The Solitaire P-SE headphones
The Solitaire P-SE is based on the Solitaire P, which in itself was a new and ground-breaking development, incorporating a highly refined application of the magnetostatic principle. Like all our headphones the Solitaire P-SE is of uncompromising design, since it was conceived with a single aim in mind: music reproduction in perfection.
From the TPM 2500 converter system to the headband connections every single component and sub-assembly is manufactured to the tightest possible tolerances using precision tools. The headphones’ construction employs various plastics with differing characteristics, selected according to function and specific application: the cups exhibit very high internal damping, the yokes and headband attachments are mechanically strong and extremely robust. The surfaces are finished in special top-quality lacquers developed for aviation applications. The sophisticated design of the TPM 2500, in conjunction with the magnet arrangement, the sound duct and the diaphragm, linearises the sound field and the radiation characteristics. Music is reproduced in its purest form: the Solitaire P-SE shows the music for what it is. Natural, totally faithful reproduction is the first commandment of all T+A devices.
Construction and Material
Many planar-magnetic headphones share the problems of low efficiency, very low impedance and considerable weight, and we were determined from the outset to avoid these drawbacks in our design. A crucial factor in this purpose was the adoption of a new approach to problem solving. We invested considerable effort in the design, and insisted on the use of the finest available materials. The headphones incorporate several close-tolerance sub-assemblies which fit together snugly; they can only be manufactured using precision tools to ensure that they meet our requirements for tolerances in the hundredths of a millimetre. The net result is consistently perfect fits. The ear cushions and head band are hand-made, and manufactured for us by a specialist company here in Germany. They consist of allergen-free synthetic leather and velours, and are specially selected to suit the specification of the Solitaire P-SE. Right at the development stage we laid the foundation for a very enjoyable wearing experience; contact with the skin is pleasant even when the headphones are worn for long periods.
In the pursuit of optimum sound the quality of the connecting cables is a crucial link in the chain. Ours are of symmetrical construction, with very low inductivity and capacitance, and designed with the optimum impedance. They consist of ultra-pure copper (OFC) conductors with a carefully defined silver layer. The four signal conductors are embedded in cotton threads, and permanently wrapped in a silver-plated woven shield. This construction isolates electro-magnetic influences, and damps mechanical resonances. The connectors are of the highest quality. The headphones themselves are fitted with special 3.5mm barrel connectors, which – like the sockets at the headphone end – are finely gold-plated, and exhibit zero transfer resistance. The entire cable harness, including connectors and splitters, is encased and sheathed in a single manufacturing process, resulting in an extremely robust, durable cable which remains very flexible The cable insulators consist of high-quality Hytrel® and TPE; these elastomers are free of PVC and latex, and are manufactured without the addition of toxic softening agents. Two cable sets are supplied with the headphones as standard: one with a 6.3 mm barrel connector, and the second with a symmetrical 4.4 mm Pentaconn connector which offers optimum transfer resistance for the best possible sound quality. As an option, a lead terminating in a four-pin XLR connector can be supplied instead of the 4.4mm Pentaconn cable set.
The Solitaire P-SE is driven by our in-house transducer TPM 2500. The TPM 2500 is a derivative of our flagship transducer TPM 3100, both are developed and handmade in Herford. The high-performance neodymium magnets of the TPM 2500 are made with an accurately calculated segment shape as well as being precisely matched in length to suit the oval outline of the diaphragm; this ensures that the magnetic field lines generated have a homogeneous course, and that no air turbulence occurs; the airflow remains laminar at all times. The precise design of the retaining rings and the magnet mount maintains the diaphragm’s position accurately in the linear part of the magnetic field, ensuring that it is able to generate high sound pressures without distortion and with an enormous dynamic range, virtually devoid of inertia. This design also eliminates the need for opposed magnet systems, helping to keep the headphones’ weight low. The diaphragm is able to vibrate freely in the direction of the ear cushions, since there is no acoustic hindrance between the transducer diaphragm and the ear. The diaphragm of the TPM 2500 itself consists of a special ultra-thin – and therefore ultra-lightweight – film material, coated with an accurately routed and calculated conductor array whose impedance is around 45 Ohm.
The open construction of the Solitaire P-SE avoids the resonance problems of closed systems, and allows the diaphragm to vibrate unimpeded; the music signal is maintained in its full, unadulterated form.