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Hsu Research CCB-8 Bookshelf Speaker Preview

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Summary

  • Product Name: CCB-8 Bookshelf Speaker
  • Manufacturer: HSU Research
  • Review Date: December 26, 2016 11:00
  • MSRP: $369/ea + $48 S/H Satin Black; $699/pr + $60 S/H Satin Black; $449/ea + $48 S/H Rosenut; $849/ea + $60 S/H Rosenut
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

  • Woofer: Cast frame 8˝ polypropylene cone woofer with treated cloth surround, flat polycotton spider and high temperature 2˝ edge wound copper clad aluminum voice coil
  • Tweeter: Concentrically mounted using the woofer pole piece and cone as constant directivity horn. Neodymium magnet, ferrofluid cooled. Aluminum diaphragm.
  • Crossover: Computer aided time aligned design
  • Grille: Magnetically attached metal grille.
  • Frequency Response: 50 - 20 kHz +/- 2 dB, flattest at 15 degrees off axis (designed for listening at 15 degrees off axis, speaker axes to cross in front of listener)
  • Sensitivity: 94 dB/1m/2.83V rms, half space
  • Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Minimum Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Enclosure Type: Vented
  • Enclosure Material: 3/4˝ MDF
  • Dimensions: 15˝ H x 10.5˝ W x 12˝ D
  • Net Weight: 22 lbs
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 10 - 400 W rms

Executive Overview

Update 8/7/17: Read our Full Review of the HSU CCB-8 Bookshelf Speakers with listening tests and measurements!

The 2016 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, held in early October, proved to be an important show for Hsu Research. The company unveiled a new speaker and two new subwoofers. It has been eight years since Hsu released a new speaker, and as well-received as their HB-1 mk2 speaker has been, it was time for Hsu to up the ante. Hsu introduced the new CCB-8, a coaxial speaker. For those who don’t know, coaxial speakers are speakers where the individual drivers emit sound from the same point. The CCB-8 uses a sensitive aluminum dome tweeter mounted behind an 8” woofer. The tweeter is hidden by the woofer’s acoustically transparent dustcap. The CCB-8 uses a generously-sized ported cabinet. This, combined with the high-sensitivity tweeter and large woofer, makes for a nicely efficient speaker at 94 dB/2.83v half space, or 91 dB anechoic. This means you don't need a lot of power for them to play LOUDLY in your room compared to many conventional 2-way designs in this size and price class.

HsuRMAF-setup.jpg

The first thing to notice about the CCB-8s is the striking yellow cone. Speaker designer and company owner Dr. Poh Ser Hsu commented that he was trying to recapture the aesthetic of one of his favorite full range drivers, the Corel Beta series from the 1970’s and 1980’s. For those who find the look a bit aggressive, there is a magnetically attached grille that covers the cone.

CCB-8 Satin BlackR.jpg  CCB-8 DriverC.jpg

The letters in the name ‘CCB-8’ stand for ‘Constant directivity Coaxial Bookshelf’. The use of a coaxial driver design in the CCB-8 solves a host of problems that can occur in traditional loudspeaker designs. Among the problems this approach solves is the issue of lobing, where the sound waves of drivers that are mounted at different points on the speaker can conflict with each other thereby causing interference patterns. Lobing patterns usually manifest themselves as deep nulls which occur in off-axis responses. Coaxial speakers solve this by radiating the entire sound frequency spectrum from the same spatial point, so the sound waves generated by the different drivers are perfectly synchronized with each other and do not create interference patterns or lobing effects. This can make for a much more cohesive sound everywhere around the speaker, and consequently, everywhere in the room. 

CCB-8 RosenutC.jpgLobing can be severe in the plane where the drivers are aligned, so it can be quite prominent in the vertical axis of normal speakers since the drivers are lined up vertically. However, it can also be severe in the horizontal axis of traditional center speakers. For great sound in typical rooms, the vertical response of a speaker only needs a good response in a narrow window of angle outside of the direct axis due to normal room acoustics. So having a rocky off-axis vertical response is usually not a big deal but the speaker will need a uniform and smooth response on the horizontal axis.  This is why so many center speakers fall short which is especially troubling since the center speaker is responsible for dialogue in modern movie and television sound mixes. A nasty lobing pattern can diminish dialogue intelligibility on a center speaker’s direct axis and it can really have a big impact off-axis, and not even that far off-axis. The CCB-8 is intended to be used as a center speaker as well as left and right mains. The lobing problems of traditional center speakers should not be present in this design, and that would make these speakers a good choice for folks who have had problems understanding dialogue in typical center speakers.

The ‘constant directivity’ in the CCB-8 name means that the frequency response should be tightly controlled off-axis so that there is no serious dips or peaks outside of a controlled angle of the speaker’s sound. To meet a definition of constant directivity, the speaker should have a uniform off-axis response and not have a really wide dispersion. If this is accomplished and there are no other major errors in a constant directivity design, the speaker should have exceptional imaging. In order to achieve this, Hsu Research brought in the eminent speaker designer Don Keele to help design the pole piece and woofer shape. The pole piece and woofer act as a constant directivity horn for the tweeter, so this part of the speaker is critical for the success of the design.

When Can I Get Mine?

The CCB-8 will come in a satin black and Rosenut finish. Pricing will be $699 a pair for satin black and $849 for Rosenut with $60 for shipping. They can be purchased as singles as well; $369 for satin black and $449 for Rosenut, with $48 shipping. They are covered by a 7 year warranty and have a 30 day return window for a full refund. Availability is expected to be around late January. Given the pedigree of the CCB-8s and the positive reception they received at RMAF, we are looking forward to hearing them in person. With some luck, we may get a pair for a full review in the future, so stay tuned to Audioholics for more news about the Hsu Research CCB-8s. 

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About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Pogre posts on April 27, 2017 14:17
I just can't get past the look of a 2 way coaxial bookshelf speaker, though I'm sure if I listened to these or something from Kef I might change my mind…
slipperybidness posts on April 27, 2017 12:54
oaklawner, post: 1184821, member: 82527
I just attended my first AXPONA held in Chicago 4/21 to 4/23/17. After spending most of the day visiting demo rooms that were demonstrating systems with electronics, speakers, turntables and exotic cables which totaled up to a cost of 10K to over 100K, I came upon the HSU demo room. Dr. Hsu had his speakers CCB-8 hooked up to an Onkyo AVR with common lamp wire and a CD player as source. I have to say that while some of the high end rooms impressed, some did not, especially considering their prohibitive cost. So now I'm in the HSU room and I can't believe the sound I'm hearing. I sit and listen to a couple of songs and I don't want to leave. I listen to comments from other show goers sitting around me and they are saying what I am thinking. One guy asks Dr. Hsu if he used the wire from the room lamps to wire his speakers. Another guy asks if the AVR is providing the crossover to the VTF1MK3 sub. We all seem very pleased by the musicality. So to my ears, this under 2K setup was what I would consider to be some of the best sounds I heard all day. No gimmicks, no exotics, no crazy unaffordable price, just honest, listenable sound.
Yup, it's amazing what a good, honest engineer can do!
oaklawner posts on April 27, 2017 12:45
gene, post: 1163675, member: 4348
It has been awhile since Hsu Research has released a new speaker, so their announcement of the new CCB-8 bookshelf speaker at the 2016 RMAF audio show came as a welcome surprise. The CCB-8 is a coaxial speaker design that uses the pole piece and cone shape of its 8" woofer as a constant directivity horn for its high-sensitivity tweeter. This design promises to rectify many of the problems inherent in conventional loudspeakers, especially concerning the center speaker.

Read our preview to see if the Hsu CCB-8 is the cure for your loudspeaker ailments.



Read: Hsu Research CCB-8 Bookshelf Speaker Preview
I just attended my first AXPONA held in Chicago 4/21 to 4/23/17. After spending most of the day visiting demo rooms that were demonstrating systems with electronics, speakers, turntables and exotic cables which totaled up to a cost of 10K to over 100K, I came upon the HSU demo room. Dr. Hsu had his speakers CCB-8 hooked up to an Onkyo AVR with common lamp wire and a CD player as source. I have to say that while some of the high end rooms impressed, some did not, especially considering their prohibitive cost. So now I'm in the HSU room and I can't believe the sound I'm hearing. I sit and listen to a couple of songs and I don't want to leave. I listen to comments from other show goers sitting around me and they are saying what I am thinking. One guy asks Dr. Hsu if he used the wire from the room lamps to wire his speakers. Another guy asks if the AVR is providing the crossover to the VTF1MK3 sub. We all seem very pleased by the musicality. So to my ears, this under 2K setup was what I would consider to be some of the best sounds I heard all day. No gimmicks, no exotics, no crazy unaffordable price, just honest, listenable sound.
shadyJ posts on April 26, 2017 03:29
MrBoat, post: 1184514, member: 80705
I guess this is the same idea as the parts express version?
Yup.
MrBoat posts on April 26, 2017 02:33
shadyJ, post: 1163791, member: 20472
You mostly see this type of design in pro-audio where the pole piece and woofer are used as a wave-guide, like so. I believe Tannoy uses similar designs for their home audio speakers. It isn't new, but it can be tricky to pull off for a hi-fi speaker. Dr. Hsu and Don Keele is a hell of a team up though, so I have a good feeling about these.

The KEF concentric designs are quite different, but, of course, their design approach addresses many of the same problems.

I guess this is the same idea as the parts express version?
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