atelier 13 audio
THE SOPRANINO SUPER-TWEETER
Utilizing our patented SBESL™ (Self-Biased Electrostatic) technology, Sopranino is a groundbreaking product. As add-on super tweeter Sopranino brings the magic of electrostatic performance to essentially any full-range loudspeaker system, capturing air, texture, focus, and inner detail that you otherwise would not have known were there. Its ability to retrieve ambience and to reproduce music with a true listen-through quality simply must be heard to be believed.
Unlike the conventional approach to electrostatic design, which requires the inconvenience of external bias voltage (and connection to an AC wall socket), Sopranino derives its polarizing voltage in a proprietary manner from the signal itself. This results in ease of use, and more easily brings electrostatic technology, long considered the holy grail for its transparency and resolution, to virtually any high-end system.
Sopranino extends high frequency response to over 40kHz and operates via totally passive connection, with selectable 8k, 10k, or 12kHz crossover points, all of which further contributes to its ease of implementation. Sopranino’s diaphragm is an ultra-thin polyester film membrane which operates by static attraction (as opposed to voice coils and magnets), with a fraction of the mass of conventional drivers. Its ultra low moving mass contributes to its frequency extension, but also results in lightning quick transient response for realistic reproduction of a drum’s rim shots, the snap of a plucked guitar string, or a piano’s hammering action--with all of the immediacy of being there.
Sopranino’s patented SBESL™ technology also forms the technical cornerstone for the Mythology M1 Hybrid Electrostatic Mini-Monitor and Dharma D1000 Hybrid Electrostatic Headphone. All three of these products are receiving accolades from every corner of the high-end audio community--for cutting edge electrostatic technology and excellent sound quality.
ENIGMAcoustics SOPRANINO 1
SPECIFICATIONS - SOPRANINO 1 & 2
Nominal impedance 4 ohm
Sensitivity (1m/2.83V) 90dB with 0/-3dB switch
Crossover frequency 8/10/12 kHz
Crossover slope -12dB/oct.
Frequency response 8 - 40kHz (+/- 3dB)
Recommended input power 50W
Dimensions / inches W 7.1 x H 7.60 x D 8.2
Dimensions / mm W 181 x H 193 x D 207
Weight (Net/Shipping) 6 lb./ 27 lbs -- (2.7Kg / 12.3 Kg)
SOPRANINO 1 - CRYSTAL ENCLOSURE
$4,500 / pair Special $4,250 / pair
SOPRANINO 2 - ALUMINUM ENCLOSURE
$3,500 / pair Special $3,290 / pair
ENIGMAcoustics SOPRANINO 2
Customer Observations & Experience
Enigmacoustics Sopranino and TakeT Batpro2
BRUCE BISENZ – Sound & Recording Veteran / California
Bruce’s System Description
7.1 system. 2 each Sopraninos L/C/R/SS in a specific array to support concert hall ambience.
Three mode system: L/R mixing mastering (No Sopraninos), HT and Concert Hall.
L/R B&W 802 D3, HTM2 D3 Cntr, 802 D2 rear Surround
2 pair Niles (770/870) side surround(hi mount) in Bi & Monopole
10 AR 1W woofers for L/C/R 50Hz down. Two Paradigm Sub 15s for the .1 Sub channel.
Bryston 3X 28B cubed for L/C/R. Two Bryston 4B3 amps for surrounds
2/3 Primare i30/32 receivers to drive Sopraninos
Two Burmester 948 power conditioners (each side of the line).
Direct to panel 30 Amp 10 Gauge Wire. Extensive additional power support.
Datasat RS20i backed up to 4 Weiss DACs.
Weiss EQ1 program EQ, Weiss DNA1/K -Stereo Ambiance retrieval.
Lot and lots of other goodies including Synergistic Research gear. Audio cables self made :
All balanced from unobtanium ‘60s aero space stranded SOLID silver wire Teflon insulation.
Nakamichi CT TT with 4 plug in tone arms.
Digital RIAA EQ (Weiss EQ1), Weiss ADC2 A to D, and pick up specific EQ.
4/5 Behringer DEQ2496 (digital section only) for ...
... 7.1 program EQ (transition to HT and Concert Hall).
Considering adding Sopraninos to rear surround.
Bruce’s Feedback on Enigmacoustics Sopranino & Taket Barpro2
I previously described the SOP. The BatPro 2 is equally mysterious. It has a largish, apparent, non symmetrical radiation element. It doesn’t recover ambiance like a Sopranino.
It beams highs over a distance to provide directionally within a sound Field. It enhances the nature of delicate instruments and voices. Together both units are synergistic.
The economics are such that anyone who cannot afford a SOP will enjoy a Bat Pro 2. However, anyone who can afford a SOP will benefit from the addition of a Bat Pro 2.
Indeed, I recommend that you make a package of both BatPro 2 and SOPs as an Atelier 13 “Special.”
(WILL DO) ... Sopranino 2 + BatPro 2 Bundle Price : $ 2,999 ! (18% off)
Also cast about for a description other than “Tweeter” because people think they are going to get some kind of a [slightly better] dome radiator tweeter. So why bother?
Also describe the effect, not the mechanism because the mechanism appears to the “uninitiated” to be voodoo acoustics. No one, or very few will believe the mechanism.
Advertise the result that’s what people are buying. And remember, if it works with my old ears it will work with most anyone.
Mr. Tweeter, (...Bruce calls me that now :=))
As previously described: The Enigmacoustics Sopranino acts in a unique way to recover ambience. It does this by virtue of its broad source (up to 20X the area of a typical dome tweeter) such that there is a wider and more natural image.
When properly installed, the sound field envelops and saturates the pinnae. This allows for added realism and grace, even to other than high frequencies. (Pinnae: external part of the ear in humans)
When the goal is Opera or Concert Hall realism, then the use of multiple pairs of Sopraninos can establish realistic, enveloping, sound fields which support appropriate acoustics ... so vital to realism and reduced listener fatigue.
I have played my system to many well traveled (*) opera lovers who, uninterested in HiFi sets, are enraptured with the realism and musicality that the Sopraninos recreate.
Indeed, upon the visit of Enigmacoustics Taiwanese engineers to my music room, one wept when he heard the opening notes of Van Clyburn’s Rachmaninoff.
Again, the Sopraninos are not “Tweeters.” [Bruce prefers to refer to them as Ambience enhancers]
Bat Pro2s, however, are tweeters, or more aptly Super Tweeters, and they do something
important but different than Sopraninos.
Sincerely, Bruce Bisenz
(*) Literally World Travelers intimately familiar with the acoustics of the World’s most famous Opera houses on many continents.
The immortal Solti/Culshaw recording of Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungen from Blue Ray (@ 24 bits 48kHz).
There’s not the near/medium field direct impression I had in my bedroom since the throw of the big system is 12’.
I have these little suckers [BATPRO2s] running wide open paralleled with the SOPs. The Center mini tweeters are in series so that should/might yield the same level as one unit at 100 dB but with a wider stage.
The voices are clearer/smoother. The massed brass is more discrete and the image is larger too. When the orchestra is at full tilt you can hear the flutes punch through it all so very well.
Overall, there’s the impression of additional definition but not necessarily just in the extreme highs. This is in some ways analogous to the SOPs but the magic is not done by ambience.
Instead, the Sops seem to be synergistically supported by these new tweeters. This is not a massive effect but it is endearing and musical.
Certainly a fine product and that after 10’ of listening. Tomorrow I’ll hookup another pair of tiny tweeters to the side SOPs. But it sure won’t get worse that’s for sure.
Damn but all the singing voices are just better now! This is, of course, what Opera fiends will kill for. “Leb Wohl” the big finish of Die Walkure. Wotan sings over his beloved Wish Maiden.
Can’t turn it off. Hypnotic for the extra musical content in this material that I know so very well.
No question, with the Batpro2 there’s more Wotan there. Waiting for the flutes in the Magic Fire Music.
Finally, the definitive parameter - more defined acoustic space. Whew!
PAUL REALE – Composer / California
➢ https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/paul-reale-cme-presents-piano-celebration-vol-2 ➢ https://www.naxos.com/person/Paul_Reale/58355.htm
➢ https://www.youtube.com/watch v=OF0V8YBCprM&list=OLAK5uy_nGwZfGDzBinaT4jBgOK9I1HqJOO4Bye8U
Paul’s System Description
The two main speakers are Sound Lab M-1 PX's with special backplates (better caps and resistors), driven by custom 600 Watt hybrid amps, built by Stephen Sank.
The surround channels are Monitor Audio Golds, powered by a Myriad (British amp).
All the electronics are on dedicated, shielded circuits which are controlled by devices ordinarily used to stabilize the power for electron microscopes.
The Sound Labs are bolted to the foundation for stability.
Preamp is by MBL (not with their terrible phono stage).
I am using an old phono stage from Threshold with their special power supply - I still like it.
Surround channels are driven by an experimental Audio Research unit, which they decided not to sell to the public
Paul’s Feedback on Enigmacoustics Sopranino & Taket Barpro2
On the Sopranino :
I used some of my own recordings but wound up testing with a DSD recording of Stravinsky's Firebird. The most obvious thing is the increased energy in tricky attack like the pluck of a harp in the orchestra or the first split second when the mallet hit timpani, or any string pizzacatos.
The Sops are so fast that this information is just not available on any speakers, including first class electrostatics like my Sound Lab M-1 PX's. I found that the middle setting, and the 0 db setting work best. Where I have read that people use a little toe in, I preferred the SOPs to be straight ahead and about 40" from the floor ... I am certainly glad I purchased these little gems.
Later comment :
From my headphones, the Rubanoides (Paul is referring to my favorite reference speakers) seem to be very clean and honest. I don't know whether they could fill a gigantic listening room like mine (75 ft. long).
What is interesting to me in my room is that the Sopraninos are helpful to full range electrostatics and planars.
If you would like some CDs of my music, I will send them on, if you give me some kind of address.
(Paul sent me 4 CDs ! ...and I loved these)
Further listening :
Listening to the new setup, I suddenly realized why recorded violins sound harsh. If you don't get the first few milliseconds of the bow on the string ... which is provided by the SOPs ... it is like splicing off the initial parts of the attack. I now really appreciate why adding HF's with the ENIGMAcoustics Sopranino subtracts or eliminates, rather than adds to the harshness ... a very good selling point.
I’m thinking now of using two Sopraninos in series on each channel, thus bringing the nominal impedance to 8 ohms and converting what is a point source - perhaps the only shortcoming in the unit- to a line source. At some point I would like to try this.
(And a month later, Paul did just that !)
BTW, Good news: Robert Baird of Stereophile has accepted my 2-piano CD for a review.
Paul orders the second pair of Sopraninos :
Thanks for your kind words about my music. I have been on a fierce campaign against mainstream modernism and the evanescent novelty that accompanies it.
I think that I will take your offer of 15% off for my second pair of SOPs, plus some of your special wire to use as jumpers.
As for the TAKET Batpro2's: let me look into this --- maybe at a later time. Placement is so critical with super tweeters, and I would like to get the double pair of SOPs right, first.
Interestingly enough, some other dealers, and one in particular who sells Sound Lab, totally pooped on the idea on any super tweeters with them. He has either forgotten - or does not have a clue - about the “incredible speed” of the SOPs.
[This is an example of the “not invented here syndrome”, no doubt. It is what it is]
BTW, Below is my recent interview with Fanfare Magazine about Novelty vs. Originality.
Paul & the BATPRO2 Demos :
I am happy with using your demos, and will therefore definitely try the Batpros.
My reservations: They are probably not fast enough to enhance the Sound Labs already quick response - unlike the SOPs, which are much faster. I will certainly give you my impressions.
Three days later :
My idea of running the SOPs “in series” is working very well. The only thing I had to adjust was to change the crossover point to 8K.
The Bat2pros do very little in the front channels, no doubt because of the sheer size of the Soundlab’s radiating area compared to their relatively small one. Multiple BATPROs may change matters. However, I have an idea: I am going to try them in the surround channels.
And a few days later :
I am a great believer in serendipity, probably as a result of a lifetime of creative activity. I remember rehearsing my first good piece, which featured a big soprano solo near the end. In the rehearsal, the soloist came in one measure too soon: the result for the most part was spectacular. I realized that intuitively, the performer knew more about my piece than I did ... I had a similar experience with your TAKET Batpro2’s.
The [single pair] of BATPROs did not do much connected with my Sound Labs. Also possibly because they cut in at too high a frequency (18K), and the SOPs don’t do much at the 12K setting, but did at 8K, and there is no beaming, because the SOP pairs act more like a line source.
However, I decided to hook them up to my surround channels, which consist of four Monitor Audio Gold surrounds ... and the result was absolutely astonishing.
More specifically, I got the surround channels to really sing, using the 90db setting on the Batpro2's and running them parallel to each pair of Monitor Audio Golds.
I am glad you sent the BATs to me, because I would have never thought to try them. I would like to buy them - please send me an invoice.
Paul’s Update :
Even though the Monitor Audio Golds are considered by many to be the best surround speakers, they cannot reproduce that first few milliseconds of attack that make sound lifelike. Also, the same for decays. Assuming the gear is up to it, that part of the sound-wave is critical to the "you are there" illusion.
It never occurred to me to augment my surround channels. Initially, I was using AR 10 PI's in the back, but they were really too directional. The Monitor Audios have adjustments that are critical, but they can't reproduce the essential T1 and T3 components.
BTW, there is no problem of beaming with the Batpros, because they are 24 feet behind the listener. [WOW]
I thought that I would also update you on my latest observations :
Every review that I read says that there is no break in time for the Sops.
From using them for about 100hrs , I would say that those reviewers are wrong.
The things got really better and sweeter, and I had to change my crossover setting from 8K to 10K.
Also, I wired the two Sops in series, so the impedance was 8ohms, matching that of the Sound Labs.
Those dealers who said that I was wrong to try to convert a point source by stacking the Sops were wrong, themselves. The pair seems to work just as I intended.
The only kicker is that with my setup, you get an incremental but definite improvement,but
for almost $9000.
I think that ENIGMAcoustics should market a bigger supertweeter, the way TAKET did with
the expensive Batmaster. If ENGIMA could produce a Double-SOP for around $6500, that would be very good.
AND, in a sense Enigmacoustics did do just that in January 2020. The SOP2 at $3.5K.
We will be adding more feedback as we get it