Clayton Shaw (Spatial Audio) visits Danny Richie (GR Research), with his X4 loudspeaker.

Clayton and Danny are leaders in the field of open baffle loudspeakers (Clayton plug-and-play, Danny DIY kits), and have great respect for each other, as will become apparent if you watch Danny's latest YouTube video. Danny starts the video by raving about the new Spatial Audio X4 ("I'm blown away by 'em. I'm totally impressed."), something he rarely does about loudspeakers other than those of his own design ;-). Clayton reciprocates by praising Danny's NX-Treme.

The two then discuss open baffle vs, box loudspeakers, and why after hearing open baffle they could no longer tolerate the latter. I learned the same lesson back in 1974, and have listened to only dipole planars (Magneplanar, QUAD, Eminent Technology) ever since. I've seen a lot of talk about what is "wrong" with them, but there is something wrong with all speakers, each of us learning what imperfections we are least bothered by.

The two then talk about how different voices sound through open baffle speakers, a fact very important to me, as I listen to a lot of singer/songwriter music, often with harmony vocals. Danny then mentions they added a pair of his open baffle/dipole subwoofers to the X4, and what effect that had on the sound. The two then discuss how different open baffle bass sounds compared to sealed or ported woofers, If you've never heard an open baffle bass system (few have), you have no idea what you're missing!

If any of the above piques your curiosity, do yourself a favour and watch the video. Go to YouTube and do a search for "GR Research"; the first video in que should be Clayton and Danny sitting side-by-side. 


That was the fly in the ointment for me. Using a 12” driver to reproduce the crucial midrange. As much as I liked many aspects of the speaker, the midrange left me cold. It just never sounded convincing.

Good points fellas. That's why I use the GR Research/Rythmik Audio Servo-Feedback OB/Dipole Subwoofer with my dipole planar loudspeakers.

By the way, unlike a "normal" sub, the GRR/Rythmik OB Sub may be used up to 300Hz. If you have a planar that will play down that low, mate it with the OB sub for a marriage made-in-Heaven!

The Eminent Technology LFT-8b uses a planar-magnetic midrange driver for frequencies 180Hz to 10kHz (with no cross-over in its passband!), a ribbon tweeter for 10k up. The sealed box 8" woofer has it's own binding posts, so the OB sub may be used in place of the stock woofer. This combo replaced the Infinity RS-1b in my music room.

I have the Spatial X5s in my reference system.  They are superb speakers with an expansive, clean/pristine soundscape with nice energy.  I love these speakers.  Do they have a downside?  Well yes, they take forever to break in with the bottom end being the last thing to fill in.  To my ears, over 500 hours.  Nevertheless, the wait was well worth it.