Quad 2905 midrange balance question

I used to own ESL 63's with a full Crosby mod, and I found the experience of listening to be be quite a bit different than dynamic speakers at the time.

I recently got a chance to hear the new Quad 2905, which I thought were excellent and a nice improvement over what I was used with the 63's.

I used Patricia Barber's Companion CD as a demo cut.

After going home and listening to my dynamic speaker based system, I noticed that the vocals seemed to be much more present and noticable on the Quads compared to my speakers (where the other frequencey extremes were quite a but more pronounced than the quads.

I am using H-cat as a preamp (which is known to take 10 foot wide vocals and reduce them to a more clearly defined center image)

So my question is this, has anyone who has compared the 2905 to other speakers noticed a not only a qualitative difference in the midrange (as would be expected) but a quantitiative one as well (meaning vocals were just louder and more upfront)
I have not made a direct comparison. Dynamic speakers tend to present an impressive often boosted bass and boosted treble. This clearly sells in competitive demos with most folks (sounds more detailed to an untrained ear but will end up being fatiguing in the long term). So your finding seems consistent with what sells best in dynamic speakers. After all dynamic acoustic suspensions were invented for their stronger bass. For example, given an amp with bass and treble contour controls, most people will increase the bass and treble slightly rather than the other way round.

What is correct is for you to decide.
I have recently taken delivery of my new QUAD ESL 2905's (June 2007). I have auditioned speakers extensively over the past 3 years in my search for the perfect speaker and tried Watt Puppy 7's and 8's, Revel Salons, Dynaudio Evidence Temptations, Magnepan 20.1s etc etc ..... the list goes on.

When I came across the 2905's back in June 2007 I auditioned in awe. They remain the most coherent and seamless speaker I have heard ...... and they have REAL bass. I have long dismissed electrostats because they had no bass ........ but the 2905's have redefined for me what true palpable bass is. It's a truly integrated speaker from top to bottom. It is effortless and entirely non-fatiguing.

To answer an earlier thread about whether vocals sound more forward on the 2905's than others my view is no. The vocals sound right ..... but then so too does every other part of it's frequency re-production. There is beautiful separation and 'air' between instruments and vocals which makes them 'right'. They are superb ..... but there is a catch that will not please many.

I am now on my 2nd pair of 2905s after the first pair (then only 3 months old) had a panel failure of some sort. I began noticing huge differences between speaker sensitivities that made correct imaging and soundstaging impossible. And then, to make things worse, I lost most of the bass response from both speakers.

To Quads credit they did provide a brand new replacement pair which I received 3 weeks ago (September 2007) and which are now burning in nicely.

Recent experiences on the web suggest this is not an isolated case and panel failures in the 2905s and 2805's have been recorded elsewhere. So reliability is clearly an issue with this speaker and I remain nervous that the same type of failure will happen again and I'll need to spend another 12 weeks waiting for a new pair.

So ........... yes, they are a stunning speaker (regardless of price) and complete with units 5x their price. But the "Made in China" thing has clearly affected reliability.

Ken Kessler of "HiFi News" in the UK gave these speakers a "20/20, Best Speaker on the Planet" review back in 2006. My listening experiences are almost consisitent with those in his review, including his lab report findings that suggest he also experienced sensitivity differences with his audition pair. What I wasn't expecting was the 5-7 dB of sensitivity differences that I experienced which is, well, kind of important.

But I also note that Ken Kessler wrote the glossy "History of QUAD" book that accompanied my 2905s when they came delivered in their "bigger then mankind" cardboard boxes ........ so I therefore remain sceptical about Kens impartiaility and objectivity in his scoring of these speakers. If Ken knew how unreliable they are now proving to be, he wouldn't be giving them 20/20 !

It's food for thought and I'm happy to answer questions on my ongoing impressions of my (now 2nd) pair of 2905s.
hi oscar:

i owned quad 63s and quad esl 57s.

i have followed the evolution of the quads from the 900 series to the current model. i have auditioned these speakers at ces and at a dealer's location.

i spoke to a representative at the quad exhibit a couplde of years ago at the alexis park, the year the 2905s were introduced. he admitted to me that the original quads were purer in the midrange but obviously not as extended or as dynamic.

i think the 57s are a superior speaker.

since you owned the 20.1s, i am curious as to why you preferred the 2905s over the magnepan.
Interesting about the reliabilty issues. That is exactly why I sold the 63's in the first place. The Panels one by one needed replacement and I didn't feel like doing all of them, though they were an older pair.

I am now thinking of going the MBL route - since stat fans seem to like MBL and even some Soundlab folks (I love Soundlabs) have gone to MBL. I just dont have the room for large panels at this time, otherwise I'd own Soundlabs or Quads.

I even have the perfect amp for either of them- brand new Atma-sphere MA1's. (actually owning Quads is what got me into OTL's many years ago)

Oh well. I can dream of getting 'stats and a big apartment one day.