Blackthorn vs. Nightshade


We currently offer multiple speakers with seemingly small differences; particularly the Blackthorn and Nightshade.  They are at very different price points and you may be wondering what is so very different. 

In three full days of listening at AXPONA with hundreds of listeners having the opportunity to hear both, consumers fell into two camps.  Some loved the accurate reproduction the Blackthorns.  Others loved the soulful reproduction of the Nightshades.  Everyone appreciated the fact that they could easily hear the difference.  

Similarities:  Both speakers were designed to deliver an an extraordinary listening experience but we want to acknowledge that extraordinary is defined differently by different people and is a matter of taste.  There is no objective "best sounding speaker"

The Sound:  There are technical differences and we will talk about those in a second.  The difference in sound is what matters most. 

  • The Blackthorns were designed to be ultra-precise, deliver amazing detail but do it without even a hint of brightness.  The sound is uncolored with a deep and immersive soundstage.  If extraordinary to you is defined by hearing every nuance and detail, accurate reproduction to the point where you could tell the difference between a Yamaha and Steinway piano, this is the speaker for you
  • The Nightshades are intended to be different.  The sound profile offers plenty of detail and no brightness but is slightly colored.  They are musical and fun to listen with deep and immersive soundstage that delivers a soulful and emotional experience.  

The Cabinet:  Both are made from composite materials over a DuPont Nomex honeycomb core.  The composite provides the rigidity while the honeycomb has a ton of surface area and damps the sound.  

  • The Blackthorns utilize layers of carbon fiber on the inside and outside to provide rigidity.  Carbon fiber is more rigid than other composites and combines with the Nomex core, ensures that the cabinet resonance is kept to an absolute minimum
  • The Nightshades utilize layers of fiber glass impregnated with epoxy on the inside and outside to provide rigidity.  90% as rigid as carbon fiber, but at a lower cost, the fiber glass cabinets are spectacular when paired with the right speakers.  

The Drivers:  Both speakers utilize drivers from Eton, a German manufacturer of elite drivers.  Both incorporate a phase plug to ensure there is no beaming and both utilize a sealed tweeter.  

  • The Blackthorns utilize Etons Arcosia driver which is made with a magnesium composite.  Ultra rigid, it delivers amazing levels of detail with absolute precision in its sound profile.  The ceramic and magnesium tweeter from Eton is ultra rigid and again, delivers amazing detail without the brightness one gets from many metallic tweeters.  
  • The Nightshades ultilize Etons Orchestra driver which is a ribbed paper.  The ribbing adds to the paper's natural rigidity and you hear a wonderful level of detail.  The silk dome tweeter delivers a crispness of sound, but again, avoids the brightness of its metallic counterparts.  

The Capacitors:  Both speakers incorporate ClarityCap Capacitors into the crossover design.  ClarityCap is one of the most universally specified capacitors for speakers and this is not accidental.  

  • The Blackthorns utilize ClarityCap CSA Capacitors.  They are known for their accuracy ability to deliver flawless reproduction
  • The Nightshades utilize ClarityCap PX Capacitors.  They are known for their musicality and ability to deliver an engaging experience.