Why muck around? Get yourself some refurbished Quad ESL 63s and live happily ever after. You can pick up manufacturer refurbished ones from ebay for around the £1500 mark, and you'll not hear much better.
I've never heard QUAD ESL's but I have seen them - they're big and I think he might struggle to accomodate them in a 15x12 room. Don't they need about three feet behind them?
Davedotco – no worries! I think your posts are helpful.
I've enjoyed most of the systems I've had but known I could get better.
The start of the box swapping was after getting my Cyrus amps back from repair.
I had never been completely happy with them, being quite lean sounding and bright, and decided a change was needed. Most of the replacement kit has been second hand or discounted. Sold on the stuff I don't want any more so not cost me too much.
Quad ESL 63's are a possiblity but not sure after demoing the ESL 2805's.
Also if the 63's break they are expensive to fix.
CA 751BD, Denon AVR-3801, Quad 21L2, Quad L2 Centre, Mission 78DS
Samsung LE32R87BD 32"
Space considerations aside, that is a remarkable good call Al.
When I lived in Sydney I was lucky enough to live with a pair of mid 80's ESL 63s for a while. Not exactly 'rock and roll' but very, very good in other areas and I missed them when they were gone.
There was a PSB radio station that appeared to be nothing more than a nice middle age couple playing classical music, much of it off vinyl. They would introduce the music in a totally amature manner then play the record, often concluding with a comment along the lines of "wasn't that lovely".
Totally unprofessional but quite captivating in it's way.
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
I still think you should upgrade your amp, with that kind of budget you could get some serious kit that'll drive any speaker you own...... just saying.
Have you listened to any Usher Floorstanders or Standmounters. Try demoing them, they are good across frequencies. Happy hunting.
Yamaha AS 500 : KEF Q 100 : Clarion DVD : OFC Cables : LG 3D LCD : Philips Mini HiFi System :
Refurb ESL 63's. I've been thinking of getting a pair for ages. The only issue is if they break they cost a lot to fix. I can get a demo quite easily so that's on the to do list.
I have Emailed another Hi-Fi specialist to see what they think.
The Harbeth dealer I Emailed suggested a speaker that is close to the equivalent next model up from the Spendors I demoed but at a similar price. Although similar specs and driver configuration it might not sound as good as the equivalent Spendor, or it might sound the same or better. Difficult to get a demo, Harbeth have not yet replied to my Email for local dealers.
Or I could get Spendor SP1/2 for about £600.00.
Also considering upgrading my amp to a Quad 606.
Good thing I can take my time to decide!
I found someone who can demo Harbeth.
I've got to book a demo. He suggests M30.1 or HL5. Both cost a similar amount to the Spendor SP2/3R2. He advises that for a smaller room the HL5 might be a safer choice. He also thinks that the Quad 303 should be able to drive the speakers.
For now I have put the Quad 21L2 speakers back on. I have set the 'step' filter to 100Hz which has reduced boom and improved the overall tonal balance.
I think I might have to rule out the Quad ESL 63's due to size and the demo with the ESL 2805's. They don't work too to well with dance music!
I love the tone controls on this (and other Quad) preamps as easily the best and most useable I have ever used, I wish more manufacturers would follow their lead and produce something as useful.
I assume you are taking your amplifier to the dem so when you have had a good listen to the speakers and 'have a handle' on what they are doing, get the dealer to give them a go with a big amplifier, something with at least 100 watts channel, let us know how you get on.
I'll let you know what I think of them. I'll also see if he can put a more powerful power amp on as well once I have demoed them with the 303. Although I don't listen at very high volume levels, never go above 10 on the volume (12/13 durring the demo last week - larger room) and the Quad 44 manual suggest that 12 to 17 is the normal setting to use!
Correction to my last post - M30.1 should be better for a smaller room not the HL5. The HL5 are have a larger bass response.
The 303 power amplifier is a very conservative design, originally built to drive electrostatics it does a perfectly good job driving conventional speakers providing it remains within it's capabilities.
I know Harbeth go out of their way to promote their speakers as being a benign load and easy to drive but I have some experience of the M30 and 30.1 models and I really find they are quite responsive to different amplifiers, be interested to hear how you get on.
I will be interested on your thoughts of the Harbeths, but speaking from experience, the more power you can give them the better they will be... as lovely an amp my Sugden Masterclass was, it didn't have the same control as the Accuphase over the SHL5's.
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
I know changing speakers makes a big difference, but in many cases these differences are simply 'presentational', more/less bass. brighter/darker treble etc etc. To make a real difference, to really enhance the capabilities of the system is much more difficult and it is necessary to use good amplification to do so, something that people seem increasingly reluctant to do these days.
Together, we should start a crusade...
I've been trying to get this point across for years. Unfortunately, many think that getting a good ex demo bargain pair of speakers will vastly improve their system - with no thought as to whether the amplifier is up to the job or not. I've seen (on another forum) people buying demanding speakers in the £2,000/3,000 region and using them with sub £400 AV receivers. And they wonder why the speakers don't sound like £2,000/3,000 worth. I'm not linking this to the OP's post, just backing up the point you have made in general.
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
Vinyl now available in store!
I put this down to the breakup and failure of the dealer network in the uk, far from just the dealers fault, so I'm not just blaming modern dealers but that is the issue.
Not that long ago (20yrs?) the dealer did not just have opinions but he had opinions that he could back up with constructive demonstrations that would show the customer what was really important and how a system went together.
The shift to mass market, cut price dealers has meant that this has almost totally disapeared at the budget end of the market, the emphasis is on quick sales of well reviewed product at low prices. The customer has no reason to trust the dealer so buys on review and price.
This leaves the customer at the mercy of whatever is the current marketing fad, such as the one that currently places the loudspeaker as the pre-eminant component in the system, often at the expense of the amplifier and often with dissapointing results.
I agree. There's a dealer not a million miles away that tends to demo ridiculously high end speakers with almost budget amplification (that really isn't up to the job). I know why dealers do it, but I won't do it. It's an easy way to sell expensive speakers. If the customer likes a particular speaker, the last thing they usually want to hear is that they need X amplification which is out of their budget, so the dealer will pair it up with a cheaper amp within their budget to get the sale. It'll sound ok, as chances are that customer has never heard those speakers sound as good as they can sound, and the better drivers and build quality will give them some benefit over cheaper speakers that they may have heard.
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