I’ve wanted to sit down and listen to Crystal Cable speakers for quite some time. This Dutch company has been manufacturing a number of premium two-way monitors, one of my favorite things, that are packed with all sorts of interesting technologies. The Minissimo Diamond-Scala monitors (20,000 euros per pair with stands), which were on display at High End 2019 in Munich, feature a novel and visually stunning form that is based on extensive computer modeling–the goal of this shape is to minimize all cabinet colorations while allowing the new SEAS drivers, including a diamond tweeter, to reach their full potential. The speaker enclosure is machine from a solid aluminum die, and the “staircase” design on the top of the speaker is also a result of the computer modeling.
Using their flagship Future Dream cabling, which utilizes the same Furutech NCF technology that I use at home in my reference system, along with their Crystal Cable integrated amp (CCi), this forward-thinking company created a sound at High End 2019 that was precise, articulate and stunningly realistic. While the deepest bass response wasn’t quite apparent in the rather large room, the Minissimos did manage to excel in the highs–thanks to that diamond tweeter. I noticed that percussion was particularly realistic in the room, with incredibly fast transients and seemingly limitless high frequencies.
The Crystal Cable CCi (starting at 18,000 euros) is as unusual as the Minissimos–it’s a small cube that features the Crystal Cable logo, lit up, which completely disappears at different viewing angles. This unusual chassis is designed for optimal cooling so that you can stick the CCi out of the way, or on a bookcase. This small Class AB integrated delivers 180 watts per channel into 8 ohms, perfect for the Minissimo’s fairly low 83.5 dB sensitivity, and the line stage is fully balanced. Like the Minissimos, the CCi chassis is machined from solid aluminum.
This Crystal Cable system demonstrated a recurring theme at High End 2019, that “lifestyle” products and audiophile products can be one and the same. (This statement stood in sharp contrast to the massive Siltech Symphony loudspeakers that were also in the room; Siltech is part of Crystal Cables.) I’m digging this new trend of mixing ultra-high performance with a stunning look that will be the envy of all your friends–it wasn’t that long ago when serious audiophiles believed that you could only have one or the other. This was a big, impressive sound in a small yet jewel-like package, and I think this is the future of high-end audio.