DIPTYQUE DP160 & DP160-AB
An Artisanal Masterpiece of Acoustic Glory
The Diptyque Audio dp140 inaugurates a new generation of isodynamic speakers designed by Gilles Douziech and Eric Poix, for the most demanding music lovers.
It is composed of a 0,198 m2 bass / medium membrane operating according to Diptyque's patented PPBM* principle.
The TW116 ribbon tweeter is mounted in a decoupled panel made of Finnish birch-tree wood, contoured for a perfect dispersion of the high frequencies in space.
The filter located at the base of the wooden panel is made with very high quality components manufactured in France: air choke of large section, high end polypropylene capacitors with tin structure and non-inductive resistors.
Gilles Douziech and Eric Poix imagined this isodynamic panel to marry aesthetic refinement and musical emotions. The subtle blend of steel and birch-tree from Finland make it unique object that will never go out of style.
Listening to the Diptyque dp140 is a unique experience that will surprise you. From the first presentations of this model, the listeners were conquered by the transparency, the speed and the exceptional amplitude of the sound stage reproduced by this high-end speaker with its unique design.
isodynamic acoustic panel
treble cell 30 cm high, mid-bass cell 0.198 m 2
84 dB / 1 W / 1 m
40 Hz to 20 kHz
Recommended amplifier power
> 60 W
1425 x 485 x 42 mm
Choice of customization
160 RAL colors / Textile printed with your photos.
ABOUT OUR TECHNOLOGY
Passionate about quality sound reproduction for more than 30 years, we have listened to, compared and experienced all the speaker technologies existing on the market :
electrodynamics, high efficiency, electrostatic, ribbons in different forms, flat diaphragm speakers rigid… etc.
Each of these technologies have undeniable qualities, but we are convinced that the one that brings together the most advantages and allows music to be reproduced most naturally are isodynamic loudspeakers, also called Magnetostatic.
THE ADVANTAGES OF ISODYNAMIC TECHNOLOGY
Diffusion over a large area by plane wave, which allows for immersive listening without sound projection effect.
Dipole operation, on both sides of the speakers, to recreate the spatialization of the concert in your listening room.
The use of extremely thin mylar membranes (12µm) for high speed and no drag effect.
The same type of diaphragm used from bass to treble, everything works at the same speed which provides consistency in dynamic behavior across the spectrum.
No box behind the speaker; there is no "box sound" associated with the midrange buzz in the driver. The timbres of the voices and instruments are perfectly respected
Consistent, balanced and detailed listening even at low levels.
A regular impedance which does not represent a complex load on the amplifier.
High reliability over time, our speakers are not afraid of dust or humidity, they do not have a high voltage circuit.
EXCLUSIVE DIPTYQUE TECHNOLOGIES
The isodynamic technology well known to music lovers was developed in 1970 in the United States. Through our numerous tests and experiments, we have sought solutions to improve this technology and push back its limits, in particular for bass reproduction.
PPBM®: Push Pull Bipolar Magnet is an innovative patented architecture. The large section bipolar magnets, manufactured to specification, are located at the front and rear of the diaphragm. They make it possible to maintain the coil (aluminum tapes) in a constant magnetic field when the membrane moves, which is thus perfectly controlled. The bass is more dynamic and transient sounds are reproduced with precision. Listening to a grand piano is impressively realistic.
A Mechanical Sandwich Structure. Composed of the assembly of 3 different materials: MDF frame, fine felt and stamped sheets held in force by a mechanically welded steel frame. This structure is perfectly rigid and non-resonant, it is a mechanical reference which guarantees the absence of coloration and the respect of the timbres.
Proprietary ribbon tweeters. The ribbon is produced as an isodynamic cell (mylar film and aluminum coil). It moves in an intense magnetic field made from neodymium magnets. These tweeters operate over a wide frequency range and mate perfectly with isodynamic cells. A simple crossover (6 db per octave) allows a perfect fusion of the registers. The highs are soft, precise and spin high to give a sublime soundstage.
So, what are reviewers saying ?
HIGH QUALITY REVIEW EXTRACTS
Lite LIFESTYLE & TECHNIK / Germany
Volker Frech - 16 April, 2019
"This review is one of our favorites. It really covers all aspects extremely well" ... Atelier 13 Audio
Magnetostats, as a topology, have created a lot of excitement in the loudspeaker arena ... with their open, transparent and dynamic reproduction. But because of their relatively low sensitivity they are also mostly used for the higher frequencies alone.
Only a few manufacturers dare to extend the surface radiator principle to the entire sound transducer. The French manufacturer Diptyque Audio has specialized in exactly this - and with the Diptyque DP 140 is presenting a slim, elegant, four centimeter thick sound transducer which is a work of art.
So, the question on our minds was : does the Diprtyque magnetostat magic succeed in reproducing bass ? ... as you will read later on, there is indeed good news in this respect.
Are speakers works of art?
This is in fact the spirit in which the Diptyque Audio transducers were created : The project started shortly after the turn of the millennium as part of an exhibition of contemporary art on the subject of sound and photography. Acoustics expert Gilles Douziech was responsible for the sound part of the event - and he had an idea:
He wanted to present a flat loudspeaker in order to project the images from the exhibition onto it. With his companion Eric Poix, he has now developed a loudspeaker that offered the required area, was mechanically stable and at the same time met the high demands of the two sound aesthetes - voilà:
At the time, that "creation" was the prototype of what was to become the current isodynamic Diptyque loudspeakers line... following 17 years of development and "perfection" . Three models have grown out of this long "perfection phase" , and with the Diptyque DP140 we are evaluating the middle model in this test - let's take a closer look :
Paravan (German-speak for Screen) of Sound
We haven't seen such a graceful loudspeaker for a long time: The handcrafted Diptyque DP140 is reminiscent of a Paravan with its 140 x 50 centimeter surface and a housing depth of just four centimeters. This screen-like privacy screen is often very artistically designed and an expression of a refined way of life. So the association fits: The DP140 represents a refined sound culture. The black mid-low panel of the Diptyque DP140 is responsible for the Paravan appearance: a magnetostat system with an area of around 0.2 square meters works behind the metal protective grilles
Elegance ... with a touch of membrane
With the magnetostat, a thin membrane made of plastic oscillates, into which conductor tracks are embedded. At Diptyque, aluminum is applied to Mylar for this purpose, the entire membrane thickness - one should rather speak of "thin-ness" - is just 12 micrometers !
Accordingly, the extremely delicate structure weighs almost nothing. Because of this relative "masslessness", the membrane is able to vibrate extremely quickly. This is why such surface radiators can convert sound extremely dynamically and with accurate impulses. In addition, the membrane ideally moves evenly over its entire surface, hence the name isodynamic loudspeakers. This liveliness and accuracy results in an extremely light, open, transparent and spatial reproduction. On the other hand, such membranes are very fragile and therefore not particularly strong mechanically. That is why they are actually only used as tweeters. Diptyque, however, uses their magnetostat for the whole frequency range.
The mid-bass panel
The membrane of the mid-woofer is just 12 micrometers thick and has an area of just under 0.2 square meters. The sensitive sound transducer is protected at the front and back by a metal grille. A steel frame encloses the magnetostat system of the mid-bass driver and its protective grille. The French have developed a patented bipolar push-pull magnet system so that the isodynamic principle also works with the mids and basses.
This should also create a powerful bass, which is usually rather unconvincing with panel radiators. The mid-bass panel is surrounded by a metal frame. This avoids any discoloration of the sound that occurs with normal loudspeakers due to the housing in which the transducer does its work. This steel edging is now held in place by a strut made of Finnish birch plywood. This is an attractive mix of materials that underlines the uniqueness of this speaker. The strut has three tasks: In conjunction with its arched metal base, it ensures that the flat-panel loudspeaker stands securely.
Ribbon hybrid / The Tweeter
The tweeter is a blend of a magnetostat and a real ribbon tweeter, developed by Diptyque itself. In the case of a real ribbon, a thread-like membrane moves, which consists entirely of conductive material, while in the normal magnetostat a plastic surface with a conductive path oscillates. Diptyque created a hybrid of both types to allow a more homogeneous transition from the highs to the mids. Since all diaphragms of the Diptyque DP140 now work on the same principle and the tweeter diaphragm also consists of the same wafer-thin aluminum-Mylar composite as the mid-woofer, the sound conversion of all frequencies in the DP140 occurs homogeneously and at the same speed.
The tweeter is mounted on its own plate for acoustic decoupling, which is fitted into the birch plywood strut. A concave widening milled out of the wood ensures that the sound is guided on both sides of the radiation, i.e. both towards the front and towards the rear. This guarantees a perfect distribution of the high frequencies into the ambient space. This is of course our test room, and this is where we are now setting up the Diptyque DP140.
Construction and installation
So that the narrow loudspeakers stand securely, we first push the bent metal feet through the wooden struts and fix them with one screw each. A size 17 open-ended spanner is required for this. The screws should not be fully tightened right away, otherwise you will deprive yourself of the possibility of aligning the speakers slightly forwards or backwards. The two loudspeakers should be absolutely straight so that the sound-converting ribbons can vibrate without any inclination influences. It is therefore best to use a spirit level for alignment. We compensate for a possible lateral inclination of the Diptyque with the spikes that are located below the mid-bass panel. The included spike plates also help to compensate for the level.
We tested the speakers first with internal-positioned tweeters, then with external-positioned tweeters. Both set-up variants have their charm ... in the first case you achieve more focus, in the second case more openness. We chose the latter. You should definitely experiment with the distance to the wall, as surface radiators react more sensitively here than conventional loudspeakers.
When aligning to the listening position, we have found that a very slight angle is sufficient to achieve a stable and coherent spatial image. But it is also worth experimenting, as this topology will behave a little differently in every room. In a another position, we achieved more "openness". We choose the latter. You should definitely experiment with the distance to the wall, as surface radiators react more sensitively here than conventional loudspeakers.
Something more special: amplifiers and cables
Panels are sophisticated loudspeakers, they do not necessarily harmonize with every amplifier - regardless of their price class. They also have certain requirements in terms of performance because of their somewhat lower efficiency. The Diptyque DP140 has a relatively good value of 86 decibels, but according to the manufacturer's recommendation, it should be operated with an amplifier that delivers at least 60 watts. Choosing a very low-loss signal conductor is also recommended for cables.
Expert advice is therefore a must here, the Diptyque dealer knows which amplifiers and cables lead to a consistent reproduction. For our test we have chosen a combination with which this loudspeaker is presented at a number of HiFi trade fairs: We use the integrated Neukomm CPA 155S integrated amplifier (Euro 6,700) as an amp, it provides 160 watts at four ohms and 95 watts at eight ohms. The Diptyque DP140, which has an impedance of six ohms, is in this case fully supplied with the requisite power. The O2A Quintessence Ultime (Euro 2,900) is used as the speaker cable.
The Diptyque DP140 in action
The Neukomm CPA 155S integrated amplifier has proven to be a suitable partner for the Diptyque DP140. To play in at low volume, we inserted a CD that starts with the sound of a bell ringing -and while we're still standing at the rack and between the speakers, we're given a lesson in realism: The bells sound so real that we're convinced that the bell comes from the neighboring church tower.
This imaging power is an outstanding property of the DP140 that we experience in all the musical pieces that we hear with this loudspeaker. This applies first of all to Gabriel Fauré's famous “Pavane”, recorded by the Treya Quartet: the four musicians give a jazzy interpretation of this melancholy classical composition with trumpet, piano, bass and drums. An excellent new perspective - and with the Diptyque also an excellent listening pleasure: What fabulous spatiality and resolution!
The DP140 creates a clear, airy, light image. We have the feeling of being very, very close to the musical happenings, and being able to immerse ourselves in the performance like at a concert.
Fine dynamic finesse and richness of timbres
The very first bars in which the topic is introduced are a revelation: Drummer Gilbert Paeffgen plays a fast, complex rhythm figure on his ride cymbal, he finely varied the strength of the hits as well as the point on the cymbal. This fine dynamic finesse and the changing sound of the metal are superbly reproduced by the DP140, although the drum kit is, as usual, in the rear area of the imaginary stage. There is a wonderful liveliness in this reproduction, that applies to the entire percussion, which Paeffgen soon introduces very effectively: What he conjures up here on hi-hat, snare and bass drum is simply outstanding, and the DP140 manages to allows us to feel this fascination.
Also, with the richness of timbre of the piano played by Peter Waters, the Diptyque - here again - proves to be a good indicator of the quality of a loudspeaker. The word “abundance” came to mind, by we felt this may lead us on the wrong track when trying to describe what we were experiencing. Rather, we ultimately concluded that the DP140 delivered a refined, rather "svelte", very contoured sound, which we noted in the Kontra-sub-Kontra octave tones of the piano, but also with the double bass by Tony Overwater: Whilst this speaker presents really good "depth and presence", the Diptyque does not overload the room in any way.
Top class private concert
The imaging power of the DP 140 is particularly beneficial for all pieces with vocals. The American singer / songwriter Livingston Taylor presents us his version of the classic "Isn't She Lovely", he starts the song by whistling the melody. Again we are under the spell of this absolutely realistic rendition: Taylor stands in front of us puckering his lips and whistles at us ... his performance sounds completely natural and natural, simply present and lively. It stays that way when he immediately sings the song with his cozy-warm voice.
Taylor proves himself to be a gifted artist who knows all the tricks about how to use his voice effectively: light breathing on the first note, well-measured vibrato at the end of the syllable, increase and decrease of the volume of the voice - and the Diptyque reproduces every nuance of this performance. As the song progresses, Taylor is joined and supported by a second guitarist, a bassist and a percussionist - and we can't help leaning back further and further in the sofa, and just relaxing and listening to what feels like a very "private concert".
The DP140 then proves its sonic speed with the O-Zone Percussion Group and their legendary piece "Jazz Variants". This furious and varied percussion demonstration unfolds with incredible accuracy ... we have here a xylophone and a marimba, heretofore not heard with this level of precision and clarity. With the Diptyque, this entire piece is a festival of fine dynamics ... and with the drummer's breathtaking solo, the DP140 also shows us that it can actually get heavy-handed and "go on the offensive".
In Marla Glen's The Cost Of Freedom we then experience a wonderful "contouring" : The song is renowned first and foremost for the terrific vocals, and you'd think that Marla Glen's emotional roller coaster was made to showcase the excellence of Diptyque.
But this track also lives from the deep, pushing bass guitar. The DP140 delivers this bass, but without making the bass sound too broad. Here, too, the transducer shines with its refined sound, which gives us a special musical experience.
The Diptyque DP 140 is an excellent two-way magnetostat that inspires with all the properties you could want from a Planar transducer: It offers excellent spatial imaging, an open, transparent sound and a wonderfully agile-dynamic reproduction.
To this end, two uniquely-designed elements conjure up the magic : the tweeter, which is a blend of ribbon and magnetostat and which is embedded in the wooden strut, and the large mid-woofer that operates behind black grilles, with the patented bipolar push-pull magnet system that provides more powerful bass. As a result, the bass is a bit more powerful than usual, but still remains rather slim-contoured, as is typical for planars.
Care is required when setting up. Consult your dealer for advice on the choice of amplifier and cable. If everything is set up correctly, the Diptyque DP140 will reward the listener with a very natural reproduction.
This loudspeaker creates the illusion of being very close to real music. This pays off especially with good studio recordings and concert recordings. But the DP140 is not just a joy to listen to, it is also an eye-pleaser. Due to its refined finish and workmanship, the elegant design and the attractive combination of light wood and black metal, the DP140 proves to be a highly distinctive addition to any "ambience".
Overall Rating: 96/100
Sound (60%) - 97
In use (20%) - 96
Fit-Finish-Features (20%) - 95
Attributed Class : Reference Class
Price / Performance Ratio: Appropriate
VUmetre / France
International Edition #1 - November, 2020
Without a drum or trumpet, Montauban’s young manufacturer, Diptyque Audio, is
starting to make a name for itself all over the world. Gilles Douziech and Eric Poix
developed and patented in 2017 a principle of diffusion combining isodynamic,
planarand dipole panel design principles .
From this creation, which takes up and improves on a design that appeared at the
end of the 1960s, a range of three loudspeakers was born, whose future promises to
be brilliant. The model we have tested for you in this edition, the DP140, is positioned
in the middle of the current range.
The history of Diptyque Audio is closely linked to the meeting of its two founders. Both have been passionate about high fidelity for years. During his studies, Gilles met Marcel Rochet - aka Mr Mulidine - who passed on some essential notions of acoustics and filtering to him. He made a career with the greats of electronics, then taught and began to make his own ribbon loudspeakers. He meets Eric whose outstanding mechanical and metalworking skills will be fundamental in the creation of the Diptyque speakers.
Some loudspeaker manufacturers have made themselves famous in the past thanks to achievements based on direct diffusion principles other than the electrodynamic loudspeaker. The most historical and famous is probably the English Quad and its ESL57 wideband electrostatic panels. The panel has since evolved and is still in production. Others such as Martin Logan (hybrid electrostatics), Apogée (wideband aluminium ribbon, now manufactured by Clarisys Audio) or Magnepan (isodynamics) were subsequently created and are also still active.
The concept patented by Diptyque Audio is called PPBM (push-pull bipolar magnet) and is a major evolution of the Magneplanar technology.
Here the large surface membrane - flat, rectangular, without resonance box and very lightweight in Mylar covered with a Greek conductor - is placed in front of a magnetic circuit of the same dimensions. Essentially we are in the realm of the design principles of the wide band electrodynamic loudspeaker, but in this case we are free of a certain number of the related constraints ... we now have a large emission surface, high speed over the entire bandwidth and suppression of the box sound.
However, Diptyque still confronted the typical issues common to isodynamics ...namely a situation where the directivity is pronounced with the increase in frequency, and where the sensitivity remains rather low. Diptyque's solution is one that has sought to improve on the isodynamic principles by placing magnets on both sides of the membrane, which strengthens the bass and accelerates the transient response ... and by adding a tweeter of the same technology.
The height and width of the model give an overview of its emissive surface which is close to 0.2 m2. The main membrane made of 12 micron thick Mylar film is covered with a 3 mm thick conductive aluminium film labyrinth. After being uniformly stretched and fixed on a sandwich frame of medium and felt, it is precisely placed between two perforated grids, each supporting a set of magnets. The assembly is then firmly held in a rigid steel frame.
The tweeter was offset laterally, and asymmetrically left-right on each pair of speakers, within a machined bell primer at the top of a thick vertical blade decoupled from multi-ply wood. Protected by a grid, it operates from 1600 Hz through a first-order cut-off slope filter. The two neodymium magnets are positioned on either side of the Mylar tape.
The DP140 is "based" on a decoupling point and on the two ends of a steel «parenthesis». All the components used in the manufacture of Diptych panels in general, and in the DP140 in particular, come either from France, such as the medium of the structure supporting Mylar, polypropylene and SCR tin capacitors, large section copper air inductors and non-inductive resistances of the filter, or from the European Community such as the magnets.
The loudspeakers are entirely manufactured in the manufacturer’s workshops, which also controls the entire production chain of the speakers.
For music lovers - and for a small fee - Diptyque Audio also offers you the opportunity to "dress" your panels either with a textile dress made by Christine Chauchefoin, interior designer, from the fabric collection of the Parisian house Houlès, or with a personalized sublimation print made without any harmful product for your health.
THE SET UP
Unlike many panels that require very precise placement, Diptychs are quite conciliatory in terms of installation. Of course, they must be positioned in such a way as to enjoy the wonderful panorama they know how to reproduce ... so, not too close to the side walls all the same...
But the proximity to the rear wall is not as problematic. In some cases this can even provide a slight reinforcement of the low octaves that we will exploit to our advantage.
Frankly, the DP140, like their little sisters, the DP77s, already tested in our publication, are extremely easy to live with. Ditto for the compatibility of a wide range of amplification. Tube or transistor, everything works. And quantity (i.e. Watts) is not an imperative. With them, only quality prevails. And we can repeat this observation with different sources and cables. Good, good, good, good...
IMPEDANCE CURVE AS A FUNCTION OF FREQUENCY
The impedance is very linear and is not uneven at the
bottom of the spectrum (unlike electrostatic technology)
which will avoid significant current variations for the amplifier.
After hours and hours of listening to boxes, the arrival of the DP140s provides us with a great breath of fresh air. It must be admitted that to witness the total emancipation of sound from its reproducers is very exciting. And it is all the more enjoyable because the emissive surface of two DP140s is infinitely larger than that of any pair of columns, even those with lot of woofers. Here, a large membrane produced in wide band, a push of fantastic homogeneity.
The result is a reproduction of incredible consistency. Especially on acoustic music. Alfred Deller on Purcell’s «O solitude», Bach’s cantatas, the duet Chilly Gonzales / Jarvis Cocker, Rameau’s Symphonie Imaginaire, everything goes perfectly, in a large piece, at a realistic level, without any trace of hardness, brilliance or offset. The feeling of space is of course sovereign, correlated to a totally exhilarating feeling of freedom. You can even move around the room and keep a real imprint of the performers’ placement. In terms of perception of space and ventilation, these DP140s are sovereign, and we hardly see any classical electrodynamic loudspeakers challenging them for any form of supremacy on the subject.
In terms of tonal balance, the great Diptyques are just as successful. The key word is «natural». No style effect, no accentuated whistles, no drooling basses, everything is beautifully integrated and measured. The different registers are clearly articulated, and the notion of «rupture» is non-existent. The tones are therefore very realistic, never outraged, never watered down. On a female voice and a «simple» piano, a formidable test if ever there was one, the message was in no way attenuated, delivered in its entirety with an exceptional breadth and dynamic capacity. On a very busy passage in the bass, we have the extension, the level, and if the DP140 can sometimes give the impression of subtly marking the step, it is in terms of physical impact, and never on the realism of the message.
But in a room, even a spacious one, there is no sense of lack. If necessary, a slightly more structured amplifier will easily reinforce these low shimmering waves. Because in terms of modulating the sound message, whatever it may be, the DP140s are simply unique and therefore precious, and we hope they are highly coveted.
Here is a speaker test that was not difficult; a real moment of musical happiness. The DP140 are absolutely successful speakers. We are all the more proud of this young French brand, as it is competing in a niche in electro-acoustics, that of isodynamic panels, totally abandoned by international manufacturers, with the exception of the American Magnepan. And in all sincerity, Diptyque has nothing to be ashamed of when compared to its distant cousin on the other side of the Atlantic. On the contrary, the succession is assured !
An Artisanal Masterpiece of Acoustic Glory