Experience with adding super tweeter?

Back in the old days, I loved the concept of a superfast ribbon tweeter for example in a 4 way (above 5kHz). Not the term super tweeter is found more and more often. And even 'add on' are availble (example below). 

Has someone experimented with adding a supertweeter?

Impressions? Comments? 


I tried the dual firing Aperion and another front firing one, the PTS I think, both with my Spendors (SP2/3R2) and Martin Logans (11A). Conclusions:

1. The dual firing one is much better built and sounding. If you like what a the supertweeter does to your sound, it's worth spending the extra money for the more expensive one IMO.

2. Both of them are quite loud. I found myself using them only on the lowest intensity setting.

3. The positives: they add air / HF extension and as a result the bass also seems punchier.

4. The negatives: the sound seems to lose color, it gets bleached or gray somehow; the bass seems somewhat disjointed; there is a notable effect of blurring the transients (must be some kind of interference with the speakers' tweeter).

In the end, I preferred the sound without them and returned them both.

Soundstage became more expansive and enveloping, in particular with the dipole supertweeter, which was really nice. On the other hand, the precision of the imaging decreased iirc (not 100% sure on this one). There was a pervasive sense of diminished temporal precision, though, what I called transient blurring in the previous post. The bad effects were less significant the higher was the crossover set, so I preferred it at 16 kHz for the most part, but they were still there.

By the way, positioning mattered.

For test purposed (proof of concept), would it be sufficient to get my hands on a 'super tweeter' (ribbon, similar) and make a simple 6 db/oct high path (with various crossover points to play with)? 

I guess it depends on the way your system sounds. Does it lack air?

I have owned the Townshend super tweeters when I owned the Eggelston Works Andra 2 speakers. These speakers had the Esotar tweeters that some raved about, but I thought they lacked the "air". The Townshend's improved the sound immensely.

And if I remember them correctly, I think you can select the crossover and sound level.


I use a pair pf Muratar ES 103b with Duevel Bella Luna: provided you get millimeter precise positioning in phase with the rest of the speaker diaphragms the resulting increase in depth of soundstage and definition of the entire frequency spectrum including bass is nothing less than astounding. The other thing to watxh out for is obviously efficiency, where Duevel and Murata are close enough.,I have no experience with attenuators although they are needed where that condition isn‘t met. In any case well worth the experiment

Goofy idea....unless you get into active crossover implementation or mod the existing passive crossover. 

(It is nothing like blending in a subwoofer without bass management and getting away with it).

The PHASE thing: at 10kHz, the wavelength is 3.4 cm. So moving the supertweeter through that entire range is not too difficult, maybe in 10 steps of 3mm or so. 

But as with any OTHER speaker, the PHASE will only be "correct" (in line with other speakers) for one specifc frequency. So I guess speaker manufacturers may try to get the drivers 'into phase' at the crossover frequency? Or simply just ignore the it since it is OFF the whole time except for one frequency?

The phase thing is best established by trial and error. When it locks in, that is actually quite easily audible

If im not mistaken,

I believe a plasma tweeter can achieve performance well beyond that of a super tweeter. They can achieve 150kHz range without the downsides.

I’ve been infatuated by plasma since I saw demo but the community will be restricted unfortunately as these speakers typically come with six figure price tags

no inductive voice coil, no inhomogeneous magnetic field, no resonance-bound membrane, no mass-spring system vibrating back and forth, and no non-linear suspension. All there is light and air.

also can be hazardous unless designed brilliantly 

I remember the plasma. Ingenious (no mass!). But widespread use I think was also hampered by the Ozone (O3) that plasma 'flame' generates. Small doses are healthy, but higher/longer can cause problems (cance) IIRC?

Ozone (O₃) is a colorless to blue gas with a pungent odor. Exposure to ozone may cause headaches, coughing, dry throat, shortness of breath, a heavy feeling in chest,  and fluid in the lungs. Higher levels of exposure can lead to more severe symptoms. Chronic exposure may lead to asthma. Workers may be harmed from exposure to ozone. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.

Ozone is used in many industries. It is used for purifying air and drinking water, in industrial waste treatment, oils, bleaching and waxes, and to make other chemicals. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to ozone include the following:

  • Outdoor workers in areas with high levels of ozone
  • Factory workers in paper and pulp mills
  • Workers in waste water treatment plants
  • Fisheries workers who treat storage water

Love the addition of my supertweeter to my modded Aerial Acoustic 7ts..  My current one is the Enigmacoustics.  Definitely more air, top end and delicacy.  When I started a thread on this topic, I got posts telling me that it is not possible for me to hear high frequencies and it's just impossible for the supertweeter to make a sonic difference.  Ignore the naysayers if they chime in.

"not hear high frequencies" is certainly nonsense. Just use a cheapo old fashioned equalizer and pull down the "16k" lever while pusing all others up. Then listen to a violin (or pretty much any other instrumetn/music). 


@kraftwerkturbo I helped set up a pair of Hill Plasmatronics. They never show you pictures of the nitrogen tanks out back and they were not particularly well made. They were ugly as hell and most of what you were listening to was regular dynamic drivers and crossovers. Only the tweeter was plasma and they were worse than impractical. 

Most old people can't hear a thing over 12 kHz or even lower. It is called presbycusis. If a speaker requires a super tweeter it is a bad speaker. The "air" frequencies are in and around 6 kHz. Adding more "air" might seem pleasant, but it is distortion. You do not hear all that "air" at live concerts. 

The best tweeter made is the Magnepan ribbon tweeter. Magneplanar will not sell them separately. To get one you have to have the serial number of two 20.7s and there is a core charge. You have to send the old one back. A ribbon tweeter has to be at least 5 feet tall to be practical. Line sources beam vertically. You can not hear a thing but reflected sound above or below them which is why major speaker companies will not use them. At 5 feet you can cover both the seated and standing positions. Short ribbons have to be exactly at ear height.  

@mijostyn Even if we cannot 'hear' (correct: hear less) above 12k (or 16k for that matter), it is nevertheless a key part in any music. Simple test (already mentioned earlier): borrow a low fi graphic equalizer, push all levers UP, and the last one DOWN. Observe. Even an 80 year ("can't hear anythign above 8k"?) will immidately notice the difference. Or take a nice recoreding of a stradivari, and run it through a 12 db low pass digital filter with 16kHz. Those overtones (you call them distortion, the Stradivari owners will strongly disagree, as do most audiophiles) are actually key and truly 'make the difference'. "Adding" a supertweeter may or may not be the way to go; but relieving a heavy, big, lazy tweeter from the 'heavy lifting' above 10kHz for example is just as good and idea (potentially) and adding an 12inch driver to make life easier for that tiny 6" in your 2 way speaker. 


When I started a thread on this topic, I got posts telling me that it is not possible for me to hear high frequencies and it's just impossible for the supertweeter to make a sonic difference. Ignore the naysayers if they chime in.

There are many clueless know it alls on forums. There are doppler patterns @ supersonic frquencies which will produce frequencies well inside the audible band. 


ALL the Vandy carbon fiber tweeters are pistonic out to 30 k… and correctly time aligned and in phase w the other drivers….. excellent systems engineering and sonics…


@kraftwerkturbo I'm afraid that is lay intuition kraftwork. If I run that test blinded very few people over 50 would be able to tell the difference. 

Good tweeters have no problem getting to 20 kHz. Many of them go higher. Of all the super systems I have heard, maybe 30 of them, not a single one had a super tweeter. Atma Sphere MA 2s have a wonderful reputation driving Sound Labs speakers. It is laughable because due to the amp's high output impedance and the super low impedance of ESLs at high frequencies the Sound Labs roll off at 6 dB/octave at 12 kHz and the people with this system never noticed. They think it is a great combo. It is below 12 kHz. 

"If I run that test blinded very few people over 50 would be able to tell the difference." I doubt that very much. If frequencies above say 12 kHz are missing, my money is on making a clear difference and high blind test colleration for 50+ audiophiles. 

With respect to speaker capabilities: a 12" driver can also 'get to 20 kHz'. The only question is HOW. There is a reason why some of your cited 'super systems' use beryllium for the material of their tweeter. Why not cast iron?

I am NOT claiming at all that super tweeters are needed. Instead, I was wondering WHAT they do when used either as 'add on' in addition to existing tweeter, or for example in a dedicated additional pass (band pass for existing tweeter, high pass for the super tweeter). Someting to consider for example to 'make up' for overdamped rooms?

I purchased the Aperion AMT version with their 6ft silver cables. At first, I was not sure if I liked them. Then, as I moved them and adjusted to where like a sub I wasn't "hearing" the tweeter, I found that I really liked them and did not return. Now that they are placed and blended well( -4db), I'll turn them off occasionally for confirmation and remain happy I kept them.

I may someday try the Enigma Sopranino here Very curious to see/hear if any improvements.