Spatial Audio – AXPONA 2016

Spacial Audio Loudspeaker at AXPONA 2016

Our coverage of AXPONA hasn’t quite come to the end just yet, but we did save some of the best for last. One of the most impressive rooms I entered the weekend of AXPONA was the Spatial Audio room.

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As I made my way through the halls of the Westin that weekend, similarities in rooms began to pop and slowy started to form a trend. While the grand rooms of $100k+ loveliness will always have their place, many other rooms started to pair things down a bit to form a more modern, sleek and simplified look. No room bettered embodied this than Spatial audio at the show.

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A simple 3 part production supplied music to the room via a Lampizator Lite 7 tube DAC ($5.6k) and a single Red Dragon Audio S500 stereo amp ($1.9k). Those who hang on the cost parentheses in our coverage will notice only a relatively small number inhabits the space in-between in this case.

And so it is with the loudspeaker itself. The brilliant product line of Spatial Audio is a simple and straightforward two item offering, with two stages for each loudspeaker. The upgrade path is crystal clear, and you know exactly what you are getting for the additional cash.

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The open-baffle beauty on display at the show is the M3 Hologram Turbo S ($2,595) which is currently the most expensive version available from the company. Pairing things down a size gets you to the slightly smaller M4 Turbo S ($1,995) and a even more budget-conscious version is available with out the “S” ($1,595). The “S” version for both the M3 and the M4 brings along with it a Spatial M25 compression driver, film/foil capacitors, WBT terminals upgrades.

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So why all the hubbub? The looks, build and sound really scream value while the sound is smooth and lovely. Open baffle designs may not be your run-of-the-mill aesthetic, but its uniqueness and utility really bring something extra to the table, especially for the $1k-$2k range. The driver design is something unique as well. In the M3 its two 15″ mid/woofers with a treated concentric wide bandwidth compression driver in the top slot. The bottom paper cone you see is nearly the same as the top 15″ but without the added high frequency M25 driver. The M4 sports two 12″ mid/woofers with the same option pairings.

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The Black Keys demonstration track I heard from the black-finished turbo S was very detailed while still remaining very liquid and tonally pleasing.  The open baffle imaging felt laser sharp and the soundstage was enveloping in a very interesting and constructive way. One of my measuring sticks for the show revolved around how well any given setup could render a vocal position placed perfectly in-between the two points of origin. And there it was, just as it appeared in many other (more costly) systems strewn about the show. Perhaps a little bit smaller in size than the large real-estate tycoons of the 1st floor, but sharp, focused and well-placed in the air above the laptop source. The dirty guitar of Dan Auerbach shared much of the rugged and vibrant overdrive as standing next to guitar amplifier on stage ever does.

Fans of this hobby weave a path through the complex world of technical specifications and elaborate wood grains. The Spatial Audio Hologram Series appears to boil it all down to its purest essence and squeeze out entertainment in rare form for less than a grand a channel. I wish I had more time to spend in the room but things were quickly winding down at the end of the day on Sunday. Be sure to keep a close eye on this company, all good things here.

http://www.spatialaudio.us/

  • WynnHiFi

    It would be interesting to see how these open baffle speakers compare to a comparable priced Magnepan.

    • terry

      I’d like to hear these as well. I have a pair of Magnapan 1.7s and like them overall but find them sometimes a little too revealing and fatiguing. I also have a pair of Dalquist DQ-10s that I recently had the woofers reconed and rebuilt the x-overs with new caps. Excelent sound from these 35 year old speakers .

  • Alan R. Christilaw

    Most of the cost of the high end speaker is the furniture quality finish of the box. Eliminate the box! Spatial’s and Emerald Physic’s have been getting the word of mouth a bunch lately.

    • AudioHead

      Interesting point Alan.

  • Raptor Jesus

    I still miss Dahlquist DQ-10’s. One of the best open baffle designs ever.