Soft IQ versus hard tantalum. Qualio's IQ exploits its Cube Audio designers' love of xover-less widebanders. It does this by running an SB Acoustic papyrus-paper 6" midrange as quasi widebander from 600Hz-8kHz with very shallow 1st-order end stops. Mundorf's AMT caps off the top, a rear-ported 9.5" Satori woofer the bottom. From 600Hz up, dispersion is dipole. That energizes the ambient field for a super-spacious feel; removes any and all box-talk effects; and enhances tone textures with extra reverberation. Those textures are reminiscent of what a superior direct-heated triode preamp à la Vinnie Rossi and Allnic will inject. A byproduct is a slightly softer gestalt but with seriously maximized dynamic scaling where not half the generated acoustic output traps in the usual box to damp the driver from the back.
With Electrocompaniet's stupendous AW800M which sadly had to depart before the much delayed Raidho arrived.
The X2t's pistonic drivers and wind-slip enclosure cast their own enormous staging without quite the same sense of freedom and certainly not the dynamic vigor of the IQ's turbo-charged scaling. The X2t's textures weren't as billowy but likewise round and supple, just without the softer focus of the IQ. In the treble the combination of 6" mid good to 15kHz (!) augmented by a highly dynamic folded tweeter gave the Polish IQ more cutting power and brilliance enveloped in its more reverberant milieu. The monopole Raidho planarmagnetic tweeter wasn't quite as turned up but more specific to sharpen localization focus.
With further break-in, Raidho's room interaction in the bass grew rather more exaggerated than the IQ's rear port. I still plug the latter with its optional foam bung, an option Raidho haven't yet given us. Being good to ~25Hz, the IQ's majority port action falls below room resonance. The X2t's higher and apparently broader tuning rode serious room modes. High-pass mode cut most of that but still made it difficult to find the right sub volume for correct low-bass balance without ballooning the upper bass.
An obvious difference was baffle width and related psychology. As long as we listen open-eyed, narrower baffles can't fail to subtract from the stage action better. They cause less mental conflict of speakers covering up performers to impossibly have two objects occupy the same space. On that score I'll always favor narrower smaller speakers if making it so won't sacrifice other qualities. My inner aesthete also couldn't fail to acknowledge that Raidho's form factor and veneer execution were rather sexier and classier though each cheek shows one longitudinal and three cross seams by expertly patching together eight veneer sections. The IQ's direct-selling concept goes hard after maximum value so treads lighter on visual bling. The X2t revels in its own luxuriousness.
This view shows off just how much these cabinets slim toward the rear.
Rather more than I remembered from the X1t and TD-1.2, the IQ comparator showed the X2t to betray greater box-speaker remnants by not sounding as open, gushing or physically absentee. I thought its overabundant bass interfered and that perhaps the woofer's entry frequency on a quite shallow slope was too high. At this juncture my Dantax contact Morten asked about my room size and whether I could experiment with stuffing the ports to generate feedback for their team. While he proposed taping them up with cardboard, I rather thought that too lossy. I tried to remove the vane inserts but aside from four screws each, they seemed glued in and wouldn't budge. The old tautly rolled-up sock trick wouldn't work.
Raiding my trusty hifi closet for inspiration, I instead chanced upon some sheets of Permafix which had wrapped a prior purchase. It's a kind of compressed tough felt liner with equally tough plastic backing. I cut myself sixteen 25x10cm strips, rolled them into cigarillos, folded them back onto themselves then jammed each into a port section like a very tight suppository. I made them long enough to stick out for safe extraction with needle-nose pliers. While not fully equal to a suddenly sealed alignment, I expected this to be quite airtight to kill off most the port action. And? For reference I set up the X2t adjacent to the beautifully linear IQ. This wasn't about soundstage width, just tonal balance and bass evenness. Whilst the 80Hz sub cut came off far better now—stuffing the ports reduced upper-bass power—full-range mode still showed overly ambitious output. Down low my suppositories had done far less than expected against how break-in had only built in more lift. I wasn't sure what the correct takeaway should be other than report back to Morten that my loaner's port tuning seemed effective across too broad a bandwidth so ran too high; and felt too generous in sheer amplitude. How should I proceed? Was mine an isolated observation or had other early recipients similar feedback?
If I was alone, I could certainly chalk it up to a poor room match then brush it over in 4th-order high-pass mode perhaps even set to 90Hz or 100Hz. But that still wouldn't address my suspicion that the woofer's entry sat perhaps just a bit high to compromise ultimate clarity. Had first dealers similar feedback? I called Morten to find out. Two dealers to receive X2t loved theirs out of the box, period. Two others had my type issue, one in a smaller 35m² room which responded better to partially stuffed ports. Just then the Pandrup team hadn't decided yet what if anything to change. Morten and I simply agreed that given my fixed electronics and room, it made little sense to continue as is. After all, how many buyers would high-pass their X2t? So for now this remains a teaser like a proof-of-life notice. If further dealer feedback prompts Raidho to lengthen the port to lower its current 50Hz tuning below common room resonance; engineer optional port bungs for end-user tuning; and/or adjust the woofer's filter hinge in the crossover… then I'll get another pair and this tale resumes. If not, we call it a day and what for us was a rare case of speaker/room mismatch I couldn't solve.
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