Care Orchestra Deep Breath Evo loudspeakers

18.01.2022

The company

Care Orchestra is a company founded in 2010 in Baranzate, near Milan, and was born from an idea of the two founders, Eng. Cristian Cammarata, who mainly deals with the electroacoustic design of the products, and Eng. Alessandro Reggiori, who presides over the structural and mechanical design. The small company, which has grown steadily over the last decade. With the help of its close collaborators, it is now mainly targeting the B2B market abroad and establishing profitable collaborations with high-profile clients. While in Italy, their products are already highly appreciated by both end-users and professionals, such as architects and designers, with whom they carry out ambitious projects for their clients who require the most exclusive solutions.

 

Description

The Care Orchestra Deep Breath Evo are two-way stand-mounted loudspeakers by this very young Italian company that makes tailor-made one of the strong points of its commercial proposal. The company aims at a demanding target, not only from the point of view of acoustic performance but also from the point of view of insertion in the environment. The five models in the catalogue, which include Deep Breath, are offered with standard lacquer finishes as well as the possibility of customising the finishes ad hoc, agreeing on the colour with the end-user and combining marble, leather, wood and fabric on request, so that the speakers can be in perfect harmony with the environment for which they are intended.

 

The pair of loudspeakers under test has a standard finish, with black lacquer that already denotes all-Italian attention to detail, such as the absence of visible joints and fasteners, the alternation of sharp and rounded edges, the elegant gold-coloured relief screen-printing of the Care Orchestra logo on the sides of the two loudspeakers, the solid gold connectors on the back and the matte finish of the lacquer itself. The two loudspeakers under test do not have protection grilles or even visible provisions on the panel to apply them however, upon request, they can be supplied and fixed to the speaker thanks to a system of magnets already present inside the cabinet.

 

Tweeter Care Orchestra Deep Breath Evo

 

The components used are of high quality, in line with the manufacturer's objectives of proposing a product to a public with a refined, discerning palate, looking for an alternative to the much more expensive names in Hi-End and who can appreciate this idea of tailor-made craftsmanship. The woofer is a Scan-Speak Discovery in fibreglass with a diameter of 180 mm; the tweeter is also a Scan-Speak, with a 25 mm diameter fabric dome. The crossover frequency is 1,900 Hz. The crossover is not mounted on pre-printed bases but based on specially designed supports ad hoc. It is optimised by ear, thanks to the comparison between the various skills of the team, after testing the response and linearity in the laboratory.

I presume that the model with the marble finish, considering the almost inert material, which reacts to internal resonances in a different way than the standard finish, foresees a further and specific fine-tuning. A listening comparison between the two options would be interesting.

 

The declared sensitivity is 91 dB while the dimensions, rather generous for a stand-mounted speaker, are 351 mm in height, 247 mm in width and 327 mm in depth.

 

The speakers came delivered in a wooden crate with the logo engraved in the middle of the lid. The inside is completely lined with grey foam rubber and, inside the box, there are also white gloves to handle the speakers with care. Even these small details contribute to giving that feeling of attention to detail that distinguishes the Care Orchestra commercial proposal.

 

The front-end

Once unpacked, the speakers are placed on 70 cm wooden stands with a stone base by Sonus Faber, those dedicated to the Minima Amator that I use as a reference for the test. The rest of the upstream chain is composed of a Roksan Rok-DP1 CD transport, Wadia 12 converter, Audio Research LS7 preamp and Classé Audio DR-3 power amp. All components can be considered vintage but, very often still stands out in comparison with similar current high-end products. Connections include a Kimber Kable AGDL silver coaxial, Kimber Kable KCAG silver interconnects between the converter and preamp, and the interconnect between pre and power amp entrusted to the, in my opinion, timeless Straight Wire Maestro.

There are three speaker cables, all 2.4 m long, used one at a time as there is no possibility of bi-wiring as with the Minima Amator. They are all high or medium-high range cables, also vintage but of consolidated fame: MIT Shotgun S3, Cogan Hall Intermezzo and XLO Ultra 6.

 

Ascolto Care Orchestra Deep Breath Evo

 

Listening

After the first three days of break-in in which the Deep Breath speakers have already shown a refined sonic profile and a remarkable ability to go down in the bass compared to their bookshelf size, I start alternating the Deep Breath with the Minima Amator to identify more deeply their sonic characteristics and potentialities.

The loudspeakers seem at ease with a broad and deep sound front certainly enhanced by the positioning in the room at about 1,8 meters from the back wall and 1,3 from the side ones. The listening room is about 45 square metres acoustically treated – see here- ITA only – and the Deep Breath speakers show certain ease in giving sound to a rather large room, even though their 91 dB efficiency rating seems overestimated. I notice that with the same position of the volume potentiometer, between the Minima Amator that have an efficiency of 88 dB and the Deep Breath declared at 91 dB there is not an evident increase of volume, as it would lead to suppose a 3 dB difference. In any case, the sensation of speed and the sound impact, both at high and moderate volume, are enjoyable. The Deep Breath behave like thoroughbred loudspeakers: sensitive to the quality of the upstream components, they give back a net sound, clean and well-polished, detailed but never harsh. If I wanted to outline the sonic profile of this loudspeaker, I'd say that it is marked more by balance and sense of proportion rather than by hyper-definition, offering a more "conscious" and mature sound. In short, it doesn't follow the recent trend that has led many manufacturers, even prestigious ones, to that kind of sound based on micro-detail at all costs, the type that tends to X-ray the sound event losing sight of its naturalness and ending up creating certain listening fatigue. A lot depends on the chain upstream but, in this context, the Care Orchestra has offered a very high-level performance, showing clearly all the typical characteristics of the DR-3, known for that rare combination of granitic punch on the bass and sweetness of the detail on the highs, a broad and deep soundstage and uncommon harmonic richness.

 

The name Deep Breath doesn't seem to be chosen at random and, with the ability to bring out such performances, I think it is well deserved.

 

Indeed, an acoustically treated listening room and a high-end front-end are not the most common conditions for speakers costing just over two thousand euros. The most probable match, I imagine they have designed, is with an integrated amp and a good level source. But in the meantime, it must be acknowledged that placed in a favourable condition, the Deep Breath are capable of Hi-End performance, undermining the much more expensive alternatives of many well-known brands. This is a distinctiveness that reminds me closely of the Minima Amator, which for a long time represented a reference for me. A loudspeaker that belongs to a medium-high price range but is inserted in a Hi-End context, is capable of adapting and providing performances at a much higher level.

 

However, a certain limitation of the Minima Amator is to become more opaque and anonymous as soon as you go down from a top-level of source and, above all, of amplification, a phenomenon probably due to the complexity of the crossover. It would be interesting to understand how the Deep Breath would behave in the context of a reproduction chain more coherent to its price range. In a direct comparison with the noble Minima Amator, in this reproduction chain that, must be remembered, has been enhanced together with these speakers, the Deep Breath maintains substantially an equivalent timbric coherence, a little "lighter" in giving back the micro-detail, in the sense that the Sonus Faber dig a little deeper in the sound message and chisel better some details in some passages. The Deep Breath, driven by the power amp's abundant current reserve, thanks to the more generous dimensions of the cabinet and the woofer, which have more "body" but without being bloated. On the contrary, the deeper bass is dry and nervous. This peculiarity makes the Deep Breath more complete and more inclined to handle with ease also orchestral masses or rock music as well as small musical groups where the small Vicentine remain hard to beat for transparency, airiness, speed and detail, and for that ability to return with disarming realism the materiality of the acoustic instruments and voices. The Deep Breath; thanks to particularly successful alchemy between dimensions, quality of the components and crossover design, find their balance to be able to propose themselves in a way more universal and complete than the classic quality stand loudspeaker, but with a similar ability to offer detail and three-dimensionality of the soundstage.

 

I CD ascoltati nella prova dei diffusori Care Orchestra Deep Breath Evo

 

Anyway, as proof of the intrinsic qualities of the speaker and their particular sensitivity in returning every little variation introduced by the upstream components, I wanted to alternate the three speaker cables available to observe the possibilities of fine-tuning in this context.

As far as the room positioning of the Deep Breath speakers is concerned, I observe a similar behaviour to the Minima Amator, which prefer a placement at 1.8 m from the back wall and 1.3 from the sidewalls, with 2.5 m between the two speakers and the listening point. Moving the speakers closer to the back wall predictably increases bass, but at the expense of three-dimensional imaging and detail, so I returned the speaker to its original position and began comparing speaker cables.

With the MIT Shotguns, the Deep Breaths have a very good articulation of the mid-bass, which becomes even faster, fuller and stronger. On Tracy Chapman's Give me one reason the percussion is sharp, well defined and even violent: a very enjoyable performance. With the Cogan Hall Intermezzo, the bass gets lighter, but the transparency, the strong point of this cable, also improves the airiness and depth of the soundstage. In mono wiring, the Minima Amator's lighten up the bass. Instead, the Deep Breath maintains a better balance thanks to the extra half octave they can count on. The handling of the orchestral mass of the Clark Terry Express album is exemplary on the part of the Deep Breath, which also here leverages the greater weight of the lower spectrum and gives more body to the beautiful performance of the De Paul Univesity big band playing with Clark Terry, my favourite trumpet player. This recording of the Reference Recordings highlights all the qualities of timbral balance and response of Care Orchestra, as well as their ability to reconstruct the soundstage in depth and width. The brasses are lucid, present and bright without ever being pungent. Listening to these tracks, I notice that with the XLO cable the Deep Breath reach the best balance between detail, three-dimensionality and bass extension, unlike the Minima Amator, which prefer the MIT in mono wiring and continue to express itself at their best with the combination of the Cogan Hall and MIT in bi-wiring.

 

I continue listening to the Care Orchestra with the XLO cable and with a track by Ray La Montagne, an American singer-songwriter that I like a lot and has a very particular timbre, a scratchy voice full of nuances, a good test for the revealing abilities of the loudspeaker. An acoustic guitar and drums played with brushes open the track Barfly and introduce the beautiful voice of the singer-songwriter. Here, the Deep Breath showcase an excellent ability to go into details and position instruments and voice in the soundstage. This last one is given back in its particular nuances, with a very pleasant sense of "presence" and well-circumscribed in the centre. In the second part of the track, the cymbals and drums are very enjoyable, this time stressed with wooden sticks, which are reproduced with clarity, body and a great sense of rhythm. Another interesting track from the same album to test the ability of the Deep Breath to go down in the bass is You can bring me flowers, which starts with a bass line that if not well reproduced tends to be rubbery, but also this test is passed giving back a solid bass, well-articulated and material, surely helped also here by the generous current supplied by the power amp. At this point, my curiosity pushes me to insert in the CD player a recording of ancient music that I appreciate a lot: La Folia by Jordi Savall, of the Aliavox label. Also, here, the Deep Breath is immediately defined by a broad and deep soundstage in which these particular sonorities are embedded with naturalness and realism. Even if the ancient instruments and the chamber music are also a conquest ground for the Minima Amator, with their harmonic richness and the natural attitude to the detail, the Care Orchestra defend themselves brilliantly giving back also this kind of sonorities, produced by woods, strings, skins and wind instruments in all their materiality and with a remarkable nonchalance, typical abilities of the small valuable loudspeakers.

 

In conclusion

Apart from the original commercial proposal of the "acoustic tailoring", where Care Orchestra, thanks to the finishes on-demand, offers the possibility to pay particular attention to the insertion of the speakers in the context in which they will be placed, the Deep Breath represent an intriguing proposal in the panorama of the stand speakers for their intrinsic sonic qualities. They are mature speakers, designed for a demanding listener, experienced and interested in possible alternatives of the well-known Hi-End brands that offer this level of performance at a much higher cost.

The Deep Breath are loudspeakers marked by balance, both of tonal and linearity, able to enter in the detail without lending the side to timbric angularity, typical of the loudspeakers that pursue the hypercharge at all costs, analytical as the best stand speakers and defined by a kind of fluid emission, coherent and spontaneous, and with an appreciable ability in giving back a broad and deep soundstage, with the contours of voices and instruments well defined.

The ability to reproduce the frequencies of the lower end in a more full-bodied and complete way compared to most of its direct antagonists on stands can represent another reason of genuine interest for this umpteenth and elegant, in form and content, example of the all-Italian style.

 

 

Official technical specifications

Type: two-way rear tuned bass reflex speaker

Speakers: 1 x 180mm Scan-Speak Discovery fibreglass woofer, 1 x 25mm Scan-Speak fabric tweeter

Sensitivity: 91dB

Impedance: 4ohm

Frequency Response: 48Hz-40kHz +/-3dB

Cut-off frequency: 1,900Hz

Dimensions: 247x351x325mm WxHxD

 

Official Italian dealer: direct distribution, to the Care Orchestra website

Official current price in Italy: 2.250,00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Francesco Lucca's system ITA only

by Francesco
Lucca
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