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Newport 2015: Spatial Audio, Red Dragon, Resolution Audio

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THEShow_LOGO2015I’m starting to hate Clayton Shaw. His Spatial Audio Laboratory has been pushing my buttons for two years with reasonably priced, open-baffle speakers. The last few models even sported the kind of big coax drivers that make my blood uncomfortably hot. Now he’s released an evolution of the $4,000, 95db sensitive Hologram M1 that won my heart at last year’s California Audio Show. This new M3 Hologram lists for $1495.

I had to ask Clayton to repeat the price a few times. “Fourteen ninety-five.”

That price is not a typo.

Listening to it paired with a Resolution Audio Cantata ($6500) and a Red Dragon Audio S500 Amplifier ($2000) left me slack-jawed. It also left me asking more questions. “This sounds a lot like the M1,” I wondered, “is it actually different?” Answer: not by much. The biggest changes are the (obvious) baffle work, and the domestic-only, direct-only sales model. “We can’t ship these overseas,” Clayton explained, “the shipping would cost more than the speaker.”

The M3 seemingly gives up little (if any) performance to its older brother, and that pressure-bonded baffle neatly contains the crossovers and most of the absurd wiring loom that plagues every multi-way open baffle. It just looks better than the old model. Cleaner. More modern. More appealing. And you’re telling me it’s cheaper?

Clayton nearly took my head off when I expressed surprise at the lowered price. “I’m getting so tired of everything being too expensive,” he said. “We invested in a better build processes and larger order quantities to get our prices down. We worked at this. I don’t want to just sell toys to rich people.”

Proud to sponsor Part-Time Audiophile and The Audio Traveler at THE Show in Newport 2015!

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