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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
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Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 network switch, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos, Goldmund/Job 225, Electrocompaniet Nemo 800M [on review]; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Qualio Auido IQ + sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Furutech RTP-6 on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioner; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Shanling M3 Ultra, Soundaware D300Ref SD transport, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 80Hz active filter, Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature w. ER50; Amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustics SuperMon Mini, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; Headamp/DAC: iFi iDSD Pro Signature; Headphones: Final D-8000; Active speakers: DMAX SC5
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl Dp5 transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a; Active DSP speakers: Fram Midi 120
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €14K/pr for gloss black or bird's eye maple, other colors and their price by request
As I put it in my brief Scansonic MB1B cover for darko.audio, some of the most sophisticated tone my present system has made yet came compliments of Raidho's TD-1.2 monitor. Its mid/woofer with compact wind-slip N52 super-neodymium motor had visited the Aarhus Tribology & Materials lab of the Danish Technological Institute. Their research isn't chemical but bombards materials with divergent atoms under high kinetic energy. For the Raidho's 6½" mid/woofer this meant adding to an aluminium core with ceramic skins an outer layer of harder tantalum then still harder diamond.
The ceramic skins were grown in a liquid plasma process under very high voltages to transform aluminium into aluminium-oxide ceramic. The next layering process occurred inside a magnetron sputtering unit. Its chamber's oxygen was first evacuated with high-vacuum pumps and heated before being flooded with argon gas. Argon atoms then fired at the driver's ceramic surfaces to eliminate all trace oxidation. Next particle bombardment switched to tantalum and applied 1'000V. Finally, carbon built a 10-micron layer of 1.5 carat diamond which took still longer processing than the tantalum skin and pushed first breakup for a mid/woofer cone to 20kHz.
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Meanwhile, Raidho's trademark 11-micron thin planarmagnetic tweeter membrane also with N52 rare-earth motor weighs less than 0.02g to store no energy. Commanding a stiff €20K/pr for its fancy favours, this 2-way monitor's claim to fame is exceptionally low driver distortion and an absence of common breakup artifacts. It's a lot of extreme materials tech and associated processes thrown at a consumer not medical or military product.
Today follows my September 2022 X1t review, first in its range to get the tantalum instead of original titanium injection. That put the older XT2 in an unflattering light so it too crossed the li'l 't'. Now the same tantalizing treatment spans two 5¼" drivers with titanium voice coils in a 2.5-way array. It tops off with the justly famous thin-film tweeter whose first breakup occurs at a claimed 82kHz beyond Accuton's $2.5K. diamond dome. Crossover parts are revised, hookup wiring is Nordost, the speaker's entire tuning new. The smartly rear-vented steeply narrowing enclosure weighs 23kg and measures just 30x49x106cm WxDxH. Filters at 130/3'400Hz run 2nd-order slopes. Published bandwidth is 40Hz-50kHz ±3dB, sensitivity 87dB at 4Ω. As shown, standard finishes are piano black and birds-eye maple. Any other color by special order.
Of course a rose by any other name is still a rose. So is a Raidho a Raidho, be it from their TD or X range. Where €20K in the former buy us a 2-way monitor which still needs the matching €2.5K/pr stand, €14K in the latter buy us today's sexy tower. Hello extra driver, more bandwidth and integral ball-bearing decoupling from the floor. I found that math intriguing also on specs where the otherwise brilliant X1t had been a bit short on LF. The X2t promised to rectify that for all normal intents and purposes. To me it made delicious sense. Would His Lordship¹ care for a sample? With my butler James out on an errand in the Bentley, I replied in person. "Okay!" Why let on mounting excitement with more words? Keep it bottled up with a stiff upper lip as befits bored artsy cats aka blasé audio critics.
¹ After we moved from Switzerland to Westport in County Mayo, our first lunch out was in a small bakery/restaurant behind the church. The waitress asked an older lady at the next table set for two about her hubby. "His Lordship's on the shitter" the dame replied without blinking. The waitress grinned. I never forgot our introduction to Irish humor. Here's a classic. "Is that the Ballycashel Echo?" asks Mick. "Yes" the voice on the phone confirms. "How much to put an ad in your classifieds?" "Five euros an inch. Why? What are you selling?" "A ten-foot ladder" says Mick before slamming down the phone.
Here's another. Sheamus drops into his pub after seeing the doc. "What's wrong?" asks the bartender when he sees his look. "Lately I've not been feeling myself" Sheamus explains. "That's good, innit?" opines his bar man. "Now you won't get arrested." One last one. "An Irishman in New York waits to cross a busy street manned by a traffic cop. After a few minutes the cop stops traffic. "Okay pedestrians, go." The Irishman stands waiting ever more frustrated. Finally, "hey, the pedestrians crossed ages ago. When is it time for us Catholics?"
Now we're set for serious Danish engineering. Because who ever heard of cracking Irish loudspeakers? Kidding around is easy.
On which score, scroll back to the earlier mid/woofer photos. Take note of how the surround attaches directly to the aluminium baffle. It eliminates the typical basket-rim interface. How about minimized obstructions to the cone's back, the wind-slip geometry of its well-vented motor; or the isodynamic tweeter at right? These aren't outsourced slightly modified drivers. These are proprietary designs built in the Danish Pandrup facility. Their dynamic driver pushes first breakup to 15kHz—20kHz for the 6½" diamond version—so a good two octaves beyond its 3'400Hz filter hinge. That has it cover virtually all musical fundamentals when the piano's highest is 4'186kHz. Since it's transducers which move air to cause playback sounds, shouldn't they be as advanced and pistonic as current tech allows? Raidho think so. As we saw, what they actually mean by that is no joke.
"What do you call an Irishman on the rebound?" "Rick O'Shea." Like I said, cheap. We now appreciate why the X2t isn't, exactly. That the cabs are the antithesis of squared-out boxes we saw going in. Curvier rules this day. That's harder to make. When we add up bespoke ingredients, execution and High Street not direct sales to ask what compares, I don't see a very long list. Elsewhere €14K might buy a typical box in fancy veneers with off-the-shelf drivers. Raidho's TD range does veer steeply north past an X2t. I simply think that today's proposition still conforms to a different value balance. It's why this 'baby' Raidho tower with their 2nd-best driver tech had my ears at bright-red attention. I'd come close to wanting my own pair of TD-1.2 for an in-house sample of UltraFi speakers. I simply didn't fancy their stands. To my ears the X1t demands a sub which also put it out of contention; plus I wasn't keen on its stand either. On paper the X2t ticked all my boxes. It's how curiosity can kill a cat; if she's down to her last life.
I had six left; or so told myself.
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