News and Events
Sonoma Acoustics Partners with Acoustic Sounds at AXPONA to Offer Model One Electrostatic Headphone System
Published on 04.22.2017
Chicago—April 21, 2017—Two forces in hi-res recording/playback technology and in hi-res audiophile music content are teaming up to set a new benchmark for great digital and analog sound, making the Sonoma Model One (M1) Electrostatic Headphone System the ideal listening system for hi-res music content.
Sonoma Acoustics is partnering with Acoustic Sounds of Salina, Kansas, to offer the Model One Electrostatic Headphone System at the AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) high-end consumer audio show being held at The Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, from April 21-23, 2017. The M1 system will also be available for preorder through the Acoustic Sounds website at www.acousticsounds.com or by calling customer service at 1-800-716-3553.
The Model One will be in use with Analogue Productions Ultra Tape reissues and Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez download files in both Room 404 by Sonoma Acoustics, as well as at the Acoustic Sounds Marketplace booth!
“We’ve known Chad Kassem, the owner of Acoustic Sounds, since the days when we were all working on the Super Audio CD (SACD) project at Sony,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “Back when record retailers weren’t giving us the time of day, Chad stepped up and made SACDs available to audiophiles through Acoustic Sounds. Now he’s helping us again by offering the Model One to early adopters while we build our distribution.”
The Model One is the first electrostatic headphone system to utilize the revolutionary High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed by Warwick Audio Technologies in the UK. In addition to being shown and demonstrated in Room 404 by Sonoma Acoustics, it will also be on display in the Marketplace at Acoustic Sounds. Sonoma Acoustics has just begun shipping its first production units of the M1 in the US, UK and Japan. The MSRP for a complete M1 system is $4,995 in the US.
“I’ve been working with David and Gus since the beginning of the SACD days,” said Kassem. “All they’re about is the highest quality. David was the head cheese and driving force behind SACD. Gus is a big part of our team with tape, our Super HiRez files and recording our Blues Masters concerts in DSD. Basically, working with these guys is an easy decision for us.”
Gus Skinas, owner of the Super Audio Center in Boulder, Colorado, is a long-time associate of Acoustic Sounds, authoring hi-res files for SACD production via the Sonoma DSD workstation, as well as prepping DSD files for distribution via the Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez website. He also supervises and produces the transfers in real time for Acoustic Sounds’ Analogue Productions Ultra Tape reissue series. Using ATR-modified Ampex Tape Machines with flux magnetic heads at Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas, each Ultra Tape is a 15-inch-per-second, 1⁄4-inch analog tape copy
produced from a safety master of the original analog master tape. Ultra tapes come packaged in deluxe, custom-designed slipcase covers, and are priced at $450 a copy.
Sonoma Acoustics Inc. is a new company founded by members of the SACD Project to design, manufacture and sell audio playback equipment that is optimized for hi-res music listening. The company is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Acoustic Sounds was started in 1986 by Chad Kassem out of his apartment and has grown into the world’s leading provider of audiophile vinyl LPs, SACDs, reel-to-reel master tape reissues, DSD/PCM hi-res downloads and high-end playback equipment. The company is owned and operated by Chad Kassem and is located in Salina, Kansas.
Sonoma Acoustics Shows First Production Units of Model One Electrostatic Headphone System at CanJam SoCal
Published on 04.08.2017
Los Angeles—April 8, 2017—Sonoma Acoustics kicked off CanJam SoCal today where it is showing some of the first production units of its Model One (M1) Electrostatic Headphone System at the JW Marriot L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.
“Word is getting out that the Model One has started shipping in Japan so there is a lot of buzz here about when it will become available in the US,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “Lots of dealers are calling us so we’re hoping to get the M1 into the pipeline before the end of April.”
The Model One is the first electrostatic headphone system designed from the ground up to be optimized for hi-res music listening. It is also the first headphone system in the world to utilize the revolutionary High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed by Warwick Audio Technologies in the UK. Sonoma Acoustics, a new headphone company founded by key members of the SACD project, showed the M1 for the first time in the US at CanJam@RMAF in Denver last October. The US price was announced as $4,995.
After CanJam SoCal, Sonoma Acoustics will take the Model One on a whirlwind launch tour to the Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) in Chicago (April 21-23), Fujiya-Avic Headphone Festival in Tokyo (April 29-30) and the Munich High-End Show (May 18-21).
Sonoma Acoustics Begins Delivery of Model One Electrostatic Headphone System
Published on 04.01.2017
Sonoma Acoustics announced today that it had delivered its first four Model One (M1) Electrostatic Headphone Systems to its distributor in Japan, Emilai Inc. The announcement came one week before the company plans to be at CanJam SoCal in Los Angeles where it will show actual production M1s for the first time.
“With the Sonoma name riding on this, we took our time to get it right,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “We want to thank everybody for their patience. I think when people finally get to see and hear these production M1s, they are going to be pleased.”
After CanJam SoCal, Sonoma Acoustics will take the Model One on a whirlwind launch tour to the Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) in Chicago (April 21-23), Fujiya-Avic Headphone Festival in Tokyo (April 29-30) and the Munich High-End Show (May 18-21). The Model One will be initially offered for sale in three markets—US, UK and Japan— with additional markets to be added as distribution is finalized.
“We loved the Model One as a prototype and we love it even more as a final product,” said Kenzo Kono, CEO, Emilai Inc. “The packaging is gorgeous. I think it is going to be a hit with Japanese audiophiles.”
The Model One Headphone System is the first product to incorporate the revolutionary High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed by Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd in the UK. Sonoma Acoustics Inc is a new company comprised of key members of the Super Audio CD (SACD) project founded to develop, manufacture and sell products optimized for hi-res music listening.
For more information, please contact:
David Kawakami at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on HPEL transducers, please contact:
Martin Roberts at email@example.com
SonomaTM and its logo are trademarks of Super Audio Center LLC, Colorado, USA and are used under license. HPEL is a patented technology developed and licensed by Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd., Henley-in-Arden, UK.
Bolstered by the First Order for its Model One, Sonoma Acoustics Heads to CanJam NYC
Published on 01.31.2017
Bolstered by the First Order for its Model One Sonoma Acoustics Heads to CanJam NYC
Tokyo—January 31, 2017—Sonoma Acoustics announced today that it had received the first order for its Model One (M1) Electrostatic Headphone System from Emilai Inc, its distributor in Japan. The company made the announcement as it prepared to show the M1 at CanJam NYC scheduled for February 4-5, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. This will be the first time that the M1 has been demonstrated in the New York area.
“We couldn’t be happier about getting this first order from the folks at Emilai,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “After first meeting Emilai at RMAF in Denver last October, we have been working closely with them ever since to plan the introduction of the M1 in Japan.”
Kenzo Kono, Founder & CEO of Emilai, commented, “We love the whole Sonoma story and, based on the reactions to the Model One we witnessed at the two biggest headphone festivals in Tokyo, we want to be the first to offer this product in Japan.”
Sonoma Acoustics, which began showing prototypes of its M1 Electrostatic Headphone System at CanJam London in August 2016, is very close to shipping the first production units in the UK, US and Japan. The M1 is the world’s first headphone system to incorporate the revolutionary High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed by Warwick Audio Technologies in the UK.
“With the spring launch around the corner, we’re looking forward to being back in New York where we all worked during our days when the SACD project was headquartered there,” Kawakami said. “We have lots of friends in the press and golden ear community in New York and can’t wait to get their feedback on the M1.”
Sonoma Model One is a Hit With Younger Head-Fiers at Pota-Fes
Published on 12.18.2016
Tokyo – Sonoma Acoustics teamed up with its distributor in Japan, Emilai Inc., to show the Model One (M1) Electrostatic Headphone System at “Pota-fes,” the Portable Audio Festival over the weekend of December 17-18, 2016. Held in the famous Akihabara “Electric Town” district of Tokyo, Pota-fes is the most popular specialty portable audio show in Japan, drawing thousands of head-fi enthusiasts to its product exhibits and outdoor musical events over two days.
“We had heard about the huge crowds at Pota-fes so we didn’t quite know what to expect,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics, “but it turned out to be a great opportunity to expose the Model One to a younger headphone crowd.” Pota-fes is sponsored twice a year by e-Earphone, the largest specialty portable audio retailer in Japan with stores in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
“There is a growing interest in the Model One in Japan,” said Kenzo Kono, Founder and CEO of Emilai Inc, “so we were very happy to be able to host Sonoma Acoustics in our Emilai booth along with the other brands we carry.” Emilai Inc. distributes a growing number of high quality audio brands in Japan, including Oppo Digital, MrSpeakers, Aurender, Bricasti and, soon, Sonoma Acoustics.
“Pota-fes was our first chance to work with Emilai,” Kawakami said. “They have a great crew and I think they are going to be a great partner for us here in Japan.”
Photo: Kenzo Kono, Founder & CEO, Emilai Inc.
Sonoma M1 Headphone System earns a Positive Feedback Writer's Choice award
Published on 11.16.2016
Impressing those at Postive Feedback, the Sonoma M1 earns a Writer’s Choice award for its performance, comfort and excellent sound quality. Full article here
Lee Scoggins of Part Time Audiophile on the Sonoma M1
Published on 11.11.2016
A super article from Lee Scoggins of Part Time Audiophile on the Sonoma M1 and the team. Full article here
Brian Moura on the Sonoma M1
Published on 10.26.2016
Fantastic comment in Brian Moura’s post RMAF show report: “There’s no question in my mind that the Sonoma Acoustics team has a hit on their hands with this headphone system!”. Read the full article here
Sonoma Acoustics and Model One Receive Enthusiastic Reception in Tokyo
Published on 10.31.2016
After its RMAF announcement that it would begin sales of the Model One Electrostatic Headphone System in the U.S., U.K. and Japan, Sonoma Acoustics participated in the Fujiya-Avic Headphone Festival held in Tokyo October 22-23, 2016. Held every spring and fall, the Fujiya-Avic festivals draw thousands of head-fi enthusiasts from around Japan.
“The Tokyo Festival was a great experience for us,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “The Japanese have a large and vibrant head-fi community and they showed intense interest in the Model One. We were also pleased that several distributors expressed interest in carrying the M1 here.”
“A number of international press who regularly cover the Tokyo shows came by our table to talk to us,” added Martin Roberts, CEO, Warwick Audio Technologies, whose company makes the High Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer and had come to Tokyo to support Sonoma Acoustics. “The list of reviewers waiting for a critic sample of the M1 is getting longer.”
Here is a show report filed by John Darko of Digital Audio Review.
Model One Electrostatic Headphone System launched at CanJam and RMAF 2016
Published on 10.17.2016
Sonoma Acoustics had its coming out party at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) and CanJam held October 7-9, 2016 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. The company, which traces its roots back to the Sonoma Digital Audio Workstation, has lit up the audio blogosphere through its sudden entry into the high-end electrostatic headphone market with its Model One (M1) Headphone System.
“We want to thank all the visitors who took the time to check out the M1 at either our CanJam table or in the Al Stiefel Legacy Suite at RMAF,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “Our hats are also off to Marjorie Baumert and Jude Mansilla who overcame renovations at the Marriott to put on great RMAF and CanJam shows.”
Sonoma Acoustics took the opportunity to announce at the show that the Model One Headphone System would start shipping in the US and the UK in mid-November, at $4,995 and £4,595 (which includes VAT), respectively. Japan will follow soon afterward, pending the finalization of Japanese distribution.
“We will be at the Tokyo Headphone Festival being held at the Nakano Sun Plaza on October 22 and 23 to gauge interest in Japan and hold meetings with Japanese distributors who have expressed interest in carrying the M1,” Kawakami said.
“We couldn’t be happier with the reception that the M1 and our fledgling company has gotten thus far,” commented Kawakami. “Our guiding light here has been, and will continue to be, the Sonoma reputation for uncompromised audio, so we’re going make sure we take our time to get this right.”
Sonoma Acoustics Announces Preliminary Pricing and Availability for Model One Headphones
Published on 10.07.2016
Sonoma Acoustics LLC announced today at CanJam and the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (RMAF), being held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, October 7-9, 2016, that it would begin selling its Model One (M1) Headphone System initially in the US, UK and Japan. The price for the entire system, which includes headphones and USB DAC/Energizer, is $4,995 in the US and £4,595 in the UK. Pricing in Japan has yet to be finalized pending the choice of distributor.
“We are taking our time and being very careful in ramping up production,” said David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “We’re acutely aware that the M1 has to deliver on the promise of the Sonoma name, which basically means it has to deliver unprecedented hi-res performance.”
To achieve that aim, the M1 system uses state-of-the-art components. Where no suitable component could be found, custom solutions were developed. Particular attention was paid to the choice of materials to ensure unprecedented levels of comfort. Key to the overall high performance of the M1 system was the choice of a revolutionary new electrostatic driver technology.
The M1 is the first headphone system in the world to incorporate the High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed and manufactured by Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd. (WAT) in the UK. “WAT has supported us every step of the way in the development of the M1,” commented Kawakami. “In fact, their CTO, Dan Anagnos, is actually inspecting and testing 100% of our initial production run to make sure the HPEL has been implemented in an optimal way.”
“We’re very happy that the hi-res pioneers at Sonoma Acoustics saw the potential of the HPEL transducer and are now making it available to audiophiles,” said Dr. Mike Grant, Executive Chairman of WAT. “We think the M1 will usher in a whole new age of electrostatic headphones.”
Sonoma Acoustics Heads To CanJam@RMAF To Debut Model One Electrostatic Headphones
Published on 09.26.2016
Following on the heels of CanJam London where Sonoma Acoustics LLC showed a prototype of their revolutionary Model One (M1) Headphone System—the first high-end headphones to utilize the High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer developed by Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd.—the company is headed to CanJam at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (RMAF) scheduled for Oct. 7-9 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.
“The reaction we got to the M1 prototypes in London was very encouraging,” commented David Kawakami, GM, Sonoma Acoustics. “In Denver, we will have samples that are much closer to final production so the performance and build quality will be even better.”
At CanJam@RMAF, Sonoma Acoustics will be demonstrating the M1 System at two locations—the Al Stiefel Legacy Suite 9030 on the 9th floor of the Summit Tower and in the CanJam tent. “In our suite, we will have a Sonoma DSD Workstation and a 1⁄2-inch, two-track Ampex ATR-100 mastering recorder so visitors will be able to listen to some fantastic hi-res source material,” said David Kawakami.
Sonoma Acoustics is expected to announce preliminary pricing and availability for the Model One at the show. “Audiophiles don’t usually have a chance to listen to an actual Sonoma Workstation but we want people to know that the M1 comes from very good stock,” commented David Kawakami. “It’s going to be hi-res heaven.”
Warwick Audio Technologies Ltd Announces Partnership with Sonoma™ Acoustics on Hi-Res Headphones
Published on 08.22.2016
Warwick Audio Technologies, Ltd (WAT) announced today at CanJam London that its High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducer will be utilized by Sonoma Acoustics LLC, a new headphone company founded by a group of industry pioneers in high resolution audio and music production.
Dr. Mike Grant, Executive Chairman of WAT, commented, “We believe that HPELs will transform the headphone industry for users. WAT’s vision is to become an essential technology partner to brands across the headphone industry. We are, therefore, delighted to announce this partnership with Sonoma Acoustics as the first brand partner to bring this innovative new technology to market. Their product promises to fully demonstrate the outstanding audio quality of HPELs.”
At CanJam, Sonoma Acoustics will provide initial design and performance data on the Model One headphone system, its first product to incorporate the HPEL transducer. The company has not yet announced availability and pricing.
David Kawakami, General Manager at Sonoma Acoustics, said, “We have worked with WAT to build the Model One from the ground up to be optimized for hi-res audio. It has some big shoes to fill with the Sonoma name so we are taking our time and being very careful to get it right. We will have more information on availability and pricing at CanJam at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (RMAF) on October 7-9 in Denver, Colorado.”
Dan Anagnos, Chief Technology Officer at WAT, elaborated on the background of the WAT/Sonoma Acoustics relationship. “While working as Chief Design Engineer for Sony in the U.S., I was recruited for the Super Audio CD (SACD) project. As a very high level corporate project, the team comprised handpicked executives from Sony and Philips. Now, those same people have started Sonoma Acoustics to pursue the headphone opportunity made possible by the HPEL transducer. The new company shares its name with the famous Sonoma Workstation which this team developed as the world’s first multitrack Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recorder/editor in support of the SACD format.”