While we were once again having one of our talks with Intertechnik, Andreas Wolf wondered if I didn't want to develop a real blue class speaker with Satori by SB Acoustics. "Sure," I said, but I was entering new terrain because the Satori speakers have almost never been available in a kit worldwide.
The Satori line - actually there are only the three speakers: a 165 in 4 and 8 Ω and a tweeter - were developed by well-known and esteemed Danish engineers as well as the other speakers in the SB Acoustics range. Frank Nielsen and Ulrik Schmidt played a leading role in the entire SB Acoustics speaker program.
Sinar Baja Electric, an Indonesian speaker manufacturer, has produced speaker chassis for 25 years but established the SB Acoustics label specifically for high-end speakers.
The SB Acoustics series is already more than excellent quality, regardless of price. SB but still wanted to go one step further and developed the series "Satori" which means as much as enlightenment or understanding in Buddhism. In this case, no costs were spared and the goal was to develop drivers that were better in all respects. The Satori speaker chassis have now been in the Intertechnik program for more than two years and if a kit had not yet been put together, it is simply because for Udo, a speaker line with only three models is not a line. As he told me, he would only start with it if it there were bass speakers in 21 and 26cm or additional mid-range ones. The idea appealed to me however, partly because the prices for the Satori speaker quality are very interesting. It was time to develop a great speaker with this.
The mid-woofer actually looks very Danish. It has a small magnet system - due to the small but powerful neodymium ring: Reflections from large magnet systems are simply avoided. The diaphragm "breathes" more because it does not have the resistance caused by tight baskets. The partitions are correspondingly narrow, but the feature here is what others have not yet done, the spider - which SB Acoustics has baptized BIMAX. Just exactly which materials SB uses in doing this, remains a secret. But the typical yellow spider material is interspersed with black fibers which allows for greater linearity. Furthermore, the spider is not glued directly to the basket, but on a ring which is itself attached to the basket. The attachment is done at points which, according to SB Acoustics, are intended to avoid the transfer of vibrations.
The rest is classic good know-how from Europe. Low-loss suspensions, coil carriers made of fiber glass which prevent eddy currents, a 36mm voice coil, very tightly wound CCAW wire (copper clad aluminum wire), copper rings in and around the air gap, a ventilated magnet system.
The diaphragm is made of non-pressed paper, interspersed with papyrus fibers which provide stability while, at the same time, having a damping effect. Together with the copper short-circuit rings, the strong Nawi shape should allow for broadband capability. Our measurement on the chassis confirms this: On the axis, the MW16P goes up to an incredible 15 kHz, almost a thoroughbred broadband. I took advantage of this and during the tuning of the cabinet with sound samples, only directly connected the mid-woofer. Meaning no crossover or tweeter.
Measurement: SB Acoustics Satori MW16P-8
The tweeter also has some special features and this is again typical of Frank and Ulrik. A so-called ring dome, which is actually a dome with a very large suspension mounted in the center, meaning not oscillating. This design was developed in the 90s but with a phase plug. This was not considered good enough due to acoustic problems. But now SB Acoustics has simply omitted the phase plug which seems to work just fine if you look at the measurement notes.
Why this design now where the whole world offers simple domes? Every tweeter developer has to struggle with controlling the soft dome either with damping or geometry or both. Because when the voice coil transmits the movements to the fabric dome, this is correctly conducted to the air in the area of the voice coil. But the shape of the dome does what it wants. It often oscillates antiphasal or completely false. So Frank and Ulrik have quieted the dome by attaching a thorn to the center of the dome. A small phase plug. The frequency response was able to be increased to a remarkable 40 kHz. The lower emission was easily offset by a much larger suspension which radiates sound..
In addition, the TW29R has some singularities which are rarely found in tweeters. CCAW coil, T-shaped magnet system, copper rings, two part front plate, made of aluminum, where the two plates are decoupled in order to avoid transmission vibrations. The coupled volume allows a low resonance frequency of 600Hz and the use of beginning from 1500Hz is quite possible.
Measurement: SB Acoustics Satori TW29R
We opted for a volume of 18 liters bass reflex which is a good compromise. Actually, the simulation programs at my disposal have calculated up to 35 liters and never below 25 liters. That simply did not sound right, however. The lower mid-range and upper bass were too narrow and the mids were a bit pert. At first, I installed everything in one column where the bass volume was variable. But when I only needed 18 liters of the initial 45 liters of the column, I redrew the box to make it a bookshelf speaker and rebuilt it. However, it does not belong on the shelf. It is too high and the bass reflex tube is on the back and that needs some space to the rear wall.
For those who prefer a column, the cabinet can be easily extended and unused volume filled with sand or used as a frequency crossover compartment.
The tweeter has its own enclosed volume so that it is not disturbed by the vibrations of the woofer.
The bass reflex port is a Intertechnik HP50 shortened to 11.5 cm .
All surfaces are covered with anthracite Sonofil (I am often asked why I prefer this to the white Sonofil: for me it "sounds" better than the white at least in the mids. The white one is perhaps slightly better in the bass...or: black is more beautiful.)
As can be seen in the photo, a Sonofil mat, about 20cm wide is placed below in the cabinet. Because the areas are rather small, a stiffener between the loudspeakers is sufficient. It is glued on the back to the baffle and another is presses against the first stiffener. In my example, the side panels are made of slatted real wood which is quite stable and needs no braces.
To get the cabinet nice for the photos, I painted the baffle, the back wall, cover and bottom with a stone effect paint from the spray can. This lends beautiful structure. After the very long drying period, I then painted the surfaces with black paint. I get better results with matte black, because when I use silky gloss, this is always very shiny while matte always becomes silky gloss in the end.
The side walls were stained and then oiled later. To get a silk surface here, too, I finished it with a special brush after the oil dried.
The frequency crossover
Although the broadband capability of the loudspeakers demonstrates good development work, it can cause problems in the development and construction of the frequency crossover. Broadband-capable loudspeakers must simply be connected steeply sloped.
If a speaker has a naturally sloping frequency response in the crossover frequency, a coil is often enough, but a few tricks had to be found here.
I'm not a fan of 18dB filters. For simple reasons: The total resistance of two coils wired in series can be quite large and two coils take up a lot of space and are expensive. To the TRitec coils used here, I connected an RC circuit parallel to the low pass coil which increases the effects of the coil and makes the slope steeper. R3, C5 and L2 absorb the superelevation of the frequency response above by 2 kHz which greatly simplifies the work of the low pass.
The high pass is a thoroughbred third order filter with 18dB per octave where R4 is connected afterward and virtually enlarges the low impedance of the tweeters. That is why the values of the capacitors can be kept small which is good for our wallet. R5 and C8 lower the somewhat too noisy super tweeter; the three Lcor, Ccor and Rcor components are there for impedance linearization if you want to operate the speaker system with a tube amplifier. R1, C1 and C2 are a low pass filter which operates at very high frequencies above 100 kHz to keep away all the radio frequencies (mobile phones, WiFi), which disrupt the spaciousness.
We built the crossover with very high end components.
With the crossover in the picture, three Audyn Cap Pluses can be seen: at the time of construction, a value was not in stock and I replaced it with two capacitors in parallel. An Audyn Cap Plus is then naturally less available in the kit.
I build the crossover on a hole grid chess board, because I wanted to show them at the recent events in March and April in Kerpen and not hide them. However, the crossover does not fit this way through the speaker hole. It must be built on two small plates or two smaller universal circuit boards and be routed individually into the inside of the box. The mounting should be done below or on the side. If you want, you can, of course move the crossover outside. Either in an additional attached cabinet (by extending the main cabinet, for example) or why not in a separate cabinet with a Plexiglas cover? .
The bass coil is a high-quality Tritec one. It is very important to me that all components in the signal path, including resistors, are always high end. Granted not all the components of this crossover are always the most expensive ones but they are the right ones. Audyn Q4 or MKT capacitors, MOX resistors and an Airtherm-coil (blacklack) because vibrations can be harmful to the sound here.
I've heard many speakers in the past which were equipped with high-quality, expensive high end chassis and which deeply impressed me. The standard SB Acoustics as a price-performance killer, already really plays in the high-end class. But the MW16P is a real blockbuster - it plays in a different league. How is this possible?
The MW16P used here has several similarities to the SB17NRXC35-8 such as a diecast basket, paper diaphragm offset with fibers, similar voice coil (also fiber glass backing, CCAW coil), low loss suspension, copper rings ... the differences are apparently the ferrite magnet to a neodymium ring and the admixed papyrus fibers in the diaphragm against "normal" fibers in SB14. Can that explain so many differences? You would have to cut open the two chassis to see what is really in them. But we don't want to do that which is why you should read the description and technical data. You can also see that the diaphragm has a different design when both chassis are lying next to each other. There are probably a lot of small development details that make up the differences. Well, as already mentioned, the neodymium magnet better focuses the magnetic field; the pole plates and core are completely different in form, the Bimax spider. The fact is that the MW16P has fulfilled its mission and was able to assert itself against the caliber of other brands. The Satori is similar in sound to a previous development by Ulrik and Frank for a Danish brand but the MW16P is "faster". This is not surprising because the moving mass with Satori is considerably less than that of the competitors. (12.4 g versus 18g). Thus, the MW16P sounds simply more transparent. But it is significant in the fundamental tone range where the MW16P completely outshines its colleagues. Warm, but precise, not pushy but having many micro details. And a very expensive C173 does not do this. It seems to be a bit cooler there.
The Eton 7-202/C8/32HEX with similar parameters seems to come closest to the Satori but is not, in my opinion, as transparent in the mids.
The TW29R tweeter also plays at such a high level, as I had expected after having reviewed the MW16P. It was simply incredible that I could compare it with a R2904. The minimal reduced efficiency is of no consequence. Because the Satori tweeter richtet weniger ? less, and it only costs a third.
And all that in our box?
Very tight, deeper bass, unobtrusive, very transparent and balanced - the Satorique 1 could almost be used as a studio monitor. The transition between the the mid- and high ranges is flawless. The whole thing is simply open. The stage plays solidly between the boxes with impressive depth. Established, yet completely unfettered.
Damn, something must be wrong? The Satorique is a fairly small box. No chance for bass orgies and parties are banned. It also needs some power because the efficiency is quite low, but that doesn't matter because it sounds alive and you think you have around 90dB here. It is intended for small spaces and can be placed right up close to the rear wall (up to 50cm).
Where would you position yourself as if you were a finished speaker? Well, I can compare a box in my living room which is similar in size and volume. This is also a bookshelf speaker, a two-way, a 17er and a superb beryllium tweeter. Well, in short: the Satorique 1 raises itself to the same level. The Be tweeter is now the measure of all things, but here, the smoother transition between the mid and high-ranges of the Satorique 1 were noticeable and it moved on past the Be Box. The "W" diaphragms of the Be box are known to have a warm fundamental tone range while being transparent in the mids. Here the Satorique was also unique even if it sounds a bit brighter. The Be competitor has more efficiency, but it does not go down not very deep, the Satorique plays down to 30Hz. The slightly lower efficiency does not play a major role in practice. You can say that the Satorique 1 would easily cost € 4,000 as a finished speaker but you get it as a kit with wood for only about € 1,000!
Mission accomplished; the speaker heaven now has a new, shining star.
Frequency and impedance Frequency under 0°,15°and 30° Distortion K2 et K3
Step response Waterfall Frequency and phase
Name : SB Acoustics Satorique1
Woofer: Satori MW16P-8
Tweeter: Satori TW29R
Principle: bass reflex 18 liters
Sales/construction : Intertechnik, Daniel Emonts
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Damping/insulation: Sonofil black
Approx. kit price: 460,-
Approx. wood price: 20,-