Best Electrostatic loudspeaker?

Many of us have found that nothing make the magic happen like a pair of Electrostatics. It's been an evolutionary road for me, starting with various dynamic systems, then ribbon/dynamic hybrids, then full range planar magnetics (Maggies), then Electrostatics. So those of you with experience in Electrostatics, which do you think is (are) the best designed and executed example(s) of the breed?
Had both Magnepans and Martin Logans. Sorry, I like the Maggies much better. They are more musical and I enjoy them more, although, MLs seem to beat the maggies in all respects: detail, dynamics, and range. But I just enjoy music more through maggies. With the MLs, I would listen to the instruments, not the music. What's it all about anyway?
If you have a large enough room, and sufficient money, the Soundlab Ultimate One is the best electrostatic made. I also think it is the finest speaker made of any type, and at any price, However, at over $27,000.00 for the Ultimates Ones, there are a lot of choices out there. There will be people who prefer other types of speakers, for more and less money, as there is NO perfect speaker. The Soundlab has the magic of ULTRA low distortion, combined with a phase and spatially correct wall of sound that delivers a perfect image. The musical performance appears at true life size, while maintaining the subtleties that define a live performance. Amazingly, they accomplish this on both Jazz and Classical music. Quite a feat, considering the differences in the style and type of performance, not to mention the vast differences in recording techniques. The Ultimates Ones also have the highest resolution of any speaker I have ever heard, their speed and transparency render both instruments and voice so real, that at times, you find yourself laughing with joy. If, however, you treasure extreme bass output (pressure) or very loud SPL, or perhaps the different type of coloration and contrast that a dynamic system delivers, then there are many others (like the Beethoven for instance) that fill that requirement. (In fact, the Beethoven is what I would own if I could not have the Soundlab Ultimates, which I already have.) One thing is certain, all of the pieces in a stereo system are a compromise, no matter what they cost. To help overcome this problem, a great deal of care has to be taken to match all the components so that they work together as perfectly as possible. In the end, this will require room treatment as well. Every listening room I have ever been in had problems that the equipment alone could not overcome, no matter how much was spent.
The best electrostatic? It does not matter. Compared to any dynamic speaker, they are all musical wonders. I have listened to my Acoustat 2+2 speakers for over 14 years and I have never tired listening to their sound and the wondrous music they produce. They best work with tube electronics that is for sure.
I have never been crazy about the Martin Logan speakers with any equipment I've heard them with. Loved the Maggies, both large and small, with almost all the equipment they've been paired with. I still like pistonic drivers for pop/rock, though. Just can't get that "thwack" with the electrostatics unless you get the really big ones (yet), and the big ones have a bit of an imaging problem in my experience. (Makes singers sound like their mouth is 4 feet wide). On Jazz and classical, though, can't be beat.
I have not heard the Sound Lab Ultimate One that Albert Porter speaks of, nor his Viva amps mentioned elsewhere, but I do own a pair of (budget?) fifteen grand Sound Lab Millennium One's. This is essentially the same speaker with a less rigid frame. They bring tears to my eyes. Wish I had discovered Sound Lab years ago. For twenty years I designed and built my own loudspeakers. Essentially there are two things a speaker has to get right: Resolution (transient response) and tonal balance (frequency response). Of the two, tonal balance is the more fundamental. Now here's the great secret: You cannot have correct tonal balance without a correct radiation pattern. A correct radiation pattern would be one that is uniform with respect to frequency - that is, equally directional at all frequencies. Impossible with conventional speakers. Possible with true omnis or with full range horns (such as Klipschorns), and also possible with a large curved dipole - which is what guru Roger West uses in Sound Labs. The natural figure-eight bass radiation of the dipole is maintained on up through the mids and highs by the curved geometry (Martin CLS's aren't curved nearly enough to achieve this). This also gives outstanding imaging over a very large listening area. Now, why does radiation pattern matter? Why can't a conventional speaker, or planar magnetic/ribbon speaker, simply be "voiced" for natural tonal balance? The reason is that your ears take into account both the first arrival sound and the reverberant field, and when there is a discrepancy in tonal balance between the two your ear/brain can tell it's a fake. Get the tonal balance the same in both fields, and the illusion becomes so convincing it's scary. So if you have conventional speakers (omnidirectional in the bass, hemispherical in the mids, and directional in the highs) there is no way to voice them for a truly natural tonal balance. Now, remember that resolution is the other critical factor in sound quality - electrostatics outperform everything else in this area, so when Roger West solved the tonal balance/radiation pattern puzzle he ended up with the most intelligent and elegant solution yet presented to the challenge of how to convincingly recreate the experience of live music. Roger went on to refine and tweak this most elegant design over something like eighteen years, resulting in the Ulitmate One and the Millennium One, both variations on the classic A-1. Sound Labs combines the very best of what electrostatics excel at with a geometry that takes them into a league all their own. You can listen standing up or sitting down, anywhere in the room, or even in the next room. There's nothing like them out there.
The Sound Labs are wonderous. They have 20 sq ft of panel area. The ML CLSs have 8 sq ft but get you most of the way there for only $4k. The extra sq. ft. of the Sound Labs are for bass and larger acoustical environments. If you can live with 40Hz lows then the CLSs will sound as good as the Sound Labs, with the right electronics (tubes) and in the right acoustic environment, at 1/3 to 1/5 the cost. Service with ML is also outstanding. Sound Lab does not always answer their phone.
Jazzman, that last posting was from me,(marked 01-20-00). sorry my name did not print. However, as long as I am posting again, in response to the comments about the telephone at Soundlabs by "Vacuum Tube at SW Bell," many high end manufacturers are very small company's and are sometime slow (or use machines) to answer their phone. I think it would be a mistake to confuse phone response with quality. There are instances every day where I am frustrated by either telephone tag, long hold times or inadequate answers from any number and type of companies. In fact, I would be amazed if Soundlab is your only "less than perfect" telephone experience. The people at Soundlab are wonderful, and even if they are a little slow (only 5 employees) they produce a product not rivaled by even huge companies. I am proud to say too, that they just received the Golden Ear award at the CES a few weeks ago from Harry Pearson of Absolute Sound. I happened to be lucky enough to be standing there to enjoy the presentation. Roger West and his people are wonderful creators, and wonderful people. It's nice to see them receive credit after over 20 years of work, building electrostatic speakers.
Albert I don't know any way to get in touch with you besides posting a message here. Would you e-mail me at I'm interested in learning more about your Sound Lab tweaks. I've done the fuse replacement thing, but not the bypass. I also like Walker Hi-Definition links. Do you know T.C. of Dallas area?
I have a pair of Crown ES212 Electrostatic with the matching subwoofers. I think they might be the first full range electrostatic system. Great Sound. To bad Crown did not market these better. Any body out there know anything about these speakers?
While not an electrostatic the Apogee Diva's are my vote for one of the most enjoyable speakers to listen to. I have not had a chance to own these fine speakers but have had many opportunities to listen to them at a local high end sound dealer. Unfortunatly the speakers are no longer manufactured. I have many fond memories of "losing time" by listening to these speakers. When hooked to electronics that could push these demanding speakers the presentation was effortless the soundstage lush. For now I'll have to trudge through life with my dynamic speakers.
While not an electrostatic the Apogee Diva's are my vote for one of the most enjoyable speakers to listen to. I have not had a chance to own these fine speakers but have had many opportunities to listen to them at a local high end sound dealer. Unfortunatly the speakers are no longer manufactured. I have many fond memories of "losing time" by listening to these speakers. When hooked to electronics that could push these demanding speakers the presentation was effortless the soundstage lush. For now I'll have to trudge through life with my dynamic speakers.
Hello, Bpheedeer. I was the factory rep. for Crown when the ES 212 speakers were still being made. I can help you with some information. I know, for instance, that the panels in the Crown were manufactured by RTR, and in fact were the same panels used in the Infinity Servo Static system. I was the Infinity rep. too, and I know that there were at least four updates on the panels (various colors, and stripes to designate) for both systems. The woofers in the ES 212 were troublesome, and did not match very well with the speed of the upper end. You may notice also that the "light bulbs" on the face flicker from time to time. This is a sign that the system is overloaded and is stressed. I owned a pair of these way back in the early 70's and preferred to keep my dynamic speaker system at the time. The infinity servo static was appealing as well, but audio equipment at that time was not well suited for the application on that system. It was not until about 12 years ago that I got interested in electrostatics again. Now, as stated in other postings, the Soundlab IS IT! Feel free to mail me if you need additional help on the Crown 212's.
I am in the process of buying a used pair of Soundlab Ultimate II's and would appreciate any advise or tweaky upgrades available. Thanks in advance. Shane Hofkamp
If you will post me your e-mail address, I will write you with my e-mail address and phone number. I have Ultimate Ones and have tons of info on Soundlab in general. There is an audio group here and together we own six pair of Soundlabs.
I've heard the big Sound Labs. You need a huge room, and even then the imaging is the antithesis of "pinpoint". It's vague and "wispy". Dynamically, they come to life at low volume better than any speaker, but at lifelike playback levels they are DECIDEDLY STRAINED compared to the best ribbons or dynamics in the same price category...AND NOT JUST IN THE BASS.
To Carl_eber: Could you e-mail me which amplifiers you heard the Sound Labs with in your 2-23-00 post? I am a new Sound Lab dealer and am trying to learn which amplifiers work well with Sound Labs and which ones do not, and obviously you heard an amp which did not. The choice of amplifier is crucial with Sound Labs. You would be helping me a great deal by sharing your experience with me. My address is Thank you.
Here is my e mail address for responces regarding the soundlab ultimate II speakers. Thanks for your reply in advance. Shane Hofkamp
Best speakers I have ever heard are the ones I own quad els57s,these are full range and not hybreds like alot of others mentioned,I find site very good and informative as are alot of american sites I have visited,A friend of mine owns the devas these on his system are amazing,call me biased if you will but I am from the home of quads England.
When I was, by one of my advisors, presented with the opportunity to purchase Soundlab's A-1's and decided to do so without knowing very much about them, if you will, imagine being presented with two of the most beautiful pieces of furniture one could imagine. When I hooked them up it changed my life. I have subsequently found the proper way to drive them full range; everything Albert Porter reports above is beyond truth, and this end of my quest for appropriate sounding Jazz and Chamber Music is over. I may change the front end line source, but to have finished looking and longing for amps and speakers is the reward for thirty years of effort. Dr. West deserves a medal; his (small) staff, when I reached them, were very responsive, leading me to pleasurable experience in dealings/ queries; and if this combination is going to be surpassed somebody is going to have to come out of hiding from somewhere.,
I have heard most of the Martin Logans, and the Apogees. I have owned two pairs of Maggies, and a pair of Acoustats, and lots of dynamic speakers. The Maggies are the best deal for the money of any speaker today. But, the best sounding speakers are without any question in my mind the Sound Labs. Presently, I own the "Pristines", which I believe I will always own as long as they last. They simply sound more like real music in every way. They do not sound like "Electrostatics" in the manner of Martin Logan, and they do not have the really fine, but nevertheless, "Maggie" sound. They simply sound more like music. I have used the Pristines with many different amplifiers and I do not find amplifiers to be critical, except they must be very good amps. Pristines are very revealing of poor components. Set up of the room is however very critical with Pristines and is probably the most important thing to do. It is more important than with dynamic speakers. But, then room set up is the most important factor that I have ever found for getting the best sound from any speakers. If I had to rate the Pristines on their best characteristic, I believe it would be tonal balance, which itself seems an unusual "best characteristic" for electrostatics. They also position bass sounds properly in the orchestra, which combined dynamic/electrostatic speakers never do, and dynamic speakers do less well. I hope my experience is informative, and well taken. There are many speakers I have not heard.
To Albert Porter: One thing that puzzles me is how restrictive are fuses, and your observation of using a different fuse or wiring around it think is aligned with this thought. Good contact and signal transfer (either at interconnects, speaker cables or power plugs, wall plates you name it) really influences the system output. Any recommendation of a high quality fuse supplier that you might know of that is indeed good in this. Your comments please. Regards
To Albert Porter: One thing that puzzles me is how restrictive are fuses, and your observation of using a different fuse or wiring around it think is aligned with this thought. Good contact and signal transfer (either at interconnects, speaker cables or power plugs, wall plates you name it) really influences the system output. Any recommendation of a high quality fuse supplier that you might know of that is indeed good in this. Your comments please. Regards
Anyone hear listened to the new Quads yet? I listened only breifly at a show and they sounded promising.
To Sol322. I have always wondered why with all the high end interconnect, speaker cable and accessories, why in the world does someone NOT make high end fuses? Strictly speaking, none of the components in a high end system can survive after bypassing the fuse. Not only would this void the warranty, it is a fire hazard. The reason fuses sound so bad, is the fact that it they are such a tiny conductor, (often the size of a human hair!) they are generally not soldered in place, they consist of metallurgy that is a completely different material, housed in a crappy (plastic) holder that can resonate, and in general, breaks an otherwise fairly seamless connection between the power and its final destination. Yes, they pretty much sound awful! The suggestion about replacing and/or wiring around the Soundlab fuses comes from inside information, and a certainty that there is no risk to the user. The Soundlab only draws one eight of an amp, because it converts the AC power to a ultra high voltage (ultra low amperage) power supply to drive the electrostatic panels. A failure at this power supply cannot cause a hazard for the user in this particular situation. Unfortunately, other high end equipment is just the opposite! I agree with you, where are the high end fuse holders, fuses and connectors to make them work? How about a sophisticated, all copper device that could solve at least some of these issues? Perhaps it is possible to develop a breaker that uses much larger contact area, and of superior materials, that could fail by going into trip mode. I am not a designer, so I guess I really don't know how to get there, but your question is superb, considering the money we all spend on the other pieces in the system, even an "expensive" fuse would be an inexpensive upgrade for all of us.
Albert: I´m not a designer either but feel this is a point to think about. Will try a couple ideas on this. Regards
Martin Logan has done more to develope the electrostatic technology than any other manufacturer. Martin Logans are capable of reproducing all the elements of live music that make it come to life: detail, image size, dynamics, and coherence. Excellent speakers!
Martin Logan is actually a very late comer to the electrostatic industry. Soundlab has been in business about twice as long, and Quad of England is the unofficial grandfather of the industry. If you wish to brag on Martin Logan for cosmetics and marketing, you certainly have a right to do so. They do a great job in selling their product. They cannot be credited as a breakthrough in any technology that I am aware of. And, on the issue of performance, all of us that are fans of electrostatic design, have our own heros.
GerryLee I wish I could agree with you because price wise they are a fair value but my experience in listening to these speakers from the 1st time in 1986 to the present is always the same and I think the first poster Bdebonis stated it best concerning what they do and ultimately what they don't do for me, that is make the music come alive. I wish I did like them, they are attractive, obviously well made and competitively priced. Of the ribbons I loved the Apogee Stages and of the Electrostatic's Sound Lab impressed me most. And if those Quad's had a bit more dynamics I could probably live happily ever after with them. They REALLY get the midrange right.
I think, that ML "Statements" are best to date...mated with multiple VTL "Votans"...Unbeatable!
The BEST is difficult to qualify. All of those mentioned are noteworthy, but don't forget the Audiostatics. Their only real competition is from Soundlab. Too bad they're not more readily available here in the US.
For me the Acoustat 1+1,2+2. Model 2 and Model 3.Full range and dont need subwoofer. Downside need lots of power. But the sonics are amazing.
I have narrpwed my choices to these two but live in a rural area and have limited audition opportunities. I would appreciate comments on trdae-offs and sonic comparisons. Thanks, Jeffrey or 805 434 9220 Tel & Fax in California
Quad 989 vs. Soundlab Millennium 2? Would appreciate any comments, experience or insights reflecting on the sonic tradeoffs of these two. I am about to take the plunge and have narrowed it down to these. Thank you, or Tel & Fax: 805 434 9220 California -- Call any time.
Albert Porter please contact me. See my postings above, "I have narrowed" and "989 vs. M2." I would like to benefit from your long experience with Soundlabs and must commit to one of thes two soon. I would love to chat with you, and you may call me at home and/or email. Thanks, Jeffrey or Tel & Fax: 805 434 9220 California My room: 32 feet by 16'7" wide with ceiling sloping from 9 to 16 feet across width dimension.
Acoustat III, 2+2 or 4, Quad is good but it can't play rock or big band like Acoustat can do. Acoustat is indestructible. I have a pair of 2+2 and I love them after all these years.
What's about Magneplanar? It's simple it's not an electrostatic speaker it's an isodynamic that's all, and it's not fast as Quad, SoundLab or other ESS, ok it give a good sound but I prefer an Acoustat or Quad by far.
While reviewing all the posts, I was amazed that no one mentioned Innersound EROS mk2. You may want to take a look at a thread under tech talk "auditioned Innersound". Its about an opportunity I had to audition them. They are incredibly efficient, and sound absolutely amazing! These things shame any other electrostats anywhere in the price range, that I have ever heard. Despite the pictures on Innersound's web site, in real life, they are just beautiful looking. Believe me, as others have said here on Audiogon, these are electrostats with balls! Priced at 6K, and includes a bass amp at 600 wpc with adjustable electronic xovers. The fast tight bass from their 10" transmission line woofers, will just blow you away.
For me my new Martin Logan Prodigy speakers do just fine. All these speakers are giants, in there own right and I thank those designers and engineers who contributed to so many fine products. For me it will always be the sound of electrostatics. These magic pannels which have alowed me to travel the world. Remember the excitement of past concerts attended or wished I had. All this Sitting in my living room, in my favorite chair and refreshment, lights off,the kids off playing and just the music.
Jeffrey, I have had experience with the 989 and have driven them with Jadis 500s, Spectral 360s, Gryphon Reference monos and InnerSound monos in direct comparison with the Sound Lab Pristine. Wires by Nordost, MIT and the ones sold by InnerSound, which are surprisingly good. Now the Pristine is quite aged by now, but it had by far the better dynamics and I found it less coloured over all than the 989, which sounds a bit darkish in my setup. I find the old Quad 63 by far the better speaker than the 989. I have never had any trouble with the Pristine, whereas the 989 has hardly proven reliable and is a downright disappointment as far as I am concerned. Considering that the M2 is a tremendous advancement over the Pristine, I would not hestitate a second in choosing it, if I were in your shoes. The M2 probably, like the Pristine, needs quite a bit of power to make it sing,( I am now using the Jadis 500 with it for best dynamics ) but contrary to the 989 it can take it.
Anybody tried the ML Prodigy with a sub woofer?
Since a few people complain about the bass of the ML Prodigy, I wonder if there are people who use a sub for their ML Prodigy?
I know that a German friend of mine is experimenting with a sub for his Prodigy (he has even filled the woofer cabinet of the Prodigy with some sort of lead) and is running the ML with two pairs of Double Kronzilla monoblocks ($35.000,00 per pair)
I have not had a chance to audition his speakers yet, (I will do this in the summer) but he claims that they sound awesome now.
May I also mention that far too many people put the ML speakers down saying: I have listen to the ML, but they sound terrible.
These people never tell whích ML they have auditioned. ML does make quite a range of different speakers. Its like saying that I have driven a Mercedes and do not like their cars and then it turns out that all I drove was an 190D. Ever tried a S-class? In ML terms the 190 D would be an old SL3, versus the new S-class, the Prodigy.
So please, whenever you claim you have listened to a ML and do not like the speakers, please tell us which one. And then not only which model, but which amps were used, what kind of room etc.
ML speakers are not speakers for the faint of heart, for people who are not willing to spend time to get the matching electronics, or who cannot or will not invest time to really set this speakers up.(This can be a bit tricky) But once you have gone through all this trouble, you will be greatly rewarded by an almost heavenly sound.
Tekunda -

As you have observed, there is a wide range of opinions on the Martin-Logans, with some people loving them and some coming down on them pretty hard. This may sound strange, but I don't think the speakers are at fault - and I'd like to offer a possible explanation.

With the Martin Logan hybrids, you have to get the model that's voiced for your size room because the tonal balance of the speaker is dependent on the room size (and also listening distance). And it's the dealer's job to see to it that the speakers match the customer's room. Let me explain why this is so critical:

Sound pressure level falls off more rapidly with distance from a point source (the woofer) than from a line source (which the electrostatic panel approximates). Mathematically, sound pressure level falls off with the square of distance from a true point source, and linearly with distance from a true line source. So if we had a hybrid voiced to be flat at 1 meter, back at 10 meters the output from the panel would be 10 dB louder than from the woofer (assuming anechoic conditions and a true line source and point source - if you'd like me to go through this in more detail I will). In the real world the reverberant field fills things in a bit, but I once measured a hybrid electrostat that had the woofer up by 1 dB at 1 meter, then was flat at 3 meters, and then the panel was up by 4 dB back at 8 meters. So you see, listening distance and room size would have a very significant impact on how the system sounded.

The hybrid systems from InnerSound and Sound Lab have provisions for fine-tuning the relative level of panel and woofer, and so they work well in a wide variety of rooms. With the Martins and their wide selection, the idea is to get the speaker that's voiced for that size room. Note that another line source/point source hybrid that gets strongly opinionated reviews (pro and con) is the Newform R645, which also lacks level adjustments.

I'd be willing to bet that most of the strongly negative consumer reviews of the Martin hybrids arise from using too small a speaker for the room (resulting in weak bass/bright or thin sound) or too big a speaker for the room (resulting in thickened, sluggish bass and/or dull, lifeless sound). In support of this theory, note that people pretty much agree on what Maggies, or Sound Labs, or Quads, or even Martin CLS's sound like. But people don't generally agree on what the Martin hybrids sound like because their tonal balance is significantly more room-dependent.
Duke- I love your posts!! I always learn so much, thanks for joining our humble online group of audio dorks!! ~Tim
Excellent post Duke! Thanks! You've helped me to understand my (highly ambivalent) experiences with various types of ML hybrids in various rooms far better now, by expaining the obvious! Cheers,
Thank you very much for your kind words, Tireguy and Detlof!
I am shocked that Roger Sanders name has not come up he is by far the most knowledgable guy out there on the planet he even had a cook book relating to building stats and By the way He was the one who developed the curvilinear panel for Martin Logan ,but to his shock he realized that it was wrong for 3 reasons. If you go to sanders sound systems he has a short video and explains this very accurately.
Rogers new speaker #10 just received The Absolute Sounds
Golden Ear award .I am in the process of buying it this speaker not only has the best warranty in the business
but comes with it's own 360w amp just for the Bass with Cables , and a Very good digital Xover which is many times better than the passive junk in most other speakers and having a 48db slope guarantees the excellent transmission line Bass is Totally Seamless ! also with the digital Xover you can tune your speaker exactly the way you want for all rooms are different sonicly and you can tune in more Bass or less as well as mids who else does this ? and The SPL levels without strain even with 1,000 wpc Brystons No Sweat
and the musicality is incredible even under show conditions Fantastic. As far as sweet spot all speakers have a sweetspot less than 4ft based on the = triangle principle.
Being a stat you have the rear wave for any ambiance you will need .Since they come with a 30 day money back and they pay shipping both ways what would you have to loose ?
This is exactly why I am buying them, Maggis or ML donot offer all this and these sound at least as good as the big ML or Maggis with better bass and dynamics and not the size of a refrigerator as in a soundlab which BTW is still a very good speaker .If you havn't heard the new 10c then you have not heard them. Give them a good listen before making any call that is what any informed Audiophile would do ,checkem out .
Could not agree more. Roger Sanders knows how to do ESLs the best, Yes, Soundlab is great, but bass is lacking in depth and tightness. ML has some nice sounding speakers now too, but the Sanders 10C is amazing with superior transient response and bass, and nobody can match his 30 day MB trial and lifetime warranty that includes shipping both ways!!! I'm also using the Sanders ESL MKII amplifier, and I've never heard better on any speaker that I've owned. Of course the Magtech has more power and a patent-pneding voltage regulator, but most people wouldn't tell the difference between the Magtech and ESL amp. I have a used pair of Kaya Reference that sounds nearly identical to the 10C, especially since I'm using the same digital crossover. But the 10C has better quality of workmanship, goes 2 hz lower and plays 3db louder in the bass. An important note is that Roger's coaxial ESL speaker cables are a must. They replaced some super expensive solid core silver speaker cable, and the sound became balanced properly (instead of exaggerated highs), with far more inner detail and enjoyment. Roger Sanders is the MAN. You will be lucky to get his equipment.
Boy, the bass is pretty nice on the Sound Labs. Of course it takes the right amp to do it, one that can make power into a higher impedance (hint: don't use transistors), but the bass on the Sound Lab is top shelf.
In a few weeks the backplates on the Sound Lab U-1PXs here will be upgraded to the new Consummate version which will be introduced at THE Show in Las Vegas. These will be the first pair until they become available in January. Pricing has not been set, but I will know soon.

The purpose of the new backplate design is to make the speakers a lot easier to drive by both tube and solid state amplifiers.
The Soundlabs are very good and hard to beat.

I heard a new ML driven by Anthem digital mono amps with da Vinci DAC a week or 2 ago. The ML looked like a summit but I don't think it was one. It was extremely good. It was Dynamic with headroom and the bass seemed to keep up with the panel and was tuneful. It was playing pretty loud too.

That was the first time I have ever heard an ML hybrid ESL sound complete. As far as quad goes, if you can strap them to your head as headphones you may get somewhere.

My cap is off to Quad as grandparents, but with modern speakers being so good, they cannot compete. People expect higher SPLs without the compression, flimsy dynamics and the inevitable shut down. A speaker should not dictate which music you can play.
Oh I meant to say the new Magnepans sounded fabulous. Shame they killed off Apogee...

If price comes into it you would find it hard to beat a magnepan IMHO