There is an easy-going side to their nature that coincides perfectly with the way the A 30 goes about its business. OK, so the bass is not the tightest, most punchy and dynamic or cleanly shaped, but it has a weight and presence that is in touch with the music and moves along with good flow and progression, never feeling exaggerated or overblown. The cabinet size merely allows the music to breathe with a balanced sense of size and scale. But it is the mid-band that is the real star of this show as there is a breadth of tonality and subtle colour shading here that moves the system way above its price. These paper cones give the music a completely different flavour than those constructed from more modern, high-tech materials. Sometimes in audio systems two and two can make five and this is the case here. Through the range of vocals, stringed and wind instruments this system is never less than delightful and can show amplifier/speaker combinations costing many times its price a thing or two when it comes to presence and the natural palette of tonal colours.
When I installed the Creek Destiny I found that the Celan 500 in some ways became the kind of speaker I had initially expected. The Creek is a very good solid-state design but successful music systems are carefully and considerately built and not just thrown together by plugging good individual components into each other. With the Creek the bass certainly had more sheer power and grip and went lower but it had become detached from the music. The mid was not as colourful but still good while the treble, although more dynamic, detailed and finely resolved also seemed somehow less integrated. As with all fine individual hi-fi components, it is absurdly easy to make these speakers sound very average. I have the highest regard for the Destiny, but it is out of place here. It is, in so many ways, the opposite of the Pure Sound and though it doesn’t make for a bad sound it certainly lacks the A 30’s special musical affinity with this speaker.
As a pair, the A 30 and the Celan 500 are a soulful combination with an approach and performance that centres on an appreciation of the music, the way it breathes and its ability to involve us through its flavours and beauty. Whilst real head-bangers (rock or classical) need not apply, it isn’t only built for string quartets either. It is at its best when dealing with acoustic instrumentation and the human voice as it is so wonderfully subtle and full of nuance, especially through the critical mid-band. There were times during the review when I could hardly believe that the speaker and amplifier, as a pair, were so reasonably priced. But you will need a quality source and cabling (which should go without saying). These days those don’t need to cost a fortune either, with Pure Sound’s own CD player bidding to establish a kind of benchmark system for the price.
The Heco Celan 500 possesses such a strong bond with the Pure Sound A 30 that increasingly I find myself considering them as a pair. If you are interested in either of them you really must make every effort to hear them together at some point. They are not for everybody and they might not be what you are used to, but together they make a powerful case for the paper cone.