More recently, a third team member, Anthony Henry, has joined the company’s founders, Douziech and Poix. He has brought an injection of youth, new ideas and new solutions to the company, re-energising the original well of creativity. Standing against the workshop stairs you’ll find a large, fabric-covered disc, standing on a narrow base. No, it’s not a folding picnic table for a family of ten (although the company prefers to suggest that it suggests a moon rising!): it’s a prototype sound reinforcement/distributed sound system. Once you know what it is, it will come as no surprise that the slim, circular panel contains a pair of Diptyque speakers. But it also contains an amplifier and wireless connectivity capability. But the best bit? Being di-poles, the drivers offer equal output in both directions – so on both sides of the panel. Remembering where Diptyque started, perhaps such innovative offerings that carry their technology beyond the narrow confines of the high-end audio industry are to be expected, but even so, this is an impressively lateral application – and one that demonstrates surprising performance.
With each and every aspect of production engineering and manufacturing under such tight control, it’s easy to understand how this tiny enterprise manages to produce multiple products with such consistency and beautiful fit and finish. Diptyque is proud of their environmentally friendly process and the low carbon footprint of its products – all of which I applaud. But from a performance point of view, it’s that close knit, closely governed design and engineering team that I find so reassuring. It’s also the team that has produced the new Reference speaker, with its patented evolution of the push-pull drive arrangement, a development that promises a step-change in terms of performance – at least if the speakers’ performance in Munich this year is anything to go by! Representing an almost four-fold increase in price over the dp160 (the previous top model) not a single show report questioned the cost of the new flagship speaker, while all waxed lyrical over its sound.
What makes the Reference so different? In an arrangement that Diptyque has dubbed Crossed Push-Pull Technology, each side of the diaphragm carries a separate voice coil, one disposed vertically (with a vertical magnetic array), the other arranged horizontally with – you guessed it – a horizontal magnetic array. Diptyque claims improved efficiency, low frequency linearity and reduced distortion – which in one of those strange intuitive leaps, is exactly how the speaker sounds. This is a big panel with the speed and resolution of the best electrostatics, combined with the presence, scale and immediacy of the best planar magnetics. Even running from a modest system in Munich, driven by a Kora integrated amplifier, it delivered a performance that easily justified the €44K asking price, causing quite a stir amongst the assembled crowds.