Celestion 3000 Page 2

In practice, it means that the only requirements for siting concern the bass, because 'toe-in' adjustment for treble 'beaming' has been eliminated. Indeed, these are, without doubt, the easiest speakers I've ever reviewed as far as positioning is concerned.

Celestion recommends they stand approximately six inches from the back wall, with the backs parallel to the wall. Because of the dispersion characteristics of the ribbons, the distance between the speakers is not critical. The further apart you're able to place them, the wider the soundstage they'll produce. I had to move them over 15ft apart before I could detect a 'hole in the middle', from a position 12ft away. Where I differed from Celestion's preferred siting is in the distance from the back wall, as the ideal spot in my room was 15in away.

Magic Of Three
Amplifier selection is another matter entirely, and I wasted a week before I hit on the first of three magic combinations. I started with what I thought would be a sensible choice for a speaker/stand combination at this price point, the £1250 Counterpoint SA-12. For 80% of the time, all was wonderful – but then came the torture tracks I use to test sibilance – recordings such as Juice Newton's 'Break It To Me Gently' or Poco's Head Over Heels.


The 3000/SA-12 pairing, while stunning in most respects, simply fell to pieces. The Counterpoint – sweet and smooth with Sonus fabers – sounded edgy with the Celestion 3000. So out came Old Faithful, my Radford SA25 Mk IV. Talk about a transition. The spit and sizzle disappeared, without taking away any of the top-end information. But how valid is a review of an affordable new loudspeaker with an out-of-production amplifier with a circa £1000 price tag? Relief came with the Musical Fidelity B1 (£199) and A100 (£499) integrated amplifiers, products which you shouldn't have too hard a time finding in shops that also sell Celestion products. The results were absolute bliss.

Flying Colours
I have this crazy image of sales reps in countries like the USA running around hyping the new Celestion hybrids with lines like 'They blow away Apogee Magnepan, etc'. Let me tell you, these speakers cannot be compared to full-range ribbons or other dipoles, because there are certain things the 3000s cannot do.

They are nowhere near as 'open-sounding' or transparent as dipoles. Also, the bass has a cone-like speed and control which affordable dipoles can't emulate. So the Celestion 3000s should be compared only to other boxes... in which case they'll clean up. For what this Celestion speaker does to boxes in its price class is to elevate the standards by a frightening degree.

I've settled on one track which tells me more about a product under review than any dozen can. It's the CD single version of Willy De Ville's 'Assassin Of Love', which tests bass extension, bass control, transient attack, decay and recovery, stage width, depth and height, vocal textures, sibilance, scale, image specificity, 'layering' and a whole lot more. The Celestion 3000 sailed through with flying colours.

It was through the use of this disc that I learned how the 3000s could convey power and scale without compression, and do a damned fine 'disappearing act' of near-dipole invisibility. Another test disc, a recording in a church, proved the 3000s capable of replicating the sound of a massive, echo-y venue, a procession starting far behind the back wall and ending in front of the line of the speakers. So far so good.


In absolute terms, the Celestion's staging capabilities were of an order so far beyond what is expected at this price point that I wanted only to listen to another 3D extravaganza. More telling, though, was the utter independence the listener has, with seating three abreast not resulting in a fight for centre position – perfect for sharing music with others.

The other attribute which makes the 3000 so special is its seamlessness. This speaker is the first hybrid I've used which shows no joins, the bass driver having been tailored to the ribbon with such overwhelming synergy that you're forgiven for thinking that it's a full-range system. The result is an 'of a whole' sonic spectrum, with consistent speed, clarity and low coloration throughout.

For Everyman
At £699 per pair (£858 including the mandatory stands), the 3000 has revised the expectations of a purchaser with under £1000 to spend. What you get from the floorstanding model 7000 is greater bass, dynamics and power handling. What you get from other loudspeakers, such as the Quad ESLs, Apogees, MartinLogans, et al, is more transparency, but the Celestion 3000 is euphonic and consistent from top to bottom.

Driven by a beauty like the Musical Fidelity B1, this speaker is a bargain for would-be high-enders. So don't think of these as a poor man's Apogees. Regard them instead as Everyman's ribbon.