Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref, AURALiC Vega
Preamplifier: Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000/5000 and Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €980/pr Magnesium, €5'800/pr Diamond
Valentine's Day. It's true. It really was 'love is in the air' February 14th when I wrote this before having dinner with my wife. You might say that the subject of super sweeties was in the very air of Western Eire.
Franck Tchang had simply replaced a letter. He'd asked whether I might enjoy testing his super tweeties available with a magnesium-alloy dome (upper right, 90dB, 15kHz/18kHz high-pass, 35kHz reach) or pure not plated diamond dome (upper left, 91dB, same high-pass filters, 75kHz). Finish options were Maple or Walnut. Those match Franck's omnipolar César loudspeaker which I was already booked to review.
Premium César cabinets aboard a container ship were still another 3 weeks out from docking on French soil. Afterwards Franck would populate them with drive units and filters in his Paris atelier. But he already had inventory on these super tweeters. They can crown César as shown. To shorten my wait for the speakers, would the add-on tweeters amuse me in the interim?
They can obviously make kings out of loudspeakers other than César. Which will be today's story. How well would these top hats with inverted 360° reflectors mate and blend with our own?
I could do 85dB Albedo Audio Aptica, 87dB German Physiks HRS-120, 89dB Audio Physic Codex, 91dB Kroma Mimí, 93dB Cube Audio Nenuphar and ~98dB/16Ω Zu Druid VI. I could juxtapose them against Sopranino, the monopole electret electrostatic super tweeter of EnigmAcoustic's Mythology monitor in Ivette's studio.
In the olden days of Western Electric movie houses, 60Hz – 15kHz was the going bandwidth to be considered full-range sound. Today the mantra is 20 to 20 because it mirrors the accepted range of human hearing. Whilst few acoustic instruments plumb the depths beneath 40Hz, synths can even cross the barrier of 20 cycles per second. And modern music plus movie sound effects often do exploit the so-called first octave to justify high-performance subwoofers or speakers with sufficiently capable woofers.
The opposite extreme of the high treble meanwhile seems dubious at first when a 50-year old man who cares enough about premium hifi and has the discretionary funds to indulge in real exotica might no longer hear beyond 15kHz, period. What actual instruments eclipse his reach with a perfectly ordinary tweeter? What about digital brick-wall filters at 22kHz? Obviously you and I can both read. As such we've come across articles and research papers like this which attempt to show how and why we can perceive beyond 20'000 cycles. But let's leave that to the scientists.
From amplifier ownership, I'm perfectly convinced. Exploded bandwidth well beyond 10 x the limit of human hearing has audible benefits. Transformer-coupled valve amps 3dB down at 20kHz sound demonstrably slower, hooded and rather less resolved. Is it their lack of treble phase shift which gives ultra-bandwidth amps that advantage? Is that also why super tweeters can make audible improvements? Or is it a matter of dispersion pattern to linearize the so-called power response? If so, Franck's decision to offer omnipolar super tweeters was most clever. That said, let's agree to not chase hard explanations. Let's agree to just focus on what can be personally experienced.
After all, Valentine's Day isn't about thinking but feeling. It's about experiencing, not theorizing. It's about celebrating, not worrying.
Hello Super Tweety. I found this cartoon draft on the tangled interwebs. I can't make out the artist's signature for a proper credit other than the original mouse-over of thetrickz and this listing. His light-hearted imagery is simply too good to miss reminding us. High-performance hifi is first and foremost about having fun. If a super tweeter adds spaciousness, air, gloss and can enhance our perception of recorded ambiance; if we happen to enjoy this effect… why worry whether it's a special effect versus the absolute truth? Once a hifi exceeds ordinary appliance status, it instead reflects an owner's aural sensibilities as a very personalized escape machine into a deeper musical illusion. Now anything which enhances this function—to make for a grander suspension of disbelief, a more awesome trip, a deeper time-out from a mundane working day—is permitted and welcome.
Now one may augment ordinary very directional tweeters with omnipolar super tweeters from new brand Avantages Audio.
That's French for enjoying advantages; even if the audiophile police calls 'em unfair.
Pourquoi pas? Why not?
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