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Floorstanding Speakers

Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII and Fidelity Imports: CAF 2023

Fidelity Imports used the Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII Loudspeakers to prove the point that timbre, clarity, and spaciousness rule the day.

Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII Loudspeakers in Fidelity Imports Room at Capital Audiofest 2023

One of my benchmarks for a great room at any high-end audio show is how comfortable I feel listening in the room; did the company or retailer actually take the time to best utilize the space and not try to thrust the music so intensely into my face that I desperately wanted to leave.

Zu Audio is the only brand that gets a pass on this one in regard to the volume, but that’s because they get the room set-up so perfect that you never want to leave. They also play the best music at the show without pause like a night at the Roxbury and our little industry needs a lot more of that.

Zu Audio Soul 6 Loudspeakers at Capital Audiofest 2023
Zu Audio Soul 6 Loudspeakers ($6,000/pair) at Capital Audiofest 2023

If a system isn’t fun — you probably should not be considering it. And I mean that in a very serious way.

I don’t care if you are spending $500, $1,500, $15,000 or $150,000 — if you don’t come home at night and have fun listening to music — you have put together the wrong system.

The Diptyque Audio/Fidelity Imports and Zu Audio rooms may have offered different presentation styles but I spent more than 30 minutes in both rooms and really didn’t want to leave.

Zu Audio Definition 6 and DWX Loudspeakers at Capital Audiofest 2023
Zu Audio Definition 6 ($25,000/pair) and DWX ($1,698/pair) Loudspeakers at Capital Audiofest 2023

As I mentioned in my initial show report, the Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII will not bash you over the head; but they will utterly disappear in the room if you give them enough space and power.

Gilles Douziech and Eric Poix started the company in 2001 in France after creating their first prototype and over the past two decades have worked to refine their isodynamic loudspeakers, which they also refer to as “Magnetostatic” transducers.

As someone who has owned planar magnetic and electrostatic loudspeakers for over 30 years, I have always been intrigued by the various options outside of Magnepan, MartinLogan, Quad, Final, Eminent Technology, Apogee Acoustics, and Soundlab that helped forge my audiophile experience.

Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII Loudspeaker closeup in Fidelity Imports Room at Capital Audiofest 2023
Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII Loudspeaker ($17,000/pair) at Capital Audiofest 2023

The Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII are not inexpensive; the current U.S. retail price is $17,000/pair and they certainly require an amplifier capable of extracting all of that detail, tone, and very impressive soundstage width and height.

The Soulnote electronics clearly had enough power to drive these loudspeakers rather easily and the tonal balance was not too warm at all.

The bass on these panels will not overload your room — there is almost no chance of that, but what they delivered was tonally accurate, tight, and very fast sounding.

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What makes these French loudspeakers unique?

Diptyque’s Push Pull Bipolar Magnet (PPBM) is an innovative patented architecture. The large section bipolar magnets, manufactured to specification, are located at the front and rear of the diaphragm. They make it possible to maintain the coil (aluminum tapes) in a constant magnetic field when the membrane moves, which is thus perfectly controlled.

The panel features a mechanical sandwich structure; featuring an assembly of 3 different materials: MDF frame, fine felt and stamped sheets held in force by a mechanically welded steel frame.

Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII Tweeter
Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII Tweeter

Each Diptyque Audio DP140 MKII utilizes a 55 cm long proprietary ribbon tweeter.

The ribbon is produced as an isodynamic cell (mylar film and aluminum coil). It moves in an intense magnetic field made from neodymium magnets.

These tweeters operate over a wide frequency range and mate perfectly with the isodynamic cells.

Each loudspeaker is 1410 x 483 x 47 mm (55″H x 19″W x 2″D) and 83 pounds apiece.

They can handle up to 180 watts (with a minimum of 60) and have a quoted frequency response of 35Hz to 20kHz.

Are they hard to drive? With a sensitivity rating of 87db/1W/1m (6 Ohm), I would suggest that AVRs are definitely out, along with smaller integrated amplifiers like the Naim NAIT 50 that is currently playing in the background in my dining room system.

I could see my Cambridge Audio Edge A Integrated Amplifier ($6,499) working rather well with these.

Diptyque DP140 MKII Loudspeakers
Diptyque DP140 MKII Loudspeakers are also available in white

Sound

Listening to a selection of chamber pieces and some electronic music, what really stood out was the timbre, clarity, detail and spaciousness of the sound.

My Magnepan LRS cost me under $700, and there are some rather stark differences between them and the DP140 MKII.

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The marvels from Minnesota sound crisper and less full starting in the upper bass range and they certainly don’t offer the low end impact of the larger French loudspeakers.

Transparency is excellent with both speakers but the DP140 MKII handle the delicacy of music far more convincingly and there is an ethereal quality to the sound that feels more like an electrostatic loudspeaker than a planar magnetic one.

I suspect that the top end of the DP140 MKII’s can be ruthlessly revealing with the wrong type of amplifier; a combination of tubes and solid state might make a lot of sense here.

Vocals were rock solid in the middle of the room, but also not thrust into your lap which felt like a winning combination with the music used.

The tonal balance was generally pretty neutral and that opens up the door to some experimentation with amplification and sources.

I also suspect that these speakers are capable of a lot more in a larger room; which is saying a lot considering how well they performed at the show.

At their price point, the DP140 MKII ($17,000/pair) are too rich for my blood, but we are arranging for a review of the less expensive Diptyque DP107 ($8,000/pair) which offer a smaller panel but greater adjustability options for a room like mine.

Stay tuned.

For more information: diptyqueaudio.com

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