Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo Review and Impressions

Now that I've had my Certaldo's for just over a month I wanted to share my initial impressions with them, especially after getting requests from @marvda1, @maxward, and @jumpindick.

First let's go through the room and associated gear as well as a little background. If you don't care for these details, just skip ahead. The room I'm in now is still new to me because we just moved back in August, so I'm still learning the problem spots and tricks with this room, while dialing in these new speakers. My previous room was my living room - about 15 x 20, speakers on the short wall (only a few inches off the wall) with the left side open to the dinning room/kitchen, bay window on the right. Tile flooring, large mirror on the backwall, TV on the front wall, and the couch was all the way up against the backwall. The only thing helping this room was that the couch was a large plush sectional, we had an accent chair, and a decent size rug. But overall, my previous room was bright, and the center image was always going to be drifting a little left.
The new room is massively different. A little smaller at 15 x 13, but this is a dedicated room now. The floor space in the listening area is effectively a little smaller because we have our records on the left wall, so the room is kind of 15x12 functionally. Speakers are also on the short wall now, and the room has new carpeting with a fairly thick pad. Two small windows on the front wall, and various art pieces around the room. Far from perfect acoustics, but Luckily I had my Usher T-515's in here for a few weeks before the Certaldos arrived. The room certainly isn't as bright, and the low end room gain was reduced as well compared to my previous space. Not bad things my any means.

For gear, I'm running vinyl, CD, and streaming. Vinyl gets the most play time, followed up by streaming than CDs. The analog side of the chain consist of the Mofi Ultradeck + MasterTracker cartridge feeding into a Sutherland 20/20. On the digital side, we have the Cambridge CXN pulling double duty as the streamer and as the DAC for the CXC CD transport. All the interconnect cables are Zu Mission cables, and for the coax I've been bouncing between a Kimber DV30 and Douglas Connection Bravo Digital. I think the Douglas is going to have a long term home in the system. I've also had a couple other coax cables and a Benchmark DAC3 on loan. The speakers are being fed by my Mastersound Duventi via Wireworld Mini-Eclipse 8 cables. Running in 20w pentode mode, the amp provides more than enough power for these speakers in my room for my listening levels. I don't think I'm hitting 100db at any point, but I also don't strive for that. Usually my averages are around mid 70s with peaks in the mid 80s via my phone db meter.

Now finally, on to the main event, the speakers! Like the entire Rosso line, the Certaldo's build quality is exceptional. Aluminum front, leather, glass side walls, solid base, robust cabinet build, quality spikes, magnetic grills with some quality styling. You can't ask for much more from these in the build department. The first thing that jumps out at me from the sound is the unique bass response. The speakers dig fairly deep, spec'd down to about 40-ish hz I believe, but they don't ever really punch you in the chest. Another review I read on these said the bass was "polite," and I think that's a good way to put it.
It works quite nicely in my smaller room, but I do think in a larger space the bass would feel lacking, something to keep in mind for anyone considering these. I also have to wonder if moving up to a higher powered solid state amp at some point might give them a little more oomph, but I'm in no rush to change things. I do regularly notice the bass digging deeper than the Ushers ever could. Prior to the Ushers I had JBL Studio 580s, and those speakers packed a wall of punch in the low end, but they were often one note. The detail and texture provided by the bass with the Certaldos is simply exponential compared to anything I've had long term in my home, and with the smooth laid back nature in the low end it never gets tiring and allows you to listen for hours on end. A lot of listeners love speakers with a good punch, and if you want that more visceral feeling from the low end you'll do better with the Elba 2s or moving up to the Volterra. Although I'm quite happy with the low end, that is one area I could see where people would wanting more.

The top end of the Rosso sound is one of the biggest things that keeps me coming back. I love a good soft dome tweeter as I'm fairly sensitive to a sharp high end or analytical speaker. I also seem to consistently prefer the tone on a well executed soft dome tweeter. I will admit, the current Usher diamond tweeters are very impressive. But that's also just not the sound I care for. The Certaldos provide massive amounts of high end detail, but does so without over accentuating anything, or moving into the range of being hyper-realistic. Again, this smoothness and balance gives me the ability to listen for hours on end without fatigue. Yet it someone also brings enough detail to the mix to keep things exciting and has me regularly rediscovering my collection.

Now the midrange is the real star of the show here. The way these speakers (most Rosso speakers) handle vocals is simply captivating. These speakers really do make all genres of music enjoyable, but a strong vocal performance is what sticks with me. Some of the strongest examples I've come across so far are Johnny Cash - American IV, St. Vincent - MassEducation (the acoustic one), and Djelem Djelem (thanks again for the suggestion @jumpindick!).
Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
Discogs
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Comments

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 45,209
    Nicely done, thanks.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

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  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 17,518
    I've never been disappointed in the Rosso speakers I've had a chance to sit in front of.

    Very nice review Willy !!
  • SIHABSIHAB Posts: 1,813
    edited October 19
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,428
    Very nicely done. Later on, do you think you might add a sub? I would think a sealed sub set to 45 hz would integrate easily with them.
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  • maxwardmaxward Posts: 741
    Thank you for the thoughtful review. I’m going to have to listen to a pair of Rosso speakers sometime. Oh, I noticed two ads in the latest The Absolute Sound from Audiothesis, one for the Elba 2s. I’m not sure if they have been advertised in any major magazines.
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  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    erniejade wrote: »
    Very nicely done. Later on, do you think you might add a sub? I would think a sealed sub set to 45 hz would integrate easily with them.
    Honestly, I don't know. If I was in a bigger room I think I'd want one, but honestly it's a nice comfortable balance in my current room. I don't mind the laid back bass because it's so textured and well integrated.

    I'd rather focus on cables, power, etc to see what I can squeeze out of these before adding a sub. Yes, those things will ultimately cost more, but they'll also improve the full spectrum. Plus it opens the temptation to trying some higher end solid state options. I'd imagine if I upgraded cables and power supplies across the board I will likely see a noticeable impact in the bass region. I actually have a pair of Libtec speaker cables in the closet that I know brought more low end to the JBLs, so I could just try those again.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    maxward wrote: »
    Thank you for the thoughtful review. I’m going to have to listen to a pair of Rosso speakers sometime. Oh, I noticed two ads in the latest The Absolute Sound from Audiothesis, one for the Elba 2s. I’m not sure if they have been advertised in any major magazines.
    They are worth getting ears on if you can. I really feel like they've struck a nice balance with their sound.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,421
    Were you previously running Elba's or is this your first pair of Rosso?
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,421
    edited October 19
    The forum was having problems double post.
    Post edited by Nightfall on
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 4,975
    Nice thoughts and Thank You for taking the time to review.

    Now if I only knew someone who sold this brand...
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT - Parasound P6 - Parasound A21+ - Elac Adante AS-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u

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  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 11,544
    edited October 19
    joecoulson wrote: »
    Nice thoughts and Thank You for taking the time to review.

    Now if I only knew someone who sold this brand...

    I felt a Joe mama joke coming on....but it's no fun since you're name is uhhhh....Joe
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
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  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Were you previously running Elba's or is this your first pair of Rosso?
    I haven't owned the Elbas, but I haven heard them in multiple rooms with various amp combinations at Skip's place. This is my first set of Rossos that I've been able to bring home.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,421
    Congrats man, making big moves.
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 9,025
  • halohalo Posts: 5,598
    Glad you've found something that checks off most of the boxes. Sounds like you're close to getting them dialed in with placement and, perhaps, room treatments.

    I haven't used his setup methods but they may be helpful to you:
  • ThortonThorton Posts: 1,306
    Very nice review. I’ve always enjoyed listening to Skip’s Rosso set-ups at Axpona.

    We kind-of follow a similar test procedure when auditioning new speakers or equipment.
    “Yes, they are reveling, but not so clinical that poorly recorded music like Metallica sounds like utter garbage. (I test every speaker with Metallica before it can find a place in my home. If it ruins some of my favorite tunes, it ruins my fun.)”

    It’s great when well recorded material sounds even better but if Metallica – Master of Puppets sounds worse with any equipment I’m trying, it gets sold or shipped back.

    Enjoy your new speakers!
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Ethernet Filter: GigaFOILv4 with Keces P3 LPS
    Source: Roon via ethernet to DAC interface
    DAC: Bricasti M1SE
    Pre/Pro: Marantz AV8805
    Tube Preamp Buffer: Tortuga TPB.V1
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  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    halo wrote: »
    Glad you've found something that checks off most of the boxes. Sounds like you're close to getting them dialed in with placement and, perhaps, room treatments.

    I haven't used his setup methods but they may be helpful to you:
    I have seen this, and although I didn't follow it exactly I did use a lot of those basic principles and some of the estimated measurements.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • PSOVLSKPSOVLSK Posts: 4,320
    I’m considering moving from my Usher MD2’s to a pair of Elba II. Might have already made a move if not for about 5 fairly major unexpected expenses in the past month. BUT...I love everything about my MD2’s so it would be hard to part with them.

    Anyway, great review and enjoy your speakers!!!
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 5,505
    PSOVLSK wrote: »
    I’m considering moving from my Usher MD2’s to a pair of Elba II. Might have already made a move if not for about 5 fairly major unexpected expenses in the past month. BUT...I love everything about my MD2’s so it would be hard to part with them.

    Anyway, great review and enjoy your speakers!!!

    I don't think you would be disappointed in the least.

    My Silverlines were the speakers I swore I was never going to part with. But the Elba IIs took EVERYTHING I loved about the Silverlines and turned it up to 11.

    They just do so many things right.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 4,121
    What he said.
    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800,Kinki Studio EX-M1
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: L.K.S MH-DA004, Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI,
    Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkIII
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II
    Speaker Cables: Organic Audio Organic Reference 2, Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9,
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Argento Organic Reference 2, Argento Organic 2, Gabriel Gold Reckoning
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  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 3,119
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    PSOVLSK wrote: »
    I’m considering moving from my Usher MD2’s to a pair of Elba II. Might have already made a move if not for about 5 fairly major unexpected expenses in the past month. BUT...I love everything about my MD2’s so it would be hard to part with them.

    Anyway, great review and enjoy your speakers!!!

    I don't think you would be disappointed in the least.

    My Silverlines were the speakers I swore I was never going to part with. But the Elba IIs took EVERYTHING I loved about the Silverlines and turned it up to 11.

    They just do so many things right.

    Isn’t that equivalent to what is End Game Speakers? 😃
    And it is a nice feeling when we can say that! As confident Skip talked about these babies I was sure enticed myself! Congratulations to all that have speakers they feel are their Forever speakers!
    Great review no doubt!
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    It dawned on me that I probably should have called out in my review that I'm dealing with the Certaldo series 1 here. All the series 2 lines are a big jump forward, and I think the Elba 2 has a good chance of surpassing these Certaldo 1s. If you're hunting these out in the used market, make sure it's clear with version you're getting. Just some additional food for thought.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,421
    Wait there's a Certaldo V2 but the Pienza V2 is still not done yet?
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Wait there's a Certaldo V2 but the Pienza V2 is still not done yet?
    That appears to be so.
    https://rossofiorentino.com/certaldo/
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • indyhawgindyhawg Posts: 1,552
    Great Review. Congrats on the new speakers
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,421
    Have you had a chance to compare the Pienza to the Fiesole?
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Have you had a chance to compare the Pienza to the Fiesole?
    Never back to back, and I've only heard Pienza 1 and Fiesole 2. There is a BIG jump in detail. F2 digs much deeper than you'd think, and adding the super tweeter brings out loads of extra detail. The imaging really steps up to another level. The trade offs are you still need stands, maybe a touch less bass, and I remember in Skips larger room it seemed like it was taking a lot of power to pressurize the space. In the smaller room he had them in at LSAF it seemed to be less stress on the amp. So if you want the Fiesole in a larger room, the amp might be a factor. Or that might be where the Certaldo is a better fit. That's really one of the keys of working with a good dealer. I could totally see the Fiesole being a prefect fit for some rooms/systems, but the Certaldos in a different room. Same budget, but maybe not one size fits all.

    I think if someone was purchasing new, the Fiesole might be the better buy - assuming you have the amp and appropriate sized room for them. And you have to factor in that quality stands add to the total cost. If you're happy with the Pienza in your current room, I would guess you would probably be more happy with the Fiesole vs Certaldos in the same room. BUT that's really just a guess because I have not heard the Certaldo 2s. So take all the feed back with a big grain of salt since I haven't done Series 2 of both in an A/B or extended listening.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,504
    Excellent review.....thanks man.
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  • displaynamedisplayname Posts: 830
    Update
    Yesterday Skip came over for a couple hours to hang out and try a couple things. We tried some of the Star Sound points under the turntable and amp, as well as their record weight. (Spoiler: I was impressed) But most related to Certaldos he also brought over the Norma HS-IPA1 integrated amp. We wanted to see if bringing in some more power might change the bass response of the Certaldos in my room.

    For reference, my amp is a 20 watt tube amp, and the Norma is 75 watts into 8 ohms, 150 into 4 ohms. On the upside for me, the amp change didn't really increase bass output, so no need to rush to change that piece. The Duventi is feeding the Certaldos just fine for my space.

    So then came the next step, placement. We moved the speakers around pretty significantly. Pushed them much further into the room, probably close to 4 feet from the front wall, as well as almost right up to the front wall. We all also brought in some big pillows and blankets as makeshift treatments and bass traps. We did get the bass to pick up a small amount pushing them closer to the front wall, but at the expense of pretty much everything else. So we landed with the speakers pretty much right back where we started. What's the big takeaway here? My room is sucking up bass somewhere. Every room has its challenges, and now I know my biggest challenge will be addressing bass response.

    Eventually I'll sit down with some test tones and figure out where the big drop offs and cancelations are starting, and I'll progressively play with various things to address the issue. As always in audio, the adventures continue!
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
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