TakeT Batmaster Supertweeters Review
TakeT is a Japanese brand specialising in supertweeters, surround HD headphones and frequency enhancing accessories. TakeT Ltd. established in 2001 is a research and development company in Kanagawa, Japan. They are mostly known for their supertweeters that come in various shapes, sizes and price tags. Their website explains, in detail, how each supertweeter may be used in a variety of systems and applications. In 2008, TakeT released their flagship supertweeter called the Batmaster with a frequency response extending from 20 kHz to 150 kHz.
Features & Functionality
The TakeT Batmaster is actually designed with only the most practically essential features and functions that includes:
- Heavy wooden cabinet with frost black painting.
- The horn and spike feet are made of brass.
- Gold plated compact speaker binding posts, at the back, accepts the most compact spade connectors and standard banana plugs. Even bare wire will do.
- An aluminium rotary switch that allows for matching the sensitivity of the supertweeter with the main loudspeaker.
- The off position here does not mean that the supertweeters are off, it means that the supertweeters are least sensitive—70dB.
- The transducer used is the TAT Heil type bimorph polymer piezo-electric driver.
- Each TakeT Batmaster supertweeter weighs about 720gms and has a dimension of 110X70X100mm.
Set-up & Performance
I was always curious about supertweeters; I wanted to know what exactly do they do when most of our hearing abilities max out at about 18kHz—depending on the age of the person. As much as I’m curious about all things audio, I stayed away from trying the supertweeters for a few reasons:
- They are very expensive. Most of the well-known premium supertweeters cost over INR 75K a piece. It makes practical sense to buy a pair of speakers with good frequency extension on both ends of the spectrum.
- One additional ugly looking audiophile object to deal with in the listening room.
- Very unlikely to get past the WAF.
- Getting them working perfectly in any room or system is going to be just as complex as setting up a subwoofer for getting the low frequencies right.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, while browsing eBay, I stumbled upon the TakeT BPP portable supertweeter. It is as simple as just plug and play. It is meant to be used with portable headphone setups and was priced at just USD 55, inclusive of shipping from Japan, with money back guarantee. This was an opportunity for me to explore what the supertweeters had to offer without costing an arm and a leg.
So I bought one right away and a few weeks later it was delivered to my doorstep in a jiffy envelope. I tried them in many different ways and to cut a long story really short—I heard no difference at all. I went through the product manual, checked online forums and nothing really made any difference. At least, I was not able to appreciate the product the way it was intended to be. May be, I did not use it optimally the way it should have been used. I returned the TakeT BPP back to Japan for a refund. Some lessons in audio and in life cannot be learnt any other way but by going that extra mile.
I was still not convinced that supertweeters were a gimmick. Some of the big names in audio have spent time and resources in making supertweeters and they often cost more than the loudspeakers they manufacture. The well-known brands that make supertweeters are Tannoy, ELAC, Townshend… to name a few.
I decided to try the Batmaster supertweeters that was the flagship supertweeter from TakeT. They were fairly compact, not very loud in appearance and looked like a design that could be easily placed atop any bookshelf speaker without too much attention and raised eyebrows (WAF).
The TakeT Batmaster supertweeters arrived in a simple well packed compact box. I plugged the Batmasters to my bookshelf speakers using a 24inches long custom ordered speaker jumper cables terminated with pure copper compact spade connectors. The binding posts used on the Batmaster is so compact that the size of the connector being used can have an impact on the ease of setup.
I tried positioning the Batmasters across various spots on the real estate found atop my bookshelf speakers and they sounded best when they were exactly above and closest to the tweeters of my bookshelf speakers. At this position they sound most cohesive without getting any attention to themselves.
The sensitivity of the Batmaster can be matched with the main loudspeaker with the help of a rotary switch at the back. The aluminium rotary switch can be rotated in 05 steps that allows the user to select between70dB, 85dB, 90dB, 95dB and 100dB ratings. The Batmasters’ sound is most cohesive and effortless when the sensitivity of the supertweeter is closest to that of the main loudspeaker. Playing around with rotary switch actually helps tip the spectral balance of the sound/presentation the way one likes it.
On first listen, the TakeT Batmaster supertweeters do sound like they add a lot of information in the high frequencies. They sound very detailed and makes the system sound a tad too bright. It takes them a good 200 hours to kind of completely settle down. Post 200 hours of use, they sound detailed, smooth and effortless.
I suspected that the supertweeters would benefit mostly from 24bit/96khz hi-res FLAC downloads than 16bit/48khz CD ripped FLACs. To my surprise, they seem to benefit from any recording I threw at them. The better the quality of the recording, the better I was able to discern what the supertweeters had to offer in my set-up. Most 24bit recordings, that I had, did sound discernibly better than 16bit recordings. 24bit recordings sound more composed, dynamic and holographic, and the Batmasters help gauge the difference better.
“Time” is the fourth track from the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. I have heard this song many times over the last decade. This song helps me understand how muddy, clean, congested or well extended is a presentation in any system that I get my hands on. With the TakeT Batmaster Supertweeters the high frequencies were not just well extended, the entire presentation was clean and effortless. Many more familiar songs get a replay and hours pass like minutes.
Just like how an external subwoofer can add subsonic sound to movie watching, an external supertweeter can add supersonic sound to Hi-Res music listening. Of course, it is scientifically measured/established that we cannot hear beyond 20kHz but supertweeters resolve the spatial cues and venue ambience recorded in a 24bit/96kHz music more effortlessly, making it sound more dynamic, better composed and almost life-like (03 dimensional). And just like a subwoofer, it is not easy to integrate external supertweeters into a good 2 channel music system without compromising elsewhere—cohesion and of course, one more audiophile bizarre object in the room, and sitting atop good looking speakers. It takes time, patience, understanding and knowledge to integrate supertweeters optimally in any setup.
Accessories & Tweaks
The quality of the jumper cables does have a profound impact on the TakeT Batmaster Supertweeters’ performance. I started with cheap self-crimping banana plugs from a well-known American brand with some left-over bare speaker wire and then later switched to a custom made jumper cables terminated with pure copper spade connectors. This upgrade offered a more cohesive presentation. So do not cheap out on this essential tweak.
The brass spikes is likely to leave marks on a piano gloss finish. So for this reason I use 3M small bumpons. These rubber feet also offer better surface grip than the brass feet. Takei, the man behind TakeT, claims that the brass feet offers maximum isolation from loudspeaker vibration than what the rubber feet can achieve.
I have used the TakeT Batmaster Supertweeters extensively for over 06 months. During that time, I’ve had the chance to use them with a few bookshelf speakers from Paradigm, Quad, Xavian… They were also test driven using solid state and vacuum tube amplification too. With an assortment of 16bit/48kHz and 24bit/96kHz material. In each arrangement, they proved to be effective and indispensable.
For those in the lookout for new loudspeakers, buying a pair of loudspeakers with good frequency extension will offer better practicality and value for money.
For those who already own a premium wide-bander or a pair of premium loudspeakers that do not have a good frequency extension, these are highly recommended add-ons that could be the final solution to completing/finishing a hi-fi puzzle. TakeT also has more budget friendly supertweeters in their product line-up.
- Very attractive form factor. Easy on WAF.
- Handcrafted in Japan with great attention to detail.
- They add most value when used for hi-res playback.
- The speaker binding posts, though small, are still very crammed and does not offer much grip to tighten them.
- Hard to understand user manual.
For more information on TakeT please click on this—LINK.