Raidho TD 3.8 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review
The art of weaving pros allows us to convey description, imagery, opinion, impression, and emotion. Yet Raidho's TD 3.8 floorstanding loudspeaker, as reviewed here, lends itself to the elegance of the solitary word; my notes are awash with them.... "Behold, Shimmer, Brilliant, Wow, Delicious, Holographic, Cohesive, Decompressive." I think I made up the last one, but I'll explain later....
Who Is Raidho?
Raidho's 3.8 floorstanding speakers is all about bigger drivers. The now classic Raidho TD Ribbon Tweeter handles the sweet highs while two 5" Tantalum Diamond (get it, 'TD'?) drivers manage midrange responsibility and two 8" (yes, I said 8") Tantalum Diamond bass drivers manage the oh'so wonderful lows. These drivers scream high-tech with a cutting-edge magnet motor system and a cabinet that minimizes internal reflection and optimizes acoustic flow. A reasonable to drive 89dB/W/m sensitivity leaves some flexibility in amplifier synergy with little stress inflicted by its 6 Ohm nominal (4 Ohm minimum impedance).
Crossover points are set at 400Hz and 2.4kHz stepped slope and the frequency response is reported as 24Hz to 50kHz. My sample came in an absolute perfect Piano Black but Burl Walnut Veneer is available for an additional (and more than worth it) upcharge. For an additional upcharge, any color is available to satisfy your listening room's decor palette. Weighing in at 75 kgs (165 pounds) per speaker, be happy that they will be delivered and set up by your friendly neighborhood dealer.
Measuring a 56" tall, 17" wide, and 24" deep, they appeared neither almost five feet tall nor as wide as the measurements indicate because of their gentle curvature and subdued overall appearance. The photos suggest a 2001 obelisk appearance while reality resembles modern sculpture with a purpose. The design is simple and elegant.
Woofers placed as a pair down low and a now routine midrange / tweeter / midrange arrangement above the woofers completes the driver set. Proprietary bi-wire connections round back down low and a triad of beautifully tapered ports up top round (and I do mean round) out the rear. Footers protrude from and rear, and do a great job of isolating, stabilizing, and finishing off the Raidho aesthetic. I felt no need to replace them with aftermarket solutions. Yes, they are around $99,000 ($120,000 for the truly beautiful Burl Walnut); and yes that is an S-Ton of money for a pair of speakers.
It is not my job to tell you if $99,000 is a reasonable amount to spend on speakers, it's my job to tell you if these speakers are worth $99,000 compared to other comparably priced speakers. I don't have that kind of money to spend on a world-class luxury item, but if I did, these would be on my shortlist for sure.
In every way, the TD 3.8 loudspeakers are next-generation Raidho. My first full listing session ended with the word "refreshing" scribbled across the notepad, and isn't that what this hobby is supposed to be? They are beautiful to behold, and I don't just mean to look at them. We sometimes focus so much on listening impressions we forget to consider how the session, as a whole, made us feel. My listening sessions were relaxed, engaged, and involving. And did I mention refreshing? I believe I did!
Listening Sessions Begin
I normally don't list the equipment I used for my review as its right there at the bottom, but the all Pilium DAC, Preamp, stereo amp fed by the Taiko Extreme (review to follow) with all Crystal Cable interconnects and Shunyata power cords (all properly mechanically isolated) allowed the TD 3.8 to represent itself without limits, borders or restrictions. They seemed to revel in my listening room, giddy while playing with some of the finest electronics our industry has to offer. Consider this one happy reviewer!
Interestingly, my notes were more like blotches of impressions than formulated thought. I can only attribute this to the fact that I had to extract myself from the moment to jot the note, yet never wanted to stay away long enough to lose the moment entirely.
Listening Notes.... Hmmmmm....
Yes, the presentation is accurate (I'm thinking too much wordplay here) but the statement is accurate as well as cheesy. I am not sure if the newest TD ribbon is just that much better than its predecessor, or if the new TD midrange and woofers' larger size and newer coating technology plus SOTA magnetic motors took away the bite that I occasionally encountered in older generations. But there was a cohesive whole that worked so well.
The midrange was full-bodied and robust, but not bosomy (I might be the only one to understand that, but I'm ok with that because it's true). The texture of instruments was palpable and timbre was natural and had a strange ability to be enveloping, meaning its presentation was correct and real in 3 dimensions. Stacey Kent's "Hushabye Mountain" (Candid Moments on Orchard Music CHD718045 in 24-bit/96kHz) was just WOW; her voice was rich, breathy, and swept me away. These speakers are Jazz and Classical music lovers' dreams! Not that they don't rock, because they do. But the reproduction of complex instrumentation seemed to bond to the soul of the speaker.
Raidho's TD 3.8 floorstanders reproduce piano the way it's supposed to sound; with bold dynamic percussion and subtle dainty keystrokes; texturally delicious. That said, I have experienced more comprehensive and complex timbral reproduction elsewhere, but nothing that remotely shamed these. In this price range, each speaker excels in specific areas, so to say one is better than another regarding a specific facet of reproduction is not an insult; it's simply an observation.
Raidho TD 3.8's two 8" drivers deliver impact and unrestricted weight with exotic car acceleration. I was initially shocked at what this pair of drivers could deliver; truly outperforming their driver and enclosure size. They provide wonderful weight and impact and never left me wanting. If you are looking for an open ported sound, look elsewhere. Bass response has a more linear quality, sounding closer to a sealed enclosure yet offering that sense of palpability and impact that many sealed systems struggle to provide.
Soundscapeing, again, was amongst the best I have experienced; representing studio monitor performance with full-spectrum reproduction. From well in front of the transducers to 6' behind, the stage was wide and deep and had height without magnifying the image size (which I am very sensitive to and don't particularly enjoy). The reproduction of performers and instruments was natural and correct and frequently holographic. The speakers disappear like a Vegas Magician! Nuff said. Like poof, abracadabra, gone.
The Raidho TD 3.8 floorstanding speakers created a hall presence with a keen sense of breadth and palpability, and focus on a palette of resolution while sacrificing some textural cues to highlight that resolution. Yet nothing is lost in the overall presentation. While energizing the room, they had an uncanny ability to decompress my emotional baggage. Can we really ask more from our chain of equipment?
For a reasonably large multi-driver speaker they were wonderfully cohesive and engaging. The term musical is used with impunity in this world, and it's easy to throw around like a bag of rice at Costco. Yet when it fits, it just fits. These speakers absolutely highlight resolution, neutrality and detail yet never sacrifice that sense of musicality and ability to engage that connects this hobby and these speakers to our emotions as it does. They are not analytical nor do they dissect the music.
If you think you know Raidho, you don't know this Raidho; not until you have heard the TD 3.8. A totally new in design and driver size, Raidho hit it out of the proverbial park. These speakers are big, bold, yet also gentle and intimate too. They point the way towards what Raidho sees as their future sound. You might want to call it your sound as well after you hear these.
Very highly recommended, with a cherry on top!
Digital Sources: Taiko Extreme (in review), Laufer Teknik Memory Player MP64, Pilium Elektra DAC, Light Harmonic Davinci 3, and DCS Vivaldi One (on loan from DCS).
Pre-Amplification: Pilium Alexander Preamplifier
Amplification: Pilium Achilles stereo amp, Lamm Industries ML2 SET monoblocks, and Manley Neo-Classic 500 monoblocks.
Integrated Amplification: Dartzeel CTH-8550 model two, and the Octave V80SE with Super Black Box Integrated.
Speakers: Wilson Alexia 2 and the Laufer TeknikThe Note (plus Raidho TD 3.8 Floorstanders in this review of course)
AC Power: Dedicated Square D 125 amp panel w/10 gauge runs to each outlet, Furutech GTX-D-NCF Rhodium outlets, dedicated circuits for each outlet, Environmental Protection EP-2750 ground filter on each circuit, and EP-2050 surge protection/waveform correction.
Power Conditioning: Shunyata D6000, Richard Gray 400S, and Torus RM20BAL.
Rack And Shelf Support: Custom TimberNation rack, Adona SR4 racks, Symposium Ultra shelves, Symposium Rollerblocks 2+ doublestacks, HRS Nimbus, Shun Mook Giant Diamond Resonator, IsoAcoustics Titan Cronos (on the Timber Nation rack), Gaia 1 & 2, and IsoAcoustics Orea Bourdeaux.
Interconnect Cables: Crystal Cable Absolute Dream 1.0m XLR, Analysis Plus 1.0m Micro Golden Oval XLR, Shunyata Anaconda S 8.5m XLR, Cable Crystal Connect Reference Diamond 1.5m RCA phono w/ground cable, AudioQuest Wind 7m RCA, and Wind XLR 1m.
Digital Cables: Light Harmonic Lightspeed 20G USB, AudioQuest Diamond 0.75m RJ/E Ethernet, Diamond USB A-B 5m, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, Empirical Audio 1.0m S/PDIF, and Crystal Connect 1.0m Monet Ethernet.
Speaker Cables: Crystal Cable Absolute Dream 2.0m (spade to banana), AudioQuest William Tell Ag 8' (banana to banana), and Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval 2.0m (spade tospade).
Power: Shunyata Z-Tron NR 15 Ampere, Shunyata Z-Tron NR 20A, Enklein DAVID 15A, and Clarus Power Hi-Current 15A (12').
Vinyl LP Cleaning Machine: VPI
Acoustics: Dedicated room, Vicoustics, GIK, Acoustic Wings, and Auralax.
Room: 15'1" wide x 18'5" long x 9'2" high