X4 Initial Impressions

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 1544 times.

ekobi

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
X4 Initial Impressions
« on: 26 Jun 2022, 05:40 pm »
My X4s arrived unexpectedly a couple of days ago! Ordered on 4/28, so eight week of waiting, including shipping to east coast from SLC. Some notes and early impressions ...

  • Boxes were badly battered during transit. For a few heart-wrenching moments, I was convinced the speakers would surely have been damaged, and the only question was how badly. Remarkably, they were unscathed -- almost all of their weight is concentrated in the panels themselves, which were snugly packed on the opposite side of the box damage. Whew!
  • Immediately pressed them into service: Okto DAC --> Boulder L5AE preamp --> Boulder 102AE amp. 9-foot equilateral triangle speaker to speaker to listening chair. These AMTs are like honey butter -- sooooo sweet and smooth :>
  • In my excited rush to get going and listen, I initially forgot to install the spikes. Once I got past the initial euphoria and settled in to really listen, I found the imaging to be mediocre, and there was some serious upper bass resonance. I worried that I was going to need a bunch of room treatment.
  • My D'oh moment happened when a padded bundle labeled "Spikes" in big letters tumbled into sight when I was putting the boxes away. Five minutes later, spikes installed and resting on little dimpled discs, radical improvement. Image snapped into relief, and early indications of tighter bass. My room-treatment concerns are gone.

    I'm actually kind of glad made that mistake -- super illustrative. My son walked in just now and listened quizzically for a few moments before remarking, "the floor's not vibrating now." What he said.
  • I pulled the grilles off last night as well. The trick is to gently pinch the fabric towards the circular frame of the grille, and to pull firmly, carefully. I think it's a much better look! Even though the (previously-) concealed drivers are practically the same color, they break up the featureless expanse of black for the better. And this shows off the Ultralam grain really nicely. Anecdote: It was late at night when I decided to remove the grilles, so the music was playing very softly. The A/C happened to have been running when I went to remove the first pair, but it stopped right as the second one came off. You can imagine the superlatives that came to mind: "a veil around the music was removed!", "the softest notes suddenly leapt to the fore!", ... you get the picture. Now I can claim with a straight face that the speakers sounded radically better when I removed the speaker grilles.
Unfortunately, I'm going to be out of town for a week (in the Salt Lake City area, ironically) so I won't be able to do any listening. But so far I'm just delighted.








Early B.

Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #1 on: 27 Jun 2022, 03:49 am »
Awesome!

When you get back from SLC, move that sofa from in between the speakers so you can hear what those X4's truly sound like in your room.

Tyson

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 10027
  • Audio - It's all a big fake.
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #2 on: 27 Jun 2022, 03:30 pm »
The new drivers look downright mean! 

catluck

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 56
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jun 2022, 02:38 pm »
Ekobi,
Congrats. Hope those bad boys bring you much listening pleasure. But, I note the spikes and yet the SA website shows the X4's with what appear to be GAIA feet.  Am I wrong? Did you expect spikes or the GAIA's? Also, the base appears to mimic the M series rather than the X series. Again, am I wrong? Anyway, again, enjoy. Take care. Rob

Jpdoyle3

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #4 on: 28 Jun 2022, 04:49 pm »
The X4s have three feet vs the four for the X3 and X5, making the GAIAs a little wobbly on the X4. M series has the same outboard crossover, three feet design as the X4s.
I have the X5, the GAIAs were a nice subtle upgrade; creating more space, and definition in the lower midrange and bass.  I've used Herbies Audio Lab products to good effect in other applications; you may want to look at their cone/spike pucks.

newzooreview

Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #5 on: 28 Jun 2022, 05:01 pm »
The Herbies decoupling gliders work very well on my M3 Sapphires. I got the "giant" size made of titanium. I don't know what, if any, difference there would be with brass or stainless steel.

https://herbiesaudiolab.com/collections/loudspeaker-rack-decoupling-and-isolation/products/cone-spike-decoupling-glider?variant=12645103566903

ekobi

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #6 on: 28 Jun 2022, 06:34 pm »
The Herbies decoupling gliders work very well on my M3 Sapphires. I got the "giant" size made of titanium. I don't know what, if any, difference there would be with brass or stainless steel.

https://herbiesaudiolab.com/collections/loudspeaker-rack-decoupling-and-isolation/products/cone-spike-decoupling-glider?variant=12645103566903

Set of Herbie's gliders ordered! Thanks for the tip.

ekobi

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #7 on: 28 Jun 2022, 06:41 pm »
Awesome!

When you get back from SLC, move that sofa from in between the speakers so you can hear what those X4's truly sound like in your room.

Yeah, definitely an unconventional confiiguration here, and a product of compromise. I certainly will be experimenting with different setups, but this one has worked surprisingly well to date. Having said that, we'll be moving at the end of the summer, and knowing that makes it hard to justify futzing with placement and treatment. (Okay, who am I kidding, of course I'll be futzing with placement and room treatment :)

DaveWin88

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 53
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #8 on: 29 Jun 2022, 01:08 am »
The Herbies decoupling gliders work very well on my M3 Sapphires. I got the "giant" size made of titanium. I don't know what, if any, difference there would be with brass or stainless steel.

https://herbiesaudiolab.com/collections/loudspeaker-rack-decoupling-and-isolation/products/cone-spike-decoupling-glider?variant=12645103566903

Thank you for the recommendation. Been wanting to get some isolation for the rig. Just ordered a set for the M6's

catluck

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 56
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #9 on: 29 Jun 2022, 02:06 pm »
Ekobi,
When you order the Herbies gliders consider the white elastic washers to fit in-between the cone sections of the spikes. As well, you might consider the washers to go between the securing bolts between the speaker chassis and the base.  Call me crazy (that's totally OK) but when I inserted the elastic washers in that fashion, well, I'm afraid to say that the presentation seemed less "hard" and more liquidy.  I know - I'm probably nuts, or its the placebo effect or I'm nuts.  But they're cheap so, hell, why not give'em a try? Good luck.

ekobi

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #10 on: 6 Jul 2022, 03:25 am »
A few more impressions now that I've logged some listening over the long weekend ...

  • Switched out the L5AE pre-amp with LTA MZ2. Had been worried about driving long cable run to the amp single-ended. Not hearing any issues, and it's sure nice to have a remote controlled volume! Too early to say definitively, but this seems to be a better pairing -- I got sucked in to the music right away with the MZ2. The Boulder is pretty ruthless, and it's laying bare just how dry the Okto DAC-8 is. The LTA adds a nice touch of warmth to the midrange.
  • @newzooreview, I installed a set of regular, brass Herbie's Gliders today -- thanks for the tip. They add another step improvement in bass resonance control. Good enough to not bother with bass traps before I move. Also, rock solid image now, extending slightly deeper past plane of speakers. And the image is much more resilient against intermittent background drone of A/C fan and compressor (summer in DC -- what can I say?).
  • Rosa Brunello’s Desert Moon Stomp, off the Sounds of Freedom album (featuring Yaz Ahmed and others) is deeply satisfying. Drums and percussion in Sacred Cows of Mafia from same album are riveting. I need to A/B the Boulder and LTA pre-amps with this album!

It will  be interesting to revisit some of this tweaking after a few more weeks of burn-in. Hard to know exactly how much of the steady improvements I'm hearing are due to the drivers settling in.

Mr. Big

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 332
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #11 on: 6 Jul 2022, 02:01 pm »
A few more impressions now that I've logged some listening over the long weekend ...

  • Switched out the L5AE pre-amp with LTA MZ2. Had been worried about driving long cable run to the amp single-ended. Not hearing any issues, and it's sure nice to have a remote controlled volume! Too early to say definitively, but this seems to be a better pairing -- I got sucked in to the music right away with the MZ2. The Boulder is pretty ruthless, and it's laying bare just how dry the Okto DAC-8 is. The LTA adds a nice touch of warmth to the midrange.
  • @newzooreview, I installed a set of regular, brass Herbie's Gliders today -- thanks for the tip. They add another step improvement in bass resonance control. Good enough to not bother with bass traps before I move. Also, rock solid image now, extending slightly deeper past plane of speakers. And the image is much more resilient against intermittent background drone of A/C fan and compressor (summer in DC -- what can I say?).
  • Rosa Brunello’s Desert Moon Stomp, off the Sounds of Freedom album (featuring Yaz Ahmed and others) is deeply satisfying. Drums and percussion in Sacred Cows of Mafia from same album are riveting. I need to A/B the Boulder and LTA pre-amps with this album!

It will be interesting to revisit some of this tweaking after a few more weeks of burn-in. Hard to know exactly how much of the steady improvements I'm hearing are due to the drivers settling in.
[/b][/i]

It is your drivers lossen up from use and this will happen over the next few months or so.

Tyson

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 10027
  • Audio - It's all a big fake.
Re: X4 Initial Impressions
« Reply #12 on: 6 Jul 2022, 02:22 pm »
A few more impressions now that I've logged some listening over the long weekend ...

  • Switched out the L5AE pre-amp with LTA MZ2. Had been worried about driving long cable run to the amp single-ended. Not hearing any issues, and it's sure nice to have a remote controlled volume! Too early to say definitively, but this seems to be a better pairing -- I got sucked in to the music right away with the MZ2. The Boulder is pretty ruthless, and it's laying bare just how dry the Okto DAC-8 is. The LTA adds a nice touch of warmth to the midrange.
  • @newzooreview, I installed a set of regular, brass Herbie's Gliders today -- thanks for the tip. They add another step improvement in bass resonance control. Good enough to not bother with bass traps before I move. Also, rock solid image now, extending slightly deeper past plane of speakers. And the image is much more resilient against intermittent background drone of A/C fan and compressor (summer in DC -- what can I say?).
  • Rosa Brunello’s Desert Moon Stomp, off the Sounds of Freedom album (featuring Yaz Ahmed and others) is deeply satisfying. Drums and percussion in Sacred Cows of Mafia from same album are riveting. I need to A/B the Boulder and LTA pre-amps with this album!

It will  be interesting to revisit some of this tweaking after a few more weeks of burn-in. Hard to know exactly how much of the steady improvements I'm hearing are due to the drivers settling in.


Isn't it crazy how much better the bass is vs. a box speaker?  Heck even compared to other OB speakers (like Maggies), the Spatial's just nail the bass in a way that others do not.