Sex, sauce & SPL. An older tired Saab I drove during our Leucadia/San Diego period had obvious turbo lag. Our present Volvo C30 with its 2.5l/5-cylinder 230HP engine exhibits far less. Relative to SPL, the X1t had a lot. Whilst its relaxed slightly sweet minorly romantic character remained, its turbo kicked in past an SPL barrier higher than our ~93dB residents. A far sexier description of the effect is disrobing. First it opens just a bit at the front. Then it starts to lazily slip off the shoulders. Finally the occupant steps out fully revealed. That drop—of the robe draping around the feet in a velvet puddle—happened later on the volume scale. Unlike the actual robe, this had nothing to do with general visibility. It was about dynamic vigor, jump factor and an energetic forward lean. Fireside listeners won't care. Adrenaline junkies are put on notice. For the X1t to reveal its claws takes higher sound pressures. If you own a cat, you know just how soft and silky its paws are; until they unfurl those sickle nails and draw blood. Here that energetic transformation from kitten to predator relied on turning it up past our usual transition. It probably was a tax levy for low voltage sensitivity. It created a distinct before/after transition. Before was more mysterious, somewhat distanced though always super spacious. After added Iron Chef-style slicing and dicing whenever recorded transients and dynamic shifts triggered it.

Another angle for framing the X1t's general voicing is to—bear with me—mention tubes. Regular readers know that I've drifted into passive-magnetic volume controllers from Manchester's Pál Nagy for both upstairs/downstairs music systems. I subsequently realized that using Cees Ruijtenberg's perfectly lossless variable reference voltage in our Sonnet Pasithea DAC is just as transparent but adds steady 16Ω output impedance for ideal drive across my 6m interlinks. One less box got my vote. A few days ago a digital review sample settled in upstairs seeing the icOn 4Pro SE passive then Goldmund's Job 225 stereo amp. For the sound|kaos Vox 3awf I'd strategically picked the Job over the more suave Crayon CFA-1.2. I wanted the extra spunk for the AlNiCo/bronze cellulose tone maestros. Once the Vox moved permanently downstairs, Acelec's Model One with its modified Mundorf AMT moved in. Since then I'd not really sat down to listen seriously. With Métronome's Le Player 4+ on review, I now did. Ouch. Early Sabre sound. High-pitched choral violins behind female vocals on already the first track sounded too glassy, strident and sawing. I wasn't in the studio but during my clarinet days played in enough orchestras and with chamber-music string ensembles to know that live violins never sounded alike. Time for plastic surgery. Instead of swapping amps, I elected to un-bench Vinnie Rossi's L2 Signature preamp from the boiler room and fit it with my fave Elrog ER50 set to 5V. As a direct-coupled DHT circuit sans output transformers or coupling capacitors, this is an ultra bandwidth fast and very lucid circuit just a few clicks below my favorite autoformer passives.

However, those few clicks were transformative. I suddenly had more harmonics in the sauce, more elasticity and give in how music progressed from bar to bar. That objectionable wiriness had relaxed like shoulders which finally forgot to bunch. With it the rusty aspect of grit 'n' glint on particularly high strings vanished. Now the dynamically aspirated pleated tweeter could strut its stuff without attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. The direct-heated triode infusion of minor viscosity and sweetness is precisely what the X1t reminded me of now; just without being preceded by actual valves or other softening agents. The only problem with this? The vast majority has never heard direct-coupled DHT. They don't know how gloriously they disrobe when the phase-shifting bandwidth-robbing turns of very long wire in output trannies fall away. They only know the Manley 300B preamp type which is nothing like it. Fully denuded, a 'super 45' like the ER50 behaves akin to just a little butter emulsifying water. There's no nasty fat swimming on the surface, no artery-clogging heart attack in the making. The watery texture simply acquires some oiliness. That textural change is the pure DHT injection. It's also this Raidho's core tuning.

It has me wonder what still awaits beyond when we step up to the €20K sibling with nano diamond skin. Its bigger mid/woofer and cab also add lower/louder bass to oppose the sense & sensibility part of today's equation which inserts an 80Hz 4th-order high pass. More reasonable would be a 180° turnabout by looking downhill at the Scansonic MB1 B. Odin willing, that could be my next Dantax gig. For today, the intended takeaway is simple. Wake up, smell the roses of proper subwoofer integration, then pursue the best small bandwidth-limited monitor you can afford. You'll have far fewer room issues, less toll on your décor, much better more extended bass, high vocal resolution and gargantuan soundstaging.

So turn on these Northern lights. They're truly tailormade for stereo 2.1; and probably even represent Raidho v2.1 relative to how the company's house sound has evolved over the years. What's not to love? Yes, the love not just like button. Preventing an award is insufficient bandwidth for unconditional solo exploits. Standard shoppers in this price range will predictably balk at lack of bass. And from their perspective, they're correct. But flip the script to an ideal subwoofer mate—here many legacy 'philes draw another line to have any award notion twice cursed—and rosy love is really in the air; or at least was for me to make it personal. What a rad Raidho!

Postscript: Already booked are reviews on the Scansonic MB1 B and Raidho TD1.2. as a good-better-best survey of three stand-mount compacts from Dantax. The same catalogue even has the new X1.6, a 6" 2-way with Ceramix driver in a rectangular box. That's four options for the intrepid monitor shopper.