In most cases, such a scenario has a pre-ordained response to that inevitable question. A killer stereo power amp is often followed by a monoblock version. You follow a pre-amp with a
power amp, a stand-alone CD player with a two-box, a 30W integrated with a 50-watter. But imagine the feeling of horror when you've just finished the final touches on a near-perfect #99
Competition and Comparison
To compare the Celestion 5 against other loudspeakers, read our reviews for the Rogers db101 and the Sonus faber Concerto GP. You can find more information in our Floorstanding Speakers section and on our Celestion brand page.
The Celestion 3 has been an absolute smash hit. Don't take my
word for it; just check the serial numbers on the most
recently-arrived pair at your local Celestion outpost. Like very
few other budget items -- the original NAD 3020, the Dual 505,
the Wharfedale Diamond -- this product is a winner all the way.
It's cute. It performs admirably. It suggests serious high-tech
despite a low tariff. It costs -- even after the inevitable
post-launch price hike -- bubkes. So imagine how the designer(s)
must feel when the order comes from on high: 'Now we want a '3
Panic stations: the hardest thing to do in the world of speaker
manufacture is to produce a model above your bread-and-butter
champion that meets the right criteria:
1) It must be priced high enough to distinguish it from the model
below. In the case of following a #99 (or #109) speaker, there
must be a gap of at least #30, or they're 'too close' and
therefore almost mutually exclusive.
2) It must be physically larger. This is entirely due to the
nature of 'perceived value'. Better/bigger drivers in the same
sized enclosure just isn't enough of a (visual) inducement.
3) It must be audibly superior, to justify the higher price.
The standard formula varies little when following a hit. With
movies, eg ¬Rambo II¬ or ¬Die Hard II¬, it means louder, with more
explosions/car, train or helicopter chases/dead bodies/special
effects. In Detroit, it was 'longer, lower, wider'. With two-way,
bookshelf/tall stand loudspeakers, it means better bass, greater
dynamics and higher SPLs.
This isn't to suggest that the Celestion 3 was wanting so
severely in any of those areas, especially not when judged with
the criteria a sane person would use for budget speakers. If
anything, the '3 stands out from the pack just because it's such
a damned fine liar. You really do think that you're listening to
something much bigger.
Bass? Whack 'em on to a pair of substantial stands, say, #40
worth of Partington, feed them signal from a decent amp and
choose the right cables and they'll satisfy all but Yanks,
Rastas, acid-house denizens and HM casualties. Dynamics? The '3
is much better at resolving subtleties amidst the crescendos than
you have any right to expect for the size-and-price. Maximum
SPLs? Okay, so they squash things a bit when the loud pedal is
floored, but then they are designed for small rooms, and
Celestion is forgiven for assuming that people sitting in the
near-field don't need 112dB/1m.
But that isn't a rationale which will satisfy those who ¬do¬ want
more. Celestion knows this, and the answer probably presented
itself in the form of a gut reaction. Price? #149 per pair is the
next, most logical price point. Size? Keep it small enough to
retain the '3's appeal, without losing any of its
'bookshelfness'. Added features? What else besides a larger
See what I mean about it almost being a natural progression?
The problem, though, is that no recipe is foolproof. (Watch the
Brothers Roux on the Beeb and see if your consomme comes out
anywhere near as clear. Or should that be transparent.)
Celestion's 5 looks exactly like what it is, a slightly larger
brother to the '3, and it sports the same 25mm titanium dome
tweeter mounted on that clever moulded polycarbonate chassis with
its integral woofer basket.
Read more on Page 2