Cerwin-Vega CLS-215 -Is it the best kept home theater secret? - AVS Forum
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I winced when I thought I may have to spend $1-2k to add bass to my Magnepan MG12s so I bought Cerwin-Vega CLS-215s with TWO 15 inch woofers per side and never looked back. These things a huge: They're 4 ft. tall, weigh 106 lbs. and are so efficient my Panasonic SA-XR55 receiver easily powers them with clean, thunderous bass. I got the pair for $820 including shipping so if you can spare the space, these could be one of the best home theater bargains and you won't need to spend a lot more money adding bass to inefficient speakers. If the CLS-215 sounds interesting, please check out the YouTube videos and read these reviews:

http://www.avguide.com/review/tested...15-loudspeaker


http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/c...ega_cls215.htm
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:37 AM
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I remember the C-Vs from the 70s... They were killer at rock concerts with volume to make your ears bleed. They haven't ever been taken seriously as room-sized music speakers, and just looking at them I have to wonder how well they integrate and image at, say 10 feet.

I think that they would be respectable drivers for the larger, dedicated home theaters. The distances involved are more like 20 feet, and the horn-sound is actually a theater-like feature. The price is certainly unbeatable.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmollin View Post

I remember the C-Vs from the 70s... They were killer at rock concerts with volume to make your ears bleed. They haven't ever been taken seriously as room-sized music speakers, and just looking at them I have to wonder how well they integrate and image at, say 10 feet.

I think that they would be respectable drivers for the larger, dedicated home theaters. The distances involved are more like 20 feet, and the horn-sound is actually a theater-like feature. The price is certainly unbeatable.

You can read my brief impressions on them for music here -

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1181428

I did not address imaging, their imaging is good if you can manage to place them properly (a difficult task). Don't expect the moon, of course.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmollin View Post

I remember the C-Vs from the 70s... They were killer at rock concerts with volume to make your ears bleed. They haven't ever been taken seriously as room-sized music speakers, and just looking at them I have to wonder how well they integrate and image at, say 10 feet.

I think that they would be respectable drivers for the larger, dedicated home theaters. The distances involved are more like 20 feet, and the horn-sound is actually a theater-like feature. The price is certainly unbeatable.

My HT is 12'X14'X9' and I listen mostly to 20th century classical music, chamber music and watch lots of movies. My 215s image very well and since they're on pads, they move easily. The big hurdle is it's almost impossible to hear them before buying them. I took a chance and bought them online and I'm very glad I did. If you're having a problem getting bass with your speakers, you won't have this problem with the 215s two 15" woofers and they're so efficient your receiver will easily power them. Big, clean bass and super efficiency aren't too shabby for a $400 speaker. My next step is to bi-amp them with a second SA-XR57.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:22 PM
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Your magnepans are not producing enough bass? What are you powering them with?
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fj6474 View Post

Your magnepans are not producing enough bass? What are you powering them with?

I started with a Panasonic SA-XR55 then a Behringer EP1500 (fan Issues) and finally a Yamaha P2500S.

My Acculine A Subs weren't giving me the bass I wanted so I started thinking about what I needed to do to add bass.

I still have and like the MMGs and MG12s but I was also pleasantly surprised how easily the 215s solved the bass and efficiency problems for just $820.

I like to think the 215s are Kilpsch Cornwalls for people of modest means and they taught me there's something to be said for big, efficient speakers that are easily driven by a receiver and can also pump out the bass when it's required.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:28 PM
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You need a high current amp for those Maggies. Something like a Classe, Parasound, Van Alstine, Krell, Or some tube amp. Those maggies are not getting the current they need. They will sing, trust me on this. This is not a wattage issue.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by fj6474 View Post

You need a high current amp for those Maggies...They will sing, trust me on this. This is not a wattage issue.

Well, yeah it is since current effects wattage since the resistance is a constant. Actually, the Behringer EP1500 would work great if it was fan modded.

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Old 10-12-2009, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fj6474 View Post

You need a high current amp for those Maggies. .

Concur. I'm driving my modified MGIIIa's bi-amped with a pair of Odyssey Audio Stratos Monoblocks that provide 120 amps constant current delivery despite being rated at only 180w/RMS @ 8ohms and a Parasound HCA‑1200 stereo amp rated at 200w/ch RMS @ 8ohms with 40 amperes continuous current (57 amperes peak). As these units demonstrate, wattage ratings don't reflect current output capabilities.

And regarding C-V speakers, you might want to look at the vintage model 1215 Mk II / Special Edition sold overseas and the modular (satellite/commode) 320MT / 320D system that utilized the same 18" drivers installed in theaters for the Sensurround movie Earthquake in the mid 70s Both are quite rare and represent the best performance and top of the line in what Cerwin-Vega marketed to home audio in it's hay day.



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Old 10-12-2009, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

Well, yeah it is since current effects wattage since the resistance is a constant. Actually, the Behringer EP1500 would work great if it was fan modded.

My EP1500 fan mod is the Yamaha P2500S. I liked both amps with both Maggies but my point isn't about spending twice what I spent on Maggies to properly amplify them, my point is why bother when for $820 I can have high efficiency and deep bass too? For those who fret over the fate of my Maggies, I set them up as a two channel system in another room and like them as much as I did before the 215s usurped their place in my HT.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob A (SD) View Post

Concur. I'm driving my modified MGIIIa's bi-amped with a pair of Odyssey Audio Stratos Monoblocks that provide 120 amps constant current delivery despite being rated at only 180w/RMS @ 8ohms

So right when you turn on your Stratos, it sends a constant 120A until you turn it off?

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Old 10-13-2009, 02:10 PM
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In that budget, you can also try used Klipsch Cornwall or La Scala.

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Old 10-13-2009, 04:14 PM
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A friend of mine said the Cerwin-Vega CLS-215 speakers are going to be replaced by another Cerwin-Vega speaker. Is this true?
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:15 PM
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I would be interested to hear about what the replacement would be. Do you have any specific information, or is this just a rumor? I have a pair of CLS-215's. I really like them. Set up properly, they are a great sounding speaker. I wonder if Cerwin Vega has thought of making them even bigger? Not that they need to be any larger. CLS-315???????
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

So right when you turn on your Stratos, it sends a constant 120A until you turn it off?

Well excuse me! It should have read capable of 120 amps current delivery.

What axe do you have to grind here? I note you opted NOT to address the significant current capability differences between the Odyssey and Parasound despite the later having the higher RMS rating. Which is exactly the point two of us were driving at.... one needs to check current specs and not just wattage when evaluating amps for use with Magneplanars.

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Old 10-13-2009, 06:49 PM
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Maybe more importantly one needs to know if the amp is stable at low impedances given the load, no? 120 amps as a singular figure of merit without any conditions attached to it, doesn't tell much though. BTW, I've nothing against Odyssey.

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Old 10-13-2009, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Maybe more importantly one needs to know if the amp is stable at low impedances given the load, no? 120 amps as a singular figure of merit without any conditions attached to it, doesn't tell much though. BTW, I've nothing against Odyssey.

Here's the specs. BTW I've been running mine since 2003

Odyssey Audio Stratos Monoblock
# 1 x 180 Watts RMS @ 8 Ohms
# 2 Ohm load stable
# Class A/AB
# 1 - 600,000 Hz frequency range
# 120,000µF memory (each)
# 120 amps current delivery
# <0.04% THD (not audible)
# >800 continuous damping factor
# Input impedance 22K ohms
# DC offset <1 mV
# RCA & XLR (bridged) inputs
# 400 VA Plitron transformer (each)
# Sanken Epitaxial Planar Transistors 2SA1216 & 2SC2922
# Anti vibration dual thickness PCB
# Power consumption when idle ±30Watts
# 4 internal fuses 250V/6.3A, 5x20mm, fast blow
# Additional electrical protection fuse
# >56 lbs weight / 25.4 kg
# Dimensions: 19 width x 18 deep x 7 height (in) /


And for comparison:

Parasound HCA-1200
Continuous Power output - stereo
# 200 watts RMS x 2, 20Hz-20kHz, 8 W
# 300 watts RMS x 2, 20Hz-20kHz, 4 W
Continuous Power output - mono
# 600 watts RMS, 20Hz-20kHz, 8 W
# 600 watts RMS, 20Hz-20kHz, 4 W
Current Capacity
# 40 amperes continuous
# 57 amperes peak, up to 200msec.
Slew Rate
# 100V/msecond
Frequency response
# 8Hz-90kHz, +0/-3dB
Total Harmonic Distortion
# < 0.08% at full power
# < 0.03% typical levels
TIM
# Unmeasurable
IM distortion
# < 0.1%
Dynamic Headroom
# > 1.5dB
Input impedance
# 30 kW
S/N ratio
# >110dB, input shorted, IHF A weighted
Damping factor
# Over 120 at 20Hz
Dimensions
# 17 1/4" wide x 5 1/2" high x 12" deep
Weight
# 38 lbs.
Special Features
•1kVA toroid power transformer
•60,000mfd gold capacitors in power supply
•60MHz output transistors, in AB mode
•Cascode Class A J-FET input stage
•Linear Hi-Z FET driver stage
•Gold-plated input jacks
•Multiple relay protection
•Mono bridgeable

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Old 10-13-2009, 07:09 PM
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Yes, I know, but it doesn't say under what conditions it'll deliver 120 amps, for how long, and how long you'd have to wait before all them amps are available again. IOW, it's a spec without qualifications and not a measurement. Under no circumstances will it be capable of delivering 120 amps continuously. More relevent with your speakers might be its stability into low impedances which in your case occurs at high frequencies especially if you use it with a turntable.

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Old 10-13-2009, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Under no circumstances will it be capable of delivering 120 amps continuously.

I'll defer to Klaus Bunge of Odyssey. I don't want this thread turning into another like the recent one on subwoofer surge protectors where the techno-squads engaged in a firefight.

I'm more interested in what works and sounds great period. Magneplanars respond well to amps that have high current delivery capabilities. Nuff said.

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Old 10-13-2009, 10:34 PM
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If CV does replace these with a newer model, then there will be closeouts! I'll keep my eyes open.

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Originally Posted by Bob A (SD) View Post

Well excuse me! It should have read capable of 120 amps current delivery.

What axe do you have to grind here? I note you opted NOT to address the significant current capability differences between the Odyssey and Parasound despite the later having the higher RMS rating. Which is exactly the point two of us were driving at.... one needs to check current specs and not just wattage when evaluating amps for use with Magneplanars.

Maybe instead of being so defensive, just say "oh, thanks for pointing out my typo". But you are excused, we all mistype everyonce in a while.

Didn't know I had an axe to grind, I just saw some basic electical whoopsies that I pointed out. I'm not trying to start a sword fight with electical engineers and that's why I didn't address anything else. But if you want me to address your amps...

Odessey doesn't spec how long it can sustain 120amps, where-as Parasound says it can sustain 57A for 200msec. But I bet the Parasound can do 120A for 1msec and could then change it's rated spec to just a generic 120A capability.

But enough of that.
-The Odessey is clearly geared towards those with low impedence speakers. High current delivery, low voltage delivery (hence the low wattage rating) and is 2ohm stable (hence the high current rating).
- Parasound is not after driving very low impedences, thus it specs/rates things to 4ohms. It has a higher voltage delivery and lower amperage. It has half the capacitance, but a 2.5x bigger transformer.

They're geared for two different applications. Find the one that works best for your particular application. In the end, it's still a function of which amp can produce the most wattage into a specified load. If you say the Odessey works better, use it.

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Old 10-14-2009, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Why hijack this thread when you can read endless iterations of Magnepans Are Expensive and Difficult Speakers to Drive at the Planar Speaker Asylum?
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:05 AM
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why hijack this thread when you can read endless iterations of magnepans are expensive and difficult speakers to drive at the planar speaker asylum?

+1
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wae5 View Post

My HT is 12’X14’X9’ and I listen mostly to 20th century classical music, chamber music and watch lots of movies. My 215s image very well and since they're on pads, they move easily. The big hurdle is it's almost impossible to hear them before buying them. I took a chance and bought them online and I'm very glad I did. If you're having a problem getting bass with your speakers, you won't have this problem with the 215s two 15" woofers and they're so efficient your receiver will easily power them. Big, clean bass and super efficiency aren’t too shabby for a $400 speaker. My next step is to bi-amp them with a second SA-XR57.

How do you place the 215s, and where do you sit? Do you tilt them back as some reviewers have recommended? Do you use room equalization?

...and at the risk of hijacking this thread, again, with a classical music flamewar:O, isn't 20th century classical music an oxymoron, and give me some good examples.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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How do you place the 215s?
They're on pads so I'm always moving them around. For movies they sit beside my 80 wide screen. For music I may sit 7' away or move them back until they form a soundstage and disappear.

Where do you sit?
From 6' to 8.5' away.

Do you tilt them back as some reviewers have recommended?
When I got them I tilted them forward but they were too bright so I use them flat.

Do you use room equalization?
I have a Behringer DEC2496 and will use it if they need it.

...and at the risk of hijacking this thread, again, with a classical music flamewar:O, isn't 20th century classical music an oxymoron, and give me some good examples.
Arnold, Carter, Copland, Daugherty, Ditilleux, Kabalevsky, Colin Matthews, Martinu, Nielsen, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Skrowaczewski to name a few.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

I would be interested to hear about what the replacement would be. Do you have any specific information, or is this just a rumor? I have a pair of CLS-215's. I really like them. Set up properly, they are a great sounding speaker. I wonder if Cerwin Vega has thought of making them even bigger? Not that they need to be any larger. CLS-315???????

My friend said someone from Cerwin Vega told him the CLS-215 would be replaced, but I have no details. Maybe it's worth contacting Cerwin Vega to check.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:07 PM
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Rachmaninov is late romantic. Shostakovich is 20th century, as are the others I recognize. Qualifiers for 20th century music include tonal and atonal, 12 term and serialism, minimalism. Classical ended when the contemporaries of Beethoven passed. I know of no source who uses "20th century classical" as a type of music or period of music. That's not to say I don't like your taste in music. Anybody who listens to Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, and Copeland is OK by me.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gsmollin View Post

Rachmaninov is late romantic. Shostakovich is 20th century, as are the others I recognize. Qualifiers for 20th century music include tonal and atonal, 12 term and serialism, minimalism. Classical ended when the contemporaries of Beethoven passed. I know of no source who uses "20th century classical" as a type of music or period of music. That's not to say I don't like your taste in music. Anybody who listens to Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, and Copeland is OK by me.

You’re a quibbler so you tried setting a silly little trap for me but I refuse to take your bait. Everyone including you knows exactly what I mean when I say 20th century classical music. When you and I buy this music we go to the classical music section and you know that too.

On a lighter note, I'm bored with everything but chamber music from Beethoven's crowd. Thankfully, I've found solace in 20th century cacophony but it took time for me to hear the difference between it and noise but now I can’t get enough of it.

Do you like Matthew's Broken Symmetry? When I play it for people who don’t like classical music, they often like it. You'd say they like it because it's not classical music and you’d be right and wrong at the same time -just like Schrödinger's cat.
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:16 PM
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My 20th century classical artists consist of Aphex Twin, Prodigy, Underworld, Moby, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Bro's, etc...

Perfect artists to be played on Cerwin Vega speakers IMO.

Currently I have two pair of Cerwin Vega LS-12's and have wondered how the CLS-215's sound.

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:56 PM
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The music you listed would sound good on a pair of CLS-215's. I have a pair that I use by themselves, not in a theater. They have great imaging and great bass. I would recommend powering them from a pre-amp power-amp system. I do use a DBX-1231 equalizer for some tweaking, but not much. If you are looking for a live sound with impact, you may really like these speakers. They don't need to be played loud to sound good. They sound good at low levels too. They really are worthy of purchasing.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

The music you listed would sound good on a pair of CLS-215's. I have a pair that I use by themselves, not in a theater. They have great imaging and great bass. I would recommend powering them from a pre-amp power-amp system. I do use a DBX-1231 equalizer for some tweaking, but not much. If you are looking for a live sound with impact, you may really like these speakers. They don't need to be played loud to sound good. They sound good at low levels too. They really are worthy of purchasing.

You're so right! These speakers have it all: low power requirements and great bass at low and high volumes (they scale well) and they work well in most rooms including my small one. Thank you for getting this topic back on track.
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