No instagram?
Not anymore, see here. If you post pictures of your tea ceremony your tea gets cold and you don't have a tea ceremony.
In general I've removed screens from my listening space, even streamer apps. This is a nicer space to show my stuff. You'll find lots of info and pictures if you navigate all he pages and labels on a laptop.

What is Sunship Audio?
I started this in 2013 as a passion project for TAD-Pioneer (Technical Audio Devices) 2" High-Frequencies compression drivers, 15" Low-Frequencies woofers. 

But two TAD drivers put together with a 12db slope crossover and a vintage metal Public Address horn won't get you anywhere near their potential.

My goal was to build an impeccable system without shying away from the two mountain ranges to pass on the way: 
1-The very specific, heavy wood horn with complex bi-radial curves and throat design. 
2-Having the complex high-order, time-aligned crossover figured out down to the gauge of the inductors and their positioning.

Why TAD?
I discovered and became obsessed with TAD in the late 90s on the Paris DIY scene, it was a kind of Klondike of Horn-Loaded system with lots of bridges to Japan. The TAD importer was in Paris as well as countless other places like the "Maison de l'audiophile". I took multiple trips to Japan to hear other large horn monitors, but to this day the TAD drivers and the discontinued model 2402 with single 15" woofer remains my idea of a perfect speaker. I prefer it to the twin 15". For front baffle directivity and impedance reason, the single woofer model sounds better in normal rooms and can be driven by any amplifier.

A 1980s studio using TAD components. Note the massive bi-radial wood horns.

TAD components are exceptional, the TD-4001 compression driver uses a gigantic Ø 4" (10cm) diaphragm made of evaporated beryllium behind a 2" (5cm) throat. It is the lightest and stiffest material on the planet. The unique manufacturing process by evaporation makes it very different from other beryllium diaphragms. It is extremely light (2g) and has no resonances and colorations.
Correctly filtered, the TD-4001 can reproduce frequencies up to 20 Khz.

Both the TD-4001 and TL-1601 woofers use AlNiCo magnets. Alnico magnets are pretty much extinct in the audio world today because of their cost. But they offer a unique listening quality that is dynamic, un-tiring and wholesome. Their balance remains the same at all volume levels. There is a quality to AlNiCo magnets that is difficult to put in words.

Why passive crossovers in the age of DSP?

Active DSP is irreplaceable for very complex installations, concerts etc. It can also be useful before developing a passive crossover to 'try stuff'' but it isn't the right way to go here.

A well designed passive crossover is a solid, set-and-forget solution. It is difficult to tune and build, parts are very expensive etc. But it protects the drivers and simplifies the upstream installation. One amplifier and off you go for the next 30 years.
A passive crossover keeps your signal in the analog domain which is essential for all vinyl lovers.
Here we have a ruler-flat response to monitoring standards without DSP (Digital Sound Processing) needed. 
Digital and Processed? Who wants that?

Why no super-tweeter?
The whole point of the TAD TD-4001 is that with the right horn and the right crossover it is the only compression driver that can reproduce frequencies up to the limit of human hearing at 20Khz.

The difficulty and cost of manufacturing the unique diaphragm of the TD-4001 are justified because it makes a two-way design possible without compromising the super-high frequencies.
A two-way design will always sound more coherent and seamless than a three-way design.
The smaller membrane of a super tweeter (Including TAD's own ET-703) cannot have the stress-free dynamics and punch of the large Ø10cm membrane found in the TD-4001.

How do they sound?

Most people are flabbergasted by the sound quality of these loudspeakers. The dynamics, the effortlessness of the sound, its fullness even at low playback levels and the absence of distortion and coloration even at very high volume are unusual. A lot of visitors use the word 'emotional' to describe their experience in front of the music reproduced.

But talking about sound quality in words, online, is a difficult exercise. Everyone that makes audio equipment claims to be "the one" that will let you "experience music the way musicians meant it". All hyperboles have been exhausted to death.

No kid would spend their pocket money on a boombox without listening to it.

How to listen?
There are a couple of options to listen in Berlin and Haarlem. We can meet on a ZOOM call and organise a listening session.

How big?
The pictures are misleading, this room has a very high ceiling on one side that makes the loudspeaker appear small but they are big. Roughly 110x70x55 cm. The pair weighs just under 300kg.

TL-1601 A or B?
The difference is trivial but I prefer the A. The B achieves higher power handling with a stronger heavier coil. The A still has ridiculously high power handling and I prefer the lighter more nimble coil. The A is discontinued but I have new stock. I can build with either version but unless you are the Grateful Dead I'd recommend the A.

What amplifier?
These are high efficiency loudspeakers that can produce 96 decibels with 1 Watt. Many High end loudspeakers have an efficiency of 10db less at around 86db/1W. To create +10 decibels you need x10 Watts. It means that these loudspeakers will do with a 30 Watts amplifier what others do with 300 Watts.

Equally important, their impedance is a very stable 8 Ohms which presents no difficulty to amplifiers. So basically they will work with pretty much any amplifier tube or solid state.
(My personal experience with class-D has been poor, they usually bluff their way for 15 minutes but after a while I find that they are crude sounding. I haven't tried all of them...)

18W tubes cruising.


Bryston 4B3


Do you sell the horns? Do you sell the crossovers?
No, finishing a perfect set of horns is a labor of love that I keep for my own builds.
Same thing for the crossovers. In general I would discourage TAD DIY projects. I could write two pages about the reasons why. I do not want to get involved with people's personal projects and take any responsibility for a result that depends on hundreds of different factors that are out of my control anyway.

Why the funny logo and manual?
Why serious?

If this logo looks like it was drawn by a 6 years old because it was.

The Owner's Manual.
Are they "vintage"?
Not in the least. All the parts and materials used, drivers, inductors, are at the leading edge of what is available today, still manufactured and sourced directly from the manufacturers. No refurbished parts are used.

Do you have something smaller / cheaper? 
This is the question I get the most. There are lots of speakers out there, the unique thing I have here is this no compromise TAD approach. It's my passion, I focus on that.

And lastly... How much?
Click Here.

email: sunshipaudio(at)gmail(dot)com