Skip to main content

Quad L2 5.1 review

This package is as adept with music as it is with movies, combining fine integration with refinement and subtlety Tested at £1930.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A good package with plenty of positives – just make sure you pair it with the right equipment


  • +

    Fast, agile sound

  • +

    good integration

  • +

    musical, detailed delivery

  • +

    smart finish for a package at this price


  • -

    The bright top-end means the right environment and electronics are required

There's lots to enjoy about the current 5.1-channel system based around Quad's smaller L-series speakers. Uncovering plenty of detail, the package delivers the breathless excitement demanded by a movie such as test favourite The Island, while packing plenty of punch and impact.

Integration is excellent, too – the satellites deliver solid surround sound, while the sub merges in well, coming to life when necessary. The package is adept with music, too, boasting refinement and subtlety.

So there's a wealth of positives, but we do have misgivings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering our thoughts on the 11L2 stereo pair, we do find the top end a little bright. A few glass-shattering moments in the War of the Worlds remake saw the test team wincing as one, while other brutal bits of action can find the Quads in a hard and harsh mood. The package needs careful partnering; bright electronics from Rotel or Pioneer should be avoided – Arcam would be much more suitable.

Not quite the all-rounder
It's a fast, musical, well-integrated sound, but its brightness and consequent need for specific partners means the L2 5.1 can't quite match the iconic status of its predecessor.

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test