Townshend Maximum Supertweeters


Yes, Maximum. I don’t come up with the names, I just review the stuff, okay? ;) And I got em because everyone keeps telling me I should, and once again they are right. Whew! That was easy!

Kidding! We will now laboriously delve into why you cannot live without these tweeters, that you can’t even hear.

For sure I can’t. My hearing rolls off somewhere north of 15k. If that. These things extend to 90k. Why? What difference can it possibly make?

Who knows? And since when has that stopped me?

So out they come and what have we here? Two heavy black bricks, with a screen on the front and a couple binding posts on the back. In between the posts is a little knob you use to turn them off and set the levels. On the bottom are rudimentary rubber dimple feet. Guess I was expecting Pods or something, this being Townshend. No such luck.

They go on top of the Moabs. Well there is already a BDR Shelf on top, and a HFT dead center right where this thing is supposed to go. Moving HFT even an inch changes the sound so executive decision, the Maximum Supertweeters go just outboard of the HFT. They are first just placed there not even connected, just in case this somehow messes with the sound. It doesn’t.

Okay so now you need to know my system is all messed up. No, not the usual mess I mean really seriously messed up. No turntable. Chris Brady has the bearing for some resurfacing and stuff. So we are slumming with the heavily modded Oppo. Not to fear, Ted Denney sent me some of his latest Atmosphere X (review to come) which with the right tuning bullet the Oppo now sounds....digital. Oh well. KBO.

The usual: Demag. Warmup. Listen a while. Hook em up. What level? Who knows? Moabs are 98dB. How ya gonna know anyway? How can it even matter? How do you even set the level of something you can’t hear? Level 3, good as any. Plug em in. No change. Not the slightest peep out of these things. Total dud. Knew it. Sit back down.

What the...? No way. There is not the slightest hint of top end coming from these things. They may as well not be there at all. Except the whole presentation is somehow different. Top to bottom. No way!

I get up and turn the black magic off. Sit back down. Crap. Flat, grainy, digital. Turn em back on. Deep, liquid, analog.

No, not analog like my turntable. They are just supertweeters after all not magic. But way more analog than it was. More dimensional, more solid, more liquid detailed. More black between the notes, and in the black it is now easier to hear the natural acoustic decay. I do NOT want to go back to listening to CD without this! I cannot wait to hear it with my table.

And I haven’t even had time to get them dialed in yet!



7aa7f1da 510b 4993 8c29 173e69010356millercarbon
It is in top of my speaker. I got 2 mtr cable (barely enough) to connect them. 
Have not had time to experiment. Too many other things keep getting in the way. Right now it is 100+ degree heat! But talking with John Hannant, they do not seem to be particularly sensitive to location. They have customers using them pointed backwards, using multiple tweeters (up to 3 per speaker!) and some even running them out of phase.

This all sounds super zany until you stop and think about the physiology of human hearing. In the Cliff Notes version we have three different but somewhat overlapping systems. One for very low frequencies is really good only for volume, and not even all that good at that, it hardly registers until the volume gets fairly loud. (Which is why the Loudness switch was invented.) One for midrange is incredibly sensitive, able to localize with high precision, fine tuned to such subtle details we can tell a violin from a viola, distinguish a million different human voices, etc. (Which is why the midrange is so important, why speakers must be positioned precisely, etc.) Yet a third system registers ultrasonics- frequencies too high to register as distinct discrete sounds. We literally cannot hear them. Yet the majority of cells in the ear canal are designed to detect them!

As if all that weren't cool enough, the best part is we have something that combines all the inputs from these disparate systems into one solid and dimensional mental map of our world!

This is why five subs spread around at random are able to produce impeccably precise bass. Why the two main speakers must be positioned with extreme precision. And why super tweeters we can't hear not only work, but improve even very low bass.
I have the Townshend supertweeters on top of my modded Revel F208s.  If they are distorting the sound it is a beautiful distortion that I crave.  I have another brand of supertweeter on my lakehouse stereo system that I have kick in well below 20 Hz. I love the sound I get out of both systems with supertweeters. 
musicmann1 and millercarbon,
I want to again strongly recommend that you try to align the supertweeters as closely as you can to the tweeter centers. It absolutely makes a positive difference.
@mapman ,

wrong, wrong and wrong, 

Supertweeters add overtones to frequencies in the audible spectrum. One of the more interesting results is that muddled bass becomes clearer. They are not about ‘air’ or not only, the more fundamental effect is the addition of higher frequency harmonics.