You will get more SPL, but there are some people who think that the proper placement of instruments on the soundstage would be compromised. However this was not my experience when I had those. I used them with Sequerra ribbons for the high end and with Maggie bass panels and later Entecs for the lows and I was happy with this arrangement for a long time.
Ah Yes !-- One of the truly great Combos-Det--your nostalgia bought tears to my eyes!
I had a beautifully finished Stacked pair from Radio People in HKG also with the T1 Ribbons and a 24"Hartley via the Jon Curl Symmetery X-Over.
What's more musical and fullfilling out there today-- frankly damn all!
Mot--go for them --if you can find them at reasonable price.
Ah yes, as an x-over I used one from Mark Levinson, the man.... and yes again, as Des said, go for it! Even today, unless you want earsplitting sound levels, there is hardly anything better.....
How do stacked Quad ESL 56's compare to full range Soundlabs? I thought this might be a difficult question?
With the full range Sound Labs you have the same lack of coloration, the immediacy, the impeccable rendition of transients, the wonderful midrange of the Quads. It is all there. Furthermore you can play much louder, have a wider sweet spot and a far better bass rendition. Placement of instruments is dead right, the soundstage huge with the right kind of software. Also you will have to do much less fiddling around to get the proper coherency between bass, middle and highs, compared to the stacked 57s, with say, super-tweeters and added low end woofers. However to make the sound Labs shine, you have to invest more into good amplification. For both speakers I would say, SS is a no no for good sound. The big Sound Labs are not all that easy to drive. They thrive on OTLs, like the 220watt Atmas or -more conventionally - on the VTL Siegfrieds in pentode mode with their huge power reserves. I also used a 60watter on them with good effect, but then you would lose some of the dynamics this speaker is capable of. Another advantage by the way, over the 57: Dynamics wasn't their strong point, although stacking them did bring noticeable improvement also there.
Detlof, in my experience stacked ESL 57's have better dynamics than Maggie MG II or III's. It's not that the Quads could play as loud as the Maggies: they don't. But the Quads have a bigger dynamic range and are better in reproducing tiny dynamic swings. Do you agree with this? That was one of the reasons I chose the Soundlab over Maggie MG 20.1. If solid state amplifiers are not first choice with the Soundlabs, why do I see many pictures from home audio systems and systems at shows in where big Soundlabs are being matched with... (the very solid state) Parasound JC-1's? Is this an exception to the rule?
Chris, I have no real experience with the Maggies, only with their bass-panels a long time ago, but from what I have heard other tell, it is as you say. What I do know however is, that the Quads are right in premier league in reproducing tiny dynamic swings as you so rightly point out.
On the other hand I have no experience with the JC-1's, but I do have my doubts, whether they really would hold their ground compared to the Atmas. Reason being that the big Sound Labs, except for the panels, are not voltage driven. What they need is constant power as the impedance varies. I don't know what the impedance of the big Sound Labs is in the bass region, but it is probably fairly high, which will severely curtail power with most SS-amps. So you would probably need 500 watts and more to let them sing there. Not so with the Atmas, if I understand the literature right. But then, that is theory and though doubtful, I'm always ready to be surprised. The more so, because the specs of the Parasound are truly impressive and the reviews glowing. But then, none of the reviewers used stators, as far as I could see. So sceptic I remain.
Apologies to Mothra, because this subject is certainly off-topic now. Would be interesting to see and probably help him, to start a discussion about what kind and make of amp would be deemed suitable for the stacked 57s.....MrTennis where are you????
oh it's all interesting. i have a lot of nice speakers and my pair of quads are quite nice. i suppose i have wondered about getting a larger throw area and somewhat higher spl. i have also thought of martin logan cls, or acoustat 2+2's. never heard the sound labs. he big apogees have always been tempting but hoonestly, i dont think i could afford to power them!
I have driven my SoundLab A-1PX with Atma MA-1s, Parasound JC-1s, and now Ayre MX-Rs. The Atma-Spheres are an excellent match, no question. They have three significant downsides: 1) they produce a great deal of heat, which is unacceptable for 7-8 months of the year here in subtropical Houston, 2) they take a good hour after power on to sound their best, while the MX-Rs are at the peak within 10 minutes after startup from standby mode, and 3) they are simply not as good as the MX-Rs in several respects (timbre of bass below approx. 60 Hz, soundstaging, and - most importantly - a quality of 'light' that I find extremely difficult to describe). The MX-Rs do this better than any amp I've ever heard, and said quality contributes greatly to the sense of realism.
A short comment on the JC-1s - not the absolute best available for SoundLabs, but darn close. A truly oustanding value for money. They are a ridiculous bargain when purchased used.
Mothra, I also apologize for getting off topic. I've auditioned stacked 57s just once quite a number of years ago, and was a bit bothered by the loss of the stunning midrange coherence displayed by a single pair. Then again, I don't know how the stacked pair was 'hooked together', so this comment should be taken with a large grain of salt.
The Atmas: I have MA-II Mark IIIs and apart from the heat and the time it takes for them to sound right, where I fully agree with you, I do not hear what you describe. But then MA-2s have a lot more punch than the MA-1s you had. I wonder what you mean with "light", wished you would describe this more. Is this a coloration you heard or a lack of dynamics? If I lived in subtropical surroundings I would probably also wish to try the Ayres, which are a beauty to behold and less costly than the MA-2s, although I would have to be convinced first of their deep bass performance with the Sound Labs for reasons stated above in my other post.
Stacked 57s: You are right about the loss of midrange coherence, one of the single 57's strong points. It takes a lot of fiddling around to get it right again., but it can be done.
> I wonder what you mean with "light", wished you would describe this more. Is this a coloration you heard or a lack of dynamics?
As I said, I have trouble describing it with any conventional terminology. It's a lightness or delicacy that is ALWAYS present in live, unamplified music. In my system, the Atma-Spheres did not have this characteristic to anywhere near the degree than the Ayres do. It is certainly not a function of sheer power, nor of dynamics (well, microdynamics perhaps). And since I find it closer to reality, I would not call it a coloration.
Since I would not have recognized the comparatively 'darker' character of the Atma-Spheres without having heard the Ayres, perhaps you should audition the MX-Rs?
I see now what you mean. Had a look at your system. Very nice indeed! However I don't seem to hear through my Atmas, what you heard through yours, and I am very familiar with live events as well. But then our systems are very different. I have the bigger Atmas and the U-1PX Sound Labs and a different cables-, source gear- and front end setup to yours, not to speak of the room. I am also using a pair of a-Capella plasma tweeters with the Sound Labs.
Whatever, you certainly have made me curious about the MX-Rs and I'll take up your suggestion and take two long ears-fulls at the next opportunity. Enjoyed our exchange!
I have both stacked Quads(ESL 57's) and SoundLab A-1's. The Quads can't approach the A-1's in either dynamic range, or maximum SPL. And the A-1's are far more durable. You can push them near their limits without worrying about damage. Wish the same were true for Quads, love them even as I do. But the Quads are wonderfully transparent, even in the stacked configuration, and not highly demanding of the amp the way A-1's are(except that a 30w or less amp is crucial). My stacked Quads have the same splendid midrange that single units do, only a little larger in size. I don't understand why Curriemt11 had the odd experience in this regard, but suspect something else was wrong, possibly a bad panel. Either one of these speakers will provide a clear window on the music that is very rare in AudioLand.
Those of you attending CES and THE Show in Las Vegas next month might like to visit room 4056 at the Flamingo, site of THE Show. Sound Lab and Teo Audio will be showing with Atma-Sphere electronics and some other world class products. As a dealer for these manufacturers I will be there some of the time and invite you to stop by for a listen.