FAQ - Questions you asked
1. What do you mean by Open Air?
Open Air is the name for the architecture used in our loudspeakers. It comes from the well-known open baffle design except that in our system we also removed the baffle. Instead we leave the drivers completely free in air except for the diffusion acrylic fins. This is what gives the special sound of the TÔMEI. A sound that has been quoted as “overwhelming, 3D, mesmerizing, ….”
2. We always heard that a loudspeaker needs an enclosure to play correctly. How can the TOMEI play without it?
In fact a loudspeaker does not need an enclosure to play. Open baffle loudspeakers have been with us for almost a hundred years and have many followers. An open baffle loudspeaker has no enclosure and plays beautifully. There is no getting away from the fact that putting a box behind a speaker just encourages resonance and adds diffraction problems. Now most of us have grown up hearing these box resonances from every loudspeaker we listen to. So we are used to it and for some it may even sound “wrong” when resonances disappear…
3. It is true that open baffle loudspeakers exist but they use a baffle to reduce back and front wave cancellation. In your loudspeakers you use no baffle at all. How can you get any bass?
It is partly true that we do not use a baffle in the TÔMEI system. In fact we use a baffle for the bass module. For the tweeter and mid drivers we use no baffle at all and this is what we call Open Air. Our own tests and others from private laboratories have shown that for high and mid frequencies a driver will exhibit a better behaviour and play better when there is no baffle as compared to using one. For the bass we used a small baffle and the bass unit is on the floor. Being very close to the floor adds 6 db to the low bass frequencies. We also use a DSP to equalize the sound. If we combine these we measure 25 Hz. at -3dB. Not bad… The TÔMEI offers a flat frequency response from 25 to 25000 Hz and because the tweeter and mid drivers are “open air” the sound is even more open more lively than with standard open baffle loudspeakers. When we say OPEN AIR we mean it!
4. Your system uses only one bass module. Doesn’t it sound unbalanced?
The TÔMEI is not a simple subwoofer / satellite system. It’s spatially coherent architecture employs a digital signal processor (DSP) to adjust the phase relationships and balance the sound. Many people listening to the TÔMEI for the first time will step up and place their ear near the bass module because to them the bass does not seem to originate from it. This shows how integrated the three modules (two monitors + bass module) are. In the German magazine Stereoplay, the reviewer said : ”The music presented an astoundingly natural homogeneity and unity, never expected of a Sub / Sat system…”
5. You use class D amplifiers in your system. Isn’t the sound harsh with digital glare?
Class D amplifiers have come a long way from the 90s. Nowadays Hypex Ncore and Anaview AMS, as used in our system, can compare to any other type of amplifier without feeling embarrassed. The sound is very natural with ample, organic bass. In a true active system like the TÔMEI there is also an amplifier for each driver connected directly to their voice coils, With no power-robbing, phase-shifting passive crossover components (capacitors, coils, resistances) in the path, the amplifiers can play with less distortion and the sound is more direct, more natural, more real.
6. What type of digital to analog converters do you use? There are many brands and they do not sound equal…
The TÔMEI system is driven by an Analog Devices SHARC processor with a 40 bits/384 Khz sample rate. The DACs are AKM new generation AK4495 32-bit that accept up to 768 kHz PCM and 22.4 DSD data. Again here we chose some of the best components on the market and it shows (mostly its heard… ;-)
7. In active systems sometimes they use multiple power cords and connecting the sources to each loudspeaker is not very practical.
In TÔMEI we chose to install all electronics in the same central unit. The TÔMEI control unit looks like a standard integrated amplifier that can be installed on a rack. At the back you have digital (SPDIF, USB Audio Class 2) and analog (balanced and unbalanced) inputs. You also have the outputs for the the loudspeaker cables (included with the system). Only that unit needs to be plugged to the AC power outlet.
8. Can we use a computer to play HD music through your loudspeakers?
Yes indeed! All you have to do is connect your computer directly to the USB Audio Class 2 at the back of the control unit (a good quality USB cable is recommended). To play music use your favorite HD music player and voilà! The USB input (as well as the S/PDIF) accept up to 24 bits / 192 Khz native audio tracks.
9. I use a turntable. How do I connect it?
Normally you must use a phono preamplifier. To use it with TÔMEI you can connect the phono preamp output to either the XLR balanced or RCA unbalanced inputs of the control unit. TÔMEI offers a very high-end analog to digital converter : the new generation AKM AK5397 32-bit 127 dB S/N; sampling up to 768 kHz.
10. Is it possible to send music wirelessly to the loudspeakers?
The TÔMEI system does not come with a wireless receiver (yet…) but many wireless audio devices are available on the market that can be used with TÔMEI. For example the Airport Express™ and Google Chromecast Audio™. These devices can be connected directly to the TÔMEI control unit. Once done you can use your iPhone or Android Phone to connect to the device through wi-fi and send music wirelessly to the speakers.
11. How close can we install the speakers from side and back boundaries?
Normally the very best sound will be when the open air monitors are at least 4 feet from the front wall and 2 - 3 feet from the side. The bass unit must be positioned between the monitors and approximately 1 - 1.5 feet from the monitor front. In smaller rooms the monitors can be paced as close as 2 feet from the front wall but the bass module must not be closer than 2 feet from the front wall in order to keep the bass level balanced.
12. Is there a suggested distance to get the best from the speakers?
As we explained the TÔMEI system playback is based on psychoacoustics principles and the listener is included in the equation. Contrary to front firing loudspeakers in enclosures, TÔMEI creates an open space of sound that englobes the speakers and the listener. To get the best of this spatially coherent system the listener must be sitting closer than normal from the speakers. WIth a distance of 2 to 2.5 meters (6.5 - 8.25 feet) between the speakers the listener should sit at around 1.5 to 1.9 meter (5 - 6 feet) from the imaginary horizontal line between them. The Stereoplay magazine reviewer described this very well his review: “A placement at a close listening distance of 1.9m and accurate toe in put forth the ever last ounce of holographic shear airiness to the listening area. Brahms' Requiem (from the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marek Janowski) exposed the paradox between the small, very close-placed speakers and the spaciousness of the projected Berlin Philharmonic, which was illuminated in all dimensions, so startling that the tester preferred shutting his eyes and listen to the SACD to the end.”