Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?

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catluck

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Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« on: 16 Jun 2022, 02:30 pm »
After listening to Danny, Clayton, Ron, etc., wondering if anybody has owned both Sapphire M3's and X4's. Based upon the current comments, I've decided to put my M3's up for sale to try the X4's. Does anybody have any real world experience after having listened to both in the same listening environment?

dls123

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #1 on: 16 Jun 2022, 02:57 pm »
I have heard M3 and X5, but not in the same system.   The M3 were at my brother-in-law's and driven by a musical paradise tube dac, and a prototype integrated tube amp I built.  30 watts/ch, Russian 6P3S-E tubes with 6sn7 front end.   They sounded very good, and threw a huge sound stage.  Not the absolute last word in micro detail and pinpoint imaging, but very good.   I own X5 with external crossovers and best parts.  These are driven by a Lampizator Big 7 Mk2, and the 6sn7 based line stage and a 300b push pull amp I built.  That amp is 27 watts/ch.  The X5 has much more micro detail and a more focused image, but it is apples to oranges because the gear in front of them is far superior to the M3 setup I heard.   Still, I would say the M series will give you this cloud of sound and the X series is more focused and detailed.  It throws a huge sound stage as well, but more pinpoint imaging.  Both are wonderful speakers and I am not trashing the M3 ability to deliver micro detail.  Bass is excellent with either and I would not consider it lacking in any way.  The X4 uses a very similar passive bass setup to the M3 and I will say it is just fine.   The X5 has the powered sub that produces bass from about 90 Hz down and it is fine as well.   

So I think it comes down to whether you want to be bathed in this very seductive cloud of sound, with quite good imaging (M series) or you want pinpoint imaging of the AMT tweeter in the X series.  Of course Clayton will give you advice on your room and which model would be better.  The X series requires that your listening position be at least 7 ft from the speaker for the sound from the drivers to be integrated.   That is usually not a problem for most people, but if you have a small room then the M series is probably a better choice.  I sit about 10 ft from the X5 and they are 10 ft apart so they work well in my room.

Anyway, those are my experiences with the M series and X series.....but in two different rooms and systems.

catluck

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #2 on: 17 Jun 2022, 12:53 pm »
Thanks very much. Appreciate the comments. Spoke with Clayton yesterday and he feels that the drivers may be somewhat better integrated in the X4 vs the M3. Clayton also suggested the X4 may be the best speaker SA has built even if not the most expensive. I'm sitting here listening to clarinet/piano and I'll be damned if I can suss out any discontinuity between drivers although because I haven't heard the X4 it's possible that, in comparison, the X4 drivers do "sound" better integrated. Finally, Clayton noted the Beyma low frequency drivers are more "propulsive" than the eminence low frequency drivers used in the M3.  I can appreciate that critique and would prefer a bit more drive in the bass.  Still, the M3's do satisfy mightily.

Audiosaurusrex

Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #3 on: 17 Jun 2022, 01:32 pm »
I bought my M3's in 2019 and have been extremely satisfied with them especially after upgrading my amp and room treatments. I also have been reading everything about the X4's and get the impression that would be an improvement . I have someone local that would buy my M3's but I'm not ready to part with them and wonder if the differences will be that drastic. Good luck and let us know how you make out!

RonN5

Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #4 on: 17 Jun 2022, 03:47 pm »
The M3/X4 discussion brings up the age old issue.  Is hyper detail a reflection of actual music or is it just a fun effect?

When listening to one or two instruments, you may indeed hear a lot of inner detail....but this starts to fade away quickly when you hit 3 or more instruments as their harmonics begin to blend.

As an M3 Sapphire owner, I find they are absolutely capable of providing lots of detail with rich/lush tone/harmonics without being tiring or overly analytical.  So, that is the question, can the X4s do everything the M3s can do, but even better, and without calling attention to themselves and without being tiring.

Clayton is a brilliant designer and knows what he is saying...but I suspect that the electronics being paired with a pair of X4s will be a critical part in having them not be too detailed.

Tyson

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #5 on: 17 Jun 2022, 04:05 pm »
The M3/X4 discussion brings up the age old issue.  Is hyper detail a reflection of actual music or is it just a fun effect?

When listening to one or two instruments, you may indeed hear a lot of inner detail....but this starts to fade away quickly when you hit 3 or more instruments as their harmonics begin to blend.

As an M3 Sapphire owner, I find they are absolutely capable of providing lots of detail with rich/lush tone/harmonics without being tiring or overly analytical.  So, that is the question, can the X4s do everything the M3s can do, but even better, and without calling attention to themselves and without being tiring.

Clayton is a brilliant designer and knows what he is saying...but I suspect that the electronics being paired with a pair of X4s will be a critical part in having them not be too detailed.


There's 2 ways to get a high level of perceived detail.  The first way is to simply voice the speaker so that it highlights and emphasizes the 'detail' region artificially, like a spotlight.  Many, many speakers do it this way.  To me, this is a bad way to do it because those speakers always end up sounding fatiguing (to me.  YMMV, of course).

The 2nd way to do it is use higher resolution drivers and higher resolution parts in the crossover, while still keeping the voicing of the speaker balanced.  This is a lot harder and much more expensive to do.  This is what Clayton does with the X series (based on my experience with the X3).  With this approach, you get an overall beautiful sound that is highly musical while at the same time having tons of musical nuance showing through.

I've not heard the new M series so I can't comment on them.  I can only note that the X series is not 'analytical' or fatiguing in any way.  If anything, they are a bit relaxed in their overall presentation.

DaveWin88

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #6 on: 17 Jun 2022, 04:07 pm »
The M3/X4 discussion brings up the age old issue.  Is hyper detail a reflection of actual music or is it just a fun effect?

When listening to one or two instruments, you may indeed hear a lot of inner detail....but this starts to fade away quickly when you hit 3 or more instruments as their harmonics begin to blend.

As an M3 Sapphire owner, I find they are absolutely capable of providing lots of detail with rich/lush tone/harmonics without being tiring or overly analytical.  So, that is the question, can the X4s do everything the M3s can do, but even better, and without calling attention to themselves and without being tiring.

Clayton is a brilliant designer and knows what he is saying...but I suspect that the electronics being paired with a pair of X4s will be a critical part in having them not be too detailed.

Great,  great points here. As a lowly M6 owner :) Man I never though I would be at this point in the hobby where 2/3's  of my music collection are deemed just OK quality. Your love for the music will have to take over at some point. It is fun to eek out more and more detail, but it can get tiring. That's why vinyl is so damn good :) I'm listening to 40+ year old albums and just love the sound.

DaveWin88

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #7 on: 17 Jun 2022, 04:16 pm »
Sorry can someone delete this.

DaveWin88

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #8 on: 17 Jun 2022, 04:18 pm »
:(

Mr. Big

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #9 on: 17 Jun 2022, 05:49 pm »
I heard the same speaker on different gear at dealers over the years and each time the speaker sounded different in some way and sometimes profoundly so. Which was why back then you had 3-4 audio stores in your surrounding area and they allowed you to bring gear home to see how it sounded on your system, then you also had real pros working those stores with a ton of years and experience to guide you to gear that might fit your idea of good sound. Those days are long gone for the most part. X or M's? Both could sound really good in most systems and one might sound better for the gear you are using but unless you can have them in your home to A/B the best advice would be to trust the designer with their "best" speaker for your room and your music needs of what you like in your sound. I came from Quad Electrostatics for over 10 years, listening to my likes of the Quads, vocals, color and tone, and my room and how far I sit the M3 was Clayton's advice to me. I've had mine for over a year now, and I finally got them dialed in I enjoy them daily and I could still be fine with my Quads so one is not better but different from the other, which is why I wanted a change. The thing is the M3 Sapphires can do much of what the Quads did well, enough to enjoy them while giving me the unlimited dynamics if I want to push them, and deeper bass, though the Quads in the room I could hit 33hz with no issue, with a good mid-bass that really made them sound lower than they were going the bass of my M3 is deeper, bigger, and you can feel it more. Quads are still special in that mid-range and due to their design, the coherence of the music is just there in front of you and that was due to its design and no crossover points and equal sound coming out the front and back of the speaker which made the setup very important from the front wall with damping behind them, so my M3's were not as picky and because I had already had acoustics panels and room setup for the Quads the M3's fit right in.   









Daryl Zero

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #10 on: 17 Jun 2022, 05:57 pm »
I bought my M3's in 2019 and have been extremely satisfied with them especially after upgrading my amp and room treatments. I also have been reading everything about the X4's and get the impression that would be an improvement . I have someone local that would buy my M3's but I'm not ready to part with them and wonder if the differences will be that drastic. Good luck and let us know how you make out!

Man, I would stay put unless you are dissatisfied with the speakers. I'm guessing the difference is going to be fairly small and unless you hear them both with the same gear/same room, have money to burn, and have to have them, stay with what you know.

dvican

Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #11 on: 17 Jun 2022, 06:06 pm »
... Finally, Clayton noted the Beyma low frequency drivers are more "propulsive" than the eminence low frequency drivers used in the M3.  I can appreciate that critique and would prefer a bit more drive in the bass.  Still, the M3's do satisfy mightily.
btw, i believe the latest M3 incarnation (i got mine mid april) is also using the beyma drivers  :P

catluck

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #12 on: 17 Jun 2022, 07:00 pm »
A fair amount of wisdom in these responses.  I'm listening carefully to all of you.  I'm now wondering if, as suggested, I should just leave well enough alone and be grateful for the M3's.  In truth, I have NO criticism of them. NONE. I love their sound and presentation.  Perhaps I need to be medicated.  Time to just sit here and do  nothing. Thanks everybody for what feels like an intervention.

Daryl Zero

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #13 on: 17 Jun 2022, 10:02 pm »
You just have the same disease as do we all.


Tyson

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #14 on: 17 Jun 2022, 11:05 pm »
A fair amount of wisdom in these responses.  I'm listening carefully to all of you.  I'm now wondering if, as suggested, I should just leave well enough alone and be grateful for the M3's.  In truth, I have NO criticism of them. NONE. I love their sound and presentation.  Perhaps I need to be medicated.  Time to just sit here and do  nothing. Thanks everybody for what feels like an intervention.

If you're happy with the sound then don't change anything.

RonN5

Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #15 on: 18 Jun 2022, 11:52 am »
Catluck

I suspect that there are three questions that may help guide your decision...

1.  Will the X4 with its smaller woofer put out enough bass for your room...even though the 12" might have more "thrust" it is after all, 35% smaller.


If you think the answer is yes, then move on the #2

2.  Are you willing to spend $2-400 sending them back if they don't end up "doing it for you"

Which also begs the question

3.  Are you willing to hang on to the Sapphires so you can make a direct comparison...and then either sell them later...or hang on to them and send the X4's back

Also....some people say that both Sapphires and X's sound great out of the box...but more people report they it can take up to 200 hours to come into their own sound...maybe this is an issue for you...maybe not.

catluck

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #16 on: 18 Jun 2022, 01:15 pm »
Tyson, Ron, Daryl, and the rest of you:  from where did you come by your sound and good common sense, i.e., good judgment?  After re-reading all of the responses, questions, I'm now thinking I'll keep the M3's.  Listening now to Pee Wee Russell and just so happy.  Again, I thank the group for exposing my insidious tendency to "better."  I remember some years ago, I owned an Audio Research LS9? preamp and I loved it. Then I sold it to improve. Mistake. I thought I learned my lesson. Apparently not. Again, thanks to all for the thoughtful comments. So appreciated.

Mr. Big

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #17 on: 18 Jun 2022, 02:18 pm »
Tyson, Ron, Daryl, and the rest of you:  from where did you come by your sound and good common sense, i.e., good judgment?  After re-reading all of the responses, questions, I'm now thinking I'll keep the M3's.  Listening now to Pee Wee Russell and just so happy.  Again, I thank the group for exposing my insidious tendency to "better."  I remember some years ago, I owned an Audio Research LS9? preamp and I loved it. Then I sold it to improve. Mistake. I thought I learned my lesson. Apparently not. Again, thanks to all for the thoughtful comments. So appreciated.

"Listening now to Pee Wee Russell and just so happy"

You said it all, hang to them and keep enjoying them. Many have your sound then worry if there is something better, the always something better trap of us audiophiles, when you hit real good like you are enjoying, then after that, you are making a change for the sake of a change and a different type of sound. I did that by going from my Quads to the M3s. Never had OMG moment with the change because my Quads do what few speakers can do once set up right, but I did get enough of the things that the Quads did well with more ability to play louder, go deeper, and have a taller soundstage, while keeping 80% of what the Quads did best. So in my case, the change for a change's sake worked out OK, but I've had friends really screw up their systems and went into a totally make over of their system trying to get the magic they had back. So if you enjoy them then you reached the #1 goal of building a system.

RonN5

Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #18 on: 18 Jun 2022, 03:51 pm »
Because home audio never quite approximates what our brains think of as live music, its natural to keep searching for the ultimate only to realize that it is Unobtanium.  That doesn't mean that we can't upgrade and make our systems more enjoyable...sometimes changing an amp or a speaker...etc. can make a long term enjoyable difference.

My advice is to always keep what you have so you can compare it to what you are going to replace it with...and if it doesn't pan out, sell/return the new thing and just chalk up the cost to a fun learning experience.

And, there are always some of us that just want to change for the sake of change...and that is ok as well.


mick wolfe

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Re: Anybody Owned Both X4 and M3's?
« Reply #19 on: 18 Jun 2022, 04:33 pm »
That's a lessen I learned several years ago. Never sell the old component until you're absolutely sure the "new" component is truly better. But with that said, in the last several years I've actually kept the old components as well. I find rotating thru various combinations of gear keeps things fresh and interesting. More importantly though, keeps me from the constant upgraditis bug. Most everything I've bought in the last few years falls in the "tweak" category be it cables, footers, room treatments, etc. This also frees up more money for exploring new music.