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.