Cleer Crescent wireless speaker review: Compelling sound and stylish good looks

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Cleer has made quite a name for itself in high-quality, high-value headphones, such as the noise-cancelling Flow II I reviewed in 2020. But the company also makes wireless speakers, including the flagship Crescent, which was unveiled at CES 2021.

When I first saw the Crescent during an online briefing, I was intrigued by its unique design and the promise of some pretty advanced technology. Now that I’ve spent some time listening to it, I’m happy to say its compelling sound lives up to its stylish good looks.


The Crescent’s most obvious feature is its namesake crescent shape with a Midcentury Modern vibe—no simple rectilinear box here! It’s fairly large, measuring 26.0 x 4.7 x 7.2 inches (WxHxD), and it weighs in at a hefty 12.3 pounds. The build quality is top-notch, with a handcrafted, champagne-colored, stainless-steel grille covering most of the surface.

cleer crescent dramatic Cleer

The Crescent cuts a dashing figure. In this shot, you can see the power/volume indicator LEDs along the bottom.

Behind that grille are eight forward-facing, 1.6-inch full-range drivers in a curved line array, and two rear-facing, 3.3-inch woofers with two rear-facing ports. The smaller drivers are each powered with 8 watts, while each woofer gets 25W, for a total of 114 WRMS from the built-in Class D amps. According to Cleer, “Unwanted sonic resonance is eliminated thanks to a glass-reinforced substructure and geometrically vaulted design.”

The frequency response is specified from 55Hz to 20kHz (-6 dB) with a THD <1% for the electronics. Cleer touts the speaker’s ability to reproduce high-resolution audio up to 24 bits/48kHz and support for FLAC and Apple Lossless as well as WMA and MP3 audio formats. But since the frequency response does not exceed 20kHz, I find that claim to be of dubious value. The maximum sound pressure level is said to be 90dB with a pink-noise input measured at 1 meter.

The linear driver array and powerful DSP support advanced beamforming, allowing for flexible placement and listening positions with three sound modes: Stereo Widening, 3D, and Room Fill. As the names clearly indicate, Stereo Widening mode is designed to present a wide stereo sound stage, while 3D mode is said to surround the listener with three-dimensional audio regardless of wall locations or reflections. Room Fill mode is intended to present a large sweet spot that sounds similar to listeners anywhere in the room—in other words, a party mode.

cleer crescent x ray Cleer

Peering beneath the stainless-steel grille, you can see eight drivers in a curved line array facing forward and two woofers and ports facing rearward. The line array allows sophisticated beam-steering to create the different sound modes.

The Crescent is a wireless wonder that supports Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay 2. Its Bluetooth capabilities are quite basic, with support for the A2DP and AVRCP profiles and SBC codec, which has a maximum bitrate of 345 Kbps, though 200 Kbps is more common. It offers no support for aptX, AAC, or any other advanced Bluetooth codecs.

So, it’s best performance is clearly via Chromecast and AirPlay 2, which transmit music on your home wireless network at 2.4 or 5 GHz with its Wi-Fi 5 client adapter. Supported codecs in this case include FLAC, ALAC, WMA, and MP3 as well as uncompressed PCM. AirPlay 2 can convey PCM audio up to 24/44.1 (2.1 Mbps) as well as ALAC, AAC, and MP3, while Chromecast supports PCM up to 24/96 (4.6 Gbps) as well as FLAC, AAC, MP3, Opus, Vorbis, and WebM.

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