The magic of the supertweeter?
In essence, the super tweeter is a small drive unit with a very lightweight diaphragm which can accelerate (and stop) very quickly. That makes it ideal for tracing fast-moving transients, such as those upper harmonics in musical instruments.
I, being typical of my age, cannot hear up to 20kHz or beyond any more. Therefore, whether or not the super tweeter is working is not related to my ability to enjoy music to the full. There are those - perhaps in their 20s or 30s - who can hear up towards 20kHz and for whom the s/tweeter will make a genuine difference. There are others who believe that even though we are unable to 'hear' very high frequencies they are somehow detectable perhaps through the skin or bones.
Whatever the facts about audibility, the super tweeter provides customers with a choice and to select the super-tweeter equipped SHL5 if that is what they want. And on the basis of consumer choice alone, I believe that the super tweeter concept is a good one. The argument is the same for bi-wire links: they were provided to allow consumer choice. In that case, I doubt that one user in a hundred ever removes the links and runs the bi-wire cables, so as you know they are being removed from new models as they come along on cost and production simplification grounds.
Most men at around 50 years of age have an upper hearing threshold between 10kHz and 15kHz. For the music listener, it would be far preferable to have a basically flat hearing acuity up to say, 10kHz, than an irregular hearing response that somehow extended to 15 or 20kHz but with a poor subjective quality.
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK