Spirit Torino Centauri


Headphoneus Supremus
A warm and lush sounding headphone at its best
Pros: Warm and musical presentation with beautiful timbre
Very comfortable
Very good technicalities
Fast and snappy for an Planar Magnetic
Very large soundstage
Cons: Not the last word in resolution
Spirit Torino, the high-end headphone manufacturer from Turin, is launching its first headphones with a planar magnetic driver, the Centauri model. The brand became world-famous with its Valkyria headphone model. This was followed by other models with dynamic drivers and an IEM, the Twin Pulse IEM Beryllium, which I also tested some time ago. Spirit Torino also invested a lot of time in research and development for these headphones in order to stand out from the competition. Simply building larger and larger drivers is not the way to go. A large diaphragm also means a higher weight and a certain inertia. Under heavy use, the entire headphone system tends to deform. And this leads to less control of the driver and a sound image that is attenuated in terms of dynamics, particularly in the lower and mid-range.


Another problem with very large drivers is the limited space available. Pressure equalization holes between the acoustic chambers of the headphones usually have to make way for a simpler design, which in turn restricts the movement of the diaphragm. And that's not all. When the ear pads form a sealed chamber with the headphones, the pressure on the eardrum is increased and this changes the frequency response in the high frequencies, making the sound hollow.

Spirit Torino uses powerful N52 class neodymium magnets distributed on both sides of the diaphragm in the Centauri. In order not to restrict the dynamics of the large driver, a lightweight but very rigid carrier plate has been developed for the driver, which does not deform under heavy loads. For this purpose, a composite material called Texalwood was introduced, in which epoxy resin is poured into a sheet of poplar plywood and two sheets of Texalium (a combination of aluminum and glass fiber). This carrier plate contains the pressure equalization holes.

Due to their design, planar magnetic drivers have a more limited range of motion than dynamic drivers, which is their Achilles' heel. In order to further optimize the dynamic efficiency index, thought has also been given to the ear cups, i.e. the actual housing. A multi-layer wood system is used here, which provides for a laminated wood structure. Several types of wood were tested and walnut wood was selected as the most suitable.


As you know, the ear pads play a major role in the sound of a headphone and here too, special ear pads were developed for the Centauri from a mixture of Alcantara and leather. The highlight here is that they are attached with a magnetic system, just like the Abyss 1266 TC or the Austrian Audio Composer, for example. This means that they can be replaced in a matter of seconds. The magnets are very strong, so that slipping or similar cannot happen during a listening session. Incidentally, the ear pads were developed in close cooperation with Dekoni, the leading manufacturer of ear pads.

Of course, like all headphones and the IEM from Spirit Torino, the Centauri is tuned like a musical instrument and great importance is attached to natural reproduction. This is not just some advertising slogan, but is based on the fact that classical and jazz musicians are involved in the development. The real sound is recorded with a binaural system and then played back with the headphones or IEM to be tuned. A listening committee consisting of Spirit employees and musicians then carries out the direct comparisons. This means that the development process does not rely solely on measurements.

The scope of delivery includes a transport case (similar to Audeze) as well as a very high-quality connection cable that you can choose from different connection variants. In addition to a 4-pin XLR cable, I also received a 4.4 mm cable, which I use to connect the Centauri to my stationary chain and DAP. You can even opt for a fixed cable to avoid the number of solder joints and transition resistors on the connectors. So really something for enthusiasts, if you like it. The cable itself is a four-core OFC class 5 braid with a very high cross-section. The sleeve used ensures that no microphonic effects occur. The cable is also very soft. It reminds me a lot of the cables supplied with the Austrian Audio Composer. However, the Composer cables are somewhat thinner.

The workmanship is really solid and very appealing. Here you get really great craftsmanship for the price of 2800€. And you get the feeling that the headphones can withstand a small fall from a medium height. The stable steel headband makes it possible to adjust the contact pressure by adjusting the curvature. The height can be infinitely adjusted using the adjustment mechanism. In combination with the very comfortable ear pads, a headphone has been created that is just as comfortable to wear as a Hifiman Susvara for hours on end. With the Hifiman top model, these are the most comfortable headphones I've ever had on my head, even though they weigh 495 grams!

Do they sound as good as they feel? That's what I'll be looking at below, when I connect it to my stationary chain consisting of the brand new Topping D90 III and Niimbus US4 via 4-pin XLR and again via 4.4 mm to the iBasso DX320 MAX Ti. The Centauri is not quite so easy to drive and I sometimes have to use gain level 2 on the DAP in order to drive higher levels at the 12 o'clock position. A Utopia or Composer are much easier to drive. But a MAX Ti also provides more than enough power for the Centauri.


In terms of sound, we're dealing with very warm headphones that are similar to an Audeze LCD-4. If you listen to an Austrian Audio Composer and then switch directly to the Centauri, the difference in sound is like night and day. The Composer is currently by far the brightest headphone in my collection and also at the top of the scale in the entire TOTL headphone market. When switching from the Centauri to the Composer, you think you're listening to a kitchen radio. Of course, this disappears after about 2 minutes when you get used to the signature of the respective headphones. So anyone who knows a Composer or LCD-4 already knows where to place the Centauri in terms of sound. Then everything is clear. Not quite. Because a thoroughbred Planar Magnetic like an LCD-4 still sounds different.

The Centauri sounds more like a mixture of dynamic and planar magnetic. It is fast and snappy like a dynamic headphone, but still offers a foundation at the bottom that only a Planar Magnetic can provide. The bass response is really fabulous, with very good slam capabilities and more emphasis on the mid-bass than the sub bass. In terms of speed, it almost plays at Abyss 1266 TC and Susvara level. The latter two both have a little more low bass. Overall, the Centauri's bass is one of the 3 stars of the show.

Another star is the stage imaging. The imaging is very wide in both width and depth. I've only experienced proportions like this from a Hifiman Susvara. However, the Centauri places more emphasis on musical imaging and does not offer the razor-sharp instrument separation of a Composer or Susvara. It doesn't draw the listener's attention to individual sound events; instead, the whole is presented as a musical treat and the listener is focused on the entire stage and is not asked to switch between individual areas of the stage and concentrate on them.

Until now, I only knew the IEM from Spirit Torino. What struck me about it was the incredibly natural reproduction of instruments and voices. The Centauri also has these genes. Voices in particular are so crisp and natural that you can hardly get enough of listening to them. This also applies to acoustic instruments. The timbres are fantastically beautiful. The plucking of a guitar string is almost palpable, the reproduction is never too thin. Midrange reproduction is the third star of the show!

The treble is always reproduced without sounding harsh. The resolution is good, although the Composer's much more neutral tuning makes it even easier to pick out the smallest sound events. However, the aim of the Centauri was certainly not to create an acoustic magnifying glass, but rather a pair of headphones with which you can listen to a wide range of genres for hours on end and be invited into a warm and pleasant carpet of sound. A welcome change for me from the sometimes exhausting Composer, with which the energetic and razor-sharp imaging can sometimes be quite a challenge for the listener.

With the Centauri, Spirit Torino has managed to technically create a planar magnetic headphone that offers a brilliant bass range with incredible dynamics for planar magnetic headphones. Tonally, the headphones are suitable for anyone who prefers a warm sound signature and is looking for an all-rounder for all genres with a very large stage image. The materials used and the craftsmanship make the Centauri an art object similar to the headphones from ZMF. Something different to the usual industrial designs. Here you can see how much attention to detail has been put into the headphones. Of course, this also has its price of 2800€. But craftsmanship and the technical capabilities as well as innovations compared to the competition justify the price in my opinion.
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betula- That’s too bad. Because I loved the Caldera. A $3000 hp that doesn’t sound good is a big no no.

One can already acquire endgame sound with a $20 Koss headphone. Anything more than that is diminishing returns.
Sono un possessore di Centauri e sinceramente non capisco l'odio verso lo Spirito. Posso testimoniare l'eccellenza del Centauri che fornisce nuovi parametri di riferimento nella sua categoria per palcoscenico e basse frequenze e compete con orgoglio in altri aspetti. Consiglio ai potenziali acquirenti di ascoltare direttamente le Centauri e fare le proprie valutazioni perché una cuffia 3k semplicemente non può essere la cosa terribile descritta nei commenti ma più facilmente quella descritta nella recensione
Leto Dal
Leto Dal
Good review. Very curious to read comparison to Caldera.