Box speakers that sound like Electrostats?

Has anyone found a monitor or full range speaker that compares to an electrostat?
D46058ba 24d0 4dd9 8a2d 4f6ded3d8fe0dennis_the_menace
I don't see how you could try to compare the two. TOTALLY different design and dispersion. I can't imagine ever going back to box speakers myself. I am hooked on ESL's. It will be interesting to see what kind of response you get. aj
lets see, stats are wonderfully fast, excellent microdynamics, very holographic in imaging, but no macrodynamics or bass.

not many boxes can keep up w/ the speed. having heard lots of stats (and i do love what they do, but they're limitations prevent them from making the grade for me). i'd say box speakers you should consider would be merlins, rockports. maybe the VMPS ribbon-based speakers (but havent heard them).
The VMPS RM 40 is as fast and can present a better dynamic range than an electrostat ( or most) . I own both the RM 40 and the Martin Logan Odyssey.
"lets see, stats are wonderfully fast, excellent microdynamics, very holographic in imaging, but no macrodynamics or bass."

Don't know what you are listening to to make this statement. Some of the best bass I ever had was from stats. If you mean there is no bass hangover and will only go down to 30Hz instead of 25, then yes that is true.

Back to the topic. Try Dynaudio Contour series. Superb detail and speed, tight deep punchy bass, great imaging (with the right equip feeding it) Just as picky about being away from walls!
Rhyno, can you explain more what you mean by microdynamics and macrodynamics? I don't believe I have ever heard the words used to describe speakers ( I live a sheltered life :} )and would like to learn.
Thanks, Angela
Maybe you should consider hearing the new, active Innersound Eros Mk3 speakers. They are a Hybrid stat/transmission line woofer that is said to have the most seamless stat/woofer blend in the industry. They have the best of what stats do and a killer bass line. Roger Sangers is the man responsible for this achievement. He has a pretty intense 30 day return policy. He'll says he'll even pay the return shipping if they don't smoke whatever else you have on hand.

Green Mountain Audio Continuum 1.5 or 2.0 speakers are competitive with electrostats on many levels. I have had several customers sell their electrostats in favor of these speakers. Great bass, very tube friendly, but many of the sonic attributes of electrostats.
How about a round speaker? Try a pair of Gallo Acoustics Solo or Reference speakers. The CDT tweeter will give you electrostatic speed on the top end and a panoramic sound stage. The bass is handled by dynamic drivers mounted in spheres that lack any boxy or woody sound. They are no longer made, but they can be found on the used market.

The new Gallo Due has a mini version of the CDT tweeter, but it does not have the mid and bottom end performance of the original Solo or Reference. These work well for sub-sat systems.
Take the best of both worlds in one design:

The Imagine ESL spaker system made by Monitor-db.

My brother has bought the system and now I cannot listen to my Martin Logan Prodigy anymore. A world of difference.
The chief violinist of the Berlin Symphonic orchestra found these speakers to be superior to the $250k ML Statements and I have mentioned before, that Placido Domingo has bought these speakers also. Their transducer foils are being made at the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany, the same institute, where Avalon has the diamond tweeters made for their Eidolon speakers. These speakers are guaranteed for defects for 5 years.
my comments were exactly that:
macrodynamics: impact and the ability to play LOUD (or to a lesser extent, the transition from soft to loud effortlessly), which stat's cannot.
microdynamics: the ability to hold a note into the black recesses...really, its all decay. stats do it better than anything...great boxes meet the standard stats set.

bass: stats dont do bass worth a damn. yeah, they "do" full range, and its about the equivalent of internet porn to real sex. there's no impact. get some good subs under 100hz if you're running stats. (i realize i'm saying this having just put my entecs for sale earlier today, but i'd have said it regardless).

dont take my word for it. talk to those who own stats. quads, ML CLS2zs, etc. all the serious guys end up getting subs.
Tekunda, any info available in English for the Imagine ESL line? I'm interested in learning more, but cannot read German! Their website offers an English option, but it only works for the Headine 6-9 models. Thanks!
Dennis- I agree with those who have stated that there is a fundamental difference on how the two produce sound. I've not heard any box speaker that "sounds like" an esl. However, that doesn't mean that box speakers can't be equally outstanding, but in different areas. I've owned esl speakers (ML CLSII, Monoliths, Audiostatics) for many years. I enjoyed them immensely, especially when you find the right amplification. For me, that meant tubes - OTL amps and their attendent headaches and peculiarities.

I found a box speaker in which I'm equally impressed, but with different sonic strengths. I'll always miss certain aspects of the best esl sound. However, if I switched back to esls, I'm quite sure that I would miss some of the things my Venture speakers do so well.

After a time, "the grass is always greener" syndrome is bound to kick in. The desire to re-experience the joys of esls will likely pull on me again. However, I lived with esls for 15 years. I've only had the Ventures for about 4 years. I owe them a little more time, at least;-)

Rhyno- Quads and CLSIIzs are examples of "restricted" full range esls, I'm sure you'd agree. The full range (multi-panel) Audiostatics could produce excellent bass down to a little below 30Hz in-room response, and play quite loud when required. I'm sure there are other brands that will perform similarly. I do tend to agree with your generalizations, but remember, there are always exceptions.

As always, just one man's opinion. Enjoy!
Thanks, Rhyno, for explaining what you meant. I agree with you that ESLs alone don't have the bass, but I have found the Innersound Hybrids do it perfectly matched. The timing is right on and seamless.
Newform Research R645 ribbon hybrids go down to 32Hz with seemless bass integration and oh so effortlessly (they're 91dB efficient). For $2,265 delivered to your door, it's a tough deal to beat. They look like big black goalposts, but sound fabulous with the lights out!
sound labs have great bass. they get loud with tube research as well. if i was looking to get a box speaker to replace stats i would look at the jm lab utopia line. micros to grands. still stats have more depth in most cases, but the jms have no clear weaknesses.
Piega P10s have the speed and resolution of electrostatics and the dynamics of box speakers - which they are. Great bass, and tremendous top to bottom coherency.

The Thiel 2.3, to a much lesser degree, have the speed and resolve of ES, but lack the real world dynamics.
Rhyno -

Well like most rules there are exceptions, and Kirk points out a significant one, as far as electrostats and low bass goes. I've had two customers tell me their Sound Lab full range electrostats measure -3 dB somewhere in the low 20's. The factory only claims upper 20's, but they will shake the room with a powerful enough amplifier (though admittedly not as vigorously as a good subwoofer can).

As with any loudspeaker, low bass output level for an electrostat is ultimately limited by displacement. And there is a tradeoff relationship between maximum diaphragm excursion and efficiency. Sound Labs have superb microdynamics, but can't match the macrodynamics of a first-rate conventional speaker - I'd say their practical limit is probably somehere between 105 and 110 dB at the listening position, given sufficient amplifier power.

I only have one Sound Lab customer (out of ballpark two dozen) who's using subwoofers, and he isn't using them to get deeper bass. Instead, he's using them to relieve the panels of having to do those long excursions, thereby increasing the macrodynamic potential of the system. He served in the artillery during the Viet Nam war, so he needs it kinda loud.

The InnerSound Eros mentioned by Tony is indeed very dynamic, both micro and macro.

As far as a box speaker that sounds like a full-range electrostat, probably the best conventional box speaker I've heard is the Intuitive Design Denali, which retails for something north of forty grand. The next closest is probably the Audio Artistry Beethoven, but that may be cheating a bit, since the Beethoven is a dynamic dipole speaker, not a "box" speaker. If I do find a box speaker that sounds like a first-rate electrostat, I'll pick up the line in a heartbeat.

Dennis, just curious - what keeps you from considering an electrostat? What are you looking for that you don't think an electrostat can deliver? Or, is it a matter of speaker size and/or placement issues?

Best wishes on your quest!

Spendor S3/5 is the closest I've heard so far.
Well, I haven't found any so far. The Acapella Exalibur comes close, but that is horn loaded and plasma driven. I completely agree with Duke. I would also jump at a "box" speaker, the microdynamics of which would equal an ESL, but have not been successful so far. I also use subwoofers with my wall of stators for the same reason as Duke's customer. Not to get deeper bass, but to get more punch, when things get loud and low. To be more specific, to about 80hz I use a pair of old Maggie bass panels, which integrate beautifully. They need lots of power though and then subs, cut off at 30hz, otherwise they wouldn't integrate in my room. so I have the best of both worlds, at least that's what my ears tell me. I let the stators run full spectrum, without cutting them off. Using the high pass of X-overs kills their sound. Cheers,
For my two cents I have always been partial to electrostatics since I heard a pair of dayton wrights when I was 10 years old. I won't try to characterize the sound since I would likely do it an injustice but you know what you like (or as some have said I like what I know). I would second paullindeman with regards to the p10's (or p8ltd which I have). Truly remarkable speakers. Worth a listen at least. With careful respect to all the others.

Verity's Parsifal Encore is worth a consideration.
Wmcmanus, I will try to find some more English info about the Imagine speaker system.
Not that I'm looking for a replacement, but the reason I asked the question was because size is an issue when you choose to live in major downtown city like DC. Big apartments cost a lot of money, and a house is out of the question...

honestly, the Logan Aerius i have really been awesome sounding speakers. I had a chance to hear another "box" speaker that retails for around $6K matched with a great amp (one of the recommended combos for this speakers), and I liked the Aerius a lot more.
The only speaker I know of that comes close to a
Electrosat , is a pair of Eggleston Rosa's . They
have one of the best tweeters ever made , the four
6" drivers are ran almost full range. I have had apogee
and Magnepan speakers that operate in the same basic way.
However to me the Magnepans sound the best in this class.
The speakers I had were apogee stages, Magnepan 1.6R , I
believe Electrostats sound good for only a short period
of time , after that they start to cut up your ears...
After years of speakers the only one I can live with
are the Eggleston Rosa's , the only dynamic speakers I know of that have the same super transparency of the mention
speakers , and with more clean powerfull bass and peak output. They also are more room friendly and are best looking speakers I ever owned..
dunlavy athenas. aplace them right and the imaging is wonderful, incredible openness, very good if not great bass. Elestrostatics may still have a slight edge on microdynamics but for overall balance i've found nirvana
If you will have a chance, listen to an upgraded Newform 645's (KSU2 + Theta caps) and you will have both worlds. The imaging and speed of the Newform's 45" ribbons are stunning, life-like and magical. The bass portion is no slouched either, housing 2 Scan-speaks the goes down to 32hz. It a decent system you'll swear these speakers worth 4-5x their price delivered to your door. You will end your search once you'll hear how this speakers perform. Just my opinion.
Second the Spendor of the few box speakers that really is very open and transparent...they are a bit colored in sound...the highs are muted and the midrange has a slight "bump" emphasis...but if you enjoy vocals...they are about as good as it gets...if you can...go deeper into the line than the 3/5...the higher models have much more bass...on the other end of the spectrum...for a more detailed, high definition "modern" monitor...the Revel M20 is very impressive...highs are a bit extended...and they can sound a bit "aggressive" with the wrong equipment...but they are very transparent...and not as laid-back as the British "old school" Spendors...2 very different sounds...both have their merits...
Agree with Poorguy and Phasecorrect...
I own the Spendor S3/1p (2 way vented 6.5" + 20mm), and find them ideal with their SC3 cousin center as a HT front trio. Quick and seemless. My favourite CHEAP more-analytical monitor, though, is the Revel M20.
Yet for full-range reference use I've gotta say that my Parsifal Encores are incredibly stat-like quick, coherent and transparent, yet have surprisingly deep slam from an 8" woofer. The Monitor satellites alone put most stats and monitors to shame. You don't have to give up much to make the switch to dynamic drivers once you've heard these! Apparently the Piega 10 has similar proponents....
To answer your question Dennis, no. But there are some that offer the better attributes of stats. To the ones mentioned I would add the Merlin VSM-M. It is a 2-way is quick as lightning on transients, holds on to a note, decays to infinity and is tonally evenhanded like the better stats. Add to the above, world class resolution and an ability to retrieve the subtlest details of the recording providing you have the right gear in front of it.

I've only heard one stat I could live with if I had the room and the money. Most have too many compromises that offset their virtues.
For everybody that cannot read German (but can read English :-) Google has some nice translation tools that will help us out.

Check out:

In particular, to read the website Tekunda referred to in his message about the Imagine ESL speakers, go here:

Dennis - listen to Tubegroover.

I have a superb room that allows the magic of great electrostats to fully manifest. I'm presently setting up the infamous Apogee Scintilla as my final music statement. No box speaker, Merlin or otherwise, can match the breath taking 3D reality of the great Apogees ----- Given the right room!!!!

I trust Tubegroover's assesment of the Merlin. He has been around, and is familiar with the Apogee's magic.
As much as I hate to admit it regardless of the hype Muralman1 is correct. No box speaker I've heard can truly escape the box and completely disappear as a well set-up dipole can. The Merlins are in the top tier so far as disappearing goes. On the other hand unless the system is large enough most stats compromise on the macro dynamics of music that bring it to life. I can live with a little boxiness rather than limitations on dynamics, a personal preference but others may demur.

This can be achieved with stats but it takes a large diaphram and room for starters. The other problem is bass performance. If you want great bass and a stat, subwoofers are out for me. Gotta have the large panels pushing the bass. The coherence is lost with a subwoofer. It may not be apparent at first but it will catch up with you sooner or later. Dipoles are about speed and refinement. A dynamic driver thrown into the mix just can't keep up with the speed of those panels. Choose your poison, nothing's perfect.
My experience with single-driver speakers has led me to the opinion that they can be very close to electrostats for speed, transparency, and imaging. The point-source nature of these single drivers, is about the best for imaging, and the very light cones, with strong magnetic motors, like my Lowthers, can approximate the speed, and miniscule low level detail reproduction. The box is actually the thing that you hear, that makes you realize it is in a box, because the resonances add colorations to the otherwise "stat-like" sound. If the box is very good, this is minimized, but still there. I can't drive electrostats, so I think single-drivers are the next best thing.
Von Schweikerts. The literature claims they excell any planar/electrostat in terms of transparency, and they do just that, dissapearing in a room like none other I've ever heard, and most models go down to at least 20-25hz. There are not many VSA dealers around but if you have one locally give them a listen, you will be impressed.
Mike, thanks for the link to the translated Monitor db site. Now if I can only scrape together DM60,000 for the Imagine system! (This price must be out of date since it's been a couple years since the DM has been traded). My best guess would be in the $35-40K range in US dollars... This is a little out of my range, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless (although the 'verb last order' structure doesn't translate very well at times). Maybe Albert or Cornfedboy can give them a try?!?! Wayne
I went from M-L Sequel IIs (10+ yrs) to Merlins VSM-SE and they were dyanamic as hell, but even after changing out dacs, transports, amps (two ss), wires, I couldn't tame 'em. Verity Fidelios filled the bill. Musical, detailed---no, make that MUSICAL and detailed.
Having heard the new piega c8 ltd for the last few weeks I would give an even stronger recommendation if you are considering box speakers that rival the good points of electrostatics. They really are worth an audition and won't cost what the imagine cost nor will they will require a separate listening room. Happy to chat if you have any interest
I had ribbons for the longest time and finally went out of it. Apogee Divas the queen of ribbons. Amazing soundstage and the dispersion level is on its own league.
Got out of it after trying to keep it going, the amplifiers monos, tubes for the top and heh! too much.
Finally I found bookshelves that could give the enjoyment as much. Went for the Sonus Faber Electa Amators!
Jeff Rowland amp and wadia source and I got what I want!
Ribbons and electrostatics sound different because of the wide band and dispersion charasteristics but there are other ways of getting good music. Problem is you have to pay for it!

Avalon Acoustics opened my eyes after being a ribbon devote for the longest time, so did the $20,000 price tag!
The new Quad L series...I have the 12Ls...and their speed,transparency,and detail do rival their ELSs cousins...and with full range dynamic driver bass...
How do the Quad 12L's compare to the Spendor S3/5?
Joe...the comparisons are pretty dramatic...since both companies collaborated on the original 10L...which SPendor made for QUad...I was looking at a pair of 3/5s until I heard the Quads...the new Quads are less colored and more revealing that the SPendors...that is, they dont have the famous Spendor "rolled off" highs...but the 2 areas that the QUad excel in are dynamics and bass...which happen to be the SPendors weaknesses...for vocals...they both are about as good as it gets....and in the great Quad tradition...these are transparent as box speakers can be...
Thanks for the info. I like the Spendors, but am only driving them with 20wpc (in a small rm). Bass is good but dynamics are little soft at lower volumes. Highs are "rolled", but again this is only a problem at low listening levels and is a blessing at other times. Will audition the Quads...if I can find a local dealer. Distribution on the Quads seems limited. comparison...the spendors 3/5s sound "small" compared to my Quad 12Ls...but then again...the quad is over 4x the size...and in terms of "speed"...the Quads are not surprisingly "static like"...they really outperformed the small SPendor in every facet...speed,detail,dynamics,bass,etc...imaging and transparency in both speakers was excellent....
Forgot to ask. Are the Quads rear-ported? If yes, they won't work in my room. There are many speakers that are more transparent and faster sounding than the Spendors, but there are few speakers than can reproduce the timbre of acoustic instruments or add a body to voices, when driven by cheap ss equipment like the Spendors. The Quads may do it, but they don't have many US dealers at the moment.
Have any of you guys who think a Spendor sounds like a Quad, or like any electrostatic, in the midrange, ever heard a Harbeth? The Compact 7 is absolutely dead on flat through midrange fundamentals, crisp, fast and at the same time warm in the bass with no cone material coloration (distortion), not much roll-off on top, and limitless dynamics compared to the Quad. It has no character at all on the right height stands, but can be a little dry on stands that are too high.
Yep, Audio Artistry. Or Siegfried Linkwitz's new designs. These are full range dipoles using dynamic drivers. Try
I just did a demo of piega p10 with lamm amp.The more powerful one.I cant remember model it was at a dealer.I really wanted to like this speaker but was not impressed except on a chorale CD.This speaker has air.Better than on any speaker i have listened to.It would be wonderful on full scale classical.I listen mostly to Jazz and my Newform Research 645 are more open and way faster.Imaging way better and depth much better.It alo has a punchier mid bass.Bigger more realistic sound stage.Resoulution in spades.I was glad i demoed p10 i was going to buy them because they were more expensive and thought they would be much better.I am not trying to sell you on these speakers because my kharma 2.0s are my favorite but a more slower relaxed sound.I biamp aloia 13.01 amps or bedini 200 classic are correct...the Quads are have 2 ports...both in the they are really intended for "free space" positioning...and dont get me wrong...I do like Spendors...and as you mentioned...on vocals,strings,acoustics, their limited range...they are impressive...but for me...especially bass dominant material...fusion jazz,dub,reggae,drum n bass,electronic, requirements were a little different...
I agree with 1652, I bought the andra's because even the
review of Paul Bolin states that this speakers do things
like electrostatic sp,
Interesting you mention Paul Bolin. The last I heard, Mr. Bolin uses the Apogee Duetta Signature as his reference speaker. His word, that a particular dynamic driver speaker can emulate electrostats, is well worth the listen.