A hot item that has been around for a little while and has made quite a few gift guides for 2010 are the Ceramic Speakers by Joey Roth; a standalone speaker system made from “simple” materials for use with iPod/other portable media players, laptops, and turntables with phono pre-amps.
Everything about these speakers is interesting, starting with the ceramic materials they’re made of. I can’t help but wonder where Joey’s inspiration came from. Could it have been a flash of genius like when Doc Brown in Back to the Future slipped off the toilet hitting his head on the bathroom sink while attempting to hang a clock in his bathroom, conceiving the idea for the Flux Capacitor?!? Now I like to think I have my most brilliant thoughts and inspirations stimulated by ceramic bathroom fixtures, but the pairing of ceramic in use with speakers seems as unlikely as a Time Machine made from a DeLorean.
However, I am very impressed with the thought that went into this product and the use of sustainable materials, starting with the packaging; an ecofriendly sectional cardboard box wrapped up in an industrial strength rope as if it were a bow. The speakers are made from porcelain and cork. The stands from Baltic Birch. And the Amplifier, based on the Tripath 2024 T-Amp with gold plated binding posts and has a stainless steel enclosure with a cast iron base. It’s a simple, no frills enclosure with an unlabeled wooden potentiometer that is functional and smooth.
Inside the box you’ll find: (2) ceramic speakers with stands, An amplifier with gold plated binding posts, 16-gauge oxygen-free copper speaker wire with gold plated banana plug terminations, Interconnects for RCA and 1/8” sources and a 120V-240V power supply and adapter that works with US, EU, and Australia/ Asia power mains.
The ceramic speakers come with a one year warranty on all electronics and enclosures, technical specifications are as follows:
· Output:15 W/ channel Sensitivity: 89 dB
· Frequency Range: 70 Hz – 20 kHz
· Impedance: 4 Ohm
· Driver Materials: Paper diaphragm, aluminum phase plug, neodymium magnet, die-cast basket
After listening to the ceramic speakers through a number of sources, I was a bit disappointed. While the mid & high frequencies are clear and crisp, there’s no real bottom end. With a stated frequency response of 70 Hz – 20 kHz, I wasn’t expecting the earth to move, but I was hoping for more of a well-balanced sound in the lower end of the spectrum.
Listening to Pandora was a bit painful. It seemed that the speakers had limited response and sounded dull at best. The sound quality improved significantly when playing iTunes from my Macbook then some tracks from my iPhone, but still lacked bass response.
I did not try the Ceramic Speakers with a turntable as suggested on the Ceramic Speaker website, as I retired my turntable years ago after wearing out Journey’s Escape LP sometime in the 80’s. Plus, who the heck owns a turntable anymore?
Now I can appreciate that audiophiles love themselves the turntable and probably the warmth of vinyl really makes this system hum, but I don’t see people beating down the door to buy a $495 speaker system to listen to LP’s.
If the intent is to provide a “vast improvement over built-in speakers” in laptops, then mission accomplished. At a $495 price tag to augment laptop speakers or for use as a standalone room system, I’ll have to pass. But, if it had a three channel amp with a small subwoofer; now I’m listening…
Cult of Mac rated