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Setting up Cessaro 項羽 subwoofer

edited December 2019

It was my honor to be invited to PT’s home listening to his superb system last week while he’s alone in HK. Although my intention was not merely a “home visit” knowing PT’s family was out of town :p

Anyway,we spent almost 2 hours listening to CDs and SACDs I brought over with various genre ranging from Jazz,vocal to classical,percussion. The things most impressed me are:

1,holographic soundstage,the soundstage is not big due to the room size but shockingly holographic and complete. There was a percussions track where there’s an artist holding a sand hammer walking a circle from front left to the back and then back to the front,as it is a binaural recording the 360 degree soundstage sounds stunning in a headphone however difficult to reproduce in a 2 channel speaker system. PT’s system is the first one that I can hear clearly where the artist is when he walking around. 

2,the Xiangyu subwoofer blends into the system perfectly. If you close your eyes it’ll  be a hard-press to tell the existence of the subwoofer. Instead of enhancing the bass energy,the subwoofer does a better job just adding a touch of 3D sense to make the music sounds more holographic and complete. I remember there was a piece of Jazz trio where the bass is on the right hand side,it sounds so full-bodied and full of energy it feels like I’m 3 feet away from the bassist in a live performance

3,I found the riviera amps sound similar to my Robert Koda amps, both are gentlemen with good manner. No harshness or rush whatsoever; a bit on the warm side of neutral. Both are world-class in terms of performance. 

In a nutshell,it is hell of a system which demonstrates how much time and effort that PT has put into fine tuning. 

However, haha I know, there always is a however. This listening session also confirms my preference over Cessaro speakers. While the goebel sounds more authoritative with more weight on everything, I always find myself missing the speed and attack of the Brahms which impressed me to the same extent to say at least during the last visit. 

Let’s put it this way, if PT offers me to trade the Goebel with my Wagner with no additional cost, if it were not for the money, I would say no without any hesitation. Yes that’s how much I love my Cessaro. 


  • Very few could pay PT home a visit. I believe Mr Stirling had not optimised this system yet.  But your description of holographic quality is consistent with the bending wave technology employed in Goebel speakers - no phase distortion. 

    When are you getting 項羽 subwoofer?
  • Very soon, will report back ;)
  • The 項羽 subwoofer was installed yesterday. 

  • Thanks PT for coming over to help me set up the Xiangyu. He’s so experienced that within an hour or so the Sub had already been dialed in pretty well. He stared with the low pass at 80hz, then adjusted all the way down to 60hz; then we deal with the high pass and found we can turn it off to have a full spectrum of the low end.... There are so many things that can be adjusted in Xiang Yu that I just can’t stop playing around with it. After PT left I was still playing around mainly with the the low pass and gain. I found myself enjoy a bit more gain and higher low pass say 70-80db just to let the bass have a touch more presence. Xiang Yu is a terrific sub, it sounds great and looks great not to mention the flexibility, very well done!
  • I have to say the JMF Audio/Riviera Lab/Goebel system at PT home is really not a typical home system for the “home”.  I came across many big Wilson and Magico from many homes but none comes close to the disappearing act of this system.  The speaker has no phase error over a wide range, and the integration of the sub with the main speakers are so damn coherent.  It is a very big system but it does not look like given the slim profile of the speakers.  Also, when I closed my eyes, I could not relate a “home environment” at all.  When I opened my eyes, it is just a typical home physically.  There are 3 big glass windows behind the speakers.  There is a big structural column at the top, and a corridor to the right hand side leading to the restroom etc.  These are all acoustic deficiencies.  But as Ma commented already the holographic quality of this system is unheard of.

    Holographic and integration are more important to me than speed and transient resolution.  But I do enjoy listening to horn system from time to time.
  • Adding ReVopod underneath the sub yields much more clarity!

  • I’d like to thank PT again for spending 2 hours at my place to blend in the 2nd Xiangyu.

    After PT left I’ve been listening to the complete system until now, and I’m shocked by the improvement the 2nd 項羽 brought onto the table. Surprisingly it was not “better” bass, instead it is much more transparency, better layering, much more details pouring out of the speakers like never before, and most strangely the highs improved a lot too so that I no longer feel the need to connect the tweeters back into the system... 

    just Wow
  • edited December 2019
    I went to set up the 2nd Cessaro項羽 subwoofer today. It quickly dialled in with the Wagner.  We went back and forth amongst jazz, symphony and vocal to locate the ideal zone of parameters. 
    The difference between crossing 64hz and 65hz was determined by the height of the piano. A pianist always sits down to play piano. If it is crossing too low, the physical presence of the piano would go up in height as though the pianist is standing up to play. 
    I finally set the gain to -4db, low pass at 64hz (BUT filter at 6db), with high pass OFF.  We played a cut of Dave Brubeck and were shocked by the sheer scale, dynamic and transient response of this system. This system has already evolved to a mega-scale music theatre. 
    I haven’t stress tested the system tonight by playing track 1 of Cantate Domino. The organ was played by Alf Linder, a famous Swedish organist, inside the Oscar church in Sweden alongside a choir with a predetermined structure. There are two pairs of voices (S/A, T/B) doubling each other at the octave and four instrumental lines. 
    The energy of the organ from the first three octaves (20hz, 40hz and 80hz) radiated alongside trombone (82hz to 466hz), with a group of vocal at extreme loud volume towards the end either makes or breaks the system.  If one passes, goosebumps and tears naturally follow. 
  • The 項羽 sub is on my shopping list in 2020. I attended demo of it a few times, with and without, the improvement was exponential.   I was convinced by the elegant look of it.  I love the name. And this subwoofer is very fast and articulated. 
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