Open Baffle Experience

Much has been said about open baffles, including an epic website by the late, great Dr. Linkwitz but I've only heard them really once, playing absolutely garbage music (thanks Pure Audio!) at a hotel.

I'm talking here about dynamic drivers in single baffles without enclosures, not ESLs or Magneplanar type systems.

I'm curious who has had them, and who kept them or went back to "conventional" boxes?

I'm not really looking to buy speakers, but I did start thinking about this because of a kit over at Madisound made with high quality drivers.




I just heard Spatial X? at the NYC show in a medium-sized hotel room and they sounded really good with LTA electronics.  Definitely one of the better sounds in the show for me. 

I own a pair of Linkwitz "Orion" loudspeakers mated with Burmester amps, pre and DAC and can't imagine a more open and natural sounding speaker.  If bass is on the recording it is heard in full bloom.  The very complex crossover network is crucial to their performance.  Two Peerless woofers, SEAS mid and tweeters in each cabinet fill my "Great Room" with glorious sound.  Mine have the rear-facing tweeter as well and placing them about 3' from the wall produces a perfect soundstage.  I owned Linkwitz's "Audio Artistry" Dvorak for years and compared them with the Orions prior to selling the Dvoraks.  I could happily live with either. I was skeptical about open baffle speakers, too, but am now a true believer. YMMV

@soix They were almost certainly the X4's, which is what Spatial has been using recently at shows, coupled with the LTA ZOTL40+ integrated.  Earlier in this thread I posted a video of that same combo at the Pacific show.  Because of supply issues and other factors, Spatial's offering is now down to just two models, the M4 and the X4.

I heard the Spatial X4s and Linkwitz LX521s at Pacific Audio Fest, and both sounded excellent. IMHO, the X4s were the best sounding speakers under $10K, and the Linkwitz were among the top rooms at the show (not my favorite, but certainly among the top 10).

I believe the best open baffle experience is a single full-range driver accompanied by a superior active sub woofer unit. This provides the best of all worlds: a cohesive sound for the majority of the musical content, and a proper power/driver size for the really low frequencies. It's the right tool for each job, and provides the greatest flexibility in choosing the amplification scheme you prefer.

It's not enough to eliminate the sonic horrors of the box - you must also eliminate the problems introduced by multiple drivers and crossover networks. My setup includes Voxativ full-range drivers and a 300W REL sub that reaches below the range of human hearing. I've used this with everything from low-watt 300B SET amps and modest power EL34 amps, as well as higher power solid state amps. Sound quality is extraordinarily clear, transparent, open and realistic. Result is an engaging listening experience.