If you look at the models of the large TD series from the Danish speaker manufacturer Raidho, you can ask yourself: is it still hi-fi or already handicraft? On the other hand, this question is answered in favor of standard hi-fi after the first visual inspection of the compact models of the cheaper X series – such as the Raidho X1.6 2-way compact speaker (from 7,300 euros).
And that’s good. Because if you want to convince in terms of sound in the diverse and therefore competitive price range between 5,000 and 10,000 euros, you will invest the development budget primarily in the sound-relevant technology instead of in the design. This does not mean that the Raidho X1.6 is unsightly, but its case is much more classic – rectangular and linear than its more expensive siblings. On the other hand, the floor-standing speaker model Raidho X2t, with its slim, rounded design at the rear, can already take a step towards the larger TD series, which is reflected in the pair price of 14,000 euros.
Form meets function
Of course, the designers have also given the X1.6 an optical trick that makes the loudspeakers recognizable as Raidhos and – form meets function – certainly also offers sound advantages: two dark gray baffles attached to each box, which become thinner towards the outside and are rounded at the edges made of aluminum should improve the stability and the resonance behavior – especially since both drivers experience a certain mechanical separation – as well as reduce the edge diffraction.
The cabinets are made of medium-density fiber (MDF) and have internal stiffeners made of the same material. The damping measures inside are relatively moderate because, according to Morten Kim Nielsen from DANTAX Radio A/S, Raidho’s parent company, the energy radiated by the drivers should not be suppressed so much that it “kills the music.”
While the entry-level model of the X-series, the mini-monitor Raidho X1t (5,800 euros), which weighs only eight kilograms, boasts a 13-centimeter mid-bass driver with a tantalum-coated aluminum/ceramic membrane, the almost 12-kilo unit works in the low-midrange The Raidho X1.6 has a 16.5-centimeter chassis that does not have a coating with the rare transition metal for cost reasons. Here and there, the well-known and almost legendary Raidho foil magnetostatic takes over the reproduction of the high-frequency range from 3.5 kHz. Let’s take a closer look at the drivers.
Magnetostatics for the treble
The proprietary planar magnetic tweeter is engineered and handcrafted in Denmark. The foil, printed with conductors (unlike a “real” ribbon, therefore does not need a transformer), is only eleven micrometers thick. It has fifty times less moving mass than a conventional dome tweeter, according to Raidho. On the one hand, this is due to the extremely low weight of the foil itself of only 20 milligrams, and, on the other hand, to the fact that this design does not require a voice coil – the conductor tracks do this job. The result is that there is far less resonance or distortion as long as you have the appropriate know-how for production, as Raidho emphasizes. In addition, the linear transmission range only ends at 82 kilohertz, a value that only seems irrelevant to us – because the effects can be relevant for the audible range, you need to experiment with external super tweeters or think of the often particularly silky and fine tweeter texture in amplifiers with extremely high bandwidth.
Aluminum oxide ceramic for the low-mid drivers
Raidho also manufactures the 16.5-centimeter drive unit for the low-mid range in Denmark, and of course, the in-house Ceramix technology is used here. A thin aluminum cone serves as the starting material for the Raidho membrane, to which Raidho applies an extremely high voltage for a defined period. This process gradually transforms the surface of the metal into aluminum oxide ceramic. The finished cone is a homogeneous, virtually seamless material sandwich with thin, extremely stiff “skins” on both sides of the softer aluminum core. The structure is even more rigid than a pure ceramic membrane and still has excellent self-damping. According to Raidho, partial oscillations only become apparent at 12.5 kilohertz.
The cone drive uses a strong neodymium magnet, which sits in an open-design assembly, which enables efficient ventilation and cooling of the thermally highly resilient titanium voice coil. In this way, Raidho wants to “eliminate mechanisms that lead to distortions.”
The bass driver is supported by a rear-ventilating bass reflex system, which gives the Raidho X1.6 a lower limit frequency of 45 Hertz on paper. Felt so much in advance it goes deeper in the real listening room.
The two sound transducers are separated at a relatively high 3500 hertz, but still almost two octaves below the 12 kilohertz critical for the ceramic-aluminum sandwich. Without hesitation, you can afford the low-pass slope of only 6 dB per octave. And at such high frequencies, the foil, already equipped with a large membrane area (good for efficiency) compared to domes, sweats less. Nevertheless, Raidho uses a second-order high-pass filter here, i.e., with a slope of 12 dB per octave.
With all this, the driving amp does not have to be a muscular powerhouse because since the impedance never drops below 5.8 ohms and the efficiency of 87 dB at 2.83 volts at a measuring distance of one meter is rather average, the Danes are sufficiently good-natured and free of affectations. Oh yes: the loudspeaker terminal offers access to single-wring cables with banana plugs or spade lugs with solid screw terminals made in-house.
The chic Danes contact the Norma Audio REVO PA-150 power amplifier via my Ortofon Reference SPK Black speaker cable. Raidho recommends importing the X1.6 for a whopping 250 hours. Luckily, the test models had already been in use and only had to lose their travel stiffness – after only 30 hours of playing time, the ensemble showed a solid sound pattern.
Amazingly mature: bass and coarse dynamics
The Raidho X1.6 impress directly with an exceptionally powerful bass, which is almost too full in my 25 square meter room when installed close to the wall (less than 50 centimeters from the rear wall), which belies the dimensions of the housing. With almost 80 centimeters of air in the back, it fits better. The bass drum in Brendan Perry’s “This Boy” still has power and physical impact – and the electronic bass in Yello’s “Kiss the Cloud” (Album: Toy) continues to pull through powerfully. But even with such a free arrangement, basses still experience a minimal “substance enrichment” that goes hand in hand with a slightly soft quality. So the famous “bass in a vise” is less appropriate here.
It still goes deep: Only the bottom octave of the big organ on the album Cantate Domino doesn’t want to come out of the X1.6 in a way that can be heard or felt. An amazingly grown-up performance that not many compact speakers can match. The trade-off: In terms of control and structure, the Raidho X1.6 turn a blind eye earlier than, for example, the significantly more expensive Magico A1 (12,000 euros), which sends similarly powerful and even deeper basses onto the track, but give them firmer crash barriers give.
This characteristic means that the Raidho X1.6 emphasizes the body, and the sustain of an instrument, especially if it has a high bass content (e.g. bass drum or double bass), and round off the attack impulse a little. The impulse response in the bass is quite fast and precise but still appears softer or, depending on your taste, more positively expressed: less harshness than I heard from other compacts such as the Wilson Benesch Precision P1.0 (7,999 euros) or the Grandinote Mach 2R (from 6,600 euros). The ATC SCM20PSL just tested(5,500 euros) sort themselves somewhere in the middle. Roughly dynamically demanding level jumps feel powerful and powerful with the Raidho and, at the same time, a little milder – with amazing level capabilities.
As expected, the treble is one of the special highlights of the Raidho X1.6. This is not least because the Raidho developers skilfully couple the foil to the low-midrange cone: the overall balance is minimally reduced compared to the rest of the transmission range, but “in itself” completely linear from the crossover frequency to the super high range in. I can’t find any transitions or breaks between the two very different drivers. Chilly Gonzalez’s piano on the Room 29 album sounds homogeneous over its entire frequency range – the sound never gives the impression that Raidho wants to put a superficial focus on the high-frequency range of the X1.6 as a “USP” (Unique Selling Point) – despite the marvelous capabilities of this driver.
They become clearer when we focus on fine dynamics and transient fidelity. Listen to the Hadouk Trio’s “Théatre des Singes” about the Danes: I can’t immediately think of a loudspeaker under 10,000 euros that snaps the metal percussion out of the drivers in such a relaxed, fluffy, and finely dynamically differentiated manner. What a feast for the senses, regardless of whether you listen very loudly or softly! The Raidho X1.6 bring this rare quality to light so casually and calmly that the analytical skills only become apparent when you listen closely. However, I find the resolution virtually unrivaled in the price range.
Even if it’s almost hard for me to write this: When it comes to sheer overwhelming information density with minimal stress factor, even the beryllium tweeters of the Magico A1 (12,000 euros) have to admit that they are influenced by the planar-magnetic tweeters of the Raidho X1. 6 can still learn something. For example, how to prepare the fine textures of the synths in “This Never Happened Befopre” by Sylvain Luc (album: Joko ) so silky, fragrant, clear, and homogeneous that the jaw of an experienced tester drops. How open, free, and airy the foils of the Raidho X1.6 are the metal bells in Erika de CasiersSwirling “Polite” around the room is also impressive. Hardly any other tweeter I know of manages to do this so light-footed and weightlessly, and certainly none in the relevant price range.
Smooth performance: the mids
To what extent does this perfected inconspicuousness have anything to do with the minimal tonal restraint of the Raidho X1.6 in the presence range? Well, I think that, on the one hand, this contributes to the softer attack mentioned above in the case of coarsely dynamically demanding impulses and thus promotes a minimal rounding of the snare drum and the slapped bass in Stanley Clarke’s “Hot Fun.” On the other hand, this song’s finely resolved brass sections come across as really full and without any sharpness – the latter often occurs when the upper midrange and the presence region are overemphasized.
Voices? Here, too, the X1.6 deliver a decidedly “smooth” performance. Whether it’s Jacintha, Erika de Casier or Bruce Springsteen – the Raidho X1.6’s singing voices give the Raidho X1.6 a touch of the full, human side. In other words: it never seems as if the Raidho reproduces a voice unpleasantly harshly or overemphasizes sibilants. Fortunately, this good-naturedness is in no way at the expense of the excellent transparency described but promotes a reproduction that feels very free of interference. Only in a direct comparison with voice specialists like the ATC SCM20PSL does it become apparent that the openness of the voice reproduction can be a bit more if the recording allows it.
The stage representation of the Raidho X1.6 and its tonal balance remains largely constant regardless of the listener’s seating position. In principle, they do not place the stage as far into the room behind the loudspeakers as omnidirectional loudspeakers, but they do not pack them directly in front of the listener’s nose like so many horns. Depending on the recording, instruments, and voices sound on and near the speaker base. The width of the stage extends well beyond the speakers themselves – even if it’s not a Q-Sound recording – and it doesn’t seem to have any upper limits either.
But the particular talent of the X1.6 is being able to display complex sound events, such as the many individual choral voices in Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” (Album: The Book of Secrets ) completely unaffected by the rest of the action and they are downright phenomenal three-dimensional, tangible and precise on stage. With your eyes closed, you almost believe you can reach out and touch the singers. This ability makes the Raidho X1.6 dream objects for spatiality fans.
The tonal balance of the Raidho X1.6 presents itself to one or the other with a surprising tendency towards warmth given the equipment – in contrast to the ethereal analysis. The Danish compact loudspeakers set themselves apart from the competition in some disciplines with talents such as impressive fine dynamics, stress-free and high resolution, and a beautifully “tangible” three-dimensional image.
Thanks to their sovereignty in the bass, they even get along well with coarser material, such as metal or hip-hop, in rooms of around 20 to almost 40 square meters. I can hardly think of any musical limitations – except maybe when you’re explicitly talking about extremely hard-kick basses. On the other hand, I could listen to brass instruments and acoustic guitars, lively electronica, and percussion for hours on the Raidho X1.6.
These easy-to-operate speakers should not pose any electrical problems for amplifiers other than 300B triodes. Chains that are rather warm or dark could, however, reinforce the trend of the Raidho foil tweeters, which are tuned somewhat more discreetly on the high-frequency level side, and thus possibly soften the sound image excessively. The electronics can therefore be in the broad spectrum from tonally neutral to analytical – the fantastic tweeters should transmit even the highest resolution and slight tonal emphasis without stress.
The Raidho X1.6 …
- Have an overall very pleasant and long-term, minimally “warm” character.
- Integrate the treble, which is very linear in the overall picture, in a slightly subdued manner. The beautifully silky, weightlessly floating upper octaves right up to the super high tone set class standards for “unobtrusive resolution.”
- Come with a plus in energy in the bass, which perhaps does not comply with the strict neutrality requirement but which, combined with the very good depth, ensures a surprisingly mature sound. The bass does not necessarily exercise the ultimate precision and control.
- They are also tuned to be slightly more physical in the midrange and voices than 100% neutral studio class monitors due to the powerful bass and a tiny reticence in the presence range. Luckily, this is not at the expense of mid-tone detailing.
- Paint rich, radiant timbres and let string and brass instruments, In addition to acoustic guitars, sound pleasant and differentiated.
- can play surprisingly loud, …
- … but show all the details even at low levels.
- Feel minimally restrained with coarse dynamic impulse attacks – extremely loud kick bass is not so much their thing.
- Conjure up all the finer and more enchanting fine-dynamic gradations.
- They are outstandingly three-dimensional and clearly outlined. The plasticity of the X1.6 can be downright breathtaking.
- Form the virtual stage in front of, on top of, and behind the speaker level, depending on the recording, whereby the virtual “distance range” is not the greatest that I have heard so far.
- They are fairly easy to operate and suitable for most styles of music.
- Model: Raidho X1.6
- Concept: Passive 2-way monitor speaker with bass reflex enclosure
- Price: 7,300 euros, stands 850 euros (pairs)
- Dimensions & weight: 200 x 360 x 300 mm (WxHxD), 12 kg/each
- Finishes: black or white piano finish
- Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
- Efficiency: 87dB 2.83V/m
- Miscellaneous: Planar magnetic foil tweeter and ceramic aluminum sandwich woofer with titanium voice coil
- Guarantee: 5 years