Country of Origin


Model 100

Reviewer: Terry London
Sources: Mhdt Orchid DAC, Jay's Audio MkII CD transport
Preamplifiers: Linear Tube Audio Reference, Coda Technologies 07x
Power amplifiers: Coda N°.8, Pass Labs XA-25, Triode Lab SET 2A3, Threshold S/550e
Loudspeaker: Tekton Design Ulfberht on Sistrum Apprentice Platforms,  2 x Martin Logan Depth I subwoofers
Cables: Sablon Audio Corona S/PDIF digital cable, full loom of Black Cat Coppertone
Power delivery: Dignity Audio PPT-1500 transformer, Audio Archon power cords
Equipment rack: Krolo Design reference, Krolo isolation devices
Review component: $12'500/pr

Over the last seven years, I have reviewed three other NSMT Loudspeaker models designed and built in North Carolina by Erol Ricketts, founder and CEO. All were excellent performers at their different price points. Besides innovative designs, high level of craftsmanship, good internal parts, drivers and enclosure materials, they all had in common a beautiful very organic purity of timbre, wonderful imaging and powerful accurate bass. Mr. Ricketts is an expert at proprietary transmission lines to produce precise taut extended bass from relatively small floorstanders. When I learnt about his Model 100, my past very positive experiences with his other models created strong desire to review his magnum opus.

The demo pair came in formaldehyde-free certified green natural birch ply applied with good woodworking skills.

Mr. Ricketts refers to the Model 100 as a "hybrid acoustic suspension monitor and active bandpass system with time-coherent driver array".  Dimensions are 44" high with a 12.5" square footprint. Each speaker weights 82 pounds. A two-inch thick plinth provides a stable base and holds four spikes. The small enclosure with 1"soft-dome tweeter on the top is 11.5" deep.

The main front baffle slants 2° to time align its 8" carbon-fiber mid/woofer with the tweeter. This driver runs wide open at the bottom and covers 35Hz to 4'750Hz with a 1st-order low-pass. The tweeter enters on a matching 1st-order hi-pass at 4'700Hz. Provided felt pads slip on the front/sides of the tweeter enclosure to damp diffraction from the lower cabinet.

Internally a downfiring 10" paper woofer vents out on the front baffle's base. This bass coupler runs off a built-in 200-watt amplifier with adjustable low-pass, phase and volume. The active bass is a bandpass type for variable reinforcement from 20-200Hz.

On the back are a pair of Superior Electric BP30-2BR-B five–way gold-plated binding posts. Lower down is the back plate of the internal amplifier with the controls, IEC power inlet and on/off switch. The Model 100's sensitivity is rated at 91dB for its passive section. Bandwidth is 27Hz to 20kHz ±3.5dB with a minimum impedance of 4Ω. NSMT recommend an amplifier between 10 to 200 watts. I sent Mr. Ricketts six questions to learn more.

I already reviewed three of your speakers in the past seven years. They all had an organic very natural presentation of timbres, tonality and color. Is this based on using natural fiber or soft-dome transducers? If my facts are straight, you don't use any metallic drivers?

"I am a fan of first-order crossovers because I believe continuity and overlap in the driver response create the cohesive sound of a full-range driver without its drawbacks. To use 1st-order slopes, the drivers must have good response across their passband. I don't use metallic drivers because they generally have horrible response patterns to require high-order crossovers to filter out. I use carbon-fiber drivers because they have cone rigidity akin to metal cones but their amplitude response is more benign. I don't use hard domes because I find soft dome tweeters generally more natural."