It's always fun and exciting in high-end audio to come across a new
company and products that seem to offer something utterly unique, both
in performance and in appearance. It was a pleasure for me to review the
Lawrence Audio Cello floor-standing speakers,
retailing for $18,000. Lawrence Audio Company, located in Taiwan, was
founded in 1996 by Mr. Lawrence Liao. He comes from a true renaissance
background. He is an award-winning artist, interior designer and
musician with a passion for combining function with beauty in his
speaker designs. The Cellos I reviewed were finished in a gorgeous matte
Rosewood, which has a beautiful deep red orange color with striking
grain patterns. The Cello is the smallest floor-standing speaker in the
Lawrence Audio stable of speakers. Each speaker weighs 88 pounds and is
49 inches tall, 11 inches wide and 18.5 inches deep. The frequency range
is 32Hz to 40 kHz. The Cello's stated sensitivity is (2.83V/1m) 90dB
with an impedance of four ohms (minimum 3.2 ohms). The Cello's
appearance is modeled off of a musical instrument and aesthetically
looks like a piece of sculpture art.
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the Cello is designed with polygonal, non-equilateral shapes and sides,
the parallel surfaces are eliminated, thereby reducing standing waves
and diffraction. The narrow "neck" of the enclosure also decreases
diffraction for the midrange and high-frequency drivers. The front
baffle is a matte black color with five "strings" running down the lower
half of the speaker. The Cello is a five-driver, three-and-a-half-way
vented design. Since the port is on the bottom of the speaker, it can be
placed closer to the front wall, as opposed to many other full-range
speakers without bass bloat because of a rear port. This speaker packs
reference-level parts, quality and design. The two woofers are eight
inches wide, with aluminum frames. They are composed of a sandwich of
non-woven carbon fiber, with a two-inch copper-clad aluminum voice coil
with flat wire and a special Ferrite magnet system with a Faraday ring
and demodulation coil. The midrange and high-frequency drivers are
five-inch-long air motion transformers. Located behind the Cello is a
two-inch ribbon tweeter for ambience, which also increases the depth of
the soundstage. Crossover parts use high-quality MKP capacitors, high
purified OFC inductors and military-grade metal oxide film resistors.
Finally, the Cello comes with double WBT connectors for bi-wiring.
optimum placement of the Cellos in my room found them being positioned
ten feet apart, with the toe-in of each speaker aimed slightly past the
outside alignment of my ears from where I would be sitting before
spiking them. The Cellos performed at a high level when they were
single-wired. I discovered that bi-wiring them took their performance to
an even higher qualitative level. It also allowed the Cellos to deliver
their full musical potential.
The musical beauty of the Cellos
was apparent when I listened to Barney Kessel (guitar), Shelly Manne
(drums) and Ray Brown (bass) on the album Exploring the Scene
(Contemporary). The Cellos provided a harmonically rich tonality. Each
player is a three-dimensional figure, with space and air in between
them. This was not done at the expense of less accurate timbres or
micro-details, as the Cellos are extremely transparent. Because of the
air motion transformer drivers, they offer all the little details in the
music. In contrast, similar speakers give a razor-sharp leading edge
with less body in the harmonics, whereas the Cellos give you the clarity
without sacrificing the fullness of the notes.
The next musical
selection, "Molly on the Shore" (Ensemble Highlights Collection) by
Percy Grainer, played by the NAF Staff Band with Eivind Aadland
conducting, showed how the Cellos could produce a large, precise and
layered holographic soundstage on this classical selection. The
orchestra was presented in seamlessly lifelike fashion, along with the
ambience of the large acoustic space of the Main Hall of Oslo University
where the recording took place. The full weight of this selection was
rendered with accurate dynamics that pressurized the entire room.
I wanted to hear how the Cellos would do while I listened to vocals. I
went to one of my all time favorites, Rickie Lee Jones' Pop Pop
(Geffen), and played "My One and Only Love". In my opinion, The Cellos
did equal justice sonically to all types of instruments and music.
However, if you strongly prefer vocals, the Cellos' natural rendition of
a singer's tone and vocal mannerisms will give the illusion that the
vocalist is singing right in your roomHigh Points
• The physical appearance of the Cello's wood veneer and striking shape is a very attractive alternative to most conventional floor-standing speakers.
In any speaker like the Cello, which uses the air motion transformer,
ribbon tweeters and cone drivers, there is always concern over the
possible sonic discontinuity between the two types of transducers. The
Cello delivers a seamless transition between these drivers and delivers a
totally coherent presentation.
• Because the Cellos are ported on
the bottom and have a relatively small footprint for a full-range
speaker, it will be much easier to place them in your room for optimum
• The Cellos offer a reference-level soundstage, as well as macro-dynamics, timbres and the resolution of details.
The Cellos are able to convey the emotion and feeling of music in a way
that is rarely found in a speaker that also offers such high
transparency and clarity.
• Like all very high-resolution speakers, the Cello will expose any flaws in upstream gear or bad recordings.
• The Cello performs to the best of its ability when bi-wired, so an extra pair of speaker wires is recommended.
The lack of any meaningful distribution in the United States in terms
of installation base and dealers makes resale an issue, compared with
other speakers that have the same price but more established
Competition and Comparison
In the price bracket of around $18,000 for floor-standing speakers, the major competitors would either be the Wilson Audio Specialties Sophia Series 3, which is valued at $17,600, or the Vandersteen Model 5A
valued at $18,995. Both speakers are highly acclaimed and offer
reference-level musical performance. Being very familiar with both
models, I still would choose the Cellos over these two excellent
speakers, because the Cellos combine all of the analytical and objective
virtues that both the Sophia Series 3 and the Vandersteen Model 5A
provide. Additionally, the Cellos add a higher level of musicality and
an emotional aspect to the music than the other speakers do.
For more on these speakers, please visit Home Theater Review's floor-standing speaker page.
Audio, with their Cello floor-standing speakers, is a new player on the
audio scene here in the States. It was an eye-opening experience to
audition these speakers, due to their physical appearance and beauty.
More importantly, the Cellos render music in an amazingly natural and
relaxing way. This does not mean that the Cello is just a
pleasant-sounding or euphonic speaker. The Cellos offer reference-level
objective performance in all the important areas, such as soundstage,
timbre, high and low extension, and dynamics. I highly recommend that
you put the Cello on your audition list before you make your next
purchase, if you can afford speakers in this price range.
highest compliment I can give to the Cellos is that they replaced my
long-term reference MG20s, and I purchased the review pair as my new
Hi audiophile fellas my sad story your gain .Divorcing and moving to a small apartment .This beauties have under 20h of singing used in like new condition.I bought them a year ago in hi end shop for retail price.Amassing sound with right equipment i am using them with mark levinson pre amp and amp.mark levinson dac and metronome technology CD.All the cabling by Van Den Hull. Fill free to call me 3474692883 Dean.