SPATIAL AUDIO HOLOGRAM M1 Turbo DEMO - Open Baffle High...
Beautiful Demo M1s in BlackThe Flagship of the HOLOGRAM line of open baffle, high efficiency speakers. The M1 continues the ground-breaking performance of the Hologram M2, introduced at Axpona 2014, but in a full range, 15 inch driver-based design. The point source, 2-way achieves in-room response to 32Hz and is an all analog, completely passive design, eliminating the need for DSP equalization and bi-amping. Twin 15 inch driver units and 95 dB sensitivity create stunning dynamics while retaining the smooth and 3D presentation of the smaller M2 model, which was a hit at 2014 Axpona and the California Audio Shows: Steven Stone of the Absolute Sound Magazine remarked: The Best Sound (For the Money) – It was a dead heat between the Emerald Physics CS3 mark II ($3500US/pr) and the Spatial Hologram M2 ($2,000US/pr) rooms. Clayton Shaw designed both speakers which conquered their hotel room sonic shortcomings with aplomb.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••SoundStage.com Review of Hologram M1 - New soundstageultra.com Written by Sid Vootla Created: 01 June 2015 My first experience with open-baffle speakers was a few years ago, in Bangalore, India, in the showroom of ARN Systems, which then distributed the speakers made by Emerald Physics. I recall the sound of Emerald’s CS2.3 speakers as being exceptionally dynamic, nearing concert-level realism with a humongous soundstage that filled the large room. The Emerald CS2.3 was designed by Clayton Shaw, who has since moved on and now is the principal of Spatial Audio, based in Park City, Utah. (ARN is Spatial’s Indian distributor.)Why open-baffle? When I asked Shaw via e-mail, this is what he had to say:Open-baffle (OB) design has been an area of research since about 1988. Prior to [Siegfried] Linkwitz, there was very little engineering information [about OBs] available, so a lot of trial and testing was required. The primary reason for my interest in OB initially was the feeling that I could hear the bass instrument itself without the overlay of box artifacts. The tautness and detail of bass instruments was very compelling, along with being able to distinguish multiple instruments playing simultaneously. Along with that, the advantages in the midband were very evident, with a more natural, breathing soundstage, and low coloration on voices and piano. I decided to take a long-term development approach, and made incremental improvements as more knowledge was gained through testing and experimentation.From a first, quick listen to the subject of this review, Spatial’s Hologram M1 Turbo open-baffle speaker ($4000 USD per pair), it was clear that Shaw had brought all of this knowledge and experience to bear on its design. But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .The Hologram loudspeaker systemSpatial has two series of loudspeaker models: Hologram and Lumina. The Hologram series, which can be considered the entry level, comprises six models, the M1 Turbo sitting just below the top model. Each M1 Turbo arrived in packaging of exceptional quality: a cardboard carton, inside that a box of thick foam, and inside that the speaker itself. The review samples were finished in matte Black Satin (the M1 Turbo SE is available in Black Gloss for $4500/pair). Each speaker is only 3”D (not including the protruding magnet) and 36”H x 20”W, and sports two large 15” midrange-woofers mounted flush with the flat baffle. As is typical of OB designs, the driver baskets and associated components -- the diaphragm, magnet, lead wires, etc. -- are all exposed on the rear. The baffle itself accounts for the speaker’s 3” thickness and comprises five layers -- MDF, aluminum, polyethylene, aluminum, and MDF -- bonded with vibration-damping glue. The MDF is a high-quality type from Plum Creek. The result is a panel that is extremely rigid and very dead to vibrations. The baffle’s front edges are beveled to create a visually pleasing appearance.Packed separately in each box is a wide-bandwidth compression driver with ferrofluid damping. This must be screwed into the back of the upper midrange-woofer, and the provided speaker leads connected. The speaker’s single support leg -- essentially a metal rod -- must be inserted into a hole in the bottom of the rear panel, and spiked feet screwed into the bottom of the panels. Also on the rear panel are two high-quality, five-way binding posts, for the speaker cables. Assembled, the M1 Turbo is fairly compact and stands about 3’ tall and 16” deep, including the support leg, and weighs a substantial 48 pounds. It tilts back slightly; the spikes can be adjusted to slightly increase the height.I found the M1 Turbos quite pleasant to look at. All that’s visible on the baffle are the cutouts for the two 15” drivers, covered by a fixed grille, and the Spatial logo engraved at the bottom, highlighted in an attractive silver finish. The crossover uses Spatial’s Hologram Interface Technology, which Shaw described as a unique passive circuit designed to seamlessly blend the outputs of the twin midrange-woofers and compression driver at a frequency of 800Hz. He also said that this low crossover frequency permits the use of 15” drivers without compromising the reproduction of the midrange.Shaw described the two-way design of the M1 Turbo as a dipole with controlled directivity that produces an 80-degree pattern of sound that drops off quickly beyond that point. All of this, he said, allows the listener to hear more of the speaker, and less of the mix of the speaker and the room. The M1 Turbo’s specifications include an in-room frequency response of 32Hz-20kHz, +/-3dB; a high sensitivity of 95dB/2.83V/m; a nominal impedance of 4 ohms; and a recommended range of amplification of 10-200W RMS.Setup and positioningThe Hologram M1 Turbo’s owner’s manual includes detailed recommendations for positioning not only the speakers, but also where one sits to listen in the farfield or the nearfield. To determine the speakers’ optimal distance from the front wall, Spatial recommends that you experiment with positions anywhere from 18 to 36 inches. When I asked Shaw about this, he explained that open-baffle and closed-box speakers load a room differently. OB speakers’ bass output actually increases as they’re moved farther from the wall behind them. Directional bass doesn’t excite room modes in the horizontal and vertical dimensions, thereby reducing room excitation by two-thirds. As OB speakers are moved closer to the front wall, that proximity causes more cancellation effects in the low end, as zones of low and high air pressure bleed around the edge of the baffle and reach equilibrium -- which diminishes the level of audible bass. Shaw told me that experimenting with the speakers’ distance from the sidewalls is also required, to fine-tune the lower-midrange response: the M1 Turbos’ output between 200 and 800Hz increases with their proximity to the sidewalls. Regarding toe-in angle, Shaw suggested that the M1s be first positioned to fire at the listener’s ears; the angle can then be adjusted in or out to achieve the best soundstage and imaging. In my room, the best positions were 2’ 6” from the front wall, 1’ 8” from the sidewalls, and 8’ apart, the speakers toed-in so that the drivers fired at my ears as I sat in the listening position, 8’ away. I and the speakers thus formed an equilateral triangle -- one of the arrangements endorsed in the manual.Spatial recommends giving the M1 Turbos at least 24 hours of run-in before doing any serious listening.Amplifier matchingWith a high sensitivity of 95dB, optimal matching of the Hologram M1 Turbos and their amplifier will be required for best sound. I had on hand two very different amps: the first, in my main system, was a Symphonic Line Kraft 250, a bruiser that puts out 400Wpc into 4 ohms; the other, in a secondary system, was a Belles Soloist 5, which provides 110Wpc into the same load. The Soloist was the better match for the high-efficiency M1s, mainly in terms of loudness control and gain matching to the preamp. While the Holograms sounded excellent through the Kraft, they were too loud even with my preamp’s volume knob set at 8 o’clock, which made it very difficult to achieve a comfortable listening level in this diminished gain range. I would imagine that tube amplifiers, with their modest power outputs, will also work well with the Holograms.ListeningI was eager to test the bass slam of the Holograms’ four 15” drivers, but was anxious that they would be too much for my small (14’ x 12’ x 8.5’) room. Indeed, in the past, even some small floorstanding speakers with only 6” midrange-woofers have not blended well with this space. So it was with some trepidation that I cued up drummer Stanton Moore’s Conversations (16-bit/44.1kHz WAV, The Royal Potato Family/Juno). “Tchefunkta” opens with Moore’s drums, and the gut-busting impact of the kick drum was electrifying. The bass was well extended, with no overhang or woolliness -- just tightness and pace. I’d never heard bass quality like this in my room from a subwoofer, let alone a pair of small floorstanders. Evidently the credit goes to the Hologram’s OB design -- there were no box resonances to mess with the room modes that cause unruly bass. And when James Singleton’s double bass entered, its sound so convincingly energized the space that it felt as if he were right there, playing in my room. It was easy to follow the bass line in every track.More strings -- these on Andy McKee’s solo acoustic guitar, from his album Joyland (CD, Razor & Tie 0552030005). In “Hunter’s Moon,” the transients of the plucked strings were rendered with excellent clarity and tempo, and no smearing or heaviness. McKee’s distinctive fingerstyle technique and hammerings-on were mesmerizing. Again, the total absence of box colorations reinforced my perception of an actual instrument being played in my room.I moved on, to women’s voices. The emotions expressed by contralto Lana Del Rey on her Born to Die (CD, Interscope 2793087) were very distinctive. In “Video Games,” she alternates between sounding mature and girlish, and these subtle nuances were well reproduced by the Holograms. The imaging was quite sharp -- Del Rey’s voice emanated from slightly behind a point precisely centered between the speakers, the accompanying instruments carving out their spaces clearly on the stage. I imagine that the coincident arrangement of the compression tweeter within the midrange-woofer aided this excellent imaging.The soundstage of “I Can’t Tell You Why,” from Diana Krall’s Wallflower (24/48 FLAC, Verve), was spread across the width and depth of the room, the backing singers layered at the room’s rear and sides. True to their manufacturer’s name, the Spatials excelled at creating illusions of space. Their spectacular soundstages filled the area around the speakers, though I felt that the heights of those stages were somewhat curtailed. With “Gaucho,” from their Away from the World (24/44.1 FLAC, RCA), the Dave Matthews Band filled the entire front wall of my room, each instrument clearly defined, with ample air around it. Even when the mix grew dense with instruments, the Holograms maintained their poise, with zero congestion. I could pick out an individual instrument -- such as the violin slightly to the right rear of the stage -- and follow it with ease.“Why I Sing the Blues,” from Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory (CD, Concord 808678377170), includes vocals from guitar greats B.B. King, Keb’ Mo’, Vince Gill, and Jonny Lang. The unique combination of tonal modulations that distinguishes each man’s voice was showcased by the Holograms; particularly standing out was the soulful, evocative voice of the King of the Blues, B.B. King. Every voice sounded natural, without thickness or chestiness.It was time for some jazz. Trumpeter Sean Jones’s impressive talent on his Im•pro•vise: Never Before Seen (24/96 FLAC, Mack Avenue) was beguiling to hear -- I reveled in this album’s excellent sound quality through the Spatials. In “60th & Broadway,” Jones’s horn was velvet-smooth, never harsh or brittle. The overall treble balance was well extended and silky, and hi-hat cymbals had the requisite amount of tizz, delicately shimmering as their sound died away.I listened to more trumpet: Miles Davis’s A Tribute to Jack Johnson (24/96 FLAC, Columbia). In “Right Off,” Davis steps in with a searing solo that includes loud, powerful high notes. The dynamic range of this track through the Holograms was staggering. I’ve played this album many times, but it has never sounded better in my room.ConclusionsBefore hearing Spatial Audio’s Hologram M1 Turbo, I’d pretty much given up on ever hearing deep, powerful, accurate bass in my small room. Well, I’m glad to report that now I’ve found one speaker that can not only dig deep, but do so with adequate texture, definition, and finesse, while offering adequate immunity from placement woes. Couple this with the Spatials’ expansive, open, airy soundstage, and throw in their staggering dynamics and smooth treble, and the Hologram M1 Turbos are one of the best models I’ve heard in this price range and beyond. If you’re looking for speakers that will give you nearly full-range sound while exciting the fewest room modes, that will throw a wall of sound while “disappearing” into the soundstage, and that will be easy not only to drive but also on the wallet, then I present to you Spatial Audio’s Hologram M1 Turbo.. . . Sid Vootlasidv@soundstagenetwork.comAssociated Equipment
Sources -- Music PC running JRiver Media Center 19, M2Tech Evo hiFace USB-to-S/PDIF converter with battery power supply and master clock, Oppo BDP-83 universal Blu-ray player (used as disc transport)
DACs -- Ayon Skylla II, Line Magnetic 502CA
Preamplifiers -- Lamm Industries LL2.1 Deluxe, Parasound Halo JC 2
Power amplifiers -- Belles Soloist 5, Symphonic Line Kraft 250
Speakers -- Ascendo C8 Renaissance
Cables -- AudioQuest Cinnamon USB; Creative Cable Green Hornet digital; Kimber Kable Select 1011 interconnects and 3033 speaker cable; Audio Art Cable Power 1 Classic, Shunyata Research Diamondback power cords
Listening room -- 14’ x 12’ x 8.5’, speakers placed against short wall
______________________________________________________________New 2015 Review just out from Home Theater ShackConclusionsThe Spatial Audio M1 Turbo Version 2 dipole speaker was a favorite for me at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last year, and is a strong contender in their price range. I have become a fan of dipole speakers for the soundstage and imaging possibilities, especially with a concentric design like the M1. Of all the speakers I have evaluated, I have never placed speakers as widely as I did the M1 and still ended up with such a cohesive and natural soundstage with such evenness, such width and depth, and with such precise pinpoint imaging. For the soundstage and image clarity chasers out there, I present the M1 for your consideration as a high efficiency, high clarity, high performance soundstage and imaging monster.
Link to Full Review: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-subwoofer-reviews/117994-spatial-hologram-m1-turbo-version-2-speaker-review.html#post1159290 RMAF 2014 Review by Wayne Meyers - Home Theater Shack"When I hear someone make a claim like, "Box speakers are finally obsolete," my reaction is that marketing hype can state pretty much anything. Then again, it is hard to argue with real results.I was initially drawn to the Spatial Audio Hologram M1 speakers by their shape, a 36" high by 20" wide rectangle with grill material revealing a pair of 15" drivers, the surface leaning back to point up at the listening position. The M1 is a dipole design, two-way, with two 15-inch mid/woofers and a 800-Hz-and-up compression tweeter concentric with the upper 15-incher. The soundstage and imaging were excellent - the soundstage was simply HUGE, and image clarity was razor sharp. Frequency response was exceptionally smooth and natural. I commented that I could not hear the tweeter at work at all. Clayton Shaw, the designer, was proud of his work on the custom 1.75 inch compression tweeter, with its soft polymer surround and ferrofluid damping. The result was an extremely life-like upper-mid and high end. The more I listened, the more impressed I was by the M1 pair. I ended up adding them to my I Want One! list., one of two items at the show to earn that award. They almost completely disappeared in the room, were exceptionally clean and natural.I asked Clayton to crank them up, and they delivered higher volumes effortlessly, with a sense of supreme control over all aspects of the sound. And they went and deep into the bass range. The design is entirely passive, requiring no DSP or active crossover, which is not a huge deal to me either way, but the sense of unified integration was particularly enthralling for an all-passive design.
The dynamic range was also noteworthy. Clayton talked about his preference for high-efficiency designs, that they are better at giving the same response and sonic qualities at all volumes as a result of lower power dissipation and heat build-up.
Years ago I looked askance at dipoles and and panel speakers as unnecessary oddities. It is speakers like the Hologram 1 that swayed me to the other side. I want one! Make that a pair.
Read more: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/gtg-clubs-associations-audio-fests/96313-rocky-mountain-audio-fest-rmaf-2014-show-coverage-2.html#ixzz3Gw15NMpj Wayne MyersHome Theater Shack _______________________________________________________________Hello Clayton,I'm listening to the M1s right now and I admit they are AWESOME!!! As you mentioned, they were a bit tight when I first played them but they've opened up beautifully. Definitely the best speakers I've ever owned. The Lotus ice white gloss paint looks great and the M1s are truly pieces of art. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, agreeing to apply the Lotus paint, suggesting the gray cloth (which looks great), and most of all for providing an excellent product! Hyon C. Weatherby Lake MORe: Spatial Audio Hologram M1 Turbo I can't stop listening to this system. I didn't comment on the looks of the speakers in my last post. They are gorgeous. Modern looking, expertly finished, and unimposing. If Clayton were to distribute these via retail chains, I suspect every other speaker manufacturer would shit their pants. Their WAF factor is off the charts. When you factor that with the fact that they punch WAY above their price point the rest of the industry has much to be nervous about. While everyone else is regurgitating the same design from the beginning of speaker development, Clayton has revolutionized speaker design. After listening to my M2's for a few hours I concur that box speakers are now obsolete. Do NOT audition these speakers if you have no intention of buying them. They will make it nearly impossible to go back to your conventional speakers. Once the image height lifts, every album I listen to will sound like an intimate live performance in a small club or coffee shop. The open baffle lends to a diffuse sound with plenty of air between instruments and textured vocals, yet the imaging is still pin point. You get that live sound, but are still able to identify clearly where the singer is placed along with the band. This is not a subtle effect that will be lost on anyone. Listening to "Billy Jean" by Michael Jackson earlier I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. His voice sounded pure, textured, and authentic. The sound stage was wide though the image height is limited to the height of the speakers. "Jam" also from MJ is incredible via these speakers as is "Black and White." I highly recommend listening to these three tracks through the Spatials. "Jam" is just fun through my M2's. "Black and White" opens with a son listening to music late at night and the father yelling at him to turn it down. A few seconds in the father bangs on the son's door and a few seconds later bangs on his door again. Both times the door banging is utterly realistic and fun. Keep in mind that I am powering these speakers thru a $600 tube integrated that generates a mere 10 watts per channel. I have not turned up the volume past 1/4 so far and it is plenty loud with reserve current available. Total system cost came to roughly $5k. Plenty of money, but I have auditioned systems that used speaker cables costing more. I can't think of a system I have had more fun listening to than this one currently and it is only a few hours old. The best is still to come. There is no thinking with these speakers, it is all about enjoying. You completely forget that you are listening to a "system" and just listen to music. In the end, isn't what this hobby is supposed to be about? To be able to get there at the price offered makes these speakers hands down the best value on the audio market right now IMO. GaryZabPart Time Audiophile’s Scot Hull was at Axpona:As to the sound … well. This is one of those moments when you’re forced to scratch your head and wonder aloud, with a giant WTF bubble over your head, as to why all those other rooms were having such trouble. Here, the presentation felt accurate, linear, and remarkably open. No bloom or boom. Sitting in the sweet spot, I heard nothing out of place or out of character. I’m certain I’d opt for the Turbo, myself, and I’m quite sure there’s even more room for a Twin Turbo version, with even more mo’ betta parts. But here’s the kicker — that price is not irrelevant. $2k? Seriously? It’s like wandering into a Bang and Olufsen showroom and being told that they just decided to take a zero off the end of the price because Reasons. Your only valid response is to say, “Rock On.” And if that was a little opaque, let me make this clear — this was a very convincing demo. Yowza. Me likey.M1 SpecificationsType: Compact 2-way, point source, open-baffle, dynamic driver, controlled directivityChassis: 5 layer Aluminum Composite / HDFDriver compliment: Two 15 inch mid/woofers, one wide bandwidth compression driverCrossover: Passive 800Hz - Hologram Network Frequency Response: 32Hz - 20kHz +/- 3dB in room responseSensitivity: 95dB 1M @ 2.83VImpedance: 4Ω nominal, low phase angleDimensions: 36T x 20W x 3D inches (plus magnet depth), 50 lbs.20 year limited warrantyBlack Satin finishThe Hologram M1 is available now. A 45 day trial period allows you to experience the Hologram in your own home without risk. Restocking fee applies. M1 Turbo $4000 pr. (premium crossover components and WBT NextGen terminals)Go to www.spatialaudio.us for more information.
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