Shots fired: ENIGMAcoustics at Fujiya Avic 2015


FA_2015_autumnThe Dharma D1000 headphones are ENIGMAcoustics’ first shot fired into head-fi territory and what a shot. KABOOM!

A 5cm Washi paper dynamic driver handles the majority of the frequency range whilst an electrostatic tweeter/super-tweeter takes proceedings sup to 50kHz. The Dharma D1000 register their arrival with 103db efficiency and 26 Ohm nomimal impedance. Unlike most other ‘phones with electrostatic drivers, no specialist amplification is required. You can drive these cans with an iPhone should you so wish. That’s ENIGMAcoustics’s self-biasing electrostatic loudspeaker (SBESL) tech at work.

The Enigmas have come a long way since we last saw them at the Munich High End Show back in May. Gone are the exposed drivers of the prototype and the headband is now being handmade, which lends the entire piece a considerably more robust feel (and look).

In an age where multi-thousand dollar headphones are fast becoming standard practice, the Enigma Acoustics headphone’s street price seems eminently reasonable at US$1299 US$1199 – perhaps immediate neighbours with the Beyerdynamic T1.

In listening, the Dharma D1000 aren’t as front foot in the presence region or as bass reticent as the 1st gen T1. Instead, there’s a pleasingly even tonal balance to the Enigmas that’s far from lightweight when it comes to delivering music’s broader mass. Let’s call ’em meaty (with a sprinkling of spice).

The first production run wraps this week with the Dharma D1000 slated to appear in stores anytime now. They’ll be limited initially to 100 units worldwide (until the next run) so don’t shilly shally if they’re riding high on your audition list.

Also doing the demo dance at the Fujiya Avic show was Enigma Acoustics’ Athena A1 headphone amplifier. That case is made from glass (not perspex) and it’s heavy. Class A output staging comes from a pair of ECC82 tubes. The first thirty Athena units are being handmande in Taiwan as I write this. US$1490. Again, not for fence sitters.

Further information: Enigma Acoustics









Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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  1. I am intrigued by this headphone as I used to own a Stax SR-009. How would you compare the production model to the HE-1000 in terms of transparency and bass response? As a hybrid electrostat, I would imagine it is a faster and more incisive headphone compared to the softer nature of the HE-1000?

    • Possibly Roy but calling the differences across continents and time is not something I’d feel confident in getting ‘right’. I wouldn’t underestimate the speed of the HE-1000 though. Its nano diaphragm can really move. Hoping to get my hands on a review pair of Dharma but realistically it won’t be until Feb that I get to sit down and write something. Construction work (again!) in my neighbourhood is doing me zero favours presently.