Cornered Audio Ci Series
Text:/ Christopher Holder
You could say this company has cornered the market. (Bet they’ve not heard that joke before.) If any other audio outfit does loudspeakers designed specifically to fit into room corners and cornices, I haven’t come across it. Cornered Audio is a Danish company. As we all know, Danes like things to look good. And with local component manufacturers like Scan-Speak, Vifa, Dynaudio and B&O (I’m sure there are others), Danes clearly have a passion for what sounds good as well.
That said, I can’t think of dozens of commercial AV manufacturers from Denmark. So prior to looking into Cornered Audio I did have questions regarding how well this particular company addressed the nuts ’n’ bolts, prosaic demands of the installer.
i FOR INSTALL
Relax, the Ci Range is contractor friendly. I had the pleasure of pulling all three models out of their packaging for a test run.
Ease of installation is the prime concern from the onset. After all, Cornered Audio raison d’être is to blend in and all-but disappear; to not be the surfacemount loudspeaker that pokes out distressingly from the wall, getting Danish design gurus hot under their (turtleneck) collars.
To sit totally flush into a corner, you need some clever design features. The cable terminals sit on the front. You simply pop off the grille and feed the cable through a hole from the back. Obviously, do this prior to installing the loudspeaker. Everything you need to fix the loudspeaker to the wall is included, including a template sheet for directing your drill. There’s also a slider mounting system for the larger of the two models that makes life easier for the contractor.
Once on the wall or in the cornice, it looks like it’s part of the ‘furniture’. The only giveaway is the speaker cable. Cornered Audio has thought about that too. You can choose to use special Cornered Audio 2mm cable that’s formed to run into and along the cornice or corner of your room. Yes, it’s pointy on one side.
The Ci series features ABS cabinets, IP65 certification and 100V mode (on the CiV versions). The IP rating does open up the breadth of applications, indoor and out. Hospitality is an obvious one. But also retail and commercial (meeting rooms etc).
I had some fun test driving the three Ci Series models (note: Cornered Audio recommend running in these speakers for 30 hours or so). They’re very lightweight — presumably to assist in the installation and to take as much weight off the Gyprock as possible. The enclosures are unported as well. I say all this to preface my observation that the Ci range doesn’t pack much of a low-frequency punch. They’re best used with a sub. That said, once you install them into the corner or cornice of the room you get the benefit of some LF summation which helps beef up the sound. Regardless, there’s a lot of clarity and detail in the sound. This is what you want for this kind of application — background music, in the main.
The Ci2 are perfect for restaurants or retail. They’re no larger than a couple of slices of watermelon and weigh only 750g. With a frequency range of 140Hz to 20kHz no one’s saying they magically reproduce deep bass, but they’re no lightweights either (quoted max SPL: 105dB).
The Ci4 and Ci5, up the ante and could run without a subwoofer when background audio can happily stay in the background, or if you’re using these speakers in applications where vocal frequencies are most critical.
At 8 Ohms, you can be frugal with your amp channel usage: run three Ci units on one channel fairly easily.
There are some interesting configuration options that you can explore including mounting two enclosures together for 180° coverage.
If I had any fears that these Danes couldn’t really be serious about the practicalities of installed audio, they were unfounded. It appears that every aspect of installation and field serviceability have been considered.
What’s more, once installed, you have a background music or vocal loudspeaker system that sounds good and without question occupies a much lower profile than any other surfacemount offering. Good news for spaces where installing in-ceiling speakers isn’t practical or desirable.
Being Danish, they’ve got to be priced like Bang & Olufsen’s marketing budget, right? Not so. The Ci Series, as you can see below, are priced reasonably… probably less than the architect’s MacBook satchel.