We already met them in Ascot during the UK HiFi Show Live, and now here they are: the Warwick Acoustics Sonoma M1, or Sonoma Model One, the company’s first electrostatic headphones. Made to the highest standards, they offer a unique take on the electrostatic technology and a sound that’s sure to excite.
Despite being rather large, the Warwick Acoustics Sonoma M1 are definitely not heavy. They’re also rather comfortable (though my extremely sensitive scalp still stubbornly refuses to like full-size headphones), and the sheepskin leather is soft and comfortable. They’re not hot either. The second picture is rather bad (sorry about that), but it is only meant to show how the diaphragm is semi-transparent. It has a dark silver colour, but it is so thin you can see through it.
The DAC/amp/energiser is also rather large, but this time the looks are in line with reality and it is in fact heavy. The top has a grille with the same pattern as the headphones; it helps get the Class A-derived heat out of the chassis, though it never gets especially hot. On the back there are lots of digital and analogue connections, though I think the best option is either USB or coaxial to take advantage of the integrated balanced circuitry. There’s an ADC inside that should make it possible to convert analogue input to digital and than back to analogue (but balanced this time), though purists may find it less than ideal. Personally I can’t hear significant differences.
On to the sound! This is just a quick stub as the full review is coming in a few days. The Sonoma M1 appear to be U-shaped, with focus on bass and upper midrange. They’re well balanced though, so they’re really enjoyable. They also offer an extremely high level of detail, especially in the treble area, which allows one to dive into the sound head-first. I find the listening experience with the Sonoma M1 to be absolutely delighting, as they render almost everything in a very enjoyable way.
I tried them in Ascot and the company has been doing many shows in the past several months, with a new unit being used on each show. They’re now selling those units (among which is this very unit I am using!) for almost half the price: £2,750 instead of £4,999. That’s quite a discount, and if every unit is like the one I have with me then it’s a downright bargain (compared to the full price, that is). You can purchase them and find additional information by clicking here.