What Am I Getting Myself Into? SQ Preferences

I spent a bit of time on the phone with the helpful folks at Spatial Audio Labs the other day about speaker options for the room being converted from purely domestic duties to primarily listening pleasure.
The best Spatial options I learned are either M4 or X4 depending on my preferences. What preferences I asked? Recalling answers as I understood them, do you prefer a sound that’s more direct, intimate, and detailed to the point of distraction/frustration with poor source quality (resolved?) (X4). Or do you prefer something a bit smoothed over, less intimate, forgiving of source quality (M4)? My answer was Yes.
And then he extended the same question of preference to power amps, but I suppose the same probably holds true for pretty much any other equipment or accessory selection. And my answer was what in the #¥€! am I getting myself into?!
I’ve not considered this question before but I know there will be times - be it mood or material- when one or the other will be preferred. How do you all resolve this quandary? Multiple systems or do you just keep lots of stuff around to swap in for a given mood?
My most mature obsession is motorcycles where one is never enough. It’s not possible for a sport bike to fulfill a cruiser mood or need. A cruiser won’t cut it when you want a dual sport to go boonie crashing. It’s been a long time coming but, lacking time, money, and garage space, I’m finding a comfortable one bike solution only to recognize the same obsessive potential in this hobby. Oh crap. Better buckle up. This could be a long rough ride.

1 Like

I dont think you can go wrong with either choice. I have a pair of X5’s and they are a really good sounding speaker. I chose the AMT tweeter strictly based on reviews and conversations with Clayton and company. I had never heard them until they arrived. The X5’s have a powered (sub) woofer as part of the array but you will still want to add a pair of separate subs if you can manage the purchase.
I currently have a set of Sasha DAW’s in the system and they sound really good in a different sort of way. Are they “better”? Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way I am not getting rid of the Spatial’s.

1 Like

Very interesting and well worded Allan. Great bike analogy as well. I chose smooth and forgiving (Spendor 100r2) and am very happy. Superb match with my PS components. Just make a decision and enjoy the music.

1 Like

It’s really hard to answer questions like that unless you’ve heard speakers/systems that you can associate with the descriptions.

Because the descriptions all sound good in some ways and maybe not good in others but the funny thing is when you actually hear systems that correspond to those different descriptions you usually have a pretty clear preference (at least imo). But everyone hears differently and has different preferences ……… that’s what makes it interesting (would be boring if we all liked same things)

1 Like

If you start thinking about Tube gear, remember this very question “What Am I Getting Myself Into?”. It’s a rabbit hole in a rabbit hole inside a Unicorn’s behind.

But at least it’s warm in here.



If you haven’t already I would really encourage you to drop in at the Spatial forum on AudioCircle where you will find dozens of owners of pretty much every model current and even discontinued ones. They can give you real world experience in terms of rooms, equipment and what to expect form the X vs M series. Were I in your shoes I would buy the passive X4 for the much better and more expensive AMT tweeter.


Thanks all for your help. More than anything else I was just wondering how deep that rabbit holes is.

And this is part of why I have reason to be concerned. That’s exactly what I’m contemplating - at least in the preamp. “At least it’s warm in here” really cracked me up!

Either way I’d have you to thank as you got me started on open baffle in general and Spatial in particular. The BMRs won’t be going anywhere either.

Thank you for your kind words. I aim to not overthink this one too much.

You make a really good point. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard anything all that detailed or resolving. Maybe I need to lean into this a bit and see what I like.

Thanks. I’ve poked around on AudioCircle a bit but do need to invest more time - especially since the wife actually gave me the green light. I’m pretty sure “Do whatever in the hell you want” means I can consider the more expensive X :grin:

1 Like

With that kind of encouragement how can you go wrong? Of that group the person with the most OB experience will be Tyson as he runs two different brands of OBs in two different systems and has a lot of experience with both SS and different types of tube amps and preamps. I own a pair of Spatial from the previous generation and have owned them for almost six years. You will find them to be the most room friendly speakers out there. I don’t know what amp you are running but regardless of what the efficiency ratings for passive Spatial say they do open up with more power so getting a good tube preamp in the mix with a good SS or hybrid amp would be a great start. A preamp based on the 6SN7 tube I have found to be the best option after experimenting with ones based on either the 6dj8 or 12ax7 family.

1 Like

I liked those questions as they relate to my current situation.
It’s a be careful what you wish for situation.
I recently upgraded my choice of DAC with the addition of CD transport being built into the DAC. Before this upgrade music sounded wonderful and it was very easy to listen for hours. Now, after the gear change everything tends to sound amazing and so much more dynamic than I am used to. Not in the volume sense, but it’s like everything is turned up to 11. So each new track is largely a new experience. It’s wonderful on one hand, but overwhelming on another. Surprise after surprise after surprise. Most are very good surprises. But lesser recordings stick out a little more for their shortcomings. They stick out more than they did before. But excellent recordings can take my breath away.

So those questions mean something to me. Currently I would not characterize my system as easy listening. A guest might say the system is very easy to listen to. It is and it isn’t.

I’ll adapt to it soon, I always do assimilate changes in my system fairly quickly. This will take a bit longer. A downside is constantly thinking “I have got to hear this next!”. Right now I am content to let Roon play from my entire library and Qobuz and Tidal additions to my library. Randomly. Roon choose for me. If I choose I pick all sorts of favorites, both tracks and albums. It can get overwhelming again.

On one hand, it’s a nice problem to have.
On the other hand, it could get old.

But what am I supposed to do, send back the new piece and return to a place that can’t offer the same sound I am enjoying now?

That is why I think those two questions are interesting and quite important.

Choose wisely!


Thanks much for the pointers.
First step for me is to rearrange the room and get the basic layout correct. There’ll be much remaining to tune the acoustics and rid the room of much clutter but the speakers will have decent breathing room. Next is base line my current set up - Schiit Ragnarok integrated, Schiit Bifrost DAC, Bluesound Vault 2i streamer, and Philharmonic Audio BMR 3 way stand mounts. Then I introduce the Spatials.
I’m open to suggestions, but the new power amp short list includes the M700 and Benchmark AHB2 and maybe a VTV Purifi variant. Depending on how things go I may hold out for the Schiit Tyr.
It’s interesting you mention S6N7 as the preamp short list is likely limited to the Schiit Freya+. I’d love to consider the BHK Signature but, once I totaled up the complete makeover, I have a hard time seeing how the math can reasonably work. I should probably audition it because I could make it work if it clearly stood out as a must have bit o kit. I have a so far under funded MMM “account” (motorcycles, music, Miata) that I can reallocate towards music but will pay for later in lesser of the other 2.
Edit: Added Tyr

1 Like

Thank you for sharing your experience. This is precisely the double edge sword. Even with my current, fairly modest set up most of my stuff sounds like crap. I want beautiful music rendered beautifully. So moving forward I see myself searching out stellar source material that renders well. Besides being dedicated to the artists and their art, I suppose this is what Octave Records is all about. It’s the candy store for the chocoholic.


M4s on their way. Thanks much all for your guidance. @Baldy Thanks especially for pointing me towards Spatial. I doubt I would have given them a second glance otherwise.


I’ll be very interested in your impressions once you have them, get their positions dialed in, and get some time on them. They have an almost rabid following, and while I’m sure there are other open-baffle cone systems out there, these seem to be making the biggest splash. My imagination tells me they’re likely to sound somewhere between a planar dipole and a standard cone speaker.

1 Like

And well lit…


1 Like

Well written, I have had a similar experience. This audiophile journey really is not for the faint of heart.

1 Like

I think you will be very happily surprised.
I have not listened to that new tweeter yet but it gets rave reviews.
Clayton is very easy to work with and very proud of his lineup and facility and it shows in the products.
It looks like the M series still use a powered lower woofer like the X series does and that makes the low bass pretty easy to adjust as needed.
My X 5’s were very easy to setup and sounded really good about anywhere in the room except directly to the side of the speakers as that’s where the front and back wave come together and cancel.

Did he give an expected wait time? Mine were 6 months if I remember correctly.

1 Like

Spatial in particular is getting a lot of positive attention. I’m looking forward to hearing what life outside the box is all about and will report back. Poking around I’ve taken some notice that your Maggies are well loved also.

1 Like

I’m looking forward to being surprised. I am kinda hoping they’re different enough to be really engaging but not so overwhelmingly better in all respects that I never want to listen to my BMRs, which are my first speaker crush.
Clayton mentioned the X4 and M4, both being passive, share the same bass section which I took to mean the 12” woofers are the same though not necessarily how they’re implemented.
Availability was surprisingly good. They shipped next day and should be here (NC) next Tuesday. I either got lucky or the basic black satin I wanted is a high runner that they inventory. Cloud did mention that they’d been waiting since Oct for something X related that had recently been received. So maybe X is harder to come by than M


He has recently done some big upgrades to his onsite manufacturing capability so maybe that has improved lead times too. My wait was for some crossover components to arrive at his shop and it was before his onsite upgrades. He was also sending all paint work out at that time and may have it in house now.

I dont think they will make you not want to listen to other speakers but their presentation is very natural and nice. They will take a few weeks to break in and you should add a set of subs if you can just to fill out the bottom end. I think I had mine crossed over somewhere around 40 hz with the X5.

I think you will be a very happy camper.

1 Like