Acoustat 2+2...Any users?

Hi all, Picked up a used pair of 2+2's for a good price and from a very nice guy. I was wondering if any body out there is still using these classics. I am on a speaker reviewing frenzy trying to find out what sounds best in my living room. Also own Martin Logan ReQuest's, Quad ESL 63's. Also would like to know if anybody knows of someone that supplies spare parts or services the Acoustat's incase ever needed. Thanks, Bob
Yes, Bob, you are not alone. There are lots of us out there! I made the mistake of selling mine five years ago but was recently lucky enough to be able to buy them back. And I see that somebody at this site just 'lucked into' a pair for $825! [maybe you?] Audiophiles are crazy if they overlook classics like the 2+2s. Among many other features I must comment on their durability. In the unlikely event that you ever need service, do a search at Audio Asylum for lots of posts on this subject. Let us know how they compare with your other stats.
Barry, Yes that was me who got the 2+2's :o). I am going to the airport today to pick up the Quads, and will have the Acoustat's Monday or Tuesday. So I will have a big shootout here for a few day's. (Bummer huh?) Thanks for the reply, that's great to know that they are very durable, and will check the site you mentioned. Will report back later! Thanks, Bob
BOB: Before I migrated to audiophile surround, I listened to 2-channel for several years on a pair of Acoustat 2+2's modified by myself for optimized sound. Some tips: 1 Sound best without socks - by far! To operate without socks and still preserve WAF, you must improve the appearance of the frames (which, incidentally, improves the sound by removing square corner diffraction). Remove socks. Remove electro panels and crossover/transformers. Remove base plate. Rout a round shape into all sharp edges. Fill and paint frames. Reassemble without socks. I used an antique white that complemented the plastic flourescent light grids that are used as front and back speaker panel members. 2 Replace all caps in the crossover with audiphile variety, such as Wondercap. Big difference. 3 After you have found the best setting on the large variable power resistor, measure the resistance at that point. Then replace the entire resistor with a film-type power resistor of that value on a large heat sink. Huge improvement! 4 Make sure you have spike in the base plate. Then devise a turnbuckle system, like a small floor jack, that you can place between the tops of the speakers and the cieling, so you can screw the speakers into place with tension between the floor and the ceiling. Much more definition in the sound, top to bottom. 5 I had to carpet the entire wall behind the 2+2's to deaden the rear wall reflections. Otherwise, I was forced to play them 1/3 of the way out into the room! You may want to carpet or drape the entire area behind them. 6 Tune them by establishing your sweet spot, then aiming the left speaker at your left shoulder, and the right speaker at your right shoulder. Use a level to make sure they are vertical to the floor - this angle doesn't change. 7 Pound in a proprietary ground pole. Lift the house ground to your audio circuits and replace with the proprietary ground. Makes a difference in all systems, but even more so with electrostatics. My audiophile surround is an improvement over 2-channel, in part because I play into 13000 cubic feet. I have no room reflection problems, and can enjoy all the power inherent in 6 audio channels, 12 amplication channels and tons of drivers. But for 2 channel listening, I never heard anything better or more sensitive than those 2+2's with Krell amp and passive pre-amp. PS - never use a powered pre-amp with the 2+2's, if your DAC has enough power to drive your amp through a passive pre-amp. You end up hearing all the problems with your pre-amp rather than listening to the music. Bruce Kopitz
Hi Bruce, Thanks for all the mods, I have a buddy that said he can help me with them! Thanks, Bob
I'm using a pair of Acoustat 8's driven by a highly modified pair of Acoustat Servo X tube amps, and supplemented by a Velodyne ULD 15II. Agreed, passive preamp is the way to go. Driving the panels directly and bypassing the transformers yields wonderful results also.
Yes, for many years before and many years after...
With a Krell amp and Velodyne ULD 15 sub.
Take your time for tuning them and you will appreciate.
I Love this speaker and if you find the right way to listen them you also will :-)

Audio Optimizer say all what I have to say on many point, he think right! Wow i'm not the only one to think like that that's funny:)
I have been using a pair of 2+2s since the mid 80s. I recently did an update on the interfaces (better caps, resistors, etc) and am even more pleased with the 2+2s. I recently acquired a sacd player and the speakers I am using for surround (as in movie soundtracks: explosions and other noises) are no longer satisfactory, so when I can get my hands on another pair of 2+2s or a pair of 1+1s, I will use them as surround speakers to reproduce music.

I have had my Acoustat 2+2s for 17 years; will not give them
up for anything. I found it does work with an active
preamp but of extreme high quality either solidstate or tube. Needs tons of power; curently I have a Spectral DMA200
pure class A, that works extremely well with them. Relaced the caps awhile back with much better ones and it sounded
a lot cleaner. Which transformer did it come with?? The
Gold Medallion???

Good luck, and good choice!!!
I have had my 2+2s since the mid 80's. I recently upgraded the interfaces by making new circuit boards and using higher quality caps and resistors.

I just bought a pair of used 1+1s for the rear channels for multichannel sacd and home theater playback.

I am as happy now with the sound from the acoustats as I was when I first bought them.
I've a pair of medallion 2+2's for about one year - before that had Monitor 3's for 20 years. Originally drove 2+2's with Luxman pure class A 105 watt amp. Switched to Audio Rearch VTM 200 monoblocks with dramatic results. Acoustats are very finicky speakers, can be a huge pain to set up, and are extremely hard on an amplifier. But there is a reason people keep them - because when finally set up, they produce a combination of realistic imaging, full-range sound, and amazing lack of listening fatigue that I have never heard elsewhere. PS - don't ever use a subwoofer.
Yes Klinerm you are so right you don,t need a subwoofer with Acoustats unless you are deaf have own them for 25 years and never needed more bass than they already give me they are very forgiving panels
I have used 2+2's for three years and 1+1's for a few years a while back, and other ESL's for another 20 years. Whether subs will be needed/wanted will depend on the room, the position in the room, the listening level, and (more important than with most speakers,) the amplifier used. Acoustats must sit solidly on the floor! Do not sit them on carpet unless you have some sort of carpet penetrating spike or tiptoes.
I agree that heavy grill cloth muffles the sound, but thin modern knit fabric is easily obtained and installed and does not appreciably affect the sound (according to Soundlabs).
I use a pair of subs on some recordings but prefer them "naked" with most chamber or folk music. On large scale orchestral or rock, the tactile foundation in the bass is simply missing with any ESL I have ever used (or heard), so I supplement the bass from 55HZ down, but use the 2+2 full range.
All said, I prefer the tall skinny 2+2 in my moderate size room, to larger, fatter, shorter, heaver, more expensive designs.
Hello, I am very deaf and therefore need a pair of subs. Check here for a picture of my diy subs to mate with my Acoustat 6's. For those too lazy to look there are 32 eight inch drivers in a stereo pair of dipole sealed cabinets.

PS use a subwoofer or two! For true full range.

I owned the the 2+2s and the 2+2s with medallion transformers.Later owned a pair of Spectra 22s.Without the medallions,the 2+2s weren't listenable to me.No smoothness and wore me out in a half hour.The medallions made a big difference in that regard but the 22s were my favorite by far.Awesome sound with a NYAL amp.Can't wait to try the Spectra 33s.
I have had the model 2 since 1980.I can't imagine ever parting with them unless I could replace them with the 2+2 or one of the Spectral series.
They are totally stock with the pre-medallion transformer.I have found that they do like power, but if you lower your over all sound floor (front end,active preamp and good 100w power amp)you can have magic without the huge units some folks use. I have been using my Hafler 220 (130w/ch bench measured) for the entire time I have had the Acoustats.
My audiophile friends are always very surprised by the sound.
they never expect the little Hafler to do the job,but it does.

query for the string:
I want to go to a tube amp for the Acoustats. I am thinking of the Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes.
anyone have experience with tubes and Acoustats? Any worries?
I have a pair of Acoustat Spectra 33's. They were purchased new in 1988. When in use they are driven by VTL 300 Deluxe Mono Blocks. Tubes and Stat's can be glorious.
Vegasears, thanks for your response. I have never heard the Acoustats with tubes,but I bet it can be magical. How much power is your VTL rated for? I would love a pair of Seigfrieds but a little too rich for my blood.
They are rated at 300 watts! One of the funny things to do for roll the tubes. My primary tubes are 6550 Winged C's but every once in a while I like to sweeten things up and use Gold Lion KT-88's. Seigfrieds are a dream of mine too but unless I win the lottery it's not likely to happen.
I've had a pair of Acoustat 2+2s since the mid 80's. I went the full gamut of audiophile products: Mosfet, bipolar, tubes-push/pull and DHT single ended 45,2A3, 300B). The single ended Loftin/White 45 was the best amp driving 96db Infinity Composition Preludes (first model). The Acoustats like power but be careful with the low frequency transformers arching over on the secondary (see posts on TAC-The Audio Circuit). Exotic tube amps and preamps with premium NOS tubes were to my ears the best. With the Acoustats you need a very high quality front-end to get the best out of them. Remove socks, put the BEST coupling caps you can afford in the high pass crossover, use Caddock heatsinked Power Film resistors to replace the high pass variable resistor, connect the series fuse only on the low frequency transformer and go to a fast blow instead of slow blow fuse (those silver fuses may be worth a try), use spikes if you have room to couple the speakers to the floor, AND place the speakers out from the rear wall at least 3' or more! These speakers are extremely finicky with placement (sweet spot is VERY tight). I have the spectra 44 interfaces and hope to one day convert the 2+2s to the 4400 (should improve high frequency dispersion). Also look for the improved panels per Andy (Acoustat tech), they will have a yellow/red strip for the bias wire. Currently I use a highly modified all tube counterpoint preamp, extremely modified tube output stage CD player, and a modified 6DJ8,6SN7 Moscode 600 type amp (also have two enormous custom tube/mosfets amps with Krell heatsink in the works). Great speakers. After trying mid level sensitivity 87-89db speakers with tube push/pull amps and the high sensitivity >95db speakers with DHT S.E. amps, I decided to go back to the Acoustats. Now if only I could get a DHT SE 45 amp to drive them....oh well, you can't have everything.
Have had a pair of 2+2's since '84. Used a Sumo preamp with the Sumo Nine power amp for years. Now using an Audio Research Sp11 with a Audio Research D250 and a Musitek 15 inch Sub crossed over at 100. Am going to sell after all these years. Just picked up a pair of Gallo 5LS's. You need a good front end and a tube or class A amp for these speakers. They are very critical - if your amps are sub par you will know right away - nothing is fudged. It really sucks to have good music that is poorly recorded as the speakers hide nothing. There is a narrow sweet spot but I usually am the only one listening so it does not matter. Room placement is critical and you should get the speakers three feet off the wall since they are dipolar. I am using Nordost Red Dawn speaker cable & had to turn down the high frequency adjustment on the 2+2's. Imaging and focus is pretty good. I will be listing them on Audiogon in the next little while. I am tempted to keep them but there is only so much room and have to deal with the wife factor. I listened to them for 30 years because I could not justify the amount of money I would have had to spend to beat them. I did not have to spend a dime on maintenance expect to dry clean the socks. I have just recently upgraded my front end and the time has come to move up. I hope they find a good home.
I have owned Acoustat 2+2 speakers since 1986 and installed the medallion transformers +C upgrade and use HIfi tuning supreme fuses 5amp slo-blo. I find double runs of Kimber 8tc 10ft lengths excellent.Two of the finest amplifiers to drive Acoustat 2+2 electrostatic speakers are the valve EAR 549 monoblocs & CAT JL2 signature mk2 stereo amp; I have both. Very few amps drive Acoustats properly;these amps do. A great speaker and highly underestimated.Must be set up carefully and properly.A credit to Mr Jim Strickland the designer.
I've got the Three panel model X with the servo tube amps, modded and upgraded(lots of Furutech parts)
I also like the sound of a passive pre amp, in my case, the LightSpeed Attenuator.

I have other friends who use tube pre amps and their sound is not as clear and defined as my sound is.
I thought it was the upgrades, but perhaps it's the LSA.

Enjoy your 2+2's.

I've had stacked 57's, a pair of 63 on Arcici stands, Martin logan CLS 11Z(2 pair) and way back the medallion Acoustat3 with a Conrad Johnson MV75-A amp and CJ Premier two pre.

They all have something special about them, but what I have now is the best sound that I can remember with any of my stats.

Of course these are powered by the servo amps, so that takes a lot of the guesswork out of finding the right matching amp.
I don't think using the same amp to audtion the Quads and the Acoustats is going to give you a definitive answer.
One speaker will be handicapped.
Borrow a few different power amps if you want to get the full measure of either speaker.