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AXPONA 2016: The Sublime Musicality of Raidho Acoustics

AXPONA-Raidho-1354

axponaBack at the last RMAF, one of my favorite rooms saw both Raidho and Constellation.  I found it to be a remarkable blend of resolution and effortless musicality.

At AXPONA 2016, I was happy to find Raidho’s always-entertaining Lars Kristensen showing off the smaller D-1.1 speakers. I always learn something talking to Lars, and today would be no different, on both the speaker and the music fronts.

The room seemed just right for the Raidho D-1.1 speakers, which feature Raidho’s famous ribbon tweeter (perhaps the best in the business) and the new115 millimeters mid-bass diamond driver. Raidho was showing off unusual paint colors; and as the photos show, this pair was in a beautiful orange. These are rear-ported speakers, a sensitivity of 85 db, and recommended power of 50 watts or higher. Impedence is greater than 6 ohms. Each speaker weighs 12.5 kilograms, or almost 28 pounds.

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The big news was the debut (at least to me) of the Raidho Ansuz Aavik U-300 integrated amplifier. The industrial design on this piece is gorgeous and the electronics seemed, unsurprisingly, to mate well with the D-1.1 speakers. The amplifier is a 300 watt into 8Ω, and a Class D design. It includes both a DAC and a phono stage too!  With three line inputs, one phono input, two SPDIF, two optical Toslink inputs, and a USB input, you are good-to-go for digital sources.  Lars was using a Naim CD player for a transport. Digital playback was the only thing I heard, and it was very open and had superb bass.

The sound was typical Raidho, where the speakers disappear into an expansive soundstage, “fool you” bass that was disconcerting given the sound of the speakers. Airy highs and a liquid midrange due to the high tech drivers. Dynamics were simply amazing. These are very impressive, handmade speakers.  Lars was playing a CD I was not familiar with and I loved it: Derrin Lauendorf, Live at the Boardwalk.  Superb music.

So why is the sound of these expensive speakers so magnificent?

I think it has to do in part with the state-of-the-art ribbon tweeter. The membrane is a slight 0.01 grams in weight. That allows for incredible detail and accuracy. The sound is clear, musical, and well, just natural.

The other factor is the stiffness of the diamond mid-bass driver.  This new mid-bass driver is a big step up from Raidho’s also excellent “Ceramix” drivers which rate a “9” on the Mohrs scale of stiffness. The new diamond driver is a “10” on the Mohrs scale, but that extra bump equates to a full 140 times more stiffness in the cone. Across the entire surface there is 1.5 carats of pure diamond. The cone is formed into a mix of both carbon and diamond resulting in a black appearance. Ah, but the results are worth the extra cost as the first resonance is pushed outside of the 20khz audible band. Raidho has effectively removed, they claim, most of the audible resonances.

There certainly seems to be no resonances in the impressive sound.  I was knocked out by the sound.  This is a superb speaker and electronics combination.  I hope I get to hear these speakers again soon.

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About Lee Scoggins (42 Articles)
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee is a serious music collector and his current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Magnepan speakers.