No two ways about it: put the Quadral Quintas 404s alongside similarly-priced rivals from Mission, Monitor Audio or Dali, and they look and feel cheap.
No proper floor spikes, sharp-edged, vinyl-wrapped cabinets and an awful lot of silver-painted plastic are overt economies only slightly compensated for by a visually intriguing array of 25mm dome tweeter, 10cm midrange and a pair of 17cm bass drivers sitting above a gaping reflex port.
Toed-in just slightly and positioned closer to a rear wall than most rivals are happy with, the 404s deal with a recording of Little Dragon’s Seconds in cheerfully artless style.
They focus reasonably well, and present a wider, taller soundstage than the Mission MX3s, say, are capable of. And there’s merit in their midrange reproduction, which is detailed and characterful. It’s either side of here that the fatal flaws lurk.
Pedestrian in the extremeLow frequencies enjoy decent extension, but they’re pedestrian in the extreme – they drone along with little regard for the beginning or the end of individual notes, dragging at tempos and sounding at times like they’re from a different loudspeaker altogether.
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They’re not the most robust, either – for all their depth they’re short when it comes to body and don’t so much pack a punch as wield a slap.
At the opposite end, the handover from midrange driver to tweeter coincides with an abrupt hardening of the sound, which is joined by headache-y sibilance which becomes more and more insistent as you dial up the volume.
Integration between the numerous drivers is lumpy, with the handover points all too apparent. In short, then, you can do better than the Quintas 404s.