ENIGMAcoustics Mythology M1 standmount loudspeaker

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ENIGMAcoustics Mythology M1
ENIGMAcoustics Mythology M1 standmount loudspeaker

When it comes to supertweeters, normally a brand starts with complete loudspeakers and builds up the registers from there. ENIGMAcoustics instead first burst onto the audio stage with its Sopranino supertweeter, and from there looked down into the regular loudspeaker world with its Mythology M1 standmount. The M1 was designed from the outset to work with the company’s unique, self-biased electrostatic supertweeter, which sits atop the two-way box.

The Mythology’s main cabinet is a rear-ported rectangular box, sporting a custom-made 178mm polypropylene bass driver (with a 50mm voice coil) coupled to a 34mm silk dome tweeter. These sit in a laminated thin-walled birch wood cabinet, reinforced with toughened glass top and bottom. Because of the dimensions, the appearance of the gently curved matt black aluminium front baffle, and the single column stand it rests upon, the main cabinet looks similar to a Magico Q1. However, on closer investigation, this is a little like saying George Clooney looks like Karl Marx because they both have beards.

ENIGMAcoustics goes down the custom drivers route because it can guarantee tight tolerance of drive units, down to within 1dB of a reference driver. And it also means the tweeter (larger than the standard one-inch soft dome) can be used across a far wider frequency range than usual. This took some considerable research to get right, but it has very obvious benefits; it’s not only an extremely efficient design, but it works down into the midrange, meaning the crossover point between treble and bass unit is down at 1.1kHz. Thus, practically everything from 1kHz-20kHz is covered by the same drive unit, which significantly improves phase characteristics and linearity across the mids and upper registers in the process.

The combination of drive units and comparatively wide baffle means the M1’s off-axis performance is extremely good. Because the tweeter takes on such a starring role in the midrange, the bass driver doesn’t get to exhibit the darker side of a cone’s performance at higher frequencies, and there is little ‘beaming’. Audiophiles, especially those who listen alone in the sweet spot with free-space loudspeaker designs, often dismiss this off-axis performance. However, even under those conditions, the effect of poor off-axis performance on the information you receive from first reflections can negatively influence the speaker system’s performance, and should always be a key indicator of good loudspeaker design.

The two drive units are paired with relatively complex crossover network, which is both unusual and more complex to design than the more common first-order crossover typically found in this style of ported two-way. Specifically, it uses a third-order network for the bass-treble integration and a second-order network for the bass roll-off. This not only controls the slope of the bass roll-off significantly better than simply relying on the natural mechanics of the drive unit, it provides greater time alignment, and better phase coherence across the full frequency range. This is not the kind of network ‘dashed off’ in an afternoon, but more the result of painstaking analysis and listening, and as a consequence the network bristles with audiophile Big Names, like Solen, Mundorf, and WBT.

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