Some things bear repeating, others demand it. Room 526 at this years Capital Audio Fest 2021, reinforced things we loved and learned about Spatial Audio and Linear Tube Audio way back in 2019. Along for the ride, Holo Audio/Kitsune Hifi, Anticables, and Wolf Audio.
In 2019, we heard the M3 Sapphire from Spatial Audio paired with LTA’s Integrated and were awestruck with the sound and further plussed by the value.
Here in 2021 we’re much the same with the new M4 Sapphire on display at just a few notches above $4K, and the new LTA Z40+ Integrated at just an $8K ask. ‘Value’ or ‘budget’ is not the parent category of either of these products despite them being rather affordable in hi-fi terms. What’s going on here is that they are every bit true high-end class products and drift in-and-out of the conversation with and around all the big buck players. They compete.
The M4 Sapphire is a dipole loudspeaker, featuring two 12-inch woofers, and M100 synthetic sapphire mid-tweeter. Frequency response is a solid 32Hz at the low end, and enters the upper atmosphere somewhere around 40Hz. Well beyond human hearing, but that’s okay.
Because my Maserati does 185 (a speed that I’ll never see), it also does get up the highway onramp quite abruptly. Exactly where I need it often. Same kind of thing can be said about the mid-tweeter from Spatial. It’s duty to play music is light work.
As for the Z40+ it receives the latest and greatest design upgrades from David Berning.
Detail, detail, detail.
Being an all tube ZOTL design, the new Z40+ from LTA delivers exactly the kind of signal the M3 Sapphire mid-tweeter is capable of producing. It’s been said that ZOTL is the best of both worlds (tube and solid state) and I’m keen on buying into that belief system. What we heard was nimble and spacious beyond the room boundaries.
If I were to say there was any gripe about things, it was a bit too much detail on tracks that were knowingly mixed (or reissued) a bit hot.
For me, this system is crying for my record collection. With the supplied digital from Holo Audio, it’s almost showing off it’s upper edge capabilities, but I’m still here for it.
LTA Z40+ Integrated Amplifier – $7,650
Spatial Audio X4 Premium – $7,000 pr
Spatial Audio M4 Sapphire – $4,200 pr
Holo Audio/Kitsune hifi May DAC (KTE) – $5,598