France’s Diptyque showed the new DP 140 MKII in one of High End’s hall-area displays on the main floor. Priced at €14,000 per pair and measuring 55″H × 19″W × 1.85″D, the DP 140 MKII is a ribbon-based design described by the company as being part of “a new generation of isodynamic speakers designed for music lovers.” Frankly, the beauty of this tall, wide, shallow speaker might be in the eye of the beholder, but I think it looks really good. It could dress up an appropriate living room with its lithe, modern look.
The DP 140 MKII is available in “160 RAL colors,” which can help it blend into the décor of the room where it’s placed. When I first heard about this speaker, I didn’t know exactly what a RAL color is, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, where I learned that “RAL is a colour management system used in Europe that is created and administrated by the German RAL GmbH. . . . In colloquial speech, RAL refers to the RAL Classic system, mainly used for varnish and powder coating, but now plastics as well. Approved RAL products are provided with a hologram to make unauthorised versions difficult to produce. Imitations may show different hue and colour when observed under various light sources.” From what I gathered, RAL guarantees that you get the exact color you want. The top and side edges are dressed up with leather trim.
The speaker is a two-way design with a 55cm (21.7″) ribbon tweeter operating alongside what are described as “two bass-medium cells” operating in accordance with the company’s “exclusive PPBM principle.” These drivers are a “mylar film and aluminum coil” combination. Apparently, a first-order crossover is all that’s needed to provide “a perfect fusion of the registers.”
PPBM stands for Push Pull Bipolar Magnet, which is said to be a “patented architecture” in which a “large section” of bipolar magnets is positioned in front of and behind the diaphragm. Based on the diagrams for the speaker, the PPBM driver is wide and tall, but like all ribbons, it’s thin. These magnets are claimed to “make it possible to maintain the coil (aluminum tapes) in a constant magnetic field when the membrane moves, which is thus perfectly controlled. The bass is more dynamic, and transient sounds are reproduced with precision.”
Diptyque’s claim about bass reproduction is a pretty big deal because many ribbon and panel speakers have weak bass—they simply can’t move enough air. That’s why you see so many “hybrid” designs, which marry a panel driver with a traditional cone woofer. But Diptyque claims bass response to 35Hz for the DP 140 MKII, which, if true, is quite impressive. And I think it is true, because Jason Thorpe and I stayed in the small Diptyque room and listened to the DP 140 MKIIs for a long time, in a system comprised of B.audio electronics and O2A cabling. We were blown away by the bass response, which was deep enough that we would’ve sworn we were listening to speakers with traditional dynamic woofers.
Diptyque claims high-frequency response to 20kHz, which I find believable because ribbons can extend very high in frequency. In our demo, highs were impressively extended.
Impedance is rated as 6 ohms, and sensitivity is pegged at 87dB (1W/m). If true, that means the speaker should be fairly easy to drive, though Diptyque recommends an amp capable of delivering at least 60W, so super-low-powered tube amps needn’t apply.
All the drivers operate in a dipole fashion, meaning they radiate sound forward as well as rearward. Like all dipoles, the rearward projection is out of phase with the frontward projection, which typically results in cancellation to the speaker’s sides. This can be beneficial in reducing wall reflections, while at the same time providing a rather spacious presentation. I don’t know if that performance aspect accounted for the exceptionally precise imaging that we heard, along with well-presented depth, but those qualities were there in spades. Suffice it to say that Jason and I were both quite taken by the DP 140 MKIIs’ performance, and should a pair be available for review, I doubt either of us would say no.