Spatial M3 Sapphire or Klipsch Forte 4

Looking to get a high efficiency speaker, that matches well with push pull tubes and single ended triode. I listen mainly to classic rock type music. 
Think Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, type stuff.

Want to feel the punch of kick drum and quick dynamic transients. 

What are your thoughts? 



Not quite the same comparison. But I went from a Spatial Audio X3 to a Cornwall IV and was much happier. The Spatial speakers efficiency rating can be a little optimistic.

spatials will certainly give you the awesome bass impact and a sharp transient response... those are the strengths of that speaker line... you will need more amp than you think to control those giant woofers least for the sapphire series where the speaker is entirely passively driven, sweetie pie lower powered s-e tube amps do not qualify ime

What’s up Ozzy, it’s Mike.
We have had similar speaker journeys. I had the Piega’s the Wilson Sophia, the Cornwall 2’s, then the Cornscalla’s. I then purchased JBL L100 classics, (which I still have).

I then got Klipsch Forte 3’s, which I liked a lot. Had them a year or two. (Thought they were a little thin in the midrange and the highs could have been a little more refined) so I sold them and then got a pair of Martin Logan Impression 11a’s. (Which I just sold) .

So I liked the Forte 3, and the Forte 4 are said to be more refined, so I’m thinking I will like the Forte 4. (Forte 3 also worked well with my 300b tube amp) . Im hearing a lot of good things about the Spatials, (I also heard Pure Audio Project at audio shows and liked them a lot too) with their wide enveloping soundstage, and dynamics, so I’m thinking I might try them out ?

The Spatial Sapphire 3 would be the one I’m thinking about. But if they can’t be run to realistic sound levels with 10 or 12 watts, I may stick with the Forte 4. 

@ozzy62 Do you still own the Cornwall IVs? This is one speaker that has always intrigued me. I listened to a Cornwall a few years ago, but I believe it was a prior model (can't remember if it was II or III) and wasn't much impressed. From what I understand Cornwall IVs are a significant step up ... more refined? While the Cornwalls are not cheap but they're not out of reach. I've always wanted to try one but not sure what to expect. For reference, my current speaker in the main room are Harbeth SHL5+. Your input is appreciated.

@mike_f I have the M3 Sapphires and found that although they are efficient they do like more power. I too was concerned about pushing those 15" Woofers. I wound up with a 50 Watt Octave V70 Class A. I personally love what these speakers do. I do have to say that a very thorough room treatment was in order and they are spectacular!

@Arafiq, I had the Harbeth super HL5, (not the +) I liked them, but they didn’t have the dynamics. (snap and punch) They were a bit “polite”. They couldn’t do classic rock or anything too hard. (Great for other stuff though) The Cornwalls are super dynamic and I’d purchase them again, but they’re a little too big for my room. They can work, but if I wanted to swap out speakers they would be tough to move around. 

@audioS I have a Music Reference RM200 amp, that would work well with the sapphires. I also have a KR Enterprise single ended that puts out around 10 watts. That amp drove the Cornwall and Forte really well. But I’d also like to use that amp with my next speaker purchase. So you don’t believe the Sapphire 3 would work well with 10 watts then ? Maybe I should stick with the Forte…?

Both good speakers I would consider. Klipsch for more punch rather than less efficient open baffle.  

If you listen at 80 db you will need a sub or two for the thump. If you listen a 95 db you will probably need room treatments to tame the room. We need more info to provide good feedback…. room size, room construction and furnishings, source and amplification, listening volume, listening position … the more the better. 

I own the M3 Sapphires, their sound is very lifelike. I’ve never heard the Klipsch. The M3 will have a very realistic bass tone and presentation, but the Klipsch might actually “thump” a little more/differently…. but you will likely have more of the horn presentation which some like and some don’t.

Send more info….

@arafiq I had the CW IV for about a year and moved on to the LaScala II. But I stand by what I've said about this latest version of the Cornwalls. Really a great speaker and much improved over earlier versions. Highly recommended.


@mike_f Personally I think the Sapphires need a little more wattage but I do think that may be based on room size and listening levels. I also agree with @snapsc that the sound is so very lifelike. I think the presentation between these two speakers would be vastly different. Also, the M3's are not small by any means and are better out in the room. I have had mine since 2019 and it took me a while to really love them. tweaking acoustics, amps and they love improvements on the front end. M4's might be fine in your listening room and be less $$

I owned the original Spatial M3 Turbo S. It represented a terrific value, and offered great sound for the money. However, they don't really do bass the way you're describing. In my open floor plan home I needed to employ (2) 15" subs and a sub EQ to get somewhat realistic bass. While I owned them, I also seriously considered adding many room treatment panels because I felt the speakers demanded it.

I'm still a Spatial fan, and wish I had a room they worked well in (small, well treated, long but narrow, and with a low ceiling) something like a purpose built man cave in the basement...unfortunately I don't.

This is a long way of saying the Forte 4 is likely going to be easier to integrate into a room unless you already have the right dimensions, room acoustics dialed in, and multiple subs (for your classic rock).

@ozzy62, the LaScala has been one I've lusted over in the past but have a hard time justifying the real estate for the amount of low end the speaker provides (on paper)...I've not heard them. Are you using subs to support the lower frequencies?


While it doesn't go much deeper on paper, the LS II "appears" to have more bass than earlier versions. On about 80% of what I listen to, they are fine on their own. That said, I do have a pair of HSU ULS-15 II subs to augment them. My room is dedicated, so I don't have to worry about how big a speaker is.

My listening room is in my basement. It is 14’ wide and 26’ deep. The ceilings are 7’ high. There is a support column in the middle that limits how far I can sit from the front wall. The back of my chair is 12’ from the front wall, as it rests against the support column. So I’m 12’ from the front wall. It’s 14’ wide. And I have 14’ deep of empty space behind me. (The other side of the basement) The walls are studs on top of the cinder block wall, with half inch sheet rock. The ceiling is a drop ceiling, with 2’ foot square ceiling tiles. I have 3 Martin Logan Dynamo 11 subwoofers. (2 in the front corners and one to the side in rear) 

Based on your room  and seating position and having subs that you could cross at40hz… the Sapphires would do what you want and more… but they really do need 3-400 hours of break in… and at least 45” from the front wall and 2’ from the side walls.

how loud do you listen?

How loud do I listen? Ive never gotten a db reading on it. But if I had to guess, I’d say around 90 to 95 db.  

How loud do I listen? Ive never gotten a db reading on it. But if I had to guess, I’d say around 90 to 95 db.


there are free smartphone apps to check db levels, average and peak... you may want to spend a few minutes to see...

this nice little calculator will allow you to get a ballpark idea of the volume you can achieve with various wattage.

I would think that your single ended tube amp will give you a really nice midrange, top end and soundstage but not the best control of the woofers for the really deep stuff...but if you are committed to staying with the subs...then it might not matter.

There are a lot of threads on AC regarding the spatials and how they mate with low power, high power, solid state and tubes....and how they compare to other speakers...they are worth reading...

Here are a few  links.....








I own the M3 Sapphires driven by a PrimaLuna Dialogue Four. This is a push-pull amp that can be used in either ultralinear (42W) or triode (21W) mode. I prefer triode mode. I listen really loud at times to a wide variety of music. Very open, realistic, and dynamic sound. The soundstage is very much behind the speakers, so if you prefer a more intimate presentation (i.e. performers in the room with you) this may not be to your liking. The Sapphires are more like sitting in a large auditorium watching the performers. Bass is tight, accurate, and detailed, but to some may ultimately lack sheer slam and heft. It’s not that the woofers are insufficient–there’s four 15" paper cone woofers that can move a lot of air. Rather it’s the open baffle design and lack of cabinet reinforcement and resonance.

Klipsch’s are also very dynamic and usually extremely efficient. Low power SET amps can be used. I’ve only heard Klipschorns, but I would say if you mainly listen to classic rock and want to listen loud then the Forte IV’s may be more satisfying. The Sapphires will sound completely alien at first, but once you acclimate to them you will appreciate what they bring to the table.

This is all to say audition them both if you can. Since you owned the Forte III’s you have a good idea of what the Forte IV’s will offer. The Sapphires will be different.

If I had the room for Cornwalls I probably would have bought them, but I bought the Forte IV and have ZERO regrets.    I love these speakers .    They are so good I revamped my amp and preamp after buying them .   I'm actually having a 300b built.  I almost bought the Forte III after having owned Hersey III but the new mid driver is much better so I waited for the IV.

It’s mostly the amp. I too have OBs, in my case Emerald Physics 3.4s (concentric 1" polyester in a 12" woofer) and my room is ~ 35 x 20 x 12’ peak in an open beam ceiling. Front wall is ~ 80% glass and rear wall is 100% glass. A tough room to get thumped in. I tried using 2 SVS barrel powered subs, which I bought new 10+ years ago. In those days they were focused on HT, and these sucked for 2 channel. I sold them about 2 months ago, and my musical enjoyment is the better for it, but, no deep bass, and missing a bit of the muscular musical scale. By far the 2 biggest changes I made were replacing my EVS 1200 class D 600/1200 wpc dual mono amp with a LSA Voyager 350 GaN amp. And although the V has ~ half the EVS’ power it is actually a lot more room filling. The other addition, which significantly improved low end (as well as the rest of the spectrum), was replacing a Marantz HD CD-1 that I used as a transport with a dedicated transport- Audiolab CDT 6000.


I still want what good subs can bring, but the cost to do it right is elusive to my retired SS budget. HTH

I own the M3 Sapphires and use them in a 13X20X6.5’ dedicated basement listening room. I used to use two subs with my previous speakers (towers, bookshelf, Maggies) but moved them out when I got the Spatials. I use a 30W Class A amp (Pass Labs XA30.5) and I’ve never seen it leave Class A. I listen at 80 db avg. with 85db peaks (A Weighted). Lots of good comments on pairing the Spatials with LTA tube amps.

I love the dynamics of the Spatials and don’t feel they are missing any slam, nor do they overload the room! Honestly, they are amazingly refined speakers. The detail and texture in the bass is extraordinary. I have no Klipsch experience but I suspect they are VERY different in their presentation.

If you want efficiency, then Klipsch is at the top of the list. You can't go wrong with around 100db Cornwall's with a tube amp. They play low volume full bodied music or blow your roof off rock & roll with ease. Forte's and Heresy are basically mini-me Cornwall's and do the job just as well.


Spatial Audio Sapphire M3 open baffle is the reason you buy a two channel Macintosh integrated amp at 100wpc (AKA MA5200/MA5300) or the top contender according to you, hook up the speakers, and end your quest for the holy grail of audio sound so you can finally think about other things you want to do in life!.

Do you own the Spatial M 3 sapphires ?

I have owned Cornwall 2 and forte 3 before. Cornwall’s are too big. The forte’s I liked, but thought they could have been more refined. I haven’t heard the Spatials, but could buy either used, and re-sell if they don’t work. If the Spatials can work with 8 watts, I should be OK. I also have a music reference em 200 that pushes 100 watts. 

i owned m3 sapphires for a time, i would say they will not work properly with 8 wpc tube amps... the 4x 15 in passive woofers need pretty decent amp damping factor to control the bass output - i tried my cary 300b se-i on them and i felt the bass lost most of the tone and definition that can be heard when driven by, say, a good solid state amp like a hegel or exposure amp

that said, the treble and upper midrange can be somewhat biting on the sapphires, i can see how many would opt for tubes to improve the musicality in those frequency bands... as always, all speakers make and impose certain tradeoffs, up to the owner to choose the flavor they can live with best