Sonoma Model One electrostatic headphone system
post-12929312
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 194

Music Alchemist

Pokémon trainer of headphones
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
19,810
Reaction score
1,816
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
19,810
Likes
1,816
An exciting new headphone system is on the horizon. Details here:
 
https://sonomaacoustics.com/sonoma-model-one-headphone-system/
https://sonomaacoustics.com/technology/
 
The system (consisting of the headphones and specialized DAC/amp unit) will be available for $4,995 in 2017.
 

 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: conquerator2
post-12929341
Post #2 of 194

subtle

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
2,094
Reaction score
101
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Posts
2,094
Likes
101
Too damn funny.  Everybody and their pet monkey are trying to jump on board this ridiculous $5k+ headphone train.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929381
Post #3 of 194

wuwhere

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
76,448
Reaction score
2,134
Location
κζ͵th
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
κζ͵th
Posts
76,448
Likes
2,134
That is a system with an es headphone, class-A amp, a built-in DAC that can do DSD and two analog inputs. From what people said after listening to it, it can run with an 009/BHSE pairing. If its just behind an 009/BHSE pairing, I'm sold, its much cheaper and transportable. Its a single ended es, there is only one stator on the outer side. No stator on the ear side to impede the music. I'm interested in it but prefers that it works with other es amps. But I don't know if that is possible given that it has only one stator.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929399
Post #4 of 194

Music Alchemist

Pokémon trainer of headphones
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
19,810
Reaction score
1,816
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
19,810
Likes
1,816
  That is a system with an es headphone, class-A amp, a built-in DAC that can do DSD and two analog inputs. From what people said after listening to it, it can run with an 009/BHSE pairing. If its just behind an 009/BHSE pairing, I'm sold, its much cheaper and transportable. Its a single ended es, there is only one stator on the outer side. No stator on the ear side to impede the music. I'm interested in it but prefers that it works with other es amps. But I don't know if that is possible given that it has only one stator.
 
I just hope you can use an external DAC. Although it converts all analog signals to digital and does some DSP to attain an optimized frequency response, perhaps connecting from a better DAC would override (or at least influence) the internal DAC despite that. It would be a shame if you're stuck with the internal DAC.
 
The system is proprietary (read through the info on the links), so you cannot use it with other amps.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929409
Post #5 of 194

icebear

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
1,640
Reaction score
359
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Posts
1,640
Likes
359
I could not find any info where the company is located. Development of the Sonoma workstation has happened in California but there was no info where Sonoma Acoustics is located, nor where the M1 has been developed and is being produced.
 
Anyway the new ES technology will stirr up the landscape of e-stat headphones. Let's wait for some proper evaluations. Naturally there will be the hype train rushing through first but once the dust has settled behind it we hopefull get some useful info
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929410
Post #6 of 194

wuwhere

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
76,448
Reaction score
2,134
Location
κζ͵th
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
κζ͵th
Posts
76,448
Likes
2,134
   
I just hope you can use an external DAC. Although it converts all analog signals (when using an analog connection) to digital and does some DSP to attain an optimized frequency response, perhaps connecting from a better DAC would override (or at least influence) the internal DAC despite that. It would be a shame if you're stuck with the internal DAC.
 
The system is proprietary (read through the info on the links), so you cannot use it with other amps.
 
I was also concerned about that DSP. I don't think there's a way to turn it off or bypass it.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929413
Post #7 of 194

wuwhere

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
76,448
Reaction score
2,134
Location
κζ͵th
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
κζ͵th
Posts
76,448
Likes
2,134
  I could not find any info where the company is located. Development of the Sonoma workstation has happened in California but there was no info where Sonoma Acoustics is located, nor where the M1 has been developed and is being produced.
 
Anyway the new ES technology will stirr up the landscape of e-stat headphones. Let's wait for some proper evaluations. Naturally there will be the hype train rushing through first but once the dust has settled behind it we hopefull get some useful info
 
 
Its in the UK. The OEM is Warwick Audio for the HP and amp. I believe Sonoma integrated their DAC inside the amp.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929426
Post #8 of 194

Music Alchemist

Pokémon trainer of headphones
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
19,810
Reaction score
1,816
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
19,810
Likes
1,816
  I was also concerned about that DSP. I don't think there's a way to turn it off or bypass it.
 
The DSP is good because it helps the headphones have a better frequency response. My concern is the potential inability to use an external DAC instead of the internal DAC, which is separate from the DSP.
 
  I could not find any info where the company is located. Development of the Sonoma workstation has happened in California but there was no info where Sonoma Acoustics is located, nor where the M1 has been developed and is being produced.
 
Anyway the new ES technology will stirr up the landscape of e-stat headphones. Let's wait for some proper evaluations. Naturally there will be the hype train rushing through first but once the dust has settled behind it we hopefull get some useful info
 
 
https://sonomaacoustics.com/wp-content/themes/sonoma-2016/library/pdf/SONOMA_InfoSheet.pdf
 
According to this PDF, the Sonoma brand is owned by Super Audio Center, LLC, Colorado, USA.
 
However, Sonoma Acoustics Ltd. is apparently in the UK. Go figure.
 
  Its in the UK. The OEM is Warwick Audio for the HP and amp. I believe Sonoma integrated their DAC inside the amp.
 
I believe only the HPEL (High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate) technology in the transducers was developed by Warwick.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929429
Post #9 of 194

icebear

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
1,640
Reaction score
359
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Posts
1,640
Likes
359
   
Its in the UK. The OEM is Warwick Audio for the HP and amp. I believe Sonoma integrated their DAC inside the amp.

Just quick reading their website info on the M1 I didn't grasp that (English is not my first language). I got that Warwick/UK is the company that developed the e-stat driver technology and holds a patent but I wasn't sure that they also produce the headphone itself in UK.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929434
Post #10 of 194

icebear

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
1,640
Reaction score
359
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Posts
1,640
Likes
359
   
The DSP is good because it helps the headphones have a better frequency response. My concern is the potential inability to use an external DAC instead of the internal DAC, which is separate from the DSP.
 
 
https://sonomaacoustics.com/wp-content/themes/sonoma-2016/library/pdf/SONOMA_InfoSheet.pdf
 
According to this PDF, the Sonoma brand is owned by Super Audio Center, LLC, Colorado, USA.
 
 
Warwick and Sonoma are separate entities, though the HPEL technology was developed by Warwick.
 
LOL, yeah I'm not a lawyer but that doesn't provide any info about where the phones have been developed and are being produced.

 
     Share This Post       
post-12929440
Post #11 of 194

Music Alchemist

Pokémon trainer of headphones
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
19,810
Reaction score
1,816
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
19,810
Likes
1,816
  LOL, yeah I'm not a lawyer but that doesn't provide any info about where the phones have been developed and are being produced.
 
I edited my post.
 
"However, Sonoma Acoustics Ltd. is apparently in the UK. Go figure."
 
So since it looks like they are involved in both the UK and US, they could be doing things in one or both countries. Time will tell. (Or someone could contact them and ask.)
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929454
Post #12 of 194

wuwhere

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
76,448
Reaction score
2,134
Location
κζ͵th
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
κζ͵th
Posts
76,448
Likes
2,134
 
Just quick reading their website info on the M1 I didn't grasp that (English is not my first language). I got that Warwick/UK is the company that developed the e-stat driver technology and holds a patent but I wasn't sure that they also produce the headphone itself in UK.
 
Warwick makes the headphones. The machine to attach the driver to the frame is a precision machine and they also own the patent to it. So they are the only company who can make the driver. The diaphragm has to be precisely tensioned when attached to the frame.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929471
Post #13 of 194

Music Alchemist

Pokémon trainer of headphones
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
19,810
Reaction score
1,816
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
19,810
Likes
1,816
  Warwick makes the headphones. The machine to attach the driver to the frame is a precision machine and they also own the patent to it. So they are the only company who can make the driver. The diaphragm has to be precisely tensioned when attached to the frame.
  I believe only the HPEL (High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate) technology in the transducers was developed by Warwick.
 
We're not sure how involved Warwick are beyond the transducers, but it looks to me like Sonoma (and whatever companies they outsourced) did the rest.
 
For example, the production of the ear pads alone involves multiple countries.
 
The leather used in the M1 is sourced from Ethiopia. The hides are then tanned by Pittards in the UK, who have been tanning leathers since 1826. Finally, the pads are hand sewn in Germany.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929483
Post #14 of 194

wuwhere

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
76,448
Reaction score
2,134
Location
κζ͵th
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
κζ͵th
Posts
76,448
Likes
2,134
Warwick just makes the headphones - the drivers and the structures for it, that's why they are the oem. Companies like Sonoma are their clients. Sonoma can alter the earpads, the looks, finish, etc... Their clients can specify whatever they want the driver to appear. The thing is they can even make angled drivers because each driver is made up of cells and each cell has its own diaphragm.
 
Warwick also makes the amp. I'm sure their clients can make their own amp if they wish with Warwick engineers.
 
But what excites me the most is the driver can be made with automation, precision and less expensive. And the amps are so small. So hopefully that would translate into less expensive es headphones.
 
     Share This Post       
post-12929938
Post #15 of 194

JimL11

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
1,258
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Posts
1,095
Likes
1,258
Color me skeptical.  First of all, a single ended stat headphone is a recipe for non-linear distortion.  There's a good reason why every other electrostatic headphone has two stators around the membrane.  Second, they mention discrete class A amplifier, but they also mention the use of ICs from Analog devices and Texas Instruments, which sounds contradictory.  Discrete amps do not use ICs, unless they are using them only as servos, but they are being vague.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top