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  1. #1
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    I am about to make the craziest speaker purchase ever for me

    I have had the chance of auditioning many speakers in an effort to choose which speakers would eventually become my mixing and monitoring speakers. For one of my larger rooms, I choose speakers I already own, and have spent close to $60,000 to outfit my studio with five permanent Dunlavy SC-V, and two more roll ins for 7.1 mixing and monitoring.

    For my 5 channel monitoring system I choose 5 stand mounted ATC SCM-300A pro speakers which cost me close to $70,000 for the five plus stands.

    These two speaker systems where the best sounding out of the more than 30 pairs of speakers I auditioned.

    After listening to these two speaker systems, I am rarely impressed by hearing others as these two are so transparent in their presentation, others seem to sound like I am hearing sound reproduced through speakers.

    I was not ready for the surprise I got when I told my son he could put together a surround speaker package for a new addition to my Oakland house. Since he has so many speaker to choose from that we already owned, I fully expect him to choose something out of storage to go in that room. He had different plans.

    He came home yesterday jumping up and down with excitement telling me about a pair of speakers he heard at his friends house in his fathers study, which is a room that is acoustically treated, with speakers perfectly placed for serious listening. So I asked, what kind of speakers are these? He responded kind of looking at me sideways, Cerwin Vega CLS-15's. Cerwin Vega ARE YOUR FRIGGIN SERIOUS, I exclaimed. He stood and looked at me very seriously and said quietly yes!. After laughing at him for a few seconds, I realized he was quite serious. He told me to stop the cackling, open my mind and my ears. So he arranged with his friend for me to go over and listen to this setup. I went in with some serious doubts because the name Cerwin Vega stood for loud, unrefined harsh sound with lots of bass, a speaker I could never take all that seriously.

    My son setup a listening session with his friends father, and armed with CD material of Gospel, Classical, Jazz, and R&B music I have mixed myself and am very familar with, we headed over to his friends house, fired up the system, and sat down for some "serious" listening. Gents, I was not prepared for what I heard from a Cerwin Vega speaker.

    The first disc we put on was a two channel 24/96khz PCM recording I did of my church choir at their 5th anniversay celebration. This consisted of a 75 voice choir, a 15 piece band, a 6 voice ensemble, and an occasional lead singer(or three). I was stunned!!! The soundstage was wide and deep(just as it was in my studio), had excellent clarity and imaging(though not as specific as with my Dunlavy's), great bass slam and extension, and the female voice sounded heavenly, if not a hair fuzzy when compared to my ATC system. I listened to the more complex cuts on the disc, and the sound was just stunning. I just could not grasp that this was coming from a Cerwin Vega speaker.

    Next, Mozart's Requiem which is a recording I mixed at a concert featuring the LA Philharmonic, LA Smphony Chorus, a terrific local organist, and a guest director. Once again, I was stunned at what I heard. I kept thinking "this should not come from a CV speaker".

    Everything we threw at this speaker sounded very good to excellent.

    After going through my small pile of disc, I told my son I would never dismiss anything he had to say ever again. These speakers were by no means perfect, but they did so many things right, I found myself overlooking their weakness because their strengths were so in my face. The speakers are no competition for my expensive monitors, but they were WAY better sounding than the Klipsch RF-3 II and the Klipsch RF-82, two speakers more in its price class than my monitors. As a matter of fact, these were the best sounding under $1000 per pair speakers I have heard in years.

    When my son told me he wanted three match speakers up front, and 6 CLS-6's for the surrounds, and was thinking maybe he is on to something. When we went online to find the best price for the system, we found a total price of about $1500 dollars for the setup. That is a bargain for the quality of sound you get from this speaker.

    I have heard JBL's and Klipsch under $1000 a pair speaker systems, and not one of them came even close to what I heard from the CV's. As strange as this sounds, after listening to music on these speakers, I cannot wait to hear a soundtrack coming from them. They are probably better at reproducing soundtracks than music, like most speakers in this price catagory are.

    Who would believe little low brow CV speakers actually sounded pretty damn good. I certainly didn't before I listened. Soundstage did a review on this speakers bigger brother the CLS-215. They gave it a pretty good review, and the issues they had with the bigger speaker, were not present with the smaller speakers(such as the correct downward tilt to get the best treble response).

    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/c...ega_cls215.htm
    Sir Terrence

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  2. #2
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    I have been enjoying my old school Sound Dynamics which get lumped into that category. They are not the end in transparency, but sound damn good IMO. The Golden Tube is happy...

  3. #3
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I have heard plenty of people talk about the new Cerwin Vega CLS series of speakers being the best that CV has ever made by a mile and comparable to about anything close to their price class. I don't have to worry about them because they are just too damn big for me but for a person with a big room that has a speaker budget in this class should at least listen to them and not use the old CV stereotype to push them away from them. I myself have not heard a pair but would like to because I used to sell CV speakers in the early to mid 90's as a low end speaker for college kids and metal heads that only wanted as loud as possible but I until now I have never heard so many people refer to Cerwin Vega as a top sound quality speaker in their price class, They were usually just the loudest.

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  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Interesting...I had a pair of lower end CV's waaaay back. Can't remember the model number but I have it written down in a journal somewhere. Awesome speakers in college - we got a ton of use out of them. They weren't the greatest sound quality wise, but they did a lot right for rock music at loud volumes with old Technics and Harman Kardon amps I had (sensitivity helps, though I didn't know it at the time).

    Haven't seen or heard CV in probably 7 years now.

  5. #5
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    What electronics were pushing the CLS?

  6. #6
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Well well...

    You're ruining your rep Sir TtT! You're NOT supposed to be "open minded", "reasonable" or measured in your opinion! Wheres my Terrance and WHAT have you done with him!!!!

    LOL all kidding aside I'm glad you were able to check out some gear with an open mind and open ears. Good on ya mate!

    Worf

  7. #7
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    What electronics were pushing the CLS?
    Surprisingly, it was a Emotiva two channel amp, which got my son on a Emotiva kick.
    Sir Terrence

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  8. #8
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Unfortunately they're to ugly for me to even consider them. Nice way to save money though!

  9. #9
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101
    You're ruining your rep Sir TtT! You're NOT supposed to be "open minded", "reasonable" or measured in your opinion! Wheres my Terrance and WHAT have you done with him!!!!
    I think the Cerwin Vegas killed him. He died of pure sonic shock!

    LOL all kidding aside I'm glad you were able to check out some gear with an open mind and open ears. Good on ya mate!

    Worf
    I am sitting here a day later still trippin off what I heard yesterday. I still cannot believe that this great sound came from a CV. I want to go back over to my sons friends house to see if they put another badge on the front of those speakers. Maybe they took it off by now, and the real tag on those speakers are showing. My kid is off the chain excited about the system he is putting together. I think he did a fine job on his research of products, and actually listened to the speakers he wants. I was so proud of what he did, I promised to make his favorite Puerto Rican/Cuban dish called Asopao de pollo with Shrimp thrown in the mix!
    Sir Terrence

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  10. #10
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Unfortunately they're to ugly for me to even consider them. Nice way to save money though!
    I guess I am used to ugly speakers. The Dunlavy's are not exactly runway material, or candidates for Mr. Speaker of the Universe
    Sir Terrence

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  11. #11
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Are your kids thinking of pursuing audio as a career?

  12. #12
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I guess I am used to ugly speakers. The Dunlavy's are not exactly runway material, or candidates for Mr. Speaker of the Universe
    The Dunlavy are far better looking to me

  13. #13
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    Hello Sir Terrance

    About 6 weeks ago or so I had an opportunity to listen to the CV CLS 215's. The guy who owns them has a focus for everything retro...his audio interests is to collect various audio products that were made in the 70's and he likes to re-create the sound of 70's systems with music of the 40's through the 70's.

    He had a old Carver pre-amp running to a Prima Luna tube amp then add a Marantz CDP and the CV CLS 215's. It sounded very 70's to me in that the SQ was very much like what was often the standard sound back in the day. He's not interested in getting any more refinement from his audio system.

    So, while I was taken back to the old days where only loud and big speakers mattered I could not tell what the potential was for a more refined sound from the CV in that system. The Prima Luna would crap out if we started to drive the speakers hard and he did not want to put on the solid state amp on.

    Are you going to use solid state amp's with the CV's?

  14. #14
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Are your kids thinking of pursuing audio as a career?
    One of my kids is already mixing television soundtracks, commercials, and web based audio. I think this summer I am going to start him on mixing DVD and Blu ray soundtracks. He (like myself) is a hometheater junkie just like I am. The other is used to watching and listening to music and video on good systems, but he does not seem to gravitate towards the technology like my other son does. His motto is "I don't want to know how it works, just make it work"! He is the one that gets the dirty looks from me and my other son. He has his BA in Business management, and he actually runs the business of my post production studio along with my best friend.
    Sir Terrence

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  15. #15
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeRoy
    About 6 weeks ago or so I had an opportunity to listen to the CV CLS 215's. The guy who owns them has a focus for everything retro...his audio interests is to collect various audio products that were made in the 70's and he likes to re-create the sound of 70's systems with music of the 40's through the 70's.

    He had a old Carver pre-amp running to a Prima Luna tube amp then add a Marantz CDP and the CV CLS 215's. It sounded very 70's to me in that the SQ was very much like what was often the standard sound back in the day. He's not interested in getting any more refinement from his audio system.

    So, while I was taken back to the old days where only loud and big speakers mattered I could not tell what the potential was for a more refined sound from the CV in that system. The Prima Luna would crap out if we started to drive the speakers hard and he did not want to put on the solid state amp on.

    Are you going to use solid state amp's with the CV's?
    He wants one of Emotiva's 7 channel amps and one of Emotiva's 2 channel amps to run his system. So yes, it will be a solid state amp.
    Sir Terrence

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  16. #16
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible[/quote
    I listened to the more complex cuts on the disc, and the sound was just stunning... I just could not grasp that this was coming from a Cerwin Vega speaker.
    That's what it is all about after all. I still have that impression about my late 1970's Advents.

    rw

  17. #17
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
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    funny - i put a user review about these speakers not but a week ago or so.
    http://reviews.audioreview.com/blog/...r-user-review/

    One thing I've hear about, is that after the after glow of the good parts of speakers is over, you are only felt with the bad. kind of like a relationship....

    not to digress, but it is pretty surprising in your comparison that you name JBL and Klipsch. Not bad speakers, but at the sub $1000 price point they each leave a their sound, I wonder....

    Also, as I'm sure you are well aware of, great room treatment can do a lot for the speakers.

    Anyways, good to get your mind blown every now and again. It is just hard to image coming from STtT.

  18. #18
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    Forget the 7 channel amp and just get 7 or 9 of the XPA-1, I believe that's the model of the top of the line monoblock. Top them off with an Anthem Statement and you'd have it made.

  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Forget the 7 channel amp and just get 7 or 9 of the XPA-1, I believe that's the model of the top of the line monoblock. Top them off with an Anthem Statement and you'd have it made.
    Hells yeah! Unless he's gotta budget to adhere to. I have an audio budget, I call her honey.

  20. #20
    Old AR guy, reincarnated.
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    I have also always been intrigued by the Cerwin cls 215's. Just by the shear specs. They are huge. I would have a hard time convincing my wife that these speakers as my fronts running along with my dual SVS PB12 NSD's would not be overkill.....LOL. I see you can purchase these guys from a1 components online for 399 each with free ship. This has me wondering..............They do have a sensitivity rating of 97dbs. with 500 watt max. With that in mind how big of a drag would this put on my H/K AVR 635 at conservative rating of 75 wpc ? I do not know if these are bi-ampable ? I do have the sixth and seventh channnels available for extra power. Before I purchased my Athena F2.2. I was wrestling with whether I wanted to spend double the cash on the Cerwins. The bass I get out of my system now with my SVS's running is crazy enough. I have a house that was built in the late 70's. It's a 2800 square foot multi level ranch. The home has 4 seperate levels. My lowest basement( I actually have a 2 level basement) is roughly 25 x 30 and is totally underground. That is where I play my guitars and have jam sessions. That is also where my home theater set-up is. When I am cranking out the tunes and go upstairs to the kitchen...two levels higher...roughly - sixteen feet. The house sounds like it's going to blow off the foundation when the right LFE's hit the subs. I kid you not it's just as loud as a crack of thunder. Scares the crap out of my daughter's . Needless to say my family would be "at risk" along with my insurance company, if these babies showed up at the dooorstep. LOL !!!!!
    Samsung 50" 1080p DLP w/LED light engine. Harmon Kardon AVR 635, Denon DVD-1920, Sony PS3, Athena F2.2 Fronts, Athena C2 Center, Acoustic Research M1 Holographic Rears, Polk Audio TSi100 rears. Dual SVS PB12 NSD Subwoofers Stacked. Direct TV HD receiver. 10 gauge speaker wiring, Subs are cabled by Cobalt, The rest of my cables are Monster and Monoprice.

  21. #21
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    funny - i put a user review about these speakers not but a week ago or so.
    http://reviews.audioreview.com/blog/...r-user-review/

    One thing I've hear about, is that after the after glow of the good parts of speakers is over, you are only felt with the bad. kind of like a relationship....
    This comment could really be applied to any speaker don't cha think? Personally I think where this speaker will shine is in a home theater setup.

    The CLS-15 is a CLS-215 without one of the woofers. So it is a little shorter than the CLS-215. In the soundstage review, they commented on how tall the speaker is, and how the tweeter actually aims its output upward. While this didn't work well on the CLS-215, the CLS-15 was the perfect height for the upward aim on the tweeter, so your ear ended up being perfectly on axis for the best sound, without the tilt down the reviewer did on the CLS-215.

    not to digress, but it is pretty surprising in your comparison that you name JBL and Klipsch. Not bad speakers, but at the sub $1000 price point they each leave a their sound, I wonder....
    The Klipsch RF-3II(discontinued) are a decent sounding under $1000 tower. JBL also has a under $1000 tower that we auditioned as the foundation of his system. In listening to both of these speakers under pretty much the same conditions(a person house), my impression was that the CLS-15 sounded WAY better than those two. I was just trying to keep the apples with the apples on this one.

    Also, as I'm sure you are well aware of, great room treatment can do a lot for the speakers.
    Room treatments are as important as a good amplification IMO. I would not install any system into a room without room treatment. It like a car and a engine as far as I am concerned. One cannot do without the other.

    Anyways, good to get your mind blown every now and again. It is just hard to image coming from STtT.
    It has been a while since my mind has been blown away, so I am sure there was dust and cobwebs flying everywhere during that audition.
    Sir Terrence

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  22. #22
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Forget the 7 channel amp and just get 7 or 9 of the XPA-1, I believe that's the model of the top of the line monoblock. Top them off with an Anthem Statement and you'd have it made.
    I am letting my kid put this together, and he has a budget. This setup would blow his budget before he even got the speakers!

    His budget is $3500 for everything except the projector, sources and room treatments, which we already have. With the setup he has chosen, he will clock in just under budget which was his goal. He wanted to have extra so he could add a PS3 into the mix for gaming purposes.

    I wanted him to learn the lesson of doing things within a budget, not just having unlimited funds to throw at something. He needs to learn this lesson because it will be very important when he starts mixing audio for clients. Clients love the words under or on budget, on time, and desired results. This exercise with teach him all of that.
    Sir Terrence

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  23. #23
    RGA
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    I still remember CV's D9 and thinking what a fun speaker it was for under a grand - but it had problems in the mids and treble (Cher would definitely sound like a guy) - though it could absolutely pound with anything - they advertised it as unblowable - you could stick the speaker wires into the wall outlet and not blow them kind of thing.

    I chose the Wharfedale Vangiards over them (based on the E-70 but with one better midrange driver and a ring dac horn tweeter - with extension 40hz - 23khz) but look similar to these http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/olde...fedalee70.html

    I still have them because while not perfect a lot of supposed "audiophile approved" loudspeakers cost a helluva lot more money and do a helluva lot less. I always thought that if Cerwin Vega simplified the midrange and treble with better drivers and reduced the box noise they could really do something.

    And the pink condom looking rubber surrounds are insanely tacky but I dunno I think they look rather cool. The D9 had the same pink surrounds and when listening they were pumping away (pardon the pun).

    For $999 you don't expect the best speakers in the world - you accept some limitations so you may as well get something that will do what they're advertised to do and that is to ROCK. And it seems like these new ones will do a respectable job with classical, Jazz and other lighter touch forms of music and be reasonably amp friendly to boot. What's not to like?

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