Featuring The Audiophile Lending Library

New - Sonoma M1 Electrostatic Headphone System

New - Sonoma M1 Electrostatic Headphone System
New - Sonoma M1 Electrostatic Headphone System
Most headphone hobbyists at some point are drawn to the sound of electrostatic headphones. Electrostatic headphones excel at speed, clarity and transparency, but as most users have discovered they also tend to exhibit certain colorations. These colorations are sometimes referred to as the "electrostatic sheen", or glare. The transparency is wonderful, the glare less so.

Enter the new Sonoma Acoustics' M1 Headphone System ($4999), a complete Electrostatic Headphone System including a dedicated Amp/Energizer/High Resolution DAC.

SONOMA ACOUSTICS is an outgrowth of the team that was assembled to develop the world’s first DSD recording and editing system, called the Sonoma Workstation. The Sonoma Workstation is used by artists around the world to record hi-res projects for release on SACD and, more recently, online. It is that same unquenchable thirst for unmatched audio quality that has driven the development of the Model One Headphone System.
The Sonoma M1 Headphone System uses a revolutionary new electrostatic transducer. The patented High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) uses a thin (15 μm – less than the thickness of a human hair), flexible laminated film for the ‘front’ grid. The laminate is affixed to the open (cell) structure of an insulating spacer, and the film is very accurately machine-tensioned. In this way, small ‘drum-skins’ are created by the cells. A stainless steel mesh forms the ‘back’ grid. When the audio signal is superimposed on a 1350 V DC bias voltage, the ‘drum-skins’ formed by the flexible ‘front’ grid vibrate, producing sound. Unlike a traditional electrostatic panel, the sound heard from a HPEL does not pass through a grid! To take full advantage of this feature, everything has been done in the design of the M1 to keep the areas in front of and behind the transducer as clear as possible so as not to impede the sound waves. The HPEL Drivers are mounted in Injected Magnesium Ear-cups (Lighter, Stiffer and less resonant than aluminum) and for supreme comfort the M1 uses handmade Cabretta Sheepskin Ear & Headband Pads.
The M1 Amp/Energizer/High Resolution DAC provides the following inputs:
1. USB 2.0 (digital) Hi-Res Audio formats up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and DSD via DoP (DSD64/DSD128)
2. coaxial S/PDIF (digital) PCM formats up to 24-bit/192 kHz
3. RCA (x2) jacks (analog)
4. 3.5mm stereo jack (analog)

The Sonoma M1 system was developed to deliver true high-resolution performance. To this end it uses two ESS Technology 32-bit Reference DAC's. These two stereo DAC chips used in a special mono mode deliver astounding 129 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). 

Custom 64-bit Fixed-Point Digital Signal Processing
Helping the Sonoma to achieve the desired response the M1 uses Custom 64-bit Fixed-Point Digital Signal Processing to digitally process all signals using a high performance, multi-core XMOS processor. Taking further advantage of the incredible accuracy of the 64-bit DSP allowed the implementation within the amplifier of a fully-digital interpolated volume control which outperforms even pure-analog stepped attenuators.

The benefits include:
1. no loss in fidelity and no loss in dynamic range
2. perfect left/right channel matching
3. no potentiometer/attenuator non-linearities at the end of range
4. no noise issues, clicks/pops, etc.

What does all of this high tech wizardry get us? 
All of the speed, clarity and transparency of the very best electrostatics, but presented in a more organic manner. A true reference level integrated headphone system.

At The Cable Company we are proud to be offering the new Sonoma M1 Headphone System for in-home evaluation through our Headphone Lending Library.
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