CES 2015 • Hot Product

The tall, dark and handsome Rockport Cygnus ($62,500/pair) can legitimately be called a ground-up design. Its creator, Andy Payor, designed the cabinet, crossover, and drivers, all of which are executed to heroic levels. The cabinet, for instance, uses Rockport's multiple-layer, constrained-mode construction with "comprehensive" internal bracing, and the baffle is machined from two 3/4"-thick aircraft-grade aluminum plates. In between is a viscoelastic polymer. This all forms a 1 1/2"-thick damped sub-baffle that is bolted and bonded to the enclosure's 3"-thick MDF inner baffle. All of the drivers are mounted to the aluminum sub-baffle. The speaker uses the same beryllium tweeter as the Rockport Altair, Avior, and Atria, but with a custom, machined aluminum waveguide that is said to improve the acoustic impedance of the tweeter at the low end of its range -- "for lower distortion and greater dynamic expression" and "improved dispersion characteristics," according to Andy Payor of Rockport.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Cygnus sounded spectacular. It emphasized in-room presence, bass drive and heft, soundstaging precision and recording-venue ambience -- an engaging combination of truth and beauty. The speakers were driven with solid-state D'Agostino mono amps, and we wondered what tube power, specifically from VTL MB-450 IIIs, might have wrought, although this was more an academic exercise than a reaction to something being missing.

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A close-up of Rockport's custom-designed, custom-built 10" carbon-fiber sandwich composite woofer used in the Cygnus, whose cone's cross-hatch pattern has become its identifying mark. Two of these woofers are used in a cabinet whose volume is 50% greater than that of the Rockport Avior.

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