PERLISTEN S7t Special Edition


Floorstanding loudspeakers

The way the Perlisten S7t is designed – at least at first sight – reminds me of one of the last decade’s most iconic speaker, Revel Ultima. But the S7t is more than that, and it features some innovations that we see for the first time in speakers. The result is a debut loudspeaker that has a potential to become the next icon.

100% reference

Function and form

Ease of use

TexTreme Ply Carbon Diaphragms, TPCD, is the prevailing technology of the S7t´s drivers. The TPCD is a broad weave of carbon fibers in multiple layers (hence “plied”) that provides the strength of metal diaphragms but remains light and is not uniform in its material structure, which gives it an advantage of less erratic response than a typical all-metal diaphragm would have. The break-up modes are therefore pushed away from the audible spectrum to the frequencies that can be easily filtered out by the cross-over design for each used driver.

The TPCD technology is in fact used in all but one S7t´s drivers. Although the 28mm dome of the tweeter is beryllium and thus an exception, it is surrounded by two 28mm TPCD dome tweeters. Such an unusual arrangement is the first step to the S7t´s total vertical symmetry. Except the central beryllium dome, each driver is carefully mirrored. This, together with a shallow waveguide, controls the directivity across the whole frequency spectrum and is a subject to Perlisten´s patent application. The TPCD in tweeters also allows for a lower cross-over point of 1kHz when the tweeters take over from the midrange drivers. Between 1kHz and 4Khz the tweeters´ performance overlaps with upper midrange complement. The same way the S7t´s bass drivers (the cross-over point of 550Hz) overlap with lower midrange drivers that are claimed to play from 22Hz to 1,350Hz. Perlisten uses a quite unusual 4-way approach, which in turn asks for very careful phase alignment. No need to ask that this mission is a complete success, as I will describe later.

The S7t is made from HDF (instead of MDF), braced, curved and tilted, and inside lined with butyl damping sheets. It is not particularly heavy (56kg per unit) and looks graceful sleek in the room. The S7t is available in black, white, and 4 types of wood veneer (cherry, black cherry, and ebony matte, or ebony gloss). The craftsmanship is flawless, and I have to admit that, at least to my eyes, the Perlistens are among the most attractive speakers in the market.

Bass management


To unbox the S7ts is a chore. In emergency, it can be a one man job, but I highly recommend to do that in two persons. Not that the cabinets themselves are heavy – they are not – but there is added weight by accessories and by substantially heavy metal plinths. Both are important, as the plinths must be bolted to the speakers, and rubber feet or spikes (both enclosed) must be bolted to the plinths. The feet connect to the plinth via elastomer parts, so the loudspeakers kind of float on them.

There are also two oversized foam plugs in the transport box. I mean two plugs for each speaker. The ports look like two chimney tubes (2x 90mm), and - unfortunately – can be closed only by disassembling the bottom part of the speaker. This prevents experimenting with the plugs on-the-fly, and I don’t think it is needed. Still, the plugs may be needed if you decide to upgrade S7t’s bass, as you will read a few paragraphs later.

Clarity & delicacy


I placed the S7t intuitively in the room and I really liked what I was hearing. The soundstage was broad and deep, and the sound was clean and very balanced. Usually, with most speakers, my ears immediately identify different sorts of ‘buts’ and ‘trade-offs’, however, the Perlisten S7t sounded very natural, as if they were built for the room. I spent another hour by trying to improve the intuitive placement. I found the S7t to be hyper-sensitive to where they stood in the room, and I ended up in positions that were close to the initial ones. This hyper-sensitivity was surprising, for all the published measurements showed very uniform dispersion characteristics of the speakers, so I wouldn’t expect the S7t to be so demanding as far as the placement in the room is concerned.   Spending some time by optimizing is definitely worth the result: in their final positions the S7t disappeared and flooded the room with remarkably pure and balanced sound.

The Perlisten S7t do not represent a difficult load for amplifiers, and they have friendly 92dB sensitivity and 4-ohm rating. Still, they did appreciate some extra watts and control. From the four pairs of power amplifiers that I had on hand, they loved to be driven by Apollon Audio’s PET950 Purifi-based monos. In this set-up, the sound was very close to what I was used to hear with my resident TAD Evolution One (and these speakers were +50% more expensive when new a decade ago). The S7t’s sound is very accurate and very coherent, as if there was just one driver in each cabinet. This one-way-ness was free of any phase shifts and smears, so the windows into recording studios and concert halls were wide open. I could not resist and listened to some of my all-time favourites, like A Hundred Miles or More (Rounder). Through the Perlisten the subtle inflections and modulations of Alison Krauss’ beautiful voice were mesmerizing, and I could hear the electric buzz of studio electronics that made its way onto the recording. The latter was truly exceptional – I only hear these faint low-level details in my resident set-up, as it requires superbly low distortion and superbly high S/N ratio. I could hear it with the Perlisten S7t and Apollon Audio set up too.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

I was not really excited to see three tweeters in the S7t, nor I was excited to see them playing from below my ears level. My concerns about how such an arrangement would connect to my ears vanished quickly – the Perlisten exhibited incredibly smooth and clean highs that were on the sweet side of neutrality, never aggressive. Moreover, they did not exhibit usual lisp of aluminium domes, nor softened presentation of silk domes. The highs of the Perlisten were detailed without being hyper-detailed, and they were well integrated. I also appreciated the absence of usual accent in the ‘air’ frequency region. Although the S7t were audibly ruler-flat, metallic sounds sounded metallic through them, like the ride cymbals in Down by The Riverside (Time to Swing, Smoke Sessions Records). The metronome-accurate drums of Joe Farnsworth and the trumpet of Wynton Marsalis sounded truly amazing.

Without mentioning the S7t’s midrange, which is among the best available, there is only one region in the Perlisten’s frequency response which remains a harder nut for me to crack: the bass. The bass of the S7t was agile, contoured, and precisely controlled, I lacked the brute force mass of it, however. On paper Perlisten claims the bass cones to be 180mm ones. Using a tape measure, I measured 140mm from the centre of the rubber surround. The reality corresponded better to what was actually heard. In other materials Perlisten claims that the surface of the bass cones is equivalent to 180mm. Well, it has no influence on the audible roll off in lows. Brian Bromberg’ s double bass (his Wood album) reaches below 40Hz, and the S7t exhibited superb definition and control over it. Still, the instruments lacked the size and weight. As far as the bass extension is concerned, Perlisten says 80Hz (-1,5 dB) and 22Hz (-10dB), which I found to be quite accurate description of what is happening. The roll off below 80Hz is apparent and the sufficient physiological pressure drops off fast below around 45Hz. It can be helped by moving the speakers closer to the corners of the room, yet I would not recommend it if you don’t want to lose the otherwise excellent S7t’s balance and transparency. The engineers of Perlisten admit that they prioritized studio dryness to euphony, and if lower extension is needed, a subwoofer or two can be used. There are several high-end subs in the Perlisten’s catalogue, and that’s where the foam plugs may come in handy to easier cross-over the subs with the mains.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

The Perlisten S7t is a marvellous loudspeaker, predestined for a success. It is carefully designed, technologically advanced, and beautifully made speaker too. Its sound is flawless, and if complemented in the low end (or used in smaller and mid-sized rooms below 30 sqm), it can compete with the best. Also, there is the good news for measurements reading audiophiles: the Perlisten’s technical parameters are state-of-art.

No need to say, that I liked the S7t very much. By surrounding them with high-performing electronics one may arrive to a truly high-end system that may challenge Magico without many zeroes on its price tag. Perlisten has challenged the industry standards and succeeded. Highly recommended!

Price as reviewed:499 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Associated components

  • Sources: Ayon CD-35 HF Edition
  • Amplifiers: Ayon Epsilon monobloky, Ayon Epsilon Evo monobloky, Apollon Audio Hypex NCore PNC1200 monobloky, Apollon Audio Eigentakt Purifi PET950 monobloky
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Stealth Audio Metacarbon, Roth Audio, Krautwire Super Symmetric
  • Loudspeakers: Legacy Audio Whisper XDS, Synergistic Research Black Box, Silent Laboratories - a prototype
  • Power conditioning: Synergistic Research PowerCell SX, Synergistic Research SRX, Nordost QPoint, Roth Audio



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