Dynamic Headroom visited the Quad room at the Sound & Vision Show 2017 to see what was on offer.
Quad is a British company (now owned by IAG) who made their name with power amplifiers in the early 1950s. The Quad power amplifier was unlike anything else at the time and remained in production for 18 years. They later went on to produce a range of electrostatic loudspeakers (starting with the ESL57). In 1967, Quad released the Quad 303 power amplifier – these are still in use today and have spawned many clones. More recently, Quad embraced the modern age with network streamers, headphone amplifiers and compact speakers.
Quad ESL 2812 & Artera One
Centre stage was occupied by a pair of the impressive looking electrostatic speaker, the ESL 2812 (£6500), and the Artera One “all in one”. The ESL 2812 is a full range speaker continuing in the footsteps of the legendary Quad electrostatics. If you have never experienced an electrostatic before it is worth seeking them out to understand what all the fuss is about. The ESL 2812 is able to reach levels of realism that conventional “box” speakers struggle to achieve. If you favour accuracy of tone and timbre then the Quads should be on your audition list.
Driving the ELS 2812 is the Artera One. This follows the modern trend of “all in one” electronics by squeezing preamplifier, 75W power amplifier, network streamer, CD player and DAC into one box. What a stylish little box it is too.
This made a nice sounding system that I could listen to for hours. The Artera One is not yet available but is due for release in 2017.
Quad Z series
The Z range of conventional speakers from Quad are gorgeous in the flesh. On display, from largest to smallest, was the Z-4 and Z-3 (pictured) above and the Z1 (pictured below). Quad have done such a good job on the veneer finish of these speakers. The Z range feature a new composite ribbon sandwich tweeter which provides a delicate and smooth approach to music reproduction. The mid bass drivers are a woven kevlar design with a double roll surround.
The Z-4 is available now for £3200, the Z-3 for £2500 and the Z-1 for £1200. Also available but not shown here is the Z-2 stand mount speaker, larger than the Z-1, for £1500.
Quad S series
Sitting below the Z series in the hierarchy is the “S” range of speakers. On display were the £1500 S-5 floor stander, £1200 S-4 floor stander and £600 S-2 stand mount speakers. As with the Z series, the S series also feature a ribbon tweeter, this time with a smaller and less sophisticated model. The stand mount “S” models have a bass reflex design while the floor standing models opt for an ABR (auxiliary bass radiator).
The S series are the entry-level speaker products but, you wouldn’t call them entry level when you see them because the fit and finish are exemplary. There is nothing “entry level” about the S series and it is amazing how Quad have managed to produce such a good quality produce for the price.
Other Quad products
Also on display was the Artera Play and Artera Stereo. The Play is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier designed to compliment the Stereo, a 140W power amplifier.
Below is pictured the VA-One headphone amplifier.