The new ESL-2805 and ESL-2905 Electrostatics are Quad’s latest reference loudspeakers and like their predecessors should be regarded amongst the finest loudspeakers in the world today. In areas such as transparency, and lack of colouration, they are without peer. It should be noted that whilst movingcoil loudspeakers are the norm, the physical principles upon which they work are fatally flawed - and not even the latest advances in materials science can address their shortcomings. Quad alone has sought a different path - to push the boundaries of electrostatic technology to the point where our ESLs are closer to the ideal loudspeaker than any other. Quad’s patented panel technology results in combination of the speed and accuracy only possible from an electrostatic loudspeaker; together with the imaging and soundstaging only possible from a theoretically ideal point source; and the coherence and continuity of a single drive unit. With possibly the lowest distortion of any loudspeaker, the ESL can be enjoyed for hours on end without fatigue; never adding or subtracting from the original recording. Even at low volume levels, they retain the full detail and drama of the music. In short, the Quad ESL technology is unique in its clarity of sound, lack of distortion, lack of interference and continuity of response. The ESL-2805 and ESL-2905 loudspeakers are the absolute pinnacle of that technology. Engineered without compromise, they are destined to become modern classics.
Quad products stand alone in the hi-fi world - renowned for their longevity; quality of build; and consistently high standard of performance. Our awardwinning service department regularly maintains products over 50 years in age. Products which still bring their owners immeasurable pleasure. Quad products are designed with the single aim of reproducing recorded music as accurately as possible. Simplicity of use and elegance of design are purely consequential to the application of sensible engineering principles. We have never sought to design statement pieces or style icons, yet almost every Quad product has become regarded as such.
"I know of no other speaker I'd rather own, regardless of price. I think it's the finest hi-fi purchase you could ever make in terms of performance and value-yes, it's that good. Speaker of the year? Nah. Speaker of the centuries. This one and the last.’'
– Stereophile , Sam Tellig
Although deeply flawed, their cost and convenience advantages are such that the overwhelming majority of loudspeakers in today’s marketplace are moving-coil, and at Quad we manufacture some of the finest examples of this genre. But, as a counsel of perfection, we have to look elsewhere. Electrostatic speakers have long been renowned for their superlative accuracy and clarity in mid-range and upper frequencies but deficiencies in the bass response and indifferent dispersion characteristics have presented difficulties which few manufacturers have satisfactorily overcome. Many hybrids have been attempted over the years which combine moving-coil speakers in the bass with electrostatics handling the upper registers, but these designs have not been successful. An electrostatic speaker is a plastic membrane which is coated with a resistive material and suspended between two perforated metal plates. A polarising voltage of several thousand volts is connected to the membrane which at rest is suspended at an equal distance between the two plates. When an audio signal (also stepped up to a few thousand volts by a matching transformer) is applied to the metal plates, the varying signal across the plates attracts or repels the membrane, and sound is reproduced. Because the membrane is extremely light, and driven across its entire surface, transient response and freedom from overhang is exemplary – quite unlike moving-coil loudspeakers. Of course, if it were as simple as this, there would be many more electrostatic loudspeakers. The challenge has been to produce an electrostatic loudspeaker with extended bass response and a satisfactory dispersion. Virtually none have succeeded. A combination of acoustic problems and extreme difficulties of manufacture has resulted in a bare handful of true full-range electrostatic loudspeakers being available to the audiophile and in this field Quad are pre-eminent.
The ESL-2805 is the smaller of the two models and uses four panels rather than six. The inner two panels of the ESL-2805 again utilise the concentric anode rings for point source imaging, and the outer rings are again linear in their response. Whilst the absolute bass extension and dynamic ability are less than its larger brother (it lacks the two supplementary panels of the 2905), the ESL-2805 offers a sublime performance nonetheless. In all other areas the ESL-2805 will sound identical to the ESL-2905 - particularly with regard to imaging, detail resolution, and lack of colouration. This is due to both speakers sharing the same technology and components. The clarity of mid-range - for which the Quads are most famed - is fully in evidence; the sparkling detail and transparency has long been the hallmark of this series. With a base weight of 34.8kg, together with the rigid bracing, the ESL-2805 is an incredibly stable platform that is ready for a lifetime’s work. For chamber music, light orchestral, jazz, folk, blues, or indeed, for any afficionados not requiring the additional bass extension and weight of the larger model, you will find the ESL-2805 to be your perfect transport for the journey into audio nirvana.
Full-range Electrostatic loudspeakers. 4 panels.
Maximum Power Output: 2N/m2 @ 2m
Sensitivity: 86dB/2.83 RMS; 8 Ohms nominal impedance.
Impedance variation: 4-15 ohms
Max. cont. Input Voltage: 10V RMS;
Programme Peak: 40V. 37Hz - 21kHz (-6dB) frequency response.
Finish: aluminium black and piano black