Anyone hear the Caravelle speaker and not like it?

I am very close to ordering a pair of the Harmonic Precision Carravelle speakers. I am looking in the below $5,000 range and these look interesting. There are only a couple of reveiws so I was wondering if anyone has heard them and been unimpressed? It is a lot of money but I may take a chance on it. Anyone think I can do better at my price point. I will be buying a new amp after I choose a speaker.
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Dear Gendut3, I appreciate your obsession with expensive drivers. I assure you that after being an amateur hobbyist involved in speaker building for over 25 years now, I understand how this issue can become a focusing point for some.

Yes, I do use the Lowther drivers in my personal speakers, and I do like them. However, it was revealed to me again just recently at the CES show about the truth in speaker systems. Being a Lowther user and enthusiast myself, I naturally went to all the rooms using Lowther-based single-driver speaker systems. I found none of these speakers to my liking, even though some of them used exactly the same drivers that I have in my very own system, and there were no crossover parts inside any of them(single-drivers).

So, what can we conclude?
A) We can conclude that the parts of a speaker(or any system) can have a big influence on the sound of the package.

B) We can conclude that the environment(enclosure) which houses the driver can have a big influence on the sound of the package.

C) We can conclude that neither unit operates on its own, and that proper matching of the transducer to its operating environment is critical to the overall performance of the system.

Perhaps, since you have enjoyed my analog discourses in the past, we can use an analogy. In analog systems, there are transducers(cartridges) and environments(tonearm/turntable) in which the transducer operates. You may have a fantastic cartridge, and a fantastic tonearm, but if they are not properly matched, then neither operates up to its potential in sonic terms. This matching takes many forms, as we know, and there are many things that affect it, some of which are not immediately apparent to the user's eye. In some ways, it could be said that the enclosure of a speaker is like the tonearm, and the driver is like the cartridge. The enclosure must be tuned to the proper resonance for the driver, there must be energy paths provided to resolve the energy that is fed back into the enclosure by the movement of the transducer, and there must be rigidity and stability provided, so that the environment is not subjected to "unwanted movement" during the transducer's operation that would cause information loss or colorations. All of these issues are addressed in the Harmonic Precision Caravelle loudspeaker enclosure design. It is a design that is matched and properly implemented from the driver down the the Audiopoint feet on the bottoms of the stands. I hope that sheds some light for you on the importance of why we did things as we did. There are some similar things needed when dealing with transducers, at both ends of the chain.

Regarding the binding posts, which seem to be so disturbing to you, these posts were chosen for their coupling ability to the Microbearing filled rear wall of the cabinet, so that the vibrational energy is properly dealt with on the binding posts, the rear wall of the speaker, and the ends of the cables which contact the binding posts. Internal wiring is done with MicroBearing-filled Sonoran Plateau speaker cables of our own manufacture, for achieving similar purposes of vibration management in the internal speaker wiring. Just this wiring harness alone costs several hundred dollars, and this is one of the few speakers built today with a "Flagship" top-of-the-line internal speaker cabling system, and not just a flimsy set of some low cost "audiophile grade" wire. So, from the drivers back to the binding posts, and everything in-between, there are significant issues being addressed with every part in the chain, INCLUDING the binding posts, which are all chosen for how well they work in the context of the overall design of the system. There is no correlation to size or appearance of the binding post, which can be attributed to its performance in our context.

Next, regarding the question of "why did we stop at the drivers?", I already answered that question, but to elucidate further, it is because they had the proper parameters to work together with our crossover and cabinet design, to provide the electrical and sonic results we were looking for. Our designer has even been quoted as saying that normally these 2 drivers might not even be what he would want in another design, but in this design they are optimal, and work out much better than other drivers which were more costly, and "more famous".

So, to reiterate, it all comes down to how "the sum of the parts in unison" comes together in an overall sense, as to how well the performance criteria are achieved. We design according to criteria that are very different than other manufacturers, and we strive to optimize things that some other speaker makers aren't even aware of. We just do things differently, and we feel that we do things better. That's why we are designers and manufacturers, so that we can provide another way to do things that we know work better than the "usual" way. From the past history of our previous products, people should expect things to be done "differently" by us, and always be at a high quality and performance level.

We feel that we have achieved the performance levels that we were after, and it seems that the initial market acceptance and reviewer excitement is bearing out what we expected all along.

Our philosophy at Starsound is to produce high-value high-performance products which are not "me too" products, and have a "standout" character beyond the normal expectations, and this is the kind of products that we have produced for years in the audio system support categories with Audiopoints and Sistrum products, both benchmarks in their respective categories. We felt that if we were going to produce a monitor speaker, that it had to live up to the performance level that people expect from us, and still be affordable for its performance level. We had no interest in making $40,000 speakers, that might be beyond the reach of many audiophiles. We targeted the $5k price range, because it was a price which allowed us enough room to make the system of high quality with our innovations, and still be within reach of many purchasers, even though it is not a "cheap speaker".

So, that is basically it. We did the best we could do in the price category that was targeted, and achieved a level of performance that is consistent with our other "benchmark" products already in production. And we used the concepts and even the products(Sistrum and Audiopoints) in the overall design, so that we could show how these concepts and products can maximize the performance of a speaker product(even one with affordable drivers). These were our goals.

As to others' evaluations of our success in this attempt, we'll leave that up to the customers and the reviewers. We are confident that we have produced a HIGH-VALUE product that will compete well with anything at the price, and quite possibly against higher priced speakers as well.

What we want to do, is to bring high performance into people's homes at prices that will not "break the bank". This doesn't mean that they can be made for 49 cents, but they are "pinnacle" type designs, for affordable prices for that kind of performance. Really, I'd have thought that this would be well-received by the users, so that they wouldn't have to spend so much to get state-of-the-art performance. But instead, it seems to generate alot of complaints about why we didn't make it "cheaper", or why we didn't make it "more expensive". I don't know. This is the speaker system, and this is its price. That's all we can say. It will stand on what it can do at the price range. I know that there are users out there who are finding this speaker system to be a "dream come true". That's what we wanted to make for them, and for everybody who needs a top quality monitor system. We'd like to be known as the company that makes lifelike high-end sound more affordable. We want you to be happy.

Tom Lyons,
Starsound Technologies

You got me with word "analog" so let me spin this noisy 12" Disk !

I'm done (unless..) so please focus on Analog thread again so i can read all your comments!
I would also like to add that we did apply significant hand modifications to the drivers used in our speakers disphragms creating ceramic coated diphragms for most of our models. This did add significantly to the final cost for each driver, however.


I heard these speakers at CES. I was most surprised by them. It's a lot of quality jammed into a small package. I have a hard time believing that people who are so down on them have ever heard them. Everything Tom and Barry have said is accurate. I don't know all the technical aspects of the speakers, but they sound good. I stood in the outer room and heard them play for quite a while before going in to the room where they were playing.

Nothing I heard from the outer room prepared me for what I saw when I entered the listening room. I had heard all kinds of systems with all kinds of componants throughout the day. I expected to see a big floor standing monster in the room where I found a smallish pair of monitors. I didn't think to ask how much the drivers cost, because I didn't think it was relevant. The cabinets were substantial, and solid. The stands looked more like a sculpture, and the music was beautiful.

Based on what I heard these speakers are well worth the relatively low cost of admission. Everything worked together very well, from the binding posts to the drivers.

While I was at CES I visited more rooms than I was really interested in seeing. The Bright Star Audio room was one of the best sounding rooms at THE show! Probably in the top three, but at worst, the fourth best room I heard. That's a heck of a commentary on their speaker, and the things working with it.
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