Quad Electrostatic Loudspeakers 2905 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Raj J
09-15-2010, 11:10 PM
this model Quad ESL 2905 (reference series) was reviewed by Ken Kesler in June, claiming to to be the best speaker on the planet! well although this is a major claim to make, shunning out many of those top end brands like Wilson, Genesis, Karma, Sonus Faber, Martin Logan and the like - in fact for what these Quad 2905's can do and what they do so well for the price, I must agree with Ken they are probably the best on the planet at the moment!
they have hit everything right with this model; highs, mids (glorious), bass (plenty of) it's all there. magical soundstage and presence! every nuance comes out the intended way, and measures upto top quality. absolutely ZERO listening fatigue, you could listen for endless hours ad still not want to turn off your system! this is truly a magical electrostatic design that beats every kind of speaker I have ever owned, and yes I am getting a brand new pair of Quad 2905's delivered next week! I have finally divorced my beloved long term soul mate the magneplanars - because there is a new girl in town and she rocks my world! the other fantastic thing about these ESL's is that you don't require heafty power to drive them at all; they will sign beautiful music at just 35 watts of tube power! perhaps somewhere around 80 to 100 watts on solid state would be fine, unless it was a 25 watt pure class A design from Pass Labs. Tube amps work their magic with Quad and I am currently using just a 60 watter from Conrad Johnson, and a tube preamp from c-j called the "Classic" SE version (teflon caps & vishay resistors) tube CD player from Cayin somewhere made in a chinese factory - glorious sound! absolute magic!
I have never wanted to own Quads before such as their ESL 63, 989 or 988, simply because they lacked some of this & that when compared to what maggies can do. I have owned maggies since 1986, but now with their new reference series 2805 & 2905, oh boy! get ready audiophiles for a whole new ride in true highend quality! you won't be disappointed, trust me I've been there...
cheers, Raj J (melbourne)

09-17-2010, 12:06 PM
Ray I agree with you here. I have never cared for other Quad speakers though the 989 was good. The 2905 is the best Quad I have heard and I don't think you'll miss the magnepans at all in any way shape or form. It's not even a close horserace and I compared the 20.1 directly against the Quad 2905 in three different rooms with three different sets of top notch gear.

I am not even a panel guy and the 2905 and the King Sound panels are the best panels for sane money that I have heard both of which I could live with - though I still listen to a lot of rock, pop, dance, club like music so they can't be my main speaker. However there is something special in the midrange for classical violin and midrange in general that is really difficult to better. I did audition an impressive Martin Logan - I have trouble with their integration but at CES with Mystere amps they actually got them pretty close to bang on and if I could trust that that would be a more common result in other rooms they would be an outstanding speaker because they bring a lot more to the bottom end. But I'd have to hear them in other rooms to be sure.

JoeE SP9
09-18-2010, 08:23 PM
Raj J;
Which Magneplanars did you get rid of? I have no Axe to grind. I'm just curious. I'm also eagerly awaiting your review comments on the 2905's,

Raj J
09-21-2010, 10:32 PM
good day mate; sorry I didn't mention the model of maggies that I am selling off; MGIIIa - priior to this series, I was using the newer models, MG3.3/R, MG3.5/R, and was just about to go for the newest one MG3.6/R - but vola! I bumped into the Quad 2905, and I think I changed my mind, the 2905's will be delivered on Friday.
You are probably thinking that the maggies I had are very old, MGIIIa made in 1986/87 around 20+ years old... whatever! although I have used many newer maggie models, I have noticed that none of them had the special mid-range that the MGIIIa's are capable of producing. I am not too interested in highs or bass in any case, as long as it is natural. the MGIIIa for me was the closest natural sounding planar type speaker I have ever owned-until of course I came across the Quad 2905...
cheers, RJ

Raj J
09-22-2010, 08:43 PM
hey there! greetings from Melbourne!
have any of you tried the line conditioner / magnetic field stabilizer from Quantum technologies? if not, I strongly recommend you please try either the Qx2 or Qx4 in your system- you'll be amazed at what this can do. benefits I got from using the Qx4:
1. lower noise levels, very silent and lets the music flow through
2. vastly improved soundstage, more depth perception, height, width, placing of instruments are vocals are outstanding!
3. improved frequencies specially in the bass and mids, highs may remain the same or better smoothed out.
there is something about the Quantum device that does to your system's sound that is hard to explain. you have to try it out for yourself to experience it.
everything seems to fall into place, neat & tidy without any mushyness... tonal integrity character and timbre are more accurate and with the Quad 2905's are spot on!
My older maggies MGIIIa's sounded wonderful with the addition of the Qx4.
aparaently the manufacturer says that using more Q blocks will increase the clarity, these are expensive not cheap! It is distributed by Nordost and made in the USA. the smaller unit Qx2 has what are called "2 quantum devices" built in to stabilize stray magnetic fields that are created within components from your system including speakers! whereas the Qx4 has 4 of these quantum devices inside that do a better job than the Qx2.
try both, sometimes the Qx2 may work as fine, not requireing the Qx4. they also have a distribution block called the "Q-block" which has upto 8 AC power outlets, this is an outstanding peice of equipment that further enhances and filters that dirty AC power that is being fed into your entire system. however, the only catch is this Q-block costs far more than any of the Qx2's or Qx4's, hence it is almost like purchasing brand new amp or pre-amp for that matter! if you can afford it - go for it!
by all means try the Qx4, you'll be pleasantly surprised!
cheers, Raj J

JoeE SP9
09-23-2010, 04:06 PM
The 2905 is what I'm waiting to hear about. In the past I've owned Maggies starting in 1976 with a pair of MG-'s. I traded up to the MG-2's and then MG-3's. In the early 80's I bought my first pair of ESL's. I've had nothing but ESL's since.

BTW: One of my friends has a pair of 3.6R's and another has a pair of MG-20's. The 20's are a big step up from the 3.6R's.

Raj J
09-26-2010, 11:12 PM
yes! the MG20's are certainly a step up from the rest of the pickle, however you have to drive them with some beefy amps for them to come alive and reporduce realistic levels. plus your room has to be the size similar to a university cafeteria hall, in order for those MG20's to really shine their full potential. if you do not have a large room big enough including more than average height (MG20 is nearly 7ft in height!) then you won't be doing justice to the maggie MG20.

I just got my pair of QUAD 2905's delivered last Friday and they have been on since 8pm to now and still running... I will probably off the system tonight at 11pm. once I finish off from office and head home for a cool relaxing ESL listen, I will off them until tomorrow evening.

I have posted a review on Audio review under Quad ESL 2905, it's defintely a wonderful thing this electrostatic speaker! cannot imagine life without it...
absolutely spectacular!

09-29-2010, 04:27 PM
Currently available at Audiogon for $4,500!

Raj J
09-30-2010, 12:31 AM
I wouldn't even touch these with a 10 ft barge pole! there is a stain on the speaker that looks like some liquid has falled into it. looks very dodgey. the other things is if someone is selling a pair of ESL 2905 which is Quad's latest & most powerful plus their "top of the line" currently in production ESL- there is something seriously wrong with these speakers or one of the channels to sell this beautiful musical instrument for just $4500 - too cheap and not honest here! something is very fishy.
if it was an old ESL 57/55 or ESL 63, then I could understand and be prepared to do some major refurbishing, but this is their top of the line current production, the BEST ESL ever made and the best sounding of all!

one simple question to the owner - why are you selling? give me your honest answer and tell me?! or can you. also looks like those speakers you have in the background are either energy omni directional speakers or some kind of dynamic design. compared to the Quads 2905, whatever you have previously owned don't come even close to the ESL 2905!

JoeE SP9
10-07-2010, 11:19 AM
Gee Raj, believe it or not there are people who prefer "monkey coffins" over ESL's. I don't get it. But then, I don't get why people like Cerwin Vega's or most JBL's either.

The price is suspicious for those on Audiogon. A purchase of that magnitude on used gear would require me to personally pick it/them up. Getting beat for a couple of hundred is not the same thing as a couple of thousand. In any case I'd pay with pay pal.

10-07-2010, 03:48 PM
...if someone is selling a pair of ESL 2905 which is Quad's latest & most powerful plus their "top of the line" currently in production ESL- there is something seriously wrong with these speakers...
Perhaps. On the other hand, you can find any matter of exceptional audio gear on sale there. Some guys just like to experiment. My speakers were previously owned and sent to the factory for updating before sale.

As for 'stats, I've been a convert since '75 when I first heard Dayton-Wrights. There is no question they share a level of coherency and purity not found elsewhere. I've used only full range electrostats in the main system since 1977.


Raj J
10-07-2010, 03:55 PM
good day Joe,
yes mate, I agree. one thing I highly advice - I noticed that you already have ESL type speakers! the brand and make you have are very good. I have listened your kind cannot remeber which series sometime back in 1998/99 with very highend electronics from Lamm audio. the amps alone cost over 20 grand each just for a pair of monoblocks. the sound was very nice.
therefore, I always tell this to many people and music lovers - unless you are really sure that if you upgrade you are really going to achieve sonic improvements, then by all means go ahead, if not don't even bother! the best way to do this is to somehow visit a dealer who has very similar source components as well as front end & power amps as you have. this also includes cable & interconnects, power cords, distribution strips, line conditioners etc, they all affect the sound!!! almost 99% of highend audio dealers have tricks up their sleeves that make the demo/sound awesome! hence when you set it up at home - eh? where did that nice sound go... also the room mate, plays a HUGE role, nearly 60% of the sound depends on your room!
I was very lucky to have this opportunity because the same dealer/importer for Conrad Johnson is also the same company that carries Quad ESL along with a host of cable and interconnect brands that I also use! therefore my system comparison was close to 80% or more compared to what I had at home, only difference being the dealer's demo room and very highend cable used by Nordost. I also use similar cable, but not that expensive because I don't see the point. I still manage to get outstanding results with what I have, hence I am very happy & satisfied with what I have.

whereas Quads are concerned comparing to your Acu-stats the Quads are probably better, BUT what does better mean - room, environment, components, cables, interconnects, even the dam AC power coming from your mains makes a big difference.
my final advice to you is try out as many dealers as you can think of who are using Quads, also visit someone's house who has Quads set up in a normal setting with the simplest of equipment, just the way I like. if you feel there is a definite improvement in the sound from what you're getting then there you are! if not, just say thank you walk out and return home and enjoy your music!

also, please don't touch those Quad 2905 for $4500, there is something defintely terribly wrong with them! this is the Quad ESL 2905 TOP OF THE LINE! current production retailing for around 6,000 british pounds / $15,000 Aussie dollars (there are some dealers selling the 2905 here in Australia for 20 grand!) compared to the Sonus Faber this is close, and in the US the suggested retail is between 10 - 13 grand somewhere there...
anyone selling these for less than 9 or 8 grand USD, I wouldn't touch them!
an older ESL such as the 63, 988 or 989 selling for less is understandable, but definitely not the newer 2805 or 2905's.

trust me Joe, I have been there, and I have seen it all. if I could meet these people who have cheated me in the past and I have had my fingers and ass burnt, I will shoot these buggers if I had the chance!
cheers mate, RJ

JoeE SP9
10-09-2010, 07:15 PM
There's no way I would buy them. After 44+ years with this "hobby" I know what a fair price for something should be. I started using panels in 1976. That's when I bought a pair of Magneplanar MG-1's. They were followed by MG-2's and then MG-3's. In 1984 I heard and bought my first pair of Acoustats. My current Spectra's are my third pair. My Model One's my fourth. I'm looking for another pair of Model One's so I can have 6.4 sound. Phantom mode works for me.

Although it's equipped for surround sound, my system is primarily for 2 channel music. The MC/surround gear was just an addition. It's all in an acoustically treated dedicated room that used to be my dining and living rooms.

I'm really a music lover. My recordings are the most important part of my system.

Raj J
10-10-2010, 07:27 PM
good day Joe!
good to hear that you are a music lover. believe me those ESL speakers you have will give you immense satisfaction for years to come. if at all you really wanted to upgrade your speakers, then I would certainly recommend only one way to go and that would be the QUAD 2905 and nothing else!
by the way, I just purchased a small addition to my much loved passion in highend audio, I just got hold of the awesome Conrad Johnson ACT2 series 2 preamp! it's in mint condition and the previous owner just wanted to get rid of it since he was more interested in a GAT preamp(only 250 units made). so I grabbed his ACT2 for only half the price. Until I heard the ACT2, I did not realize that a preamp could make a such a HUGE difference! what a soundstage!
I will post a review later on, after I have done somemore listening with this new preamp. with my c-j classic-se I was getting excellent soundstage. timbre, tonal accuracy, timing, transient response, dynamics etc... but now with the ACT2, this is a whole different league! nothing comes close to it! it is probably the best I ever had and the best I ever will have.
there are no words to describe what it can do mate.
just amazing, and to think there are only 200 of these ever made.
cheers, RJ