How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3

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russellreich

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How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« on: 22 Aug 2022, 12:12 pm »
Progress marches on and so does envy.

As a happy X5 owner, I’ve been watching the X4 introduction and discussions closely. I infer that it’s likely the X4 sounds very similar to the X5s but also likely a bit better. The X4 is, after all, the speaker Spatial is taking to shows these days to spread awareness and demonstrate the superiority of open baffle designs.

If the X4s indeed sound better, it must be due to:

• Different drivers
• Rounded baffle edges
• Simplicity by eliminating the built-in bass amplifier
• Refined crossover design and components

That’s okay: Spatial should be progressing, pushing improvements and refining ideas—it’s how we got all these great products to begin with: experimenting, refining, trying new things, hearing what works, and delivering products with added benefits.

But there’s always that FOMO, the desire to have the best, an impulse running up against the wallet and the neurosis and inconvenience of upgrading.

Can X3 and X5 owners get some of the benefits of the X4 without another round of out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new?

Well, rounding the baffle edges seems excessive and impractical (but in I’m very curious about the impact on sound), as does changing drivers when the ones used were selected for each respective application/configuration. And bypassing the n-core amp would be dumb; it’s what makes the X5/X3 the X5/X3.

That leaves one more option: a newly developed and refined outboard crossover with superior parts and sound. This could be something Spatial develops and sells, or perhaps some talented and entrepreneurial soul takes it on. I believe the wires to bypass the current internal crossover and connect the new one are easily acccessible.

Discuss. Good idea? Financially viable? What refinements would you suggest? What problems or considerations have I missed?


mrotino332

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #1 on: 22 Aug 2022, 01:18 pm »
I have the X5s as well.  I recently chatted with Clayton and asked a similar question and he basically said both the X5 and X4 sound virtually the same and when Ron at New Record Day listened to both back to back he concurred.  So I don't believe trying to change/modify the X3/X5 would be of much benefit.  I do have the slightly older version of the X5s with the Clarity Caps crossover in the tweeter and the newer X5s using the Odam caps.  Clayton did say the Odam caps are a little better and that would probably be a worthwhile update but nothing that significant but they do have a very long break in period.  I'm sure you could add an external crossover with premium parts like Tyson did and he did say the sound improved compared to the stock X5 crossover.  But I'm sure that could also be done as well to the stock X4 crossover if you wanted to chase even slightly better sound with premium parts.
In my situation I still would prefer the X5 as it is higher sensitivity as my amps are lower powered and I like the fact that I can adjust the bass depending on my preference and location of the speakers. 

russellreich

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #2 on: 22 Aug 2022, 01:23 pm »
Great post, M. Thank you; I'll look into what Tyson did.

Also want to point out that this outboard x-over idea is not mine--it's Clayton's. He was mulling it a couple of years ago and I'm sure other priorities took precedence but it's a nice possibility to look forward to ... better sound from an already outperforming product for a reasonable cost without having to swap for new.

Mr. Big

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #3 on: 22 Aug 2022, 01:45 pm »
Progress marches on and so does envy.

As a happy X5 owner, I’ve been watching the X4 introduction and discussions closely. I infer that it’s likely the X4 sounds very similar to the X5s but also likely a bit better. The X4 is, after all, the speaker Spatial is taking to shows these days to spread awareness and demonstrate the superiority of open baffle designs.

If the X4s indeed sound better, it must be due to:

• Different drivers
• Rounded baffle edges
• Simplicity by eliminating the built-in bass amplifier
• Refined crossover design and components

That’s okay: Spatial should be progressing, pushing improvements and refining ideas—it’s how we got all these great products to begin with: experimenting, refining, trying new things, hearing what works, and delivering products with added benefits.

But there’s always that FOMO, the desire to have the best, an impulse running up against the wallet and the neurosis and inconvenience of upgrading.

Can X3 and X5 owners get some of the benefits of the X4 without another round of out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new?

Well, rounding the baffle edges seems excessive and impractical (but in I’m very curious about the impact on sound), as does changing drivers when the ones used were selected for each respective application/configuration. And bypassing the n-core amp would be dumb; it’s what makes the X5/X3 the X5/X3.

That leaves one more option: a newly developed and refined outboard crossover with superior parts and sound. This could be something Spatial develops and sells, or perhaps some talented and entrepreneurial soul takes it on. I believe the wires to bypass the current internal crossover and connect the new one are easily accessible.

Discuss. Good idea? Financially viable? What refinements would you suggest? What problems or considerations have I missed?

The one thing that the passive X4 would do is allow your amp to give its sonic signature from top to bottom which would be my preference were I to choose one of the X series today. I would guess we could order a new crossover from Spatial and replace the one that cam with our speakers, at least my Sapphires M3's I could do I know because that is detachable from the speakers, so I would guess one could send their original one in or just reorder a new crossover with the updated parts and attach them back on the speakers, that be a good move for spatial to offer that option.

RonN5

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #4 on: 22 Aug 2022, 01:58 pm »
If you have a really good subwoofer and you've ever shut off your mains and then set the crossover on the sub at 30hz and started dialing up....you don't really get much "tone" before 60hz...and even then, not much.  Below 60hz is just grunts, groans, booms and other sounds that fill in the low end impact.

So, how much of a tone change would one get switching from the 5s to the 4s when we are possibly only talking about the 60-90 hz region.  I'm not saying its not nothing but I suspect that the influence of the room, position and listening position are far greater than this limited region.

Too bad a bunch of people don't have both that could chime in.

mrotino332

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #5 on: 22 Aug 2022, 03:41 pm »
Also the X5 amp is influenced greatly by the external amplifier driving it.  The X5 amp is connected via speaker level inputs which in turn takes the bass signal from the main amplifier and amplifies it.  So basically if you feed the X5 amp a loose bass signature it should mimic that fairly well and if you feed it a tight bass signature it should mimic that also.
This is the same philosophy that Rel subwoofers believe in that they recommend the Rel subwoofer to be hooked up via speaker level inputs rather than line level inputs so that way the Rel bass signature derives more so from the main amplifier driving it which helps better integrate the Rel subwoofer with the main speakers bass signature.  I did previously used two Rel subwoofers in my previous speaker setup and did prefer the speaker level inputs instead of the line level for that reason.

But the X5 amp does have DSP EQ which Clayton employs so that does influence the bass signature as well in the X5 however whatever EQ he has employed sounds very good to me.

newzooreview

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #6 on: 22 Aug 2022, 04:49 pm »
"…said both the X5 and X4 sound virtually the same and when Ron at New Record Day listened to both back to back he concurred."

In the X4 first impressions video, New Record Day said

"I have never been a fan of air-motion tweeters. While there have been some exceptions, it seems to me that they have a tendency to call attention to themselves. With the X4s, this was indeed the first thing that I was preparing myself to be disappointed about, and when that never happened I knew we had a speaker here that needed to be chatted about across the entire spectrum."

Well, it was given a caveat as a "first impressions" video, and the amps he was using with the X4s was a pair of monoblocks that he did not have when he reviewed the Sapphires. He gave the impression that he had not, in prep for the video, yet made direct comparison between the Sapphires and X4s.

I also understood a tweak had been made to the crossover in the X4s compared to earlier X3s and X5s that improved the coherence/integration of the AMT with the two 12" drivers. I cannot recall where I gathered that information. NRD did post a screen note in the video saying "*They are also more cohesive than the Sapphires."

So, it all seems pretty murky in the absence of direct listening comparisons.

glynnw

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #7 on: 22 Aug 2022, 05:37 pm »
I have had my X5s for a year or so after living with M3 Turbos for a while.  One of my considerations in choosing the model was efficiency - the X series can be operated with small SE tube amps more effectively than the M series.  My 10 watt LTA amp sounds great on the X5s and plays LOUD when required - Iggy Pop comes across.

Bingenito

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #8 on: 23 Aug 2022, 01:13 am »
Ah screw it bring on the X10 already and let’s do this for real  :lol:

Tyson

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #9 on: 23 Aug 2022, 01:18 am »
Ah screw it bring on the X10 already and let’s do this for real  :lol:

X10 will be a fully OB floor to ceiling line array.  Haha, I wish :P

newzooreview

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #10 on: 23 Aug 2022, 01:54 am »
I'm waiting on the carrier-class X100s that Clayton has been working on. The soundstage is finally what it needs to be. A DSD 1024 recording of the space shuttle launching, re-mastered from the original analogue tapes, sounds like you are right there 100 yards from the launch pad.




Bingenito

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #11 on: 23 Aug 2022, 11:13 am »
DSD remaster  :lol: too soon Newzooreview!

geerock

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #12 on: 23 Aug 2022, 08:30 pm »
Russellreich
To bypass the older style Clarity Cap is very easy.  You basically have to disconnect one wire from the rear of the Bema tweeter.  Run a new line from that terminal down to the speaker terminals along the back of the baffle and put the cap of your choice (with the same value) in that line and you are done.  I swapped out for the ODAM  caps a couple years ago and it was a nice change after they broke in.  Nothing wildly dramatic but a nice change.  I can give more exact instructions on polarity and direction of caps if you want to do it.

Bubba12

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #13 on: 24 Aug 2022, 03:08 pm »
I have recently become intrigued by the idea of open baffle. What are the pros and cons? What would the fans say? what would the naysayers say? Thanks guys.

newzooreview

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #14 on: 24 Aug 2022, 03:20 pm »
Quote
I have recently become intrigued by the idea of open baffle. What are the pros and cons? What would the fans say? what would the naysayers say? Thanks guys.

Since this discussion is focused on one manufacturer and three speaker models, a new thread might be warranted for the topic.

Clayton has discussed the advantages of open baffle speakers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYaYCgwmHi8


Mr. Big

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #15 on: 24 Aug 2022, 11:30 pm »
I have recently become intrigued by the idea of open baffle. What are the pros and cons? What would the fans say? what would the naysayers say? Thanks guys.

Bubba, you have so much information of this site from real owners. So click away.

Bingenito

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #16 on: 25 Aug 2022, 12:04 pm »
Bubba12

Simple answer on open baffle is
1- real accurate tuneful bass
2- no box resonance
3- more open airy sound but not overly diffused like some planers where imaging suffers

DBT AUDIO

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #17 on: 27 Aug 2022, 02:31 am »
Bubba12

Simple answer on open baffle is
1- real accurate tuneful bass
2- no box resonance
3- more open airy sound but not overly diffused like some planers where imaging suffers
Benginto, have you heard the X5s compared to your X4s?  I have the X5s and as much as I like them, I really prefer a fully passive speaker.  I wish the X series had a 15” passive bass woofer offering, but they don’t..:duh: I heard the M3s which has the 15” passive bass woofer and that’s the bass I’m looking for in my X5s.  Just curious how the X4s bass compares to the X5s, given they both have a 12” woofer, passive vs. active?  I have a Luxman L509x integrated amp, so I have the juice to power a fully passive speaker.

Bingenito

Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #18 on: 28 Aug 2022, 12:09 pm »
Quote
Benginto, have you heard the X5s compared to your X4s? 

No I live in the audiophile wasteland called Charlotte NC. Unless I have owned it I have not heard it but wish that was not the case. The "dealers" around here try to demo $20k+ speakers with sonos being streamed via chrome cast in rooms that are not properly setup. There is 1 exception but by appt only.

What was different about the X5 bass and M3? Seems like there is the potential for many variables, just a few listed below
1- Room
2- Speaker position in the room
3- Amplification
4- Material difference in displacement with 2-15" drivers


DBT AUDIO

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Re: How to get X4 benefits with X5/X3
« Reply #19 on: 29 Aug 2022, 01:10 am »
No I live in the audiophile wasteland called Charlotte NC. Unless I have owned it I have not heard it but wish that was not the case. The "dealers" around here try to demo $20k+ speakers with sonos being streamed via chrome cast in rooms that are not properly setup. There is 1 exception but by appt only.

What was different about the X5 bass and M3? Seems like there is the potential for many variables, just a few listed below
1- Room
2- Speaker position in the room
3- Amplification
4- Material difference in displacement with 2-15" drivers
LOL, concerning the audiophile wasteland.  That may be a good thing to help refrain from going insane with constant upgrades!

"What was different about the X5 bass and M3?"  The M3's bass is fuller and weightier compared to my X5s.  PERIOD....  I was advised that the M3 Sapphire had more bass than any of the current Spatial Audio offerings.  You hit the nail on the head concerning the 15" midrange driver added to the equation. 

"Seems like there is the potential for many variables, just a few listed below"
1- Room - M3s were located in a hifi shop with a small, rectangular, living rm. like in a row house with a couple of acoustic panels behind them, no real treatments vs. my 17'x18' room with front wall fully treated with diffusion/absorption and bass traps.
2- Speaker position in the room - M3s over 3' from front wall on the long wall vs. my X5s at least 3' from front wall.
3- Amplification - M3s powered by 20 watt LTA Ultralinear+ amp vs. my X5s powered by Luxman L-509x.

I might would settle for the X4s and add a subwoofer vs. adding a subwoofer to my X5s that already have built in subwoofers.