T+A Solitaire CWT 1000-40 Carbon Anniversary Series Speakers.

T+A Solitaire CWT1000-40 Carbon Loudspeaker review.

This review is highly unlikely since I’ve been looking for a speaker that eclipses my CLX for many years. I enjoy a more line source design to limit room interactions, and the defined sweet spot is not an issue to get so much better sound. The Martin Logan CLX, in my opinion, used with stereo BF212 subs are their most well rounded speaker. The full range (mostly, ha!) panel is a marvel of coherence. Where we require a broader range of frequency reach the BF-212 come into play. What we can not change, is the basic nature of a design. Panel speakers of modest size, and the CLX is far from giant, is that they can’t move as much air as you go lower in frequency. From the lower mid-range on down the CLX are wonderfully revealing and natural but lacking the punch larger panels or dynamic drivers provide. I’d MUCH rather keep the proportional balance and transient response than trade that off for punch. Such as it is with speakers. Nothing I listened to was even close to the CLX in tonality and transient speed all the while being natural in what they do best. I used a pair of Dyn Audio C-4 signatures for bass PUNCH and lower register power in the human voice, at the expense of proper edge transients as you go up. The C-4 are the opposite the CLX. You can’t do BOTH at the 20K price so do something really, really well and hit that market.
At AXPONA 2019 after 100 or more rooms of speakers and items of all sorts, we’re at the upper floors of the exhibits and this wonderful sound is spilling into the hallways. What on earth is that? My friend and I followed our ears and found the T+A Solitaire 1000-40 anniversary carbon edition speakers. The term here is definitely gob smacked. Even in a smaller hotel room they were so neutral and open it was unreal. Timber and speed was right there with the music. I played some God-awful stuff to make sure they portrayed the RECORDING and not the SPEAKER. That to me is transparency. As my friend so quickly pointed out, “you’re so screwed”.

Who is T+A? What are these not so well known speakers? Easy answer is T+A Elektroakustik (Technology plus Application) https://www.ta-hifi.de/en is a German company that STARTED making speaker, then expanded to electronics. The CWT (Cylinder Wave Transducer) design has been in constant refinement for 40 years. There is a little more of the not invented here syndrome with stereo speakers verses electronics. Move speakers around and it is easy to see why.

Shortly after AXPONA I contacted David Schultz about getting a pair, as they are brand new to the USA. These will replace BOTH the CLX and C-4 as my primary cable development speakers, as I design ICONOCLASTCABLE.COM products with Blue Jeans Cable. A visit to David’s in Georgia allowed me to set-up his CWT 1000-40 in his home theater audition room with Blue Jeans Iconoclast cables. A BIG room verses a smaller one. The sound was still just as compelling as before. The rooms had far less an effect on the sound than normal speakers. Now what?

A couple of big crates arrived at my doorstep from Germany. Yep, the crates are wood and held together with metal clips. They collapse down to near nothing for storage, and THAT is nice! I never thought I’d review a speaker crate, but I think I just did. The crates are as fascinating as the speaker.

To enjoy a speaker, you have to fully know the limitations of each design. I bracket products into what I call seasons;
WINTER    100% cool or transparent and fast, some overshoot that adds brightness.
SPRING      75% transparent and 25% warmer, overshoot is tamed and retains speed.
SUMMER  100% warm. Undershoot smooths over everything to a more house sound.
FALL            25% cool or transparent and 75% warm. Better detail but still imparts detail rounding.

I enjoy a SPRING type sound. I want to see the inner musical detail before it is covered in leaves. I don’t want to see MORE than that, however. A well-damped sound is required. The CWT 1000-40 is springtime type sound. Warm and softer transients they are not. Smooth and melodious bass wandering into the room they are not. They will play a warm presentation, but not ALWAYS will it be there. The source will be far more evident than with lesser speakers. We say "lean" verses "fat" or "dry" verses "wet", OK, few say "wet" bass but that's the alternative to dry after all. As a speaker plays several octaves with most of it in the bass region; 20, 40, 80, 160, 320, 640, 1280, 2560, 5120, 10240, 20480 if we don't get the bass right the rest just can't sound right as the fundamental  is "broken" all the harmonics are supposed to be attached to. That linearity, or absence, makes speakers hard to make. Bass is hard because it covers so many octaves. The 1000-40 get it right.

My bias on a great speaker is that they should be able to portray a granite stone suspended in the air. Nothing but the stone, and the stark relief to the background is seen / heard. Why is that important for a speaker to do? Let’s imagine the next step, a fuzzy cotton ball. If you can’t define the edge detail of a stone, the cotton ball will be excessively fuzzy in edge detail. Fine filaments will become cords. The cotton ball will be a rat chewed burlap sack instead. A speaker that cannot go UP in detail and edge detail can’t match the source. The performance STOPS and everything below that suffers as a consequence. This applies to every frequency range, not just the treble, where many cheat and add “detail” with a zippy tweeter. How badly a speaker lags the source and where it lags is what the ”house sound” is; coloration.

The 88dB SPL efficiency 4-ohm CWT 1000-40 uses a controlled dispersion line-source type design with a unique set of drivers to maintain the speed from the top octaves and harmonics on down. A long 920x50mm electrostatic tweeter with eight 120mm mid bass / mid-range couplers and four opposed (two on each side) 210mm woofers. The design makes good sense given the objective to control room interaction and retain the speed top to bottom. I don’t know if a physical transducer can ever match the source (the microphone is in that chain) but more speed is certainly going to get closer to the source if it is in the recording. Smaller and lighter drives in a line-source arrangement lower harmonic distortion and add speed.


Does it work? Yes, it does. The 1000-40 is 134cm (4.4 feet) tall. If you STAND near field the upper octaves will immediately drop-off once your head is above the speaker. Stay seated and all is well. The “tweeter” is not an issue to be at ear level as the tweeter is a tall panel. You can’t go wrong unless you tilt the speaker so far back that the bottom of the tweeter is above your head. Sound energy is even left to right, but the IMAGE is definitely in the “sweet spot” like most all line source speakers. Few will have issues with dome tweeter beaming and exact ear to tweeter height. The electrostatic panel is tall enough to eliminate that problem (I sat on the floor to test this out…no change). Oh, that electrostatic panel? Let the speaker play a few songs after it turns on (I have mine in auto shutdown mode) for the magic to return. The panels need an even charge distribution to work properly. This isn’t too long a wait. Don’t fear that at all. An extra bonus, the speakers sound pretty good straight out of the crates! So enjoy the break-in and listen to them. No, not near perfect…expect good fifty or more 85dB SPL hours to get there.

Placement is easier than most speakers, the line-source provides that advantage. But there is a MAJOR catch. The distance between them is pretty lenient in my experiences (seven to ten feet) but the proper distance in front of the speaker is CRITICAL that it is not less than 3.5 meters! I can’t say this LOUD enough. The magic simply will not happen near field with these so you pure cone driver users are aware of this. Line sources need room to BLEND the two panels in this case. Too close and you have a really weird integration issue happening.

Toe-in is also critical, but not hard to do. I enjoy the precision of the human voice and a toe-in that places the speaker’s front panels parallel with JUST a little toe-in. One inch or so, works best. Yes, you can easily hear the richness and image specificity of the vocals increase as the proper toe-in is reached. I white noise mono source can help toe-in the speaker until the image is no longer getting more precise in space. Stop at that point. But the room has to be large enough to properly place the speaker away from you, and still keep some space behind it.

I placed them 56” from the wall behind the speaker, and two feet from the edge walls. I sit ten feet from the speaker. My room is NOT and acoustic treatment fitted chamber of horrors. Just typical furniture damped room with the normal stuff around. My room is 14.5’ wide so the tweeter panels are outside. I imagine in a large room and a wider placement, the inner panels location MAY sound better. I tried both ways and a tweeter out is best for my room. What do we hear? Oh, notice they don’t eat-up the entire room with their presence, nice.

We need to look at the properties of a line-source speaker to fully know it this will work for you. If you walk TOWARDS a line-source, the volume will go DOWN, not up. The is easy to explain since we are getting closer and closer to one “section” of the speakers output, the mid-range drivers or electrostatic panel section. A typical dynamic driver will get LOUDER as you approach a single driver for each frequency range. This allows really interesting near field seating positions if that is your thing. A line-source won’t allow you to sit nearly as close, so appropriate room in front of the speaker is needed, ten or so feet at least, to allow the drivers output to converge properly.

Imaging SIZE with the 1000-40 is, out of a one to ten scale, a five or six. A one being a ship in a bottle and a ten being a large panel speaker. Image size is a strange science. My take is a too large center images pulls-in the sound-stage. Imagine three small musical dots separated in space with one at each speaker and one in the center. The SMALLER the dots, the LARGER the left to right reach appears to be between the dots. If the center image gets too large, it encroaches on the separation between the edges of the sound-stage, or the musical dots located at the speaker, shrinking the total sound-stage. The 1000-40 reaches an excellent compromise on image SIZE and the resulting WIDTH of the sound-stage. The image sits even between the speakers and at eye level in the seated position. Not at your feet or clinging to the ceiling. Center locations have well defined layering front to back and up and down. The 1000-40 is crazy good at specificity of image location.

Another aspect to image size is the sound-stage breathing in and out. A large center image pulls in the sound-stage, only to have it “breath” back out when it is removed. A more even image size left to right minimize this, to my ear, non-linearity. Yes, those close MIC recordings create that great sucking sound that pulls everything straight to the middle, as an extreme example. Let the SOURCE mess with the SIZE of what you hear. The speaker should stay neutral.

Power usage is moderate to low for my room. I see 500 watts for the ENTIRE system from a PS Audio P20 re-generator. So no, Air Suspension bass isn’t the amp killer people say it is, unless you consider 85-90 dB system SPL playback with 500 watt total draw from the re-generator to be too high. I use T+A M40 HV mono amps, so let that be my reference for what is eating the watts!

The two Martin Logan BF-212 stereo subs are almost “off” and crossed-over at 30Hz. The CWT 1000-40 seems to reach plenty deep, and need the subs only for subterranean bass bombs. You know, like what they are for! The bass is so tactful and capable that those subs can be turned off and not have most of the party leave. I use them with near no subs at this point as the clarity and precision of the image seems to suffer some with too much subs.

So much for where the sound is what about the character of the sound? The tweeter panel is not really a tweeter per say. It reaches down to 2KHz so plenty of mid-range energy is covered. The bass to mid-range couplers go down to 200 Hz, keeping the upper bass harmonics in the eight smaller drivers and not the four smaller, but fast woofers. Bass is as much the associated upper harmonics as the fundamental. Lose the proper attachment of those two elements and bass is muddy and woolly. What all these drivers do is separate and maintain the best balance of SPEED and transient detail I have heard in a speaker all the way up and down the frequency spectrum. Few speakers get it right, and as uniform, all the way up and down. If the source material has the captured speed in the recording, you will hear it as it is far closer to what hit the microphone than most any speaker I’ve heard. Better, it won’t ADD artificial speed that IS NOT in the recording as the speaker is impressively well damped to overshoot. The critical mid-range is vocally what’s on the recording as I’ve ever heard. This speaker can’t make everything sound good. It’s too neutral to do that. It tracks the signal, wandering off that task isn’t in the cards as much as other products. Be warned that vast differences in source material will be heard. The speaker is so fast that it is virtually invisible to the presentation.

Few speakers do bass well as it is costly to do. Large BIG drivers go deep but aren’t easy to control. Four smaller drivers are more costly, but are far faster. The air suspension bass system, to my ear, is the best bass there currently is. It damps the driver cone surface evenly to mitigate break-up and has much better transient response than competing systems. Four drivers that each move one-fourth as far lower harmonic and Doppler distortion and help keep the cabinet volume smaller, too. The side mounted and opposed driver’s load the room unevenly with a few degrees of toe-in, reducing bass room nodes. The 1000-40 bass is heard in your big bones and channels into your inner ears bone structure. If you do not like bass PUNCH, and excellent tonality, these aren’t for you. If the source is sharp and tight…the CWT 1000-40 will be in excess of most speakers ability to get that out of the recording. The use of bi-wire lowers IM distortion and the terminals are easy to use as they are properly spaced to use bi-wire. Many speakers are a mess here.

Why bi-wire? Some will enjoy this and some will hate it. The signal on your speaker terminal is ONE voltage at a time. How can that be? Music is many, many sounds all at once. The physics of electricity says ALL of those signals at every point in the time domain superimpose one on top of the other and ADD to be ONE voltage in time. But, another odd thing happens in this process. Sometimes two frequencies create a “beat” frequency, like hitting each one off the other, making a THIRD frequency that isn’t really there. That’s where the term “Inter” modulation comes from. To lessen the odds of two frequencies beating off one another, we SEPARATE the speaker into two sections. Each section has fewer frequencies adding to ONE voltage and thus, less chance of creating beat frequencies. The amplifier knows, based on the load properties, where to send the info off the amp’s terminals. Even though the cables end up at ONE terminal on the amp for each side, the signal go where they are supposed to on the speaker and minimize Inter Modulation effects. The quality of the CWT 1000-40 should use bi-wire.

The CWT 1000-40 is about source accuracy, not embellishing a house sound. The speaker itself is utterly gone from the presentation. A left or right panned image appears in the location of the speaker, not a sound stuck inside the speaker. After owning the CLX, my ear is intensely insulted by the sound of the box. The CWT 1000-40 don’t mitigate this issue to acceptability, they just don’t have it. Amazing. Low level listening, say 50-65 dB range with the CWT 1000-40, is immensely enjoyable because they maintain such a quick response and utter transparency around good source material. No, the bass isn’t magic and does indeed follow your ears reduced sensitivity to especially bass, and high frequency extreme tilt. But the ability to track everything that goes into them keeps things enjoyable. The speaker is still flat, but our ears stay flattest at 80-85 dB SPL, and lose sensitivity or hearing compression above 90 dB or so. Shut your eyes and turn up your volume from a lower than listened to setting. When the sound all of a sudden “blooms”, stop. Check the SPL. Odds are you are 80-85 dB. The speaker did nothing. YOU are what bloomed! Be careful to not overdrive or under drive your ears for the most linear sound. Speakers can’t fix us. Stay around 80 dB or so for the best experience your ears will give you. Way too many people wreck their physical equipment (ears) and truly good speakers need to be best matched to us as well as all our hardware. The CWT 1000-40 have no problems remaining true to their character across extreme volume levels.

I could go on and on with detailed listings of individual recordings but I won’t. The more detail in the recording’s description and source data the better listener we are? The CWT 1000-40’s ability to extract all that is in the source, place it in an appropriate image size in front of you to maximize the sound stage width, and capture the immediacy of the source, and avoid the room is unmatched. What’s more to say? The speaker’s fundamental design does exactly as intended. Yes, it has a sweet spot and needs toe-in precision to get the best from them. Yes, it forces you to sit down to listen. Yes, it will knock you down with the bass impact if it is in the recording. Yes, the edge detail and exactness will offend you if you are used to smoothed over harmonics. The 1000-40 will precisely place the granite rock in the air, and capture its musical weight, both. It will toss a cotton ball up there and accurately define the fine filaments of its exterior dimension and capture the proper musical mass as well. Few speakers can do both well. The near total transparency can let you play Philip Philips right after Paul Simon, and not even notice the drastic difference in the source material’s impact on the speaker. It has none. The speaker simply moves with the source. Butterfly wings to a pterodactyl and both seem as normal as can be, but the CWT 1000-40 captures the vastly different musical settings. They are a musical time machine if you will and are musically comfortable anywhere you want them to go.

Even MORE amazing; few speakers can live in a typical room and keep to themselves! Ignoring the room is a major advantage that is too critical to ignore. The speaker can’t manage the room by interacting with it, they have to do the management by ignoring the room. The 1000-40 are a livable size and weight; HxWxD 134cm x 32cm x 46cm and 170 pounds. Placing them in a proper room should not be a problem to get the advantages they are designed to provide.

Negatives are, of course, buying them. And you people who physically wander while listening, you know who you are, will get frustrated with the seating requirements. You’ll die for the sound but if you can’t sit still and keep your distance (3.0-3.5 meters) these won’t be your best pick. This speaker can’t go into smaller rooms. Sorry. They need the proper space BEHIND them and to the sides, as well as the 3.0 or so meter distance from the speaker to your seated position. I’d say a 12’ wide x 20 deep room or larger optimum. You may get away with a shallower room based on wall treatment behind your seated position IF, IF, IF you keep the 3.0 meter listener to speaker distance. Try before you buy!

Not so much a negative, but a system consideration. The CWT 1000-40 will rat out your sources! My phono cartridge was ratted out as not suitable for the CWT 1000-40. It was too relaxed and left way too much PRATT on the table. Lesser speakers won’t let you know that that PRATT is there to be used, so no swing, no strike, no foul. Not so the CWT 1000-40.They let you know every swing, attempted swing as well as the hits and where they go. Don’t be surprised if source components fall short.

In closing they hit above their price class in performance, extracting what’s in the recording and getting out of the way. That doesn’t seem too hard to do but it is. I’ve hung on to my Dyn Audio C4 Signatures and Martin Logan CLX Arts for years looking for the blending of two great producers. I wanted fantastic. I found it. I bought it. Highly recommended.


I wanted fantastic. I found it.

@rower30  Thank you for your expansive and expressive review of your T+A speakers and the detailed comparative narrative. 

Most importantly, Congratulations!!! on finding a wonderful speaker for yourself.
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Galen, nice to see you enthusiasm for the speakers here! I know that when I was engaged in the review of the SPTPC top level Iconoclast Cables, you raved about the speakers. It appears the joy has not diminished. Kudos on attainment of your dream speaker! 

(For the community's sake, disclosure; I reviewed Iconoclast Cables for Dagogo.com, and the article is there for anyone who is curious.)


what a great review!  I am now looking and came across this.

Have you heard the S-540, and if so, what are the differences?


thanks you