September
2022

Country of Origin

Denmark

X1t

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
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, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn 80Hz/4th-order hi/lo-pass; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf + sound|kaos DSUB15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; 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: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro SE; Amplifier: Goldmund Job 225; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; 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: €5'800/pr, add €750/pr for matching stands

Sex, sense & sensibility. It's not a Jane Austin header, exactly. But today it applies. Can we agree that compact monitors are sexier, sensier and s'billier than big towers? Check. If we want more bass, add a sub. Double check. If we want best integration, use a superior analog xover without digital latency. Checked out! It's here where many users see our s-heavy header as scary hydra. How does one correctly integrate a music sub? With an active hi/lo-pass filter above the main speaker's cutoff. Checking out too could be makers of very fine monitors. That's when we solicit them to review their wares with a sub so just from the waist up. If they labored hard to make their compacts full range, knee-capping them isn't sexy but sad. Even from a consumer perspective, spending big on a stout stand-mount that's proud to -3dB/35Hz then adding a subwoofer as though that wasn't enough isn't sensible. It's Jane Austin with her knickers in a twist. And here we started off so well. Uff.

The faint pewter tint signals the titanium deposition atop the white ceramic cone.

So let's forget über monitors like Mårten Design's Parker Duo or Vimberg's Amea with their big passive radiators in the rear. Our eyes lusting after a threesome should really alight on a monitor with a 4" to 5¼" mid/woofer good to maximally ~55-65Hz. That won't pay for extra bass only to throw it away again. With an 80Hz 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley low pass, we maintain non-localized bass even with a mono sub. With a mirror-imaged high pass, we dovetail sub and mains without a seam and present no serious bass to the latter's voice coils. We cause no thermal compression across their mid/woofers' bandwidth up to where they meet their tweeters. Lower excursions lower distortion, less heat increases dynamic linearity. By keeping our mids small, we might even enjoy superior resolution and speed over a 6½" or 8" variant. Lower moving mass of diaphragm, voice coil and suspension usually does that. Pushing the transition to the tweeter up in frequency so above our hearing's most sensitive zone is beneficial as well. That too requires a smaller lighter mid/woofer.

Thinking about a suitable hi-zoot candidate, I identified Raidho's 5¼" 2-way X1t as ideal. It had made big waves at Munich HighEnd this year. It revisits the original which in 2015 The Absolu!e Sound reviewed. Lucky for us, their Morten Kim Nielsen proved made of sterner stuff than shoot down my 2.1 proposals; or call them pervy. I told him of our upstairs 2 x 9½" force-cancelling Dynaudio 18S subwoofer. I told him of our downstairs 2 x 15" cardioid Ripol sound|kaos. "Thank you for reaching out. We would love for you to review our products, in this case the X1t. I could have a review sample ready within a week or two. How about that?" Such punctuality was practically Germanic. Sehr gut!

The X1t's specs list 70Hz-50kHz bandwidth. With my external filter defined by its -6dB point, it would have the X1t already down 6dB/80Hz. Welcome back sense and sensibility. No waste but safe sex for the small drivers even during Ragnarök bass orgies. Today's assignment thus continues a theme I recently formalized for my two main systems. Additional stats for our Danish compact are dims of 15 x 32 x 23cm WxHxD, weight of 8kg, +5.8Ω impedance and low sensitivity of 85dB. The tweeter is a sealed 11-micron 20mg ribbon¹ with first 82kHz breakup beyond even a diamond tweeter. The mid/woofer below is a neodymium-powered aluminium cone to which an 80-hour electrochemical process adds aluminium-oxide aka ceramic skins which subsequently get plasma-coated with tantalum. The 't' in the model name is for that extra-hard outermost coating. We're told that tantalum is a refractory metall defined by its strong resistance to heat and wear. It has a melting point of 2'996° C, 4th highest of all metals. It hardens and stiffens the membrane without adding weight to push first breakup to 15kHz. That's two octaves above the 3.5kHz filter. The bass port is frontal to ease close-wall placement, the matching €750/pr stand with safety bolt optional. Finish is either black or white high gloss.
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¹ A true ribbon tweeter like a Raal uses its entire membrane as conductive surface and requires a transformer to step up extremely low impedance. A planarmagnetic driver attaches/etches a separate voice coil onto its membrane and doesn't require a transformer. With Raidho's tweeter using no transformer, it's probably a planarmagnetic even though the company refers to it as a ribbon.

This driver integrates directly with its baffle.

If these ingredients seem more than vaguely familiar, it's because we've seen very similar in Børresen's 01. That's no surprise. Michael Børresen co-founded Raidho with Lars Kristensen before Dantax took control of the brand in 2009 and these two gents went on to launch what has since become Audio Group Denmark. Benno Baun Meldgaard was chief designer of Dantax brand GamuT from 2012 to '17, then held the same position at Raidho until December 2020 when he joined Gryphon Audio Designs. Today Lars Groller handles Raidho's speaker design. He began at ScanSpeak, later owned GamuT whose speakers he engineered, then worked for Bang & Olufsen, Harman Automotive and Dynaudio. Raidho's X1t might thus lay claim to mixed design DNA from three very talented men.

If you wondered about the firm's 'R' logo, the raidho rune signifies "rhythm and ritual action. It's the integration of all aspects of the self. It's the harmony between inner consciousness and outer reality. To be in tune with raidho is to proceed gracefully upon your path and live rightly." So sez Wikipedia. Should you pursue a Raidho slightly beyond your means, submit this as justification to your accountant. You'll get the green light; or a new accountant.

On that score, Raidho still have the TD1.2. It looks very much like today's €5'800/pr proposal, just gets rather more indecent with a "new 5-layer tantalum diamond cone and 1.1 Tesla underhung motor" plus higher-spec planar tweeter and other refinements. That makes it 24K gold-plated; €24'000/pr. At one fourth, you see why I asked for the X1t instead. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, guys can make do with tantalum. If that's still too exotic, Dantax sister brand Scansonic beckons with this MB1 [€3'900/pr]. It replaces the Raidho's squared-out derrière with a boat hull, its 4" Ceramix with a 5¼" carbon fiber driver. Its initials still credit Michael Børresen who left Raidho five years ago. Today we're going more upscale than the MB1; just not as far out as the TD1.2 whose real audience probably lives in capacious penthouses with spectacular river views.