M3 Sapphires Arrive Today

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Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #20 on: 15 Sep 2020, 07:09 pm »
Today I finally found the best spot for the M3 in my room, after moving them in and out, closer and then further from my seat, and then after these breaking in, I wound up about where I had my Quads, and this spot when I first received them was the spot I felt the bass/Mid-Bass was lacking. Well no more. I played a big symphony Dvorak Symphony No. 7. This was one of the recordings I played on day one, so I felt this be a good one to see how far these speakers had come. Well, night and day might be a touch rich, but dam close. The weight was there now, the Tympani drum was there and the more realistic that I've ever heard it, the low rosin tone of the cellos was nicely rendered in fact the whole section was there now in full. The midrange was still very open, and alive, so the improvement in the mid-bass down did not color the midrange on up. This recording sounded like a Merurcy Living Presence should, Next, I played the same movement but now from the Cleveland Orch, under George Zell, they had their own sound, and being from Cleveland I have heard the Cleveland Orch, and this recording came across as the orch. sounds, rich full and 100% Cleveland Orch, the recording is typical for Columbia back then, a touch hot in the strings, but the M3's still gave you an enjoyable listening, even with the slight touch of the strings being hot on this recording, not the speakers.   

The big thing about these speakers and well any speaker is finding the right spot to make them work in your room. I had them more spread out and toed in so the hit me between my neck and shoulder. I then toed them in another 1/4" and the sound stage lock-in, but I was still feeling something was not as focused and as could be, so I walked behind my chair, about 18" and listened and sure enough, the whole presentation was lock-in and sounded like you were listening to a full-sized orch as one would live. This told me I had to pull the speakers close to getting this same imaging and sound, so 3" in for each speaker, checked toes-in and played the recordings again and bam nailed it, Speed, Dynamics, Bottom End, all there.

2nd thing I've learned depending on your seating and distance, you have to try both sizes of spikes, in my room the smaller set makes the tweeter hit me to direct and throws off the balance so more upper midrange and highs, take the spikes off and just use the cone fit that you interest the spike into brings a big improvement in presence, and dynamics, I could live with that, but I added the taller spikes and kept a lot of what I liked with no spikes, but gained in detail in the bottom end. So for now the tall spikes are my choice.

I've read where some say the vocals sound hollow, well it's not the speaker it is your setup, your tilt is off on the speaker from where you are sitting, so if you're using the short spikes, then try the taller ones, also toe-in you must play with it, so in other words, its takes no time and effort to get them right and NO different than any other good speaker.

Everything Clayton says about his speakers is a fact, we cannot hear them at a dealer so it is good to know what he says is not just a sale pitch but honest information. On top of that he willing to talk with you, and in fact called me to see how the speakers were coming along and answer some questions that I had but had no info to understand some of my concerns about toe-in and how it affects this speaker, etc. He answered every question and give me all the time I needed. The main thing he said and something he hears a lot is where the bottom end, and in almost every case they call him back in a month and said "I am glad I allowed the time to let the woofers break-in. Well, I can a test to that, add me to the list. Buy these expect a break-in period that just the nature of the beast. These speakers also do not break up as the dynamics increase, sometimes, I have to turn the volume down because they can soar as the music demands it, getting used to this dynamic range takes some getting used to. Finally, my wife says "they really sound good" that means a lot because she is not an Audiophile, she just enjoys the music, but today she said from downstairs the Cleveland Orch sounds terrific it sounds like they are in Severance Hall. (This is where they perform). Great acoustics.

A friend of mine purchased  Shanahan speakers and they told him about a year, in fact, warned him, the speaker has 17 drivers, I spoke with him about mine, and he said Clayton is most likely right, his took almost a year to come into there own. So he told me also to hang in. Also, corner bass traps are a must, they are misunderstood by the general public, they don't kill bass they improve bass, Clayton suggests for me to by a 2nd pair and use them from floor to ceiling in the 2 corners behind the speaker, I may try that down the road, the pair I have now are doing just fine to my ear if it keeps getting better wow!

Well to end this, I will say those who own these know how good they are, for the money a value off the charts. I am sure over the next 2-3 weeks this will continue to improve. They love my McIntosh 400 watt, the ease and dynamics are unmatched in any speaker I've owned, perhaps my Dynaudio Confidence 5's were good in that area, but not close to the M3's. I also must note due to the size and weight these are easy to move and position by oneself in fact easy even when the spikes are on, you can toe them in and out with ease. Even moving them side to side is doable.

So if you have interest in open baffle speakers, then give Clayton a call, he will help you pick the right speaker for your room, for mine, it was the M3"s not the X-series. and he was correct. Call me one happy customer, and glad I took a chance on these speakers, hang in with them learn them, set them upright, and then sit back and enjoy for many, many years to come. The only change I may make is to add a tube preamp, just to see what tubes might add. Speakers, I think I am finished for a long time. I have 2 world-class sounding speakers now the Quads ESL 63's and the M3's. Not sure I'll keep 2 sets so I might sell the Quads and just enjoy the M3's, and let someone else enjoy my Quads who may have never heard them in their life.

Hope my feedback is helpful to folks with an interest in OB speakers.  :D


Grahamps

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #21 on: 16 Sep 2020, 01:13 am »
Thank you! Your feedback is very valuable! To echo your friend, I'd fully expect drivers of such high resolve in an inherently uncolored design to keep revealing improvement in the function and movements of all the materials. In my most stable systems, I've continued to extract higher levels of performance over the course of years... years of playing, tweaking, and trying things with what I have. Anyhow, I remain positive that a pair of M3 Sapphires is a solid choice! Your comments are welcomed!

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #22 on: 16 Sep 2020, 01:15 am »
Great to hear the speakers have met, and even exceeded, your expectations. A couple of things: why did you go for the M series rather than the X's? And have you listened to the Quad's since you got the SA's? I ask this because my experience with "burn-in" was nowhere near as dramatic as yours but I constantly shuffled between the new speakers and my other ones during this period so I had a constant reference to compare the SA's to; in other words, it wasn't just a matter of my becoming accustomed to the new speakers' sound.

If you can afford to, I would suggest you hang on to the Quad's as well as the M3's. If you sell, I'll wager that sometime in the future you'll be playing some recording and thinking wistfully how beautiful it sounded on the stats and that you can't quite replicate it with the new speakers.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #23 on: 16 Sep 2020, 04:21 am »

Jean, Went with the Sapphires over the X series after speaking with the Clayton and sending him pictures of my room. He said they would work better. He designs the speakers so he knows. No you don't become accustomed to a speaker when at 1st its sounds rolled off in the mid-bass and lows, if that was an issue it would stay unless you stuffed them right into a corner, I put them back to where the Quads were and where I started when I 1st  received them, no contest after the woofer broke in some.

Yes, the Quads design does things other speakers cannot, but the M3's after they fully get those drivers broken in, or as Clayton says loosened up from use and those woofers take some time, and I am not fully there yet they will be very enjoyable. I may well keep the Quads but I am not sure I want to keep switching speakers back and forth. I missed my Dynaudio speakers at times while I had the Quads, but I still sold the Dynaudio and the buyers were so happy to own them, so excellent speakers to another good home. Quads if I sell will be a local pickup.

I am not a gear junkie, I buy good gear, work with it and bring out the best, and the room is a HUGE part of it. Drivers do break in, any speakers manufacture will tell you that, it's a given, but placement is important also, and having a loft in my home affords me to set up a system for just audio use, so no big-screen TV in-between the speakers of furniture to the sides of them. The room may not be a large family room, but it large enough for decent-sized speakers to work well, and with no walls behind me where I sit I do not get back waves bouncing behind me.   

Having the Quads gives you a great speaker to use as a reference, If the M3's were not my cup of tea, after owning the Quads I return them or sell them, but they are very, very good speakers and a nice transition from Quads, this does not mean the Quads are inferior, but then the Quads can not do something that the M3's can. Like any speaker, there are always some trade-offs. Just 2 weeks with the M3's, I see how they do in a few more weeks. Jean, thanks for your feedback.

9/17/2010. The Deeper bass is starting to show itself.
« Last Edit: 17 Sep 2020, 07:43 am by Mr. Big »

NeilBlanchard

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #24 on: 16 Sep 2020, 04:41 pm »
I am particularly interested in the M100 tweeter in these - they call it a point source. What about it makes it a point source?

I think that having a driver that covers 5+ octaves is a good thing, and if it is anything like my Linaeum LT1000 speakers (the TLS tweeter is crossed over at 440Hz), you can't know how well this can work until you hear it.

I don't know how big drivers, particularly in an open baffle - work to cover the lower midrange. Do both the woofers cover the same frequencies?

sockpit

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #25 on: 17 Sep 2020, 01:10 am »
One woofer is said to roll off to meet the m100.  The other operates 90 and below.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #26 on: 17 Sep 2020, 07:41 am »
Neil,

Clayton talks about the tweeter and more of the design on a YouTube video.

NeilBlanchard

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #27 on: 17 Sep 2020, 03:21 pm »
Okay, thanks. So the upper woofer is crossed at about 576Hz, and the lower one at about 90Hz. Kind of a 2 1/2 way design?

I will look for the video(s) on the tweeter. As I said, I think that tweeters that crossover low, are a good thing.

NeilBlanchard

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Re: M3 Sapphires' tweeter
« Reply #28 on: 17 Sep 2020, 05:06 pm »
I think I found the tweeter used in the M3 Sapphires - Peerless DA32TX00-08

Parts Express has them on sale for $64: https://www.parts-express.com/peerless-da32tx00-08-1-1-4-corundum-dome-tweeter--264-1678

They have the resonance frequency at 573Hz, and yes they have response out to 40kHz, but there is some serious ringing at about 26-34kHz; with a 13-14dB spike at ~27kHz. Very flat on axis from 1kHz to 22-23kHz. The Mms is just 0.54 gram - I can see a big part of why the M3 Sapphires are well reviewed.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #29 on: 17 Sep 2020, 07:18 pm »
Neil, One point to remember Clayton had tweeter build to his spec for his use in an open box design speaker. It's like the Dynaudio tweeters used for their own speakers and then ones sold on the open market.

Spatial Audio

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Re: M3 Sapphires' tweeter
« Reply #30 on: 18 Sep 2020, 12:11 am »
I think I found the tweeter used in the M3 Sapphires - Peerless DA32TX00-08

Parts Express has them on sale for $64: https://www.parts-express.com/peerless-da32tx00-08-1-1-4-corundum-dome-tweeter--264-1678


They have the resonance frequency at 573Hz, and yes they have response out to 40kHz, but there is some serious ringing at about 26-34kHz; with a 13-14dB spike at ~27kHz. Very flat on axis from 1kHz to 22-23kHz. The Mms is just 0.54 gram - I can see a big part of why the M3 Sapphires are well reviewed.


Hello Neil,
The Spatial M100 driver is based on the Peerless DA32, but with many changes so the we can safely crossover over very low in frequency. The ringing you mention at 24kHz is the first breakup mode of the diaphragm. Stiff diaphragms usually have a more pronounced looking breakup resonant peak, but is above the audio band (20Khz), so its not a problem. Soft domes have damped, low Q breakup behavior but start the breakup well below 20kHz, in the audible region. So, the light, stiff diaphragm is superior in my view. Listening quality indicates a cleaner and more extended treble response without harshness or metallic colorations.

Clayton

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #31 on: 18 Sep 2020, 02:18 am »

I am not a gear junkie, I buy good gear, work with it and bring out the best, and the room is a HUGE part of it. Drivers do break in, any speakers manufacture will tell you that, it's a given, but placement is important also, and having a loft in my home affords me to set up a system for just audio use, so no big-screen TV in-between the speakers of furniture to the sides of them. The room may not be a large family room, but it large enough for decent-sized speakers to work well, and with no walls behind me where I sit I do not get back waves bouncing behind me.   

Having the Quads gives you a great speaker to use as a reference, If the M3's were not my cup of tea, after owning the Quads I return them or sell them, but they are very, very good speakers and a nice transition from Quads, this does not mean the Quads are inferior, but then the Quads can not do something that the M3's can. Like any speaker, there are always some trade-offs. Just 2 weeks with the M3's, I see how they do in a few more weeks. Jean, thanks for your feedback.


I certainly sympathize with your longing to simply buy a good system and then forget about it, using it just to access your music and not letting the gear distract you. My argument in favour of having more than one set of speakers is that doing so enhances the listening experience because different speakers offer a different mix of attributes, some of which are better suited to certain types of music than others. If you confine yourself to one pair, you're often confining the range of music that you listen to. For instance, if I only listened to my SA's I would probably shy away from a lot of pop recordings because they sound shrieky and unpleasant, without the countervailing bass power and weight they need to come alive. So I play those recordings through my Barefoot MM12's, which have the attributes to bring out the best in those recordings. But on unhyped, unequalized recordings the SA's can sound amazingly vivid and present, to a degree I've never heard from any other speaker or headphone. Now it appears you listen mostly to classical music and I agree with you that the SA's excel with this music: the sense of an orchestra swelling behind the speakers I find particularly riveting. And for some reason they sound far more full-bodied with unamplified music than they do with processed productions. I've had to revise my conception of reproduced sound after hearing the SA's but it's left me with a lot of unanswered questions. Are they exaggerating the impression of "liveness" and transparency or are they simply peeling away the veiling which other speakers impose on the music? Are they simply revealing the harshness of many recordings or are they adding this to the sound? If they sounded harsh all the time I would opt for the latter but they often sound beautifully sweet and smooth. Are they exaggerating the differences between recordings or are they just naturally reproducing these differences in a way that evades more polite transducers? At the moment I don't know but I feel the need to also have speakers with a more relaxed and comfortable sound just to make less-than-stellar recordings to be more listenable.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #32 on: 20 Sep 2020, 02:31 pm »
Jean, Processed music should like processed over-compressed music. Can't blame the speakers for that.

When I get the speakers set up right I only then play recordings made in the era of being real and natural. The recordings I've played and heard from 8 years old. This is when the rubber meets the road and the speakers.  50's Elvis, Sinatra, Late to Early 50's Billie Holiday, then Dead Can Dance for well recorded pop music that is electronically production by design. My wife said it best, these speakers were made for Elvis and Frank, she said I've never heard them sound so in-room and real. She asked for Peace In The Valley, and put that track on and even I stop in my tracks, I never heard it sound this real with the Jordanaires right in the same space and present as if your in the room with them both.

Frank sings one for my baby and one for the road was just like you were there.  Billie Holiday's voice changes from session to session, the small jazz group recordings from the early '50s will tell you a lot about a speaker, and the M3 nail it.  The Dead Can Dance recording showed off the production values, where never sounding real as its intent compared to the recording and artist I mention, it never the less sounded as good as I heard it even against my Quads, Quads are a star in the mid-range, and that any speaker can give them a run that says a lot about the M3"s.

My speakers are still breaking in, I will not use the spikes, I like them much, much better without them, and they shine without them. No contest in my room if I were to use them it be the taller of the set of spikes.

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Arrive Today
« Reply #33 on: 22 Sep 2020, 04:13 am »
I agree with you about the kind of recordings that suit these speakers: unamplified and unprocessed. If you haven't already, try some Julie London.