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.