Rockport Cygnus Loudspeakers

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#1
After two weeks with the Rockport Cygnus loudspeakers in my room, I feel prepared to give an initial review on the newest Andy Payor creation. As a background, my room is 15.5 feet wide x 21 feet long x 9 feet high. My analog front end is a TW Acustics AC-1 table with TW 10.5 tonearm and Dynavector XV-1t cart. My electronics include a ARC Ref 2se Phono pre, ARC Ref 5se preamp, and ARC Ref 250 monoblocks. All are connected with Cardas Golden Reference cables. A Cardas power strip is connected to a 20 amp dedicated circuit and my Ref 250’s are plugged directly into the wall outlets which are dedicated 20 amp circuits.

The Rockport Cygnus weigh 285 lbs each. Although they are over 50 inches tall and have a depth of 27 inches, the footprint and visual appearance of these loudspeakers is not at all that large. The fit and finish of the Cygnus are similar to other Andy Payor creations – incredibly inert, incredibly engineered and built with a perfect black lacquer finish. The feet are two four inch discs with a one inch diameter bolt screw attached that screws into the speaker around 2 inches. This makes for a very stable base and coupling with the floor. Furniture sliders have been used to move the speakers into various positions while searching for a final home. This allows the speakers to be moved easily despite their weight and size.

Set up: The Cygnus are moderately difficult to set up in my room. One can quickly determine side wall distance and toe-in degree, but placement from the front wall behind the speakers is tricky to dial in the perfect bass response. To close to the back wall and the bass is -0.5dB at 20-25 Hz but the soundstage somewhat collapses in its air around images and texture of images. Too far out into the room and the lower bass unsurprisingly gets a tad anemic but mid bass impact improves and the soundstage is saturated with detail, air and texture of images. I am still searching for just the right placement and I am close. Right now I have the Cygnus toe-in at around five feet or so intersecting behind the listening position, the side wall distance is around 40 inches, and the back wall distance right now is around 93 inches from the front of the woofer. Somewhere between 81 – 93 inches is the perfect position and my goal for the upcoming week. At least in my room, moving the Cygnus ¼ - ½ inch increments in sidewall or frontwall distance makes easily noticeable audible changes.

Sound:
The first thing I noticed when initial listening began was just how open the speaker sounds and how life-sized the images were. The Cygnus is an effortless speaker – at low or louder listening levels, the soundstage is always very open, with air around dense images. The images are very life-like – this speaker truly brings the performers into the room with you. Realism is very remarkable and suspends belief. Now a breakdown of some sonic categories:

Background – very black backgrounds and images ‘pop’ and emerge effortlessly.

Ambient Retrieval – air around images has its own acoustic space and things are very coherent. A sense of space in recordings is natural and very real at times.

Imaging – The Cygnus are imaging champs, images are very dense and discretely surrounded by their own natural space. What I found very noticeable was that even images in the far back of the soundstage had their own space as well and were ‘three-dimensional.’ This quality makes sonic realism even more appreciated.

Tonal Character – I have heard some say Rockports sounded bright at times. I have not had this, even in the early break in period. The treble is smooth and effortless and gives the Cygnus a very ‘rich’ sound without sacrificing detail. The midrange is special and this new driver from Andy’s design is likely where much of the Cygnus magic lies. The combination of the tweeter and midrange give the Cygnus the open effortless sound while giving a degree of soundstage illumination that allows the listener to not have to ‘strain’ to hear subtle imaging cues all the while having no brightness or edge at all. Male and female vocals bring the performer into your room. Dense with great body. Horns are particularly natural and smooth with great dynamics and detail and absolutely no edge.

Dynamics – Macro and micro dynamics are all here and more. Dynamic passages occur naturally within the soundstage, not call extra attention itself but always having a purpose. Microdynamics are the best I have ever heard with a loudspeaker, including horn –loaded ones.

Bass – bass is tight and tuneful. Extension is excellent. In my room, I can easily get the bass to 20-25 cycles. The only drawback being the difficulty in finding a final ‘best placement’ which is likely due more to my room than the loudspeaker.

IMG_3042.JPG Soundstage – As mentioned above, the Cygnus has life sized images within their own space. The soundstage is vast and open. Depth is incredible and images seem to appear from well behind the front wall. Layering of the soundstage is natural and realistic. Soundstage width is well beyond my sidewalls. Images are dense and easily discernable 3- 4 feet beyond each speaker laterally.

Transparency – The Cygnus, despite their size, disappear. One of the best disappearing acts a loudspeaker has done in my room.

Overall the Rockport Cygnus is a real winner. I am elated to own a pair. I cannot at this time even find something to criticize as I can find no real fault with any aspect of the Cygnus’ performance. As I finalize placement and get over 100 hours on the speakers, I will update everyone on any changes I have noticed.
 

Sunnyboy1956

Member Sponsor
Feb 22, 2014
245
0
16
62
New Delhi, India
#2
Thank you Phil for sharing your impressions in a thoughtful and informative review. I have just one query. You mention that the bass response is influenced , as it should be, by the distance from your front wall. Are you not planning to use your REL G1 sub, or subs ?
A good friend and fellow Avior owner, Sujay, appears happy, as indeed I am with a pair of REL G1s
Did not realise that the similarities in our respective systems extended to the Cardas Gold Ref speaker cables that I replaced after 8/9 years with a pair of Polish Audiomica cables.
The Cygnus are evidently a superb pair of speakers and I have no doubt that you are in for years of musical ecstasy.
Cheers
Pradeep
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,572
3
38
#3
Great review! Congrats!! They really are a remarkable family of speakers...and your comments echo so many, so consistently...enjoy!
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,539
1
38
Austin
#4
Phil, excellent report !! Pradeep and I are likely reliving our initial installations...

I know the dial in process is both fun and time consuming. I agree with you you a 1/4 inch in any direction is very easily heard. My speakers final placement are asymmetrical in my asymmetrical room (yes meant to say that). Can't tell if that's what you're ending up with also...Also wondering if some bass trapping may help you one day down the road...I can see a door makes this a bit tough on the left side. Is that a closet/attic door or the main door to enter the room?
 

sujay

Member Sponsor
May 5, 2012
275
10
18
Singapore
#5
Thank you Phil for sharing your impressions in a thoughtful and informative review. I have just one query. You mention that the bass response is influenced , as it should be, by the distance from your front wall. Are you not planning to use your REL G1 sub, or subs ?
A good friend and fellow Avior owner, Sujay, appears happy, as indeed I am with a pair of REL G1s
Did not realise that the similarities in our respective systems extended to the Cardas Gold Ref speaker cables that I replaced after 8/9 years with a pair of Polish Audiomica cables.
The Cygnus are evidently a superb pair of speakers and I have no doubt that you are in for years of musical ecstasy.
Cheers
Pradeep
+1 on sharing with us your initial impressions. The coherence of the rockports is second to none. And I agree with what Pradeep says that its one speaker where you struggle to make out there a crossover.

As good as the bass response of the Aviors is ( and i am sure the Cygnus will plumb even greater depths), the addition of the REL G1s has added a new dimension. The creation of a bigger and airier presentation makes my Avior sound like a bigger, full range floor stander. I am told, the addition of subs even benefits speakers like the Altair and the Magico Q7, and I can absolutely endorse that from my own experience ( and Pradeep's on whose behalf I spk as well). I have cross over the subs at 23hz and kept gain around 15 (out of 36).

Keep writing about your impressions as the speakers break in....

Cheers

Sujay
 

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#6
Thanks Pradeep. Indeed our systems have had similar paths over the last few years. I initially set up the speakers with the sub out of the room so the sub's woofer wouldn't passively vibrate and influence the sound while setting the Cygnus up independent of the sub. Now that I am close on set up finalization, I plan on bringing the sub back in and seeing how it influences sound. I anticipate that I will be using the sub as my room is asymmetric and is not on a ground floor.
 

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#7
Thank you Phil for sharing your impressions in a thoughtful and informative review. I have just one query. You mention that the bass response is influenced , as it should be, by the distance from your front wall. Are you not planning to use your REL G1 sub, or subs ?
A good friend and fellow Avior owner, Sujay, appears happy, as indeed I am with a pair of REL G1s
Did not realise that the similarities in our respective systems extended to the Cardas Gold Ref speaker cables that I replaced after 8/9 years with a pair of Polish Audiomica cables.
The Cygnus are evidently a superb pair of speakers and I have no doubt that you are in for years of musical ecstasy.
Cheers
Pradeep
Thanks Pradeep. Indeed our systems have had similar paths over the last few years. I initially set up the speakers with the sub out of the room so the sub's woofer wouldn't passively vibrate and influence the sound while setting the Cygnus up independent of the sub. Now that I am close on set up finalization, I plan on bringing the sub back in and seeing how it influences sound. I anticipate that I will be using the sub as my room is asymmetric and is not on a ground floor.
 

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#8
Phil, excellent report !! Pradeep and I are likely reliving our initial installations...

I know the dial in process is both fun and time consuming. I agree with you you a 1/4 inch in any direction is very easily heard. My speakers final placement are asymmetrical in my asymmetrical room (yes meant to say that). Can't tell if that's what you're ending up with also...Also wondering if some bass trapping may help you one day down the road...I can see a door makes this a bit tough on the left side. Is that a closet/attic door or the main door to enter the room?
Thanks again for the well wishes. My room is asymmetric too. One side wall has a slanted roofline while the other does not. The door is the entry into the room. For some odd reason the opposite end of the room when the listening chair is gave a terribly anemic bass response when loudspeakers are placed on that end. Thus, I have avoided that end of the room for speaker placement from an initial set up 15 years ago.

My room was built with ASC wall dampening built in. It's also double-sheet rocked with 6 inches between studs. The floor was reinforced with masonite layering. All that said, the room does have its issues (don't they all!). The room is very particular about placement regarding bass response. I can get 20 cycle bass but with the sacrifice of soundstage space. One thing I have learned about the Cygnus - it loves toe-in for smoothing a response as much as imaging solidity and the Cygnus (and I am guessing all Rockports) LOVE to be moved away from the front wall. I cannot tell everyone enough how giving the speakers space between the them and the frontwall enhances the soundstage and the detail, especially around instruments in the back portion of the soundstage. By doing that have given me a sense of realism I have never had with any other loudspeaker.
 

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#9
+1 on sharing with us your initial impressions. The coherence of the rockports is second to none. And I agree with what Pradeep says that its one speaker where you struggle to make out there a crossover.

As good as the bass response of the Aviors is ( and i am sure the Cygnus will plumb even greater depths), the addition of the REL G1s has added a new dimension. The creation of a bigger and airier presentation makes my Avior sound like a bigger, full range floor stander. I am told, the addition of subs even benefits speakers like the Altair and the Magico Q7, and I can absolutely endorse that from my own experience ( and Pradeep's on whose behalf I spk as well). I have cross over the subs at 23hz and kept gain around 15 (out of 36).

Keep writing about your impressions as the speakers break in....

Cheers

Sujay

Thanks Sujay - that is great info to know regarding your cross over points. With my Avalon Eidolon Diamonds, I had the REL G1 crossover set at 28Hz and the volume around 10. I anticipate that the crossover with the Cygnus will be lower - perhaps between 23-25Hz. I'll keep everyone posted on the sub set up and what sonic qualities it brings with the Cygnus. Thanks again!
 

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#10
Great review! Congrats!! They really are a remarkable family of speakers...and your comments echo so many, so consistently...enjoy!

Thanks very much for the congrats. I would love to hear some Gryphon amps with the Cygnus. Andy voices all Rockports on Gryphon amps. I bet your combo of the CJ GAT and Gryphon Colosseum is special indeed.
 

sujay

Member Sponsor
May 5, 2012
275
10
18
Singapore
#11
.............One thing I have learned about the Cygnus - it loves toe-in for smoothing a response as much as imaging solidity and the Cygnus (and I am guessing all Rockports) LOVE to be moved away from the front wall. I cannot tell everyone enough how giving the speakers space between the them and the frontwall enhances the soundstage and the detail, especially around instruments in the back portion of the soundstage. By doing that have given me a sense of realism I have never had with any other loudspeaker.[/QUOTE]

Bang on as regards placement!! I couldn't agree more......While I could only manage placement keeping in mind the classical '1/5th rule', my rockport dealer has his Atrias set up at the 1/3rd point from the front walls (and by the way, along the shorter wall). The imaging is unreal. In fact, I have yet to come across a room with better imaging than his.

Cheers

Sujay
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,572
3
38
#12
Thanks very much for the congrats. I would love to hear some Gryphon amps with the Cygnus. Andy voices all Rockports on Gryphon amps. I bet your combo of the CJ GAT and Gryphon Colosseum is special indeed.
Thank you...i do enjoy it. Look forward to reading how your setup goes with the sub. Should be spectacular.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,229
95
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#13
Thank you for your report, Phil! I, too, look forward to reading about how you integrate the subwoofer.
 
Apr 27, 2014
196
1
18
Orchard Lake, MI
#14
Phil, did you ever consider reviewing because your writing and descriptions are fabulous. I agree with everything that you said about the Rockport sound. I ran into similar problems with the bass with my Rockports. My room is 20 X 30 with sloping 10 to 18 foot ceiling. I decided to set the speakers up for the best imaging and frequency response in the 150 to 20,000 range. I then placed two Velodyne DD-12's into the mix for the perfect integration from 20 to 100. In my room I could not get much bass below 40 HZ just with the speakers alone and room furnishings. I like the Velodlynes because they are servo controlled and have a very low distortion and tight bass which mates great with the Rockports. I never heard a speaker with a port that has tight bass and no port sound like the Rockports. I would swear that they were a sealed box if I did not know better. I would suggest buying a buffer like the Yaion SD-CD3 and place it between your preamplifier and your subwoofers. This takes the strain off your preamp running two pair of outputs and makes a huge difference in my opinion. I also measured the impedance of my Rockports and they basically are a 2 Ohm load. I have the VAC 300 watt monoblocks and while they sound good down seem to have enough drive in the critical upper bass range even with the 2 ohm taps. My engineer friend says tube amps are not designed to drive this low of a load which needs a lot of current. On a whim and knowing that Andy uses Solid state for his designs, I bought a used pair of Krell Monoblocks. I could not believe the difference in what I was missing. I have been a tube lover for 35 years. Yes tubes at their best give you a little more realism, but I can not go back at this time. I wish I knew of a tube amp that could put the current out in this area, but I don't think there is one. I was thinking of the CAT amps or David Bernings, but I still don't think they will do it. I am using the Absolare tube preamp with my amps so that helps quite a bit. Phil you are in for some of the best sound of your life and I am extremely happy for you and am glad that you joined the Rockport family. I can't wait for your further findings. Jeff
 
Apr 27, 2014
196
1
18
Orchard Lake, MI
#15
Ron I can't wait to hear how you like the Basis work of art and Superarm 9 when you get them. I am using A.J.'s latest debut and I upgraded his basic arm to the Superarm 9. Oh my what a revelation. I can't wait to see what you say. I am using the ZYX Ultimate 2 cartridge. I also have the Aesthetix Eclipse Io's with two power supplys and think they are great. I do like them better with new old stock tubes. I also bought Jim Whites Pandora Eclipse Dac and it too is fabulous. Good luck to you.
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,572
3
38
#16
Phil, did you ever consider reviewing because your writing and descriptions are fabulous. I agree with everything that you said about the Rockport sound. I ran into similar problems with the bass with my Rockports. My room is 20 X 30 with sloping 10 to 18 foot ceiling. I decided to set the speakers up for the best imaging and frequency response in the 150 to 20,000 range. I then placed two Velodyne DD-12's into the mix for the perfect integration from 20 to 100. In my room I could not get much bass below 40 HZ just with the speakers alone and room furnishings. I like the Velodlynes because they are servo controlled and have a very low distortion and tight bass which mates great with the Rockports. I never heard a speaker with a port that has tight bass and no port sound like the Rockports. I would swear that they were a sealed box if I did not know better. I would suggest buying a buffer like the Yaion SD-CD3 and place it between your preamplifier and your subwoofers. This takes the strain off your preamp running two pair of outputs and makes a huge difference in my opinion. I also measured the impedance of my Rockports and they basically are a 2 Ohm load. I have the VAC 300 watt monoblocks and while they sound good down seem to have enough drive in the critical upper bass range even with the 2 ohm taps. My engineer friend says tube amps are not designed to drive this low of a load which needs a lot of current. On a whim and knowing that Andy uses Solid state for his designs, I bought a used pair of Krell Monoblocks. I could not believe the difference in what I was missing. I have been a tube lover for 35 years. Yes tubes at their best give you a little more realism, but I can not go back at this time. I wish I knew of a tube amp that could put the current out in this area, but I don't think there is one. I was thinking of the CAT amps or David Bernings, but I still don't think they will do it. I am using the Absolare tube preamp with my amps so that helps quite a bit. Phil you are in for some of the best sound of your life and I am extremely happy for you and am glad that you joined the Rockport family. I can't wait for your further findings. Jeff
Great writing yourself! Very interesting reading...and as a fellow Velodyne owner...and also someone who has spent time seriously auditioning 3 different Rockport, i wholeheartedly agree with you on their bass performance. I also think i know where you are coming from in terms of driving them with great SS.

Also agree on Velodynes which i have had in my systems for over 21 years consecutively! Currently running a new upgrade...the DD18+ which was installed just a few months ago when my DD18 conked out after several years of great service.
 

Philb7777

New Member
Mar 12, 2013
64
0
0
#17
Phil, did you ever consider reviewing because your writing and descriptions are fabulous. I agree with everything that you said about the Rockport sound. I ran into similar problems with the bass with my Rockports. My room is 20 X 30 with sloping 10 to 18 foot ceiling. I decided to set the speakers up for the best imaging and frequency response in the 150 to 20,000 range. I then placed two Velodyne DD-12's into the mix for the perfect integration from 20 to 100. In my room I could not get much bass below 40 HZ just with the speakers alone and room furnishings. I like the Velodlynes because they are servo controlled and have a very low distortion and tight bass which mates great with the Rockports. I never heard a speaker with a port that has tight bass and no port sound like the Rockports. I would swear that they were a sealed box if I did not know better. I would suggest buying a buffer like the Yaion SD-CD3 and place it between your preamplifier and your subwoofers. This takes the strain off your preamp running two pair of outputs and makes a huge difference in my opinion. I also measured the impedance of my Rockports and they basically are a 2 Ohm load. I have the VAC 300 watt monoblocks and while they sound good down seem to have enough drive in the critical upper bass range even with the 2 ohm taps. My engineer friend says tube amps are not designed to drive this low of a load which needs a lot of current. On a whim and knowing that Andy uses Solid state for his designs, I bought a used pair of Krell Monoblocks. I could not believe the difference in what I was missing. I have been a tube lover for 35 years. Yes tubes at their best give you a little more realism, but I can not go back at this time. I wish I knew of a tube amp that could put the current out in this area, but I don't think there is one. I was thinking of the CAT amps or David Bernings, but I still don't think they will do it. I am using the Absolare tube preamp with my amps so that helps quite a bit. Phil you are in for some of the best sound of your life and I am extremely happy for you and am glad that you joined the Rockport family. I can't wait for your further findings. Jeff
Jeff,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm not a great writer but certainly wanted to convey my thoughts on the Cygnus for everyone. It's getting harder and harder for us all to have meaningful auditions of equipment and I think our reporting of gear (in a responsible way) is invaluable on these forums.

It's taken me a few weeks, but I am now doing EXACTLY what you have done - set them up for best imaging and sound staging and allow subs to fill in the lowest frequencies. I have one REL G1 right now and I am in the process of integrating it into the system. My hope is I will have things completed by tomorrow night.

I agree with you on the Rockports being ported but sounding just like a sealed enclosure. They do! Your experience with solid state amps is intriguing. I may evolve to that direction before things finished. Right now my ARC's are driving them pretty well. My Avalon Eidolons were a tougher load than the Rockports. I am ENVIOUS of your Absolare preamp! Its my dream preamp. I'll keep you (and everyone) posted as I finalize set up.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,423
71
48
E. England
#18
Phil, did you ever consider reviewing because your writing and descriptions are fabulous. I agree with everything that you said about the Rockport sound. I ran into similar problems with the bass with my Rockports. My room is 20 X 30 with sloping 10 to 18 foot ceiling. I decided to set the speakers up for the best imaging and frequency response in the 150 to 20,000 range. I then placed two Velodyne DD-12's into the mix for the perfect integration from 20 to 100. In my room I could not get much bass below 40 HZ just with the speakers alone and room furnishings. I like the Velodlynes because they are servo controlled and have a very low distortion and tight bass which mates great with the Rockports. I never heard a speaker with a port that has tight bass and no port sound like the Rockports. I would swear that they were a sealed box if I did not know better. I would suggest buying a buffer like the Yaion SD-CD3 and place it between your preamplifier and your subwoofers. This takes the strain off your preamp running two pair of outputs and makes a huge difference in my opinion. I also measured the impedance of my Rockports and they basically are a 2 Ohm load. I have the VAC 300 watt monoblocks and while they sound good down seem to have enough drive in the critical upper bass range even with the 2 ohm taps. My engineer friend says tube amps are not designed to drive this low of a load which needs a lot of current. On a whim and knowing that Andy uses Solid state for his designs, I bought a used pair of Krell Monoblocks. I could not believe the difference in what I was missing. I have been a tube lover for 35 years. Yes tubes at their best give you a little more realism, but I can not go back at this time. I wish I knew of a tube amp that could put the current out in this area, but I don't think there is one. I was thinking of the CAT amps or David Bernings, but I still don't think they will do it. I am using the Absolare tube preamp with my amps so that helps quite a bit. Phil you are in for some of the best sound of your life and I am extremely happy for you and am glad that you joined the Rockport family. I can't wait for your further findings. Jeff

Jeff, I find that fascinating, re as a l/t tube devotee moving to SS based on your current dream spkr demanding to be driven this way.
I actually started a thread on whether the choice should be spkrs then amps, amps then spkrs or the holistic amp-spkr combination.
I find high efficiency spkrs like my Zus, and a certan number of horns so pleasurable, SETs totally addictive, and for me I can't imagine moving away from my 101dB/1m eff Zu Def 4s and Nat SE2SE 70W/ch 211s SETs.
But it looks like your choice of the Rockport is dictating your move to SS.
Many respondents to my thread pretty much disagreed w/my conclusion, and would back up your decision here.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,229
95
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#20
Ron I can't wait to hear how you like the Basis work of art and Superarm 9 when you get them. I am using A.J.'s latest debut and I upgraded his basic arm to the Superarm 9. Oh my what a revelation. I can't wait to see what you say. I am using the ZYX Ultimate 2 cartridge. I also have the Aesthetix Eclipse Io's with two power supplys and think they are great. Good luck to you.
Jeff, Thank you! It will be a long time before everything is in place. I do not want to write off-topic here so I will message you.
 

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