Crystal Cable Arabesque Speaker

What is it with glass speaker enclosures? I've profiled several such speakers here, but I remain puzzled by this choice of cabinet material. Is glass really that much better than MDF, wood, carbon fiber, or other materials? Crystal Cable seems to think so—this Dutch high-end cable company recently got into the speaker business with the striking Arabesque.

According to the company, its engineers weren't expecting glass to be a suitable material, but their sophisticated computer modeling clearly indicated that it's ideal for this application because of its non-crystallized molecular structure, making it very controllable and constant in its behavior. The Arabesque is constructed from precision-cut 3/4-inch plate glass, and each panel has a different mass so that no two support the same resonant frequencies.

Defeating resonance is at the heart of the speaker's unusual cross-sectional shape as well. The shape arises from a complex analysis of internal and external diffraction and room interactions, and it is said to exhibit a natural, even dispersion over a wide frequency range while controlling the resonant behavior of the enclosure with no need for damping material.

Three 6.75-inch mid-bass drivers from ScanSpeak cover a wide, uninterrupted range with very little dynamic compression. They are joined by a RAAL ribbon tweeter with a pure silver-gold wire transformer and eddy-current control, which is said to reduce distortion by 30 percent over similar designs. The result is an overall frequency response with –3dB points at 27Hz and 100kHz and a THD of <0.5% from 70Hz to 20kHz with a sensitivity of 95dB/W/m.

And the cost? $65,000/pair. That's not chump change, to be sure, but it gets you a stunning visual sculpture as well as what seems to be a high-performance speaker, so maybe the cost isn't so high after all.