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The difference between good sound and great sound

Luxury & Lifestyle 24-07-2019

Asian Wealth explores the Sonoma Model 1 by Warwick Acoustics, master headphones reputed to offer one of the greatest audio experiences possible.

For music lovers, a good pair of headphones have become a tech staple, bringing your music, podcasts, and audio books to life.

The revolutionary Sonoma Model One (M1) Headphone System by Warwick Acoustics Ltd is a serious disruptor in the audio engineering world. Winner of 13 awards from the most prestigious hi-fi and audio publications, they are the choice for Grammy award winning music producers, with fans including Ramsey Jones from the Wu-Tang-Clan family and some very high-profile Hollywood film stars.

Optimised for today’s high-resolution audio formats, the Sonoma M1 has been developed from the ground-up to deliver what is being recognised as superior levels of performance and sound quality.

“We’ve developed something which we believe delivers one of the most satisfying audio experiences currently available,” says Martin Roberts, Managing Director, Warwick Acoustics Ltd.

“Because of the Sonoma M1’s clarity and detail, these headphones are the choice for audiophiles, studios, and high net worth individuals who appreciate high quality music and want something that they believe is designed to be the best.”

The brains behind the process

Warwick Acoustics – a spin out of the University of the Warwick – has spent the last decade developing and evolving the concept behind its unique bonded electrostatic speakers.  Over the last three years, Warwick Acoustics has raised over £6m in funding to build its current team and facilities to develop its world-class audio solutions — including the Sonoma M1 on the market for £5,000, and the APERIO which was recently launched and retails for £20,000.

“These headphones are designed from the ground-up by highly respected pioneers in the industry who know exactly what they’re doing,” says Martin. “Our team consists of some of the best engineers in the audio industry and they have put together a system that doesn’t need to be changed. It has been designed to deliver the best audio experience that we believe you can have on a pair of headphones.”

Perfectly synergised engineering

While there may be a good selection of headphones on the market, the Sonoma M1 is the rich fruit of revolutionary engineering by Warwick Acoustics. The Sonoma is the world’s first headphone system to use the High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) audio transducer.

Derived from the world of ultrasonics, the patented technology ushers in a new paradigm in the field of electrostatic transducers resulting in a sound so perfect, you can practically reach out and touch it.

As a complete system design, the Sonoma offers a source of confidence. Taking out all of the hard work in choosing a headphone system, the engineers have strived to make each component of the system work in synergy. The integrated system consists of an Energiser, Class-A Amplifier, high-end DAC, custom-built cables, and the open-backed headphone unit, resulting in a complete and perfect system. 

“We’ve designed an entire system where everything is optimised to work in unison with our technology to deliver an uncompromised personal listening experience,” explains Martin.

“While individual components may be designed to be very good products separately, you can’t design an AMP or a DAC to perform its best with every single headphone in the market.  With a ‘mix and match’ set-up there will always be a compromise.”

Martin uses the analogy of a luxury car to demonstrate how each of its components contribute to its superior performance. “If you started to add spare parts from anywhere into a high-end luxury car, it will mess things up. Perfect performance depends on perfectly engineered components working together. When you look at the materials used in the Sonoma M1, it far exceeds any other on the market,” he says.

With their injection-moulded magnesium alloy ear-cups and hoops, the Sonoma M1s are the lightest over-ear headphones on the market.  Magnesium alloy is a material used in aerospace due to its strength-to-weight ratio “We’re using it for those very reasons,” says Martin. “However, injected magnesium is not only lightweight and strong, it also offers superior acoustical damping, thus it’s perfect for a high-end headphone.”

When tech meets luxury

The Sonoma M1 system encompasses luxury in listening, without gimmicks or frills. Using the finest materials, each element has been designed to the highest quality, to look beautifully stylish and sleek with no compromise on its output.

Headphones must be comfortable and light enough for extended listening. To ensure maximum pleasure, the pads on the M1 are handmade from top grain sustainable Cabretta sheepskin leather which is renowned for its light weight, softness, and durability. The USB data cable which connects your music source to your headphones even has gold plated connectors and a silver-plated data path.

The fully optimised system is ideally used at home, in the office, study, or even on a yacht. “They’re for at-home, personal listening,” says Martin. “The entire system provides the ultimate listening experience. It’s very easy to have it on a desk in a study, ready to be plugged into a PC, tablet or a phone.”

The immersive listening experience with the Sonoma M1 gives life and soul to music, almost as if you were sitting in a private concert.  Recognising their performance, they are now used by Mastering Engineers at the top of the pro-audio industry because nothing else gives the levels of precision and detail that the Sonoma M1 does.

Configuration: Open-back | Weight: 303g | Frequency response: 10 Hz-60 kHz | Drive Cable length: 2 metre | Effective diaphragm area: 3570mm | Ear/Headband cushions: Cabretta leather

Warwick Acoustics Sonoma Model One Headphone System is available from ten exclusive dealers around the UK, or online: ‘Warwick Acoustics Sonama Model One’

 Photographs by Kam Parmar for Asian Wealth
On location at Lillie Square Development (London)

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