Audio Critic 1980
The AUDIO-CRITIC Volume 2, Number 3
(Spring to Fall 1980) wrote:
QUAD ELECTROSTATIC LOUDSPEAKER
"This all-time classic needs no introduction to any audiophile who knows enough to read equipment reviews at all. It has survived virtually unchanged for a quarter of a century (the manufacturer claims there have been no changes whatsoever, large or small, but we take that with a grain of salt); we, too, keep invoking its name all the time, and yet we never reviewed it The reason for that was a warp in our perspective : after all, more "modem" electrostatics were clamouring for attention all the time and, besides, everybody knows that the Quad has no bass and no top end (right?), even if it's fabulously transparent in the midrange. So we kept putting the Quad on the back burner of our critical range, concentrating on the Beveridges, Acoustats, Kosses, Dayton-Wrights, Sound Labs and other headline makers of the electrostatic sector. At the 1980 summer CES in Chicago , however, we picked up certain clues indicating that a full test of the Quad might turn out to be more interesting than we had believed possible .We purchased a pair (for the fourth time in our audio career!) and now have the following to report.
With the two panels six to seven feet apart (centre to centre) and angled slightly inward, and with a single auditioner sitting perfectly centred about six to eight feet back from the speakers, NOTHING - repeat, NOTHING! we know of equals the transparency and definition of the Quads. NOTHING. The speakers seem to disappear; only the music is left. All other speakers are slightly coloured by comparison. (You've got to watch your absolute phase, though; the Quad inverts the polarity of the signal).
There is very little bass, to be sure. We measured a bump of 6dB or so at 48Hz, below which the responses falls off? and that's the way it sounds, too. The highs are perfect, however, in that one listening position; an add?on tweeter could, only ruin them. We measured flat amplitude responses on axis up to 30 kHz , off axis the responses holds up quite nicely to about 20 kHz. The vertical dispersion and overall power response aren't very good, though; hence the widely assumed need for an extra tweeter such as Decca or Pyramid ribbon. As for the midrange, it measures flatter than anything we've ever seen in our laboratory. An that's not all. Pulses are reproduced with steep sides and reasonably flattops down to a width of 60 microseconds, an absolute record measurement in our experience. Ringing? Nowhere ,sir, up or down the line, certainly nothing beyond the tiniest anomalies. This is some 1955 speaker! As a matter of fact, we refuse to believe that the current production version isn't considerably improved over the Quads of even the mid-1960's.This is not he sound we remember, but then again we weren't driving them witty a Bedini 25/25 and using perfectly aligned MC cartridges with line-contact styli in those days.
Of course, the Quad still isn't the speaker for everybody. If you insist on deep bass, forget it, unless you're willing to add sub woofers. If you usually listen with several other people, only one of you will be exposed to the proper sound field. And if you like to play your music at discotheque levels, you won't be happy. The Quad is a rapier, not a broadsword. But, wow, what a blade!"
Acknowledgement: Original text provided by Christian Steingruber, Austria.