Impressions : QUAD S1

chander

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Before I begin, I would like to tell you, that I have had these for a while, just never really used them as my main setup. Post moving into a new house, getting rid of almost everything and keeping only 3 systems :p ; these moved to my office and got hooked up to the Audiolab 6000a. Et Voila, revelation is the word.

My Rig:
Integrated Amp - Audiolab 6000a
Source - Spotify, Primephonic, Tidal - Local FLACs via FiiO M11 over BT (primarily) or hooked up using a mediabridge RCA to Aux.
Sub - Focal Cub 2 - hooked up using DAC ARSW23 Sub Cables
Cables - Klotz LY240 connected using Media Bridge Connectors
Caveat - Placed on a table with anti vibration foam pads underneath - But I ain't complaining.

Music For review:
Tina Turner & Ike Turner - Rollin' on the river - From the album - What's love got to do with it
The Fairfield Four - These Bones
Queen - Dragon Attack
Wilson Picket - Hey Jude
Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man

Review -

This might be too late for an S1 review/impressions whatever you may wanna call it. However, you might get your hands on a pair, for price which belies their quality.

Right off the bat - Tina Turner's pensive mood was pouring right through the minuscule drivers of the S1s, she was talking to me one on one, no distractions, and I was listening to her attentively. Like an important life lesson which was just meant for me. At around 18 seconds, Ike is just in the background, like my inner voice, never taking me away from Tina's lesson. Then she gets going and it is like a slap on the face (in a good way; if it's possible). These speakers are a revelation, as far as the voices are concerned. Oh my!

These Bones - Ohhhhhhh... Rumble in the aiirrrr...... (Atleast I think that is what he says). You have to hear this song, forget S1s anything that can do justice to the voice. But S1 might just do it a little better (atleast in the price range).

Going to Dragon Attack - It is not just the Mercurial voice that catches your attention, it is everything. Each cymbal is pronounced, the guitar is raw, the bass is felt, but wait for 1:31 and trip all the way to the end of it. It is like a progressive solo - kicks in with a neat sharp drum solo, merging into a bass solo, and then Mr.May handing it over to Mercury again to do his magic. What a treat - composed and enjoyable all the way.

Going to Hey Jude, which I personally prefer over the original (Not saying it is better, I just prefer it). I like the little story behind the song too, not sure if it true, but it is one hell of a story. It is like standing where the waves crash. The gentle swell of Wilson's voice, strong, powerful, not at all threatening, then the foaming with his rising pitch and then the crash of Duane Allman's guitar. Before you know it you are on the ground wondering - what just happened.

Hurdy Gurdy Man - John Bonham and Jimmy Page "apparently" with Mr.Donovan. Frankly, I won't care if it was Laurel and Hardy. This song is magic. Absolute magic. Specially when you know what Donovan does. OH! You are not prepared for anything that this song is.

I know this sounds like a song review rather than the speaker review, but these feelings, this absolute bliss, was made possible, courtesy of the very talented S1s. They aren't analytical, atleast not in my setup, but they are a treat to the visual and auditory senses. They are fun, non-fatiguing, and somehow they talk to the soul. If I break them, I will definitely buy them again.
 

AudioGugu

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That was nice to read. I got the S2 from another FM and even though they are in my bedroom connected to a very so-so smsl AD18, I think that they do a great job.

Happy listening.
Cheers.
AG
 

chander

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Hi all, hope you are doing well and you and your family are keeping safe. I recently got the furniture I was looking for to have a proper office setup as finally stuff is getting delivered to Goa. Once I got what I wanted I was able to keep my speakers and amplifiers as I originally intended removing the clutter from my desk which was irritating me to the point of frustration. Hence I put up almost everything for sale and wanted to get a basic Active setup and be done with it. However the new placement has changed a few things.

A BIT OF HISTORY - These were earlier setup on a small table around 6 FT, behind me, the sound was fantastic but these speakers were not the most versatile with the music genres. Their strength was vocals and simple instrumental presentations anything with too much going on, and you could feel the drivers choking. (the cushion on the floor is for my doggo who loves sleeping next to the subwoofer).
WhatsApp Image 2021-05-24 at 12.18.52 AM.jpeg


I then moved them to my desk with everything cramped up in a small space. The sound was a little better but that gave some issues with the bass. The near-field midrange clarity was addictive they would also do fine with the thumpy bass (like Fat bottomed girl), the bass was close to accurate and a lot better than the previous placement, however on anything with reverberating bass, very fat delayed bass riffs things will get boomy and all I could hear was the boom. I could still live with playing music that was not bass heavy but I hated the clutter. I have a bit of an OCD when it comes to that. Though the next image doesn't give you the idea of the clutter but you can kind of see the S1s to the left.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-04 at 4.00.36 PM.jpeg

NOW TODAY -

I finally managed to slowly get everything going as I wanted it to be and today I have the final setup ready as I intended it to be. The speakers are still not ideally placed as the audiophile guidelines suggest, but I can't complain. The first thing I did was to remove the AL6000a from sale, as now I do not want better. I can't think of better. In the current setup with the current placement - the foundation of the sound signature still exists however there are 2 major improvements. The soundstage - now extends beyond the speakers in more of a semi circle. If I shut my eyes I can hear things a bit more towards the left and right beyond the speaker. The voices are bang on - right in the middle of the two screens and depth is pretty impressive too. However the biggest surprise is the BASS - it has somehow tightened, somehow adjusted itself to be more present and impactful. I believe boxing them somehow made the bass impact more prominent, but it is not boomy that I was expecting and was prepared for. I am shocked and pleasantly surprised too.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-04 at 4.13.34 PM.jpeg

Now the bass here is so impactful - NOT CHEST THUMPING impactful but enough pressure that I do not need more (I am not crazy about bass and too much makes me feel a bit sick). I ended up removing my subwoofer and making it a stool instead cause I couldn't take more pressure. This sub is not the most accurate and in the future I might go for something musically inclined like the RELs but for now I do not want it.

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-04 at 1.25.10 PM.jpeg


ANYHOW, as a test I played the same songs as I did in my initial impressions. The quality is still the same, everything is how it should be I am still enjoying everything as I mentioned earlier - the qualities these speakers bring out from the music are the same as earlier but now I can play more songs on this system. The songs which I will not touch earlier here. I have been going crazy with the Levee Breaks since yesterday. However I have been tripping on "Sage" by Ritviz on this system and I am shocked at the amount of distortion free bass I am getting, like I said it is not chest thumping loud but it is head-banging loud, which I never thought/imagined these speakers were capable of. I always saw these tiny guys as a miraculous voice reproduction machine, but now I have new found respect for them. I am not saying they are the best - not at all, however I do not want better now. Maybe a different amp with more power BUT for now, a lot of money saved and enjoyment quotient grown exponentially. More than anything - I have a new found respect for placement.
 
Last edited:

ssf

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I had my Quad S2's placed 18" from the back wall. On the advice of a FM, I pushed it 12" to the wall. It made quite a difference to the bass. I have also recently placed them on foam like the ones you have placed yours in and that too has made a difference to the sound even though there were already on stands.

Placement is important indeed.
 

chander

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I had my Quad S2's placed 18" from the back wall. On the advice of a FM, I pushed it 12" to the wall.
Yeah I noticed that too, the whole bookshelf on which speakers are placed a lot further creating around 24 inch space between the speakers and the furthermost part of the wall, but there the bass was a bit off, this placement is working fantastic, though I arrived here by fluke. I am planning to mark it with tape - so if ever shifted by mistake I can always go back.

I find the Quad S1s extremely responsive to even slight changes in the placement, the most placement sensitive speakers I have ever owned. A small toe in changes the sound.
 

Beast_of_burden

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Yeah I noticed that too, the whole bookshelf on which speakers are placed a lot further creating around 24 inch space between the speakers and the furthermost part of the wall, but there the bass was a bit off, this placement is working fantastic, though I arrived here by fluke. I am planning to mark it with tape - so if ever shifted by mistake I can always go back.

I find the Quad S1s extremely responsive to even slight changes in the placement, the most placement sensitive speakers I have ever owned. A small toe in changes the sound.
Yeah I noticed that too, the whole bookshelf on which speakers are placed a lot further creating around 24 inch space between the speakers and the furthermost part of the wall, but there the bass was a bit off, this placement is working fantastic, though I arrived here by fluke. I am planning to mark it with tape - so if ever shifted by mistake I can always go back.

I find the Quad S1s extremely responsive to even slight changes in the placement, the most placement sensitive speakers I have ever owned. A small toe in changes the sound.
These Quads are designed as true "bookshelf" speakers. In my experience they lose the plot as soon as they are pulled away from the wall. Where other speakers get boomy close to the wall, these just come into balance. Close to the wall, they sound sumptuous. As Ken Micallef had mentioned in the stereophile review, the bass is tumescent. He did also say the speakers lost their coherent presentation when pulled out into the room.

I think it's very placement friendly given how it's designed to work close to the wall.
 

ssf

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I had my Quad S2's placed 18" from the back wall. On the advice of a FM, I pushed it 12" to the wall. It made quite a difference to the bass. I have also recently placed them on foam like the ones you have placed yours in and that too has made a difference to the sound even though there were already on stands.

Placement is important indeed.
Many thanks to @Beast_of_burden for the placement tip of my Quad S2's and the Foam speaker holders. They are indeed an even greater pleasure to listen to now.
 
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D

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These Quads are designed as true "bookshelf" speakers. In my experience they lose the plot as soon as they are pulled away from the wall. Where other speakers get boomy close to the wall, these just come into balance. Close to the wall, they sound sumptuous.
I wonder if this is true for most, if not all small speakers. Especially the ones with rear bass reflex which need a certain closeness to the wall to reinforce the bass (and compensate the smaller woofers). I went through a whole trip of pulling my speakers (Castle Knight 2) further and further away from the wall - to almost 3 feet at a point. While the clarity and separation kept improving, the engagement and emotion kept going down. Eventually I started pushing them behind and reached an optimum around a foot from the wall where the bass reinforcement added enough body and emotion before starting to get smudged.
 
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Beast_of_burden

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I wonder if this is true for most, if not all small speakers. Especially the ones with rear bass reflex which need a certain closeness to the wall to reinforce the bass (and compensate the smaller woofers). I went through a whole trip of pulling my speakers (Castle Knight 2) further and further away from the wall - to almost 3 feet at a point. While the clarity and separation kept improving, the engagement and emotion kept going down. Eventually I started pushing them behind and reached an optimum around a foot from the wall where the bass reinforcement added enough body and emotion before starting to get smudged.
I think it's true for all monitors that hew towards the BBC/British school of monitor design.

I am a bit lost with Focal Aria 906s, these have far greater resolution and air and much bigger presentation. The sound stage is either big or small depending on the recording. The imaging is pretty sharp, but at the same time I find the timbre of voices and instruments a bit light weight. Based on reviews they need to be six feet apart and about a foot away from the wall. It seems having a wall behind your sitting position helps. Needs absorption on the floor and ceiling for best results based on reviews. There is a sense of lack of restraint with the Focal Aria 906s. The British monitors sound very organized, not so the Aria 906s.
 

chander

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Enjoyed reading your impressions...
Where can I get this anti vibration foam pads??
These are available on amazon! Posting a link of the ones I have -

YGM acoustics are pretty good too.
 

DB1989

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Hi all, hope you are doing well and you and your family are keeping safe. I recently got the furniture I was looking for to have a proper office setup as finally stuff is getting delivered to Goa. Once I got what I wanted I was able to keep my speakers and amplifiers as I originally intended removing the clutter from my desk which was irritating me to the point of frustration. Hence I put up almost everything for sale and wanted to get a basic Active setup and be done with it. However the new placement has changed a few things.

A BIT OF HISTORY - These were earlier setup on a small table around 6 FT, behind me, the sound was fantastic but these speakers were not the most versatile with the music genres. Their strength was vocals and simple instrumental presentations anything with too much going on, and you could feel the drivers choking. (the cushion on the floor is for my doggo who loves sleeping next to the subwoofer).
View attachment 59226


I then moved them to my desk with everything cramped up in a small space. The sound was a little better but that gave some issues with the bass. The near-field midrange clarity was addictive they would also do fine with the thumpy bass (like Fat bottomed girl), the bass was close to accurate and a lot better than the previous placement, however on anything with reverberating bass, very fat delayed bass riffs things will get boomy and all I could hear was the boom. I could still live with playing music that was not bass heavy but I hated the clutter. I have a bit of an OCD when it comes to that. Though the next image doesn't give you the idea of the clutter but you can kind of see the S1s to the left.

View attachment 59227

NOW TODAY -

I finally managed to slowly get everything going as I wanted it to be and today I have the final setup ready as I intended it to be. The speakers are still not ideally placed as the audiophile guidelines suggest, but I can't complain. The first thing I did was to remove the AL6000a from sale, as now I do not want better. I can't think of better. In the current setup with the current placement - the foundation of the sound signature still exists however there are 2 major improvements. The soundstage - now extends beyond the speakers in more of a semi circle. If I shut my eyes I can hear things a bit more towards the left and right beyond the speaker. The voices are bang on - right in the middle of the two screens and depth is pretty impressive too. However the biggest surprise is the BASS - it has somehow tightened, somehow adjusted itself to be more present and impactful. I believe boxing them somehow made the bass impact more prominent, but it is not boomy that I was expecting and was prepared for. I am shocked and pleasantly surprised too.

View attachment 59228

Now the bass here is so impactful - NOT CHEST THUMPING impactful but enough pressure that I do not need more (I am not crazy about bass and too much makes me feel a bit sick). I ended up removing my subwoofer and making it a stool instead cause I couldn't take more pressure. This sub is not the most accurate and in the future I might go for something musically inclined like the RELs but for now I do not want it.

View attachment 59229


ANYHOW, as a test I played the same songs as I did in my initial impressions. The quality is still the same, everything is how it should be I am still enjoying everything as I mentioned earlier - the qualities these speakers bring out from the music are the same as earlier but now I can play more songs on this system. The songs which I will not touch earlier here. I have been going crazy with the Levee Breaks since yesterday. However I have been tripping on "Sage" by Ritviz on this system and I am shocked at the amount of distortion free bass I am getting, like I said it is not chest thumping loud but it is head-banging loud, which I never thought/imagined these speakers were capable of. I always saw these tiny guys as a miraculous voice reproduction machine, but now I have new found respect for them. I am not saying they are the best - not at all, however I do not want better now. Maybe a different amp with more power BUT for now, a lot of money saved and enjoyment quotient grown exponentially. More than anything - I have a new found respect for placement.
Most loudspeakers today are competent. It's just that some are more fussy than others with placement. The bass is being reinforced due to the speakers being placed closer as well as equidistant to both the back and side wall.

If i remember correctly, i was giving sermons about placement to a certain somebody ;) .. It's all about applying a little ingenuity but more importantly and the difficult bit, muster the will to move a few muscles.
 

irv

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These are available on amazon! Posting a link of the ones I have -

YGM acoustics are pretty good too.
Thank you
Only YGM accoustics were available. Ordered right away...
 
Last edited:

Beast_of_burden

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I can't sit still. As you have seen I have tried 3 different setups in the last month and this is just my office.
Conventional wisdom says you have to give the speakers room to breathe for a soundstage and imaging. Sometimes you have to try things that are counterintuitive and at other times read the reviews carefully and try what the reviewer did. And of course it helps to be on a forum like this to compare notes. And then it’s up to our good old friend serendipity.
 

irv

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Got the foam pads today.... The SQ has greatly improved. It has become more open, bass has better definition instrument separation also improved...
I should have got them much before. Anyways thanks a lot to @chander
 
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