M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers

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Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #20 on: 7 Sep 2020, 02:42 pm »
I might sell, but they would be local pickup up. I never chance to ship them. $4,000 in rebuild and power supply, plus the cost of the speakers. Kent at Electrostatic Solutions did the work, he is one of the best and cares about the work he does. He's got a good rep.

I am happy to say.

I finally read the manual! Really, Duh.

One suggestion made was 36" out front from wall to start, which I did.   It then stated wait 48 hours and either pull them further out 6" from the front wall, or back 6", whichever one gives you the most mid-bass and bass is the distance to keep. Meaning you were in a bass canceling zone, (nordal area in the room. The louder bass area is the better location.

Well in my room and I believe due to not having the wall behind me, going back 6" to 30" from the back wall made a huge difference, now they have bass, full rich and deep, I tried 33" also and that was good also, but the extra 3" back made it even more dynamic and full. Going to do the final measurements then put the spikes back on and see which way I like it the best.

I am so happy to hear the improvement, before sounds like all midrange and highs, like a small 2 way with lightweight mid-bass down. So in some rooms close to the back wall works better than further out. My room of course as bass traps and other diffusion panels. 

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #21 on: 12 Sep 2020, 05:01 pm »
After 6 days of playing them they have changed night and day, the woofers have opened up and become much more dynamic, deep and the midrange has gained body and the highs extended and airy. I will comment on this in a few weeks. How much change? I pulled the subs out of the system. I put the taller spikes on and that really made a positive effect, unlike when I first hooked them up using the shorter spike. In fact, I like no spikes, this is how much everything has improved.

Anyone who buys these speakers needs to allow time for those woofers to open up, if not you will want to give up, don't they only need time in use. The M3's are not thin or bright sounding, they are dynamic sounding, depending on your past speakers that can take some adjustment. Mid-bass has improved as the woofers loosened up. Much more output now from the lower mid-range down, but the clarity of the midrange and highs remains. Just listened to the Cleveland Orch under Szell. The sound was dead-on correct, the Orch and Szell had there own sound signature. It was reproduced properly.



I am sure these will continue to improve over the next month, so I will update this post then. So far these speakers are living up to the high expectations set by owners and reviewers, and Clayton himself. He has built a classic at a great price.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #22 on: 4 Oct 2020, 03:59 pm »
10/2/2020: The Spatial M3's continue to improve. No sub needed, in fact adding subs with these speakers really impairs the sound no matter the setting as low as 35 Hz, it throws the balance of the speaker off, Clayton also mentioned this that this could happen because you're adding back to the room what the OB speakers were designed to avoid. The Woofers on the M3's are just to fast and open. They actually made the speakers sound bright. Go figure. Another thing about these speakers, they tell you in a minute on any changes you make in your system down to the power cord powering the amplifier.

If I had to say one thing that took some time to adjust to is how open and boxless these speakers are, the music is just there in space with details, speed, and realism. I have them locked into my room now, but I am sure I try them a bit further apart to see if they can be further improved. But now I just want to sit back and enjoy them. All recordings sound fresh, with new insights, I would not call this speaker analytical, it an open window to the recording. Bass is strong but clean, a stand-up bass sounds natural, not slow or booming like a sealed bass tends to reproduce, sounds like a real stand up bass, light and agile at times, then a growl yet while remaining open sounding like life.

Vocals are another strong point, you hear all the nuances and the power of the vocal range. Highs are very open, in fact on a Dead Can Dance recording I heard the faintest ring of bells towards the end of one track, I've never heard them before. My journey with these speakers has been an education, how far they have come and improved and how I learned about them and setup, but also to follow Clayton advise, give them the much-needed time to break-in and you will be rewarded. Played some Telarc Classical recordings that I know quite well and the M3's nailed them with ease, no stress, no strain, no distortion, music just flowed I just felt like sitting back and enjoying the performance.

As far as I know, these still may not fully be delivering what they are capable of. I've not put the hours on them as many as stated they need. I am also now firm on these speakers sound better without the spikes in the front of the speaker in my room, not even close now. Improvements: More Dynamics, Presence, Better highs, and mid-bass and bottom end all now night and day better. Jim Smith wrote an article on spiking speakers and he found about the same as I have in my 35 years in this hobby, most of the time they do more harm than good. A kettle drum in back of the hall on a recording came to life without the spikes, sounded like the real deal, deeper, clearer and more dynamic.

https://www.psaudio.com/article/spiking-your-speakers-whats-the-point/

Along with my Quads ESL 63 speakers that were fully rebuilt from the power supply up, these are some of the best speakers I've heard/owned in 30 years in this hobby. Pictures of my room along with room treatments which I am sure really help me get the sound that I am enjoying, your room is always a big part of the final sound you hear. I can now fully and easily hear even a change of one power cord anywhere in the system, heard them before but not to such an extent. Tells you how transparent these speakers are without being bright. My question now is if I might add a tube preamp in the mix to go along with my McIntosh amp. PrimaLuna EVO 400 comes to mind.

geerock

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #23 on: 4 Oct 2020, 04:14 pm »
Mr. Big,
Consider a Don Sachs pre.  Custom made for you, uses the killer 6sn7 tubes, less expensive, and the tube circuit cruises along at a lower voltage so you aren't burning through tubes.  Prima Luna is a nice middle of the road piece but no one that I know have been anything but very pleased with the DS pre.  Just putting out another option for you.

Archguy

Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #24 on: 16 Oct 2020, 11:16 pm »
Thanks for the updates Mr Big. Very useful and informative.

abd1

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #25 on: 17 Oct 2020, 01:49 am »
Mr. Big,
Consider a Don Sachs pre.  Custom made for you, uses the killer 6sn7 tubes, less expensive, and the tube circuit cruises along at a lower voltage so you aren't burning through tubes.  Prima Luna is a nice middle of the road piece but no one that I know have been anything but very pleased with the DS pre.  Just putting out another option for you.

Agreed. Primaluna stuff is excellent too. However, I have the same preamp that's available for sale here and I love it.

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=172898.msg1827578#new

Archguy

Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #26 on: 17 Oct 2020, 11:12 pm »
^^^ That's a beautiful component.

Big Red Machine

Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #27 on: 18 Oct 2020, 12:37 am »
It's nice to see you have played around with these and kept showing improvements. Well done. I'd like to have a dang audio show again so I can listen to these OB's.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #28 on: 20 Nov 2020, 04:06 pm »
The M3 Sapphires are so good that if you purchase them you have to take the time to allow them to settle and a breaking-in. You also have to rethink, speaker cables and power cords that you built around your old speakers, that you took to the time to bring the best out of them.

What worked with my Quads work well with the M3's but after going to my closet of saved speaker cables and power cords, I inserted different ones and took note of the changes #1 these speakers can really do bottom end, from to much to, to light,  depending and the speaker cables, I finally found a good match with Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9,  power cords to the Amp PS Audio AC-12, same to the front end gear PS Audio re-generator P-12, from the 2 PS Audio Signature SC  power cords, with interconnects True Balanced Premier SE XLR Analog Interconnect.

These replaced other cables that brought out the best in my Quads which were limited in the top end extension, so my selections were cables that max out what the Quads were capable of. These were LessLoss Marc-C, Nordost Valhalla, C-Marc Power Cords, and Reference Power Cords (All good, C-Marc special). So big $$$ cables replaced to bring out the best of the M3's. Now I have the midrange clarity and naturalness of my Quads, but with a more extended top end that is now natural, and deep, deep bass and good midbass finally. I made the changes and then reverted them back played a recording of the Cleveland Orch. My wife used to usher at Severance Hall and knows the sound under George Szell quite well. Brahms Violin Concerto Violin Sonata No.3 David Oistrakh Violin.

Played the tracks once with my old setup and told her to listen, made the changes all at once, and replayed the same tracks, Within a minute she said that is much better, and once the movements got going and the full Orchestra came in, she said: "Now that is amazing, that now sounds like the Cleveland Orch". She said the warmth of their sound, the Violin has the sweetness, and the rosin details much better, not in your face to where you don't notice the Orchestra, lower Cellos, and Violas are now there. She said amazing the ear you have and how cables could impact the sound to such a degree, she said you guys are nuts! Smile!  So from my experience now with these speakers a few months almost, I can say they are what you feed them and what worked on your last speaker, may or may not work as well as possible with these speakers. My own experience is my systems and others, we are like good cooks, the experienced ones know how to build a system, and to bring out the best in a system, and much like the cooking and spicing it to our liking and the added plus for sound the accuracy to the point where if you know the sound of a live performance and the sound of the Orchestra.

From day 1 till today the is no comparison of the sound today, they went from sounding good to sounding superb. The factor is the cost, these are way best good, they can sound like speakers with the boxes that would set you back 25K and not sound as big, and natural and I have auditioned them, and every time said to myself boy my Quads kill these in so many ways. I can say this about the Spatial Audio M3 Sapphires now.

To end. The guy who purchased my Quads ESL 63's owned the Quad 57's and his cables were built around those speakers, with the Electrostatic Solutions rebuild of my 63's which have more extension top and bottom, compared to what he heard at my house, they sounded a touch thin. I knew what speaker cables he used and I had tried them myself and did not like them, I wrote him to say purchase the speaker cables that I used for my Quads, he did and wrote back much better, the thinness is gone, and the bass is much more present and fuller, the same situation new speaker may need a new setup position and different cables to bring out the best in your new speaker. He also needed some corner traps and a few other panels for the front wall behind the speakers, a brick wall is never good. The 57's does not radiate from the back as strong as the front like the 63's, so that is a change he will have to make to get them to sound like they did in my house when he picked them up. He will get them right I'm sure.

So if some say the M3's sound hollow, or bright and forward, that not necessarily the way it has to be, it's telling you what you feeding it with and is just giving you the sound you sending to the speaker. Now I can sit back and relax, oh by the way I played a big Band recording this morning and it blew me out of my chair almost, dynamics, weight and power of the horns, and the feel and swing of it all were there in spades. Not just the "sound" of recorded instruments, but the real instruments with color and tone much like the real thing.  :)

Hope this helps all.
« Last Edit: 4 Jan 2021, 06:25 am by Mr. Big »

VistaBlue

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #29 on: 20 Nov 2020, 05:06 pm »
From day 1 till today the is no comparison of the sound today, they went from sounding good to sounding superb.
How many hours are on your speakers from Day 1 till today?

After how many hours of playing time did they first sound superb (notwithstanding your change of cabling)?

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #30 on: 20 Nov 2020, 06:36 pm »
Hours On them how about 100 or so as a good estimate. 50-hour mark with the older cable setup up, then at around 75 till yesterday evening when I switched cables around. Even just the power cords, which to me gives you the biggest improvement in any system because they impact the power supply in any gear you connect them to. The speaker surely tells you what you're feeding your gear with while many box speakers due to colorations from crossovers and bass influencing the sound, may not stick out as much, but the Spatial designs like a good electrostatic speaker tell you clearly the impact of such changes. Does not hurt to know how each power cord or cable impacts the sound of your system which is why I save sets and store them for "future" use if needed. Today I switched out a cartridge and the sound changed again, as it should be it was clear of the change, then I switched my setting on the Marantz SA-10S1 SACD player, DAC, from setting 1 (default) in the dither to off, and sure it enough as I knew and faster and tighter, brighter sound, where the default gives you a balance with more body, great for lesser recordings but less in your face dynamics, your choice depending on your system or recording, nice to have, its no different than changing a cartridge or tonearm, or your VTA settings. Which gives you a more open sound, a more relaxed sound, more highs or more bass, MM or MC? again another choice of reproduction. The M3's are musical, but you can really build upon that by taking the time over a few months to see if you cannot tweak them and make them even better. They can sound "live" without sounding aggressive, and many new designs today sad to say sound hype up and unnatural, not to mention the skinny widths today used and when you have a Quad with radiates a wide sound field from each speaker, it makes those other speakers sound like toys as far a real size, tone, and color of the instruments of the many I auditioned, great air and detail, but it ends there as far as the good. Legacy speakers at least keep the weight, tone, and color on their designs through the bass can be heavy if not in the right room or set up right. Cannot just put speakers in a spot and say that is good enough, live with them and learn them.

VistaBlue

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #31 on: 20 Nov 2020, 06:39 pm »
Hours On them how about 100 or so as a good estimate.
Thank you.

Others have mentioned up to 300 hours, so your data point is appreciated.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #32 on: 20 Nov 2020, 07:03 pm »
Possible they will improve more, but they sound excellent right now, if they improve...wow!

morganc

Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #33 on: 20 Nov 2020, 08:37 pm »
My X-5's, which I bought used and must have had a few hundred hours or more as they were 3 months old, continued to open up for a few months, and that was with me playing them loud all the time when I was not home with a very high wattage amp. 

Agreed with Mr. Big on component and cable matching to fine tune the "taste".  Great analogy :-)