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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ bookshelf speakers

Ciarry Audio

Manufacturer: CIARRY
Price (when reviewed): PLN 12,900/pair

Al. KEN 36 lok. 112B
02-797 Warszawa ⸜ POLSKA


Provided for test by: CIARRY


images by „High Fidelity” | Ciarry

No 232

September 1, 2023


Warsaw-based Ciarry company specializes in manufacturing high-performance loudspeakers. It was established in 2016 by JACK BAREJKA and started with open-back columns. The C8 model belongs to a new series of speakers with classic enclosures. We are first to test it.

HE MANUFACTURER'S INTERNET WEBSITE, right next to their contact information, features the company's motto: “High Fidelity Dipole Speakers”. For that is how the company started, with dipole speakers. As its designer told us on the occasion of the KG-5040 model test, his idea was to prepare something that would differ from typical solutions (test → HERE ⸜ PL). Since the company started with vintage techniques, the transition to a dipole form – that is, a design without an enclosure, only with a wide front panel, where the speakers radiate forward and backward – was a natural consequence of choosing one of the paths along which speaker technology developed in the 1930s-40s.

However, the market has its own ideas about what we should like. And although outside of Poland, mainly in Asia, designs like the KG-5040 are especially respected and thought to be interesting, the domestic market is dominated by classic solutions – classic for the last decades of the last century and today, i.e., cuboid enclosures ventilated with a bass-reflex outlet. This is also what the two speakers of the new "C" series look like. So, in the description of the tested model, the manufacturer says: "CIARRY C8 is a classic 2-way speaker". (more → HERE, accessed: 18.07.2023).

Looking at the C8 model, however, one can't help but notice that the designer has succeeded in smuggling techniques that he had “grown up with” in it, ones that have also made his designs such an interesting proposition. For while the enclosure is absolutely "mainstream," perhaps a bit larger than usual, the woofer is not like that anymore, just like the tweeter load.


| A few simple words with…

owner, constructor

THE IDEA FOR A SMALL TWO-WAY COLUMN was born out of discussions,common plans with the Egg-Shell company, manufacturer of tube amplifiers. The goal was to create a set of speakers and an amplifier that would be offered as a set. From the very beginning, these were to be bookshelf speakers, monitors of a much smaller size than our reference dipoles.

We were able to present the prototype solution at the AVS 2019. Joint listening and comments from listeners provided a basis for verifying assumptions and making improvements. Though further cooperation between the two brands was disrupted by the COVID pandemic, we were still able to complete the speaker project on our part. Currently, the C8 is a strong part of our offer, addressed in particular to people who use smaller listening rooms.

The Ciarra C8 speaker, unlike the KG5040 and KG4030 models, is a very common representative of a two-way column vented with a bass-reflex opening. In our design, the role of the tweeter is played by a classic dome with a soft diaphragm made, in this case, from a material reinforced with a polymer layer. In addition, the coil in this design is stabilized and cooled with ferrofluid, providing faithful music reproduction at higher power values.

This speaker is from the SEAS company range and is a very successful design. An element from the world of professional solutions has been used as the low-midrange loudspeaker. It is an 8-inch diameter loudspeaker with a paper diaphragm and an upper rigid suspension made of woven polyvinyl-coated material. The design provides smooth and refined sound with an extended operating frequency of up to 5 kHz.

On the design side, the C8 is distinguished precisely by the use of an 8-inch speaker in a relatively small enclosure. Such a solution is relatively rare on the market. The C8 stylistically resembles other models in Ciarra Audio's lineup by having the tweeter mounted on the back of the front wall, in a slot with a characteristic straight cutter at a 45-degree angle, creating some sort of a tube. JB


THE CIARRY AUDIO BRAND WAS SET UP in 2016. The first model were the company's reference speakers with the KG5040 symbol and a dipole open design. In 2018, a smaller model with the KG4030 symbol was added to the range, also in a dipole arrangement. In 2019-2021, two more models followed. This time it was the customers who said what they wanted, and so two columns in a bass-reflex enclosure were created: a bookshelf speaker (C8) and a floorstanding speaker (C8x2). As the manufacturer declares, they now want to "stabilize the company's portfolio on these four models and focus on optimizing production and sales development".

"The Ciarry C8 is a classic 2-way speaker with a bass-reflex opening located on the rear panel"– as we have already said, this is how the manufacturer describes it. Its "classiness" lies in the fact that they are simply a bit larger than usual bookshelf speakers, in a rectangular case measuring 440 x 250 x 340 mm, covered with gray paint. The design has typical features for this category, that is, nominal impedance of 8 Ω, sensitivity of 89 dB and frequency response of 50-25,000 Hz (data from the manufacturer, frequency response without specified decreases).

However, one can see that this is not yet another bookshelf speaker. The woofer has a paper diaphragm on a rigid suspension, a solution known from the days when speakers were mounted in open baffles. Today it is still used in professional systems,thus providing high sensitivity, but sometimes also by manufacturers offering “domestic” solutions – mostly by JBL (more → HERE). As for Polish manufacturers, what comes to my mind are mainly Closer Acoustics (more → HERE) and Avatar Audio designs (more → HERE).

Speakers in the C8 are mounted in a different way than usual. The tweeter with a silk reinforced dome is mounted on the inside, while the woofer is mounted on the outside. Placing the speakers on different planes has made it much easier to, according to the manufacturer, properly phase the speakers. Allowing the dome inside the enclosure forced a short tube-like cone in front of it.

The speakers are quite large, and that's because the manufacturer has used a large, 20-cm woofer in them. It seems to be crucial for Ciarra, because its diameter ϕ (8") is part of the name of both models. We don't know what kind of manufacture it is, but it is known that the idea was to make the design sound as large as possible, resembling what we get from floorstanding speakers. As we read:

With such enclosure dimensions, this is a very rare solution. This speaker plays evenly and can go very low without losing volume. The musical message is natural and smooth. The sound is very well filled and has a timbre that gives full enjoyment and satisfaction. Three-dimensional action takes place on a wide stage placed behind the line of speakers. The CIARRY C8s are as precise as they need to be to place individual instruments perfectly. The C8s play with great sound and give you full satisfaction from listening to music. (op. cit.)


˻ THE WAY WE LISTENED ˺ The Ciarra C8 speakers were tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system. In this case, I used both the amplifier I use every day, consisting of an Ayon Audio Spheris III tube preamplifier, the Soulution 710 solid-state power amplifier, as well as the Leben CS-600X amp. They were connected to the Soulution 710 by a Siltech Triple Crown cable, and to the Leben by a Crystal Cable Art Series da Vinci. The sound source was an Ayon Audio S-10 II-T transport connected via three BNC cables to the converter section of an Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player.

Based on the listening session, the speakers need a lot of power, but the amp needn’t be too powerful. The speakers were placed 230 cm from the listening spot and 230 cm from each other, measuring from their vertical axis, slightly closer together than the Harbeth M40.1 speakers which normally stand there. They were 90 cm from the rear wall, also from their axis and top edge. The speakers were turned directly onto the listening spot.

The distance between the speakers and their leveling were determined with the use of the Bosch PLR 50 C meter. More information on setting up speakers can be found in the article Mikrodostrajanie. Czyli ustawiamy głośniki (Eng. Micro-setting, i.e., we are setting up speakers), HIGH FIDELITY № 177, January 1st 2019, → HERE. More on HF listening room acoustics in Pomieszczenie odsłuchowe “High Fidelity” w oczach Mariusza Zielmachowicza (Eng. “High Fidelity listening room in the eyes of Mariusz Zielmachowicz”, HIGH FIDELITY № 189, January 1st 2020, → HERE.

» ALBUMS USED IN THE TEST ⸜ a selection

⸜ PRIYA DARSHINI, Periphery, Chesky Records JD450, AIFF 24/192 (2020); review → HERE.
⸜ MARVIN GAYE, Let's Get It On, Tamla | Motown/UMG Recordings B0000935-36, DSF (DSD), rip from SACD (1973/2003).
⸜ KARI BREMNES, Og Så Kom Resten Av Livet, Kirkelig Kulturverksted, FLAC 24/96 (2012).
⸜ THE DOORS, Waiting For The Sun, Analogue Productions CAPP 74024 SA, DSF (DSD), rip from SACD (1968/2013).
⸜ NORAH JONES, Come Away With Me, Blue Note, FLAC 24/192 (2002/2012).
⸜ HANIA RANI, Home, Gondwana Records, WAV 24/96 (2020); review → HERE.


PRIYA DARSHINI RECORDED HER ALBUM Periphery using solutions developed by Chesky Records. Nicholas Prout, sound engineer at Hirsch Center in Brooklyn, was the person responsible for sound. The album was recorded in a way specific for the American label. The “specificity” lies in capturing sound using as few microphones as possible, placed at one location. Recordings are made without corrections or edition.

In the case of Periphery it was a stereophonic ribbon microphone in Blumlein configuration, aided by a pair of omnidirectional condenser microphones positioned behind and higher than the stereo ribbon, so that Hirsch Center reverb could be added or subtracted where needed. Signal from the microphones was sent to a Mytek Brooklyn A/D converter via a Crystal Cable microphone cable. The recording was made in Pro Tools 32/192, and the album won a Grammy Award for the "Best New Age Album" in 2021.

The sound of this CD, played through the Ciarra C8 speakers, was larger than average. When a track starts, you can only hear two instruments: a flageolet-played cello in the left channel and a dulcimer, a rare instrument, in the right channel. And, above all, there is strong room noise underneath everything. Both instruments were brilliantly "visible" thanks to their large body and natural "presence". Although the manufacturer says that the C8s can play like this, these are manufacturer's declarations, and they cannot be taken for granted. Here I heard exactly what Jacek Barejko wrote about.

The Polish speakers have also excelled at rendering the large acoustics of Hirsch Center interior, but when it was needed, i.e., when a vocal, located exactly quite close opposite us, came in, they pressed it down, stabilized its size and showed its edges. It was a very interesting experience, because, on the one hand, the stage ran far deep, it was quite wide, even if it did not go beyond the extremities of the columns, but, on the other hand, it was compact.

It seems it was possible thanks to transferring energy recorded during the process, not only in the case of Periphery, i.e., on a digital, but also on an analog medium. For MARVIN GAYE's Let's Get It On album, released in 1973 and recorded on classic multitrack magnetic tape, was shown in an equally vivid way. It was with it that I heard that the C8s are not designs that go particularly low on bass. It was interesting because that's how a large volume of sound is built. Here it must have come, I see no other possibility, from the excellent energy transfer.

And this is a rare thing, lost in multi-speaker designs with elaborate crossovers in the name of bandwidth and impedance equalization. The Polish speakers don't play lightly or sound "thin", that's not the point. When I played E du nord from the album Og Så Kom Resten Av Livet by KARI BREMNES, I obtained strong and full sound. This is also a derivative of sound orderliness and purity, for this is how these designs sound. They are very resolving and detailed, yet somehow "analog," so to speak.

I perceived it that way because their timbre focuses on around the midrange. This, again, should not promote the qualities mentioned above, because if the sound is detailed, then also strong at the top of the bandwidth, right? At least that's the expectation, such are stereotypes. Except that the C8s are not stereotypical designs. Therefore, even though in the recording Waiting for the Sun by THE DOORS Morrison's vocal was warm, strong and in the foreground, all the details of the recording were clear.

A rare feature that results from everything that I have written about is a very nice and relaxing musical message that is also full of information, which is what all of this is probably about. And this is, in my opinion, the shortest review of Ciarra loudspeakers. NORAH JONES from the album Come Away With Me, played from FLAC 24/192 files, had a sensual voice, and Adam Levy's electric guitar stretched and resonated nicely. The artist's piano was shown closer and one could hear that the microphones stood really close to the strings.

For this is yet another feature of these designs – sensitivity to sound matter, also called differentiation. Yes, everything here is smooth, there is no nervousness, and the midrange is most important. The sound is not particularly weighted down, but yet it seems complete. But, above all, with these speakers you can hear what this sound is born of, that is, technical details, reverberations, acoustics, extra-musical information. Unlike speakers with emphasized treble, the C8s do it without brightening or sharpening the sound which remains silky.


WHEN, AT THE VERY END, I played Buka from HANIA RANI’s album Home, I felt as if a window opened in front of me, giving me access to the room where the artist recorded the piano. Recorded almost without artificial reverb, with wide-ranging sounds modified in the peripherals, it sounded very convincing through the C8s. This is interesting, because, after all, these are not speakers that play as linearly as conventional designs.

This is because their main strength lies in the fact that they transmit energy in a way that translates into exceptional sound integrity. There is no dense filling of sound here, and the "background" is not tangible. The message is built from a lot of small pieces of information that add up to something bigger. Maybe that's why one listens to music with these speakers in such comfort – because we are not forced into anything.

A perfectly deep soundstage with clear planes and instruments completes the picture. These are speakers that are very, very pleasant to listen to, easily driven by tube amplifiers.


THE C8 LOUDSPEAKERS FROM THE POLISH CIARRY COMPANY have classic proportions. Until recently, I would have said that they are slightly larger than the average for this type of products – they measure 440 x 250 x 340 mm, but recently more and more two-way monitors look similar – for example, the MoFi Electronics Sourcepoint 10 (test → HERE).

These are two-way floorstanding speakers with a bass-reflex enclosure. Their wider-than-usual front panel has been made necessary by the use of a large 200-mm woofer-midrange speaker. The entire unit is made of MDF boards, internally reinforced with a crossbar, varnished in a matte-black color. The interior is dampened with sponge having a characteristic pattern of large wedges.

The tweeter is a classic 25-mm soft dome from the Norwegian company SEAS. Its mounting, however, is more complicated than usual. This is because instead of from the front, it is attached from the back, which is not easy to do. The designer's idea was to better integrate it in phase with the larger speaker. Since there is still a thick front panel in front of it, the outlet has the shape of a short tube. A side, but a pleasant effect of this method of mounting is the lack of visible screws.

Things are slightly different with the second speaker. Having a large diameter ϕ 200 mm (8”), it is a “pro” industry driver. It has an uncoated paper diaphragm and a rigid, not rubber top suspension. Shaped like an accordion, it is characteristic for designs used in home systems until the late 1960s, but is still seen in professional systems today.

The polyvinyl-coated “accordion” makes the membrane behave differently than in an ordinary speaker – it responds faster to impulses, the suspension has less hysteresis (that is, forward and backward movements cause similar mechanical changes), and not much tilt is needed to obtain the required sound intensity. Its basket is stamped from sheet metal, and the magnet looks very decent.

The crossover has been assembled by hand using the point-to-point method, the most expensive but also the best one, as it eliminates the printed circuit board. The components are placed on an additional plywood board. There we find polypropylene and electrolytic capacitors, as well as core coils. Signal to the speakers is sent via cables that look like products from the Swedish Supra company. And if so, it's an inspiration derived from cables from the 1930s and 1940s, as it's tin-coated braided copper. The single speaker terminals are gold-plated and come from Taiwan. The terminals are mounted in holes that go through the entire thickness of the cabinet. The nameplate is made of plastic and serves an aesthetic and protective function.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Type: 2-way
Enclosure: bass-reflex
• 200 mm – low-midrange speaker
• 25 mm – tweeter
Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
Sensitivity: 89 dB
Frequency range: 50-25,000 Hz
Rated power (RMS/peak): 150/250 W
Speaker terminals: single
Dimensions (H x W x D): 440 x 250 x 340 mm
Weight: 12 kg/unit


Reference system 2022

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC