Country of Origin
Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103
DAC: Mytek Brooklyn; Mytek Brooklyn Bridge; T+A DAC8 [loaner]
Streaming sources: Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner];
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submisson MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence; Audiocadabra Ultimus3 Plus Dual-Headed Solid-Silver
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli,Costello and Phono Booster; Pink Faun LAN Isolator; Farad external power supply
Online Music purveyors: qobuz.com, tidal.com, bandcamp.com, amazon.co.uk
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs
Price of review item: €3'200/pr
Little did we know about today's company when Carlo Pedrini contacted us about reviewing one of their products. Care Orchestra are from Milan, Europe's fashion capital in Italy; nor that we would write an entire review on the wrong speakers. The company's tagline Sartoria Acustica Italiana indicates tailor-made acoustics. The website features many visuals documenting their successes in blending hifi equipment with the interior designs of homes, hotels, even parties. There's a dedicated area for invisible loudspeakers and home cinema. So they focus a lot on fine aesthetics. Three speaker lines each have floorstanding and stand-mounted models. Some limited editions add leather trim or marble cabinets. As they put it, each loudspeaker is built according to the highest audio quality and finishing. In short, good-looking loudspeakers that sound great is the motto. Our expectation were set accordingly.
In his email, signore Pedrini asked for a review of their Divina Minor. After reviewing larger loudspeakers, we thought it refreshing to lend our ears to a smaller design for a change so accepted.
Sometime later a nice small wooden crate with Care Orchestra branded on its sides arrived. Snuggled together, the crate contained the two small speakers. Weighing only 8kg/ea., unpacking was a breeze and we soon looked at two identical white loudspeakers. Measuring only 176x238x223mm, the volume of each cabinet approximates just 4 liters.
What struck us immediately was the symmetrical asymmetry or lack of mirror imaging. This is where our assignment took a detour. Once our publisher submitted our final writeup to the company for a potential manufacturer's reply, we learnt that "there's been a serious error in shipping. You received an old pair with different parts that was used in our lab tests, not a production pair. Actually, we only produce mirror-matched Divina Minor. We discovered our mistake only when reading your copy today." Since we'd written it on the basis of the above pair, let's stick to the original text to understand why Care Orchestra didn't stay with it. After all, learning from mistakes is a lot better than just making them. Small loudspeakers generally come in two driver layouts, vertically aligned or offset. In the second case, the tweeter mounts off-center to create dissimilar distances to either baffle edge. Not here. Both cabinets put the tweeter to the right, the company name on the right cheek, the company logo in the lower right corner. In fact, these are identical boxes. Naturally we were curious how this layout would influence the sound relative to lobing and diffraction. Lobing is an interference pattern when two adjacent drivers cover the same frequencies. In practice this tends to occur around the crossover frequency. In symmetrical layouts, the filter takes care that the lobes above and below the listening plane match. If not, there will be tonal colorations.
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