Spatial Audio M3 Review

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ricardojoa

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #40 on: 27 Jan 2016, 06:51 pm »
These speakers are getting some rave!
I'm considering the M3 turbo S and the M2 turbo. There is 500 difference but what I'm more interested to is how they duffer in terms of sonic wise.
Any inputs on these two models?

genjamon

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #41 on: 27 Jan 2016, 07:18 pm »
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

David, I think you're reading too much into my comments.  I wasn't trying to knock the M1's performance or disagree with your assessment of the M1/M3 value proposition.  In fact, I specifically said that.  I would not have kept the M1 for six months, beyond the return policy grace period, if I didn't find the performance to be of compellingly high quality.  I was blown away by hearing them at RMAF - nothing else in that price range offered that kind of audio quality.  Except for the Ryan audio speakers at around $5K I think - but they're much much less efficient and won't work well with lower power tubes, so they weren't in consideration for me.  And hearing Mick's M2's in my system totally sealed the deal.  Really amazing sound quality for the price.  So, I ordered them.  And really enjoyed them while I had them.

But I am also saying that there are other levels of refinement.  You tend to have to spend lots and lots of money for that level of refinement.  That doesn't mean that all expensive speakers will outperform the M1234.  I know from experience that they can outperform much more expensive speakers.  But there are some speakers out there that are just going to go places the M1234 don't go.  That's not meant to embarrass them in any way, as like I've said above, they're exceptional speakers and punch way above their weight class in terms of price/performance.

I'd add on the other side of the equation, I also own Tekton Lores - well known among those looking for high quality full-range performance on a budget.  Also considered giant slayers by some.  I have rebuilt their crossovers and internal wiring with high quality stuff.  I have nearly $2K in those speakers at this point.  But the M1/M2 turbos in my system completely slay the Lores.  More natural sound by far, and a soundstage depth that the Lore could only dream of.  They are high quality speakers, indeed.

schw06

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #42 on: 27 Jan 2016, 08:26 pm »
David, I think you're reading too much into my comments. 

But I am also saying that there are other levels of refinement. 


Genjamon,
   I definitely could be reading too much into your comments and I certainly meant no disrespect and apologize if it came off that way. I'm glad you found happiness with the Daedalus speakers.
   That being said, it's always important to understand the background of where someone is coming from with their comments so I will spill the beans about how I feel in general and then more specifically about the Spatials (in case anyone cares). Over the last decade I have gotten swept away in the hobby in search of the "best" audio system I could cobble together. I spent an outrageous number of hours reading product reviews as if they were gospel and wasted tens of thousands of dollars to get a "better" system. I often found the more money I spent, the more critical I became of my system and rather than being engaged in the musical experience and listening to the music I loved, I was hopelessly lost playing audiophile recordings as a way to test the fidelity of my playback system ( You know what I mean if you've ever said "have you ever heard a glockenspiel sound so real before?"). The truth, for me (don't flame me), is that the majority of this hobby is "The Emperor's New Clothes", particularly realized after attending Axpona and RMAF.  The countless hours spent searching out "better" components  is usually more brownian motion(I have to give credit to Andrew Gear for that reference) than real progress toward a satisfying listening experience. There are words bantered around like refined, transparent, detailed, state of the art etc... that objectively may be true when comparing 2 components side by side, but that may have absolutely no correlation with the enjoyment of the musical experience. So, I've continued to "cash out" of the hobby looking for well designed products that offer "IT". To me "IT" is an experience that connects me to the music/experience/meaning and helps turn off the analytical part of my brain and almost forces me to look for more music rather than more audio equipment. So what makes a component have "IT"?...I have no idea. I can clearly articulate all of the common audiophile terms that describe a component but "IT" seems to me to be ephemeral and indescribable yet some components seem to have it and others don't. Maybe my engineer friends (Jason and Tom) can quantify it but for me there isn't a term to describe it.
   To get to the point about the Spatials, they have scratched an itch for me I wasn't sure would ever be scratched and they do it at a price that is accessible to almost all in this hobby. I did give my impressions about all the audiophile terms in my original review and I'm certain you could bring speakers in next to them and objectively say speaker A is more transparent than B or speaker A is more detailed than speaker B. But if you strip away the adjectives, the point of the hobby is to serve the music in a fashion that helps connect with the experience. For me, I'm either switched in and lost in the experience, or I'm on the outside looking in wishing I could get lost in the experience and trying to figure out how to achieve that(Do I just need the new power cord, or Mk II version amp etc...). For me the Spatials have me switched in. It's a unique experience that escapes almost all speakers I've owned and heard irrespective of price. All I want to be is in the experience rather than outside looking in. I would rather do that for $2,700 than $27,000 and I will say that if I spent $27,000 instead, I highly doubt I would be more engaged in the experience. That is the reason for my review. Please remember these are just my proclivities and opinions. They aren't facts but hopefully give you context for my priorities and preferences. If yours differ, no need to consider the Spatials. Sorry for the verbal barrage.
David
Disclaimer- If you think you can just plop the Spatials down, hook up your receiver, and be blown away you are mistaken. They take the same amount of care with room setup as every other speaker I've owned. They definitely benefit if you have placement flexibility (like most speakers).

genjamon

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #43 on: 27 Jan 2016, 09:18 pm »
Genjamon,
   I definitely could be reading too much into your comments and I certainly meant no disrespect and apologize if it came off that way. I'm glad you found happiness with the Daedalus speakers.
   That being said, it's always important to understand the background of where someone is coming from with their comments so I will spill the beans about how I feel in general and then more specifically about the Spatials (in case anyone cares). Over the last decade I have gotten swept away in the hobby in search of the "best" audio system I could cobble together. I spent an outrageous number of hours reading product reviews as if they were gospel and wasted tens of thousands of dollars to get a "better" system. I often found the more money I spent, the more critical I became of my system and rather than being engaged in the musical experience and listening to the music I loved, I was hopelessly lost playing audiophile recordings as a way to test the fidelity of my playback system ( You know what I mean if you've ever said "have you ever heard a glockenspiel sound so real before?"). The truth, for me (don't flame me), is that the majority of this hobby is "The Emperor's New Clothes", particularly realized after attending Axpona and RMAF.  The countless hours spent searching out "better" components  is usually more brownian motion(I have to give credit to Andrew Gear for that reference) than real progress toward a satisfying listening experience. There are words bantered around like refined, transparent, detailed, state of the art etc... that objectively may be true when comparing 2 components side by side, but that may have absolutely no correlation with the enjoyment of the musical experience. So, I've continued to "cash out" of the hobby looking for well designed products that offer "IT". To me "IT" is an experience that connects me to the music/experience/meaning and helps turn off the analytical part of my brain and almost forces me to look for more music rather than more audio equipment. So what makes a component have "IT"?...I have no idea. I can clearly articulate all of the common audiophile terms that describe a component but "IT" seems to me to be ephemeral and indescribable yet some components seem to have it and others don't. Maybe my engineer friends (Jason and Tom) can quantify it but for me there isn't a term to describe it.
   To get to the point about the Spatials, they have scratched an itch for me I wasn't sure would ever be scratched and they do it at a price that is accessible to almost all in this hobby. I did give my impressions about all the audiophile terms in my original review and I'm certain you could bring speakers in next to them and objectively say speaker A is more transparent than B or speaker A is more detailed than speaker B. But if you strip away the adjectives, the point of the hobby is to serve the music in a fashion that helps connect with the experience. For me, I'm either switched in and lost in the experience, or I'm on the outside looking in wishing I could get lost in the experience and trying to figure out how to achieve that(Do I just need the new power cord, or Mk II version amp etc...). For me the Spatials have me switched in. It's a unique experience that escapes almost all speakers I've owned and heard irrespective of price. All I want to be is in the experience rather than outside looking in. I would rather do that for $2,700 than $27,000 and I will say that if I spent $27,000 instead, I highly doubt I would be more engaged in the experience. That is the reason for my review. Please remember these are just my proclivities and opinions. They aren't facts but hopefully give you context for my priorities and preferences. If yours differ, no need to consider the Spatials. Sorry for the verbal barrage.
David
Disclaimer- If you think you can just plop the Spatials down, hook up your receiver, and be blown away you are mistaken. They take the same amount of care with room setup as every other speaker I've owned. They definitely benefit if you have placement flexibility (like most speakers).

Thanks for sharing all this, David.  I totally understand where you're coming from with the "IT" factor.  And I agree the Spatials have "IT".  And if they can get you off the merry-go-round, that's what I meant by them being capable of long-term enjoyment.  So many of our system changes are initially engaging, just because they do something different or new, but then you get used to the sound and are just looking for the next new thing.  Or the newness is exciting early on, and then tiring after a time.  It can be maddening for sure.  And the more "refined" a system becomes, the more finicky it becomes to get that "IT" factor just right. 

But it's all a journey, and it sounds like you've been through your fair share of the journey.  And it also sounds like that journey has taught you invaluable, and sometimes costly, lessons about what you like and don't like.  Helping you to know that these Spatials are doing "IT" right for you.  I'm very happy for you.

For me, there was still a bit of an itch there that the Spatials couldn't quite scratch.  I kept tinkering around with the system in ways to try and get things just right for that IT, and getting pretty close, but not quite.  And that led me to try the Daedalus, which have definitely scratched that itch.  But I was really lucky to get this rare pair at a used price I could afford.  Not a solution for everyone, and still at a very different price point than these new M3/4 offerings.  At these prices, the M3/4 are stone cold bargains, and I hope they do end many people's searches for "IT".

I am pretty curious what the new compression driver would sound like compared to the original in my M1's...

Regards,
Ben

TomS

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #44 on: 28 Jan 2016, 12:57 am »
...
 So what makes a component have "IT"?...I have no idea. I can clearly articulate all of the common audiophile terms that describe a component but "IT" seems to me to be ephemeral and indescribable yet some components seem to have it and others don't. Maybe my engineer friends (Jason and Tom) can quantify it but for me there isn't a term to describe it.
First of all great series of posts and pleasantly civil.

I totally get "IT" but sadly can't explain it either. What came to mind is how I could walk into Klaus's Odyssey room at any show and get "IT". I've owned pieces of his gear and while they don't measure the absolute best and they can side by side be bettered by numerous others, taken as a whole his systems are off the hook enjoyable. There is no urge to pick them apart in an audiophile sport sort of way, though you probably could. Anyone who has heard this knows of what I speak. Meticulous attention to setup and synergy yes, but there is some other mystery at play there.

We both have Vinnie Rossie's LIO and the same can be said for its component parts. Side by side are there better DACs, preamps, power amps, etc? Absolutely yes, but taken as a whole it comes across as completely and thoroughly enjoyable. I don't find myself yearning for more.

I owned some of Clayton's first EP CS2's. Out of the box they were simply fun. They were right next to a beautiful pair of beloved Merlins, all buttoned down, and ultra refined, but ultimately I listened to the CS2's more. It wasn't until I started tweaking them to the 9's that I went down that slippery slope of critical audiophiledom and the fun quickly vanished.

I'm glad to hear the Spatials somehow get you there too and knowing Clayton's work as I do it's no surprise.

All that said, I'm sorry I'm not of much help to 'splain it but I'm sort of in my happy place too ;-)

schw06

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #45 on: 28 Jan 2016, 01:43 am »
First of all great series of posts and pleasantly civil.

I totally get "IT" but sadly can't explain it either. What came to mind is how I could walk into Klaus's Odyssey room at any show and get "IT". I've owned pieces of his gear and while they don't measure the absolute best and they can side by side be bettered by numerous others, taken as a whole his systems are off the hook enjoyable. There is no urge to pick them apart in an audiophile sport sort of way, though you probably could. Anyone who has heard this knows of what I speak. Meticulous attention to setup and synergy yes, but there is some other mystery at play there.

We both have Vinnie Rossie's LIO and the same can be said for its component parts. Side by side are there better DACs, preamps, power amps, etc? Absolutely yes, but taken as a whole it comes across as completely and thoroughly enjoyable. I don't find myself yearning for more.

I owned some of Clayton's first EP CS2's. Out of the box they were simply fun. They were right next to a beautiful pair of beloved Merlins, all buttoned down, and ultra refined, but ultimately I listened to the CS2's more. It wasn't until I started tweaking them to the 9's that I went down that slippery slope of critical audiophiledom and the fun quickly vanished.

I'm glad to hear the Spatials somehow get you there too and knowing Clayton's work as I do it's no surprise.

All that said, I'm sorry I'm not of much help to 'splain it but I'm sort of in my happy place too ;-)
Tom,
   Thanks for weighing in. Your comments about the LIO are spot on and if I did an A/B comparison to other premps/dacs/phono preamps I might say that there are components that objectively do things "better" but what Vinnie Rossi gets out of that little black box has that "IT" that I'm looking for. I also agree about Odyssey and in fact run the LIO into a pair of Kismet monoblocks into the Spatials and they all play very well together.
David

genjamon

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #46 on: 28 Jan 2016, 01:52 am »
Tom,
   Thanks for weighing in. Your comments about the LIO are spot on and if I did an A/B comparison to other premps/dacs/phono preamps I might say that there are components that objectively do things "better" but what Vinnie Rossi gets out of that little black box has that "IT" that I'm looking for. I also agree about Odyssey and in fact run the LIO into a pair of Kismet monoblocks into the Spatials and they all play very well together.
David

The LIO connection is interesting and relevant to my situation as well. I actually had a fully decked out LIO on order and being built when the Daedalus arrived. Because of that expense, something had to give, and I couldn't afford to keep the M1's around to listen with the LIO, though I really really wanted to. I ultimately significantly preferred my tube separates to the LIO package in terms of synergy with the Daedalus. However, for the itch I was trying to scratch with the M1's, having spent a month with the LIO and comparing side by side with all my tube gear that I had been using with the M1's, I can easily and intuitively understand that the LIO would have good synergy with the Spatials. At least with the M1's and M3's.

My impressions of the LIO was that it was exceptionally clean, but emphasized leading edge and transients much more than my tube gear. And I would at times feel like the M1 was too thick of a sound, not hearing deep enough into the presentation. I think LIO would have woken those M1's up a bit, and maybe just enough for me to find "IT".

Who knows, it was a fork in the road for me, and I chose the one path. These things happen. I'm happy where I've ended up, but it's possible I would have fallen in love with the LIO/Spatial combo as you guys have.

schw06

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #47 on: 28 Jan 2016, 02:11 am »
The LIO connection is interesting and relevant to my situation as well. I actually had a fully decked out LIO on order and being built when the Daedalus arrived. Because of that expense, something had to give, and I couldn't afford to keep the M1's around to listen with the LIO, though I really really wanted to. I ultimately significantly preferred my tube separates to the LIO package in terms of synergy with the Daedalus. However, for the itch I was trying to scratch with the M1's, having spent a month with the LIO and comparing side by side with all my tube gear that I had been using with the M1's, I can easily and intuitively understand that the LIO would have good synergy with the Spatials. At least with the M1's and M3's.

My impressions of the LIO was that it was exceptionally clean, but emphasized leading edge and transients much more than my tube gear. And I would at times feel like the M1 was too thick of a sound, not hearing deep enough into the presentation. I think LIO would have woken those M1's up a bit, and maybe just enough for me to find "IT".

Who knows, it was a fork in the road for me, and I chose the one path. These things happen. I'm happy where I've ended up, but it's possible I would have fallen in love with the LIO/Spatial combo as you guys have.
Ben,
   I totally get it. The synergy of setup and component matching is often mysterious and takes a little luck (skill doesn't hurt either). Glad you've built a system that makes you happy. Interestingly though your experience with the LIO being exceptionally clean and emphasizing leading edge and transients is very different from my take on the LIO in multiple setups and the Spatials sounding thick would not be how I hear them in my system. I have them 6 feet out into the room and over 11 feet apart on center and not sure how they were placed in your room but I wonder if differences in rooms and placement may account for some of those differences. It reminds me of reading Tyson and Pez's RMAF coverage. They would be in the same room sitting right next to each other and listening to the same music yet come up with completely different opinions on the rooms. It also points out that it's a system (including your room) and it all needs to play well in the sandbox together making all of the "What's the best ____?(fill in the blank) threads almost impossible to get helpful information. In fact this thread and my responses likely belong on that same junk heap.
David

genjamon

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #48 on: 28 Jan 2016, 02:32 am »
In fact this thread and my responses likely belong on that same junk heap.
David

On the contrary, David. I'm enjoying this interchange, and I don't think we have enough of these conversations on threads where we really grapple with the full complexity of the systems we're toying with. And I hope the richer discussion is helpful to others.

I had my Spatials in an 11' X 20' ft room, with a large 10 ft opening to the dining room sandwiched the the middle of the left wall. Picture windows on the right. An "Arizona Room" in AZ parlance. Not ideal acoustically, but workable. And better sound than you might expect. I do use some healthy amounts of acoustic treatments (though none really with the M1's).

The M1's were out about 4ft from the front wall, but only about 12" to the edges of the baffles from the side walls. And I sat in an equilateral triangle configuration to them, a near field orientation according to Clayton's user manual. And they were toed in to fire a few feet behind my head.

I played extensively with positioning for a while in the trial period, and this was as good as it got in my room.

I did have a chance to bring them over for a group session at another local friend's house, one of our local club mates. We swapped them in for a while that day. The room was much larger, probably 15' wide, and open to the rest of the house in a more open floor plan. We positioned them in more of a far-field setup that day. The sound was different, but not fundamentally different. I got better imaging in my home system from the sweet spot, but there was improved coherence and they disappeared better with the greater amount of space available in my friend's room. It would have been interesting to have time to really play with positioning there to see where they would have ended up.

genjamon

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #49 on: 28 Jan 2016, 02:37 am »
I'd also add that the "thickness" aspect is likely a product of the mid-bass in-room performance, which is highly dominated by room acoustics and speaker placement. It will be very different for different room sizes and arrangements. Even with open baffle.

schw06

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #50 on: 28 Jan 2016, 02:47 am »
I'd also add that the "thickness" aspect is likely a product of the mid-bass in-room performance, which is highly dominated by room acoustics and speaker placement. It will be very different for different room sizes and arrangements. Even with open baffle.
Totally agree

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #51 on: 29 Jan 2016, 11:01 pm »
I'm excited to say that I got this picture from Spatial today saying that my M3 Turbo S are being played now and will go through QC tomorrow for Monday shipping. 


 

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #52 on: 2 Feb 2016, 11:15 am »
I should have them Friday!

zybar

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #53 on: 2 Feb 2016, 12:58 pm »
I should have them Friday!

Looking forward to your thoughts.

I really enjoyed working with Clayton during his Emerald Physics days and I thought that he produced a heck of a product.

His Spatial offerings look like a significant step forward.

George

rollo

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #54 on: 2 Feb 2016, 03:32 pm »
I'm excited to say that I got this picture from Spatial today saying that my M3 Turbo S are being played now and will go through QC tomorrow for Monday shipping. 


 


    Enjoy Jason. Still have the Geddes set up ?


charles

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #55 on: 2 Feb 2016, 03:43 pm »
Still have the Geddes set up ?
charles
Yes. 

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #56 on: 5 Feb 2016, 12:55 pm »
Delivery today!

CharlieD

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Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #57 on: 5 Feb 2016, 10:23 pm »
I have had my M3 for almost 3 weeks now - playing them a lot and they just keep sounding better the longer they burn in.
Compared to my Spendors S5e's the sound-stage is way bigger, better front to back depth & equally as detailed  the bass detail slam kicks butt, my spendors  would not play very loud-
these sound great at both low & high volume... these are keepers.

jtwrace

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #58 on: 5 Feb 2016, 10:35 pm »
Playing


jimdgoulding

Re: Spatial Audio M3 Review
« Reply #59 on: 5 Feb 2016, 11:02 pm »
I stumbled on their excellent website around 6 months ago.  Should I get back into the market, these are at the top of my list for audition.  I might have to come see one of you guys what own a pair.