• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Are Super tweeters worth it?

guyinoz

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Messages
20
Likes
9
Hi, saw some people on forums argue for it. Things like this one from Aperion Audio with crossovers. I already have a sub woofer and floor standing speakers for two channel audio listening which I am reasonably satisfied with. Any helpful advice on whether it is worth investing in ? I don’t know anyone in my circle who has this so reaching out here.
 
Last edited:
They wouldn't help me.

YMMV.

How's your HF hearing?

Experiment:

Using some playback files, and a low pass filter to cutoff the high frequencies, start at the very top end and see how low (in frequency) you can go with the filter before you notice a difference.
 
Last edited:
Yes do Ray's experiment. See if you can hear 20 khz cutoff vs 14 khz. If not, don't need a super-tweet. If you can, how big is the difference? Don't know your current speakers, but they probably go above 14 khz. So even if you can hear a difference unless it is quite large, the supertweet still might not matter, and you are adding yet one more physically displaced source of sound which might not integrate well with everything else.
 
Thanks Don, Ray and Blumlein. That’s very helpful.
 
Yes do Ray's experiment. See if you can hear 20 khz cutoff vs 14 khz. If not, don't need a super-tweet. If you can, how big is the difference? Don't know your current speakers, but they probably go above 14 khz. So even if you can hear a difference unless it is quite large, the supertweet still might not matter, and you are adding yet one more physically displaced source of sound which might not integrate well with everything else.

And adding another crossover which can be problematic in execution.
 
Little more time to babble:

I remember (as do many others I am sure) the "super tweeter" craze of the 1970's/1980's and heard systems adding various super tweeters from piezo horns on Altecs to Deccas on Quads in singles up to the HQD system. And a number of iterations since. Some systems can benefit from a better tweeter, but "super tweeter"? Meh... The little ribbon tweeters seem to be popular now but IME have some significant drawbacks. They tend to be very directional ("beamy"), tend to be low-impedance and low-sensitivity, and often enough will not handle as much power as conventional designs. Getting good integration can be very tricky as mentioned above; you have to smoothly blend amplitude and phase with the existing system. Getting it wrong can range from no benefit to actual harm by notching out the upper treble for an octave or so around the crossover point. Even with proper crossover you may find yourself with a significantly reduced sweet spot. And any benefit assumes you can hear those frequencies; alas, I no longer can (my youthful college-age 22+ kHz range is now around 10~12 kHz). And they add anything significant to the music (sometimes yes, sometimes no, IME/IMO).

My old Magnepans have ribbon tweeters but are very long (tall, 48" or so) and thus get around the vertical dispersion issue, and are integrated pretty well with the other panels, so I like that design and use of a ribbon tweeter (not really a super tweeter). Full-range ribbons, sure, but pricey and hard to find these days. Little ribbon tweeter add-ons, I'll pass. I stuck a Decca on my smaller MG-I's, as well as numerous speakers for customers and friends, and never felt it blended or added much of anything useful. It would add a bit of top-end "zing" to some speakers, but in many (perhaps most if not all) cases after the initial "wow" factor wore off it was merely irritatingly piercing.

So, been there, done that, and would focus my efforts on other things these days. Or just use the funds to pick up some more music instead.

IME/IMO/FWIWFM/YMMV/my 0.000001 cent (microcent)/etc. - Don
 
Last edited:
People tend to overestimate the frequency of high frequencies. 3k is a really really high tone, well into upper harmonics of most instruments. 12k is two octaves above that.

In my opinion, good airy treble comes from wide dispersion and late reflections up to say 7k. Tweeters become incredibly directional above that.
 
Firstly I tried the above experiment as I'm an old fart that can't hear above 10kHz, according to test tones I played. I therefore cut off the sound above 10kHz (with) a suitable slope) using my equaliser. I couldn't detect any change. Indeed my thinking was that doing this would reduce the work of the tweeters. I now listen again at full range for no particular reason.

And, if you have tweeters that go above 20kHz what exactly are they playing? I play redbook CDs which are said to go up to 22kHz.

The only explanation I read that could explain any audible difference of a super tweeter is some sort of backward interference on the lower frequencies - there's a name for it that I can't recall. I'm not sure this was it but it's interesting nevertheless:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypersonic_effect

It points out that the ultra sounds have no effect on headphones, just speakers. This suggests we detect these sounds in other ways. I read once the jaw may play a part in this - whales may do this.
 
My speakers have super-tweets in them (JBL 077s), my hearing today is good out to 14k, and I can still tell if that amp is off (take a while, though - varies by program material). (When I got them in the 70s I could instantly hear the difference...esp w/ cymbals and triangles, etc.)
Are they worth it? If you're young and/or still have good HF hearing, then probably yes.
But I don't think I'd pay now what those same (vintage) drivers are going for today!
 
Regardless of how good one's HF hearing is, I think add-on Supertweeters are a nonsense.

If the loudspeakers already go more-or-less flat to 20kHz, then a Supertweeter will do one of two things.

1) It'll add more extreme HF (above 20kHz), which will be inaudible to normal humans
2) It'll add more audible high frequencies due to inadequate slope of the high pass to the supertweeter, so boost above, say, 13-15kHz which become audible.

Neither of those will increase the accuracy of the reproduction, so of no value, except the second above will let people know that their purchase actually does something, however undesireable.

If a supertweeter actually does improve the accuracy of reproduction, then the loudspeakers are inadequate anyway.

S.
 
Regardless of how good one's HF hearing is, I think add-on Supertweeters are a nonsense.

If the loudspeakers already go more-or-less flat to 20kHz, then a Supertweeter will do one of two things.

1) It'll add more extreme HF (above 20kHz), which will be inaudible to normal humans
2) It'll add more audible high frequencies due to inadequate slope of the high pass to the supertweeter, so boost above, say, 13-15kHz which become audible.

Neither of those will increase the accuracy of the reproduction, so of no value, except the second above will let people know that their purchase actually does something, however undesireable.

If a supertweeter actually does improve the accuracy of reproduction, then the loudspeakers are inadequate anyway.

S.

Since loudspeakers are generally omnidirectional at low frequencies and extremely directional at high, a supertweeter or additional, uncorrelated tweeter can have a positive effect if it is used to bring more HF energy into a room which is likely absorbing it very quickly. Many speakers (older Revel, Wilson to name 2) use rear mounted tweeters for this reason, and dipoles do this naturally. The wide dispersion at low frequencies and narrow at high gives box speakers an intrinsically dark sound, since when they are voiced flat on axis, the total sound they radiate is dominated by low frequencies. This is why many speakers have elevated treble (or at least, one of the reasons.)

In theory a supertweeter could help the problem, but it would have to be used around 4K and up, as opposed to 10K, and it would have to be located a good foot away from the existing tweeter and probably face the rear. When HF sources are pointing away from each other and separated by many wavelengths their interactions are so complex as to be fairly benign.

However, most supertweeters I see on the market are ribbons or planar drivers, which have poor dispersion, which defeats the purpose. Something like a hiquphon or seas 19mm tweeter would be a better choice. Not sure what the state of the art in small tweeters is right now.
 
Hi, saw some people on forums argue for it. Things like this one from Aperion Audio with crossovers. I already have a sub woofer and floor standing speakers for two channel audio listening which I am reasonably satisfied with. Any helpful advice on whether it is worth investing in ? I don’t know anyone in my circle who has this so reaching out here.

Easy, depends on the age of your ears
 
Have read a Supertweeter makes the bass faster. Must been someone selling supertweeters.
Had a small pair of standmount two way speakers, crossover at 4500 Hz. They were biwireable. Used jumper wires for single cable runs. Tried biwiring and left the jumpers off when connecting the single run cables back.
Played several tracks before the lack of highs got my attention. There is not much above 12k Hz in most music even if you can hear that high.
 
I've found this is the best way for me. They are attenuated at twice the resistance of the tweeter. Really comes alive as volume is pushed and adds a satisfying hight to the sound.
 

Attachments

  • 1592172570364460992234320563617.jpg
    7 MB · Views: 613
Back
Top Bottom