The USPS priority mail package arrived, and I knew what was in it. I had been excited about their arrival, as they were the final piece to my upgrade from a more entry level set of CDTs to one of their very best 2 way component set offerings. The journey took about a month. The heavy box revealed the monster CDT ES-06 midbass drivers. They are pretty beefy drivers, with a big rubber boot over the motor. Jerking the boot off, I discovered a super shiny chrome motor. The basket is a nice cast 4 spoke basket. The quick release spring terminals offer a secure and quick connection. I quickly yanked out the old mids and modified the door to fit the motor, and they were in place about 1 hour later. I fired them up and let them have a little break in time while I e-mailed Mike at Vertex Audio, the only place I recommend going for your CDT needs, and let him know I got the set and I had just carved up my doors to make those puppies fit.
Now, on to the install in question. I wanted to let everyone know the important factors surrounding the set, as they can play a role in their performance. The amplifier is a Cadence SQA-4 bridged, running 200 WRMS/ch. It is set to run at full range. The source is a Pioneer Premier FH-P800BT. Everything is set flat unless otherwise indicated in the review, all bass boost and enrichment modes off. I typically use the HU to highpass at 63Hz, but for this review I ran the set full range by themselves. Doors are fairly deadened, although admittedly I didn't do a lot to them. All factory hush pads are still in the doors. The install leaves the mids in an IB install. The tweeters are the DRT26A aluminum dome modular tweeter units. The crossover is the EX550i, which was designed specifically for the ES-06 mids and the DRT26 tweeters, as it brings the crossover point down to rolloff (2.5kHz) of the powerful mid.
Essentially my upgrades left me owning the CDT Audio ES-062i GOLD 6.5" Component Set which I will review as a complete set and link my previous CDT reviews and the successive upgrades that led me to this point.
Tweeter and Crossover upgrade review: http://caraudioforum.com/showthread.php?t=311523
Here is a little speaker ****.
EF6FG Mid motor compared to ES-06
EF6FG Mid cone compared to ES-06
EF6FG Mid side compared to ES-06
EF6FG Mid motor compared to naked ES-06 motor
Installed with DRT26A tweet:
EX-450 and the new 550i both opened up (tweeter and mid switches circled)
EX-450 and the new 550i covered up
Now for the review
I have always liked Tantric’s self titled album for midbass detail and depth. The mids definitely handled the usual tracks with precision; the drumbeats accompanied by Hugo Ferreira growling voice showed the mids could really handle transients exceptionally well. I love the way they blend acoustic guitar and electric guitar too. It allows us the ability to determine how realistic the differences are between the 2, with particular attention to the decay. The EX550i has them crossed perfectly (I had to make a small tweeter aiming adjustment to compensate for a tiny dip in frequency response), and the DRT26As handle the low crossover point with ease. Tantric does nothing exceptionally fast, but the separation of their instruments in their first release really helps show off how well a set can provide detail and accuracy during reproduction.
Dream Theater’s Train of Thought was next on the list. Mike Portnoy attacks a drum set like it is his enemy… and the ES-o6 handled the attack with ease. Kickdrum separation was precise; the ES-06 almost belittles his speed. I was surprised with such a relatively high inductance that these speakers did not seem to blur kicks and transients, but they don’t. They are very precise. I am so surprised that I sent an e-mail to CDT to find out if that was a misprint.
I love Pink Floyd. They got a lot of play on these speakers. I stuck to Dark Side of the Moon (30th Anniversary Remastered SACD Hybrid, original copy), and Wish You Were Here. Dark Side of the Moon really was amazing. My old lady commented “Wow, this sounds amazing, did you buy new speakers or something?” to which I replied, “No way honey!!!” Even she noticed the difference at very modest listening levels. Floyd’s psychedelic trips through both of these albums really presented imaging that is so deep and the stage is so vast it seems to extend beyond the doors and windshield of the car.
The usual suspects played on the system as well. Dave Matthews Band’s 34 showed amazing depth with the set, and the Tenor Sax played so beautifully it was frightening. I love to use Warehouse, and Ants Marching as well, because they provide a ton of detail from the bottom of the audible spectrum to the top, with explosive woodwinds and brass, pounding bass, harmonicas, cymbals (from delicate high hats to huge crashes) guitars, and of course, Dave’s voice. Everything is so accurate, and the image with so many instruments explodes around you, with amazing depth and clarity. Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones both maintained composure, and beauty. Their voices didn’t seem to feel strained at all, no ringing on the high notes, and the mids don’t even seem like they are trying. Pianos rolled behind them with amazing precision and detail. The decay is as perfect as we can expect in an imperfect environment like a car.
In conclusion, this set is very accurate, very fast, and finely detailed. The mids’ attack is aggressive, and their decay is natural. They provided more impact than the FG mids, but they are not fatiguing like many aggressive midbasses can be. I attribute this to their smooth decay. Their depth is impressive, and they handle their midrange duties in a very mellow, laid back manner. Transient response from the mids is beyond impressive. The tweeters are very precise, and controlled, and delicate. I heard no audible ringing, no sibilance, and harsh isn’t a word that comes to mind. They are critical, without being bright, laid back without being flat. The crossovers brilliantly handle the mid to tweeter transition smoothly. This truly is one of the finer sets I have heard. They are a well rounded set that really encompasses the whole package audio enthusiasts are searching for.
Once again, please contact Mike at Vertex Audio, for your CDT needs. He is amazingly helpful and knowledgeable with the products he sells. I am sure he could get you set up with a set that suits your tastes.