A trained classical pianist, Galbraith brings these sensibilities to his guitar playing. The “Allegro Moderato” to Haydn’s Sonata in C Major has many scalar runs around a moving main line. The runs sound like waterfalls, and if you think playing 32nd notes on a guitar, even one of Galbraith’s special construction, is easy work, think again. But the 11Ls made all of the runs sound clear and distinct. The “Adagio” gives some relief from the pyrotechnics of the “Allegro,” but there’s a subtle low-bass call with a high-pitched response counterpoint that needs sonic balance in order to sound similar to the keyboard these sonatas were originally written for. Galbraith plays them beautifully, and the Qual 11Ls reproduced them just as beautifully, providing a 3D soundstage that seemed almost cathedral-like to the point that it was easy to imagine sitting in the first pew with Galbriath on the dais playing just for me. The effect was spine tingling.
The “Presto” movement lives up to its name. How Galbraith plays it without tying his fingers in knots is a marvel. But the sonic detail could easily become muddy with less capable speakers. The Quad 11Ls again had me sitting up and paying attention. Listening to them was a delight and I ended up listening to the whole disc without the slightest aural fatigue, which says quite a mouthful for these speakers.
With the ability to rip high-res music to PCs today, no one should be satisfied with the kind of speakers that typically come with PCs or Macs. On the contrary, solid-quality, self-powered mini-monitors are de rigueur, and so far, I haven’t heard the equal of the Quad 11Ls. They provide a broad and deep soundstage, their treble is clear and bright, but not too forward, and their bass/midrange is full and round. These speakers shout quality in both appearance and performance and throw in value to boot.