This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Sound - albums used during this review: Bach, Violin Concertos, Yehudi Menuhin, EMI/Hi-Q Records, HIQXRCD9, XRCD24, CD (1960/2013); Depeche Mode, Delta Machine, Columbia Records/Sony Music Japan, SICP-3783-4, 2 x CD (2013); Depeche Mode, Delta Machine, Columbia Records/Sony Music Japan, SICP-3783-4, 24-bit FLAC (2013); Dominic Miller & Neil Stancey, New Dawn, Naim, naimcd066, CD (2002); Dominic Miller, Fourth Wall, Q-rious Music, QRM 108-2, CD (2006); Frank Sinatra, Where Are You?, Capitol Records/Mobile Fidelity, UDSACD 2109, “Special Limited Edition No. 261”, SACD/CD (1957/2013); Jean Michel Jarre, Essentials & Rarities, Disques Dreyfus/Sony Music, 62872, 2 x CD (2011)...

... Miles Davis, ’Round About Midnight, Columbia/Legacy, “Miles 75th Anniversary”, CK 85201, CD (1957/2001); Miles Davis, ’Round About Midnight, Columbia/Mobile Fidelity, “Special Limited Edition No. 167”, UDSACD 2083, SACD/CD (1957/2012); Miles Davis, In A Silent Way, Columbia/Mobile Fidelity, “Special Limited Edition No. 1311”, UDSACD 2088, SACD/CD (1969/2012); Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 036, K2HD Mastering, “24 Gold Direct-from-Master Edition UDM”, CD-R (1964/2009); The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland, Columbia/Sony Music Japan, SICP-30003, Blu-Spec2 CD (1968/2013); The Oscar Peterson Trio, We Get Request, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 032, K2HD Mastering, “24 Gold Direct-from-Master Edition UDM”, CD-R (1964/2009).

Fans of stand-mounted speakers are legion. They praise them primarily for their perfect soundstage presentation (spatiality and imaging) and reduced bass coloration. The former is associated with front baffles narrower than the distance between our ears. This belief underlies the emergence and popularity of floor-standing speakers with very narrow fronts and side-firing woofers on deep cabinets. Although I find the theoretical argument appealing, my experience shows a completely different relationship between soundstage/imaging and speaker design type. What helps speakers create (or recreate depending on adopted philosophy) an immersive soundstage is primarily proper phase coherence between their drivers and a solid front baffle not to mention good driver quality.

Another important factor is frequency response especially in the bass. Although it may seem illogical, it is the bass rather than treble which is far more important in building natural audible space and instrumental relationships. Hence the best speakers I know for imaging and soundstage sorting are large floorstanders. Save for very few exceptions that actually seem to prove my point, only monitors with strong coherent bass can show something similar. The Raidho D-1 do it better than almost all such designs except for the Sonus faber speakers driven by Ancient Audio electronics that stand in Janusz’s living room of Krakow Sonic Society fame. They do it almost as good as the very best floorstanders.

That’s however not what I wanted to start with. A few words on space and imaging were necessary due to mental legacy deposits in the audiophile bank which distort the popular perception of monitors. I will come back to it as it's a fascinating subject. Something else is more important - the tonal balance of these Danes. This is what I’d like to focus on first.The D-1 is one of few designs to resemble my Harbeth M40.1’s tone color at least within their usable bandwidth. I swapped back and forth looking for differences and could hardly find any. It’s the type of presentation I like more than anything - slightly warm but a warmth that derives from smoothness and lack of coloration rather than any tinting. A similar presentation can be achieved by rounding, withdrawing and softening attacks to provide seemingly better vividness and differentiation. That's just a trick however, one that may be valued in budget-oriented speakers but becomes dubious in the high-end. It is only acceptable on the condition that it serve something greater and more important.

The D-1 offers warmth and smoothness, depth and blackground without leaning on anything that might impair other characteristics like speed and resolution. The speakers sound as if they had a single driver due to excellent transducer pairing. I was somewhat cautious about the planar tweeter as it’s rather difficult to integrate with other types of drivers and to suppress its resonance which almost always compromises its frequency response. Raidho's quasi ribbon seemed free of such problems. I heard no irritating coloration, sharpness or hardening. Prolonged listening created no discomfort. This was probably helped by the decision to cross over quite high at 3kHz but it also reflects the skill of the crossover designer and his choice of apparently high-quality parts.