The Cesti B cast a wide soundstage in my room—to the outside edges of the speaker. Stage depth and dimensionality were also very good. The Cesti B scaled images in a very respectable fashion, rather than miniaturizing them, as is so often the case with small compacts. Its wide dispersion tended to broaden the stage and magnify the central image. This attribute played well with Rutter’s Requiem on the track “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” The choral sections were not only nicely arrayed and individuated, but the sheer number of voices also became apparent.
Dynamically, the Cesti B was evenhanded, nicely balancing micro and macro aspects, although at higher outputs the dynamic window closed perceivably when the speaker was called upon to execute “Billie Jean” pop grooves or “Fanfare” timpani rolls. Notes’ actual pitches remained stable but their impact was slightly curtailed. As a result, the Cesti B couldn’t quite maintain its grip on the decaying ambience and resonances excited by bass drum and rolling timpani.
Bass response was nicely focused. During Daft Punk’s mega-hit “Get Lucky,” low-end response was reasonably smooth and well behaved with little in the way of port artifacts or overhang. During the Requiem, the pipe organ, an instrument anathema to the majority of compact designs, maintained a naturalistic sense of weight and density and air movement that helped to conjure up the immense acoustic space of the Meyerson concert hall. Although the Cesti B is rated to forty cycles, I think this extension is a bit optimistic under real-world conditions. Nonetheless, during Appalachian Spring, when bassist Edgar Meyer drags the bow along the bottom string, you could feel the vibrational and resonant tug of the notes and sense the volume of the instrument’s huge body.
My first encounter with a MarkAudio-Sota loudspeaker has to be counted as a very rewarding one. Although as a company it is a relative newbie, the depth of its engineering bench allowed it to step up to the plate and perform like a veteran. This speaker is aggressively priced, and beautifully executed, to boot. Yes, the neighborhood for compact loudspeakers is a crowded one, but the Cesti B is a welcome addition. I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more from MarkAudio-Sota.
Specs & Pricing
Type: Two-way, bass-reflex, stand-mounted compact
Drivers: 2" tweeter, 4.4" mid/bass
Frequency response: 40Hz–25kHz ±3dB anechoic
Nominal impedance: 6 ohms
Dimensions: 9.2" x 16.1" x 9.24"
Weight: 20 lbs.
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