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Bravox CS60CF Review


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#1 Impious

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 10:58 PM

Introduction

http://www.soundsolu...Components.html
http://bravoxaudio.com/

Bravox is a newer name to SSA, being recently just added to the store a few months back, so some of you may be relatively unfamiliar with the brand. According to the website, Bravox is a Brazilian company that was founded in 1953. From everything I could find they perform the full range of services in house, from engineering and design to driver construction. In this day and age of same-product different-name electronics, it's nice to see a company that still completely designs and produces their own unique products.

A few weeks back I purchased the Bravox CS60-CF component set, linked above, from the SSA store. At $445 I would consider these speakers to be in the middle of the price range.....more expensive than entry level products but not ultra-high end pricing either. The speakers arrived on my doorstep from the SSA store right at about a week after ordering, and as always the communication was great from the website and SSA staff.

Equipment

The CS60CF component set consists of 6.5" mids and 1" tweeters, and the packaging includes installation hardware, speaker wire and grills.

The mids are true 6.5" drivers, measuring exactly 6.5" from edge to edge. They feature a carbon fiber cone, butyl rubber surround and a sturdy cast frame with venting under the spider, which is a nice feature to see on a midwoofer as it aids in voice coil cooling and provides an additional escape path for air. The mids also feature a phase plug, which can serve dual purposes; it can aid in extending and smoothing the high frequency response by reducing cancellation and, when constructed of a heat-conducting metal, they can improve the driver's heat dissipation capabilities. The phase plug is coated so I can't tell the exact material, but it does have the feel of being a solid metal. Terminals are gold plated spade and the tinsel leads are fairly thick for being a midwoofer. The mid does not have a pole vent, and it's worth noting it also does not have a gasket. I'm guessing the lack of gasket is because of the grill-mounting ring that is to be installed behind the speaker.

It's also nice that the company provides T/S parameters for the midwoofer, as it's fairly rare for a company in car audio to provide those. With it's high Qts and moderate Vas it's apparent these 6.5" speakers were designed with the car environment in mind as results will be very close to optimal in a car door, which functions closely to an infinite baffle alignment.

The tweeters are 1" silk domes with ferrofluid cooling. The housing is plastic and there is about 6" of lead wires attached for direct connection to the speaker wire rather than any type of terminal. The packaging includes angle mount and flush mount options.

Crossovers are reasonably sized and feature blue polycarbonate plastic cases with venting on each side, a 0db and -3db switch and gold plated terminals. The manual states this component sets uses a 4th order acoustical crossover slope. Interesting to note their description of the crossover there. They state it's an acoustic slope, not an electric slope. The difference normally being the acoustic slope is the sum of the driver's response and the crossover, whereas an electric slope is the effect of the crossover only. The acoustic slope is actually a little more useful to know as it tells you what the response of the actual driver will be with the crossover, and not just what the crossover is doing to the signal. When most people are designing a passive crossover, they are aiming for a certain acoustic slope not a certain electrical slope. The electrical slope is essentially just a means to an end, not the end itself. The manual does not list a crossover frequency, but "LHP 3.5" is molded into the crossover. I'm wondering if maybe that means the low and high pass frequency is 3.5khz.

The installation materials included with the set is just about everything you would need to install the speakers; speaker wire, eight screws, four butt connectors for the tweeters, twelve spade terminals for connecting wires to the crossovers, and four female terminals that are supposed to be for connecting to the midwoofer.

The manual is semi-informative. The same manual is used for all but 1 of the component sets and gives a brief introduction to Bravox, some bullet points about the features of the products, T/S parameters for the different sets and a quick wiring tutorial. I would like to see it include a little more detail and possibly some suggestions on proper setup techniques and installation considerations for informational/educational purposes, but maybe that's just me.

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  • 2
I find that I can see a light at the end down beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole.
Defeated I concede and move closer.
I may find comfort here. I may find peace within the emptiness.
How pitiful.

- TOOL, Reflection


I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all of the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts






#2 Impious

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 11:02 PM

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Installation

Installation was pretty straight forward. A few trials and tribulations along the way, however;
  • The manual does not list a cut-out diameter for either the mid or tweeter. It's easily enough measured, but really....just list in the manual for pete sake.
  • The female connectors that were supposed to be used for the mid are the wrong size. They are too small. The pair that is supposed to be for the positive only fit the negative, and the pair that is supposed to be for the negative doesn't fit either of them. Looking at other pictures, I think they use different sized terminals for different speaker sets and these terminals would fit some of those other sets....just not these.
  • The little blue ridge just in front of the terminals on the crossover is a hair taller than the bottom of the terminals themselves. In order to get the spade connectors to seat correctly in the crossover terminals, I had to bend the connector just past the crimped section at a 30 - 45 degree angle. Not a big deal, just one of those common sense attention to detail things.
  • The angle mounts that I used for the tweeter snap onto the rear of the tweeter housing. It takes a little skill to accomplish this, and I don't have that skill. I probably spent 10 minutes trying to get the first mount snapped into place, the second one only took a couple minutes but I think that was just dumb luck.

I mounted the mids in my stock speaker location at the lower front portion of my doors and started out with tweeters on the A-pillars, but I am just not a fan of A-pillar tweeters in a 2-way setup, so they were relocated down to the kickpanel area. Now, understand this type of setup is not entirely fair to the speaker as performance is then subjected to effects of the environment. The environment will introduce anomalies into the response and the like. But, since this is car audio, my initial goal was to see what type of performance the average user could expect with a normal car installation. So I'm not listening just to the speakers, I'm listening to the speakers in this particular installation in my automobile. I figured if worse came to worse and results were substandard, I could always fab up some enclosures and try them in the house (although that has it's own set of problems, not least of which is finding time to listen to them when the kids aren't running through the house screaming like psycho's). But first, I wanted to hear what the average user in an average installation would hear and go from there.

The only processing used is a highpass filter at 63hz with a -24db/oct slope, and time alignment due to the mounting locations. No equalization or other filters were applied. With the tweeters in the kickpanels I left the tweeter attentuation at 0db. They are connected to an available 600w RMS per channel (yeah, you read that right :neil:

Listening Impressions

I've spent about half of my listening time with the subwoofer off and the other half with the subwoofer integrated into the system. I started out my listening with a repertoire of "sound quality" discs (those doughnut shaped things we all used to use, in case you don't remember). I started with my IASCA disc, then went on to Michael Jackson (RIP), Eagles, Eric Clapton, Yanni Live (don't laugh) and a few other assorted tracks. From there I moved on to my daily music selection of mainly rock; bands such as Slipknot, TOOL, APC, Mushroomhead, Audioslave, NIN, Disturbed and the like. Here is a brief outline of my subjective comments on some of the albums/tracks:

IASCA disc
I listened to several tracks on this album, which were all chosen to be on the disc due to their high quality of recording. The tracks are mainly instrumental-type tracks with a wide range of instruments used. All of the instruments sounded natural and "as they should" with little to no coloration from the speakers themselves. There was good separation in sound of the instruments, all could be heard clearly and distinctly with no smearing or masking of tones or sounds. Great presence in the midrange and treble.

Michael Jackson
On Billie Jean, the midbass was strong and full. Michael's vocals came through very clean and accurate. Again, great tonality in the music. Listening to Bad, which I've probably listened a few dozen times in my car, I heard a digital beat (I guess you would call it?) in the background that I honestly had never noticed before. I'm not sure if it's because I had never listened as critically to it before, or if these speakers simply revealed it better. On Want to Be Starting Something, the drum beats at the beginning of the track were tight and strong. Listening to Smooth Criminal I notice the tonality was off just a bit in Micheal's vocals, but this very well could be an effect induced by the environment. Overall, great tonality, great dynamics, great separation of tones and instruments, very lively reproduction.

Eagles
Listening to Hotel California, very good detail. The wood block at the beginning of the song was very natural sounding. Hearing the fingers slide down the string of the guitar in the right channel at the beginning of the song was easily identifiable. The guitar at the left side sounded like there was just a little bit of exaggeration/emphasis, but again I can't eliminate the effects of the installation as being the cause.

Yanni Live
Wide variety of instruments used on this CD, everything from harps to upright bass. The upright bass in track #10 was the most accurate reproduction I've had of that song in my car yet. I could hear the bow sliding across the strings. The highs were very precise and defined, horn and string instruments sounded very accurate. Again, very good separation and definition of the instruments when there were multiple instruments being played at once. Very dynamic reproduction.

A Perfect Circle
I listened to Over (last track on Mer De Noms) for the xylophone. Great tonality and the decay was excellent. The speakers did not cut off the resonances early and did not blend them into a continuous tone; there was a well defined "ring" after each strike.

On rock music such as Slipknot, the speakers were very listenable. the music is harsh by nature, but on some systems it comes through so harsh that it's almost ear splitting. On these it came through just as it should; harsh as intended but not so harsh that you couldn't stand it.

Overall these speakers are wonderfully detailed. Tonally they are very good and just allow the music to come through. They don't impart their own coloration to the music. All of the instruments are very natural sounding. The midrange is very clean. Midbass is full and robust and as good as you can expect from a driver of this displacement capabilities. Treble is not shrill and harsh or light and airy, just detailed, crisp and natural sounding. Transient response, both attack and decay, was very well behaved and accurate. They are very dynamic and lively as well.

Speakers this size usually fare pretty well at normal listening levels but fall apart at high levels. Amazingly, these speakers maintained their composure throughout the entire range of listening levels. Great linearity in their ability to sound just as fantastic at both lower listening levels as well as higher listening levels. And trust me, with 600w available per side there was no shortage of power. I pushed the speakers to the edge of tolerability and they did not back down and retained their composure.

Ofcourse, nothing in life is perfect, and I don't want to make it sound as though these speakers are. One minor problem I did have is that 0db for the tweeter setting seemed a bit too hot and -3db seemed a bit too mellow. I left it at 0db but would have preferred something in between. Also, as I noted above there were a few spots in the music where I felt there was just a hint of over-emphasis or shift in tonality, but I can't entirely blame the speakers as it very well could simply be a response issue related to the installation. Lastly, a few tracks seemed to lack just a tad bit of sparkle on the upper end. But given a choice between overly harsh and a little subdued, I'll choose the latter any day of the week.

Conclusion

So really, how do I feel about these speakers?

Well, I'll put it this way. I had originally purchased the Bravox with the sole intent of reviewing them and then selling them with the hopes of atleast recouping my costs. After the past 2 days, my stereo may have just had an unexpected change of plans. The kickpanels I was working on are only half built and were originally intended to house some midbass to go with my horns......they may soon be the new home of this 6.5" component set instead. For the past 2 days I have been taking every excuse I could find to have to drive somewhere, anywhere. And I find myself driving slower as well....I want to get one more song in before I arrive home. If I have enjoyed the speakers this much in a pretty average install with no tuning, I can only imagine how great they'll sound in an optimized and well tuned install. They don't do everything perfect, but they do it all well enough and without glaring deficiencies that they are an amazingly easy set of speakers to enjoy. These speakers just performed great no matter what I threw at them with music selection or output levels.

If you are in the market for a mid priced component set, I would definitely suggest you give the CS60CF set serious consideration.





  • 3
I find that I can see a light at the end down beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole.
Defeated I concede and move closer.
I may find comfort here. I may find peace within the emptiness.
How pitiful.

- TOOL, Reflection


I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all of the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts






#3 98GMC

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 11:11 PM

Very informative! Looking forward to the listening results.

They look like very well constructed mid drivers.


:drink40:
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#4 Duran

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 11:13 PM

Hefty looking mid :) Looking forward to your review Brad!
  • 0
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#5 Impious

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 12:50 AM

Updated the 2nd post with install and listening.

It's late & I didn't proof read very much, so hope everything makes sense :)

If, and that's IF, I get time this week I might try to figure out how to take measurements with my Dayton mic and HOLMImpulse to see if I can manage any kind of useful response graph.

EDIT: Damn, just realized that got kinda wordy :( Sorry if it's a long read.
  • 0
I find that I can see a light at the end down beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole.
Defeated I concede and move closer.
I may find comfort here. I may find peace within the emptiness.
How pitiful.

- TOOL, Reflection


I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all of the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts






#6 Duran

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 01:20 AM

Yes a long read, yes an awesome review. :)

I might have to try a pair!
  • 0
2008 Hyundai Elantra
Alpine 9887
Bravox CS60CF
Boston Acoustics GT-28
Fi Car Audio N3 18"

#7 98GMC

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 01:43 AM

With a review I like a nice thorough informative read! Yours was just right and descriptive for a basic installation.

This sounds like a great comp set. I will definitely consider these when I am looking for a new set up!

Thanks for the review!

:drink40:
  • 0

#8 Mark LaFountain

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 01:46 AM

Conclusion

So really, how do I feel about these speakers?

Well, I'll put it this way. I had originally purchased the Bravox with the sole intent of reviewing them and then selling them with the hopes of atleast recouping my costs. After the past 2 days, my stereo may have just had an unexpected change of plans. The kickpanels I was working on are only half built and were originally intended to house some midbass to go with my horns......they may soon be the new home of this 6.5" component set instead. But for the past 2 days I have been taking every excuse I could find to have to drive somewhere, anywhere. And I find myself driving slower as well....I want to get one more song in before I arrive home. If I have enjoyed the speakers this much in a pretty average install with no tuning, I can only imagine how great they'll sound in an optimized and well tuned install. They don't do everything perfect, but they do it all well enough and without glaring deficiencies that they are an amazingly easy set of speakers to enjoy. These speakers just performed great no matter what I threw at them with music selection or output levels.

If you are in the market for a mid priced component set, I would definitely suggest you give the CS60CF set seriously consideration.




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This is a very in depth review! Thanks for this, also very glad to see you are pleased with them. Thanks again for your business!
  • 0

#9 Randal Johnson

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 02:10 AM

Awesome Review !!! Very Imformative. DETAILS !!!
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#10 Mark LaFountain

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 02:16 AM

Those tinsel leads are awesome. Very nice.
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#11 Notorious from FWI

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:23 AM

That's a very positive review !!
Must be a very good speaker !
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#12 sefugi

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:56 AM

Great review!! Lot's of info! When I hear that it sounds so good that you want to take the long way home to listen to another track, must be workin' for ya! Thanks!
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#13 Aaron Clinton

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 09:16 AM

Wow! Excellent review. I was going to ask if they would stay in your car, and to see you admit that your plans might have changed, that is nuts. People know you are not going to give a fluff review, so when you give a very positive one, it speaks volumes (pun intended). +1 for sure on this review. Now you are making me think about going passive for the first time in a while. Thanks again for taking the time to do a very in depth review! :)
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#14 jay-cee

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 11:43 AM

Wow! Excellent review. I was going to ask if they would stay in your car, and to see you admit that your plans might have changed, that is nuts. People know you are not going to give a fluff review, so when you give a very positive one, it speaks volumes (pun intended). +1 for sure on this review. Now you are making me think about going passive for the first time in a while. Thanks again for taking the time to do a very in depth review! :)


Not you too huh? Great review man and it has me thinking because I was planning on doing ID Horns and some 6.5" speakers as well.
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#15 Sir-Lancelot

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 12:00 PM

Great review.
Thank you for taking the time to review and share your thoughts.

:drink40:
  • 0
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