Apogee Acoustics Centaur Floorstanding Speakers

Centaur

2 way ribbon-dynamic hybrid

User Reviews (13)

Showing 1-10 of 13  
Tom   AudioPhile [Mar 25, 2007]
Strength:

pinpoint imaging, liquid midrange, fast tight dynamic range, PRICE!

Weakness:

Placement is critical. A difference can be heard with just 1/2" of adjustment. They need to be 3+ feet from the wall. Bass is a little weak.

Wow is all I can say when listening to these speakers. I have had some pretty mighty contenders through my living room. Spica TC-50, NHT 2.5i, Vandersteen 2ce signature, JM lab Electra 906. The NHT and Vandersteen make more bass, but adding a sub made this the best speaker I have ever had in my home. It makes listening to speakers with tweeters seem obsolete. The transparency, depth, dynamic range and most obvious, clarity are all amazing. I will not get rid of these speakers. Ribbons are still available from a third party source and the woofers are a still-in-production VIFA. If you can find a pair of these, or the even better Slant-8, GET THEM!

Customer Service

Out of business, but there is an Apogee users site.

Similar Products Used: Vandersteen 2CE sig(great, but not resolute), NHT 2.5i(musical, but boxy sound), Spica TC-50(imaging heaven), JM lab Electra 906(harsh and bright. Yuck). I have heard just about every mass produced speaker out there. 20 years of Hi-fi!
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Stamos   Audio Enthusiast [May 02, 2002]
Strength:

3D holography, amazing dynamics, resolution only a ribbon can provide. Excellent value on the used market, replacement ribbons readily available at very reasonable cost.

Weakness:

small sweet spot, low efficiency, needs a bit of room for setup.

For the price you can score these used they are simply an amazing bargian. A very well designed cabinet helps blend the seem between dynamic woofer and ribbon tweeter (shared baffle space, driver centered to ribbon etc). Features the imaging and dynamics of a 26" ribbon with the slam and attack of a 8" woofer you get the best of both worlds. Off axis response is typical of all ribbon and planar speakers, small sweet spot, and requires proper setup like all dipole speakers (though less sensative than FR Apogees or Magnepans). But if you have the room for them and you enjoy the pinpoint imaging and liquid resolution that a small sweet spot can afford this speaker cannot be touched by conventional cones.

Similar Products Used: Magnepans
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Brent   Audiophile [Mar 06, 2000]
Strength:

Tonal Accuracy, great soundstage

Weakness:

Not easy to set up. High resolution requires high quality components to go with it.

I've used the Centaurs for about 7 years and I have auditioned several highly accaimed speakers in that time and I have not heard anything at any price that makes me want to change speakers. I live in a small apartment so I have to listen very close to the speakers, but even close up there is no sense of hearing different drivers and the imaging and soundfield is excellent. I have the speakers on 12 inch stands which gives them an even bigger soundstage! I use a subwoofer, but they sound good without it. I put the ribbons on the outside even though Apogee recommends putting them on the inside. This gives tighter bass. I have never had any problems with reliability in all the time I've had these. I bought mine used about 7 years ago for $800. If you can find them, buy them. If I were shopping for a new pair of speakers, I would look for a used pair of Apogee's.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tom   Audiophile [Jan 01, 2001]
Strength:

Gorgeous mid-range, unlimited high-end. Bass is almost hard to believe it's so tight and deep (after break-in)

Weakness:

Absolutely unacceptable upper bass and lower mids.

I have owned these speakers for over 7 years now. Money doesn't allow me to buy anything new but I wish I could. If you never (I repeat NEVER) listen to POP, LATIN, DISCO, RAP, DANCE, ROCK, METAL, or CLASSICAL at anything other than soft, background levels than these speakers may be for you. They are pathetic around a few hundred Hz. I have a 90-band parametric EQ with adjustable slopes and could not get the speakers to light up in that range.

Please make sure your musical tastes do not change as mine did. I used to listen to only strings and winds so the speakers were fine. Now I am disappointed that the 1812 overture almost split my left ribbon in half at only "moderate" listening levels.

A better design would be to raise the crossover point and use a smaller bass/mid cone driver which can make a drum hit actually audible. Hmmm. Maybe the Centaur Minors are actually a better way to go... You can always add a sub, but there is no way to "wedge" a driver into the middle of the frequency response of a loudspeaker.

Apogee, you were so close on this one.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
4
GW   an Audiophile [Oct 06, 1999]

A wonderful product that needs only a little common sense. The 8 inch woofer and the small, relatively wide frequency range ribbon (down to 450 cycles) dictate moderate volume levels, and decent but not disco floor bass. That's pretty much the only reservations. The ribbon is very lifelike and very low distortion (we're talking amplifier numbers here, in the .0? range.) The bass integration is good and the amount satisfying. Real acoustic instruments sound real. Recorded space is accurately reproduced. Low level dynamics and detail are flawless. They can convey the emotional nuance of a performance. People make the mistake of regarding these as "budget" audiophile speakers. This is the same design technology as in their $80,000 speakers. They sound like whatever feeds them. They are rated to a max of about 200 watts. 70 tube watts drives them not to ear bleed levels, but certainly to blissful musical distraction. This is what the audiophile game was meant to be. Revelation without a second mortgage

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Phil   an Audio Enthusiast [Apr 10, 1999]

I blew out the woofers in my Centaur recently. Fortunately, I was able to replace them with the exact model. The woofers used by Apogee are 8" Vifas which are available at Madisound (about $150 for a pair, I don't recall the exact model PW18... something, the model no is a lable attached to the magnet). BTW, if you are careful the grill can be pried off with a butter knife and can be reattached easily.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Phil Kaufman   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 04, 2002]
Strength:

Amazing reproduction of human voices and natural instruments.

Weakness:

Need a sub woofer and don't handle electronic/rock/loud music that well.

I actually have the Majors, but the overall sound is pretty much the same. It used to be a Stereophile B class spker, and still can out do most other high end speakers when it comes to voice and other acoustic instruments. I disagree that they are missing any band of frequencies, I too have tested and found them VERY accurate. I usually add equilization and feel it would hurt more than help. They are electronics sensitive, can be a bit bright, as well as tough to set up properly, you need a few feet open behind and to the sides, and proper angles. But once set up well, I've loved them for about 7 years. Not for video/super dynamic, or loud rock. But if you like classical, acoustic jazz, or Sarah Mclaughlin, unreal.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Graz Keet   Audiophile [Jan 16, 2002]
Strength:

Nice midband - good voices

Weakness:

Off axis listening awful

Nice speakers, bought from a speaker repairer that had them in his workshop for 2 years. I make very high quality ribbon spares for people with Apogee speakers, and picked these up with two dead ribbons for a steal!!! Replaced and singing soon after!

If you have a smallish room and a "sit down" listening spot I would rate theses speakers higher. I had to move to Duetta Signatures to retain their midband, and improve on their weaknesses.

Many pairs are coming up for sale now in need of ribbons - do not hesitate to get a good deal! Ribbons needed?

graz@graz.com.au

Similar Products Used: All Apogee/Perigee
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
K.K.   an Audiophile [Jan 06, 1999]

I've owned these speakers for 4 years now and they are remarkable. Once you listen to these ribbons, its hard to go back to boxes. They produce a realistic sounstage albeit a little weak in bass. But these speakers require proper set-up and room configuration. The only drawback to these is that they have a very limited sweet spot. I've also blown the right 8" woofers using a Carver 4.0 rated at 375 wt/ch. I didn't play them very loud so there might be some defect in my system somewhere.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Ralph Holvast   an Audio Enthusiast [Jan 08, 1999]

Introduction:The Apogee Centaur is one of a range of electrostatic hybrid loudspeakers utilising the now famous Apogee ribbon matched with a dynamic woofer.
Originally released in early 1991 the Apogee Centaurus range was available in three models. Centaur Minor @ £1,149, Centaur @ £1,645 and Centaur Major @ £4,200 (UK RRP), each model having a different ribbon / woofer match.
Minors - 66cm ribbon & 16.5 cm woofer. Crossover at 800Hz
Centaurs - 66cm ribbon & 18 cm woofer. Crossover at ?
Majors - 101cm ribbon & 20 cm woofer. Crossover at 450Hz
Bi-Wiring is available and recommended for the Majors.

The ribbon is placed to the side of the woofer and this results in the speaker requiring more crucial room placement.

Review of the Centaurs :
(Individual reviews available for the Centaur minor )

Although the speakers can be placed as close as 45cm from the wall, I would recommend a minimum of 60cm, with toe-in sufficient to enhance the imaging. Depending on room size, this would equate to the front panels almost directly facing the listening position.

Decent amplifier matching is of great benefit to the over-all sound quality. Although the Centaurs can be driven by almost any semi-decent amplifier, it is well worth your money to shop around and spend a few more $’s on your amplifier. Like all electrostatics, the Centaurs perform better with valve (tube) amplifiers. The soundstage grows deeper, and the speakers become more transparent. They are also very revealing of the quality of your over-all system and differing speaker cables can make an obvious difference in sonic characteristics.

Once the centaurs are positioned correctly (minor adjustments could continue for months) and a decent (pure class-A Solid State or quality Valve) amplifier is driving them, the speakers deliver a soundstage you can swim in and a transparency that is beguiling for speakers in this price range. Unfortunately the optimum sweet spot is perhaps only 2 seats wide. (What more do you need with out creating a party ?)

Due to its relatively low efficiency, the speakers are almost laid back yet still reveal much detail and give the punch of a woofer driven base. Using a subwoofer evaluation test CD, bass to below 25Hz is easily audible. Over all dynamics may not be up to American expectations, but in the balance, the speakers allow for greater involvement in music without them ever yelling “Now Hear This”. Listener fatigue is negligible and listening to a long symphony is once more a pleasure.

Your musical choice will influence your appreciation of these speakers as they are more suited to ‘live’ recordings - i.e Classical etc.. Lack of soundstage withstanding, the Centaurs can still make your house rock with heavy metal. The bass is tight and clean without it ever being overwhelming. I would not recommend the addition of a subwoofer as it could too easily muddy the sound.

The Centaurs are good enough for me to listen to and start to appreciate Jazz. Even opera no longer requires the obligatory bottle of red. As Len Wallis Audio put it : “ The definition of a good stereo system is what ever it takes for you to be involved in the (recorded) music”. The Apogee Centaurs have done that for me.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 13  

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