Exploring Spatial OB Speakers

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jacklee

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Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« on: 15 Feb 2021, 07:02 am »
Hi All,

Newbie here. I have been researching open baffle speakers and come to learn about Spatial OB Speakers which are very interesting. I am particularly interested in the X5 which has high efficiency and can go deep as well. As I do not have the chance to audition them, I would like to seek members' advices on a few things.

First, my listening room is about 12 ft x 26 ft, speakers are on the short wall. I wonder how far the speakers must be placed from the sidewall? Is close placement to sidewall a no go? Also, my room is asymmetric where the left side opens up to some more space, meaning that the left speaker will be far from a side wall. Would that be a problem?

Second, I'd really like to return to tubes, SET in particular. However those only make a few watts so even at 97dB/W (X5) I am afraid it is still not sufficient. I wonder if the ribbon unit in the X5 is padded-down to match the efficiency of the 12" woofer? If so, then would it be possible to bi-amp the speaker by driving the ribbon with SET amp, and in so doing, bypassing the padding resistor to run it at full efficiency, and drive the woofer separately using SS amp?

I currently uses Focal Sopra N2 driven by Dartzeel CTH-8550 integrated amp. In case any member heard both please share how the X5 would sound compare to the N2.

Many thanks!

jjss49

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #1 on: 15 Feb 2021, 04:44 pm »
2 ft min from side walls, 3 ft from front wall

there are a lot of reviews on spatials which have the info you seek

also you can call clayton and he will likely be able to answer your questions if you are seriously inquiring

sarora9

Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #2 on: 15 Feb 2021, 04:52 pm »
I have spatial X3's and have an open floor plan with a missing side wall. (See picture on X3 owners thread.) Using some floorstanding alpha panels (diffusion + some absorption) from GIK acoustics helped the soundstage. They are about the same height as the X3s.


TomS

Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #3 on: 15 Feb 2021, 06:16 pm »
I moved on from Sopra No2's, which were obviously, very, very nice speakers, to the X5's, and am not looking back. The Sopra at some point still sounds like a speaker, though a very good one, whereas the X5's do more of a disappearing act, especially with live music. The X5 tweeter is very special and gives the Focal Be a run for it's money, while going much lower. They are just easier to live with on a broader range of music, IMHO.

I've tried a few tube and solid state amps with them and prefer a little more power from the solid state amps I've tried. Others use SET and low power tube amps with mixed results, so do a search on this circle to get some great perspective both pro and con. I would discourage messing with the XO as I suspect the gains from bi-amping (tri) would be very small. You would risk disrupting their stellar coherence in that XO region when using 2 different amps. It is really very seamless in stock form. Clayton can be really helpful there, as mentioned.

JTF

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #4 on: 15 Feb 2021, 07:29 pm »
First, my listening room is about 12 ft x 26 ft, speakers are on the short wall. I wonder how far the speakers must be placed from the sidewall? Is close placement to sidewall a no go? Also, my room is asymmetric where the left side opens up to some more space, meaning that the left speaker will be far from a side wall. Would that be a problem?

Second, I'd really like to return to tubes, SET in particular. However those only make a few watts so even at 97dB/W (X5) I am afraid it is still not sufficient. I wonder if the ribbon unit in the X5 is padded-down to match the efficiency of the 12" woofer? If so, then would it be possible to bi-amp the speaker by driving the ribbon with SET amp, and in so doing, bypassing the padding resistor to run it at full efficiency, and drive the woofer separately using SS amp?

Your room sounds similar to mine, at 13ft wide and open to the left. After moving the X5s around, I settled on a setup with the speakers 22in from the side walls, one of which has an opening right next to the speaker. I think they sound fantastic in my space. I did add some room treatments, specifically some sound absorption at the first reflection point helped to balance the opening on the opposite side. I put some links below to the relevant posts, with photos (older).

Regarding SET amps, I regularly use a 2wpc 45 SET with my X5s. It never sounds strained or lacking in any way.

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=171547.msg1822951#msg1822951

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=171547.msg1818968#msg1818968

geerock

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #5 on: 16 Feb 2021, 03:34 am »
Theres another thread going on right now called Spatial and First Watt.  Discusses low watt amps with Spatials.  I can tell you that  Clayton used an LTA 10 amp to demo his speakers at previous shows.  About 12 watts

glynnw

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #6 on: 16 Feb 2021, 03:39 am »
I am using an LTA ZOTL10 on my X5s - works great.

jacklee

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #7 on: 16 Feb 2021, 03:48 pm »
A big thank you to everyone for the useful info, pointers, and experiences. Will check out the suggested threads.

@TomS: Thanks for sharing your experiences of the Sopra N2 and the X5. That's exactly the info I'm looking for. I concur with you that the N2 could be a bit unforgiving. I have spent the last 2 years optimizing the upstream and placement to make it sing. It's sensitivity to placement is outrages - a few mm could result in big changes in the sound. It's resolution is remarkable but it also makes less than ideal recording, well, less than ideal sounding. I'm glad you find the X5 more easy to live with as I don't really listen to audiophile recordings much.

@JTF: It's great you find SET workable with the X5. I also have a 45 SET amp (Yamamoto Soundcraft), plus a few other SETs which I previously used with a horn-based Lowther speaker. You mentioned 22 inch from the side wall - I think this is my Achille's heel. By my calculations, the right speaker's edge could be at max 10" from the side wall due to a projection screen in between the speakers. I wonder if you have tried closer to side wall placement during your optimization process, and if so, what's the impact of that?



JTF

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #8 on: 16 Feb 2021, 06:51 pm »
@JTF: It's great you find SET workable with the X5. I also have a 45 SET amp (Yamamoto Soundcraft), plus a few other SETs which I previously used with a horn-based Lowther speaker. You mentioned 22 inch from the side wall - I think this is my Achille's heel. By my calculations, the right speaker's edge could be at max 10" from the side wall due to a projection screen in between the speakers. I wonder if you have tried closer to side wall placement during your optimization process, and if so, what's the impact of that?

I moved them around a lot, I even placed them right in the front corners of the room, at a 45 deg angle, so it was crossing in front of the listening position. I didn't measure the distance from the wall but it was a foot or less. I thought they sounded good in the corners, I lost some perceived soundstage depth, but it helped mitigate some room mode issues I have. Overall I've found the X5 to be forgiving when it comes to placement.

jacklee

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Re: Exploring Spatial OB Speakers
« Reply #9 on: 19 Feb 2021, 05:04 am »
I moved them around a lot, I even placed them right in the front corners of the room, at a 45 deg angle, so it was crossing in front of the listening position. I didn't measure the distance from the wall but it was a foot or less. I thought they sounded good in the corners, I lost some perceived soundstage depth, but it helped mitigate some room mode issues I have. Overall I've found the X5 to be forgiving when it comes to placement.

Thanks for the info. It's good to learn that it works close to the sidewall. The X5 is now at the top of my list of speakers to try next.