Quad ESL 989 Floorstanding Speakers

4.56/5 (18 Reviews) MSRP : $9000.00


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Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Steve a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 25, 2012

Bottom Line:   
The Quad 989 is a rare beast, with dignificant flaws.

I owned the Quad ESL 63s in the 80s and loved them. So when I finally had the room for Quad electrostatics I bought the 989s based on some very positive reviews from well regarded people.

My first impression of the 989s was somewhat disappointing. They did not impress me the way my old 63s had. I put this down to them being new, to my being older, perhaps a different room acoustic, and my subjective feeling towards the speaker; the fact they were made in China with cheap plastic tops (instead of the wood of the ESL 63).

Within a few months one speaker started to fizz and was returned to Quad.

Since then I've lived with the 989s but have never been truly delighted with their sound (although everyone else finds them exciting, probably due to the unusual look of the speaker).

I had my 989s shipped from England to California a few months ago. During shipped one Quad was damaged, it made fizzing and ticking noises. The insurance company refused to pay for repair based on a convenient clause in the contract (no payout for internal damage unles external damage is also present). Quads only authorised repair is on the opposite coast, and they quoted $750 for return shipping on the 989 (thats not including the cost of repair!). I have decided that the 989s are too exotic a loudspeaker for me - in California. Rools Royce and Bugatti have Quad sales and service in Southern California, but I haven't been able to find anyone within a 1000 miles that will repair my 989. I'm forced to conclude that the Quad 989s are a very subjective purcahse. If you are lucky to find a pair that sound great and are reliable, or you live near someone that can repair them for you when they inevitable fail, then enjoy them.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by OscarCharles a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 14, 2007

Bottom Line:   
This review for Quad 2905s.

I have recently taken delivery of my new QUAD ESL 2905's (June 2007). I have auditioned speakers extensively over the past 3 years in my search for the perfect speaker and tried Watt

Puppy 7's and 8's, Revel Salons, Dynaudio Evidence Temptations, Magnepan 20.1s etc etc ..... the list goes on.

When I came across the 2905's back in June 2007 I auditioned in awe. They remain the most coherent and seamless speaker I have heard ...... and they have REAL bass. I have long

dismissed electrostats because they had no bass ........ but the 2905's have redefined for me what true palpable bass is. It's a truly integrated speaker from top to bottom. It is effortless and

entirely non-fatiguing.

To answer an earlier thread about whether vocals sound more forward on the 2905's than others my view is no. The vocals sound right ..... but then so too does every other part of it's

frequency re-production. There is beautiful separation and 'air' between instruments and vocals which makes them 'right'. They are superb ..... but there is a catch that will not please many.

I am now on my 2nd pair of 2905s after the first pair (then only 3 months old) had a panel failure of some sort. I began noticing huge differences between speaker sensitivities that made

correct imaging and soundstaging impossible. And then, to make things worse, I lost most of the bass response from both speakers.

To Quads credit they did provide a brand new replacement pair which I received 3 weeks ago (September 2007) and which are now burning in nicely.

Recent experiences on the web suggest this is not an isolated case and panel failures in the 2905s and 2805's have been recorded elsewhere. So reliability is clearly an issue with this

speaker and I remain nervous that the same type of failure will happen again and I'll need to spend another 12 weeks waiting for a new pair.

So ........... yes, they are a stunning speaker (regardless of price) and compete with units 5x their price. But the "Made in China" thing has clearly affected reliability.

Ken Kessler of "HiFi News" in the UK gave these speakers a "20/20, Best Speaker on the Planet" review back in 2006. My listening experiences are almost consisitent with those in his

review, including his lab report findings that suggest he also experienced sensitivity differences with his audition pair. What I wasn't expecting was the 5-7 dB of sensitivity differences that I

experienced which is, well, kind of important.

But I also note that Ken Kessler wrote the glossy "History of QUAD" book that accompanied my 2905s when they came delivered in their "bigger then mankind" cardboard boxes ........ so I

therefore remain sceptical about Kens impartiaility and objectivity in his scoring of these speakers. If Ken knew how unreliable they are now proving to be, he wouldn't be giving them 20/20 !

It's food for thought and I'm happy to answer questions on my ongoing impressions of my (now 2nd) pair of 2905s.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $15000.00

Purchased At:   Australia



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Diapason2003 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 25, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I am an old time Quad enthusiast; I previously owned a pair of ESL63 for two decades.
The ESL989 are soundwise much better. Particularly on the bass side.
One problem: they are fragile. In the last 5 years they have been three times in repair for several months. No one was able to solve the problem (hissing sound as soon as you powerthem on)

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $7000.00

Purchased At:   Antwerpen



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by muysal a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2006

Bottom Line:   
The best speaker I have owned by far. For what these speakers offer and what goes into manufacturing them, I think they are underpriced. If you are considering them, do not hesitate. I have auditioned 988's Vintage made in UK which was very impressive. The 989s I have are made in China and in my opinion outperformed the 988s - although opinions do vary among Quad fans. I think you need more room for the 989s to appreciate them - otherwise I highly recommend the 988s. The ESLs are so impressive that I would not mind owning 57s, 63s, 988s - each model is like vintage wine.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $9000.00

Purchased At:   Hawthorne Stereo



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike Uysal a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 3, 2006

Bottom Line:   
If you are considering a buy, do not hesitate because for the price they sell for and what you get in return - they are a bargain.
They will reveal all weaknesses with the rest of your system.
If you have space issues then consider the 988s which are also very good performers. 989's require more room to breathe. They are very flexible in terms of positioning. You will get a different picture into the sound stage depending on where you place them. I personally like them for close field listening - only few feet away and toed in about 20 degrees. I keep them about 5 feet away from the back wall. The only downside I can think of is the room size issue and the WAF - mine claims that her car stereo is about as good as anything else - if you know what I mean.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $9000.00

Purchased At:   Hawthorne Stereo




Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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