Sapphire Loudspeakers Appleton WI
Johnson Creek, WI
Home Audio, Authorized Service Center, Design & Installation
Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Lighting Control, Multi-Room Audio, Security / Access Control / Surveillance / Gate Access
Russound, Harman Kardon, Klipsch, Bose, DirecTV, NEC Plasma, Panasonic, Denon, JVC, Nuvo, Sharp, Toshiba, OnQ-Legrand, Leviton, MD Mfg, InFocus, Da-lite Screens, Screen Goo, Grandview Screens GE Interlogix, HAI, Inter-tel, Centralite.
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- Tom Toonen, CEDIA Certified Professional Designer
Mark & Daniel sapphires
mark & daniel
as reviewed by John Potis
The Mark & Daniel Sapphire loudspeaker stands a good chance of being one of the least understood and most underestimated products I've ever used. Despite the fact that it's also one of the more interesting ones, in some ways, it could be its own worst enemy. But before I get to why that is, let's get the basics out of the way.
The Sapphire from Mark & Daniel is a small speaker, but it is remarkably heavy for its size. It stands a scant 11.4 inches tall by 6.7 inches wide and only 8.4 inches deep. Even with its extremely heavy and inert synthetic marble enclosure—which is very dense and heavy as compared to the MDF used in most loudspeakers— the Sapphire only tips the scale at 21 pounds. Sapphire uses Mark & Daniel's own proprietary SX 5.5 mid-woofer, with its 5.5-inch high-excursion driver that achieves a full ±10mm linear. That's .9 inches; which is huge. There are subwoofer drivers that can't approach that. All Mark & Daniel woofers utilize long magnetic gaps and NdFeB magnets for superb control. The Sapphire has a system F3 of 45Hz. On paper, that's some excellent bass extension for such a small speaker. In practice, it's remarkable.
Those unfamiliar with the Mark & Daniel line of loudspeakers might mistake the second driver for a ribbon tweeter …you will be forgiven as it's actually something quite different. It's really a rethinking of Oskar Heil's Air Motion Transformer (AMT), which dates back to 1972. Now that the original patents have expired, clever designers are free to use it in their designs or give it a modern spin of their own. What Mark & Daniel does is springboard off the original AMT design to create what they call their Directly Responding Emitter by Air Motion Structure driver, or DREAMS as M&D calls it. In a nut shell, the DREAMS are indeed a variation upon the AMT and if you want to think of it as a folded ribbon that may help in understanding the way it works. Once folded it works—pumps, if you will—in three dimensions as opposed to the two-dimensional pistonic motion of most drivers. Couple that with a radiating surface that dwarfs other such drivers and the DREAMS becomes efficient at coupling with the air that it excites. It's said to move air four times faster than conventional drivers. This all adds up to a driver within a huge surface area that is also extremely efficient, so much so that the DREAMS' driver is capable of frequency response down to 900Hz and an upper limit of 25kHz. That, in turn, means that from 900Hz up through 25kHz the Sapphire uses a single driver. This means that the speaker suffers none of the discontinuities normally associated with separate midrange drivers and tweeters as well as no crossover components in the signal path.
Like most small speakers that make an effort optimize reproduction of bass frequencies in terms o...