I first heard and fell in love with the Spatial Lumina L2 at RMAF 2018. Fed by Vinnie Rossie’s outstanding electronics, the Spatial room was easily my show fave and was also the favorite room for my friends. We were not alone: https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2018/10/12/rmaf-2018-spatial-audio-vinnie-rossi-innuos-and-anticables/
. Given the great reception they received, and given how great they sound, it seems odd that there are no reviews and little on-line attention since that show.
As of RMAF 2018, I was very patiently in the market for new speakers. I was looking for an end game or, at least, ten to fifteen year speaker. I was in no hurry, however, because I owned Aerial Model 9s which are very nice. My short list at that time was the Vandersteen 5A Carbon (if I could find it used) or Quattro CT and the Harbeth 40.2. Daedalus Apollos and Devore Gibbon Xs were also a possibility. After RMAF, Spatial was on my radar, but the L2 was well out of my price range. I had heard the X2 and while it is an excellent speaker, it was not exactly what I was looking for. After some emailing with Clayton, I grew interested in the forthcoming X1 mk2. As I was in no hurry to upgrade, my plan was to visit SLC when the new X1 came out and see how it compared to the other speakers on my list.
In April, a pair of nearly new L2s were put on sale for a great price. I immediately snatched them up and they were delivered to my house in early May. Since then, I have spent literally hundreds of hours listening to them. My pair is red and I think they look great. Kind of like modern art pieces. My wife likes the look as well, which always helps.
The L2s are set up in a 16’ x 24’ by 7.5’ not dedicated listening room. I have two soffit bass traps on the front wall behind a beam and no other treatments, although the blinds covering the many windows in that room are ribbed and seem to provide some diffusion. I set them up 62” from the front wall and 24” from the side wall with a fair amount of toe in. Power is provided by an Ayre AX-5/20 integrated. I play Tidal and local files upsampled to dsd 512 by Roon with a Sonore Signature Rendu feeding a Lampizator Atlantic DAC. I use all anti-cables interconnects, power cords, and cables.
I am a huge music fanatic who cares about good sound, but am no audio expert. I do, however, follow the forums and attend RMAF every year, so I have a good idea of what the market offers. I like a wide variety of music. Alt/indie rock is my core, but I also listen to lots of electronic music, jazz, funk/rnb/soul, hip hop, metal, etc. I enjoy most every style but classical and commercial/cheese country.
Three things stand out with the Luminas. First, the soundstage is jaw dropping. It is wall to wall in width and extremely deep. It is open and spacious and a true wall of sound. The images are fully 3-d and holographic. My friend Jeff calls it atmospheric, which I think is right on. I have never heard anything quite like it. Second, they are extremely dynamic and punchy. The transients are spooky real. My dogs who have never reacted to the stereo before bark and lunge at sounds floating in space. Third, the bass is unique and wonderful. It is deep and impactful, but I have heard that on many good systems. What is unique is the texture and nuance and variety of bass tones. The opposite of one note bass. Somehow, the bass is prominent yet part of an entirely coherent sound with no boom or mid-range smear. The combo of OB design and servo subs is the real deal and probably produces the best most interesting bass I have heard. It provides a wonderful warm foundation for the rest of the music.
After living with the Luminas for several months now, there are additional aspects of the sound that I have come to appreciate. In particular, I have come to greatly appreciate the rich juicy tonally dense mid-range. Tone and timbre are on the money. While I have not done a side by side with the Harbeth (and its famous mids), I would be surprised if the Saptials were surpassed by the Harbeths in that area. The highs are quite extended, but never bright or grainy or fatigue inducing ( and I am sensitive to bright and listener fatigue). They are somehow both smooth and not rolled off. They are very detailed, and actually give the impression that every scrap of recorded sound is being presented. At the same time, however, they are entirely musical. The detail is natural and not etched or analytical at all.
The combination of a huge spacious and open soundstage, refined yet powerful bass, punchy dynamics, and juicy midrange all add up to a near live music experience. With any decent recording, the Spatials create an impression of a musician or band in the room. I find the presentation to be supremely musical and engaging. These come as close to sounding like live music as I have ever heard from recorded music, except perhaps when listening to some stratospherically expensive systems at RMAF (Vandy 7s w/ARC and VS w/VAC come to mind).
I was concerned that the L2s would not excel with rock as I had read that OBs were not great rock speakers. As it turns out, there was no cause for concern. Rock sounds great on the Spatials as such music really benefits from the quick dynamic response and physically impactful bass. In fact, on my first extended listening session, we gravitated toward heavy rock like Mastodon and Sonic Youth. Even often hard to reproduce music such as music with a very high pitched female voice (say, St. Vincent or Kate Bush) and acoustic piano (I love Keith Jarret) are presented with ease and without any sharp edges. All styles are well served, but I think small ensemble acoustic jazz sounds the very best. The space and air and holographic imaging create the feeling of being in a little jazz club listening to the masters.
So, as I am sure I made clear, I have the very highest possible opinion of these speakers. I absolutely love them. Before hearing Spatial, I had no interest in OBs. I had heard a few at RMAF and was not impressed. What Clayton does with the technology, however, is truly special. If I had not found a good deal on the L2, I know that I would be giving the new X and M line models a close look. I am fairly certain those are special speakers as well.