Raidho TD1.2 Loudspeaker

Danish Delight

Equipment report
Categories:
Stand-mount
Raidho TD1.2  Loudspeaker

Another “user experience” factor folks should be aware of is the break-in time required to allow the TD1.2 to perform at its best. The user manual suggests 250 hours. I would say that is a bare minimum guideline, and those hours should be at normal listening levels, not low “nighttime” levels. Bass response and agility improves, upper frequencies open up, driver integration and imaging get considerably better with sufficient break-in. If you hear a TD1.2 sound a bit constricted in the vertical plane, with imaging that is a little indistinct (accompanied by an odd surround-like effect) and mid/bass attack not quite keeping up with the upper frequencies, you are hearing a TD1.2 that has not been sufficiently run in, or that has been placed too high off the floor, or both. (There could also be problems with the partnering system, of course.) 

One Happy Listener
Resolution of fine detail is the main strength of this speaker. Within its frequency range, the TD1.2 recreates musical details so accurately and so compellingly that it is breathtaking. High resolution combined with unparalleled dynamic agility and impact—for its size—made listening to the TD1.2 an unreserved pleasure. The sort of low-level information that helps convey apparent musical intent comes through very clearly; therefore, I felt a close emotional connection to the music. Subtle dynamic shadings, shifts in phrasing and in rhythmic emphasis, rubato, etc. help make music evocative, and the TD1.2 has a way of digging into the details to communicate those subtleties. The resolution TD1.2 offers only enhances the immediacy of the music rather than seemingly laying bare every last detail as an exercise in “accuracy” for its own sake. Detail without musical beauty is not the result here, as is sometimes the case with ultra-revealing speakers. Tonal density, timbral fullness, transient snap, musical flow…they are all there in abundance. In its own right, I cannot fault the TD1.2 in any way. Its only limitations are related to its size, which really aren’t design or execution limitations, but simply part and parcel of the performance envelope of a mini-monitor. As such, the TD1.2’s overall presentation is without peer, in my experience.

Design and Technology
Benno Meldgaard shared with me some of his design changes over the previous D1.1 (designed by Michael Børresen): “First, the enclosure is completely redesigned internally, optimizing the airflow. Second, both drivers are new designs. The woofer utilizes our brand-new magnet system, which is not only one of the most powerful underhung designs today, but is also shaped in a way that ensures that no reflections of sound return to the cone. The cone is also updated from the previous one, using an ultra-thin layer of tantalum, before the diamond layer is added, which yields an even harder and stiffer membrane. Third, the crossover is also a completely new design, which not only ensures correct phase response at the listening position, [but also] ensures that both drivers are in phase at all frequencies and that the impulse response of both drivers is aligned. This is the reason why the TD1.2 reproduces the soundstage so precisely—easily heard in how big a difference there is in soundstage between different recordings.” 

On that last observation about differences in respective soundstage presentations, Meldgaard is not engaging in unsubstantiated promotion of his baby. I can verify that clearly discernible differences among the soundstages of different recordings are indeed clearly audible through the TD1.2. Some have vast and evenly laid out soundscapes; others have mashed-up players over to one side with other spaces that are left empty. Instrumental placement can vary from cut to cut on the same album—all readily heard through the TD1.2.

When I asked Meldgaard to tell me about his performance goals for the TD1.2, he offered the following: “I wanted to raise the sensitivity from 83dB found in the old D1.1 (using industry standard measurements). I wanted to make the speakers phase and impulse correct. I wanted to lower distortion levels even further. I wanted overall performance to become more natural and organic sounding. As regards impedance, it is actually 6 ohms on both the old and new. But the electrical phase is much flatter, and the sensitivity has been raised from 83dB to 87dB, which means the TD1.2 runs fantastically with tube amplifiers, as well.” Hmm, I better check that out. 

I borrowed an Audio Research VS115 (120W) from a friend to find out if a medium-powered tube amp would show any signs of distress. None. It sailed right on. I also tried a solid-state Hegel Röst integrated amp (75W). Same result. It could be argued the VS115 is on the more powerful side of medium-powered for a tube amp, and the Röst is not your average 75W box, but I think Meldgaard’s claims of easing amplifier load are legitimate. Having said this, there is no question that the TD1.2 sounds more commanding with the Full Monty treatment of my current reference electronics (Constellation Virgo III linestage and Gamut M250i mono amplifiers). The 6-ohm, 87dB rating is believable and means a wide variety of amplifiers can drive the TD1.2. Of course, with transparency galore, you would do well to assemble the best possible associated gear and cabling to take full advantage of the TD1.2’s capabilities.

I have put off the subject of price—the thorniest subject in our business—to the end. The cost of entry here is admittedly high ($24k), especially when one considers that many good, closer-to-full range floorstanders cost less, some considerably less. Smaller stand-mounted speakers fit better with some music lovers’ circumstances—small listening spaces, shared living areas, multi-unit dwellings with neighbors on the other sides of walls, etc. Some listeners simply prefer the purity of a well-executed, small two-way speaker; there are fewer things to go wrong compared to a multiway floorstander with a larger and more resonant cabinet, more surface area for diffraction, at least one more crossover, driver discontinuities, and room placement conflicts between optimal soundstaging and smooth frequency response. If you are a music lover who favors a small speaker, and can allocate the necessary funds to buy it, the Raidho TD1.2 is well worth your consideration.

Conclusion
The TD1.2 is the highest-performing, small, stand-mounted two-way loudspeaker I have heard—and I have heard some of the best. Its winning combination of exceptional overall resolution, expansive soundstaging, and musical swing in the form of lightning-fast and robust dynamics is just wonderful. This is a speaker for the two-way enthusiast who is willing to acquire the best of breed. 

The Raidho TD1.2 appealed to my heart and head, to my musical soul and analytical reviewer self, and to my underdog-winning delight every time I heard it belt out stunning dynamic slam. Everyone who’s heard the speaker in my system loved it and marveled that such accuracy, lack of grain, and musical beauty came in such a small package. A marvel, indeed. Highly recommended.

Specs & Pricing

Driver complement: One TD ribbon tweeter, one 6.5" tantalum-diamond mid/woofer driver 
Frequency response: 45Hz–50kHz -3dB
Sensitivity: 87dB/2.828 V/m
Impedance: 6 ohms, 5 ohms minimum (@120 Hz)
Recommended amplifier power: >20 W 
Crossover point: 2.5kHz stepped slope, phase and impulse linear
Cabinet: Aluminum baffles (integral to tweeter and mid/bass drivers), curved wood sides, ported
Dimension: 7.8" x 14.2" x 16.1" 
Finish: Black piano, all possible paint colors, walnut burl veneer
Weight: 33 lbs. each
Price: $24,000 (without stands)

RAIDHO ACOUSTICS/DANTAX RADIO A/S
Bransagervej 15
9490 Pandrup, Denmark
+45 98 24 76 77 
raidho.dk

Associated Equipment
Analog source: Basis Debut V turntable and Vector 4 tonearm, Benz-Micro LP-S MR cartridge
Digital sources: Hegel Mohican CDP, HP Envy 15t running JRiver MC-20, Hegel HD30 DAC
Phonostage: Moon by Simaudio 610LP
Linestages: Ayre K-1xe, Hegel P30, Constellation Audio Virgo III
Integrated amplifier: Hegel H390
Power amplifiers: Gamut M250i, Hegel H30
Speakers: YG Acoustics Sonja 2.2, Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature
Cables: Shunyata Sigma signal cables, Nordost Heimdall 2 USB, Shunyata Alpha SPDIF and AES/EBU, Shunyata Sigma NR power cords
A/C Power: Two 20-amp dedicated lines, Shunyata SR-Z1 receptacles, Shunyata Triton v3, and Typhon power conditioners
Accessories: PrimeAcoustic Z-foam panels and DIY panels, Stillpoints Ultra SS