Upon receiving Lawrence Audio's Cello floorstanding speakers about two years ago for review, it was with great pleasure and to my surprise that they turned out to be the finest speakers I have ever listened to in my reference system. As a result, I bought the review pair, replacing the highly regarded MG-20 seven-foot planar speakers that had been my reference speakers for over 15 years, and I have had nothing but musical delight when I sit down to listen to my Lawrence system. Shortly thereafter, I reviewed the smallest member of this part of Lawrence's stable of speakers, which I refer to as the "string section": the Mandolin two-way stand-mount speaker. When compared with the Cellos, the Mandolin speakers also rendered a beautiful musical presentation and deservingly made the HTR Best of the Year product list for 2013.
The string section of the Lawrence Audio speaker line has two things in common. First, they resemble the string instruments for which they are appropriately named: Mandolin, Violin, Cello, and their newest model, the $29,000 Double Bass. Secondly, each speaker uses a combination of ribbon tweeters for the high-end frequencies and as a rear ambient driver, while air motion transformer drivers are used for its midrange. Finally, carbon fiber cone drivers are used for the mid-bass and bass frequencies. After the Double Bass Speaker, the Lawrence speaker lineup no longer resembles a specific musical instrument; instead, each model uses diamond tweeters and a mixture of ceramic and carbon fiber cone drivers. When I was contacted four months ago by Mr. Lawrence Liao, CEO and head designer for Lawrence Audio, to see if HomeTheaterReview.com and I would be interested in being the first in the U.S. to do a formal review of his new model, I happily obliged. Of course, I was quite excited, based on my past experience with the other two Lawrence Audio speakers, and I wanted to find out what possible musical magic Mr. Liao had produced in his much larger Double Bass model.
Like my Lawrence Audio Cello speakers, the first thing that one notices about the Double Bass is its exquisite shape that resembles a modern art sculpture. The review pair arrived in one of the finest piano-black lacquer finishes I have ever seen on any speaker. The reason for the Double Bass's physical appearance is purely based on form followed by function. By mimicking the shape of a double bass, all parallel internal baffle surfaces are eliminated, preventing standing acoustic waves. The upper narrow neck of the Double Bass dramatically cuts down the refraction of the midrange and high frequencies, eliminating distortion created from these frequencies being bounced off the front of the wider baffle found in most standard box speakers. Each speaker weighs 115 pounds and measures 55.1 inches high by 13.8 inches wide by 19.7 inches deep. There are five drivers on the front, of which two are 4.7-inch tweeter/midrange air motion transformers. These surround a 2.4-inch purified aluminum ribbon tweeter driver. Finally, there is an 8-inch, non-woven, carbon mid-woofer along with a 12-inch, non-woven carbon bass driver. Each cone driver uses an aluminum frame, a copper-clad aluminum voice coil with flat wire, and a special magnet system with a Faraday ring and demodulation coil. Behind the Double Bass is a rear-firing ambient 4.3-inch aluminum ribbon tweeter, along with four superior-quality WBT connectors for biwiring. The Double Bass is a 4.5-way vented system with the port located on the bottom of the speaker. It has a frequency range of 24 Hz to 40 kHz and a sensitivity of 89 dB with an average impedance of eight ohms and never going lower than 6.4 ohms. Because of its high sensitivity and steady ohm rating, the Double Bass is an easy speaker to drive.
In my reference system, the Double Bass speaker replaced the Cello speaker, having an optimum placement of seven feet off of the front wall, four feet off of the side walls, and eight feet apart with a slight toe-in. My listening chair was located 10 feet away from the front of the speaker. I used my Melody 300b tube-based amplifier, along with high-powered solid-state amplifiers, during the review process.
Click over to Page 2 as the audition begins, plus the High Points, Low Points, Competition and Comparison and Conclusion . . .