Suggest you look for a pair of the original CLS's or earlier Quads. Both are far superior to later models. Crosby mods on the Quads are very desireable. IF you can find a Quad 57 (very doubtful)go for it. Both like tubes. Your ARC should be great with either. Best of luck.
Although Quad 57's have about the best midrange you will ever find, the ESL 63's do it all, including better power handling capabilities.Imaging and room spaciousness are much better as well. Do not screw them up by putting them with subwoofers. I own both types of Quads, so I know. Never heard the 989's but it is not the same company that produced the earlier models. Martin Logan was never in the same league as Quad.
If you can find Quad ESL 63's with latish serial numbers, Nick Gowan of True Sound, Campbell, CA does a fabulous upgrade that involves replacing 62' of internal wire, among all the more obvious things. Without knowing the famous Crosby mods, I shouldn't say which are best--but I can't imagine that the Gowan upgrade can be beaten or even matched by them. Web address: www.tsound.com. It might be worth looking into. (I should add that Nick upgraded my Quads, and it was one of the biggest improvements in my sound.)
There is a site on internet, I'll post it later (came up with it from audioring...query "cable" and came up with this site...fabulous opinionated site with tremendous amount of information...from Canada/Toronto) and I agree with site operator & as owner of both CLS and Quads, including new 99s....any series, forget about the nitpicking among models...is the best speaker around. Would say it blows away the 99s and take that to the bank...not to say there is a lot of bass, but what is is great.
Barkwood, what exactly is your point? Not trying to be a smart-ass, but you aren't clear. WHAT blows away the 99's?
Larryh - I used to own Quad 63's, then 57's, and listened extensively to many Martin Logans (of which the CLS was my favorite). I ended up with Sound Lab electrostats - and I loved them so much I became a dealer. Check out Sound Labs at www.soundlab-speakers.com; my site is www.audiokinesis.com. I liked the 57's better than the 63's, and the 63's better than the Martins, and the Sound Labs best - though they are a bit more expensive. The Quads are a fairly easy speaker to drive; the CLS's are difficult and won't play much louder than 93 dB no matter how much power you put into them; the Sound Labs are a difficult load but will play loud given sufficient power.
I own the 989's and have owned the 63's and the 57's. The 57's definitely have the best midrange I have ever heard as far as realism but where was the bass without a sub. The 63's greatly improved on the bass with an increase in volume level but again where was the bass? and the loss in midrange detail was noticeable. The 989's have quite a realistic level of bass, a soundstage wider than the placement of the speakers, much better imaging than my 63's ever had and an improved midrange although not to the level of the 57's. All told the results have been very gratifying.
Never owned the 989 but I did for a short period have USA 63's. The CLS 2Z blows them away and doesn't have to be vacuumed and is infinitely more reliable. The CLS does need a sub.
I also had to respond to audiokinesis. I put a sound meter on the CLS2Z and I have to wonder what distance he referes too. I can get 95db out of them at 40 feet. I use a Radio shack sound meter. What is he using?
My source is a phone call to the Martin Logan factory. I had a customer inquiring if he could get 100+ dB peaks with the InnerSound amp driving his CLS's, so I called the factory. They told me the CLS's wouldn't do much over 93 dB no matter how much power you put into them. I assume that's for a single speaker.
I did not attempt to verify the figure for myself.
Based on your experiences and measurements, I now have to wonder if what the Martin people told me is accurate. I suppose I should have given the source of my information in my post, but it never occurred to me that it might be inaccurate.
Thanks for posting your findings!
Just thought I would chip in. I have just received my IIz's and I'm not sure how loud they will go I'll meter them once they are broken in... One thing I will say is that they do seem to plateau at a certain volume! (but seriously who listens at that (93db) for extended periods of time!
ps. I have never had the pleasure of listening to the Quads... If they sound better than the CLS's all I can say is congrats you have a very fine speaker indeed! Enjoy!
audiokinesis I didn't mean to sound harsh. I measured the level playing both speakers. I did try A and C weighting. Keep in mind that I'm probably getting a composite splice of front and backwave. I 've noticed that unlike a lot of speakers I've heard the volume does not drop appreciably with distance.
Dannylw - you made a very astute observation - "that unlike a lot of speakers I've heard the volume does not drop appreciably with distance [with the CLS's]."
The reason for this phenomenon is, the CLS's approximate a line source, and sound pressure falls off differently with distance from a line source than from a point source.
Radiation falls off with the square of distance from a point source, but linearly with distance from a line source. Let me put this into numbers - suppose in an anechoic environment a point source speaker is doing 80 dB at one meter. At ten meters, this speaker will be doing 60 dB. Okay, now let's say a line source speaker is doing 80 dB at one meter. Back off to ten meters, and the line source speaker is doing 70 dB. Note this leaves out the reverberant field's contribution, but the trends are still there in the real world.
Actual measurements in my living room, using the pink noise track on a Stereophile test disc, Sound Lab line-source approximating speakers, and homebrew point source approximating speakers:
With a single line source speaker doing 80 dB at one meter, I measure 76 dB at 8 meters (about two feet off the rear wall). With a single point source speaker doing 80 dB at one meter, I get 69 dB at 8 meters. So in an real living room, the sound pressure falls off much more slowly with the distance from line source speakers (down 4 dB versus 11 dB at 8 meters).
And by the way Danny, you did not come across as harsh at all - very gentlemanly in fact. I appreciate the correction!
Well, I do own a pair of Quad 989, but I have no experience
with ML-CLS. Before 989, I owned a pair of ML-SL3. I like
Quad 989 much better. Reason? 1. Quad sounds more musical
to me, and it can produce some details that SL-3 cannot.
2. Quad is more amp friendly (I sold my Audio Research
D-79B, because SL-3). My system: Sony DVP-S9000ES,
Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid, McIntosh MC-275II,
Duke I appreciate your explanation. Eloquence is golden.
Also Ssgtecom good luck with the 989 i've heard great things about it.