I have never heard the 21L, but I have given the 22L2 several auditions and I prefered them over Focal 826 and B&W 683. The finish of the 22L2 is superb.
The 21L is a 2-way, the 22L2 is a 2-and-a-half way speaker, as you probably know from the specs. It not much of a fair fight between these two, because the 22L2 brings an additional driver to the contest. This brings a deeper low-end response and better mid-bass sound. I have read on the forums that the 22L2's tweeter is an all new design. The 22L2's benefit from a better plinth than the 21L series, giving is more stability. They are reviewed to have a much flatter frequency response in the mid-range than the 22Ls, so that means the 22L2's mids are likely to best the 21L's as well.
I know an awful lot about these speakers, auditioned oodles of monitors and more than a few floorstanders, and the 22L2s kept coming out on top. They have a very detailed sound, with a great stage and excellent imaging. The finish cannot be beat for the money on the used market, where the 22l2's routinely go for around $700-$950.
I wound up buying cheaper monitor audio BX5s though, because I am a broke architect and I just got tired of sitting around saving money. I wanted to get to the music.
Never heard the 22L2 but I have owned the 21L2 as well as the 12L2. I preferred the 12L2s.
Although I'm sure it had to do with room placement. The 21L2 is very short and IMO needs to be raised up on some sort of small stand to sound right. As the 22L2 is taller, this probably would not be the case. Good luck with the search.
I have a pair of 22L2 speakers finished in Rosewood. Got them used here on Agon from a seller - Lanemart - who sells numerous QUAD speakers. I power them via Monarchy Audio SE-100 Delux amps and a VTL 2.5 tube preamp. Very happy with the combo but to be honest never compared them to anything else except for the older Mirage speakers they replaced. Very detailed and the bass is good but I also suppliment the bottom octave < 50 hrtz using a FR15 Velodynne Sub. The only complaint I have is that the spikes do not thread properly into the base inserts. The tolerance between the spike threads and the threaded inserts is not correct. I fabbed up some different spikes. Other than that I'm happy with them. Best wishes.
I have always been interested in these speakers but have been unable to hear them in person . Have read on several reviews that the 22L is rather bright and can therefore be fatiguing during extended listening.Have others found this to be true??
Rrm - in my listening tests I never found the 22L2's to be bright. Music was Monolake (electronic), Heartless Bastards (garage rock), Black Keys, Dire Straits and of course Bowie. Some Bowie tracks tend to ring on my home systems, but they both feature metal dome tweeters, the 22L2's have soft dome tweeters - this could have caused some slight reduction in harshness.
One of the testing rooms was at a dealer here in Denver. He had systems on three walls, and shelving on the fourth, but the 22L2's got the best electronics (high end Vincent and Parasound Halo seperates) and some acoustical foam treatment behind the gear and the listener. The other testing room was in a hotel at RMAF, the 22L2's were on a side wall in an alternate system. They still sounded great. They didn't come close to the electrostats on the other wall, tho!
Yeah I've read that 'tech radar' review myself, and I cannot understand how they can give the B&W 683 a 5 star rating, and give the quads only 4. That is NOT the case. And I am not saying that because I'm a B&W hater, My HT system is B&W 6 series and I love it. The Quads are just better. The only speakers that would beat them might be the Focal 836V, but I haven't auditioned those yet. KEF's new Q line is also on my list...
Lots of dealers run speakers costing less than $2000 with home theater receivers. This is NOT the best way to audition speakers for a 2-channel music system. I was lucky to hear the Quads on some really nice 2-channel gear.
Regarding bright speakers - this is why I bought a pre-amp with tone controls - if it gets harsh I tone it back a little. I'm not a purist. I'm into the music!
I owned a pair of 22L2's for about a year or so. Had them paired with a few different amps, first a musical fidelity a308i integrated, then a sunfire multi-channel, then a musical fidelity A5 and then finally a Rogue Audio Stereo 90 tube amp. General concensus through the whole trial run was they're detailed and can be a bit bright/unforgiving with a resolving digital front end. I wouldn't categorize their response as flat. They have a mid band dip from what I've read online, which may/may not have contributed to the brightness/lack of midrange.
That said, they're a sub $1k (used) pair of speakers so you get what you get. They have a great finish to them and are honestly very nice for what they are. I upgraded to a pair of speakers costing 4x the price, so a comparison between the two isn't fair. With the right gear/setup and to the right individual, I could see where the 22L2's could be fantastic.
I'd be interested to hear what other A'gon'rs think would best the Quads in their used price range (sub-$1000). My experience on my home systems is pretty limited (monitor audio and B&W), and I have only auditioned 2 other pairs of floor standers to the same extent as the Quads. What other 2.5 way floor standers in this used price range could give the Quads some competition?
Sorry, as I chimed in already, but if you're running solid state, and for the money, the quads are hard to beat under $1k. Vandersteen keeps coming up often in comparison but I'm not sure they can hold up in the lower registers compared to the 22L2's.
You might want to save up a little more and consider the Devore Gibbons. If you're considering used prices, they're reasonable. Very nice speaker, very efficient with tube gear if that's your amp choice and they're a step up from the quads all the way around aside from low end slam.
Thnx Mb, will research/try-to-audition the Devore's. Have heard of them before. My current floor standers will not be my last...and to address the OP's subject, I think 22L2 2.5-way is a much better bet than 21L 2-way, sure its more expensive, but the 21Ls are rare, there is a pair of Lanemart 22L2's on sale right now, and if you buy them, you'll be happier with your speakers longer.
The 21Ls are rare cause people who bought them, won't sell them. I have been holding on to them since 2005. When I went to audition the Halo A21, I heard Totems, PSBs, etc, but none of them compared to the Quad.
Tonight I got my manual back from the attic, just to go through the manufacturer's recommendation for speaker positioning. I simply fall in love with the music they make!!
I owned a pair of 21L's approx six years ago, they were finished in the birds eye maple finish and looked great. They definitely sounded better than the Meadowlark Swifts I owned previously but came up well short against a pair of Morel Preludes I happened to find locally for a great price. That may not be a fair competition as the Morels retail for well over $2000.00 but nevertheless I paid well under a grand for them used.
What is the history an evolution of these 21L and 22L.
I believe they came out in around 2003/2004?
We're they updated and or discontinued?
I see references to the 22L2, I that a newer version of the 22L?
Is or was there a 21L2?
22L2 is an upgrade from 22L. Similarly there is a 21L2 that is an upgrade from 21L.
On the Quad sites, they now list 23L. The 21L2 and 22L2 are no longer shown. Some UK sites also sell 25L.
The Quad 21L is a 2 way tower. The Quad 22L is a 2.5 way tower, with a dedicated bass-driver and a mid-bass driver, 3 total drivers incl the tweeter. The 21L2 and the 22L2 are improvements over the 21L and 22L. The cabinet bracing is sturdier, the 22L2 comes with those really cool plinths, and the 22L2's tweeter received an upgrade. It is also positioned closer (lower) to the mid-bass driver.
The 22L had a dip in its frequency response, and the 22L2's response is much more flat. Even still, some reviewers find the 22L2s to be too bright at high listening levels. Every year at RMAF I seek these out and force everyone in the room to listen to them. They are mostly located in side rigs. My local dealer recently started carrying Focals, I don't know if he carries Quad anymore, but if he does, you can bet I will put up the Focal 826v and 836v against the new Quads.