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 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!

      Firm believer in the air a sub adds since the Denver REL guys left the demo room 20 years ago, and let me play bass-less "Fields of Gold" (Eva Cassidy's version) and turn the REL off and on at will. The added air and spaciousness was EASILY noticeable and I ended up eventually with a B1.      What is said about the effects of super-tweeters are exactly what I'd expect from a good super-tweeter (the sub effect, but in reverse!).
My experience is that supertweeters make ports superfluous. Blocking them with bungs makes the bass even clearer and more defined. In any case, if you have subs you certainly don't need ports to extend the bass. Some subs have ports to extend the lower frequencies, but again, with supertweeters they're unnecessary. 

Of course I'm still using them. Haven't yet got around to experimenting with different placement but that is because of being so happy with them right where they are. 

We did have one interesting experience recently. A younger audiophile was here and when I played the XLO demagnetizing tracks and it got up into the highest frequencies it was hurting his ears. I couldn't hear a thing, but it was loud to him! I said we can always turn the supertweeters down if needed.

But then playing music he said it was fine. This to me jibes with the science that shows we have a lot of hearing cells devoted to very high ultra-sonic frequencies that are for time and transient information not sine waves. Hearing tests and measurements are all sine waves. Simplistic at best. Human beings don't hear that way and this backs that up. His ears found sine waves painful while the same super tweeter level with music was just fine.

They do improve imaging and the perception of "real" all across the audio band. Really fascinating stuff.


I'm sure that I'm getting boring with this, but try to ake the time to get the placement right, because you will be rewarded.