Sonoma Acoustics - New player?

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by AllanMarcus, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    InnerFidelity review

    http://sonomaacoustics.com

    [​IMG]

    THE HEADPHONE
    Designed for comfort and optimized for today’s Hi-Res Audio formats, the M1 over-ear headphone utilizes the finest materials and the latest transducer technology to deliver outstanding acoustic performance.

    The M1 is the World’s first headphone to use High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) audio transducers.

    They also have a DAC/Energizer:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    How is HPEL different than existing electrostats?
     
  3. New Reformation

    New Reformation Almost "Made"

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    Take a look at this video here:



    This sounds and looks very similar to what Tyll discusses in the vid.

    Edit: That man's eyebrows are waging an all out war on his face...
     
  4. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    This sounds and looks very similar to what Tyll discusses in the vid.

    Edit: That man's eyebrows are waging an all out war on his face...[/QUOTE]

    The amp on the table looks like the one above too.

    It is the same.

    http://positive-feedback.com/indust...maf-debut-model-one-electrostatic-headphones/
    "Following on the heels of CanJam London where Sonoma Acoustics LLC showed a prototype of their revolutionary Model One (M1) Headphone System—the first high-end headphones to utilize the High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed by Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd.—the company is headed to CanJam at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (RMAF) scheduled for Oct. 7-9 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center."
     
  5. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    Their brandname and logo look like something you'd see on a tabletop kitchen appliance.

    Definitely curious about their sound (compared to other stats) and price point.
     
  6. Koloth

    Koloth Klingon SBAF Ambassador - Friend

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    So yeah... their website just went live https://sonomaacoustics.com/register/
    The clowns want 5000$ for the headphones + energizer.
    Fuck that noise. I was hoping for someone to mix up the market with an affordable quality electrostat; not just another boutique manufacturer who's one-upping the competition with pricing. 5000$ for new technology from a new company with no track record that might not even be around in two years? - Yeah sure, sounds like a great idea! I dont even know why anybody would buy something so mundane as a 1800$ Sennheiser HD800S or a 4000$ Focal Utopia. You know, companies with great lineages in hifi, massive R&D budgets and a proven support structure - how boring!

    BTW from a one-liner in the CanJam RMAF thread on the place where the gullible go to get fooled the Sonoma supposedly sound pretty good. But who even cares anymore.

    BTW 2: At least they seem to be doing some HTRF equalization in the dac customized to those specific headphones. So that's smart. But who even cares anymore.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  7. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I stopped by their room at RMAF. I think their audience are folks that spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands on stereo gear, and wouldn't really think twice about dropping 5k on an impulse buy. The system did sound pretty good. They were using 1/2 tape, but expousing the benefits of DSD, which they helped to implement. Odd. Hard to compare to anything else since I dont normally play at that level.

    Thanks for posting about your choice not to like this company can you expand and tell us all the other companies you don't like and why? Please go into excruciating detail. We so want to hear about that.
     
  8. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Almost "Made"

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    I've heard them, and they beat everything. So let's look at the $5K price. That is ALL inclusive -- DAC (a killer DAC that uses 64 bit fixed point processing) amp and cans (and cables). Now let's look at the alternative Stax 009s ($3.8K), Yiggy ($2.3K), KGSSHV Carbon ($4.6K) and Cables ($.5K). All told that comes to $11.2K and IMHO it won't sound as good. So the M1 is a bargain! :)
     
  9. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    They beat everything?
     
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  10. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Almost "Made"

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    Everything I've heard. I am currently running Alex's PMx2s, which are IMHO the best of breed in planar magnetics. Stax are great, but lack low-end... what else is there? Jecklin Float QAs? I haven't heard them, but talk about a bitch to drive. TakeT H2+s? I haven't heard them; a person I trust says they're better than Stax, but talk about a bitch to drive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  11. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    You are excited by new gear (I get the feeling, truly) but your post has the Head-Fi hype flavor. I'd suggest searching the threads here for good examples of subjective impressions.
     
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  12. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Almost "Made"

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    Have you ever met me? Do you have any idea of how much experience I have as a contributor to the field? Methinks you favor contumely over erudition... And THAT is the hallmark of a Head-Fier.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
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  13. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Well, introduce yourself then. I'm going off what you've posted here. Contumely? Really?
     
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  14. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Haha, no, the Warwick(?)/Sonoma joint effort stat + combo magic unit is not the best thing I've heard. That's absurd. However, it was neutral and balanced sounding, albeit not as refined as a modded 650 plus uber multibit DAC/tube amp setup. And yes, everything has some trade offs and downsides, I know. Some have less collectively than others. Anyway...

    The DAC/amp does a lot of DSP processing to tune the sound of the headphone. (Even the engineer there said the headphones needed it to sound good. He also agreed with me how good a 600/650 setup could sound. Very cool guy actually.) Analog input goes through an ADC so it can go to the DSP and DAC back to the amp. That to me is not ideal, nor is any DSP in most cases, and if can be avoided. BUT, like I said, the overall sound seemed very neutral and balanced without the smooth, coherent integration of a 650 or 600. That's a big win. Tyll said they sounded a bit thin, but he's all cracked out on that bassy Harmon curve. ;)

    On one hand, it's a breath of fresh air to put on a headphone and hear something...normal. So many things suck and might cost more. On the other hand, $5K is still reaching, and all the digital fuckery concerns me when I think of a pure audio path (or some shit like that).

    Regardless, this is their first entry in this arena, and I would keep an eye on them as they expand their product line. Could be good stuff, actually. Just probably not the best.
     
  15. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Nope, never have and don't neither, and whutwhut?
     
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  16. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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  17. Treesmithy

    Treesmithy Rando

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    Warwick claim that these drivers can be produced on an automated process and cost a fraction of the usual planar driver cost, so we may see these drivers make an impact in coming years outside the Sonoma brand. Hopefully they don't need a proprietary DSP setup to sound their best by design.
     
  18. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    Still interested in hearing these. New e-stats are always a 'must audition' for me, for better or for Kingsound.
     
  19. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

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    Had a listen to these a few weeks back. The bloke was very friendly, must have spent half an hour chatting with him. He was clearly keen to get feedback from the community as he claimed the set I was listening to was pre-release. As @Hands said, they use non-defeatable DSP to tune the system. It sounded pretty decent, though looking back at my notes I thought it had some extra mid-bass, and overall a bit U-shaped. He did say that the non-techie bloke (the company owner perhaps, I don't recall) adjusted the DSP the night before so I guess it's possible/likely they've changed it since.
     
  20. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

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    I had another chance to hear these yesterday and I can see why @Hands thought they sounded balanced. I'm glad because after hearing them a few weeks ago I felt they were definitely not balanced (inflated mid-bass), so I was thinking either Hands or I had cloth ears, and let's face it I wouldn't come out of that one well. Anyway, I had a quick listen, told the chap they'd changed the DSP to a more neutral flavour, and he confirmed they had. Definitely sounds more balanced now, not remarkable in any way, just...nice.

    The amp needs more gain (they're working on that) as it was turned to 3 o'clock for a decent level granted, show conditions, but they'll be looking at sorting it.. As it stands, on some quiet recordings it'd be lacking in volume I suspect. The amp has an analogue input for an external dac, but that's fairly pointless as the signal will go through their ADC so that the DSP can be applied & then back out via the Sabre dac. I dunno, non-defeatable DSP always suggests to me that it's making up for problems with the transducer. Maybe it doesn't matter if they get it right?
     

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