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Just before the shipment from Laguna Niguel in America arrived via US post, I recapitulated the open questions of the last page to my company contact Wei Chang [left]. Here's what I learnt: "Loudspeaker sensitivity measurements are uniformly generated from a 1-meter distance and on axis. Since most speaker systems are designed as point sources, their energy decay is inversely proportional to the square of distance. Our proprietary self-biased electrostatic flat-panel driver on the other hand effectively conserves its energy within a general listening distance/position. We collected data from pairing Sopranino with speaker sensitivity ratings from below 85dB up to 95dB (Dynaudio Evidence Master 92dB, TAD CR-1 86dB, Dali Euphonia MS5 89dB, TAD R1 90dB, Chord LS5/12A 83dB, Quad 57 82dB and Audio Note AN-E SEC Silver 95dB to name a few) and found them all to match equally well on placement and electrical adjustments.

"Generally speaking, a higher-order filter gives the impression of better frequency-magnitude response and less interference with the main speaker's response. However phase response is very complex and difficult to manage. With Sopranino it could become problematic when matching any particular main speaker. According to our research, phase coherence is actually far more important than magnitude flatness. Our conclusion has proven true in many applications throughout our R&D process. We cannot say for certain that there won't be phase or magnitude overlap issues between an off-the-shelf super tweeter like Sopranino and any competently designed/built dspeaker system. Nevertheless years of extensive and rigorous testing ensure Sopranino's uncanny adaptability by following a few principles of our own:

"First Sopranino's main purpose as super tweeter is to compensate for frequently diluted HF energy content above generally 10kHz. It's not designed to entirely replace or purposely diminish existing tweeters between 3-5kHz. No matter what technology existing tweeters exploit, above 10kHz their directivity gets narrow and their output weak. Sopranino provides the necessary flexibility to reproduce lost detail critical to lifelike music reproduction. Second, unlike traditional ribbon or dome tweeters, electrostatic drivers provide excellent transient and phase response. What limits their high-frequency response is parasitic capacitance, not mechanical mass. Sopranino by itself is colorless and genuinely capable of reflecting any source. Finally as a standalone design Sopranino has the flexibility to position itself relative to the main speakers. At such high frequencies a minor offset of just 10mm may greatly affect the phase fusion between Sopranino and main speaker. That's why a super tweeter like Sopranino gives added placement freedom.

"To use Sopranino with floorstanders which lack a flat top, it can easily be placed on a separate stand positioned slightly to the outside of the main speaker with its plane parallel to that of the main front baffle. This also applies to speakers which exceed the normal height of 1.4 - 1.6m (see Dynaudio Evidence Master setup.) For normal-sized ESLs like a Quad or MartinLogan, said stand can be positioned behind the speaker to allow Sopranino to hover right above the center of the tower with its baffle flush with the speaker's baffle. A frequent question is how Sopranino performs with main speakers whose tweeters aren't on top. Data collected from a high number of rigorous auditions over the years conclude that Sopranino performs just as well with different driver layout geometries than when paired with traditional tweeter-on-top towers (see Dali Euphonia MS5 setup.) Consumers and dealers already use a number of well-made sensibly designed stands to integrate Sopranino into their systems. Nevertheless numerous inquiries we’ve received over the past months have us nearing completion of our own line of high-grade aesthetically matching and acoustically transparent adjustable lightweight speaker stands."

"It's a proven fact that our patented SBESL™ possesses significant advantages over traditional ESL by eliminating their active bias circuitry. Our solution however comes at the cost of limited panel dimensions for our lower bias voltage and smaller gap between stators and diaphragm. This is why we've only exploited it for super tweeter applications thus far. Regarding pricing and with all due respect, MartinLogan makes good hybrid ESL speakers at price points more widely accessible to the general public by streamlining their design and production to very efficient levels. Having said that, compared with earlier or even modern Quad systems it's very clear that ML does compromise performance for the sake of efficiency. A good example would be Quad's complicated delay line and circular panel for emulating a point source.

"For 7+ years our R&D team took on the challenge of developing our unique technology to its full potential. In the process we repeatedly altered and finally patented our stator materials and their structural design, developed new spacer materials, completely redesigned the driver circuits, introduced a special custom transformer and added a one-of-a-kind protection circuit. Only then did we proceed to begin the rigorous testing to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

"We don't justify Sopranino's MSRP based on practices of exploiting deficiencies or disadvantages of other speaker manufacturers. We simply want to emphasize the fact that for all our embedded technological breakthroughs—patented self-polarizing non-conductive diaphragm etc.—the 100% handcrafted drivers and premium parts utilized and the extreme delicacy created (rigid crystal-like pure white glass stand, die-cast horn, professional industrial design, impeccable packaging), our one-of-a-kind super tweeter with otherworldly performance does come at a price. We are very confident that over time Sopranino will prove its value both acoustically and aesthetically to high-end audio aficionados everywhere." My takeaway from the tech explanation? There's no free lunch. ENIGMA's self-biased charge produces insufficient voltage to generate high output and already requires tighter-than-usual stator spacing to minimize these limits. Until this technology can hold higher voltages without falling back on the ubiquitous external supplies, we'll probably not see anything other than tweeters with it.