Fidelity Imports and Diptyque planar speakers with Audia Flight, Aurender

Two months ago, at the audio expo in Tampa, I stumbled upon a pair of most intriguing French speakers. The $8000/pair Diptyque 107 is a medium-sized planar magnetic whose designers, Gilles Douziech and Eric Poix, make no secret of their love for Magnepan. All the same, the duo has sought to improve on that company's famed panel technology, mostly by addressing a perennial shortcoming of such dipoles: their lack of deep bass.

To my delight, the 107s indeed played low frequencies as if there was a subwoofer somewhere in the room. I didn't have the time for a proper show report then, but vowed to correct that at AXPONA, where the boutique brand showed up with its $50k/pair flagship, the Diptyque Reference.

In a juicy twist, demonstrating the speakers in Chicago was Michael Hoatson of the Listening Room in Maryland, a third-generation audio retailer who sells tons of Magnepan speakers but is excited about the US brand's cheeky French rivals. With a happy grin, Hoatson played bass-heavy songs like Chris Jones's "No Sanctuary Here" and James Blake's "Limit To Your Love," practically daring visitors to complain of a lack of low-end extension. No one did.

How was this bass-performance breakthrough accomplished? I was told that Diptyque places powerful, custom-made bipolar magnets at the front and rear of the sandwiched Mylar diaphragm, which is just 12µm thick. Each side of the Mylar has its own voice coil. Diptyque's designers claim that this creates a constant magnetic field when the membrane moves, allowing for more LFE and better dynamics.

In the midrange and treble, too, the Diptyque Reference sounded articulate and quick-footed, reminiscent of large Magnepans and Apogees. Très sympa!

The other equipment in the Fidelity Imports room consisted of an Italian Audia Flight Strumento No.1 preamp ($19,999), two Strumento No.8 monoblocks ($59,998/pair), and a $15,000 Aurender A20 music server and streamer.

Glotz's picture

I enjoyed this room and really like their approach to the planar magnetic speaker. I did find it dynamic and quick as well. The look is very different and very cool.