We last caught up with Spatial’s Clayton Shaw in June. At T.H.E Show Newport Beach he introduced the Hologram M3: a 42” high open baffle loudspeaker with 2 x 15” Eminence drivers and a coaxially-aligned compression driven tweeter from B&C. 95db, US$1495. The sound? Big soundstage and presence that doesn’t obfuscate deft handling of music’s finer points.
Despite my intention to steer DAR’s loudspeaker coverage more into active territory, everything about these new Spatial passives pointed to a review assignment.
Direct shipping quotes to Oz proved too hot to handle. To get review hardware to Sydney, Shaw would instead piggy-back a pair of M3 onto Australian distributor Bill McLean’s next shipment of M1 and M2. In hindsight, a bit cheeky in light of the M3 bypassing dealers entirely to be sold factory direct from Park City, Utah and to the US only.
With Ryan Tew’s Red Dragon S500 monoblocks already set to recreate the Hotel Irvine system (sans Anti Cable) down under, a slightly revised plan came into being a month or so later. Here’s Shaw via email just prior to RMAF:
“I had an idea to run by you. Due to the obvious high cost of shipping M3s, how about reviewing the upcoming little brother M4. It can ship cost effectively and will sell at US$1295/pr. We will introduce it at RMAF the first week of October. The M4 would seem perfect for your audience. A picture is attached. Please don’t show anyone just yet 🙂 Dimensions are 16W x 36H.”
Anyone waiting for the Marriott Tower elevator at RMAF 2015 would’ve probably seen the all-new M4 in the ground floor lobby: open baffles in Ferrari red, often being touted by Red Dragon’s Mr Tew. The M4 sports 12” Eminence drivers and clocks in to work at 93db.
With more apartment-appropriate dimensions and a striking DAR-red finish colour on the table – how could I refuse?
The more conservative black and white finishes could be seen running in the Spatial room proper. There, Shaw explained how he’d worked out a way to sell the M3 and the new, smaller M4 factory-direct but also keep dealers happy.
The M4 will be made available in three variants. The standard M4 will sell factory direct as planned for US$1295. So too will the US$1495 Turbo version that specifies better crossover capacitors and WBT terminals. However, a Turbo S version that also adds a higher-end M25 compression driver to the Turbo specs will sell through dealers with a US$1995 sticker price providing the margin required by the high street.
A similar pricing structure is also slated for the M3: $1595 for the standard version, $1995 for the Turbo, $2695 for the dealer-only Turbo S.
I don’t know about you but I think that’s damn clever. I hope Vinnie Rossi is paying attention at the back?
A quick listen to the M4 (in white) exposed considerable bang for buck. Here is a speaker that threatens to straddle a) the Magnepan MMG’s epic soundstage height, b) Zu Audio’s high efficiency dynamism and c) KEF’s LS50 modern-life cool. If this isn’t everyman hifi, I don’t know what is.
As might be obvious, there’ll be more to come on these but boy, what a time to be alive as an entry-level audiophile!
Further information: Spatial Audio
RMAF ’15 coverage brought to you by Aurender: