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Raidho C1.1 Stand Mound Loudspeaker - Vanishing Point (Part 2)

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Sound quality

From the first bar of the first phrase of the first piece of music you play, it is clear that the Raidho C1.1 is a special loudspeaker, making a very good job of dissolving into the middle distance, letting the music’s flavor flood out. Because it’s so small, it has no issues of bass overhang. The ported cabinet is obviously super-stiff, because there’s not the faintest whiff of low frequencies being given undue license to impose themselves on the overall performance. Rather, the Raidho reins the bass in – as the chugging sequenced electronic low notes of The Beloved’s Time After Time show. While many larger boxes get bogged down in communicating how the bass line modulates up and down the scale, the C1.1 gives a crisp, clear rendition of the tune the bass synth is playing, but doesn’t fall over its own shadow attempting to convey the full power of the thing.

it’s so small, it has no issues of bass overhang

It’s so small, it has no issues of bass overhang

The midband is this speaker’s real tour-de-force. It is wonderfully open – no small thanks to that treble unit, which reaches down lower than many. There’s little sense of listening to two drivers at the same time, as they cross over so well to provide a searching and insightful window into the mix. The speed of it all is dazzling, and the C1.1’s dynamics are excellent, too. The result is that you can cue up a slice of jazz funk like Deodato’s Uncle Funk and get an incredibly resolved performance, these speakers digging unexpectedly deep into the recording to reveal its every nuance. Sound staging is excellent, images hovering in space in an almost ethereal way and locked in position with great precision.

the C1.1 gives a crisp, clear rendition of the tune the bass synth is playing, but doesn’t fall over its own shadow attempting to convey the full power of the thing

the C1.1 gives a crisp, clear rendition of the tune the bass synth is playing, but doesn’t fall over its own shadow attempting to convey the full power of the thing

The C1.1 can dazzle with its technical virtuosity, but how does it fare with far less ‘hi-fi’ programmer material. In a word, superbly; playing an old Sniff ‘n’ the Tears track, Driver’s Seat, I’m really surprised by the musical fluency that greets me. This isn’t a great recording, but the Raidhos don’t mind, locking on to the rhythms instead, working on the emotional impact of the track. They’re fast but subtle, refusing to shout at you and push everything into your face – dynamically they’re really very good at those ‘grey scales’, signposting precisely the energy with which the drum skin is hit or the bass guitar string is plucked. This is the sort of sound you can only get when a loudspeaker is truly self-effacing, imposing relatively small amounts of its physical presence on the sound.

Subtle as the C1.1s may be, they are not invisible. There is a slight tonal fingerprint they stamp on the proceedings. Essentially they have a light, bright, spacious personality with an open top end – cymbals sparkle out of the darkness, female vocals shimmer and electric guitars ring. You’d never call it ‘bright’, but it’s certainly not dull – you don’t get a sense of a cloth dome tweeter damping off the higher harmonics of the music, like a great big acoustic curtain. This makes it a joy with classical music. On a DG recording of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, massed violins have a lovely wiry feel that leaps right out of the recording, instead of being dull and damped.

Conclusion

A marvelously entertaining speaker to listen to, the Raidho C1.1 is largely devoid of character. It doesn’t do much to the music it is asked to make, preferring instead to present the whole, unvarnished truth. Of course, it’s a small stand mounting design with limited low bass, but somehow this doesn’t intrude on the overall listening experience, as the speaker itself is so lyrical and lucid. It fizzes with energy, making the music sound as vivid as it has a right to. At around $16,350 including bespoke stands, it ought to sound good – but even at this price it seems a fine buy. Well worth an audition then, if you’re in the happy position to be able to contemplate owning a pair!

In sight

1.    Planar-magnetic tweeter

2.    Bass reflex port

3.    Bespoke speaker binding posts

4.    Ceramic coated alloy

In sight

Setting up

There’s no direct rival to the Raidho C1.1 in terms of cabinet dimensions or price, but one of the closest speakers in intent is the Vivid V1.5. This $9,375 stand mounted is from the mind of a gifted ex-B&W designer involved in the Nautilus project. However, the Vivid is an altogether more real-world, user-friendly design. It shares the Raidho’s interesting approach to drive units; although there’s no ribbon tweeter both mid/ bass and treble units are magnesium alloy, and blend beautifully to give a seamless wider-angle sound with super-fast attack transients (although the Raidho is faster still). Its cabinet is more innovative, being a rounded oval profile made from carbon fiber reinforced polyester molding, and given an integral stand. Like the Raidho it’s searchingly detailed and wonderfully open with a lovely rhythmic gait to it, too. But the (more expensive) C1.1 is even more detailed and incisive and just a little more polished, too. Both need a reasonably powerful solid-state amplifier, although the slightly more sensitive Vivid will let you get away with a little less muscular tube design should you wish. The Raidho will make a nice noise with a valve amplifier, but it will have to be a powerful one.

Our verdict

·         Sound quality: 5/5

·         Value for money: 5/5

·         Build quality: 5/5

·         Ease of drive: 4.5/5

·         Like: Translucent sound; blistering transients; fine dynamics; superlative build

·         Dislike: Price; limited bass extension; needs powerful amplifier for serious levels

·         We say: Expensive yes, but one of the very best small stand mount loudspeakers on sale today

·         Overall: 5/5

Raidho C1.1 Specs

·         Origin: Denmark

·         Type: Stand mount loudspeaker WEIGHT: 12.5kg

·         Dimensions: (W x H x D) 200 x 370 x 360mm

·         Features: Sealed ribbon high frequency driver; 115mm ceramic mid/bass driver; Recommended amplifier power: >50W

 

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