Townshend Maximum Supertweeters

New product

£799.00

Listen and be amazed. Your speakers could quite possibly perform far far better with these little additions.

Priced per pair in silver or black.

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Maximum Supertweeters

    • In the same way that a sub-woofer extends the low end of your system, Maximum Supertweeters reveal a wealth of detail in the midband and treble. Most striking tough, is the amazing improvement in bass detail.
    • Maximum Supertweeters reproduce high and very high frequencies in the most coherent and realistic fashion, delivering a rich harmonic structure that dome tweeters simply cannot match.
    • Coherent high frequencies affect the brain both physiologically and psychologically,revealing the full potential of your favourite recordings.
    • Maximum Supertweeters enhance and define bass, mid and treble. They are the key to high resolution.
  • Maximum Supertweeters heighten the sense of realism in music by extending the frequency response of conventional hi-fi speakers up to 90kHz. Although this is way above the theoretical limit of human hearing the presence of these frequencies creates a sense of naturalness and reveals detail right down into the bass. 

    Maximum Supertweeters allow you to get utmost pleasure from both digital and analogue formats by accurately revealing high frequency detail above 6kHz. Even though a CD cannot produce information above 20kHz Maximum Supertweeters make the format sound more natural and reveal a wealth of extra detail when compared with dome tweeters. This is because of the much faster response of the ultra-light ribbon diaphragm when compared with the much slower response of a relatively heavy dome assembly. 

    The Maximum Supertweeter works from 6kHz upwards making it better able to produce the leading edge of each transient without time smear. That’s why it makes a system sound more relaxed and natural, as it can respond to the signal with greater speed and greater accuracy. 

    What surprises people the most is the extra detail that they hear in the bass. You might expect the greater sense of ease and openness which they introduce but the harmonic detail that is revealed across the entire audio band is nothing short of miraculous. 

    The Maximum Supertweeter is engineered to integrate with all high quality speakers with simple connection utilising the 1.5m link cables provided. The Supertweeters are wired in parallel with the main amplifier feed or the tweeter connection at the main speaker. There is a six position level switch which allows for seamless integration with your speakers.

How the supertweeter was born......

In the early seventies, I made a version of the HQD speaker system which comprised two Hartley 24” bass drivers, a pair of stacked Quad ESL-57s and a pair of Decca Ribbon speakers (see http://www.marklev.com/systems/). The Decca’s were used as supertweeters here to augment the treble roll-off associated with the ESL-57s. Inevitably, the ribbons got damaged and repairs were routine and I became adept at repairing them. This system sounded awesome and I was a sad chappie when I had to leave all behind in Sydney when I came to the UK in 1978.

I had, however, been bitten by the supertweeter bug and I spent the next 15 years or so looking for the ideal supertweeter. The Pioneer supertweeters were amazing, but they were very bulky and were not a complete “package”, and the now defunct the excellent Murata spherical radiator Supertweeters had no level control and were very expensive. So I set about making a suitable unit in the Townshend Audio factory here in the UK. After two years of frustrating development, the Maximum Supertweetersarrived, in their cute miniature polished stainless steel case, in 1999, (now available also in satin black or matt silver). The secret of their success is the simplicity of the design and the set-up procedure. The 6-position crossover/level control allows them to integrate with speakers having a very wide range of sensitivity and their very small size allows them to fit in to almost any situation. Further, the supplied interconnecting wires make installation a doddle and there is no extra purchase necessary except for the Quad 57 brackets if needed.

Why do they work when we can only hear up to about 15 kHz and the Maximum Supertweeters extend to 80 kHz? The standard test for frequency response is to play a pure tone sine wave and to ask the listener to indicate if they can hear it or not. This test is basically flawed since sine waves rarely if ever occur in nature. Extensive research has shown that it is the combination of the lower frequencies with the high frequencies that makes sound more realistic, just as a high resolution digital image looks clearer than a low resolution image because of the sharper delineation of the visual edges due to the higher amount of information in the hi-res image. So it is with audio. The ear is very sensitive to very fast transients and is able to detect very small time arrival differences between the two ears. This capacity evolved in the wild where it is essential to hear the slightest unnatural sound (breaking twig) when sleeping in the open. This capacity only diminishes slightly compared with normal frequency roll-off sensitivity to sine waves with age- related hearing loss.

Many normal sounds have frequencies extending way above 20 kHz, (see http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~boyk/spectra/spectra.htm), hence the popularity of high resolution audio in the form of Hi-Res downloads, SACD, DVD Audio and quality vinyl replay. The higher the bandwidth, even up to 100 kHz, makes a difference in the fidelity of the overall perceived sound. This can easily be proved experimentally.  Latest research suggests that the very high frequency sounds are picked up by the temple and even the eye, where they are sent directly to the brain by neuron transfer, totally bypassing the ear.

Why do Supertweeters work on CD replay which extends only to 21 kHz, when the speakers extend to 20 kHz or beyond? The most common tweeter is the dome tweeter. The dome tweeter may measure well on sine waves, but, when playing music, less than 1% of the electrical energy sent to the tweeter is converted to sound, the rest being dissipated over a short time by rippling around the dome, while slowly converting to heat. The wave pattern of this dissipating sound is chaotic, not unlike the wave pattern in the sea on a rough day in an enclosed harbour. The Supertweeter however, which gently rises in output from about 12 kHz up, does not suffer from this problem as the ultra-light ribbon ceases moving almost instantly when the signal stops. This ensures a very accurate high frequency transient response where before there was smearing. An interesting property of the ear is that it responds to the fastest rise-time signal, from the supertweeter and ignores the jumbled time- smeared output from the dome tweeter. This is why it is unnecessary to attenuate the existing tweeter when adding the supertweeter.

How do they sound? The effect on the sound with the addition of the Supertweeters is quite unexpected. Bass notes sound clearer, especially plucked string bass. Everything in the sound stage appears cleaner and smoother with far greater width and depth. There is a sense of ease about the sound. The effect is most profound when the supertweeters are taken away. It is not subtle! A peculiar effect is that they are inaudible in the listening seat when the main speaker is disconnected. The ear works in mysterious ways! And there are many thousands of happy Supertweeter owners out there who will, agree.

By Max Townshend BE
CEO of Townshend Audio
Frequency Resp. Up to 90kHz. (See graph)
Amplifier power: Up to 400W, unclipped music
Rating to DIN IEC 268: 500w peak
Max sensitivity(2.8V @ 1m) 89dB
Nominal impedance: 11 ohm (min), rising to 20 ohm
Drive unit: Pure aluminium ribbon.W 5mm, L 25mm, T, 0.01mm Mass 0.003grammes Ultra powerful rare earth neodymium magnets
Crossover: First order
Level control: 1:   74dB 2:   79dB 3:   83dB 4:   85dB 5:   87dB 6:   89dB
Dimensions: Each W 50mm (2"), H 30mm (1.2"), D 100mm (4")Shipping (pair)W 250mm (10"), H 50mm (2"), D 200mm (8")
Weight: Each 0.5 Kg (1.1lb) Shipping (pair) 1.2Kg (2.6lb)
Cable: Banana or spade 1.5m

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