The Raidho Acoustics X-3

Danish manufacturer Raidho demonstrated its $30,000/pair, 88 lb, X3 loudspeakers at CES. The remarkable slim towers have four dedicated 4" ceramic midbass drivers and one 8" side-mounted woofer, in addition to a magnetic-planar tweeter that is crossed over at 3kHz.

I received a detailed lesson on speaker motor design, including how wide magnet gaps avoid the distortion-causing air turbulence caused by narrow gaps, and how the use of titanium voice-coils avoids the problems of dynamic damping that are generated when the paramagnetic qualities of aluminum—commonly used for voice-coils—generates a back EMF. The designer also spoke about how the company heats up the aluminum driver cones to a sufficiently high temperature to leave just aluminum oxide, which is a ceramic of great stiffness. All this metallurgy and exotic materials go into the X3's design.

The X3 loudspeakers were being driven by the company's Aavik class-D amplifier, which has a proprietary output stage design. I played one of my favorite vocal tracks, Lyle Lovett's cover of the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil," and found the sound silken smooth and mellow, with the highs gently rolled off. This impression is, of course, very likely affected by the exhibit room, so I am eager to learn how these promising speakers might do in a more familiar space.