There is nothing “boutique” in size when it comes to what Cessaro brings on a regular basis in Munich, these are rather ginormous horns paired with gargantuesque tube amplifiers (will be back for those in a sec). Boutique refers to the style, the finish and eventually the type of clientèle the company relies upon.
So first things first, the Beta 2 horns were big — as in, almost 2m tall and more than a meter wide, without taking into consideration the bass horns sitting in between the main units. The main unit packs a tweeter, a midrange and a mid-woofer, all horn loaded, with AlNiCo or Cobalt magnets and beryllium drivers for the two smaller units. The bass units can be ordered with either AlNiCo drivers or with field coils, the systems reaches as deep as 30Hz. And keep in mind this is not even the biggest horn system Cessaro offers. You can upgrade the Beta 2 to add another way before reaching way deeper in your pockets for the top of the line Omega..
Amplifiers have been around for some 3 years now and were designed by Dimitrios Baklavas for Cessaro. If the name rings a bell that is because mr. Baklavas is the chief designer of Ypsilon, one of the most highly regarded manufacturers of tube and hybrid electronics. The Air Two power amplifiers resemble certain early Kondo designs and the built quality is at least on par with the Japanese works of art, if not even better. Prices in the six figures are prohibitive for most. A special mention goes to the beautiful and aesthetically matching TW Acustic Black Knight turntable in anodized aluminum and copper finish. TW Acustic chipped in with their in house RPS 100 phono stage.
Soundwise the system was blazing fast and very detailed, there was one minor glitch though, the room was small for these horns to develop into a homogeneous, unique sound. I tried to sit as farther back as the room allowed but it was impossible not to tell from which horn the sound was coming at any given time. Cessaro recommends a room bigger than 33m2 and a listening distance of at least 3.5m, I would like to listen to this system in a >80m2 room while sitting >6m from the speakers. It is quite hard to draw any meaningful conclusions on this set up but the necessary ingredients (quality drivers with sublime amplification and analog front end) are all there. If you have the moolah for such a rig chances are your living room is way bigger than my house and this is a system to seriously consider.