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Jonathan Valin of Abosolute Sound's comment on the Cessaro Alpha One

The Cessaro Alpha 1 was an imposing three-way horn loudspeaker with a TAD compression tweeter, a 2-inch TAD midrange loaded by a spherical horn, and a backloaded 16-inch TAD woofer. Electronics were from Zanden, which left their lovely imprint on the Alpha 1, making it sound very low in horn coloration, smooth, spacious, and not aggressively detailed but not missing anything important, either.

On “Schlagstück 5” the Alpha 1 demonstrated absolutely incredible transient response in the treble (and everywhere else)–the best transient response I’ve ever heard on cymbals and bells. It was superb again on the gamelan-like prepared piano in Mr. John Cage’s Prepared Piano. Had it not been for a slightly shelved up response in the upper mids, this would have been my undisputed choice for Best Sound of CES 2008. If Cessaro can add a little more density of color to the mids, it will have a world-beater here. As it stands, the Alpha 1 did something no other speaker did at CES–it showed me a new level of resolution and realism.

Jonathan Valin’s Best of Show

Best Sounds: No single speaker stood way above the pack this year in my price range, so I’m going to name several Best Sounds of Show: the Magico Mini II, the Magico V3, the Quad Reference ESL-2905, the Cessaro Alpha 1, the Nola Baby Grand Reference, the Von Schweikert R-5, the McIntosh XRT1k, the Gershman Black Swans, the Wilson MAXX 2s, the Avalon Indras, the TAD Reference One and TAD Compact Reference One, and the Kharma 3.2.2s.

Greatest Bargain: In my neck of the woods, that would have to be the Quad Reference ESL-2905.

Biggest Surprises: The Cessaro Alpha 1, the Nola Baby Grand Reference, the Von Schweikert R-5, and the McIntosh XRT1k.
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