ENIGMAcoustics Dharma D1000 – CanJam SoCal 2015

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Contrary to what you may think, these headphones have absolutely nothing to do with Jon or the hatch and the only button pushing going on at the show was play/pause. Instead what you have here is a hybrid electrostatic/dynamic headphone from ENIGMAcoustics that offers up a pretty interesting proposal, both on paper and IRL.

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ENIGMAcoustics has traditionally been known for their electrostatic loudspeaker tweeter called the Sopranino. Usually crossed over at 8-12 kHz, the small flat panel could be seen adorning the top of many full-size speaker rigs at audio shows across the country. In much the same approach for their newest personal audio creation, the Dharma D1000’s electrostat also comes in at around 10k.  Even with this approach the high range driver still overlaps frequency duties with the dynamic 50mm Wagami paper driver that takes care of most of the heavy lifting. The over-the-ear 26 ohm D1000 headphone weighs 380g and costs $1,190. I found the show floor demo to be very resolving but the out of head effect that I found so prevalent with many of the other new headphones at this show was a little dulled by comparison. That’s just from memory mind you, not from a direct A/B so final observations are obviously going to evolve with more exposure when the regular production model becomes available in May. Overall the fit, finish and feel felt very much in line with the rest of the $1k+ competition.

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Each D1000 on display was plugged into Enigma’s newest headphone amplifier called the Athena A1 ($1,490). The peek-a-boo casing you see pictured above is what the actual production model will look like, it was not just a display for show purposes. I found the casing design on this amp very pleasing. I appreciate almost any risk that manufacturers take when investing in aesthetics other than the standard black or silver box. In this case the upright delivery, big knob and futuristic crystalline approach felt like it would be right at home on my work desktop. The internals of the Athena A1 feature a class-A output stage fed from a single-ended triode gain stage with a 6CA4 tube rectifier. Very cool stuff.

  • Alan R.

    This fella is on the radar! When sampling a new phone on an amp and material that your unfamiliar, it’s tough to make a value judgment its true. The folks involved do understand mating the ‘stat and dynamic. I will have to, at the very least, hear this guy!

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