Siggy's Stardust

T+A's Siegfried Amft thinks different. That's obvious from his beautifully designed tube and solid-state products, an observation that cruelly ignores how good they sound. I was happy to see that Amft made it to the show, because I reckoned that meant he had something new and startling to demonstrate. He did: Criterion TCI 2 Active loudspeakers ($25,500/pair), sarcophagi incorporating twin carbon fiber 10" woofers in a selaed enclosure, a 7" specially tuned midrange cone, and a curved electrostatic panel that Amft claims can produce SPLs above 120dB "while maintaining superb membrane travel and distortion characteristics."

The drivers are muscled around by three 350W switch-mode amplifiers and the crossovers are active—and include analog signal processing for bass/room integration.

My Tuatara "Afterburner" track was vivid and raw—which is not a criticism of the speaker's tonal character, but a reflection of the sax-driven jam band nature of the disc, Percussion sounded fast and had tons of snap and the bottom end was tight and punchy, but it was the saxes that shone—that tweeter really does seem special—'very special. I've always loved 'stats, but sometimes want more weight than they give me. The problem with many hybrids is that they reveal too much tonal differences between the electrostatic driver and the woofer—perhaps by crossing over to a fast midrange cone at 3500Hz, Amft has avoided this. Only a long audition would say for sure—and I hope to get a chance to give the Criterion TCI 2 precisely that.

Chrisy's picture

Wes," the name of this company ... ""T&A"" - and chance there's some kind of double entendre?

Wes Phillips's picture

Actually, it stands for technical plus artistic, if I recall correctly. Siggy once told me that when he named teh company about 20 years ago, he wished he'd known more colloquial English—it would have saved him a ton of explaining.

Stirling Trayle's picture

Chrisy and Wes,A bit of clarification is called for here. The name of the company is technically, Theory and Application in electrokustiks. Theory and application, the old physics conundrum, was the perfect company name for a freshly truned out post grad physics student named Siggi Amft over 28 years ago when he set out to build his dream, and top class audio company. Yes, when I first met him he lamented the name association (unknown to him back in the day) here in the North American market, but with well over 25 years in business at that point, changing the compnay name would have proven difficult. In reality, it's the perfect name for the company. No double entendre, just truth in advertising. Stirling TrayleQuartet Marketing Group