Fidelity Imports, the Listening Room, Diptyque, Audia Flight, Titan, and QED

May 17, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

High-flying Fidelity Imports occupied seven rooms at AXPONA 2024—probably a show record. Since starting the company in 2018, industry veteran Steve Jain has signed up a bevy of brands from Italy, France, England, Japan, and beyond.

Jain evidently has ears that match his business acumen; so far, every Fidelity product I’ve encountered has sounded somewhere between really good and masterful, with Perlisten and Diptyque impressing the most in the speaker department. As for amplifiers and players, I give a tip of the trilby to Soul Note, Audia Flight, and Unison Research.

Diptyque speakers—French planar magnetic dipoles whose inventors build on the Magnepan legacy—were unknown to me until I saw and heard the $8000/pair 107s early last year at the Florida audio show. They looked and sounded merveilleux. Two months later, Jain’s team schlepped the much larger, top-of-the-line Diptyque Reference model ($49,999/pr) to AXPONA. I was smitten all over again.

The panels are lightning-quick, as is to be expected from this type of design. But they’re also fulsome and punchy in the bass, and that’s quite a change from, let’s say, most Maggies. Diptyque mounts powerful, custom-made bipolar magnets at the front and rear of a sandwiched, 12µm-thick mylar diaphragm. Each side of the mylar has its own voice coil. The brand’s designers say that this creates a constant magnetic field when the membrane moves, allowing for more LFE and better dynamics.

This time, in a 12th-floor AXPONA room co-hosted by Michael Hoatson of Maryland audio store The Listening Room, I spent half an hour with the new Diptyque 115 speakers ($11,999/pair). Less than an inch thick, they sport a bass-midrange driver that measures 307 square inches and an almost 18″-long ribbon tweeter.

Driving the 115s was a thoroughbred Italian integrated amp, the 200Wpc Audia Flight FLS10 ($16,999 with DAC and phono boards). QED cables and Titan power conditioning brought the finishing touch.

We cued up Edgar Meyer’s “Green Slime,” performed by Meyer and Christian McBride, from the recently released But Who’s Gonna Play the Melody?. It was practically a dare: Can panel speakers do justice to not one but two double basses at the same time? The new Diptyques didn’t flinch. They were equally unfazed by Marcus Miller’s “Cousin John.” I’ve heard more slammin’ renditions of that deep-bass track, always involving serious cone-driver woofage, but the 115s ceded surprisingly little ground. Poised and pure-sounding, they rose to one musical challenge after another.

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