Rosso Fiorentino was a Florentine painter from the 16th Century. Rosso Fiorentino is also a Florentine loudspeaker manufacturer from the 21st Century. If you are expecting a critique of Rosso Fiorentino’s masterful 1521 oil-on-wood altarpiece ‘Deposition from the Cross’, you are almost certainly reading the wrong website: this review is about a pair of floorstanders.
The Certaldo is a slimline two-and-a-half-way design, with a 25mm silk dome tweeter accompanying a single 130mm composite fibreglass cone midrange and two of the same working as woofers. The internal wiring is all from van den Hul, while the silver-and-gold-over-copper terminals are Rosso Fiorentino’s own. Certaldo is the top end of the company’s third-in-line Prestige Series; more domestically-friendly, less demanding, and less expensive than the brand’s Flagship or Reference lines, but more uncompromising in design and execution than the Rosso Fiorentino Classic Series. Certaldo stands about a metre high on its plinth, which allows for the down-firing port (it is also rear-vented). This all makes for a loudspeaker that returns a claimed sensitivity of 87dB, and a nominal impedance of eight ohms with a five ohm minimum impedance. In other words, possibly very slightly below average sensitivity, but nothing too difficult for any decent amplifier to drive.
The enclosure is elegant and discreet, and that belies the amount of ‘clever’ going on under the skin. Where you might realistically expect a relatively normal MDF ‘box’, Rosso Fiorentino creates a clever composite design, with hollowed out high-density fibreboard side walls and insert panels mass loaded with marble chip on the inside, elegant coloured safety glass on the outer layers. Couple this with 5mm thick aluminium front panels, sophisticated viscoelastic elastomer internal damping arrangements, and steel tensioning bars, and this deceptively straightforward looking loudspeaker is in fact a complex piece of enclosure design. Speaker cabinets are not expected to be this inert at anywhere near the price, and this kind of attention to cabinet detail only comes through solid objective measurement and observational listening.
A significant part of the Rosso Fiorentino product execution is ‘la Sala del Rosso’: a purpose-built listening room designed not only to evaluate the company’s designs, but used as a live music event space. This, combined with a solid technical basis of development, means this comparatively new brand has garnered a reputation for good engineering backed up by good sonic performance.
That aforementioned reputation is more important than it might first seem because what is chronically lacking in the audio industry is good, solid, honest sounding products at prices that are affordable or attainable. The Certaldo fits that role perfectly – it’s an inherently ‘honest’ sounding speaker with a level of design and finish that is ‘honest’ value for the money. This honesty comes across by having a finely balanced performance across the kind of musical and sonic criteria favoured by most people.