MarkAudio CESTI B Speakers Review

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MarkAudio-SOTA brings together the knowledge and experience of SOTA Acoustics and Markaudio Loudspeakers, LTD. MarkAudio-SOTA has created a range of high-end speakers to impress audiophiles and general consumers looking for exceptional sound and quality. The company manufactures every part from the ground up to ensure its speakers achieve the highest quality standard with custom parts to meet the requirements of MarkAudio-SOTA’s unique speaker designs.

First Impressions

The exceptional design and craftsmanship are the first impressions of the MarkAudio-SOTA CESTI B bookshelf speakers. The modern speaker design and lacquered finish might leave you admiring the CESTI Bs before attempting to plug them in. This is especially true for the red CESTI B bookshelf speakers, a color which can be best described as Ferrari Red. The CESTI B is also available in black or white and looks just as sexy.

MarkAudio-SOTA has recessed the speaker cone and tweeter so everything sits clean and flush with the speaker cabinet. A curved design around the speaker cone and tweeter gives the cabinet lines that better resemble a sports car rather than a speaker. These bookshelf speakers come with a removable speaker grille. However, I doubt anyone would want to hide the front of these speakers. My advice is to leave the grille in the box.

The Sound

Once you stop ogling over how beautiful the CESTI B’s look, you’ll want to plug them in and give them a listen. As expected from high-end speakers, the CESTI B bookshelf speakers sound incredible! The music is especially impressive – the vocals are crisp, clear, and present. For a 4.4” driver, the CESTI B delivers a surprising amount of bottom-end. Solid and punchy with a smooth bass sound. A pleasant listening experience for all music types. If you listen to vinyl, you will be in audio heaven playing your records through the MarkAudio-SOTA CESTI Bs.

MarkAudio-SOTA designers and engineers have gone to great lengths to create a smooth, natural crossover for the CESTI B. They have adopted a 2nd order shallow slope design with a crossover at 1.9kHz. The resulting sound is exceptional, with the CESTI B delivering a clean, flat sound.

MarkAudio CESTI B Speakers

Best Applications for the MarkAudio-SOTA CESTI B

If you’re a vinyl junkie, then you will love the MarkAudio-SOTA CESTI B bookshelf speakers. I think the CESTI B was designed for music playback (vinyl in particular). Music sounds better through the CESTI Bs. If you use the CESTI B for your home theater system, a pair will replace your front left/right speakers well. I prefer the CESTI B by themselves as a stereo TV system rather than mixing them with other speakers. Unless, of course, you fill the entire surround system with MarkAudio-SOTA speakers. But that’s an article for another day. The CESTI B can also be used in a studio. While I can’t comment on CESTI B’s ability to record live instruments, these speakers will deliver a flat, clean sound for digital music production.

Recommended Speaker Position For TV

For usage as TV speakers, it is recommended to position the CESTI Bs left and right of the TV 8.2 – 9.8 feet apart. Ensure a minimum clearance of 3.9 inches behind the CESTI Bs. This will avoid any sound coloration from reflections off surfaces behind the speakers. This speaker placement would work for listening to music, too. Do not place the speakers too far apart; you will lose stereo imaging and create “dead spots.” This is true for any bookshelf speaker.

Amplifier & Installation Recommendations

MarkAudio-SOTA has specific instructions for the amplification of your CESTI B bookshelf speakers. Instructions from the manual:

“Class A/B 50 Watts to 100 Watts per channel at 8 Ohms. Class A is from 12 Watts to 25 Watts per channel at 8 Ohms, and Class D is from 30 Watts to 60 Watts per channel at 8 Ohms. Amplifier design and performance varies, so these recommendations can only be a guide.”

My advice when it comes to amplification is don’t try and run the CESTI Bs on anything outside of these recommendations, and DON’T use a cheap, inferior amplifier. I recommend the Marantz HD-AMP1 or the Rega-Brio for music-only installment. These amplifiers would be great for vinyl with a good external phono preamp.

For home theater, I would go for something like the Cambridge Audio CXA60 Integrated Amplifier. The CXA60 offers the right amount of power for the CESTI B speakers and allows digital audio inputs from your TV. You can also purchase the Cambridge Audio BT100, allowing your CXA60 to connect to Bluetooth devices. If you have a turntable with line out or an external phono preamp, you could plug into the CXA60 and have a top-of-the-range complete home theater system with the exceptional sound of the CESTI B bookshelf speakers.

MarkAudio CESTI B Speakers

What’s In The Box?

Included in the box when you purchase a pair of MarkAudio-SOTA CESTI B bookshelf speakers is:

  • 2 x CESTI B Bookshelf Speakers
  • 2 x Speaker Grille
  • 8 x Rubber Feet
  • 1 x Warranty Card
  • 1 x User Manual

Conclusion

If you have the money to spend on some high-end speakers, then you will not be disappointed with the MarkAudio-SOTA CESTI B bookshelf speakers. These speakers are still relatively new to the market, so you can impress your mates with something “exotic.”

The only reason I can see someone not enjoying the CESTI Bs would be for the aesthetics. The CESTI B design may be loved by most (including myself); however, those who prefer a traditional, wood design might not like the stylish, contemporary finish of the CESTI B. Having said that, the incredible sound of these speakers may sway you even if the design doesn’t.

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Author: Matt Hallowes

Matt has worked as a sound engineer and tour manager since 2003. His work as a sound engineer includes both live production and venue installations. With a passion for the industry, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us.

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