When is a flagship product not a flagship product (at least not in conventional terms)? When you redefine those terms, which is what Danish loudspeaker legend Raidho has done with its latest duo of masterpieces, the X-5 and XT-5 floorstanding loudspeakers. Following their world premiere at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last autumn, both models are now arriving on UK shores.
“We like to think of the new X-5 and XT-5 as quintessentially Danish,” says Raidho, referring to the Danes’ historical reputation as explorers and adventurers, as well as to their more recent standing as world leaders in high-end audio design. “And when we describe the X-5 and XT-5 as our new flagship designs, for us it’s about much more than just price.”
In fact the brand’s X and XT Series of loudspeakers are very much at the more affordable end of the company’s product range, with the renowned C Series and D Series occupying the upper end of the scale. So what makes the new X-5 and XT-5 flagships, if not the top price tag?
At the heart of all Raidho speakers lie the brand’s own highly innovative driver designs. The X-5 and XT-5 pair the famous Raidho ribbon tweeter with no fewer than six of the company’s ‘X’ Ceramix mid and bass drive units. More important, both models feature the latest developments of both types of driver. The mid and bass ‘X’ units in particular offer a step-change in performance over previous versions, with considerable development effort having been put into maximising both the power and the power handling of their motors. The result is unprecedented dynamic capability coupled with an extremely robust construction built to handle incredible levels of continuous, clean power.
“But we wanted to take things further,” Raidho explains. “The experience we gained while creating our incredible (and incredibly costly) diamond drivers was directing us towards some interesting possibilities. The goal became to approach or even match the performance of our D-Series diamond drivers – but at a far more affordable price.”
The result was the ‘XT’ driver, a further refinement of the ‘X’ in which the ‘T’ denotes the carefully calculated combination of titanium and titanium nitride particles that are added to the existing three-layer aluminium/ceramic sandwich, creating a highly sophisticated seven-layer membrane.
“In terms of price and performance, engineering and execution, this makes the XT-5 the most complete speaker we’ve ever made,” says the brand’s design team. “It’s not the most expensive speaker we make but it is the pinnacle of our current thinking.”
And, while the X-5 and XT-5 may not carry the company’s highest price tag, their sheer physical presence is something to behold. You could easily compare these commanding beauties to a literal flagship, with their long, tall, mast-like lines and sleek boat-hull shape. Finish-wise, there is a stunning optional alternative to the classic piano black: birdseye maple burl. Usually only found in the luxury interiors of private jets and super-cars, this exquisite veneer is rare, expensive and uniquely challenging to work with. “It has required the latest diamond and tungsten carbide segmented spiral cutting heads and the most sophisticated, high-speed CNC technology to make this finish available,” explains the design team.
Beauty and technology aside, ultimately it’s the performance of the X-5 and XT-5 that really breaks new ground, says Raidho. But they don’t want to crow about it too much, opting instead to allow music lovers to discover the difference for themselves.
“Sure, we could talk about the resulting increase in resolution and micro-dynamic definition, the deeper and more natural bass response, or the drop in system noise floor. But we’d prefer you to listen. We’d like you to hear the dramatic increase in clarity and musical impact. We’d love you to experience the emphatic dynamics and natural, expressive range. But most of all we want to take you on a breathtaking musical adventure through the presence and immediacy of great recordings; the excitement and power of the live event; the raw emotion of the greatest players and singers. As we Danes like to say, we want you to enjoy the ride!”