Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo Diamond Edition with Subissimo Subwoofer

Grace under Sound Pressure

Equipment report
Crystal Cable Minissimo Arabesque Diamond Edition,
Crystal Cable Subissimo
Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo Diamond Edition with Subissimo Subwoofer

All told, the Minissimo and Subissimo proved to be a winning combo—and a highly addictive one. The pair strikes all the right chords among beautiful aesthetics, top-tier construction, and truly sound engineering driven by Crystal Cable’s ongoing desire for innovation. The Minissimo Diamond/Subissimo offer a wholly pleasing balance of structure, substance, and detail retrieval (without skewing analytical), alongside a generous dose of openness. The combo finds and delivers unflagging musicality in whatever material you throw at it. Call it a speaker and sub for all occasions, and a system I am loathe to let go of. Be warned: If you audition these—as with anything else involving the word “diamond”—be prepared to part with a rather princely sum of cash; the Minissimo and Subissimo are easy to love and rather habit-forming.

JV comments:
As was the case the last time I paired up with Ms. M for a review (of the Magnepan .7), I don’t have much to add. Ms. Mullins’ thoughtful take on the aesthetics and sonics of this strikingly cool-looking and excellent-sounding mini/sub combo is precisely on target. Thanks in part to their clever, diffraction-free enclosures, the Minissimos pull off a truly superb disappearing act, and thanks to their diamond tweeters their transient response and resolution of fine detail are audibly superior to that of most other minis.

Of course, some of this apparent speed and resolution is bought at the price of a bit of suckout in the power range and the absence of low bass (as JM noted), both of which tend to lean out tone color, draw attention to midband detail, and spotlight upper-midrange transients, thereby heightening the illusion of “transparency.” I also detected a touch of added sparkle in the topmost treble, though the Minissimos are nothing like “hot-sounding.” In fact, with their little hats (the Scalas) in place, they are very open and bloomy.

Much of the Minissimo’s slight power-range suckout and all of its inherent (for a two-way) low-bass issues are solved by adding the fast, clear, deep-reaching Subissimo woofer. Though I wish Crystal had thought to include a continuously variable phase control on the unit to dial-in the sub/sat blend, even without precison phase-matching between the Minissimo’s mid/woof and the sub’s woofer, the fusion of sub and sat was near seamless.

My only real reservations about the Minissimo/Subissimo, in so far as I have any, aren’t sonic; they’re fiscal and aesthetic. Yes, both of these highly engineered objets d’art are uniquely stylish. High style is part of what Crystal is selling here. Still, at roughly $35k for sats and sub, you need to make damn sure that you (and your significant other) are completely satisfied with their disinctive looks. That said, their exceptional sound quality speaks for itself.

Specs & Pricing

Minissimo Arabesque Diamond Edition loudspeaker
Type: Two-way, full-range stand-mount
Driver complement: Diamond tweeter, neodymium magnet structure with carbon-fiber-reinforced sandwich paper cone diaphragm for mid/bass
Frequency response: 47Hz–50kHz (–3dB) near-wall position
Impedance: 8 ohms nominal
Sensitivity: 83.5dB  @ 2.83V
Weight: 56 lbs. each, including stands
Price: $19,999 without stands; $21,499 with stands (Scala stabilizing accessory, $1199/pr.)

Subissimo subwoofer
Type: Powered
Driver complement: 2 x 13" long-throw paper cone units in a force-canceling configuration
Integral amplifier power: 2 x 600W power amps (one per driver)
Frequency response (low point in-room): -6dB @ 16Hz
Crossover frequency range: 35Hz–70Hz @ 12dB/octave; 35Hz, 70Hz, 120Hz @ 24dB/octave
Inputs: Stereo low-level RCA and XLR; stereo high-level 4mm banana
Dimensions: 16" x 32" x 22.8"
Weight: 159 lbs.
Price: $13,999

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