An Exquisite Study in Contrasts
June 2nd, 2010 -- by Chris Martens
Source: The Perfect Vision
Quad 22L2 floorstander, L2 Centre, and 11L2 monitor highlights:
- All L2-series models use a version of Quad’s improved 1” fabric dome tweeter complete with what Quad calls a “Dual Catenary" tweeter dispersion plate that “enhances the dispersion characteristic, to prevent ‘beaming’ and to widen the listening ‘sweet spot’.”
- The 11L2 and L2 Centre speaker use light, stiff 5” Kevlar mid-bass drivers, while he 22L2 uses a dedicated 6.5” Kevlar woofer and 6.5” Kevlar mid-bass driver. In the L2-series, these larger drivers benefit from an improved chassis design, which Quad describes in this way. “Using very low profile (chassis) legs, we can virtually eliminate the temporal-smearing effect of rearward waves being reflected back through the cone—it’s as if the cone were itself just floating in free space.”
- All L2-series models feature “audiophile grade” crossover networks that use “metallised polypropylene capacitors,” along with “perfect layer, air-cored inductors,” with components mounted on “glass-fibre PCBs with non-interlacing tracks.” L2 models also incorporate “improved terminals, spikes and plinths.”
- The 11L2 and 22L2 are ported design, while the L2 Centre features a sealed-cabinet enclosure. Quad says all L2 speaker enclosures, including the smaller bookshelf models, enjoy improved internal bracing that is “designed specifically to randomise the internal reflections and cause rapid dissipation of internal standing waves for a clean, fast bass response.”
- Given the enhancements listed above, Quad describes the L2 range as “a follow-up to the original L-series (that) has been updated and improved in every respect, whilst maintaining the same clear identity and level of refinement.”
- All speakers in the L2-series (except the subwoofer) carry 6 Ohm impedance ratings meaning, says Quad, that all L2 speakers “are compatible with all standard 4 and 8 Ohm amplifiers.”
- L2 models are offered in several visually stunning piano-grade finishes, including cherry, rosewood, birdseye maple, and black.
L2 Subwoofer highlights:
- 12” “tri-lam” woofer. By way of supplying more details on the woofer’s construction, Quad says, “The 'tri-lam' or Tri-Laminate cone is a composite construction comprised of a hydraulically molded and thermoset lamination of three materials. The inner layer is bi-directional weave carbon fiber, while the two outer layers are bi-directional weave glass fiber. In addition, the outer rim of the cone incorporates rim-edge stiffening within the design... The resulting cone is extremely rigid and lightweight, ensuring very low energy losses, even at extremes of volume.”
- 300-watt amplifier.
- Features a remote control with an extensive set of control functions, including controls for power on/standby, volume level, phase settings, and low-pass filter frequency settings (with settings for Off, or for 35Hz – 85Hz crossover frequencies in 10Hz increments). The remote also allows users to program and then access up to four sets of level, frequency and phase settings.
- Features a front panel display that illuminates briefly when the remote control is activated.
- The L2 subwoofer is available in the same finishes as the L2 speakers.
Resolution and definition are qualities most listeners can readily appreciate in a good loudspeaker system, but the caveat that in most speakers as level of detailing increase, so too does the probability that the speaker will—at least under some circumstances—sound overly analytical or a bit strident. Not so, the Quad L2-series system. One of the first things I noticed about the Quads, and that many guest listeners commented on as well, is that they sounded almost effortlessly detailed and revealing, yet silky smooth. Even listeners familiar with other high-quality contemporary speaker systems found the Quads special because of their ability to deliver astonishing clarity without any unpleasant side effects such as edginess or glare.
Tonal balance for the Quad system is commendably neutral and off-axis response is well-balanced, too. In practice this means that if you choose to use an automated room EQ system with the Quads, you may not hear a very big before/after difference (except perhaps in the very low bass region, where room EQ systems can often help compensate for room-induced bass anomalies). What you will find about the Quad system is that it has an unusually open-sounding quality that makes both instrumental and vocal material sound particularly lucid—especially through the broad center of the midrange. This isn’t because those frequencies are given any sort of extra emphasis, though, but rather because they are so well-balanced, with timbres and textures rendered with great purity and focus.