Spatial Audio M3 Review

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jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #20 on: 21 Jan 2016, 04:36 am »
Well, I couldn't resist so today I pulled the trigger on a pair of M3 Turbo S in Satin Black. 
I'm really looking forward to hearing (and seeing) their performance in my current room before I move.  I was impressed at RMAF and just couldn't wait any longer.  Should be fun!  I'll update if anyone cares enough. 

ttan98

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #21 on: 21 Jan 2016, 04:56 am »
Well, I couldn't resist so today I pulled the trigger on a pair of M3 Turbo S in Satin Black. 
I'm really looking forward to hearing (and seeing) their performance in my current room before I move.  I was impressed at RMAF and just couldn't wait any longer.  Should be fun!  I'll update if anyone cares enough.

I had listened to a pair of an earlier model at Mountain View Audio show, it sounded quite good then, I am sure you will enjoy your pair.

BTW  C. Shaw is really a nice guy I had a good chat with him, I don't think he remembered me. He was one of a a few pioneers in OB speakers design, I built a 2 models based on this earlier models(similar to those from Emerald Physics), all of them sounded quite good too.

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #22 on: 22 Jan 2016, 03:32 am »
I had listened to a pair of an earlier model at Mountain View Audio show, it sounded quite good then, I am sure you will enjoy your pair.

BTW  C. Shaw is really a nice guy I had a good chat with him, I don't think he remembered me. He was one of a a few pioneers in OB speakers design, I built a 2 models based on this earlier models(similar to those from Emerald Physics), all of them sounded quite good too.
I should know soon enough. Look forward to getting them. 

firedog

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #23 on: 22 Jan 2016, 12:04 pm »
Would love to hear what you think. What size room will they be in? Any thoughts of a subwoofer with them?

sfdoddsy

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #24 on: 22 Jan 2016, 02:11 pm »
Hello
Great review newrecordday. Thank you.
I just have a question if you don't mind. I live in a smallish room/studio, pre-war building in NYC... Do you think the Spatial speakers work decently ok or am I better off buying a bookshelf speakers until I move to a bigger place?

I've owned open baffle speakers of various types (from electrostat panels to dynamics like Spatial) for over 20 years now and had them in rooms that ranged from quite petite to enormous. I've had them positioned right up against a wall, and many feet out.

Even in the less than ideal positions, the essential magic of OB always comes through. I've never heard a box speaker, even really expensive ones, capture that magic.

Also, box speakers don't sound great in a small room either.

So go ahead and buy.

I think people assume OB speakers are affected by small rooms more than box speakers because they are usually so big. It just seems logical that they overwhelm a small room, but it isn't necessarily the case.

Having said that, if there are room issues you can mitigate them considerably with EQ.

The MiniDSP is $100 or so, sonically transparent, and can make a big difference with room-induced problems.

Down the track it would probably also improve the Spatials if you went fully active. I've yet to hear any OB that isn't improved by going active, even though it is a hassle.

So buy the Spatials. Then buy a MiniDSP, buy a cheap USB mic, then download and learn to use REW.

It's cheap and will have a massive effect compared to other 'tweaks'.

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #25 on: 22 Jan 2016, 02:56 pm »
Would love to hear what you think. What size room will they be in? Any thoughts of a subwoofer with them?
OK, I'll update when they get here.  The current room is 16' x 25' but that will change in time too.  As for subs, I have four of them here that I use in my current system.  Could I integrate them in? Sure.  Will I?  Probably not.  I want to see how they work here and go from there. 

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #26 on: 22 Jan 2016, 03:06 pm »
Also, box speakers don't sound great in a small room either.

Just so you know, that's totally not true.  A proper CD speaker is exactly why they DO work in any room.  I'm very curious to see/hear how a CD OB Speaker does too. 

mick wolfe

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #27 on: 22 Jan 2016, 04:28 pm »
Just so you know, that's totally not true.  A proper CD speaker is exactly why they DO work in any room.  I'm very curious to see/hear how a CD OB Speaker does too.

I've had my Spatial M2 Turbos in a very small ( 10 x 11 ) listening room and they can pull it off. The caveat being the presentation is very upfront.( front row ) That said, their sense of ease/ smoothness still make for an involving experience. In regard to this same room, I've tried several monitor type speakers in this room with some success. However, none of them have come close to the presentation of  an Ohm 1000 in this room. Of course the 1000 is actually designed to work in a room this size and it shows. In regard to the M2 Turbo in a larger room.....it simply works better with the increased breathing room. The strengths( sense of ease/ smoothness ) remain in spades with a much better disappearing act. Bottom line here is that I think you'll be quite pleased with the M3 Turbo. The first 100 or so hours will have you thinking they sound a bit mechanical and not quite as involving as you'd hoped, but be patient. Like a fine wine, they continue to improve with time and you will start to appreciate how well voiced they are.

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #28 on: 22 Jan 2016, 09:11 pm »
I've had my Spatial M2 Turbos in a very small ( 10 x 11 ) listening room and they can pull it off. The caveat being the presentation is very upfront.( front row ) That said, their sense of ease/ smoothness still make for an involving experience. In regard to this same room, I've tried several monitor type speakers in this room with some success. However, none of them have come close to the presentation of  an Ohm 1000 in this room. Of course the 1000 is actually designed to work in a room this size and it shows. In regard to the M2 Turbo in a larger room.....it simply works better with the increased breathing room. The strengths( sense of ease/ smoothness ) remain in spades with a much better disappearing act. Bottom line here is that I think you'll be quite pleased with the M3 Turbo. The first 100 or so hours will have you thinking they sound a bit mechanical and not quite as involving as you'd hoped, but be patient. Like a fine wine, they continue to improve with time and you will start to appreciate how well voiced they are.
Good to hear they worked well for you.  instead of "voicing" them I'd like to think that Clayton is more engineering based on the basis of the design which is Constant Directivity and he has then added his own "tricks" to the whole package to make it what I think it is. 

mick wolfe

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #29 on: 22 Jan 2016, 10:56 pm »
There is no doubt these are well engineered products, but I've heard a lot of well engineered products that bored me to death. Clayton's designs are not just well thought out from an engineering standpoint, they're musically involving. That's where some speaker designers fall short.

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #30 on: 22 Jan 2016, 11:32 pm »
There is no doubt these are well engineered products, but I've heard a lot of well engineered products that bored me to death. Clayton's designs are not just well thought out from an engineering standpoint, they're musically involving. That's where some speaker designers fall short.
Fair enough.  I'm surprised that I haven't read more about them here considering their dollar/performance. 

Bemopti123

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #31 on: 23 Jan 2016, 02:06 am »
I for one am interested in hearing more reports about it.  The issue that I find with all these discoveries and great giant killer products that lots of people advocate is that they are hip or trend intensely for some months and then people move on to something else.  When this happens I often question the standards that people had when it relates to these products.  Mind you that I honestly do not think that these new OB speakers fall on that previous line of being peddled as the latest and timeless products.  I am eager to hear more about them.  Amplifiers and other smaller products are easy to audition but these being larger products, I feel it is a little more intimidating to try.

TomS

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #32 on: 23 Jan 2016, 02:12 am »
I for one am interested in hearing more reports about it.  The issue that I find with all these discoveries and great giant killer products that lots of people advocate is that they are hip or trend intensely for some months and then people move on to something else.  When this happens I often question the standards that people had when it relates to these products.  Mind you that I honestly do not think that these new OB speakers fall on that previous line of being peddled as the latest and timeless products.  I am eager to hear more about them.  Amplifiers and other smaller products are easy to audition but these being larger products, I feel it is a little more intimidating to try.
Other than shipping cost, Clayton at Spatial offers a 60-day(!) trial, which makes it generously low risk to find out.

Bemopti123

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #33 on: 23 Jan 2016, 02:32 am »
Other than shipping cost, Clayton at Spatial offers a 60-day(!) trial, which makes it generously low risk to find out.

I need to move my large box speakers out in other to even attempt to audition these.  Jajaja

schw06

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #34 on: 23 Jan 2016, 02:48 am »
I have been very reluctant to post about the M3 turbo S's for the very reasons you bring up. I don't want folks to think I'm a shill or the typical newbie audiophile excited about his new toy ready to extol it's virtues only to have it up for sale a month later. I've been biting my tongue waiting for the initial excitement to wear of...It hasn't. I'm almost 3 months in at this point and believe the speakers are well broken in. I can only speak about them in the context of my room (17x24x10) and my setup (6 feet out from the front wall with them about 32 inches on center from the side wall) with my electronics (Vinnie Rossi LIO loaded feeding Odyssey Kismet monoblocks with Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable, Ortofon 2m black and Bluesound Node 2 as sources). This is what I'm hearing from them:
1. An extraordinarily natural presentation that never tips toward aggressive or grating yet remains dynamic enough to maintain your attention.
2. Excellent dynamics and pace, rhythm, and timing
3. Fully developed tonal palette
4. Excellent soundstage width and depth that does not feel overly tall/wide/short etc...
5. Bass in my room that is mind bogglinglingly (I know it's not a word) clean, articulate, detailed, natural, and extended(no sub needed in my room)
6. Midrange cleanliness that is revealing of upstream components and highlights that power tubes or euphonic upstream components are identified for what they are. The speakers do not need comonents that soften, cover up, or editorialize the presentation to sound fantastic. It doesn't punish you for those choices but is capable of elucidating high caliber upstream components.
7. Sweet treble that simply does not get aggressive but feels fully extended and natural and neither brittle/bright or syrupy.
8. A very uniform presentation that has an excellent crossover and speaks with a single unified voice.
   I've been trying to come up with a shortcoming of them...I am yet to really come up with anything. Most importantly, some systems and components have a quality that suck you into the music and turns off the analytical brain. The Spatials do this as well or better than any component I've ever owned. I wish I could tell you why...I can't.
   Does this mini review seem a little over the top or a little unbelievable? I have certainly read so many reviews like this on the threads that I generally roll my eyes at them and discredit almost every one that I read...I wouldn't blame you for doing the same with this review. So here is my litmus test for a speaker:
1. Would you consider this a destination end game product?-Yes
2. Do they represent value at their retail price point?- I would dare say they may represent the best value of anything I've purchased in the hobby new or used and in my opinion offer so much value it's hard to believe.
3. Do they have universal appeal that should transcend most audiophiles proclivities and discrepancies in taste like Klaus'(Odyssey) setups every single audio show- Yep
   In the end it's just my opinion: nothing more, nothing less. Remember that opinions are like a$$holes...everyone has one and they usually stink. That being said, I certainly encourage you to at least try to listen to them at the next audio show and compare them to anything at any price point you hear at the show. Decide for yourself.
David

Geardaddy

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #35 on: 24 Jan 2016, 07:16 pm »
Hey folks,

For those of you that might have missed it, I posted my review of the Spatial Audio M3s. They are a fun speaker to listen to and I am having a hard time going to back to my thinner sounding Gallo's after my audition. I highly recommend these speakers.

https://www.newrecordday.com/spatial-audio-m3-review/

Not trying to spam my own site here, just hoping to share the enjoyment of a job well done by Spatial.

-Ron

Very nice review. In your prelude, you captured the essence of audio for me as well:  room energization or pressurization and that immersive experience that comes out of it. Whatever way people can achieve this, no matter the speaker paradigm, is the shizzle.   I owned an Emerald physics speaker back in 2008 and very much enjoyed them. I'm a fan of dipoles and what they do.

KLH007

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #36 on: 24 Jan 2016, 09:48 pm »
Here is a room report from my coverage of 2014 RMAF for EnjoyTheMusic.com:
Spatial and Red Dragon
Clayton Shaw showed a pair of open baffle speakers, Spatial Hologram M1s ($4,000/pr) in a modest system that had an Apple MacBook, Prism Lyra 1 DAC ($2250), and a Red Dragon S500 ($1995), with some GIK room treatments. The system was open, clear, had great bass (I'm starting to dig how OB bass sounds), and big dynamic swings. The stage with the short speakers was just fine for James Taylor, appearing at normal height, but an Orchestra had me looking down in an unfamiliar way, not bad just different. The speakers gave a big stage and no sounds stuck to them. The Holograms don't use DSP as Clayton worked with the speaker manufacturer to design drivers with characteristics perfectly suited to the application. Ryan Tew of Red Dragon tells me he switched from ICE to Pascal power modules to get even better depth of stage, smoother top end, generally easier listening, and more load independent of weird speaker impedance curves. The stereo amp is rated 250 Wpc @ 8 Ohms, and can be bridged for double that, need more power just buy a second amp and run them bridged, great idea Ryan. To make the amp truly universal, the improved switching power supply will run on any country's grid without any changes or switches, nice engineering. A great sounding room and a superb value to boot!
Clayton has brought his OB expertise to an even lower price point enabling more music lovers to enjoy the OB experience, thanks Clayton.

gnostalgick

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #37 on: 27 Jan 2016, 02:50 pm »
   This really seems like a speaker I need to hear.  Has anyone compared the new M25 compression driver on the M3 Turbo S to the basic version or the M1?
  Also, how sensitive are OB speakers to things like dust & pet hair?  (This is the first thing my GF asked about when I showed her the picture!)
  Thanks.


genjamon

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #38 on: 27 Jan 2016, 05:06 pm »
Fair enough.  I'm surprised that I haven't read more about them here considering their dollar/performance.

I think Clayton was having a hard time attracting an audience at the M1/M2 price points.  So he redesigned the cabinet to reach a cheaper price point for the M3/M4 and it appears he has widened the appeal.  A lot of audiophiles can probably afford to experiment with $1-2K, if there's a decent moneyback return policy.  But harder to part with $4K+, even if just temporarily.  And at those prices, there's a lot of very high performing speakers you can get used as well. 

I ultimately snagged some Daedalus DA-RMa's for just over $5K that are a quantum leap forward in refinement over the M1.  Not knocking the M1's performance, as the equivalent current model of Daedalus is well over $10K new I think.  It's just that I respectfully disagree that the Hologram series are world-beaters.  They're very solid audiophile quality performance, will work well acoustically in a wide range of rooms, well-designed, with good voicing too, and will easily offer long-term listening pleasure.  However, they are not the last word in detail or refinement, IMO. 

schw06

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #39 on: 27 Jan 2016, 06:27 pm »
I think Clayton was having a hard time attracting an audience at the M1/M2 price points.  So he redesigned the cabinet to reach a cheaper price point for the M3/M4 and it appears he has widened the appeal.  A lot of audiophiles can probably afford to experiment with $1-2K, if there's a decent moneyback return policy.  But harder to part with $4K+, even if just temporarily.  And at those prices, there's a lot of very high performing speakers you can get used as well. 

I ultimately snagged some Daedalus DA-RMa's for just over $5K that are a quantum leap forward in refinement over the M1.  Not knocking the M1's performance, as the equivalent current model of Daedalus is well over $10K new I think.  It's just that I respectfully disagree that the Hologram series are world-beaters.  They're very solid audiophile quality performance, will work well acoustically in a wide range of rooms, well-designed, with good voicing too, and will easily offer long-term listening pleasure.  However, they are not the last word in detail or refinement, IMO.
I could be wrong but my understanding is that the cabinet was redesigned to elevate the soundstage and allow easier shipping through Fedex/UPS etc... The cost savings were achieved through eliminating the 40% dealer markup, streamlining a process that allows volume building, and selling them directly rather than cutting corners in parts or build quality. Hopefully Clayton will weigh in on this. In my room the speakers sound remarkably refined and have excellent and natural detail retrieval (Not false detail like some drivers deliver). This scenario is what makes the hobby such a quagmire. I'm sure in your room with your setup and upstream components, your description matches your experience. My experience is quite different.
   The silver lining in the cloud is that if your curiosity is piqued you have a money back guarantee and you can decide for yourself whether your experience more closely mirrors Genjamon's or mine.
David