I am sure the 57 would be really nice but more of a sideway step from the 988.
I do not agree with the dealer and not sure what he is thinking.
I have not heard the Vandy - just my two cents...
If thats the case, I would go with the Vandersteen. The 988 is up the with the best, but I did prefer the imaging and soundstage of the Vandy. I will post my impression of the Wayne Picquet quad 57 after the audition.
Thanks, Philjolet, for your input.
Please do post your impressions. My impression of the Quad 57 was more delicate micro details than the 988 (which I owned). Not a fair comparison, but I was really taken with a stacked set of 57's, whereas the 988 was "very good". It's been a while, so I'll look forward to your posting.
Quad 57s excel at low volume and have few peers in this area, in my opinion. That said, they have limitations many cannot live with in the long term. The Quad 988s are quite different from the 57s, with many differing opinions on them. For integrating with the Rel subwoofer, the Vandersteens may be the better choice, but only you can decide which is best overall. You didn't say what amplification you have, which should enter into the considerations unless you are thinking of changing that, too. And what about your room?
Hello essentialaudio: your point is well taken. The room is elongated, 15 x25'. Amplification will be tailored to the speaker. For Vandy, it would be used aesthetix (io + atlas). For Quad, IO preamp, and EAR 861 integrated amp (preamp section can be bypassed), or maybe Rogue Atlas based on this test published on the 6 moons site:
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/roadtour7/roadtour3again.html Given the narrow room, and low dispersion/wall artifact of the Quads, that's a plus for them (they would be placed facing the long axis of the room). I intend to hire a room treatment specialist after the system is completed, which for Quads to have whatever bass they are capable of, is essential. Even with the Vandersteen reputation for value, the price delta is still remarkable...$10,700 for Quatro woods, and pair of Quads Unlimited: $4100.
There is a pair of the classic Stax F-81 for sale here on Agon. I own a pair, and use with a Strata III. As far as I am concerned, there is no better low-level-listening speaker. In addition, they have quite possibly the best midrange of any speaker; ever. They are fantastic speakers, with amazing imaging. Integration with the Rel is acceptable, and used judiciously, the Rel can provide the necessary low end weight. They are amplifier demanding, however.
Thanks, Tompoodie. Your room lends itself well to Quad 57s, as you noted. Price difference notwithstanding, it took me a long time to come around to owning Quad 57s years ago, ultimately moving on to other speakers with the same midrange magic, coherency, and low level natural detail, albeit at much higher cost. My recommendation is listen to each at the various volume levels you would at home and trust your instincts.
Thank you kindly for your input, Essentialaudio. I am looking forward to the Quads Unlimited 57 audition soon. I will bring my trusty radio shack dB meter to help, and a notebook. When I actually write down impressions, I realize being an audio equipment reviewer is way more challenging than it seems. Frogman, the Stax are indeed very well regarded (I found the John Nork TAS review from 1982) and I appreciate that heads up. Being able to purchase the Quads locally, newly refurbished to essentially new by Mr. P at Quads Unlimited, with really good local dealer support is pretty valuable to me. Frogman and Essentialaudio, do you have suggestions for the electronics for electrostats? I'm thinking used Aesthetix Io with volume countrol for phono/preamp and for amp: EAR 861, or Rogue Atlas magnum per Robin Wyatt's excellent test publilshed in 6moons. Some feel strongly that SET will roll off too much at frequency extremes in Quads (and Stax?) compared to push-pull...do you gentleman have an opinion about that? Thanks, Tom
link to 6moons amp shootout for the quad 57:
I use a pair of Manley 200/100 mono's, and they drive the Stax very well; even in triode (100W) mode. That (100 GOOD watts) would probably be a bare minimum. I also own, and have tried a pair of the Meitner 100W ss mono's, and they do a surprisingly good job; for lowish volumes. The "cat's meow" on the Stax are OTL's. My friend's Atmasphere's make these speakers sing. But I am quite happy with the Manley's. Keep in mind that the overall gain structure of the system has to be kept in mind. The preamp must have enough drive (gain) into highish sensitivity amp(s), to get sufficient volume from the low sens Stax. I would imagine SET is out of the question. But when you get it right, they are a beautiful, and very classy sounding speaker. Especially for acoustic music; nothing like it IMO. Also, the Rel should be used in "augment" mode. IOW, to fill out the bottom only, without going through it's built-in xover. Not that the xover is bad, it's just that once you hear the incredible purity of the Stax, it's hard to go back to anything else.
I don't know if this is the review that you found:
There was a full review of the Stax by JN in TAS, as well as one by HP. I have the old TAS issue siomewhere if you get closer to considering them, and are interested. Let me know.
To be honest, I was temped myself when these Stax came up for sale.