Reasons to go M3 vs X5?

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kayakerf

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Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« on: 10 Apr 2021, 01:50 am »
Hi - just discovered this forum and wondering if anyone else has recently gone through the thought process deciding between what seems to be two great speakers? I was originally consider a PAP Trio15 Horn but based on all the reviews and what I can gather, I'm leaning towards the Spatials... but which one?

I'll be driving with a Carver Crimson 275 tube and for the most part listen to male/female vocals/jazz, instrumentals (piano, strings), some pop/soft-rock, some classical.

Thanks!

musicdre

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #1 on: 10 Apr 2021, 02:17 pm »
part of the answer at least will depend on your listening room.   

geerock

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #2 on: 10 Apr 2021, 02:58 pm »
I have the X5's and used to drive them with an all in Don Sachs pre and the Carver 275.  Excellent combo.   A suggestion on the Carver..... swap out the stock JJ or EH signal tubes for some NOS tubes of your liking.  It takes the amp to another level.  The things that led me to the X5's was the killer dipole AMT driver, and the fact that you are actually bi-amping when you consider the bass is handled by it's own built in plate amp.

kayakerf

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #3 on: 10 Apr 2021, 06:03 pm »
I have the X5's and used to drive them with an all in Don Sachs pre and the Carver 275.  Excellent combo.   A suggestion on the Carver..... swap out the stock JJ or EH signal tubes for some NOS tubes of your liking.  It takes the amp to another level.  The things that led me to the X5's was the killer dipole AMT driver, and the fact that you are actually bi-amping when you consider the bass is handled by it's own built in plate amp.
thanks - I'm leaning towards the X5 but wanted to see if anyone else went through a similar decision process recently - I was originally looking for a horn based speaker, the X5's AMT is quite hornlike with it's waveguide. In general, I'm not a fan of most AMTs as I find them unnaturally bright. The Carver's ability to tweak the voicing with the bias in addition to input stage tube rolling is definitely a plus. Curious - what are you using for tubes?  I have a set of NOS Mullards that have replaced the stock TungSols.

kayakerf

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #4 on: 10 Apr 2021, 06:11 pm »
part of the answer at least will depend on your listening room.
As I've watched a few more of Clayton's interviews on YouTube, that's what I've concluded as well that it depends on the room. the space I'm targeting is a rather audio unfriendly open concept living/dining 24' x 18' area that has glass on the entire left wall and half the right wall. I don't intend it to be a dedicated audiophile-focused listening room but still want the best possible SQ/experience - which is what led me to OB speakers.  The PAP Trio Horn was the earlier consideration.

geerock

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #5 on: 10 Apr 2021, 09:09 pm »
thanks - I'm leaning towards the X5 but wanted to see if anyone else went through a similar decision process recently - I was originally looking for a horn based speaker, the X5's AMT is quite hornlike with it's waveguide. In general, I'm not a fan of most AMTs as I find them unnaturally bright. The Carver's ability to tweak the voicing with the bias in addition to input stage tube rolling is definitely a plus. Curious - what are you using for tubes?  I have a set of NOS Mullards that have replaced the stock TungSols.

I use Telefuncken ecc83's from the 60's.  A detailed and airy tube and I turn down the bias and get that great detail plus the soundstage is huge when I set at about 85 millivolts.  There are tons of NOS numbers that replace the 12ax7 number.  None of the new production tubes I've heard, and certainly not the stock ones that come with the Carver do it for me.
Substitutes: ECC83, 12AX7A, 12AX7WA, 7025, 5761,6057,6681,7494,7729, 7025#, ECC83#, 6L13, 12DF7, 12DT7, 5751, 7025A, B339, B759, CV4004, E83CC, ECC803, M8137.

The GE 5751 is a bargain basement musical giant!  And there is a Mullard cv4004 that is widely lauded as one of the most sought after replacement but the price......

Audiosaurusrex

Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #6 on: 10 Apr 2021, 10:00 pm »
part of the answer at least will depend on your listening room.
I agree with dre.
Clayton advised me based on my room dimensions which is a major factor when looking at the X series AMT’s or the M series dome tweeters. I believe that Clayton advises the M’s for a more confined listening area. The X’s probably need a little room to breathe.

morganc

Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #7 on: 10 Apr 2021, 11:57 pm »
I agree with dre.
Clayton advised me based on my room dimensions which is a major factor when looking at the X series AMT’s or the M series dome tweeters. I believe that Clayton advises the M’s for a more confined listening area. The X’s probably need a little room to breathe.

Yes, this. I’m almost near field for the X-5’s about 8 feet away.  They sound better in the kitchen at 12 -14 feet or so back.  They still are incredible at 8 feet, but less than ideal. 

Mr. Big

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #8 on: 11 Apr 2021, 03:12 am »
Yes, more of room size and which speaker will work best in your room. In my case, Clayton advised the M3's even though I was pushing X5's. He was right! So listen to the man who designs them. Wrong speaker in a given room is just a loss of enjoyment and money.

jjss49

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #9 on: 11 Apr 2021, 02:24 pm »
there may be some subtle dispersion pattern differences between the x5 and m3... but to me the major differentation factor between the two is the x series uses its own onboard amps to power the bass/subbass and thus your amp is only driving the midrange and treble ...

this is a major departure from the m3s as those two substantial 15 in drivers need to be driven (and controlled) by your amp, this most lower powered tube amps really can't do the job in a way that does justice to the speakers' main strength which is its enormously realistic deep and tuneful bass response...

so if you are a fan of uber-sweet flea-watt tube amps, one needs to know that m3s's basically rule them out for any normal sized room and listening set up

Don_S

Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #10 on: 11 Apr 2021, 04:09 pm »
there may be some subtle dispersion pattern differences between the x5 and m3... EDITED

I do not think the difference in dispersion patterns is subtle. Are any M3/5 owners using them in a severe toe-in position? Not me.

jjss49

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #11 on: 11 Apr 2021, 04:22 pm »
not saying the dispersion patterns on either speaker are subtle

saying the differences between them may be...

Don_S

Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #12 on: 11 Apr 2021, 04:32 pm »
not saying the dispersion patterns on either speaker are subtle

saying the differences between them may be...

Sorry, That is what I meant.  :oops: I will fix my post.

jjss49

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #13 on: 11 Apr 2021, 06:53 pm »
Maybe Clayton can comment... on how he typically thinks about and recommends the M3S vs the X5 -- as to how they would apply to various room situations?  Which better for bigger or smaller rooms, which may need more air/space/breathing room around them relative to room boundaries...front/side walls, 'harder' vs more damped rooms etc etc...   :)

Spatial Audio

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #14 on: 11 Apr 2021, 09:45 pm »
Maybe Clayton can comment... on how he typically thinks about and recommends the M3S vs the X5 -- as to how they would apply to various room situations?  Which better for bigger or smaller rooms, which may need more air/space/breathing room around them relative to room boundaries...front/side walls, 'harder' vs more damped rooms etc etc...   :)

Sure, I can lay out the general idea of how I point guys toward an M or X series application:

While there can be considerable overlap for both types to provide excellent sonic results, we see an issue develop as the distance from the speaker to the listener increases. Listening room acoustics vary, of course, but in a room with reasonable decay times, and where the listening distance is under say 12ft, the M3 Sapphire, with its wideband and wide dispersion mid/treble unit works great with a tolerably low level of room interference. But when the distance increases, the ratio between the direct field and the reflected field start becoming a problem - the room sound levels can become annoying and greatly diminish presence, imaging and clarity. Switching to a Controlled Directivity speaker design like the X5 or X3 helps to reduce the room sound level and therefore minimize these sonic problems. This is especially helpful in live rooms with longer decay times. You can test this yourself by standing between your speakers and slowly walking backward to the rear of the room. The detrimental effect is obvious and is usually much larger than the differences that upgrading components would make to the sound. So, it's best to contact me with room dimensions and a couple of pictures so that I can make an informed recommendation.

Clayton Shaw
Spatial Audio Lab




kayakerf

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #15 on: 11 Apr 2021, 09:51 pm »
Thanks Clayton. Will reach out when I'm ready.

jjss49

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #16 on: 12 Apr 2021, 03:59 pm »
Very helpful Clayton... lots of folks (like myself, as you know) have wondered about how to select between your M and X series...

Don_S

Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #17 on: 12 Apr 2021, 04:25 pm »
Clayton,

Thank you for the very clear and succinct explanation of the differences between the M-series and X-series.  :thumb:

sockpit

Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #18 on: 12 Apr 2021, 09:12 pm »
I would have liked to get the X5s, but since my room is tiny (11 by 14 by 8 ft.), Clayton recommended the M5s.

Even then, it has taken me 13 bass traps to calm the room down to the point that I'm hearing mostly the speakers and not LF modes and comb effects and other reflections.

Bass response is highly room dependent.  If you are sitting in a null spot, you're screwed.  So it's worth moving speakers and chair around.  I've recently added a REL T1 sub back in to my system to warm up the overall balance and provide foundation for the bass.  That may be heresy (slow bass?), but it sounds best to me.

Finally, the sweetest spot I've found for imaging, clarity and bass is just 5 feet max from the speakers. If I ever get a decent sized listening room this will all change, and I will look at the X series for sure!


mrotino332

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Re: Reasons to go M3 vs X5?
« Reply #19 on: 13 Apr 2021, 03:03 pm »
Clayton,

I have the X5s and sit between 10 and 11 feet away from them.  In my experiments in my room this is the ideal distance and I can sit 15 feet away as well.  8 to 10  feet was still very good but 10 feet was better..  I believe there is a misconception that the x5s need at least 15 feet to sound good and that it is advised on the internet if you can't sit close to that distance then the m series are recommended.  I do believe if you can't sit at least 9 feet away you'd probably recommend the m series.