Intro and advice for building a system around X4s

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ebluemn

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Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« on: 8 May 2022, 04:05 am »
Hey all- new to the audiophile scene and after a lot of research have settled on going with X4s as a first (and maybe even last) speaker pair. Here to learn. Also interested in hearing what other people have found to be good components to match with the X4s. I'm building from the ground up so I'd appreciate any info on other parts of the system (power amp, preamp, DAC, etc) that you f'ing LOVE with these speakers. I did have the pleasure to chat with both Cloud and Clayton from Spatial so I have a few ideas but also appreciate hearing from the hive mind.

Thanks in advance for any comments

Tyson

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #1 on: 9 May 2022, 01:10 am »
Pass X25 or X30 would be my first choice.

Alex-San

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #2 on: 9 May 2022, 01:56 am »
I just went the one box solution route with Lyngdorf TDAI-1120.
It pairs great with my M4 Sapphires.
You also get the best room correction software in the business, a DSP powerhouse.

DBT AUDIO

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #3 on: 9 May 2022, 04:16 am »
Luxman L-509x plays music with my X5s.

Bingenito

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #4 on: 9 May 2022, 09:14 am »
I have run my X4s with a few different DACs, Preamps, Amps and they scale really well. As with anything it all depends on your budget and taste. You certainly do not need to throw a ton of cash into the supporting cast but if you decide to the speakers give you major ROI.

- DACs- Denafrips work well as does Holo Audio which is what is used with the X4s at shows so you know that is a good match.

- Preamps- If you go with Holo Audio their preamp is supposed to be nice as well. I have never heard it but again Clayton uses it at shows. Don Sachs gear is used by a buddy of mine who runs X3s and he loves it.

- Amps (power or integrated)- You will not need a ton of power contrary to what some people will tell you. At 11ft away in a large room cranking tunes into the mid-90db range I cannot get my amp to leave Class A which tells you that 40-50watts is plenty. For the record I do not listen that loud... just testing power requirements. As for amps.... Again Don Sachs integrated, LTA, Pass Labs.

The one piece of advise that I wish that I had when getting started is Buy Once Cry Once and when possible buy pre-owned and let someone else take the depreciation hit. You can save a ton buying mint gear used on US Audiomart and buy the best gear that you can afford and keep it. If you shop the right brands and not the heavily marketed ones, you tend to get what you pay for. There is a lot of nonsense in this industry and some (not all) of the YouTube reviewers will have you chasing your tail.

consttraveler

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #5 on: 9 May 2022, 04:58 pm »
I am very happy with my Chord DAVE DAC feeding my old (20+ years) but recently re-capped Mark Levinson 380s solid state pre-amp which feeds my new (600 to 700 hours of play time) AGD Audion Mono-blocks.  My X5's are end-game speakers with this line up.

As far as tubes go, I am very happy with my Herron Audio tubed Phono-pre feeding the 380s, and so on down the line.  It is a vinyl revelation!

Dave

ebluemn

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #6 on: 10 May 2022, 02:23 am »
Pass X25 or X30 would be my first choice.

Thanks for the reply Tyson! These are both the class A amps from Pass, correct? Do you find that running class A tends to offer better sound or is it just the quality of Pass products that makes it your first choice? I did have a chance to listen to some Pass stereo and mono block amps and they sounded great - just haven't heard them in combo with the spatial speakers yet.

ebluemn

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #7 on: 10 May 2022, 02:29 am »
I have run my X4s with a few different DACs, Preamps, Amps and they scale really well. As with anything it all depends on your budget and taste. You certainly do not need to throw a ton of cash into the supporting cast but if you decide to the speakers give you major ROI.

- DACs- Denafrips work well as does Holo Audio which is what is used with the X4s at shows so you know that is a good match.

- Preamps- If you go with Holo Audio their preamp is supposed to be nice as well. I have never heard it but again Clayton uses it at shows. Don Sachs gear is used by a buddy of mine who runs X3s and he loves it.

- Amps (power or integrated)- You will not need a ton of power contrary to what some people will tell you. At 11ft away in a large room cranking tunes into the mid-90db range I cannot get my amp to leave Class A which tells you that 40-50watts is plenty. For the record I do not listen that loud... just testing power requirements. As for amps.... Again Don Sachs integrated, LTA, Pass Labs.

The one piece of advise that I wish that I had when getting started is Buy Once Cry Once and when possible buy pre-owned and let someone else take the depreciation hit. You can save a ton buying mint gear used on US Audiomart and buy the best gear that you can afford and keep it. If you shop the right brands and not the heavily marketed ones, you tend to get what you pay for. There is a lot of nonsense in this industry and some (not all) of the YouTube reviewers will have you chasing your tail.


Very helpful. I'm definitely on board with the "buy once cry once" philosophy although the sheer volume of products/quality/jargon make it difficult to find that endgame system all in one clean shot. I've definitely learned a ton so far on this forum and also lurking on audio science review.

This is definitely a newb question, but if I go with the Holo May DAC would I necessarily need to also add a preamp? Is there a benefit to doing that vs just using the volume control on the DAC if I'm only using digital input? I would eventually like to add vinyl to the system but as I don't own any yet I figure that could always come later to lessen the right-now financial pain.

ebluemn

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #8 on: 10 May 2022, 02:31 am »
Consttraveler, DBT-Audio, and alex-san thank you for your contributions as well. I've checked out all the components you suggested and they seem outstanding and certainly worth considering (especially if I can find them used!)


aniwolfe

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #9 on: 10 May 2022, 02:07 pm »
Good matches that I personally LOVE with Spatials (X2 and M3 Triode Masters)

Poweramp: LTA ZOTL 40, Pass Labs XA25 and Primaluna EVO300
Preamp: Don Sachs, LTA MZ3 and Audio Research LS28
Streamer Dac: LUMIN T2 (Can be used as a Preamp)

Tyson

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #10 on: 10 May 2022, 03:18 pm »
Thanks for the reply Tyson! These are both the class A amps from Pass, correct? Do you find that running class A tends to offer better sound or is it just the quality of Pass products that makes it your first choice? I did have a chance to listen to some Pass stereo and mono block amps and they sounded great - just haven't heard them in combo with the spatial speakers yet.

I'm a tube amp lover and the Pass gear is the closest I've heard an SS amp get toward that 'tube magic' I love so much.  If you were going with an X3 or X5, I'd recommend a tube amp, but I think a tube amp might not be the best choice for controlling the bass woofer in a full-range speaker like the X4.  So the XA25 or XA30 would be my first choice for the X4's.  I've also heard other Pass amps that were bigger (XA100 and XA250), but those amps aren't quite as beautiful sounding as the XA25 and XA30 are.  With the X4's you really don't need the extra power anyway.  The XA25 and XA30 are the Pass' best amps, if you have the right speakers for them (and you do).

rich121

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #11 on: 10 May 2022, 07:30 pm »
I have run my X4s with a few different DACs, Preamps, Amps and they scale really well. As with anything it all depends on your budget and taste. You certainly do not need to throw a ton of cash into the supporting cast but if you decide to the speakers give you major ROI.

- DACs- Denafrips work well as does Holo Audio which is what is used with the X4s at shows so you know that is a good match.

- Preamps- If you go with Holo Audio their preamp is supposed to be nice as well. I have never heard it but again Clayton uses it at shows. Don Sachs gear is used by a buddy of mine who runs X3s and he loves it.

- Amps (power or integrated)- You will not need a ton of power contrary to what some people will tell you. At 11ft away in a large room cranking tunes into the mid-90db range I cannot get my amp to leave Class A which tells you that 40-50watts is plenty. For the record I do not listen that loud... just testing power requirements. As for amps.... Again Don Sachs integrated, LTA, Pass Labs.

The one piece of advise that I wish that I had when getting started is Buy Once Cry Once and when possible buy pre-owned and let someone else take the depreciation hit. You can save a ton buying mint gear used on US Audiomart and buy the best gear that you can afford and keep it. If you shop the right brands and not the heavily marketed ones, you tend to get what you pay for. There is a lot of nonsense in this industry and some (not all) of the YouTube reviewers will have you chasing your tail.

"buy once cry once".... I don't believe there is such a thing in this hobby... without trying other gear, which most times means buying, there is no way to know over time what sounds best, is most synergistic etc. with your system as there are so very many variables.

jnschneyer

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #12 on: 10 May 2022, 08:30 pm »
Upon first hearing it, I was so impressed with the X4 / Don Sachs Vahalla integrated amp combo I knew then and there I had to have a pair of Spatial speakers and then went home and emailed Don to put in an order for a Valhalla.  I ended up going with the X5s, as I liked the active sub and the possibilities for even lower wattage amplification it allowed, but I still have my order in with Don and would buy one tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself.  It really is a fantastic combination.  I played a generous swath of musical genres through it (seriously, from Macklemore to Mozart), and it rendered them all both impressively and, more importantly, musically.  The only issue with Don's gear is he builds it himself and that takes time.  But, if you aren't in a rush and have something to hold you over in the interim, I can't recommend this combination highly enough.  Good luck!

Bingenito

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #13 on: 10 May 2022, 08:51 pm »
All gear takes time these days regardless of brand. The key is that if you are going to wait regardless, get a masterpiece vs mass produced gear that the prices will tank as soon as supply returns.

TomS

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #14 on: 10 May 2022, 11:44 pm »
I tried the LTA top dog upgraded preamp and UltraLinear amp, as well as a Valhalla, among others. While both were quite good, I settled on the Modwright KWH225i Hybrid integrated and could not be happier with that combo. It runs up to 25w Class A, so pretty much 100% of the time with the powered sub X5's. I do use very nice Telefunkens in the tube stage, which I think is where a lot of the magic comes from. Hard to say exactly, but I like it a lot.

DaveWin88

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #15 on: 11 May 2022, 12:14 am »
I don't have nearly the experience as these guys but one thing I can recommend whole hardheartedly is the Silversmith Audio Fidelium speaker cables. Still in shock :) how much my system has opened up. Airy and extended topend, mids are wonderful. Great bass extension. Tonally just enough of a change to sound just right.  A lot of people who have tried these cables swear by them.


Bingenito

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #16 on: 11 May 2022, 12:31 am »
Those cables are legit. My buddy runs them.

DaveWin88

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Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #17 on: 11 May 2022, 12:41 am »
You know Bingenito, I'm hearing a slice of heaven right now. Very, very impressed how the M6's have come along in the last couple weeks. Yes the Fideliums are the real deal.

newzooreview

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #18 on: 11 May 2022, 12:59 am »
The XA25 and XA30 are the Pass' best amps, if you have the right speakers for them (and you do).

I use the XA25 with my M3 Sapphires, and it is excellent. I had listened to the LTA Ultralinear and ZOTL 40 with the M3s, and I liked the ZOTL 40 best. I was close to getting the ZOTL 40, but the prospect of the excellent sound being dependent on NOS EL 34 tubes nudged me towards the XA25. The XA25 is very similar with perhaps better control in the bass. I did not A/B them side by side, however. The XA25 is better than the Ultralinear and the Z10 (again, from memory, not side-by-side).

I forgot to turn the XA25 off last night, and other than wasting a bit of electricity it was not a concern. With the ZOTL 40 I would have been burning through the finite life of the tubes (even though they should last ~10 years at the low current that LTA runs them).

I use the Holo May Serene preamp with the Holo May KTE DAC. I might try the LTA MicroZOTL preamp out of curiosity, but the next upgrade will likely be the Anticables speaker cables from Level 3.1 to Level 5. I have had excellent experience with all of the Anticables and the M3 Sapphires. At this point the power cables and interconnects are all the highest up in their line.

TomS

Re: Intro and advice for building a system around X4s
« Reply #19 on: 11 May 2022, 01:22 am »
You know Bingenito, I'm hearing a slice of heaven right now. Very, very impressed how the M6's have come along in the last couple weeks. Yes the Fideliums are the real deal.
When I added an SRA Scuttle rack and moved things around, my 8' Fideliums are ~1' too short now :cry: Off to the for sale page they go, but they do sound great with the Spatials.