Spatial Audio X4 official review

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Bingenito

Spatial Audio X4 official review
« on: 27 Mar 2022, 07:35 pm »
Associated equipment
DAC/ Source: MSB Premier with Powerbase and network renderer or Jays Audio CDT2 MKIII
Preamp: Pass Labs XP22
Amp: Pass Labs X250.8
Interconnects: Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper XLR x2
Digital: Acoustic Zen Absolute 110
Power cords: Acoustic Zen Krakatoa on all gear except Pass X250.8 which uses Gargantua II
Speaker Cables: Acoustic Zen Hologram II
Subwoofers: REL Carbon Special x2
Room:18’x30’ with a ceiling that is varied height so over 6,000cuft total fully treated by GIK Acoustics


My Spatial Audio Lab X4s have 350hrs on them and within those hours have been driven hard with dynamic music. To that end I am fairly confident that they are broken in but if they somehow get better so be it but I am going to call it good where they are.

To cut to the chase, if you have a large room and can properly place these speakers paired with gear to set them up for success then you are in for a treat. With that out of the way who are these speakers for? My view is that they are for those who value a large open sound with dynamics.

OK great but define open and dynamic… Deep and wide soundstage with precise imaging, high resolution that is capable of delivering material contrast in quiet vs. explosive and do so effortlessly.

Can they scale and reveal system changes? I ran these speakers with Pass XP12 and then XP22. Denafrips Terminator II and then my current MSB DAC. Each time the change in sound was material so these speakers can really scale in any system.

Do you need subs? No you do not however I am using them due to the volume of my room to gain some pressure below 35hz. In my room the X4s alone measured with an F6 at 34hz and dropped off relatively sharp after that which I totally expected. Not many instruments generate bass below 40hz so I really debated adding subwoofers. When I A/B with and without I could live without the subs for 85% of music but I am not one to half ass anything so screw it…

As I have said before my favorite system to date was Magnepans with JL subs in a former setup (Pic below shows some former systems). I got out of this hobby and decided to get back in and found some great systems and speakers over the last 2 yrs. That said what I have in my room now is what I was searching for. It is the last word is resolution without harshness (if you set them up properly), soundstage is insane and the dynamics will freakin startle you if the music calls for it.

The pairing with the REL Carbon specials takes everything up a couple of notches as the stage gets even wider, well beyond the speakers and the foundation of the bottom octave from 16-32hz is there when it needs to be (confirmed with room measurements). Zero integration issues and no issues keeping up with the X4s. Standing in the room with 20hz test tones is not something that I would want to do for 5 mins.

Do I recommend the X4s? Hell Yes I do.











« Last Edit: 27 Mar 2022, 09:40 pm by Bingenito »

consttraveler

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #1 on: 27 Mar 2022, 10:35 pm »
Very nice!  You are in for a treat when you hit +\- 500 hrs.

Tyson

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #2 on: 28 Mar 2022, 01:47 am »

Do I recommend the X4s? Hell Yes I do.

Pretty much sums up my feelings on my Spatial speakers, too!   :thumb:

Daryl Zero

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #3 on: 28 Mar 2022, 02:40 am »
Thanks for taking the time to write that up. Glad you are enjoying them.

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #4 on: 28 Mar 2022, 08:41 pm »
Quote
Pretty much sums up my feelings on my Spatial speakers, too!

Yes sir! Sometimes saying less is in fact saying more. I am not wasting my time to write a long winded review. The pics show systems that I have owned and this is the best for my preference so that to me says enough. Now I got some music to listen to if you will excuse me  8)

Desertpilot

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #5 on: 29 Mar 2022, 12:44 pm »

Do you need subs? No you do not however I am using them due to the volume of my room to gain some pressure below 35hz. In my room the X4s alone measured with an F6 at 34hz and dropped off relatively sharp after that which I totally expected. Not many instruments generate bass below 40hz so I really debated adding subwoofers. When I A/B with and without I could live without the subs for 85% of music but I am not one to half ass anything so screw it…


I kept my two SVS SB13 Ultra subwoofers as well.  I relocated them to the back of my room because my X3s up front have built in subs.  After living with my X3s for several months, I ended up crossing them over to the subs at 40 Hz.  My room is well over 5,000 CF so I agree, the subs are helpful.  I also use my X3s for home theater so the LFE channel goes to the subs, of course.

Marcus

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #6 on: 29 Mar 2022, 02:26 pm »
Yes subs make sense for larger rooms. If my room was half the size I could easily go without them. The bass on the X4s with the Pass X250.8 is the best quality bass that I have ever heard. The subs just add the bottom end grunt to pressurize the larger space.

My HT room is separate but after I set this up in my music room I thought about merging the 2 systems which would be killer but then I have a fully treated room where my HT is that would be empty. Probably best for me to leave well enough alone and then I don't have to buy a projector and drop down screen.


Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #7 on: 17 Apr 2022, 03:17 pm »
Now at over 600hrs I have arrived at what I believe will be the final positioning of the X4 and subs. The main difference is pushing the speakers about 9" apart from their acoustic centers (9.5ft total) and using slightly less toe in. Subs are also angled with more toe in and crossover over at 20hz.

Instead of specifying toe in degrees I will say that using a laser level on the center of the speaker the beam is exactly 41" from the center of my head left and right and I am 10.5' away from the baffles.  In other words AMT centers are 114" apart and 10.5ft away the laser impacts 41" side to side for a total of 82".

With this new positioning and subs to the outside the soundstage is massive but not artificially inflated. Center imaging is locked in yet the stage extends well beyond the speakers. Tone is better and bass is mind-blowing. I did test the MSB DAC direct to Pass Labs X250.8 and it was close but I preferred the Pass XP22 in the chain by a small margin. If I bite the bullet and go for the MSB reference I would drop the preamp for sure as the Reference uses an analog volume control where the Premier that I have uses a hybrid.

On my front wall I have heavy drapes but on reference tracks I did notice some minor smearing of vocals so I snagged a few more panels from my office that fully treated for desktop near field and threw those behind the drapes + 2 more panels, 1 behind each speaker. That really improved imaging by a wide margin due to dampening the rear wave.

I bring these tuning/ tweaks up because I see that some of you chase gear to solve a problem caused by the room interaction and not gear. $300 in proper acoustic treatment can solve a problem that your $15k in gear chasing over the years could never solve.

As a side note I did have company over and tested some of the other speakers that I still own that are in the same ballpark on pricing. Everyone preferred the X4 due to the larger stage, more open and dynamic sound. When asked why the preference most said... because they sound real and the other speakers sound like really good speakers. Since real is what we are going for I will take it.

Don't ask me what the other speakers were because I am not here to declare brand is better than B. In my room with my system the Spatials just work better. If you are really curious you can figure it out.

theclipper

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #8 on: 17 Apr 2022, 03:55 pm »
That looks like an incredible setup and room you got there! How far off the front wall do you have the X4’s?

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #9 on: 17 Apr 2022, 05:01 pm »
Thank you!

5’ 2” from the front wall to the back of the speaker baffle. With the room being 30ft deep there is 14.5ft of open room behind me before the reflection off the rear wall.


Tangram

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #10 on: 18 Apr 2022, 03:12 pm »
Now at over 600hrs I have arrived at what I believe will be the final positioning of the X4 and subs. The main difference is pushing the speakers about 9" apart from their acoustic centers (9.5ft total) and using slightly less toe in. Subs are also angled with more toe in and crossover over at 20hz.

Instead of specifying toe in degrees I will say that using a laser level on the center of the speaker the beam is exactly 41" from the center of my head left and right and I am 10.5' away from the baffles.  In other words AMT centers are 114" apart and 10.5ft away the laser impacts 41" side to side for a total of 82".

With this new positioning and subs to the outside the soundstage is massive but not artificially inflated. Center imaging is locked in yet the stage extends well beyond the speakers. Tone is better and bass is mind-blowing. I did test the MSB DAC direct to Pass Labs X250.8 and it was close but I preferred the Pass XP22 in the chain by a small margin. If I bite the bullet and go for the MSB reference I would drop the preamp for sure as the Reference uses an analog volume control where the Premier that I have uses a hybrid.

On my front wall I have heavy drapes but on reference tracks I did notice some minor smearing of vocals so I snagged a few more panels from my office that fully treated for desktop near field and threw those behind the drapes + 2 more panels, 1 behind each speaker. That really improved imaging by a wide margin due to dampening the rear wave.

I bring these tuning/ tweaks up because I see that some of you chase gear to solve a problem caused by the room interaction and not gear. $300 in proper acoustic treatment can solve a problem that your $15k in gear chasing over the years could never solve.

As a side note I did have company over and tested some of the other speakers that I still own that are in the same ballpark on pricing. Everyone preferred the X4 due to the larger stage, more open and dynamic sound. When asked why the preference most said... because they sound real and the other speakers sound like really good speakers. Since real is what we are going for I will take it.

Don't ask me what the other speakers were because I am not here to declare brand is better than B. In my room with my system the Spatials just work better. If you are really curious you can figure it out.

Thanks for the update. It is great whenever someone circles back and provides their final setup specs.

What benefit are the subs provided when crossed over at 20 Hz?

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #11 on: 18 Apr 2022, 03:22 pm »
Quote
What benefit are the subs provided when crossed over at 20 Hz?

A lot when the crossover slope fills in the bottom octave that the X4s cannot reproduce in my room! Crossovers are not a vertical wall they are gradual slopes so picture the X4 dropping off rather sharply in room at 36hz and the Carbon Specials filling that void but not adding or summing bass which creates bloat and muddy bass.


Tangram

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #12 on: 19 Apr 2022, 01:33 pm »
Good point. Still awfully low. I'm surprised they are doing much but clearly they are otherwise you wouldn't bother. Do your subs have an adjustable slope and if so, did you experiment? What is the slope you use?

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #13 on: 19 Apr 2022, 01:57 pm »
Carbon Specials use a custom filter. Know that I shoot near field and listening position measurements so this is not at all guesswork.

Tangram

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #14 on: 19 Apr 2022, 03:06 pm »
Carbon Specials use a custom filter. Know that I shoot near field and listening position measurements so this is not at all guesswork.

Congrats on putting together an incredible system. I have the M3 Sapphires but in a much smaller room: 13X20, so I haven't hooked my subs up and don't miss them. Unfortunately my room will always be the limiting factor on the sound I am able to achieve but I still thoroughly enjoy the Spatials. Clayton recommended the M3s for my room (I thought they would be too big) but the magic of open baffle bass means that they have very satisfying bass without overloading the room at volumes up to 90 db "C"-weighted.

Tyson

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #15 on: 19 Apr 2022, 03:55 pm »
Congrats on putting together an incredible system. I have the M3 Sapphires but in a much smaller room: 13X20, so I haven't hooked my subs up and don't miss them. Unfortunately my room will always be the limiting factor on the sound I am able to achieve but I still thoroughly enjoy the Spatials. Clayton recommended the M3s for my room (I thought they would be too big) but the magic of open baffle bass means that they have very satisfying bass without overloading the room at volumes up to 90 db "C"-weighted.

The beauty of good OB speakers is that they really are the best approach to getting good sound in problematic rooms.

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #16 on: 19 Apr 2022, 08:52 pm »
MSB Reference DAC and Puritan PSM156 ordered. Will post new impression in a few weeks after that. Pass XP22 is going on US Audiomart and I will be running DAC direct to the X250.8.

TomS

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #17 on: 20 Apr 2022, 12:03 am »
MSB Reference DAC and Puritan PSM156 ordered. Will post new impression in a few weeks after that. Pass XP22 is going on US Audiomart and I will be running DAC direct to the X250.8.
Congrats! The Puritan and Ground Master work very well for me. Of course, an MSB would be nice too  :thumb:

Bingenito

Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #18 on: 20 Apr 2022, 12:14 am »
Thanks! Stay tuned :)

osullis

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Re: Spatial Audio X4 official review
« Reply #19 on: 20 Apr 2022, 12:25 am »
I have the X5's in a room slightly smaller than yours.

It's very interesting that the component that's the "highest end" or at least most expensive (I think?) is the dac! How did you make the choice to splurge (the most) on that?