Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions

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ric

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Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« on: 25 Jan 2017, 03:43 pm »
I was looking to upgrade my Dunlavy SCIII's since after 17years I decided to bite the bullet and "downgrade" from the $4000 late 90's to the $2700 current day M3's. First impression were that the Dunlavy's imaged better and disappeared easier, and had a more detailed soundstage BUT, the M3's were more emotionally engaging, more like a live event, more palpable, meaning for instance when a snaredrum is hit, I get the sensation, more of a midrange fullness that feels more--real.
     At first I found myself wanting a bit more fullness coming from outside the speakers--perhaps where box speakers can give an image coming a foot or two from outside the box. But then my VAC integrated EL34's warmed up after about 3 hours, and WHAM, I was not hearing any void outside the speakers or anywhere else. This is all WITH my subs, since to be fair, I ran the Dunlavy's that way, and would not miss the lowest notes. When listening to a jazz ensemble, WOW, it was more like being at a concert as the open baffles seem to energize the room, and, as I said there was more of a palpable, organic sensation. Whatever you call it, PRAT, etc., it seems that the M3's at this point mated with the tubes very very well. There was no sense of congestion from turning the volume up, but I could hear the cd player, whereas with the 91db Dunlavys it was dead quiet. BUT with the sound this good, I can forgive some of the noise I'm hearing when it's quiet--more the fault of the tightly packed integrated amp.
     So, I bought these slightly used, from an owner who did not like the sound. I can only assume that his amp was not a good match, or perhaps the room or whatever, OR he really wants to hear the razor sharp imaging and hyper detail of many other speakers. As for me, these speakers will be staying put, perhaps for another 17 years.

Shakeydeal

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jan 2017, 05:11 pm »
Thanks for the review. What you describe sounds very much like what I hear with my GR Research Super Vs. As for why the guy didn't like your speakers, it's all subjective. And it's a good thing people get bored and move on. How else would we get screaming deals on used gear?

Shakey


marksas

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #2 on: 25 Jan 2017, 06:01 pm »
Congrats!  I was eyeing those before going in a different direction and settling on a pair of Tektons.

Got any pics?

mcgsxr

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #3 on: 25 Jan 2017, 06:10 pm »
Congrats on the purchase, and thanks for sharing.

Always fun to hear another's take on an open baffle speaker.

Ric Schultz

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jan 2017, 01:58 am »
If you want way more detail out of your speakers you can mod them.  Simply remove the xover from the speaker and measure the values and make your own outboard xover using better caps, coils, resistors and wire.  And because the xover is not being vibrated by the speaker and the wires are not running though the speaker and around the drivers you get even mo betta sound.  Then you can damp the backs of the speaker struts with EARSD40AL material (Michael Percy Audio sells it) for mo betta bass and clarity in the bottom as well.  All the super parts and wire would run you around $600 or so.....and you could go back to the stock still installed xovers anytime you like.  I talked to Clayton months ago about doing this as a product and he thought it would be a good idea.  However, in pretty boxes, etc. expect to pay close to $2500.......you can do it cheaper yourself.   However, finding parts to match the sound of the drivers is not a simple task....but I bet you could make them sound way, way better without much effort.   Some parts to consider are Clarity Cap CMR caps with jupiter copper foil bypasses, 12 gauge Jantzen wax foil coils, Dueland resistors and wire from VH Audio or Zenwave.

At the price Clayton is selling these speakers he cannot use parts like described above.......but you can use anything you like.....the beauty of open baffle speakers.....you can tweak them without removing drivers.  Once you have the outboard xovers you can retweak them anything real fast.  Lots of fun, for those inclined.

mr_bill

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jan 2017, 01:41 pm »
No matter how you slice it, Dunlavy III's are really great speakers - even if they are older.

ric

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jan 2017, 03:05 pm »
I'd love to hear the mods, but I just don't have the knowhow. Thanks for the info.! Will file it away.

In answer to the Dunlavy's, yeah there are some recordings that they just nail. Being ruthlessly accurate, when it's right, they sound great!  I put on Gladiator (more music from) and unfortunately the M3's did not come up to the task, but through the Dunlavy's the sound is tremedous. Unfortunately I'll be selling them, as the M3's win--but not without tradeoffs.

zybar

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jan 2017, 03:08 pm »
I'd love to hear the mods, but I just don't have the knowhow. Thanks for the info.! Will file it away.

In answer to the Dunlavy's, yeah there are some recordings that they just nail. Being ruthlessly accurate, when it's right, they sound great!  I put on Gladiator (more music from) and unfortunately the M3's did not come up to the task, but through the Dunlavy's the sound is tremedous. Unfortunately I'll be selling them, as the M3's win--but not without tradeoffs.

Just curious...in what way do the M3's come up short on the Gladiator Soundtrack?

I use a few cuts from that excellent soundtrack for evaluating gear (as well as general enjoyment) and thought that the M3's strengths are really highlighted.

George

ric

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #8 on: 26 Jan 2017, 04:11 pm »
I'm not sure. Through the Dunlavy's with a two bass sub everything was working--the bass slam, the detail of instruments, the speaker boundaries kind of disappeared. The sound was clean, incisive, and the bass was subterranean (see track 9).
I have noticed with the M3's that there are certain recordings that do not sound as good by comparison. It may be that the M3's provide a more upfront presentation, and so far I have found them to be amazing on most jazz and classical. There is another recording (Kelley Joe Phelps) that is just voice and dobro (blues) and is very closely miked. Through the Dunlavy's there was a you are there presence, but with the M3's the sound is not as tight nor as detailed and the presentation is perhaps too up front by comparison.
It may be that my amp (VAC Avatar integrated EL34) is a bit too weighted toward a midrange, as I may have tried to make it more ballsey in compensation for the Dunlavy's very neutral sound. I have the (not oldstock) Tungsols in them, so tube rolling may be in order at some point.
Hope this helps. Thanks!

Steven Stone

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #9 on: 26 Jan 2017, 04:28 pm »
Having owned Dunlavy SC V! for many years and now with the M3 Turbo S, I suggest moving the Spatials around some - they did not end up in the same locations as my Dunlavys. Also I would suggest not using a low-frequncy cut-off crossover with the Spatials and allow their bass to roll off naturally. If your Dunlavys had the original tweeters the Spatials should have a great deal more upper mid and lower treble than the Dunlavys...perhaps more than your system wants...

ric

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #10 on: 26 Jan 2017, 04:48 pm »
Thanks I'll try that. I'll experiment a bit more but they did end up in exactly the same position as with the Dunlavy's. The sub is done using DSpeaker coming directly off the terminals, so I don't think it's interfered TOO much with the Spatials. But I will, with further listening sessions, no doubt try other positioning, etc. Thanks so much!

Shakeydeal

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #11 on: 26 Jan 2017, 05:46 pm »
I'm not sure. Through the Dunlavy's with a two bass sub everything was working--the bass slam, the detail of instruments, the speaker boundaries kind of disappeared. The sound was clean, incisive, and the bass was subterranean (see track 9).
I have noticed with the M3's that there are certain recordings that do not sound as good by comparison. It may be that the M3's provide a more upfront presentation, and so far I have found them to be amazing on most jazz and classical. There is another recording (Kelley Joe Phelps) that is just voice and dobro (blues) and is very closely miked. Through the Dunlavy's there was a you are there presence, but with the M3's the sound is not as tight nor as detailed and the presentation is perhaps too up front by comparison.
It may be that my amp (VAC Avatar integrated EL34) is a bit too weighted toward a midrange, as I may have tried to make it more ballsey in compensation for the Dunlavy's very neutral sound. I have the (not oldstock) Tungsols in them, so tube rolling may be in order at some point.
Hope this helps. Thanks!


What you describe would make me want to keep the Dunlavys.

Shakey


I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #12 on: 26 Jan 2017, 06:33 pm »
Your experience with the M3's mirrors mine.  I had a pair of the older models with the older crossover and I found them not as detailed as my Magnepan 1.6's.  They sounded great with jazz and vocals.  They definitely need a sub.  Bass was not nearly as punchy or controlled as my Magnepans which hit harder and are more musical.  The M3's are a very nice speaker though and I really found no fault with them except for bass.  And I was running them with my Pass X250 amp (500 wpc) and BAT preamp

schw06

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #13 on: 26 Jan 2017, 07:00 pm »
Your experience with the Magnepans mirrors mine.  I had a pair of the older models with the older crossover and I found them not as detailed as my M3 turbo's.  They sounded great with jazz and vocals.  They definitely need a sub.  Bass was not nearly as punchy or controlled as my M3's which hit harder and are more musical.  The Magnepans are a very nice speaker though and I really found no fault with them except for bass.  And I was running them with my Pass X250 amp (500 wpc) and BAT preamp
My experience between the M3's and Magnepan 3.7's is literally the opposite so I just switched the words in Greyhound's post. I'm not trying to be snarky but want to just emphasize that a LOT goes into a system (room size and interaction, setup, listening preferences, and associated equipment etc...) and a few differences can mean a dramatic change in what you hear and ultimately prefer. I find the M3's incredibly capable with bass and have zero desire for subs (room is 17x24x10). The M3's are definitely capable of outstanding bass but may not be playing nice in the sandbox with your room or associated equipment. The bass is not percussive, thumpy, or bloated. It is proportioned, articulate, and detailed IMO.

jtwrace

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #14 on: 26 Jan 2017, 07:08 pm »
My experience between the M3's and Magnepan 3.7's is literally the opposite so I just switched the words in Greyhound's post. I'm not trying to be snarky but want to just emphasize that a LOT goes into a system (room size and interaction, setup, listening preferences, and associated equipment etc...) and a few differences can mean a dramatic change in what you hear and ultimately prefer. I find the M3's incredibly capable with bass and have zero desire for subs (room is 17x24x10). The M3's are definitely capable of outstanding bass but may not be playing nice in the sandbox with your room or associated equipment. The bass is not percussive, thumpy, or bloated. It is proportioned, articulate, and detailed IMO.
And this AC member does agree with you.  That review is before I just added another $1.5k of treatments.   :green:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=144142.msg1579461#msg1579461

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #15 on: 26 Jan 2017, 07:43 pm »
Certainly the room and speaker placement does play an important part.  Electronics also count.  I moved the M3's around and my Maggies still hit harder.  Maybe I just didn't have the proper positioning but don't read too much into what I am saying about the bass of the M3's.  I am not saying that they were bass shy.  Just in comparison to the 1.6's, bass was better with my 1.6's. My room is 17x17 with 10 ft ceilings, wood floors and lots of windows.  I am not a bass fanatic and certainly, the bass in my system is not muddy, bloated or overblown.  My subs are crossed over at 45hz and integrate seamlessly to fill in the bottom end lending to a slightly fuller sound and wider sound stage.

I liked the M3's but not enough to displace my 1.6's.  The M3's are still an excellent buy and peoples tastes are different.

ric

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #16 on: 27 Jan 2017, 02:49 pm »
In response to liking the Dunlavy's better, certainly that's subjective, but I was trying to say that a few "go to" cd's did not sound as good. Conversely, the Istanbul cd by Jordi Savall has always sounded somewhat muted on the Dunlavy's now sounds very good on M3's. There seems to be a synergy between the recording and the speaker--of course, that's why reviewers have their references.
Yesterday as per suggestion, I played around with the M3's placement, and they are further away from what could have been considered more nearfield listening, to great affect. I even took out my cheap laser level and toed the speakers much more accurately than sighting them, also to great affect. Cymbal shots, drum toms, etc., depending on the mix, are now very locked in, and I am so impressed. I also moved them so that the distance from the rear and sidewalls are more precise. I was thinking that my homemade Shakti Hallowgraphs might not be necessary with the open baffle speakers, and even though they are not quite as noticeable as with the Dunlavy's, they still make a difference. Which means I can toe in or out the ostensible center image depending on the type of ensemble or orchestra. I am loving these....

5acres

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #17 on: 28 Jan 2017, 08:56 pm »
Maybe OT, but I'm going to look at buying some used M3 turbo S speakers soon but want to make sure they are the turbo S model rather than the turbo. Other than online photo's I haven't seen them "in the flesh" so could someone please let me know how I can physically  tell the differences between the two?
Something obvious like stating it's a turbo S on the rear ID plate or identifing the new M25 compression driver used by the S model?

Thanks


md92468

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #18 on: 28 Jan 2017, 09:21 pm »
I believe only the Turbo S versions have the upgraded WBT nextgen binding posts...

ric

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Re: Spatial M3 Turbo S, layperson first impressions
« Reply #19 on: 28 Jan 2017, 09:47 pm »
Yes, mine say turbo s on the speaker.