AUDIO EXPERIENCE FROM FRANCE
Gilles Douziech is a man with an uncommon passion. He studied electroacoustics and worked with Marcel Rochet (the founder of the Mulidine speaker company) before moving on to informally designing handcrafted speakers for his friends. Then he met another passionate audiophile by the name of Eric Poix, a craftsman in iron by trade, who brought his expertise in mechanics and metalwork to the table. Their partnership yielded a first prototype, which was designed for a contemporary art exposition. Since 2001, they have been designing and manufacturing planar loudspeakers. After having spent three years experimenting with all sorts of materials, shapes, and structures and producing around 15 prototypes, they launched a finished HIFI product in November 2013: the DP 77.
I asked Gilles Douziech a few questions in order to understand the Dyptique audio project, the product, and his interests and concerns.
Gilles Douziech & Eric Poix
What sort of specific technology did you use to make this planar loudspeaker?
The DP 77 uses loudspeakers incorporating isodynamic ribbon technology. Our flat panel speakers contain two of these loudspeakers, which work in the same way as classical loudspeakers, with voice coils, cones, and magnets. The only difference is that they have been completely flattened. The aluminum ribbons are embedded on a mid/bass cone made of Mylar film. This cone has a surface area of 0.13 m² (equivalent to a 41-cm-diameter loudspeaker). The tweeter also includes a large Mylar cone; it has a very wide bandwidth, encompassing the medium-high to the very high frequencies. We managed to build two loudspeakers that work together perfectly, which means that we were able to use a very simple filter (6 db/octave), thus minimizing losses and keeping the loudspeakers in phase.
How do your loudspeakers differ from other planar loudspeakers already on the market?
In theory, our flat panel speakers are comparable to those made by Magnepan, but what makes ours distinctive is both our technical and aesthetic approach. Our flat panels are very unique because of their “double-faceted” acoustics: their two faces produce sound of the same quality, which generates a singular sound restitution experience. When it comes to aesthetics, not only do our slimmed-down panels come in three different colors, but they have the potential to become real works of art. They can be covered in acoustically transparent fabric and thus be transformed into designer products customized to reflect the desires and tastes of their users, all without modifying their acoustic properties in the slightest. We have set up partnerships with art photographers that have allowed us to print photographic images on suitable polyester fabrics, and the results are rather spectacular.
Does the fact that your speakers project sound from both their faces really add value to your product?
Our goal was to recreate the natural sounds of instruments, the way that you experience them in real life. For example, the sound produced by a piano is always omnidirectional; it is never just projected forwards, as is the case for sound coming from classical speakers. We therefore tried to recreate these real-life acoustics, unhampered by the “box effect,” by also playing with the back sound waves. Each instrument has its place in each unique sound landscape because of the trueness and fullness of its sound. The voices breathe, we can feel the physical presence of the musicians. Feedback from our first customers suggests that they fairly unanimously agree that, compared to the planar speakers produced by other brands, our flat panels have a much more controlled bass and produce sound that is truer to life.
Is your product exclusively targeting the audiophile market?
Of course, we want to win over that group of consumers. I think that we provide a listening experience that is extremely novel, and our sales outlet in Toulouse, ADHF can testify to this fact. However, the unique nature of our “double-faceted” product and its very versatile usage leads us to think that exposition venues might also be interested. Our previous partnerships with such centers, namely the GMEA (the National Center for Music Creation located in southern France), have yielded promising results and could serve as an example for all entities managing public spaces that are looking for unique, high-quality sound reproduction.
If someone wants to use your product at home, are there any special considerations?
This loudspeaker’s low level of sensitivity (86 dB) means that it requires a reliable power source; we recommend using an amplifier that supplies more than 60 W of power. What’s more, our flat panels are perfectly suited for surface areas of up to 50 m2. They are extremely easy to use. All you need to do is place them on the ground, making sure that they aren’t too close to the wall. However, their “double-faceted” sound reproduction could yield really interesting results in wide open spaces, for example.
What production tools are you using, and what is your vision for growth?
We are very aware of the fact that the market is saturated, especially when it comes to speakers, and that it is difficult to get a foothold. Although our products are currently handcrafted, this has the advantage of allowing us to control the entire production chain and thus the quality of our products. We intend to take our project further, step by step. We have invested in a computer-controlled milling machine to build the frames for our mid-range loudspeakers, and we have developed specific tools that allow us to manufacture all of our parts. The product is entirely handcrafted in our workshop in Montauban (near Toulouse). We are, of course, looking for sales outlets, and our goal is to take part in the Munich High End Show next year in order to market our product to the largest number of people possible.
In some past listening tests of planar loudspeakers (Magnepan), I was particularly struck by the “nearness” of the musicians and the fact that the sound projection wasn’t unidirectional. As a result, I am rather impatient to audition these new flat panels. Diptyque Audio is offering up an atypical, original, and highly innovative product that makes a two-fold promise: an invitation into a new acoustical universe and a vision of speakers as objects with aesthetic value. This ambitious undertaking is also built on multiple, smart partnerships—it is characterized by a rich mixture of encounters and passions, which clearly underscores the importance of a well-developed approach. Its innovative energy is transforming the experience of listening to music.
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Specifications : Sensitivity: 86db (1 W/1 m); Impedance: 6 Ohms; Power handling: 150W; Dimensions (H x L x W): 770 x 470 x 20 mm; Weight: 11 kg; Cost: 2,890 € per pair