Lawrence Audio Cello Floorstanding Speakers Reviewed

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Lawrence Audio Cello Floorstanding Speakers Reviewed


Lawrence_Audio_Cello_floorstanding_speaker_review.jpgIt's always fun and exciting in high-end audio to come across a new company and products that seem to offer something utterly unique, both in performance and in appearance. It was a pleasure for me to review the Lawrence Audio Cello floor-standing speakers, retailing for $18,000. Lawrence Audio Company, located in Taiwan, was founded in 1996 by Mr. Lawrence Liao. He comes from a true renaissance background. He is an award-winning artist, interior designer and musician with a passion for combining function with beauty in his speaker designs. The Cellos I reviewed were finished in a gorgeous matte Rosewood, which has a beautiful deep red orange color with striking grain patterns. The Cello is the smallest floor-standing speaker in the Lawrence Audio stable of speakers. Each speaker weighs 88 pounds and is 49 inches tall, 11 inches wide and 18.5 inches deep. The frequency range is 32Hz to 40 kHz. The Cello's stated sensitivity is (2.83V/1m) 90dB with an impedance of four ohms (minimum 3.2 ohms). The Cello's appearance is modeled off of a musical instrument and aesthetically looks like a piece of sculpture art.

Additional Resources
� Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
� Explore amplifiers in our Amplifier Review section.
� Find subwoofer pairing options in Subwoofer Review section.

Because the Cello is designed with polygonal, non-equilateral shapes and sides, the parallel surfaces are eliminated, thereby reducing standing waves and diffraction. The narrow "neck" of the enclosure also decreases diffraction for the midrange and high-frequency drivers. The front baffle is a matte black color with five "strings" running down the lower half of the speaker. The Cello is a five-driver, three-and-a-half-way vented design. Since the port is on the bottom of the speaker, it can be placed closer to the front wall, as opposed to many other full-range speakers without bass bloat because of a rear port. This speaker packs reference-level parts, quality and design. The two woofers are eight inches wide, with aluminum frames. They are composed of a sandwich of non-woven carbon fiber, with a two-inch copper-clad aluminum voice coil with flat wire and a special Ferrite magnet system with a Faraday ring and demodulation coil. The midrange and high-frequency drivers are five-inch-long air motion transformers. Located behind the Cello is a two-inch ribbon tweeter for ambience, which also increases the depth of the soundstage. Crossover parts use high-quality MKP capacitors, high purified OFC inductors and military-grade metal oxide film resistors. Finally, the Cello comes with double WBT connectors for bi-wiring.

The optimum placement of the Cellos in my room found them being positioned ten feet apart, with the toe-in of each speaker aimed slightly past the outside alignment of my ears from where I would be sitting before spiking them. The Cellos performed at a high level when they were single-wired. I discovered that bi-wiring them took their performance to an even higher qualitative level. It also allowed the Cellos to deliver their full musical potential.

The musical beauty of the Cellos was apparent when I listened to Barney Kessel (guitar), Shelly Manne (drums) and Ray Brown (bass) on the album Exploring the Scene (Contemporary). The Cellos provided a harmonically rich tonality. Each player is a three-dimensional figure, with space and air in between them. This was not done at the expense of less accurate timbres or micro-details, as the Cellos are extremely transparent. Because of the air motion transformer drivers, they offer all the little details in the music. In contrast, similar speakers give a razor-sharp leading edge with less body in the harmonics, whereas the Cellos give you the clarity without sacrificing the fullness of the notes.

The next musical selection, "Molly on the Shore" (Ensemble Highlights Collection) by Percy Grainer, played by the NAF Staff Band with Eivind Aadland conducting, showed how the Cellos could produce a large, precise and layered holographic soundstage on this classical selection. The orchestra was presented in seamlessly lifelike fashion, along with the ambience of the large acoustic space of the Main Hall of Oslo University where the recording took place. The full weight of this selection was rendered with accurate dynamics that pressurized the entire room.

Finally, I wanted to hear how the Cellos would do while I listened to vocals. I went to one of my all time favorites, Rickie Lee Jones' Pop Pop (Geffen), and played "My One and Only Love". In my opinion, The Cellos did equal justice sonically to all types of instruments and music. However, if you strongly prefer vocals, the Cellos' natural rendition of a singer's tone and vocal mannerisms will give the illusion that the vocalist is singing right in your room.

Read about the high points and low points of the Cello speakers on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Lawrence Audio Cello Floorstanding Speakers

Criteria Rating

Performance

5

Value

5

Overall

5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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Lawrence_Audio_Cello_floorstanding_speaker_review.jpgHigh Points
� The physical appearance of the Cello's wood veneer and striking shape is a very attractive alternative to most conventional floor-standing speakers.
� In any speaker like the Cello, which uses the air motion transformer, ribbon tweeters and cone drivers, there is always concern over the possible sonic discontinuity between the two types of transducers. The Cello delivers a seamless transition between these drivers and delivers a totally coherent presentation.
� Because the Cellos are ported on the bottom and have a relatively small footprint for a full-range speaker, it will be much easier to place them in your room for optimum performance.
� The Cellos offer a reference-level soundstage, as well as macro-dynamics, timbres and the resolution of details.
� The Cellos are able to convey the emotion and feeling of music in a way that is rarely found in a speaker that also offers such high transparency and clarity.

Low Points
� Like all very high-resolution speakers, the Cello will expose any flaws in upstream gear or bad recordings.
� The Cello performs to the best of its ability when bi-wired, so an extra pair of speaker wires is recommended.
� The lack of any meaningful distribution in the United States in terms of installation base and dealers makes resale an issue, compared with other speakers that have the same price but more established reputations.

Competition and Comparison
In the price bracket of around $18,000 for floor-standing speakers, the major competitors would either be the Wilson Audio Specialties Sophia Series 3, which is valued at $17,600, or the Vandersteen Model 5A valued at $18,995. Both speakers are highly acclaimed and offer reference-level musical performance. Being very familiar with both models, I still would choose the Cellos over these two excellent speakers, because the Cellos combine all of the analytical and objective virtues that both the Sophia Series 3 and the Vandersteen Model 5A provide. Additionally, the Cellos add a higher level of musicality and an emotional aspect to the music than the other speakers do.

For more on these speakers, please visit Home Theater Review's floor-standing speaker page.

Conclusion
Lawrence Audio, with their Cello floor-standing speakers, is a new player on the audio scene here in the States. It was an eye-opening experience to audition these speakers, due to their physical appearance and beauty. More importantly, the Cellos render music in an amazingly natural and relaxing way. This does not mean that the Cello is just a pleasant-sounding or euphonic speaker. The Cellos offer reference-level objective performance in all the important areas, such as soundstage, timbre, high and low extension, and dynamics. I highly recommend that you put the Cello on your audition list before you make your next purchase, if you can afford speakers in this price range.

The highest compliment I can give to the Cellos is that they replaced my long-term reference MG20s, and I purchased the review pair as my new reference.

Additional Resources
� Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
� Explore amplifiers in our Amplifier Review section.
� Find subwoofer pairing options in Subwoofer Review section.


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