you’ll truly intend to listen to CeLest’ with some actual power gets, as from my Pass Labs X2508 stereo amp (Extra on this combining later on …).

One more location in which CeLest’ strides out in advance of the competitors remains in photo and also soundstage accuracy. OK, so I have actually piled the decks right here by utilizing the Crane Track Solaris D/A converter (evaluated right here), which allows me watch right into the three-dimensional soundstage of a recording like probably nothing else DAC. This point is a real accuracy tool created the understanding designer that truly requires to hear what’s taking place inside a recording. It additionally allows me listen to precisely what an appropriately intensified set of audio speakers is really efficient in offering.

The CeLest’s cast a deep and also vast soundstage that gets on the same level with several of the most effective little display audio speakers I have actually experienced. Crucial pictures can be terrifying actual, appearing and also out of the soundstage like palpably-present phantom wraiths. Yet one more degree of audio enjoyable if you ask me …

Various other amps

Therefore the beat proceeds.

Regardless of what amplifier I selected to utilize with Raven Sound’s CeLest’ audio speakers, I obtained splendidly music and also rewarding outcomes. These audio speakers are simply imperturbable. Keeping up the tubed LTA ZOTL10 amp, I obtained similar outcome just like the solid-state F7. Sonics were crisp, dimensional, and also quick, however with excellent precision of tone. Many thanks partially to the highish pro-audio gain setups on the Crane Track DAC, there was a lot of clearance for the little Direct Tube Sound amp to flaunt its 10 watts of outcome in the most effective feasible light. I had the ability to pay attention at high adequate quantity to be completely pleased, all without any feeling of distortion or stress.

Satisfied as I was with both the First Watt F7 and also the LTA ZOTL10 amps, James Connell maintained prompting me to invest a long time with the Pass Labs X2508 behind the wheel. I’ll confess I was hesitant to do so, as I have actually discovered that “big iron” usually does not mate so well with reliable audio speakers. What I usually obtain is a tip of jumbling in the midrange that brings about a general absence of openness and also improvement. Shade me stunned when I listened to none of this when I did lastly navigate to linking the huge Pass amp to the CeLest’s. Guy, that combo certain does rock! Besides the retention of quality and also resolution, I obtained an included dosage of below ground bass bang. I had no concept that CeLest’ to go so favorably reduced while holding the entire program with each other. Currently I really did not simply listen to the bass- I might additionally feel it.

Attempt some hard-driving techno-jazz and also you’ll see. Paying attention to the cd “Gravity Zero” by Laurent Coulondre (24/882 kHz FLAC, streamed through Qobuz), I wished to show up the quantity and also “feel” the bang. From the deep synth bass lines to the strongly driving drum set, CeLest’ performed prominent. Whatever appeared remarkable, however the complicated bass lines were one of the most enjoyable! And also do not be attracted to believe that CeLest’ is tame or dynamically tested … They aren’t. These audio speakers can transform from soft to loud on a penny and also please one of the most ardent tough rocker at the same time. Yeah, enjoyable!

Summarizing: the worth proposal

Returning and also considering Eric Franklin Shook’s synoptic evaluation of Raven Sound’s CeLest’ audio speakers, I really feel that he summarized their efficiency flawlessly. The component I concur with the majority of, nevertheless, is when he specified that “there is nothing entry-level about these towers.” In regards to precision, soundstaging capacity, and also thickness of tone and also photo, these audio speakers provide a great dosage of “reference” efficiency at the virtually hugely affordable price of $3995 Worldwide of premium, that’s peanuts, viewing as my most current duplicate of Stereophile had an advertisement promoting a premium supplier’s “million-dollar system.”

I would certainly really feel hard-pressed ahead up with an audio speaker in the super-competitive $5000 and also under classification that bests CeLest’ in all classifications examined. Taking into consideration Raven Sound’s strategy to supply a set, that includes a set of CeLest’ in addition to Raven’s well-known Nighthawk amplifier, all combined with the firm’s cabling, for $6995, and also you have actually obtained a hell of an offer. Simply include resource, and also you ought to be off to a globe of music happiness.

Keep In Mind to Scot: I’m nominating Raven Sound’s CeLest’ tower audio speakers for my favored (and also essential) PTA honor: the Julia. This set’s everything about high efficiency for the buck, which’s what it’s everything about in my globe.

Congratses James Connell et cetera of the Raven Sound gang!

Raven Sound CeLest’ Audio Speakers ($3995). To learn more, see them at