Perlisten S-Series Speaker Overview

It’s great when you get to do something you're passionate about every day. Daniel Roemer and Lars Johansen know this well, and in 2016, they started what was to be one of the most talked about speaker companies in audio. Daniel has been working in audio for about 25 years. He started the corporate technology advanced research group that has been crucial in applying new methods of measuring and modeling acoustical and mechanical systems for several high-end speaker companies. Daniel still consults with many companies in high-end audio and car audio. Lars has also been in the business for a long time. Since the 80s, he has worked at several high-end speaker companies like JBL, Jamo, and M&K. After years of improving products for their companies, Daniel and Lars decided to start their own speaker company, and Perlisten was born.

Flagship Series Speakers

The Perlisten S7t Tower Speaker is an all-out assault on speaker design, bringing all of Perlisten’s knowledge into a flagship product that looks the part of a flagship and uses some unconventional approaches to speaker design. There is nothing new about a slim and tall tower speaker in today’s world, but looking between the lines will show you exactly how these speakers are unlike most on the market.

While the S7t is the line's flagship, all of the S-Series models incorporate the same technology design, so you can be assured that you will get a flagship product whether you choose the S7t or S4b Bookshelf Speakers.

Perlisten’s view is that they want people to have the S-Series flagship experience, whether their room is a commercial theater-sized room or a small living room. The only thing changing as you go up the line to the larger models is the bass ability in larger rooms, and in the case of the S7t and S5m Monitor Speakers, the ability to choose a bass-reflex or acoustic suspension enclosure tuning.

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Proprietary DPC-Array

The main design element that sets Perlisten apart from the competition is its patented DPC-Array. Most conventional 4-way speakers have a tweeter, midrange, and woofer drivers covering their respective frequencies while sitting on the front baffle in their baffle sections. Perlisten instead uses an array of small drivers covering the midrange through the upper treble. The coolest thing about this technology is that all the S-Series speakers utilize the same array from stand-mount to center channel and surround speakers!

This new driver array has performance attributes that conventional speakers struggle to perform. The middle driver of the array is the tweeter, a 28mm beryllium dome unit. Perlisten says it is their flagship device, giving the speaker a fast yet detailed and holographic treble response. The two flanking drivers are the same size but utilize a dome made of a thin-ply carbon diaphragm. This TPCD material just so happens to be the same material that the four woofers are made from, giving both coherence with the woofers and being made from carbon; the domes are very light and fast, giving effortless detail plus allowing the crossover point to be an octave lower than most domes can handle.  These drivers are mounted very close together, acting more like a single driver. Having these smaller drivers covering the crucial midrange frequencies does a couple of things. Having very light, small drivers covering 900Hz and up gives the midrange better speed and detail, all while giving the music more transient speed with guitar strings or snare drums. Also, having the DPC Array handling the midrange will give vocals a more realistic presentation without any cone breakup or response issues that larger midrange drivers can have. Perlisten designed the T6 aluminum faceplate to facilitate these drivers working to the best of their ability in this design. This array also looks very high-tech and cool at the same time, giving Perlisten S-Series speakers their unique aesthetic.

Well-Braced Ported/Sealed Cabinet Design

Perlisten, a company that likes giving its customers options, allows you to change the cabinet loading from an acoustic suspension design to a bass reflex design in all but the S4b Bookshelf Speakers and the S5c and S7c Center Channel Speakers. This gives you options in both speaker placement and your tastes when it comes to bass performance. 

The ports on the S-Series fire from the bottom rear of the cabinet, which will be important to remember when placing these speakers. If you choose to run them in bass-reflex mode, then pulling these speakers out into the room is recommended.

If having the lowest bass possible is important to you, then run them as bass-reflex for about 10Hz lower bass response but giving up a little bit of speed. But if having the fastest, most responsive bass with no overhang is more important to you, then shutting off the ports and running them as acoustic suspension cabinets will yield the most speed and accuracy.

This is nothing new in the world of speaker design but having these options in a flagship product is something not often seen and is much appreciated.

Having a cabinet design allowing both a ported and sealed cabinet gives you options based on your mood as well for times when you want to listen to Miles Davis and have the stand-up bass sound exactly as it should with the cabinets sealed. Then when you want to crank up some Metallica or Anthrax run them ported for a livelier, more rock-out style of bass!

THX- Dominus Certification

For home theater buffs, having a THX certification is well known, but THX Dominus is different. It is the maximum standard in performance that THX does not give out easily. According to THX, the Dominus certification is as close to a public cinema experience as you can have in a home environment. The speakers must be able to accurately fill a 6,500 ft³ room with a 20-foot viewing distance! During the certification, the speakers have to withstand a full range 120dB signal at 1 meter. Additionally, the speakers must have a 92dB sensitivity rating or better to facilitate these high reference levels.

For the 2-channel music lovers out there, what this means is that the Perlisten S-Series speakers will handle your music as loud as you would ever want to play it without any stress or distortion. This is a good thing as it allows you to relax and enjoy your music without ever having to worry about keeping an eye on volumes for your speaker's sake. You will have all the music without any distortion from the drivers being overdriven at all sane and healthy volume levels!

Build Quality, Packaging, and Setup

When Audio Advice saw the S7t at Audio Advice Live 2023 we were blown away by both the build quality and attention to detail of the speakers. While the S7t is a taller speaker at 51” tall, they are only about 9.5” wide, so they are easier to fit in a room than a lot of the flagship speakers out there. The front baffle is minimalist and elegant with a curved profile that is a functional part of the sound of the speakers as well as good-looking. The base of the speakers is a heavy metal plate that has very impressive adjustable spike feet that allow both leveling and tilting of the speakers. The adjustment knobs are on top of the feet, so you don’t have the lift the speaker to do these adjustments (if you have ever had to lift a speaker just to adjust its floor spikes, then you know how much of a pain it can be).

There are plenty of high-quality finish options on the S-Series speakers that allow you to get the finish that matches your room and equipment rack. When we unboxed the speakers at our showroom, we were immediately impressed with the flawless finish quality. It is both visually appealing and durable.

Unpacking the speaker proved that these products are packed to protect them in shipping. Seeing the sheer number of products being shipped today and the speed at which they are shipped, having a product of this caliber packed well is important, and Perlisten delivers.

Having good binding posts is very important to enable both a quality connection and an easy interface to connect your cables. Perlisten Comes through in this regard with both quality WBT style binding posts as well as quality plated jumpers to use if you do not bi-amp/bi-wire the speakers. This is a much-overlooked but important part of the speaker's design.

Every speaker in the S-Series lineup is bi-amp or bi-wire capable should you choose to utilize this method of connection further giving you options to optimize the performance in your system.

Setting up the Perlisten speakers was a fairly straightforward affair as we connected the S7t floor-standing speaker along with the S7c center channel and D215 subwoofer in a 3.1 configuration for a music and movie solution. Powering the S7t was the excellent McIntosh MAC7200 2-channel receiver. The Home theater portion of the system that was powering the S7c and controlling the processing was the McIntosh MX100 A/V processor as well as the McIntosh M1347 7-channel amplifier.

Perlisten S-Series Performance

All of the models in Perlisten’s S-Series lineup utilize the same drivers. From the Beryllium dome tweeters, to the DPC Array to the 7” TPCD woofers, this is unlike many manufacturers that will change the driver configuration or driver size of each model in a series. This allows the engineers at Perlisten to keep the exact sound profile on every model from floor stander to surrounds. The only difference is cabinet size and the number of bass drivers. So, putting together a full S-Series speaker system results in speakers that are very closely matched in the room, which is very important.

While most of our music listening was done with the S7t floorstanding speakers, we did play movies in our showroom theater setting and can attest to their quality in theater applications as well. At Audio Advice Live and in our showroom setting the first thing we noticed was the driver integration. The woofer's integration with the DPC-Array midrange/treble drivers gives credence to this design being an honest purveyor of the music it is fed.

Julian Lage’s 2022 album “A View With A Room” is a great album to test a speaker's ability to present well-recorded instruments, and the studio work on this album is amazing! Listening to the first track “Tributary” will test a speaker's ability to present instruments in the mix without calling attention to any one driver or crossover issues. The S7t does a great job of showcasing the guitar work on this album. The 7” TPCD woofers merge the midrange into the DPC Array flawlessly and keep the sound natural and realistic. It was hard for us to find any faults in the S7t. The only thing we noticed was the excitement in the music was a tad subdued. This was only on certain tracks, and when things got more musically dynamic.

When speakers have either a metal dome or ribbon/Amt tweeters it usually takes more engineering and testing to blend these drivers with the rest of the drivers, not calling attention to themselves. In this regard, the Perlisten’s do a fantastic job of integrating, letting the treble showcase its detail without distracting from the overall presentation. 

There are times when speakers designed to this level of technical proficiency and measurement accuracy lose out when it comes to the emotional music connection. The S-Series does a great job of keeping the emotional connection while displaying technical accuracy.

Ray LaMontagne's 2006 album “Till The Sun Turns Black” is a great album to showcase a speaker's ability to capture this emotional connection. The song “Empty” opens with an acoustic guitar, cello, and violins being flanked by brushed drums. Listening to this song on the S7t allowed us to hear all the emotion present in the instruments and, most importantly, the vocals. The soundstage had proper width and depth, while the DPC Array kept imaging sharp and focused. Some might prefer a warmer and more cozy presentation for songs like these, but that is not Perlisten’s thing. They design their speakers to tell the truth about the music as good as today’s technology can.

Having speakers designed at this level of quality will be of equal importance for video and movie presentations. When we kicked in the McIntosh processor and power amp and brought the S7c center and D215s subwoofer into action, it showcased Perlisten’s ability to tone match their speakers. When we watched movies in the showroom, the S7c’s ability to pair with the S7t was impressive. The S7t has the same crossover, driver, and cabinet design so it is a perfect match for the S-Series stereo speakers. 

The D215s subwoofer is a brute as far as output ability goes. It utilizes 2 Perlisten designed 15” carbon fiber composite woofers in a push-pull configuration. This design is optimized by the use of modeling and Klippel laser measurements, meaning this subwoofer will produce the effects in movies with laser focus and speed while also being musical and detailed with music.

Being powered by a 3.0kW amplifier with a smartphone/tablet app-controlled 32-bit ARM processing, the D215s is a balance of high tech and muscle.  And if you don’t need that large of a subwoofer, Perlisten offers D-Series subwoofers in 3 smaller sizes, the D212s, D15s, and D12s.

Listening to the D215s with the S7c and S7t’s in our showroom proved that Perlisten is just as talented at subwoofers as they are speakers. The bass was fast, tight, and detailed, presenting a good integration with the main speakers. Utilizing your subwoofer with music also gives the sound depth and seems to anchor the music, allowing you to fully get a sense of the recorded space. Proving to be a thunderous powerhouse for movies the D215s surprised us with its musical ability.

Overall Recommendation

After our evaluation, we found the S-Series to be a great flagship product. Perlisten brings a technical and design pedigree with years of audio experience to create a reference-level product. The biggest surprise after hearing the S-Series speakers was its seamless driver integration and musicality. The speakers were able to deliver all of the details while remaining smooth and inviting. You would have to spend a great deal more to do better technically and the differences would be small. If you like technical accuracy while keeping the emotional connection, speakers efficient enough to be compatible with different amplifiers and have a footprint compatible with more home environments. you owe it to yourself to look into the Perlisten S-Series. If you are in the market for speakers of this caliber please contact our great staff here at Audio Advice so we can assist you on which models will work in your home.

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