@rebbi - Awesome Review! Great job. I've been very curious about the Spatial Speakers. I'd love to hear them sometime. Do you know if Clayton has a showroom out in UT?
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I have the Spatial M3 Triode Masters and they absolutely smoked my Vandersteen 3A signatures (with the latest carbon driver)
and also handily beat Goldenear Triton ones both of which I sold.
To each his own I guess, with regard to what people want out of a high end speaker, I am completely on board with open baffle speakers like the M3s. We are seeing some exciting things with speakers the last few years, especially Spatial audio.
I even would even compare them to Magicos !!
"In that spirit, consider the rest of this review an object lesson in what you may be missing out on if you become a little too certain of the truth of various, high-end audio orthodoxies "
The best rules to go by in the case of sound quality is usually the laws of Physics and their application for reproducing sound.
So are you keeping the Krell? If not I’d consider giving Class D another go.
I’ve been considering higher efficiency speakers for use in my sun room with BEl Canto C5i (60w/ch). Spatial is a top consideration. A few have been up for sale here. WAF is a big factor. My wife thinks my old OHm Ls (~89 db efficiency) in there currently are ugly and would not object were I to replace them with something prettier.
I could put the sleeker Triangle Titus in there again but would have to add a sub. Cheaper option probably.
Every speaker I use with the c5i sounds the best ever, within its 60w/ch limits of course.
For what it’s worth, my Spatial sound best to me with integrated Tubes. Using a Primaluna with Mullards in the preamp and stock EL34s or I also used a Cronus Magnum II. Both amazing with these speakers and a Ayre Codex or Yggy dac.
also- tried Hegel 300 and Peachtree Nova300. Both Sounded great, but to my ears I prefer the Tube integrateds.
@winefix Thanks for the feedback, this is interesting to know. I am leaning toward an integrated amp, simply because I like the simplicity and convenience at this point. There was a time when I had a pair of mono-block power amps, a separate preamp, a DAC and a CD transport. One day I realized that I had to flip six or seven power switches just to play a CD, and I got tired of it. ;-)
I never thought I would go back to a solid-state amplifier, EVER. But I'm toying with the idea now seeing how much happier the M3 Turbo S sounds with plenty of current. We'll see…
@mapman Nice to hear from you again, old friend. :-)
I've had conversations with Clayton about amplification options. He has a partnership with Vinnie Rossi, whose LIO modular integrated amps he really likes and admires. But those seem to cost $5000 and up, and I don't have that much to spend.
On the Spatial forum on AudioCircle.com, several folks recommend the combo integrated amp/DAC line from Nuprime. These are Class a on the input side and Class D on the output side. Some people seem to love them, others a consider them to be rather "dry" and the lean. I've also heard wonderful things about a the amps from Odyssey, so I am looking into that as well.
The two best Spatial combos I heard while I was part of the Canadian distribution was an 8 watt 300B based Finale SET integrated and an Ear 868 preamp with a Nord One Up Hypex NC500 Class D amp. Both had their own qualities and I can’t say one was better than the other. I most often demoed M4 Turbos with a Rogue Cronus Magnum II but stuck to solid state (MOON, Naim, Bryston) demos with M3’s. One great thing about them is you can try a variety of amps and the results are generally positive.
I stopped to visit Clayton's production facility in September which is in an industrial park about 10 minutes from the Salt Lake airport (4220 W 2100 S Unit L). At this location, they have an inventory of transducers, frames, crossovers, etc. and several people hand building loudspeakers. They also have an area, maybe 12x18 that opens into the assembly area where M3s or M4s are set up and can be played through the Rossi equipment. The listening set up is nowhere near ideal but the sound was really good neverthess. I emailed Clayton in advance and then called him a couple days ahead of time just to make sure he would be there...he was and we spent about 2 hours talking and listening. My suggestion is if you are going to go, make sure to contact him in advance as I'm guessing he isn't stocking all of his finished speakers such as the X1 or X2 which are most likely built to order.