Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

After many years with my beloved ELS 57's I now use Quad 2805 electrostatic loudspeakers (did not have the space for the 2905) and would like to have more bass extension. Many years ago I heard earlier Quad speakers with a subwoofer at Thomas Heinitz in London, and was duly impressed. Unfortunately I am not now in the position to audition a range of modern subs. Some people have suggested that the B&W PV1 may well be the best sub to integrate with these speakers (and it would look good in my modern interior). I wonder if there are people here who have tried this, or who have alternative suggestions.

Willem

Willem

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

Of course there are the Gradient subwoofers, designed specifically for Quad and expensive. I've used an old 12" Velodyne for years with my ESL63s, which would no doubt horrify the purists but sounds fine to me.

I don't know about the 2805s but for sure the ESL63s need a sub. On some modern cds there's so much bass info you can damage them. I just blew out a panel on one of mine playing the Chailly Mahler 10 with the sub mistakenly switched off.

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

If I had the space for Gradient subs I would probably have gone for the larger Quad 2905's instead. However, all I have space for is a smallish sub like the PV1. I heard that these are very fast and accurate, and thus integrate best with electrostatics. Ultimate depth and HT thunder is less important to me than seamless integration and musicality (plus good looks).

The 2805's are gloriously musical speakers, and have much better bass than the ELS 57's or the ELS 63's, but they can still do with some more. I do not want to spoil their main virtues, however.

Willem

Willem

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

I have Quad 2905s and am using a REL Studio III sub with them.  The Studio is a big unit and probably too big for you but one of RELs smaller models might be suitable.

My installer recommended the REL range as being most suitable for use with electrostatics as they have a most sophisticated crossover/switching system.  We took a long time to set them up, followed RELs very detailed installation and comissioning instructions to the letter and have achieved outstanding results. We experimented with various crossover frequencies and settled on 38 Hz which you might think is too low but it enables the 2905s to perform at their best and the REL to provide wonderful underpinning to the bass register.

With the 2805s, you would probably need to set the crossover a bit higher.

PaulT

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

Thank you very much indeed. The REL sub's have indeed also crossed my mind, and particularly their B series. I could probably just fit a B2 behind my Quads, if it does not have to be pulled too far out of the corner (a big unknown for me).

Willem

Willem

RE: Audio Pro B240 or B250

Swedish made subs are fast as lightning and ideal with Quads.  I've owned a few pairs of original ESLs over the years and it's a great combo.  Now using Acoustat 2+2s, so no need for subs.  More full range than Quads and much more reliable. Probably not so easy to source in the UK, though (I'm in the states)...

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

I find more bass extension for my Quad 63's by mounting the speakers on top of passive panel extensions.  We move our Quads around in custom flight-cases for recording sessions, and I use the main case upper enclosure as a stand which raises the monitors by about a metre I guess.  People who don't think about it think that the extra bass comes from the stand-case booming - but it actually comes from extending the panel boundary.

You don't win any head-room so excessive low-end will still blow them up.  However the low-end extension is useful.  One of the strengths of using electrostatics is that you don't have to listen at ear-splitting levels to hear detail anyway.

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

Problem solved: the lead from sub to amp had been incorrectly wired by B&W, shorting the power amp (the old faithful 303 survived without any harm). The result is very good, now that I have lowered the crossover point from 50 Hz to 37 Hz, the -6 db frequency of the main speakers. Integration is as seamless as can be. But yes, if you are into this: you can just hear that the bass comes from a very good cone speaker rather than an electrostatic. So for the best result, the 2905 remains preferable, even if used with a sub. In my case, the 2905's were just too overpowering visually, so I am very happy with the near perfect compromise. I will now wait until they have settled in, and until I have heard them with more music. I might turn the sub's volume down just a shade, but that is probably about it.

Willem

Willem

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

I decided that the B&W recommended settings made the sub too overpowering after all, and allowed it to encroach too much on the Quads. I have now lowered the crossover to 34 HZ, reduced volume to 83 db, and chosen the 24 db slope for the low pass filter. Between them these new settings have made the sub disappear until necessary, and avoid encroachment on Quad territory where the Quads still have meaningful output. It no longer has blockbuster slam, but I was never after that.

Willem

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

Placing your sub in a corner will excite the room's eigentones strongly and give you your somewhat uneven bass, if powerful overall. A more natural response will probably be found by placing the sub either one third or half way along a room axis. The shorter axis may work but the longer is often better, depending on your listening room's dimensions. I would guess that it may be more practical for you to place it between the Quads, maybe half way along a wall. In my own room, it's half way down my long wall (about 2.5m along) to give an even response; one third along gives a big suck-out centred at approx 50Hz. My cross-over is 55Hz for music, 80Hz for film and 120Hz otherwise for Dolby 'standard'. Ideally, you should either place your sub as far away as the Quads or use a delay in order basically to keep the bass in step (phase / time). You can calculate a good starting point for the crossover so: speed of sound (344 ms-1) / room dimension (m) * 2=Hz (eigentone), where the sub is placed along this room axis but the crossover set by the calculation reduces the direct excitation. I hope this helps you a bit. The summary is avoid corners if you listen mainly to music and want an even response. Corners are fine for movies where you may want an exciting sound.

RE: Subwoofer for Quad electrostatic speakers

I have since bought an Antimode 8033 Cinema. As per instruction I have relocated the sub to a corner to reduce the dips. The peaks are then cured by the Antimode. Room modes have thus virtually disappeared. Bass is tighter and faster, almost like the Quads. In fact, they now integrate so well that they have become one speaker. Even boomy recordings are much better now.

The experience has convinced me that subs should all come with something like this.

Willem

Willem

How Dare I say this?

There are many very good quality sub-woofer types and brands out there. I believe in the numbers, the awards, and what people think themeselves is what matters. How about a Martin Logon subwoofer like the Dynamo 1000? Here you have a company that knows Electrostatic sound and has managed to build one of the very best sub-woofers on the market. These are consumer grade, true, but they produce the range and clarity that truly pleases the discerning ear and compliments the ultra clear sound of electrostatic sound. I play flute as my name suggests and I like a strong bass to offset the high and mid range of the flute I play. (I am referring to my recordings I do not use these for live performances at all!) I am a purist in many ways of sound. I have that arrangement in mind and ear. I love the electrostatic sound but they never produce quality bass for me. That is my suggestion. Martin Logan has won so many awards for a reason too!

Arizona Flutist

Speak of the devil. I just

Speak of the devil. I just bought a Martin Logan Depth i to underpin two ESL63s. It's an incredible subwoofer, meshes seamlessly with the Quads and in a 5500 cubic feet room has all the bass I need at level 4 on a scale of 11. I became a Martin Logan fan after buying one of their centre speakers to go between two other ESL63s I have in my home theatre system. Again, it fits seamlessly into the sound stage.

In addition their products are beautifully made, packaged with care, and accompanied by the clearest instructions I've seen with hi-fi products in years. Customer service is first class. They're an old fashioned company in the very best sense.

I asked them whether they'd recommend their Dynamo 1500 or Depth for music-only Quad set-up and they recommended the latter. Which is discontinued but you can still find it. My belief is the only reason they stopped making it is the hi-fi subwoofer market is minute compared to the home theatre market, where people want a huge, fat, house-shaking noise rather than the crispness Quads demand.

Log in or register to post comments
© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2014