Newport 2016: ENIGMAcoustics and Questyle continue to impress (separately)

Sopranino Super Tweeter… “come to poppa.”

Newport250x2501The ENIGMAcoustics room, paired with Questyle at AXPONA garnered best sound from me in Chicago for its incredible impact, so I was looking forward to hearing that relationship grow in California at T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach. Alas, the set-up here was different, which is just fine with me as the sound was very pleasing indeed, with all the jump/slam/bass I’d heard in Chi-town coupled with a different tonal shade of sophistication courtesy of the Moon gear lighting up the room. I will say again though; I think there’s something to the pairing of the M1s, and Questyle Audio’s gorgeous handheld QP1R Digital Audio Player (DAP, $1,000 USD) being played through the dedicated 5.4 Ghz T2 Transmitter, and R200i wireless receiver/mono block amplifiers ($4,000 USD/pair, FCC-approved), that really shook me up. Luckily I got a taste again of the Questyle mono blocks in the adjoining room where the  R200is were having their way with a fresh pair of Focal Sopra No.3 loudspeakers. Again, they seem to just dominate whatever transducers they’re hooked up to. The sound of the R200i mono blocks, and the big French three-ways was sublime, and defied easy adjectives. But to my ears, you just don’t get this amount of sonic control at this price point, especially when you factor in the wireless,DAC/pre built in to the units.

Simaudio Moon Evolution Series gives a visual, and sonic nod to the sophistication of the M1s.
Focal Sopra No. 3 with Questyle R2001 mono blocks next door.

This time around Simaudio was was providing the current for the M1s, and their amazing Sopranino Super Tweeters (which I’m still hoping will come my way for review). The Moon Evolution Series 700i integrated amplifier ($15,000 USD), and Moon Evolution Series 650d DAC/transport ($5,000 USD) proved to be a fortuitous pairing with the M1s as they kept a steady hand on the classy stand mounts with incredible tight-bass domination. If you’re familiar with Simaudio gear, I’ve found you can recognize their sound very quickly for what it is: just a warm hair west of neutral with almost no coloration to the midrange, and excellent top-end extension without going dry on you. Upper frequencies are not sweet, but they certainly don’t fatigue one either, and there is a real air of sophistication to the Moon sound with transparency, and precision not shading into that grey area I call accuracy.

R2001 mono blocks


Current Sopranino Super Tweeter…
Arioso prototype Super Tweeter, $2,000 USD estimated price.

ENIGMAcoustics is working on a prototype super tweeter to add to their current Sopranino offering called Arioso. Estimated street price as a stand alone add-on is pegged around the $2,000 USD mark. Crossover options for the new design will be similar to the Sopranino, but there the similarities end as on the Arioso the electrostatic panel fires directly up, and into the cone-shaped dispersion unit which allows for non point-directional presentation to the ear. Color me curious, as the current directional model is mouth watering in its sonic abilities, so I’m looking forward to hearing this when it’s ready for prime time. Since I gushed without shame over this gear at AXPONA, this time around I’m only going to say that this was again, another outstanding sonic offering on tap from ENIGMAcoustics, and Questyle.