Nightingale Concentus CTR 2 Open Baffle Loudspeaker
Of love found and love lost.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin
here to e-mail reviewer.
come in all shapes, sizes and types. Each type may have an inherent
benefit over the other, yet at the same time one must understand the 'care
and feeding' to get the best sound production from them. Open baffle
loudspeakers, like the Nightingale CTR 2 reviewed here, generally need to
be carefully spaced away from the rear wall and perhaps some dampening on
the rear wall to achieve the best music from them.
Nightingale products are manufactured in
Italy by Simetel Corporation, a company operating in the professional and military telecommunications field since its
foundation in 1959. With such technical knowledge mated with the love for
music, in 1995 a small group of engineers led the company’s management to start manufacturing equipment for
high-end audio products. While they manufacture a wide range of tube
amplifiers, which have greatly impressed me since first seeing and hearing
them at Italy's Top Audio & Video show. They also manufacturer line
conditioners which i have not tried, yet if it is like their other
products am sure they are well worth consideration. When they offered a
world premiere review opportunity for their CTR 2 loudspeakers it more
than piqued my interest.
Why Open Baffle?
Readers of Enjoy
the Music.com's DIY Magazine have read our recent article on
the art and science of open baffle loudspeakers. Within it, it says:
Wikipedia we learn that an Open Baffle or Dipole speaker is:
dipole enclosure in its simplest form is a driver located on a flat
baffle panel. The baffle is sometimes folded to reduce its apparent
rectangular cross-section is more common than a circular one since it is
easier to fabricate in a folded form than a circular one. The baffle
dimensions are typically chosen to obtain a particular low frequency
response, with larger dimensions giving a lower frequency before the
front and rear waves interfere with each other. A dipole enclosure has a
"figure-of-eight" radiation pattern, which means that there is
a reduction in sound pressure, or loudness, at the sides as compared to
the front and rear. This is useful if it can be used to prevent the
sound from being as loud in some places than in others.
In addition, Nightingale feels that "the sound radiating from the rear side of the speakers is slightly delayed as compared to the sound radiating from the front side. This effect is perceived as a
'reverberation', which provides a warm, transparent, three-dimensional outcome to the sound reproduction.
Concentus CTR-02's speakers and crossover are designed and assembled on the acoustic screen following a scheme meant to guarantee that the impedance stays linear as the frequency changes."
three-way design employs four drivers mounted on the handcrafted in Italy solid
walnut baffle. Driver compliment includes a 1-inch silk soft dome tweeter,
a 5.25-inch coated paper midrange driver and a pair of 7-inch bass units.
The crossover is solidly housed and is filled with top-end
audiophile-grade parts and allows for bi-wiring / bi-amplification.
Binding posts are of very high quality, as they are gold plated and
five-way to handle spades, banana plugs, bare wire, etc. Everything is
rigidly mounted to the baffle and if you are a died-in-the-wool tweaker
with an always-on soldering gun, you could easily have the crossover
simply be outside the baffle and use wire of your choosing.
Overall frequency response is from 35Hz to 22 kHz
while the sensitivity is 90dB/W/m at 8 Ohms. From my extended listening, i
feel the sensitivity really is somewhere around 92dB/W/m as they can play
quite well with my 8 watt 300B Wavelength Cardinal X-1 amplifier.
Dimensions are at most 46 x 20 x 14 (HxWxD in inches) and weight in at 56 lbs.
each. Like virtually everything wood handcrafted by Italian artisans, the
color and finish on the solid Walnut is very nice.
Setup And Tweaking
The pair delivered to me already had many hours on them, so
instead of waiting for 50+ hours for them to break in i could get right to
setup. Open baffle speakers, like electrostatic and planers, mean that it
is very critical to know what the rear-firing signal is doing and how to
best control and use it for the best results. Having reviewed quite a few
products with this type of design, i knew my preference was to keep the
rear-firing soundwave in check so eliminate time smearing. This smearing
happens when the front signal meets the bouncing off the sound off rear
wall of my listening room. For me, it is in reducing it and not killing it
off in full. To that end i employed some sound absorption. Towards the end
of the review out went my homebrew devices and in went some RealTraps that
had arrived for my upcoming 'studio' project and am happy to report
they worked great.
Final tweaks and tuning include having the
speakers toed-in a few degrees and they were placed on my tried and true
4-inch high Target amplifier stands that are topped by Symposium Svelt
here). Both front and rear grills were removed. Chosen loudspeaker
cables were the Nirvana Audio S-X Ltd. (reviewed
here) due to their extreme clarity and exceptionally neutral
Many hours were spent listening to these speakers and i can
wholeheartedly say that time and again i was impressed with the very wide
and deep soundscape the produce. Even when compared to my fave vintage
Audio Note AN-J/SPx, the Nightingale Concentus CTR 2 open baffle loudspeaker
added about 10 percent more to the depth. Both had the same nicely wide
right to left and enveloping in front and encompassing the listener space.
The only slight drawback was in the open baffle's ability for 'pinpoit'
imaging, which was a touch less than the Audio Note's, yet i always wonder
if audiophiles place far too much on a certain 'over sharpening' of
imaging. From live acoustic performances to my own 'studio' recordings,
the Concentus CTR 2's did a great job at rendering excellent imaging that
is properly placed in width and, perhaps just as important, hall and
instrument placement depth.
Uppermost frequencies were extremely smooth
via the 1-inch silk soft dome driver. i can not stress enough that these
loudspeakers are so smooth that if your system leans towards the euphoric
'rose color glasses' of reality than they will add to that a it, so these
speaker reward those who have chosen a neutral setup. i did try what i
consider as slightly bright items in my system and while it was easy to
hear their effects, never did it become overly fatiguing. In fact these
speakers are so all day listenable that when they left my home after this
review my ears missed their smoothness and gentle ways.
Critical 5.25-inch midrange is, well, the Nightingale
Concentus CTR 2 open baffle loudspeakers are beautifully made Italian
loudspeakers. Anyone who has spent a great deal of time with Italian
speakers know that when it comes to midrange, odds are it will be
brilliantly outstanding. What is it about the Italians and their ability
to manufacturer products with a midrange that just makes you want to kiss
female performers — or the male performer if you are a woman, or whatever
your preferences may be — after the song has ended? Billie Holiday, Elle
Fitzgerald, great symphonic pieces, opera... oh yeah, that is the good
Due to my music preferences being all over
the genre map, rock and roll rocked, Kraftwerk danced and those into
Hearts Of Space will be washed over with gentle breeze of sound.
So i have written about the highs and the
mids, but what about the bass. Well, those of you into pipe organ music
might want to retire our subwoofers for all but below 35 Hz! The advantage
of two smaller woofer drivers as within the Concentus CTR 2 means that
yes, smaller drivers can more faster and more precise due to a lower mass
needing to be controlled. The dual 7-inch woofers produced an astonishing
amount of of bass. During setup used the bass region as an aid to tuning
for best location. During my personally recorded 24-bit/192kHz 'studio'
percussion/drum test tracks i was amazed just how accurate and deep these
speakers could go. Once you hear what a Tama 20-inch gong bass drum can
do... Imagine a tuned 20-inch woofer driver, loaded by a circular
cabinet and being whacked by a drumstick and recorded by
laboratory/measurement grade microphones at 24-bit/192kHz.
As a side note, sent a compressed 48 kHz
version of my test track to Dr. Bill Gaw and within his system the gong
bass drum caused some mighty words of surprise as the extreme movement of
air and vibrations within his home took him by surprise. While i am not
going to say the Concentus CTR 2 can move the same air as Dr. Gaw's
extremely long horn-loaded woofer set (at a price tag i dare not ask with
cabinets probably big enough that combined you could park a car
within!), the Concentus CTR 2 were wonderfully extraordinary to my ears
considering their size and price. If you love house, trance, bass or other
types of music, with these speakers you may find yourself opting to remove
your dedicated powered subwoofer
Of Love Found And Love Lost
Aside from the minor and debatable pinpont imaging precision, i can
understand what many open baffle guys have been raving about for years.
Front and rear dept, soundscape and full enveloping of music is found
here. Add in the brilliance of Italian midrange and super smooth highs
plus extremely deep bass and the Nightingale Concentus CTR 2 is what you
get. While i never felt the need to tweak them, those who are tweakaholics
have easy access to virtually everything and can go about their business.
Sadly, my wallet is a bit tight right now and so back they had to go to
the United States distributor. Would have bought them, yet.... My time
with the Concentus CTR 2 was a gift as it were. In life sometimes you find
love, sometimes you 'lose' that love. For it is better to have loved and
lost than never to have loved at all. And that, my friends, is what sums
up my feelings for these loudspeakers.
Type: Three-way, four driver open baffle loudspeaker
Drivers: 1-inch silk soft dome tweeter, 5.25-inch midrange and
two 7-inch woofers
Frequency Response: 35Hz to 22 kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB/W/m at 8 Ohms
Dimensions: 46 x 20 x 14 (HxWxD in inches)
Weight: 56 lbs.
Finish: Solid Walnut
Price: $10,920 per pair
Via Pieve Torina, 42
1111 Davis Drive
Lancaster PA 17603
Voice: (717) 299-9250