New Toy, Spatial Audio M5 Sapphire, by Larry Deniston
In looking for the next improvement in my system, I started thinking about speaker upgrades and thinking about open baffle designs. I’d heard the Linkwitz open baffle speakers at Kevin’s, Don’s and Linkwitz’ homes and always was very impressed. While impressive, the Linkwitz require a larger room than I have (according to the Linkwitz website) and was somewhat deterred by the multiple amps and active crossover required to drive them. Then I remembered some other open baffles I’d heard at some audio shows, particularly the Pure Audio Projects and Spatial Audios. As I conducted my research, I found the new Sapphire series from Spatial Audio most appealing. The simple, crossover-less design, high efficiency, great reviews and 60-day trial period sealed the deal.
I ordered a pair of the M5 Sapphires from Clayton Shaw. Clayton is the owner and designer of Spatial Audio speakers and is a pleasure to work with. The recent surge in popularity of his speakers has kept him very busy!
The M5 Sapphires are the entry level speaker in the Spatial Audio line up and represent Clayton’s latest design efforts. From the Spatial website (https://www.spatialaudio.us/) the M5s have a “Spatial M100 Uniwave® Broadband Mid/Tweeter” and a 15″ dipole woofer. The mid/tweeter is designed to handle frequencies from 576 hz to 40 khz. The woofer is “Our Latest Open-Baffle Woofer – The Spatial ST15-8 Offers Up Powerful Low Frequency Energy With Consummate Speed And True Tone”.
Initial listening sessions of the speakers found them a little light on bass and a little edgy on some of the highs, but sounding quite good nonetheless. Certainly not what one might consider an entry level speaker! Spatial Audio has an active presence on the AudioCircle website (https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=193) and is a good source for information about Spatial speakers.
With patience and at least 200+ hours of break-in, the speakers have really come into their own (as Clayton and folks on AudioCircle pointed out, break-in is critical for these speakers). The bass has much better extension now, with better detail and tone than my old box speakers. This is especially evident on tracks with acoustic bass such as Ray Brown’s Soular Energy where the upright bass has a more real, in the room experience. The highs have smoothed out with a much more refined presentation. Cymbals are clear and crisp, plucks on guitar strings are evident and vocals are sublime.
It should be noted that these are very resolving speakers. They reproduce everything, good and bad on your source material. Very good recordings sound great and poor recordings sound, well, not so good. So if you’re looking for something that homogenizes the sound quality, these may not be the speakers for you.
I’m enjoying my system and the music reproduction more than I ever have. Overall, the openness, detail, tone and accuracy have really sold me on these great speakers.
Spatial Audio M5 Sapphire speakers
JL Audio fathom f112 v.1
Pass Labs XA-30.8 amplifier
PS Audio BHK Signature preamp
Ortofon A95 cartridge
Spiral Groove SG2.2 with Centroid arm (review coming)
Boulder 1008 phono stage
Sonore Sonictransporter i5, Optical Module and OpticalRendu
MSB Analog DAC with Analog powerbase
B.P.T. 3.5 signature plus
Various including, Cardas, Audio Art, Synergistic Research, Furutech and Zu