I recently purchased a pair of Raven Audio’s amazing Celest’ Tower Speakers to go along with my Blackhawk MK3 Tube amp. I have had the speakers for about three weeks, and the Blackhawk since mid November. I wanted to let the speakers break in for awhile so I could have a better idea how they would ultimately sound before writing down my impressions of them. I believe I have around 200 hours on them now and they have opened up significantly, though per Dave Thomson they will continue to loosen up and become even more real sounding over the next 600-800 hours.
When I first heard the Blackhawk I was struck by how clear, detailed and musical it sounded right out of the box, and how easily it drove my 86db speakers, especially given its 20 watt power rating.
One of the first things I noticed was how, to my surprise, I was suddenly hearing lyrics that with prior amps just seemed to get lost in the noise. This phenomenon has taken another leap with the Celest’ speakers, which are incredibly transparent and accurate in their own right. The result of this greater clarity of the lyrics has really added to my enjoyment of the music I listen to, and is something that I would not want to live without now that I have experienced it.
At the same time, it is not the charity of the lyrics that caused me to want to share what I have been experiencing with the Celest’s, it is the incredible music I hear coming out of them. Not being exactly sure where to start I will just list various elements of the sound that stand out to me, in no particular order, knowing that I will not be able to adequately convey how special these speakers are.
Bass - The base is powerful, dynamic, accurate and responsive. It just seems to want to jump out from the speakers when called upon. The bass also has tremendous depth and slam.
Tonality - The instruments sound more real than anything I have heard in my home before. This is one of those things I have a hard time putting in words, but the depth and richness of the sound is just wonderful and has to be experienced to truly appreciate.
Percussion - The various drums have amazing depth, dynamics and accuracy. The cymbals are clear and open. Even the triangle I heard in one song was crystal clear.
Soundstage and imaging - The soundstage is both wide and deep in my room. In fact it is the deepest I have experienced.
Detail, accuracy and transparency - These speakers are very revealing, and especially in combination with the Blackhawk, really excel in this regard. The background is black and the instruments are alive and separated from each other.
Overall impression - I haven’t listened to every genre. Mostly a singer songwriter type, so can’t comment on classical, R&B, jazz (other than Diana Krall), country etc. However I have listened to some classic rock and other dynamic music and it all sounds good to me. Much of the music I listen to I have listened to for years and not only does it all sound better than I have heard it before, I am hearing new details and even instruments that I haven’t heard before, and that alone has made it worth the investment.