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Satorique 2, High End Elegance
After the ONE comes the TWO. The Satorique 2. The Satorique 1 is a compact, but GREAT-sounding loudspeaker. This small box produces deeper tones than you would expect based on its dimensions. Unfortunately a compact box, with its smaller membrane surface, can produce bass, but not a strong bass pressure. The dimensions of the Satori MW16P-8 tell me that the SB Acoustics loudspeaker is wonderfully designed for a d’Appolito construction. A 2.5-way combo with an integrated subwoofer might have been a possibility too, but a d’Appolito box has even more advantages.
The d’Appolito construction is a special two-way box with two bass/mid-range units in a specific linear arrangement. While it has similar bass richness as a traditional chassis arrangement, an MTM version is more dynamic, with better efficiency and good three-dimensional mapping. With good recordings, listeners can close their eyes and point to the individual instruments or musicians.
The quality of the loudspeakers is impressive as always; they are perfect for the top loudspeaker league. Even though the details were already presented in the earlier report, We’ll repeat them here so you don’t have to spend a long time looking for them.
The bass/mid-range unit really does looks Danish. It has a small magnet system, thanks to the small but strong neodymium ring. This easily prevents reflections of the kind heard in large magnet systems. The membrane “breathes” more because it does not have any resistance from narrow distances between the installation opening and the basket. The bars are correspondingly narrow, but the truly unique thing here is the spider, which SB Acoustics has dubbed BIMAX. The exact materials that SB uses are a mystery. But the typical, familiar spiderweb structure is shot through with black threads that allow greater linearity. In addition, the basket is not glued directly to the basket, but to a ring that itself is only attached to the basket at individual points. According to SB Acoustics, that keeps vibrations from being transmitted.
The rest is good old know-how from Europe: a low-loss seam, a fiber-glass bobbin to prevent eddy currents, a 36-mm oscillator coil wrapped fairly high with CCAW wire, copper rings in and around the air shaft, a ventilated magnet system.
The membrane is made of non-pressed paper, reinforced with papyrus fibers. The fibers create stability and also have a damping effect. The strong NAWI shape, together with the short-circuit rings made of copper, allow for a very large broadband effect. Our measurement at the chassis is impressive confirmation of this: when it is cranked up, the MW16P goes up to an incredible 15 kHz, and largely stays linear. Many a broadband unit dreams of this kind of measurement curve.
Measurement: SB Acoustics Satori MW16P-8
The tweeter also has a few special features, which is typical for former ScanSpeak developers Frank and Ulrik. It is what’s known as a ring dome, which is actually a calotte with a very large mounting bracket that is attached in the middle. So the middle doesn’t vibrate. This construction was developed in the ’90s, but with a phase plug. Because of acoustical problems, the development was not considered very good, and it was shelved. Now SB Acoustics has simply left out the phase plug, which works just fine when you take a look at the measurement curve..
So why this complicated construction, when you can get a simple calotte anywhere in the world? Every developer of tweeter chassis elements struggles to control the soft calotte, either through damping or geometry or both. If you take a closer look at the movements of the calotte, you will notice that the oscillating coil only transmits the movements correctly to the woven calotte in the narrow coil range. Then the dome of the calotte does whatever it wants. It often vibrates out of phase, or completely wrong. So Frank and Ulrik have immobilized the dome by attaching the middle to a pin. A small phase plug. That allowed them to expand the frequency curve to an impressive 40 kHz. The smaller radiating surface was simply balanced out by a much larger mounting bracket that also radiates sound.
The TW29R also has a few unique features that are rare for tweeters: CCAW coil, T-shaped magnet system, copper rings, two-part front panel made of aluminum. This special front panel was not just created for design reasons – it has an additional function. The two panels are uncoupled to prevent vibrations from being transmitted to the cabinet. The connected volume behind it allows a deep resonant frequency of 600 Hz, which allows it to be used beyond a very deep 1500 Hz.
Measurement: SB Acoustics Satori TW29R
Since the Satorique 1 functions wonderfully with 18 liters, we just doubled the volume of the S2. As expected, it works. Sometimes life is easy, after all. To prevent standing waves in the vertical, the reinforcement boards are so long that the wave has to take a slight detour. The tweeter contains a separate chamber to protect it from vibrations from the bass/mid-range unit. The HP70 bass reflex tube should be 9 cm long. The height is flexible, but the tube should not be too close to the lower separation board. A wide base makes the cabinet more stable. We also think it looks friendlier.
The frequency crossover
There’s no doubt about the quality of the SB Satori, and the developers at SB Acoustics did a great job of achieving certain characteristics. However, the desired bandwidth of the loudspeakers can cause some problems in developing the frequency crossover. It is not enough to just use a coil for the crossover frequency, the way you would for loudspeakers with a naturally declining frequency curve. The Satori wants to be connected differently. So a few little tricks are required to get the necessary steep slopes.
The S2 crossover has a purebred 2nd-order high-pass filter, with a somewhat more “gentle” design. The crossover frequency of 1800 Hz, in keeping with Joseph d’Appolito’s recommendations, is fairly low. Otherwise, the principle would not work correctly. R4 and C7 slightly dampen the highest frequencies of the TW29R. The R1, C1 and C2 components form a low-pass filter that works with very high frequencies above 100 kHz. That eliminates the high-frequency radio signals that impair three-dimensionality.
The low-pass filter is also 2nd-order, with the C3 slightly increasing the slope. That avoids a second series-installed coil. C5, R2 and L2 suck up 1 kHz of the frequency exaggeration. The value of L1 could also be increased, but then the area around 500 Hz would sound a little thinner. The three components Lcor, Ccor and Rcor in the impedance linearization are only needed if you want to run the boxes with a tube amplifier.
The frequency crossover is built with high-quality components. The Satoris deserve the Audyn Caps Plus, bonded coils and metal resistors.
The frequency crossover prefers to sit down in the bottom of the cabinet; the drawing includes a crossover slot for it. Filled with dry quartz sand, it also improves the stability of the loudspeaker box and protects the crossover from the vibrations of the bass/mid-range units.
Every measuring room has its quirks, and ours is no exception – it just isn’t very big. So measuring a low bass is a tricky proposition. We talked about that earlier in another report, where we took some near-field measurements in the bass range to account for it. For other graphics, the bandwidth is limited above 100 Hz. A practiced eye will recognize the characteristics of the measuring room in the waterfall diagram.
Frequency and impedance lowpass, highpass, frequency responce under 0,15,30
Frequency responce and phase, step responce, waterfall
The distortion measurement shows excellent values for the Satorique 2, especially the K3 distortion.
Now, every developer is expected to explain how outstanding his own development is. That holds true until the next box sees the light of day. And then of course the new box is even more outstandingly outstanding, etc., etc. That’s the tone of many magazines. With us, of course, anyone can get an “audio image” for themselves in one of our listening studios, or find a member of the loudspeaker-building community who offers listening tests. The most helpful sound descriptions for readers of our magazine always come from your own listening impressions.
Still, we can definitely say that the S2 provides a powerful, low bass and depicts a wide stage in every direction. The dynamics are extraordinarily good, and the S2 easily fills rooms between 30 and 50 m².
For the listening test, we set up the S2 in our room and connected it to homemade NCore amplifier and my DIY tube pre-amp. Now the question was, which of the 5000 CDs would be the first to try it out? The S2 is good for all kinds of music. We listen to a lot of classical, jazz, pop/rock and lounge music, and also French chansons. The outstanding papyrus membrane lends a special quality to voices in particular – and chansons by Jacques Brel and Gainsbourg, which are recorded in an especially natural way (because the artists didn’t want to ruin their music with compression effects), bring the artists back to life. Small ensembles benefit from the brilliant stage representation. Even if you can’t expect two 6 ½-inch speakers to produce a powerful deep bass, they do create quite a bit of pressure. Even with big orchestras, you can feel every emotion. Then I switched to LPs and put on a few DG recordings from the ’70s, which were all completely analog back then. Goosebumps!
Of course we also put on Nils Lofgren’s “Keith don’t go,” and the tweeter in particular shows off its phenomenal resolution there without being too intrusive.
Young daughters and sons listen to some of her modern stuff too, like Indila, Stromae and Katy Perry. They are completely thrilled, because the box plays even that sort of music dynamically and with great efficiency. Our own enthusiasm had less to do with the music than with the uncompromising way the Satorique 2 revealed the problems with these compressed recordings.
The S2 is a box for listening. By that, we mean doesn’t do anything else, and ideally send your family elsewhere – unless they are listening too. Simply high end.
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