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|A commonly heard myth about 1st-order designs is how they are prone to severe lobing, out-of-band distortion and poor power handling. But, as with anything, it's a matter of implementation. With the 260 watts of the Blue Circle BmPH on tap, my ability to withstand sustained high SPLs was the only limiting factor. These babies go loud and damned if I can tell you at what point they may start to compress. I noted no distortion of any kind and as for lobing, I wasn't aware of any. Consider that myth busted at least when it comes to Roy Johnson.
Try as I might, I could not locate any degree of artifice either. Again, natural was the operative word. The moment I fired 'em up, I was hooked. Music breathed effortlessly, even more so than over the smaller Callisto. There is no grit, grain or haze with this speaker regardless of material or volume setting.
There were no signs of euphonic coloration at all. If you hanker for a little rose-tinted view when listening to music, you will not find it here. The Calypsos are the Detective Sergeant Joe Friday of music reproduction. "Just the facts Ma'm" is their mantra. They won't add a pleasant woody resonance to music playback nor will they shave the edges off from overly aggressive recordings. But then they won't throw it in your face either or deliver the over-hyped, tipped-up, analytical approach that so many modern speakers seem to possess. There's a fine line between high resolution and hyper analytical. The Calypsos walk that line with the deft skill of a tight-rope walker.
The Calypsos were so remarkably clean-sounding and lacking in fuzz or veiling, I wouldn't argue if some listeners found their sonic presentation a little stark compared to other speakers. The Calypso offered an open, detailed, well aerated soundscape with layers upon layers of musical detail. I was also less aware of sound coming from a pack o' drivers in a pair of boxes than with any other speaker I can think of. Whether that has anything to do with Roy's attention to preserving the original waveform I can't say for sure but I suspect the combination of time coherence, the choice of drivers, crossover implementation, materials used, cabinet shape and probably countless other little details I'm blissfully unaware of, all contribute to the Calypso's remarkable transparency and effortlessness.
I was surprised how much the Calypsos sounded like their smaller brethren, the Callistos. I say this because so often speakers from the same line of a manufacturer can sound completely different from one another. There was that same natural, clean, listen-into quality and sense of ease. GMA speakers will not try to knock your socks off or dazzle you with hifi histrionics. They simply draw you in and force you to stay a spell. However, the Calypso differed in two key areas from their smaller brethren. One was bottom end extension which was no surprise. Bigger box and bigger driver equals more bass. The other area was midrange detail and naturalness. Because the Callisto uses a 6" driver to cover quite a wide range, it tends to get a little beamy and forward in the top end of its range. With its dedicated 4.5" midrange driver, the Calypso displayed a fuller, more developed midrange without any trace of forwardness or compression. Voices and instruments sounded more fleshed out and realistic, a little more open and there's that word again, natural. The Calypso took everything the Callisto did so well and took it up another notch. Even with the additional driver, I could not pick out the transition from one to another. I can't tell you if the tweeter, the midrange or woofer were particularly exemplary performers because frankly, I never really noticed them. When I read reviews where the writer comments on the sonics of an individual driver, good or bad, it indicates to me that something is wrong. With the Calypso, I heard music, which is all we should hear from a good loudspeaker. I don't want to hear a great tweeter, I want to hear great music reproduction.
Overall, I was truly sad to see the Calypsos go as was my wife. These speakers were superb in several key areas. Their ability to disappear and throw a huge 3D soundstage with focused life-like images was uncanny as was their low-level resolution, transient fidelity and micro/macro dynamic ability. Tonally, the Calypsos were well balanced with an extended and intelligible bass, a lovely well defined midrange and a detailed yet sweet treble. They displayed a sense of rightness that was remarkable and unmatched by anything else I have heard. All these characteristics will go a long way in fooling the listener into believing they're hearing the real thing and not some hifi abomination.
The Calypsos were a significant upgrade over the Callistos and only my limited funds prevented me from writing a check on the spot. Green Mountain Audio is a small firm with limited distribution but it would be well worth tracking down a pair of Roy's creations. They really are quite special and well deserve a Blue Moon Award.
Quality of packing: Unknown as speakers were delivered and installed by dealer. However, based on photos in ownership guide, packaging looks durable and effective.
Reusability of packing: Appears to be reusable at least once.
Quality of owner's manual: Easy to read and comprehensive. Lots of diagrams and photos.
Condition of component received: Flawless.
Completeness of delivery: Perfect.
Website comments: Informative with good quality pictures and pricing info. Tons of technical background and design theory on every model. Manuals for each model are also online.
Warranty: Lifetime transferable for parts and labor.
Human interactions: Quick, professional, helpful and friendly.
Pricing: Appears to be a fine value considering there are far more expensive speakers out there that couldn't begin to hold the Calypso's jock strap.
Final comments & suggestions: You'll want an extra pair of hands as the speakers are quite heavy and some assembly is required. Expect at least an hour for assembly and positioning.
My compliments on the thoroughness of your review.
I really appreciate the work you put into setting the speakers up correctly and running them through a wide range of music and power levels!
You actually read the Owner's Guide!! You would (not) be surprised at how many reviewers do not. Thank you for commenting on it.
The similarity of the sound you note between Callisto and Calypso is because they have the same minimal phase shift, from a very special woofer/mid in Callisto, from mechanically similar tweeters, and from the same quality and brand of crossover parts and wires.
Thank you for commenting on the blend with the subwoofers. This is because the speakers have a smooth phase shift and very flat amplitude in their bass range. Most speakers do not.
You said you could hear the difference after moving the tweeter that last 1/8th inch. Some would think that is from a phase (degrees) difference causing a small cancellation. However, no cancellation is measurable on sine waves or pink noise... not even 0.25dB. Note that this 1/8th-inch movement is worth only 10 degrees of a full 360-degree wave cycle at the 3 kHz crossover point. This verifies why no cancellation is readily measured. Ten percent (36 degrees) difference is barely visible on a `scope.
What you heard cannot be from a difference in reflected energy off the mid's cabinet directly below, because of the tweeter's dispersion is limited by wool felt in that direction, and from the shape of the mid's cabinet.
It is not because the tweeter is closer/farther from you, making it louder or softer. That's only worth 0.01dB.
So, you must have heard the timing difference of 40 millionths of a second, audible for several reasons:
- The harmonics the tweeter produces were out of time with your minimum-phase alignment across the woofer/mid tone range.
- No cabinet-surface reflections or edge-diffractions exist to smear over the sonic information.
- The drivers and simple, high-quality crossover circuit passed the energy with little internal smearing.
The common belief is 1-2 milliseconds of phase shift are not audible, 25 to 50 times longer.
Experiments with our retired Imago's ribbon super tweeter showed that less than +/- 3 millionths of a second difference in time arrival was audible at its 9 kHz crossover point. That amount of time smear either pushed the sound of a stick striking a small bell out in front of the bell's ringing, or buried it 'inside' the bell's ringing.
Thank you so much for the Blue Moon Award! A truly unexpected honor.