We had already fallen in love with the Rebel3 back at CES earlier this year so we had very high expectations for the Cenya, the Rebel 3’s larger sibling. With similar proportions to the Rebel3, albeit in a larger cabinet, but lacking any sort of covering or grill panel we set the Cenya’s up in similar fashion to the Rebel3 – approximately 8′ apart and 3′ from the rear wall.
Our review equipment consisted of our source – the G4 Mac Mini (running Pure Music) feeding uncompressed files (both standard 16/44.1 through 24/192) to either a Berkely Alpha Dac/Alpha USB combo or the Wavelength Cosecant HS 24/192 USB Dac. Both dacs then fed signal via balanced cabling into the Nagra 300i 20wpc tube (300B) integrated amplifier.
Fit and Finish:
In our opinion the Penaudio Cenya is one of the most cleverly engineered and well executed monitor loudspeakers available at any price. In a market filled with automotive clearcoat and polyester finishes, we welcome the use of beautifull, natural wood tones over 19mm Finnish MDF. Speaking of which, our demo pair was finished in gorgeous satin walnut.
The Penaudio Cenya is a 2-way design with a nominal 4-ohm impedance. In addition to its 6-inch Seas Excel magnesium coned woofer, which gives the speaker weight and authority, the Cenya sports a Seas 20mm ferrofluid cooled textile dome tweeter which crosses at 4000hz. The reported frequency response (anechoic) +-3dB is 45-28000Hz, and in room 40-25000Hz. Other features include Jorma Design internal wiring and WBT binding posts.
Sound & Soundstage:
It’s common knowledge that most monitors image far better than floorstanding loudspeakers but the Cenya’s disappear altogether. The soundstage is naturally wide (not exaggerated or bloated) and recordings are presented with an accurate portrayal of the recorded space as well as the air in and around the musicians and instruments. However, it is important to note that while you get microdynamics, macrodynamics, and nuance – the Cenya is not an analytical speaker which presents recordings in such a fashion that your mind is constantly analzying the recording. Rather than placing it under a microscope, Cenya transports you into the music.
Adjectives such as natural, clean, open, and energetic come quickly to mind. Some reviews have mistakenly referred to this speaker as polite or calm but we found it to be an agile performer with speed and snap. What a glorious midrange as well. Luckily, Cenya is also not a one trick pony. This speaker excels at reproducing ALL types of music – not just female vocals and jazz quartets. I apologize for insulting most other high-end loudspeakers but very, very few speakers, in our opinion, can play everything well.
If I had but one sentence to convey the sonic signature of Cenya it would be that she sounds open and natural without being overly revealing. Once again, the Cenya does a perfect job of striking a balance between overly analytical and too laid back. It’s not too warm or too cold – it’s just right.
As is the case with the Rebel3, the Cenya has tremendous bass authority for its size. Even though our demo room could never be described as large, the Cenya was able to energize the room with powerful yet accurate bass. In fact, we have several larger loudspeakers in our demo room and the weight of the bass from Cenya was close to that from our $10,000 floorstanding Verity Rienzi system.
Because Cenya can make any instrument sound strong and full-bodied, we would caution would-be Cenya owners not to pocket load or boundary load the speaker. She’ll go low enough without needing to do so. Trust us! Yes, I know — we’ve all been led to believe that diminutive speakers need a little help from the room but if you want the best performance from Cenya, position her in such a way where you get as little interaction and reflection from the room as possible.
Cenya’s Seas textile dome tweeter is capable of producing very detailed high frequency information. Even the highest harmonic tones and nuances remain pleasantly detailed but, because it is a fabric soft dome, they are never bright or shrill. Such a wonderful trait yields a certain lusciousness to Cenya’s overall sound and you need not ever worry about listener fatigue.
When you combine the sum of it’s parts, engineering know-how, passion, and then sprinkle in a bit of magic what you get is a new reference for how all other 2-way monitors should sound. Suffice it to say, we wholeheartedly endorse this speaker and count our blessings that we are Washington State’s exclusive Penaudio dealer.
Type: 2-way, stand mounted, reflex loaded; Drive units: ¾”(20mm) ferrofluid cooled textile dome tweeter (Seas), 6”(145mm)magnesium coned midrange/bass (Seas Excel) with heavy copper rings above and below pole piece, radial reinforced surround; Cross-over: 4000Hz; Frequency range: anechoic response +-3dB 45-28000Hz, in room response 40-25000Hz; Sensitivity: 86dB/1m/2.83V; Nominal impedance: 4ohms; Recommended amplifier: 50+W; Dimensions (WxHxD): (163x280x315)mm; Weight: 8kg. Specialities: Jorma Design wiring, Seas custom / excel drivers, WBT 0730.12 (Signature platinum) pole screws, SCR polypropylene capacitors, Graditech air-core inductors, aluminium reflex pipe, custom made finnish birch plywood veneer 22mm/16mm solid plywood cabinet.
Penaudio Cenya, $4000/pair.