There are two sets of people who will buy the D-1; those who are new to the whole Raidho experience and C-1.1 users in need of something ‘more’. Addressing the first crowd is easy – it’s one of the most uncoloured, most satisfying, most unfatiguing and most realistic loudspeakers you’ll hear. They aren’t bright, but have that forward-presenting soundstage that attracts people to bright-sounding loudspeakers. If you have words like ‘clean’ and ‘detailed’ on your shortlist, you’ll be smitten, because it sits smack in the middle between the honesty of the Magico Q1, the energy of the Focal Utopia Diablo and the warm embrace of the Crystal Arabesque Mini. I
But how much better is the D-1 compared to the C-1.1? The difficulty here is one of expression. This isn’t an upgrade that neatly fits into the typical hi-fi terminology and neither is it one that benefits from a string of superlatives. It’s just better. It’s better in all the ways the C-1.1 is better than most standmounts, just more so. It’s got that realism thing the C-1.1 does so well nailed to an extent that even the C-1.1 would be found wanting. There is no sense of hardness or lack of transparency to the C-1.1, but the D-1 just polishes the glass still further.
This doesn’t mean the C-1.1 is suddenly demoted, and that whole “now the new model is out, here’s what was wrong with the old one” disclosure simply doesn’t figure. The C-1.1 remains one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. The D-1 just shows how much more can be had; the C-1.1 puts you in the room with the Rolling Stones on the Stripped live from the rehearsal room album from the mid 1990s, but the D-1 makes you feel like you are playing with the band.
Whatever you do to categorise it in audio terms, the D-1 slips out of that verbal judo hold and puts you in a headlock. You think you got it pinned down when you get to that electrostatic-like midrange openness, but then the surprising dynamic energy of a bass line kicks in and you start to think it a quart in a pint pot sound. But, as you do that, along comes that seamless upper mid and treble, that makes anything orchestral (or, for that matter, a 1960s soul horn section) sound like the real deal, then a voice or a guitar comes along and you are back to square one, quickly followed by the level of detail that means you begin to hear why Joe Bonamassa plays with tree-trunk sized guitar strings.
Audio people talk of synergy. Partner the Raidho D-1 with the Devialet 170 (tested last issue) a set of Crystal Standard Diamond speaker cables, and a single power cord, and you’ll hear what synergy really means. After I nailed the whole AIR wireless thing by not using out of date software on my Mac, this was perhaps the simplest system I’ve used in my room, and one of the best too.
The Raidho D-1 creates the kind of system that leaves people with a profound sense of musical satisfaction, whether the music was a glorious slice of ‘absolute sound’ real, unamplified instruments playing live in an acoustic environment, or something thoroughly digital that never once saw an open space until it reached the drive units. It asks the question ‘what more do you need?’ and often the answer is ‘nothing’. Frankly, that troubles me, because that’s a call and response that a reviewer is never supposed to utter.
Expensive – yes, but the D-1 proves good things don’t come cheap. An astonishingly good loudspeaker and highly recommended.
Type: Standmount bookshelf rear-ported loudspeaker
Driver Complement: 1x sealed ribbon tweeter, 1x 115mm diamond mid-bass driver
Frequency Response: 50Hz-50kHz
Impedance: > six ohms
Crossover: 3kHz, 2nd order
Recommended amplification: >50W
Dimensions (WxHxD, without stand): 20x37x36cm
Finishes: Walnut Burl veneer, Piano Black, high-gloss white, all possible paint colours
Price (including stands): £14,400 per pair (Black, White), £16,250 per pair (Burl Walnut)
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