M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers

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Mr. Big

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M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« on: 15 May 2020, 02:35 pm »
Has anyone gone from Quad speakers to the M3 Sapphires? I own Quad and have interested in the M3's.

musicdre

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #1 on: 15 May 2020, 10:01 pm »
wow.  would that ever be an interesting comparison.  hopefully someone has compared and will post.

happy friday

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #2 on: 17 May 2020, 04:13 am »
For what it's worth, I used to own the original Quad (57) and now I have the M4Turbo S (and also a pair of Apogee Stage full-range ribbons as a near-analogue of the Quads). Imagery-wise they are very similar; unlike box-speakers, which seem to have a degree of inbuilt (and spurious) depth, both the Quad and the Spatial Audio sound pancake-flat and two-dimensional on many 60s stereo recordings and extremely close on many others. This causes some listeners to conclude that they lack depth; au contraire, they have more real depth than any box speaker you care to name. Put on the right recording and it's difficult to credit what you're hearing; I recall playing Neil Young's "The Old Homestead" through the Quads and being transfixed by the way the "saw", which sounds like a theremin, was moving all over the room and seemingly going beyond the walls. Where I think the SA imagery is better than the Quad is that the instruments sound solid and tangible while through the Quad they sound ethereal and ghost-like.

Some may love the Quad's "delicacy", which to be honest, I think is exaggerated (live music doesn't just sound delicate) but the SA's can sound both delicate and awesomely powerful. And I'm sorry but the old Quads sound simply feeble on dance, techno, rock, or anything that needs weight, dynamics, and power to deliver the music. No doubt later Quads do somewhat better but I doubt if any come close to delivering what the SA's do in this area. They BLAST but at the same time remain remarkably controlled. The sense of snares being really HIT is the best I've heard from any speaker. And cymbals! The sense of metal being struck is again beyond anything I've heard. I do think they need to be WAY OUT in the room; I have mine at 7 to 8 feet from the wall behind, where they sound magical. At four feet out, they lose much of this entrancing quality and , honestly, I can't understand how anybody can evaluate them properly at three feet or even less. I don't rate them when placed like this.

Anyway, I can't offer a cast-iron guarantee that you'll prefer them to the Quads because they may sound too explicit and hard-core. if you prefer soft-core you may not get on with them. They are so direct and unvarnished.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #3 on: 18 May 2020, 01:41 pm »
Jean,

Thanks for the thoughtful post. My Quads ESL 63's are not the stock Quads mine were totally rebuilt by Electrostatic Solutions, Including the power supplies which transformed the speakers, Rock, Soul, Reggae all play just fine, I did add 2 small subwoofers with 8" woofers that roll at 40Hz and down to mid-'20s.  They sit 30" from the back wall, but my walls have been treated. Sounds like the Spital Audio sound is very direct what I noticed on the videos is a sameness of the sounds, very big and open but not much weight or foundation, airy comes to mine, the Quads have a solid weight to vocals and instruments, now perhaps the videos on Youtube you hear the room more, but even listen to other speakers like the Legacy Signature SE you hear weight and body which Spatial does not seem to be able to do. I like open sound, but the instruments should and body and weight as well as vocals, the bass seems very open but light in weight also.  I think you cannot beat physics.





Don_S

Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #4 on: 18 May 2020, 03:59 pm »
Mr. Big,

Do I understand correctly, your familiarity with Spatial is limited to online videos?

Does your current system lack something that has you looking? If not, love the one you're with.

newrival

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #5 on: 19 May 2020, 03:31 am »
Go M3, without question. I’ve owned 3 varieties of Claytons speakers and they offer nearly everything a quad does, except with incredible dynamism and impact. His newest offerings are even better than what I have owned, and can’t wait to have a dedicated room again that my tiny children and wife cannot complain about the speakers being 6’ into the room.

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #6 on: 19 May 2020, 04:34 am »
I do think the M4Turbo S is perhaps biased towards the "presence" region and therefore a little lacking in the "cuddly" warmth of most box speakers but I don't find them lacking in body and tangibility. The voices and instruments sound really "solid", something that I find every electrostatic I've heard fail to do. I also own two sets of Stax electrostatic headphones and they both have this "ghostly" quality, as though the voices and instruments are "lighter than air". In fact, this ethereal quality is one of the features that stat-fans love. Where you may not like the SA's (at least in my particular model) is a somewhat unrelenting quality to the sound. It really "comes at you" rather than laying back behind the plane of the speakers. I happen to like this; it sounds amazingly vivid and unrestrained but I can imagine many audiophiles not caring for it. In fact, it sounds more like a professional monitor than a product geared to the home-audio market.

I wonder if the new M Sapphire range is an attempt to ameliorate these characteristics. The compression driver, which is much more prevalent in the pro-audio market, is gone and a dome tweeter, probably smoother and sweeter in tone, has replaced it. If it maintains the best qualities of the superseded model while smoothing out the aggressiveness it may be more to your taste as a Quad adherent. However, I think trying to judge speaker-sound from video is fraught with danger.

HanaEyes

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #7 on: 19 May 2020, 10:50 am »
I do think the M4Turbo S is perhaps biased towards the "presence" region and therefore a little lacking in the "cuddly" warmth of most box speakers but I don't find them lacking in body and tangibility. The voices and instruments sound really "solid", something that I find every electrostatic I've heard fail to do. I also own two sets of Stax electrostatic headphones and they both have this "ghostly" quality, as though the voices and instruments are "lighter than air". In fact, this ethereal quality is one of the features that stat-fans love. Where you may not like the SA's (at least in my particular model) is a somewhat unrelenting quality to the sound. It really "comes at you" rather than laying back behind the plane of the speakers. I happen to like this; it sounds amazingly vivid and unrestrained but I can imagine many audiophiles not caring for it. In fact, it sounds more like a professional monitor than a product geared to the home-audio market.

I wonder if the new M Sapphire range is an attempt to ameliorate these characteristics. The compression driver, which is much more prevalent in the pro-audio market, is gone and a dome tweeter, probably smoother and sweeter in tone, has replaced it. If it maintains the best qualities of the superseded model while smoothing out the aggressiveness it may be more to your taste as a Quad adherent. However, I think trying to judge speaker-sound from video is fraught with danger.

I'm not sure about the turbo S models, but the triode master version I have, the tweeter is definitely less aggressive and smoother than other high end speakers I've heard. The decay of highs is very quick and they don't shimmer, less energetic in a sense. I believe the new Sapphire range, with the dome tweeter, addresses this issue and should sound a lot more detailed/extended/refined than the TM version. Though I have not yet jumped on the Sapphire bandwagon, that improved tweeter is probably the main reason why I'd consider switching to the Sapphires.

SnowPuppy77

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #8 on: 19 May 2020, 01:08 pm »
I'm not sure about the turbo S models, but the triode master version I have, the tweeter is definitely less aggressive and smoother than other high end speakers I've heard. The decay of highs is very quick and they don't shimmer, less energetic in a sense. I believe the new Sapphire range, with the dome tweeter, addresses this issue and should sound a lot more detailed/extended/refined than the TM version. Though I have not yet jumped on the Sapphire bandwagon, that improved tweeter is probably the main reason why I'd consider switching to the Sapphires.

I had a pair of M3TM and now M3S and you describe the highs of the M3TM well.  One benefit of the forgiving highs of the M3TM is lower quality brass recording being easier to listen to.  And yes the M3S Tweeter has more resolution and extension in the highs than the M3TM for sure.  The bass performance on the M3S is a significant improvement as well.

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #9 on: 20 May 2020, 02:38 am »
I had a pair of M3TM and now M3S and you describe the highs of the M3TM well.  One benefit of the forgiving highs of the M3TM is lower quality brass recording being easier to listen to.  And yes the M3S Tweeter has more resolution and extension in the highs than the M3TM for sure.  The bass performance on the M3S is a significant improvement as well.

One thing I'm concerned about with the Sapphire range is the very low crossover point, 576 Hz. That is very low for a small tweeter and I'm wondering if it's at risk when played at high volumes. Which is one reason I'm leaning more towards the X series: they should be bullet-proof.

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #10 on: 20 May 2020, 02:46 am »
I'm not sure about the turbo S models, but the triode master version I have, the tweeter is definitely less aggressive and smoother than other high end speakers I've heard. The decay of highs is very quick and they don't shimmer, less energetic in a sense. I believe the new Sapphire range, with the dome tweeter, addresses this issue and should sound a lot more detailed/extended/refined than the TM version. Though I have not yet jumped on the Sapphire bandwagon, that improved tweeter is probably the main reason why I'd consider switching to the Sapphires.

The tweeter on my Barefoot MM12 is definitely sweeter and more refined than the compression driver on the M4 Turbo S but it is also less immediate and realistic . The irony is that the Barefoot is a professional monitor and supposedly geared to showing flaws in the recording while the M4 Turbo S is an "audiophile" product but it sounds more "pro" than the real pro monitor.

SnowPuppy77

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #11 on: 20 May 2020, 02:53 am »
One thing I'm concerned about with the Sapphire range is the very low crossover point, 576 Hz. That is very low for a small tweeter and I'm wondering if it's at risk when played at high volumes. Which is one reason I'm leaning more towards the X series: they should be bullet-proof.

I regularly play mine as loud as I can stand and it just puts it out clean and without strain.  And I have been doing that since October.  This tweeter has a huge surround.  I have not the least bit of concern.  I have one of the earlier built pairs and it does not have the excursion limiter that the newer ones have.  So especially not a concern if you get a newer one.  For details on what I just said see the New Record Day interview with Clayton.

But I would say if you have a large room and can afford the X series you should get a pair.  I would have gotten an X series model if I could have afforded it at the time.  Fortunately the M3S are excellent regardless of price and the only upgrades I am even considering is amplification.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #12 on: 20 May 2020, 02:15 pm »
Mr. Big,

Do I understand correctly, your familiarity with Spatial is limited to online videos?

Does your current system lack something that has you looking? If not, love the one you're with.

Well, the Quads and other electrostatics you have to watch the volume, they play loud as you would want sitting in front of them but you wanted to listen from afar well that a different story. Big bass hits and you play the speakers at higher than the normal level you could damage the speaker. The M3S speakers are something new that caught my eye. Yes, I am going by the sound I hear a Youtube for all of Clayton speakers, the X series sounded much better than the M3S, M3S made everything have the same sound from what I heard. Same guy shooting says the Legacy speakers and you could hear much more body and weight. That is my one concern. Quads do zip wrong, except you have to watch pushing them to hard, then they were not designed to be a PA speaker. LOL.

Shakeydeal

Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #13 on: 20 May 2020, 04:40 pm »
I heard a pair of Quad 989s about 20 years ago in the showroom at Hi-Fi Farm here in Virginia. While they sounded very good at low to medium levels, it didn't take much volume to make them turn ugly. I don't think they would ever work for me for what I listen to and how I listen.

Shakey

SnowPuppy77

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #14 on: 20 May 2020, 04:47 pm »
Well, the Quads and other electrostatics you have to watch the volume, they play loud as you would want sitting in front of them but you wanted to listen from afar well that a different story. Big bass hits and you play the speakers at higher than the normal level you could damage the speaker. The M3S speakers are something new that caught my eye. Yes, I am going by the sound I hear a Youtube for all of Clayton speakers, the X series sounded much better than the M3S, M3S made everything have the same sound from what I heard. Same guy shooting says the Legacy speakers and you could hear much more body and weight. That is my one concern. Quads do zip wrong, except you have to watch pushing them to hard, then they were not designed to be a PA speaker. LOL.

I can assure you that the M3S does not make everything have the same sound.  Far from it.

Jean-Paul

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #15 on: 21 May 2020, 03:55 am »
Well, the Quads and other electrostatics you have to watch the volume, they play loud as you would want sitting in front of them but you wanted to listen from afar well that a different story. Big bass hits and you play the speakers at higher than the normal level you could damage the speaker. The M3S speakers are something new that caught my eye. Yes, I am going by the sound I hear a Youtube for all of Clayton speakers, the X series sounded much better than the M3S, M3S made everything have the same sound from what I heard. Same guy shooting says the Legacy speakers and you could hear much more body and weight. That is my one concern. Quads do zip wrong, except you have to watch pushing them to hard, then they were not designed to be a PA speaker. LOL.

Why not keep the Quads and buy an X5 to do the things the Quad doesn't do well? I own a number of speakers and I love switching them around because each reveals something that the other doesn't.

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #16 on: 5 Sep 2020, 06:20 am »
I took the jump, My M3 Sapphires arrive today. Fingers crossed. Will   I be able to adjust to them after Quads ES 63's from Electrostatic Solutions that were totally rebuilt along with the power supply. Will the M3S be just another hi-fi sounding speaker like many I've heard in today's audio sound and that is big named speakers in the 15-20K range where I sat their bored, nothing as real sounding as my Quads. I of course hoping for a great experience, hopefully, what my Quads do right and then some. 

Mr. Big

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #17 on: 6 Sep 2020, 03:46 pm »
Already playing with them. I have some different spikes that will fit the speakers, having said that I took the spikes off and sure enough the top-down sound and forwardness is gone, now it is balanced with much better mid-bass, and the bottom end is fuller and you can now feel it. Running my Esoteric burn-in disc and yesterday the bottom popping sounds were nowhere to be found, so weak, today after the spikes are gone, they are back. As the speakers stay in place, they will open up has the carpet his crushed down to firmer support.

Again, you have to try outside a given box and use your experience, with the way they are now you, would never have to have used those resisters, the sound you did not like was the spikes screwing the balance of the speaker. Clean yes, forward yes, but body and tone and color impacted for a clean sound.  Like I said yesterday I had tried spikes on the ESL 63's and they stayed on 2 minutes, the same effect but worse. I'll try a different spike to see what happens, then if the same back to the provided feet minus spikes. They are much more ambiance without spikes and more body things sound real now.

sockpit

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #18 on: 6 Sep 2020, 10:39 pm »
How do you explain the spike making so much difference?  Is it the variation in tilt?  Or the coupling or not with the floor?  Am curious.

geerock

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Re: M3 Sapphires Vs. Quad Speakers
« Reply #19 on: 7 Sep 2020, 02:38 pm »
Those re-built 63's are some excellent speakers.  There isn't anything they won't do.  A family member from out of State has them and I get down there a couple times a year and always enjoy a couple hours of listening.  He runs a tube DAC thru a tube pre, and then either and various choices of solid state or tube power.  I have the X5's but would love to get a pair of those re-built 63's.  Are you looking to sell?