We’d been hankering to audition this T+A flagship speaker for some time. Would the CWT 2000 SE deliver audio ecstasy to those who demand the wallop of a dynamic speaker yet also quench the thirst of ‘purist’ audiophiles who crave the transparency of an electrostatic panel?

There are three line-array ‘Cylinder Wave Transducers’ in T+A’s Solitaire range. The big daddy, the CWT 2000, has a 920x50mm tweeter panel – the speaker pairs are handed – six front array 150mm midrange drivers, and on each side are two whopping 250mm bass drivers. Within the imposing tower these drivers occupy asymmetric individually sealed chambers, the Solitaires’ baffles slightly raked backwards in order to afford a degree of time alignment.

The high-gloss lacquered cabinets are finished in a choice of light cherry, dark walnut, Macassar ebony, or all-black or white. Custom finishes are also available.

The Special Edition here adds further mass with a supplementary vibration-absorbing plinth machined from 10mm-thick aluminium and which stands on stainless-steel spikes with rubber dampers. Also, the woofers’ covers are machined from 8mm-thick aluminium plates. Concentrically arranged apertures allow transmission of low frequencies ‘without hindrance or resonance’, says T+A, while their considerable mass helps stiffen and damp the cabinet’s side panels.

All the drivers are made in-house – even the electrostatic tweeter – while the midrange and bass cones are formed of air-dried wood fibres mixed with graphite particles and embossed to increase stiffness, with aluminium phase plugs and
long-throw rubber surrounds.

Revelatory detail

Although they can sound ‘dry’, at times almost matter-of-fact, the CWT 2000 SEs simultaneously sound creamy and luscious (which might seem contradictory). And we’ve not come across a speaker that is so exquisitely detailed while also so forgiving of poor material. If there is one thing to fault, it concerns a slightly opaque spatial imaging – it delivers a ‘wall’ of sound rather than a tight-focused picture.

Even so, this big Solitaire served up revelatory detail time after time. But rather than throwing an artificial spotlight it simply helped to complete musical ‘pictures’. The evocative title track from Robin Trower’s Bridge Of Sighs [Mo-Fi] sounded epic, the howling wind effects and idle chatter buried behind the weeping guitar solo all melded beautifully into the piece.

High-res recordings sounded fabulous. We were transfixed when listening to Marianne Kielland performing ‘Come Away, Death’ from Finzi’s Let Us Garlands Bring [2L]. The piano accompaniment sounded firm and with glorious tonality, while her voice floated out with a compelling presence.

Verdict

The CWT 2000 SE sounds dynamically spirited and full of nuance in a gently striking way. Its clarity and dynamism extends from the deepest bass notes through to the extreme high treble, with the T+A speaker able to track the ebb and flow of music to provide excitement of the kind experienced at live events.

Originally published in the 2014 Yearbook