Hey, sorry I've been lax in replying here - I had sinus surgery on Tuesday and it kind of kicked my butt. You guys might not know it but I also got a new DAC (finally found a new DAC that had more tubes than my old DAC, lol). So it's been burning in, too. It arrived at just about the same time the X3's came & I added some Duelund copper bypass caps to the output about a week ago. Which means the DAC and they speakers are BOTH burning in.
Today I'm somewhat feeling back to myself, so time for some updates/replies!
Thanks. Similar to my impressions of the X5s and I didn't have to worry about break in.
As I climbed the ladder with speakers, I would always listen and then fret about something not quite right or something missing. These speakers I just love more and more each time I listen.
Agreed! Often in the high end audio hobby we change to something new and it's more of a step sideways than a step up. Which means most upgrades are fun for a while but they don't stick, necessarily. But sometimes... sometimes we end up with something that's a true step up over what we've used before, and that's certainly true of the X3's for me.
Here's my best guess at what Tyson's impressions will be: X3's highs are better than the Super 7's (more reserved and definitely more resolving), mids are close (not-so-subtlely different, with a preference for the Super 7's due to his musical tastes), and the bass is better overall on the Super 7's (no surprise there). Then he'll say the perfect speaker would be the Super 7's with the X3 tweeter while extolling the benefits of a horn.
What, another prediction! I loved your last prediction (from the Forte III Hotrodding thread).
We'll see how it goes as burn in finishes up over the next few days, but from what I'm hearing so far... well I'll let Jason (Pez) sum it up in his comment when he was over the other day & we listened to both systems. First, we both agreed that the Super 7's and the X3's were absolutely great speakers, and even shared many design elements (powered bass, planars/ribbons, high efficiency, open baffle). Jason said "You know, for speakers so similar in design, these 2 speakers sound about as far apart from each other as 2 OB speakers I've ever heard." I agree. And I'll also add that it's a GOOD thing. These 2 sets of speakers have a lot of overlap and they both do everything to an exceptional level (especially when compared to ALL the competition out there), but when compared to each other, they have VERY different strengths, weaknesses and voicings. And I couldn't be happier about it, I love that. I'll expand on it more when I do the full review in a bit.
Knowing ODAMs are in the crossover makes me want these even more. Those caps made a dramatic improvement in the tweeter circuit of my NX-Oticas and NX-Studios.
Yes Clayton clearly has an excellent ear and a willingness to use the very best parts to get these speakers to the elite level that they are at.
Hello Tyson, Desertpilot and co.
I am partly blaming you guys for being so interested in the X3s. - your postings are too good to be ignored.
The unboxing shows that the speakers appear to be well protected in their packing (which will be needed for a trip to Australia) and your feedback/listening notes etc have only served to make me even more keen (if that was possible) to get a set of these speakers, once I know what I am up for in terms of transport (plus other duties upon arrival in the country).
As soon as I have my ducks in a row.....order completion will be happening.
In the meantime thank you for your thoughts on your new speakers.
Welcome to the family! Even with the extra hassle of long range shipping, the X series is still absolutely worth it. I've actually done a fair bit of DIY speakers in my past and I was going to build something like the X3's on my own, but at a certain point in my research I realized that I might be able to get close to the X3's, but I woudn't be able to surpass it. Hell I couldn't even build them for much cheaper than what Clayton sells them. To me, that makes them both world class (in absolute performance) and a stone cold bargain.
re: the bass, here's my 2c. I've gone from 80% to about 90% on my settings too. I talked with Clayton and he said he set it up that way on purpose, that the correct settings for most people will be very the upper end of the volume control. I've not heard the X5, but looking at the bass driver in it, it looks very similar in design to the woofers used in my Super 7's downstairs. If that's true, then the 12 inch woofer in the X5 is designed to have a much larger excursion than the woofer in the X3. But the X3 driver is bigger and has less maximum movement. The net result is a wash, in terms of total bass output. The X3 doesn't have to move as much front to back to get the same output as the X5, because a 15 inch driver has more surface are than a 12 inch driver. The X3 driver is constructed more like a typical pro-style woofer (paper woofer, stiff suspension/spider, stiff accordion-style surround. Based on hearing a lot of designs of the years, the X3's bass will be a bit more tight and tactile up through the midbass, while the X5 will have more grunt and power in the mid/deep bass. Again, just me speculating but based on hearing how these different drivers sound in other applications gives a pretty good idea. Other than the bass though, the X5's and X3's should sound identical. The X5's might image better though, because they are smaller/narrower and that always helps speakers disappear better.
Right now I definitely do not feel the need for a sub, the X3s go down strong to 25hz in my room, and as long as they can hit those very low notes with power, that's all I need.
HOWEVER, if anyone else here IS considering getting a sub, please please please take my strong advice and get the servo OB subs that GR Research offers. They are the ONLY subs on the market that are in the same (thoroughbred) class as the X series. There's 4 main ways to design a subwoofer - Infinite Baffle, ported, sealed and OB. I've heard a ton of each. Infinite Baffle and ported are always terrible matches for great OB speakers like the X series. Sealed is better, but OB is best. Especially the servo controlled OB bass that Danny uses.