Raidho Acoustics’ D-3 Loudspeaker

by Audiophilia on November 24, 2013 · 23 comments

in Loudspeakers, Stars

Good things are supposed to come in threes, but sometimes, one or two of the three decide not to play nicely. This is especially true with unruly members of a ‘family’ of loudspeakers. Most speaker manufacturers, if well funded and have a good designer, will attempt to produce a line or family of speakers. The most vested among them will produce several families, at various price points. This makes good financial sense but is far more difficult than you would imagine, especially the ‘baby step’ from monitor to floor stander.

Many loudspeaker companies have failed attempting this elusive step. Others, like Focal are successful doing it in the reverse order. Design the big speaker first then trickle down the technology to fit in the monitor box. Companies like ProAc, Royd, Totem, Magico became famous for their monitors then reached for the stars with bigger and bigger floorstanders, all with varying results. But, that’s for another article. Danish company Raidho Acoustics has done the same with its top D Series, produced a knockout, world-class monitor then followed up with two floor standing designs.

Capturing the magical essence of a great monitor design, which the Raidho D-1 surely is, and beefing up the bass and macro dynamics with a larger cabinet and more drivers is a akin to capturing lightning in a bottle. A recent experience at the 2013 Denver audio show was a case in point. I searched for the room of a manufacturer of one of my favourite monitors to listen to its new, vaunted floor stander. Disappointing, at least on this extended hearing. Sure, it was a very good speaker, but that magic I heard in the company’s small box had gone. Has Raidho Acoustics followed in the same footprint?

The Raidho Acoustics D Series consists of the D-1 monitor, the 2.5 way D-2 and the subject of this review, the imposing, 3 way D-3.

After my rave of the D-1 monitor, one of the finest loudspeakers of any size I’ve reviewed, I wanted to get right down to the perceived problems of going big. As such, I used much of the same D-1 repertoire as source material for the note taking portion of the review.

I can report very happy news right away that this larger sibling has all the D-1’s magic and then some, with the addition of serious heft in the lower octaves. Much like the Hansen Audio family of speakers and the aforementioned Focal Utopia line, the same signature that Raidho flaunts through its sound design for the monitor is front and center on the floor stander.

The D-3s retain the sparkling timbres of acoustic instruments through its ribbon tweeter. This is a fabulous tweeter and is right up there in quality and refined sound with the most famous examples. Of course, you can’t just plonk a sealed ribbon tweeter with standard drivers in a box and poke and hope. This tweeter is proprietary to Raidho and they are justly proud of its design.

The D-3 loudspeaker uses two different topologies to produce the sound — the aforementioned ribbon tweeter and Raidho’s new diamond woofer (called ‘Raidho Cutting Edge Diamond Technology’). Less expensive Raidho models like the C Series use a ceramic midrange/woofer, but the D-3 uses a mix of diamond and carbonite. Raidho’s Lars Kristensen explained the driver’s manufacturing process to me during a visit to Toronto last year. He was very proud of the development and the implementation of the technology. He called the driver ‘a true industrial design’.

Following the ‘more is better’ philosophy, the D-3 adds two additional woofers over the D-1 and a midrange driver using the same diamond and carbonite construction. This extra driver, in addition to the two extra woofers and their associated crossover(s), is where the rubber hits the road.

The extra bass drivers gave more presence to the sound, a larger picture of the orchestra, the choir, the jazz combo, the stadium. Simple physics with a bigger box, more air movement and more drivers. But, Raidho has been subtle with its technology. It enhances the sound of the monitor’s signature, not overwhelms it. You hear the imaging and soundstage that the D-1 replicates so magnificently, but your feet are not touching the floor. They dangle over a ledge with a floor way down below. They are said to go down to 30Hz. I don’t believe it! Nothing feels missing. That said, you’ll get a stadium, but you won’t get much of the godawful sound and emphasized bass that usually occurs.

The timpani (a far more difficult instrument to record than a bass drum) on the LP of Jean Martinon’s Decca Les Patineurs reissue was a perfect example. Through a Brinkmann turntable, the instrument was heard equally on both the D-1 and D-3, with the D-3 adding the last bit of copper ringing and reflection. It’s only a small difference, but important. And, with the capability of hearing a complete octave lower than the monitor, the D-3 captured the last ounce of grandeur on large scale works. Physics, again. But, careful design, too.

Although the extra bass and its blend into the family sound was enticing, what really sold me on the D-3 was its midrange driver integration. This was magnificent. Again, the monitor was no slouch in delivering this important tessitura, but the new midrange added even more bloom and sophistication to the sound. Woodwind instruments sounded more realistic and more specified in placement. Much like when an upgraded DAC or amplifier is placed in your system, a veil is lifted. Same, here. The specific midrange driver makes a magical midrange intoxicating. This alone makes the extra outlay for the D-3s worthwhile. Yes, it’s that good.

For the price, you can purchase larger speakers that have a better published bass response, that could probably play louder in a very large room. Don’t let that deter you from hearing these stunning loudspeakers. They are artisan in quality and the drivers are designed and implemented at the very highest technical and musical standard. If you match them to a reasonable room size and hook them up with real quality ancillaries, you’ll never need another speaker. Among the very best I’ve heard in twenty years of listening and reviewing. Very highly recommended.

[We are proud to award the Raidho Acoustics D-3 Loudpeakers an Audiophilia Star Component Award. Congratulations! - Ed]

Anthony Kershaw

Specifications

Size: 20 x 136 x 52 cm
Weight: 65 Kg
Freq. response: 30 Hz - 50 KHz
Impendance: > 3.5 ohm
Crossover: 150 Hz and 3 KHz 2. Order
Enclosure: Vented design — Port in rear panel
Drive units: 1 sealed ribbon tweeter, 1 100 mm Diamond Midrange driver, 3 115 mm Diamond Bass drivers
Finish: Walnut Burl Veneer, Black Piano, All possible paint colors
Amplification: > 50 W (Though we have seen excellent results with small tube amplifiers)

The Raidho Acoustics D-3 Loudspeakers

Manufactured by Raidho Acoustics
co/ Dantax Radio A/S
Bransagervej 15
9490 Pandrup
Denmark

Tel.: +45 98 24 76 77

website
email

Source: Distributor loan
Price: $79K

The D-1s are available in Walnut Burl Veneer, Black Piano, White High Gloss and individual paint colours.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Raidho's D3 - A Cunning Stunt? - HIGH-FIDELITY.COM | High-Fidelity.com
10.31.13 at 9:20 am
Raidho D3 review from Audiophilia
10.31.13 at 10:02 am
Joe's next speakers - Page 10
05.12.14 at 3:46 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim 10.30.13 at 2:51 pm

System used for the Raidho D3?

admin 10.30.13 at 3:12 pm

Audia Flight Strumento pre/power
bel canto 3.5
Antipodes DS1
Brinkmann Bardo turntable
Transparent cables

iosiP 10.30.13 at 4:03 pm

Truly amazing speakers! I have the C3.1 (could not finance the D3) and love it.

One problem though: the “ball feets” are not removable, so for bad luck for people needing spikes or adjustable feet to level the speakers on a less than perfect floor.

Also, good luck in trying to reach the company: they do not reply to emails and do not answer the phone. Maybe a reputed reviewer could ask them a few questions?

admin 10.30.13 at 4:10 pm

Have you contacted your dealer or the distributor to get your questions answered?

Let us know how we can help.

iosiP 10.30.13 at 4:58 pm

Yes I have! Actually, this is the first thing I did after not receiving any answer from Raidho. He smiled and said that even he has problems establishing a stable link for discussions.

Thanks for the offer. Actually, I’m interested to know if and how I can remove the original “ball feet” and replace them with spikes (and get rid of the “wobble” caused by my old wood floor not being horizontal. Obviously, I tried levelling the speakers with various tiles of different thicknesses and materials but the sound lost all magic. Right now I use them on sandboxes with the top plate made of a granite/soft wood sandwich but this causes a significant raise in height… and I would hate to have to change my beloved listening lazyboy and perch myself on an office chair to accomodate the extra 3-4 inches.

I have more than 20 years of “audiophilia nevrosa” on my record and I changed several speakers (good and bad) but it’s the first model that comes without adjustable feet/spikes.

admin 10.30.13 at 6:22 pm

I’ll check in with the Canadian distributor.

david hyman 10.31.13 at 12:51 am

i’m a proud owner of these exact speakers. i got them back around march of this year. i’m using them with a devialet (which replaced $60k worth of hardware), nordost tyr and a continuum criterion/copperhead table. the sound, as you describe, is superlative. i’ve warmed up the room with shun mook to add some harmonics and midrange warmth. it gives you the whole truth. my only beef is that they can start to break up on bass heavy music around 95db. aside from that, it’s perfection. only upgrade path would possibly be a top notch sub like a rel gibraltor that would possibly keep up with the speed of these drivers.

Raidho 10.31.13 at 4:10 am

I am sorry that you have problems with an not so even floor,
We could make the foot adjustable, but then we would have different tunings with every different height. Its a bit like a swiss knife suitable for everything but not really being good at anything. I would not suggest you to change the feet for spikes, unless you are willing to accept a vast decline in performance.
I would suggest to put a coin or something like that under the wobbly foot, that way you can straighten the speakers in a non visible and non degrading fashion,
I know that some, with soft carpets, has fitted a slap of acrylic or corian under their speakers in order to avoid the feet from making permanent footprints on their carpets. That may also be an idea to straighten out your not so even floor

I wonder how you have tried to contact us..?? Normally were quite responsive..

michael

iosiP 10.31.13 at 6:37 am

Hello Michael,

I tried to contact you on sales(at)raidho.dk, the address posted on your site.
I understand your design principle and believe me, I tried to use several slabs of various materials under the speakers but these only compound the problem as they have to have spiked feet.
So would you please tell me how to remove the original feet?

Best regards,
iosiP

P.S. Straightening the floor is not an option, this is a 100-year old house with natural oak/rosewood/walnut flooring arranged in an intricate pattern (flowers, arabesque etc.).

admin 10.31.13 at 6:44 am

What type of repertoire caused breakup at 95dB, David?

All the best. Cheers, a

iosiP 10.31.13 at 7:19 am

And at what distance from the speakers did you measure the 95dB?

Just asking because I listen at about 4m from the speakers and never got them up to limits, even on electronica, dub or the infamous “Pomp & Pipes” and Holst “The Planets” on DECCA/JVC.

All the best,
iosiP

admin 10.31.13 at 7:25 am

Yes, but yours are C Series, correct?

I’m intrigued about 95dB breakup for the D-3s as I felt they could take huge amounts of power and bass energy. Also, what size room is being used.

Raidho 10.31.13 at 7:26 am

I would not suggest removing the feet. it’s a tuned device and replacing it with spikes will compromise the sound, If you insist and removing then you can disassemble the fet from below by removing the torx screws.
why not use a corian slab under the speakers..??

iosiP 10.31.13 at 7:32 am

Oops! Maybe I was not clear enough: I do not want to remove all the (aluminium) stabilization platform but only the four ball bearings. As you know, these are held inside truncated cones and have steel cylinders above the platform. However, rotating those cylinders does not loosen the ball.

Jeff M 10.31.13 at 12:13 pm

Great review! I loved the Raidho D3’s when I heard them two weeks ago at my dealers. I see there is a pair on Audiogon…..I want!!

admin 10.31.13 at 12:23 pm

Thanks, Jeff.

Audiogon, huh? $47K. Hmm. Caveat emptor.

If they are demos from a reputable dealer, pounce! :)

Among my all time favourite speakers.

All the very best, a

david hyman 11.01.13 at 10:54 pm

i have found raidho to be fantastically responsive. having gone through magnepans, dynaudio, kef’s, loiminchay horns, sonus faber, and many more, i’m now a raidho listener for life. first time i’ve ever felt “done.” : )

admin 11.02.13 at 5:56 am

Along with Hansen Kings, Focal Grande Utopias or Stellas, Wilson Alexandrias, a lifetime speaker.

Lars Kristensen 11.05.13 at 11:48 am

Dear iosiP ,

First of all I want to thank you very much for buying one of our products.

We know that some of our costumers have the problem with our speakers that the feet can’t be adjusted… To solve this problem we can suggest you the following :
In our sister company Ansuz we have just introduced a adjustable foot which fits perfectly.. this device does not only make it possible to level your speaker, but it is also a mechanical resonance device.. which will improve the performance a lot.
For more info you are welcome to contact me directly : lkk@ansuz-acoustics.com
Kind regards
Lars

david hyman 11.05.13 at 11:54 am

iosiP, option b, raise your lazy boy 3 inches by putting wood blocks underneath!

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