Finally in production after many moons of conception, Joey Roth's Ceramic Speakers are here. As in ready for sale, and, at my door - he sent MoCo a pair for review. We asked a DJ friend to do the unboxing, plug them in and give us his opinion.
Sleek and simple, the speakers are made of porcelain, cork and Baltic birch - the only plastic is in the electronic components. The minimalist system includes an amplifier with a stainless steel-covered cast iron base and a paulownia wood
volume slider. Looks amazing, but what does this system sound like?
Mobile DJ John Lawford, who also takes care of Sales & Marketing @sensefm,
an Internet radio station specializing in electronic music, gave these ceramic
speakers a listen.
Says John, "Designed to bring out hidden details in digitally encoded music, these speakers certainly do that. Given the design, which is one-way, minimal and spacey, there are naturally some trade-offs. Small size, horn shape and natural materials: ceramic, cork, wood - mean these don't give you bass. But to hear mid-range and vocals they are ruthless. Stereo separation is another strength."
"Be careful setting up - I nearly knocked them off their pedestals to their deaths jamming in tight banana plugs. The smart orientation of the conical shape at a slight upward tilt is ideal for placement on a desktop - aimed straight at your noggin."
"Although these could be used as a small bookshelf stereo system, their real strength, sonically and aesthetically, is as mini-nearfield monitors when you are working at your computer. The designer's claim is that you can distinguish lossy-encoded files (mp3s) from lossless. While that claim has some merit, I found these actually shone in an unexpected area, namely streaming (quite) compressed Internet radio."
"At 15 watts per channel, you won't be blasting anything out of these. But even at full volume there is no distortion. Input source does have a huge impact, however. iPhones sound OK, iPods and laptops better and external sound cards quite amazing actually. Vinyl is suggested for an analogue religious experience, but unless your vinyl is in better shape than mine, you will only hear crackles better."
"But they fit the exact need I never knew I had: cool looking desk speakers to hear the best parts of cool music while I do cool stuff on my cool computer. Cool."