Once more unto the breach...

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jnschneyer

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Once more unto the breach...
« on: 9 May 2022, 07:28 pm »
Yup.  Once more, as in yet another "I've got new speakers! (again)" post, and once more, as in "Here's my new speaker review!" post.  New gear acquisition announcements are the audio equivalent of gender reveal parties: of paramount importance and excitement to the revealer; to the revealees, an afternoon sadly spent inhaling lung-fulls of unidentified and highly questionable blue or pink powder.  Another similarity is the revealers' relentless and remorseless perpetration of said reveal on their loyal soon to be be-powdered friends; there simply is no stopping them.  Who am I to break with tradition?  Hold your breath and read on, dear friends.

After much researching, hemming, hawing, yawing, and generally being a pest to those in the Spatial (acknowledgements and thanks here to Clayton, Cloud, and Mark) world, I finally got down to business and bought a pair of X5s (in walnut, not pink or blue).  I had some real trepidation about buying them, as I genuinely loved the speakers I had, a pair of Dynaudio Heritage Specials, which I had purchased only last July.  I had gone from B&W 802 Diamonds, which I also loved (I wonder if all this casting off of things I love worries my wife?), to the Heritage Specials because, for some reason, I wanted a different sound, something that would possibly better suit my at the time medium-sized room.  The Dynaudios were brilliant - sweet, smooth, articulate, with surprisingly deep quick bass, imaged like crazy, and just, as we like to say, completely disappeared.  But, but, they were more of a lateral move than I expected, really lovely and always a pleasure to listen to, but not really more so than the 802s.  And, while the mid-range was a bit sweeter, more mellifluous than the 802's, and the imaging a bit more distinct (possibly down to room issues), they lacked that ineffable quality of scale, heft, weight, of bass that both underpins and helps create that total harmonic structure that seems to move us, literally, in a kind of physical displacement, and figuratively, emotionally, which is also a kind of displacement, as the music moves into us and sets up shop, moving our interior furnishings here and there, governing our feelings.  The Dynaudios, while beautiful, lacked, for me, that essential scope and gravitas.  It sounds silly as I write it, but I believe that lack is what, despite the pleasure I took in them, kept me searching.

That rather directionless searching led me to Spatial Audio's open baffle speakers.  In my casting about, I came across a review of them on New Record Day's YouTube channel.  I'd seen the odd open baffle speaker before in my years of looking at pictures, ads, and reviews, but had no idea what they were and assumed they were a mere novelty and, since, as a rule, I'm not much given to novelty, just passed them by.  But Ron's NRD review was so genuine and interesting and compelling, I thought I'd do some more research, which led me to discover that Spatial Audio is located about 10 miles from me.  I emailed Spatial, and Clayton put me in touch with Cloud, with whom I set up a time to hear the speakers.  Here I'd like to give a shoutout to Cloud, whose hospitality and patience were practically preternatural.  Over the next couple of months, I plagued him with questions and visits, and he was always pleasant, informative, and generous with his time.  My first visit, I listened to a pair of X4s, driven by an LTA amp (I forget which one) and a Benchmark DAC that functioned as the pre as well.  That combo was great, but then he hooked up the Don Sachs Valhalla to the X4s and I was, well, in the vernacular, blown away.  Like love at first sight in a John Cusack romcom, I was done, smitten.  For the first time in all my listening, I had no doubt that that was the sound I wanted: big, bold, clear, detailed, yet liquid, beautiful, moving, compelling.  It gripped me in a way no combination of speakers and amp ever had before.  The 802s were a revelation to me when I first heard them, but this was different.  The X4s had all the impact of the 802s, but on a grander, more open scale, and at the same time rendered the music with whatever dignity, beauty, sweetness, comedy, pathos, or combination of any or all of these was called for.  I'm aware this sounds like hyperbole, but there was something hyperbole-inducing in the sound, something intensified in each element of the music.  Intensified, but not exaggerated.  It sounded genuine, sincere, truthful.

Given all the superlatives I just lavished on the X4/Don Sachs combo, you'd think I'd've thrown my money down on the spot.  However, not willing to get married after only a first date, I thought I'd better listen both again and to more, other.  I was curious about the amplifier possibilities speakers with an active subwoofer would give, so I next tried the X5s.  For this, Clayton put me in touch with a friend of his, Mark, who very generously offered to let me come to his house and listen to his setup.  At Mark's, I was able to listen to the X5s driven by an Atma-Sphere S-30 amp and MP-3 preamp.  The experience was every bit as revelatory as listening to the X4s had been, but more so.  I think, in the world of marketing, it's rare to come across products that so well mimic and reflect their name.  For example, much as I loved the Valhalla, and it is every bit as good as the Atma-Sphere gear I listened to, Valhalla is, while a good name, a bit, well, over the top.  Valhalla.  Olympus.  Throne of God.  It's a lot to live up to.  Atma-Sphere and Spatial (the cleverish reworking of atmosphere notwithstanding) are more descriptive than suggestive, as two of the primary and significant qualities of both products is their ability to create an atmosphere and a feeling of space.  I wrote in an earlier post, and it's the image and impression that most stays with me, about how listening to the X5/Atma-Sphere combo was the audio equivalent of sitting in a planetarium, leaning back and looking up, as if floating in the immense blackness of space, and seeing the wash of galaxies and pinpoints of individual stars above and around you.  Exaggeration?  Maybe on my part, as I find myself unequal to the task of capturing sensorial experiences in words and can only relate the associations and images the experience brought to mind.  But one thing was certain - that experience provided the push I needed and I bought a pair of X5s, which leads me to

finally, the gender reveal.  I warned you: relentlessly, remorselessly, the new parents foists their joy and excitement on their weary friends.  So, my new X5s.  I was concerned, after reading all the warnings and admonishments and parables about the Spatial's need for break-in, that, for the first few weeks, I'd be listening to music as if from a trashcan, that the highs would be bright, the mids would be recessed, that bass simply wouldn't be, and that not one element of this cacophony would blend with the other.  So, after Clayton and Mark graciously delivered the speakers to my home and set them up, I steeled myself and began listening.  I was gobsmacked.  The sound was gorgeous right out of the box (yeah, I know, but I'm leaving it).  Seriously, they were beautiful, coherent, the soundstage deep and wide behind the speakers, with none of the thinness or brightness or disparity between the drivers I'd been led to expect.  We listened for a while to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, which, though not hard-driving or exceptionally layered in an orchestral sense, is wonderfully recorded, and the X5s produced a wide and distinct and detailed soundstage, with a clear picture of where Davis' trumpet and Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane's saxes played, with Paul Chambers' bass solidly located but binding all the instruments and musicians together.  And all of it large, human, with the weight and scale I'd been missing in the Dynaudios.  Once Clayton and Mark left, I put the speakers through their paces.  Lauren Daigle singing Rescue; Freya Ridings' Lost Without You, Macklemore's Downtown, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Melody Gardot, Frank Sinatra, Ben Webster, Yo-Yo Ma, Bill Evans, Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Florence and the Machine, Bob Marley, Patricia Barber, Holly Cole, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony and Marriage of Figaro, Puccini's La Boheme, Verdi's Rigoletto, the list goes on, all delivered power, beauty, concision, and deep deep feeling.  I was amazed and beyond gratified.  Don't get me wrong.  I realize we're talking about speakers here, not curing cancer or ending the war in Ukraine or stopping inflation, that I woke up this morning essentially the same person I was the day before, and that writing has its own ecstatic momentum that may cause the incautious writer to be carried away.  So let me say this, that, were this the best these speakers had to give, I would be satisfied, that the breadth, depth, scale, resolution, and beauty of their sound would easily sustain me and make me feel I'd spent my money well.  All this, with no break-in and driven by my current electronics, which are high-quality, but no Don Sachs, no Atma-Sphere.  Clayton says this is the worst they will sound and that they will only get better and better.  It seems like gilding the lilly, but I'll take it.

So, the reveal is done.  All that's left is to wash away the powder or dye or whatever noxious instrument of revelation was employed.  I'll be amazed if anyone has actually read all of this.  If you have, I congratulate you on your persistence and fortitude.  You know what comes after the reveal - baby pictures.

   

consttraveler

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #1 on: 9 May 2022, 07:41 pm »
Thank you for the read!

I have about 700 hours on my X5's and I am regularly stunned by their performance.  I consider them end game speakers.

Enjoy the ride!

Dave

Alex-San

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #2 on: 9 May 2022, 10:05 pm »
I enjoyed reading this, thank you!
Congratulations on the new speakers!
I just got my M4s a few short weeks ago, I cannot stop listening to them.

DBT AUDIO

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #3 on: 9 May 2022, 10:17 pm »
I'll be amazed if anyone has actually read all of this.  If you have, I congratulate you on your persistence and fortitude.  You know what comes after the reveal - baby pictures.

 
Great review and just as exciting to read as any review I’ve read in Stereophile!  Your review was fun to read because I like to read reviews about a product that I own and if others hear what I’m hearing.  I have the X5s, so I can second the enjoyment you’ve found with these speakers.  I have them in the black gloss paint finish, but I do like the walnut finish you chose.  Thanks for sharing.

morganc

Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #4 on: 9 May 2022, 10:24 pm »
Great write up!  What did you decide to order to pair with the speakers?

Tyson

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #5 on: 9 May 2022, 10:40 pm »
Excellent writeup!  This was definitely the best gender reveal party I've ever been to.  :lol:

The Dynaudio's and the B&W's are some of the best speakers around, and the X series is just flat out better.  Not a little better, either.  A lot better.  That says a lot about how good a designer Clayton is, and how good these speakers are. 

IME, the X series sounds so good because they have this amazing combo of:
  • Controlled Directivity - resulting in less sound splashing around the room and more of that sound directed toward your listening spot
  • Open Baffle radiation pattern in the mids/highs - resulting in a massive, deep and wide-open soundstage
  • Open Baffle self-powered bass - resulting in ultra clean and punchy lows and midbass
  • AMT, best tweeter in the world - resulting in wordl-class detail and transparency
  • Exceptional high efficiency midrange driver - resulting in micro-details and micro-dynamics galore, allowing the speakers to trace the emotional contour of the music very closely
  • Top flight crossover parts quality and wiring - resulting in tonal accuracy most other speakers simply can't touch.  Parts quality matters a lot, especially in a thoroughbred design like this one

I could go on and on but that gets the gist of my experience.  Oh, and Clayton was right - the speakers start out excellent and just get better and better over time.  That's what I heard with the X3's.

Also thanks mentioning Freya Ridings in your review.  I'd never heard her before, listening to her album now (thanks, Qobuz/Roon!), man does she have an incredibly expressive voice.

Desertpilot

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #6 on: 9 May 2022, 11:07 pm »
Thanks for taking time to write your review and CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I am very impressed with your writing style.  Comparisons with other speakers, amps and DACs gave us an in-depth look at your decision process (a process we have all gone through).  I own the X3s in a surround sound setup for just about one year now.  Do they get better over time?  Absolutely!  ...and I don't care if it's the speaker or just my getting adapted to them.  Either way, my enjoyment improves every day.  Lucky you to live so close to the Spatial office.

Marcus
Las Vegas, NV

ebluemn

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #7 on: 9 May 2022, 11:51 pm »
Thanks for the review. I'm a little earlier in the process but its helpful to see some of your decision making process in print.

Bingenito

Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #8 on: 10 May 2022, 02:02 am »
I like my X4s so much that when I have time between meetings I run upstairs and sneak in a song. Still one of the most impressive speakers that I have heard top to bottom and the bass definition is off the hook.

DBT AUDIO

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #9 on: 10 May 2022, 02:29 am »
…..the bass definition is off the hook.
Bingenito, have you ever heard the X5 bass?  If so, how does it compare to the passive bass woofer of the X4?  Thanks

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #10 on: 10 May 2022, 05:24 am »
Thanks for the review. I'm a little earlier in the process but its helpful to see some of your decision making process in print.

You're welcome.  Thanks for plodding through it.  If I can answer any questions or give you any impressions or information you think might help in your deliberations, don't hesitate to ask.

Josh

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #11 on: 10 May 2022, 05:28 am »
Thanks for taking time to write your review and CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I am very impressed with your writing style.  Comparisons with other speakers, amps and DACs gave us an in-depth look at your decision process (a process we have all gone through).  I own the X3s in a surround sound setup for just about one year now.  Do they get better over time?  Absolutely!  ...and I don't care if it's the speaker or just my getting adapted to them.  Either way, my enjoyment improves every day.  Lucky you to live so close to the Spatial office.

Thanks.  It is lucky.  To me, who has never even won a raffle, it was like winning a prize.  I don't know that I could've pulled the trigger on a pair had I not been close enough to give them a listen and dispel my incorrect notion of their being a novelty item.  So, lucky indeed.  Now I have to decide on an amp.  Sigh.

Josh

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #12 on: 10 May 2022, 05:30 am »
Great write up!  What did you decide to order to pair with the speakers?

Thank you.  Ugh.  That decision is yet to come.  Let the waffling begin.  I'm waiting for a sign to show me the way.  When I make up my mind and pick one, you can be sure I'll tell all.  Thanks again.

Josh

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #13 on: 10 May 2022, 05:56 am »
Excellent writeup!  This was definitely the best gender reveal party I've ever been to.  :lol:

The Dynaudio's and the B&W's are some of the best speakers around, and the X series is just flat out better.  Not a little better, either.  A lot better.  That says a lot about how good a designer Clayton is, and how good these speakers are. 

IME, the X series sounds so good because they have this amazing combo of:
  • Controlled Directivity - resulting in less sound splashing around the room and more of that sound directed toward your listening spot
  • Open Baffle radiation pattern in the mids/highs - resulting in a massive, deep and wide-open soundstage
  • Open Baffle self-powered bass - resulting in ultra clean and punchy lows and midbass
  • AMT, best tweeter in the world - resulting in wordl-class detail and transparency
  • Exceptional high efficiency midrange driver - resulting in micro-details and micro-dynamics galore, allowing the speakers to trace the emotional contour of the music very closely
  • Top flight crossover parts quality and wiring - resulting in tonal accuracy most other speakers simply can't touch.  Parts quality matters a lot, especially in a thoroughbred design like this one

I could go on and on but that gets the gist of my experience.  Oh, and Clayton was right - the speakers start out excellent and just get better and better over time.  That's what I heard with the X3's.

Also thanks mentioning Freya Ridings in your review.  I'd never heard her before, listening to her album now (thanks, Qobuz/Roon!), man does she have an incredibly expressive voice.

You’re welcome, and thanks. I find quite a bit of interesting music via reviewers mentioning them in their reviews. It’s sort of a poor man’s Roon.  There is a terrific video and recording on YouTube of Freya Ridiings singing Lost Without You live at Hackney Round Chapel. The atmosphere and reverb of the chapel are palpable.  Also, it is a great test to see how a rig handles the upper register. Here in day two, my X5s do a great job.  I am so impressed with these speakers.  I had some concern, my amps being solid state and my room being less than ideal, but the speakers just shine right through the seeming limitations and compromises.  I’m so looking forward to them breaking in more and more and to getting them coupled with a good tube setup.  I just have to, uh, make up my mind.  When it comes to choosing between commensurate audio gear, I’m as bad as Hamlet. Macbeth was a creep, but at least he could make a decision and stick to it.  Thanks again for the kind words.

Josh

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #14 on: 10 May 2022, 12:53 pm »
Thank you for the read!

I have about 700 hours on my X5's and I am regularly stunned by their performance.  I consider them end game speakers.

Enjoy the ride!

Dave

Hi, Dave,

You’re welcome, and thank you.  How did you find your X5s at first listen and did you keep track of the changes in their sound over the ensuing weeks and, I assume, months?  Were the changes noticeably incremental, an almost daily thing, or was it more like after X amount of hours, days, weeks, you’d suddenly notice a more prodigious leap in clarity, coherence, resolution, what have you?  Also, if you do t mind going into it, what you driving yours with and how did you arrive at your choice?  Thanks.

Josh

consttraveler

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #15 on: 10 May 2022, 01:50 pm »
Good Morning Josh;

Previous to my purchase of the X5's I had been listening happily to a pair of Emerald Physics speakers (also designed by Clayton Shaw) for about 12 years.  When my travels and the introduction of the X series coincided, I listened to a demo at Spatial.  It was obvious that the X series were not merely a step up, but really something special.  Having been used to the sound of no box, and as soon as I got done fiddling around with placement, I was especially pleased with the clarity of the X5's at first real listening in my house.

As to the burn in; It was incremental in all the areas you mentioned, especially the sound stage development.  However, there were many times that I had music playing and was suddenly aware that I was hearing something new in very familiar music.  Very much like the first time I really "heard" stereo.  Stunning!

I have AGD Audion mono blocks being fed by a Mark Levinson 380s Pre-amp and a Chord DAVE DAC.  For vinyl I have a Herron Tube Phono-pre that is wonderful behind my Teres Turntable without regard to the cartridge.

Recently I added Gaia footers under the speakers and the sound stage depth became much more detailed.  They were well worth the price of admission!

Please feel free to ask if you have further questions.  Happy listening.

Dave

Mr. Big

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #16 on: 10 May 2022, 02:28 pm »
Yup.  Once more, as in yet another "I've got new speakers! (again)" post, and once more, as in "Here's my new speaker review!" post.  New gear acquisition announcements are the audio equivalent of gender reveal parties: of paramount importance and excitement to the revealer; to the revealees, an afternoon sadly spent inhaling lung-fulls of unidentified and highly questionable blue or pink powder.  Another similarity is the revealers' relentless and remorseless perpetration of said reveal on their loyal soon to be be-powdered friends; there simply is no stopping them.  Who am I to break with tradition?  Hold your breath and read on, dear friends.

After much researching, hemming, hawing, yawing, and generally being a pest to those in the Spatial (acknowledgements and thanks here to Clayton, Cloud, and Mark) world, I finally got down to business and bought a pair of X5s (in walnut, not pink or blue).  I had some real trepidation about buying them, as I genuinely loved the speakers I had, a pair of Dynaudio Heritage Specials, which I had purchased only last July.  I had gone from B&W 802 Diamonds, which I also loved (I wonder if all this casting off of things I love worries my wife?), to the Heritage Specials because, for some reason, I wanted a different sound, something that would possibly better suit my at the time medium-sized room.  The Dynaudios were brilliant - sweet, smooth, articulate, with surprisingly deep quick bass, imaged like crazy, and just, as we like to say, completely disappeared.  But, but, they were more of a lateral move than I expected, really lovely and always a pleasure to listen to, but not really more so than the 802s.  And, while the mid-range was a bit sweeter, more mellifluous than the 802's, and the imaging a bit more distinct (possibly down to room issues), they lacked that ineffable quality of scale, heft, weight, of bass that both underpins and helps create that total harmonic structure that seems to move us, literally, in a kind of physical displacement, and figuratively, emotionally, which is also a kind of displacement, as the music moves into us and sets up shop, moving our interior furnishings here and there, governing our feelings.  The Dynaudios, while beautiful, lacked, for me, that essential scope and gravitas.  It sounds silly as I write it, but I believe that lack is what, despite the pleasure I took in them, kept me searching.

That rather directionless searching led me to Spatial Audio's open baffle speakers.  In my casting about, I came across a review of them on New Record Day's YouTube channel.  I'd seen the odd open baffle speaker before in my years of looking at pictures, ads, and reviews, but had no idea what they were and assumed they were a mere novelty and, since, as a rule, I'm not much given to novelty, just passed them by.  But Ron's NRD review was so genuine and interesting and compelling, I thought I'd do some more research, which led me to discover that Spatial Audio is located about 10 miles from me.  I emailed Spatial, and Clayton put me in touch with Cloud, with whom I set up a time to hear the speakers.  Here I'd like to give a shoutout to Cloud, whose hospitality and patience were practically preternatural.  Over the next couple of months, I plagued him with questions and visits, and he was always pleasant, informative, and generous with his time.  My first visit, I listened to a pair of X4s, driven by an LTA amp (I forget which one) and a Benchmark DAC that functioned as the pre as well.  That combo was great, but then he hooked up the Don Sachs Valhalla to the X4s and I was, well, in the vernacular, blown away.  Like love at first sight in a John Cusack romcom, I was done, smitten.  For the first time in all my listening, I had no doubt that that was the sound I wanted: big, bold, clear, detailed, yet liquid, beautiful, moving, compelling.  It gripped me in a way no combination of speakers and amp ever had before.  The 802s were a revelation to me when I first heard them, but this was different.  The X4s had all the impact of the 802s, but on a grander, more open scale, and at the same time rendered the music with whatever dignity, beauty, sweetness, comedy, pathos, or combination of any or all of these was called for.  I'm aware this sounds like hyperbole, but there was something hyperbole-inducing in the sound, something intensified in each element of the music.  Intensified, but not exaggerated.  It sounded genuine, sincere, truthful.

Given all the superlatives I just lavished on the X4/Don Sachs combo, you'd think I'd've thrown my money down on the spot.  However, not willing to get married after only a first date, I thought I'd better listen both again and to more, other.  I was curious about the amplifier possibilities speakers with an active subwoofer would give, so I next tried the X5s.  For this, Clayton put me in touch with a friend of his, Mark, who very generously offered to let me come to his house and listen to his setup.  At Mark's, I was able to listen to the X5s driven by an Atma-Sphere S-30 amp and MP-3 preamp.  The experience was every bit as revelatory as listening to the X4s had been, but more so.  I think, in the world of marketing, it's rare to come across products that so well mimic and reflect their name.  For example, much as I loved the Valhalla, and it is every bit as good as the Atma-Sphere gear I listened to, Valhalla is, while a good name, a bit, well, over the top.  Valhalla.  Olympus.  Throne of God.  It's a lot to live up to.  Atma-Sphere and Spatial (the cleverish reworking of atmosphere notwithstanding) are more descriptive than suggestive, as two of the primary and significant qualities of both products is their ability to create an atmosphere and a feeling of space.  I wrote in an earlier post, and it's the image and impression that most stays with me, about how listening to the X5/Atma-Sphere combo was the audio equivalent of sitting in a planetarium, leaning back and looking up, as if floating in the immense blackness of space, and seeing the wash of galaxies and pinpoints of individual stars above and around you.  Exaggeration?  Maybe on my part, as I find myself unequal to the task of capturing sensorial experiences in words and can only relate the associations and images the experience brought to mind.  But one thing was certain - that experience provided the push I needed and I bought a pair of X5s, which leads me to

finally, the gender reveal.  I warned you: relentlessly, remorselessly, the new parents foists their joy and excitement on their weary friends.  So, my new X5s.  I was concerned, after reading all the warnings and admonishments and parables about the Spatial's need for break-in, that, for the first few weeks, I'd be listening to music as if from a trashcan, that the highs would be bright, the mids would be recessed, that bass simply wouldn't be, and that not one element of this cacophony would blend with the other.  So, after Clayton and Mark graciously delivered the speakers to my home and set them up, I steeled myself and began listening.  I was gobsmacked.  The sound was gorgeous right out of the box (yeah, I know, but I'm leaving it).  Seriously, they were beautiful, coherent, the soundstage deep and wide behind the speakers, with none of the thinness or brightness or disparity between the drivers I'd been led to expect.  We listened for a while to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, which, though not hard-driving or exceptionally layered in an orchestral sense, is wonderfully recorded, and the X5s produced a wide and distinct and detailed soundstage, with a clear picture of where Davis' trumpet and Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane's saxes played, with Paul Chambers' bass solidly located but binding all the instruments and musicians together.  And all of it large, human, with the weight and scale I'd been missing in the Dynaudios.  Once Clayton and Mark left, I put the speakers through their paces.  Lauren Daigle singing Rescue; Freya Ridings' Lost Without You, Macklemore's Downtown, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Melody Gardot, Frank Sinatra, Ben Webster, Yo-Yo Ma, Bill Evans, Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Florence and the Machine, Bob Marley, Patricia Barber, Holly Cole, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony and Marriage of Figaro, Puccini's La Boheme, Verdi's Rigoletto, the list goes on, all delivered power, beauty, concision, and deep deep feeling.  I was amazed and beyond gratified.  Don't get me wrong.  I realize we're talking about speakers here, not curing cancer or ending the war in Ukraine or stopping inflation, that I woke up this morning essentially the same person I was the day before, and that writing has its own ecstatic momentum that may cause the incautious writer to be carried away.  So let me say this, that, were this the best these speakers had to give, I would be satisfied, that the breadth, depth, scale, resolution, and beauty of their sound would easily sustain me and make me feel I'd spent my money well.  All this, with no break-in and driven by my current electronics, which are high-quality, but no Don Sachs, no Atma-Sphere.  Clayton says this is the worst they will sound and that they will only get better and better.  It seems like gilding the lilly, but I'll take it.

So, the reveal is done.  All that's left is to wash away the powder or dye or whatever noxious instrument of revelation was employed.  I'll be amazed if anyone has actually read all of this.  If you have, I congratulate you on your persistence and fortitude.  You know what comes after the reveal - baby pictures.

 

Excellent and enjoyable review. When you find your system moves you, you hit the jackpot. No need to sit a worry about what if's or only if's, and of course the audio paranoia of only if I change this piece of gear I can improve on what I hear, that is the old going down the rabbit hole...smile! Chasing the old tail around and around. Enjoy the music.

jnschneyer

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Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #17 on: 10 May 2022, 04:07 pm »
I like my X4s so much that when I have time between meetings I run upstairs and sneak in a song. Still one of the most impressive speakers that I have heard top to bottom and the bass definition is off the hook.
I loved the X4s when I heard them with Don Sach's Valhalla integrated amp.  As I mentioned in my review/reveal, it was that combination that made my mind up then and there to have a pair of Spatials.  I struggled for a time choosing between the X4 and X5, deciding finally in favor of the X5 for its active subwoofer and the amp possibilities it allowed for.  Though, as far as that goes, considering how spectacularly the Vahalla, at 30 wpc, drove the X4s, I suspect it's six of one, half a dozen of another.  I suppose the ability to vary the volume on the active woofer gives some additional control, but, as I'm not much of a tinkerer, I'm guessing, after the novelty wears off, I'll find my preferred level and pretty much leave it there.  Regardless, active or passive, the bass is one of the main qualities of the Spatial's sound that seduced me, which is odd, as one of the primary criticisms I've read of OB speakers is their supposed issues with bass.  But, whatever Clayton has done in designing these, the bass is physical, musical, and emotional, something I'd not experienced in the previous speakers I've owned and heard.  I look forward to the changes the speakers evince in the coming days, weeks, and months, and to reporting on them to anyone with the courage (and time) to wade through another of my novellas.  Thanks.

Josh

lazbisme

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 8
Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #18 on: 10 May 2022, 04:28 pm »
I purchased, and am loving, X3s. Had much trepidation purchasing because I have 2.3 watt Decware Anniversary Edition SET amp. Cannot comment on any other amp but I fretted over nothing as this amp leaves absolutely nothing to be desired at any volume I wish to listen at. Using Holo MAY DAC and Serene pre and streaming from Roon Nucleus with my CD collection in SD drive plugged in. Already had a duplicate amp on order only for "headroom" and have elected to leave order in the queue. Headroom NEVER hurts! In the process of upgrading power cords, interconnects and speaker cables and I should be done with equipment purchases. Seriously!! Been on this merry go round all my life and feels great to be okay about stepping off and relaxing. Enjoy life!

rcatch

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  • Posts: 9
Re: Once more unto the breach...
« Reply #19 on: 10 May 2022, 09:25 pm »
Hi Josh,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I’ve enjoyed your writing one more time as I don’t think I can do the same in my native language, let alone in English. We maybe were looking at the x series around the same time and I got my x4 2 weeks ahead as I wasn’t as due diligent:)

I was trying to imagine your listening experience with the x4 and x5 based on your words. And was wondering how much of that difference was from the equipments and how much from the rooms/environment. As you described with the x5 with atma-sphere it’s mainly a new total surrounded by music experience, the room has to meet certain requirements (ie treated, more breathing room behind the listener etc). Any light you can shed on this front would be greatly appreciated.

Like you, I found my x4 to be much better than what I had before right out of the box. It’s certainly very close to my satisfaction sound wise. It’s refined after 2 weeks but I can’t describe the difference fully. I have a very similar situation around and behind the speakers as yours and have no room behind me. So I suspect it would be very difficult to get close to what you have experienced at Mark’s home even if I have the same gears. But I am willing to learn and experiment to see how far I can go. But to be honest that’s just an audiophile journey having much less to do with enjoying music.

Steve