Electrostatics and Near Field Listening

There have been a few posts recently regarding electrostatics, esp. Quads, to be used in small room, low volume applications. Is "near field" listening a good idea in this configuration? Does anyone have any experience with this? How close to the speakers should one listen? And any idea which particular Quad or other speaker might work well like this? I have a very small room and a wife who doesn't like music.... Thanks.
Hi Charles I have been listening to Souondlab U-1's in the near field for several months now and can say that they work extremely well. Fullrange electrstatics, like the Soundlabs are actually exceptional in the nearfiled for a few reasons: 1.) They are either a single driver or two driver system and thus have very little or any cross over problems. You get a uniform, coherent, uniphasic sound field, not a blend of tweeter/midrange/woofer. 2.) By listening in the nearfirld you minimize the dipole radiation effets becuase you hear the front wave well in advance of tany rear/side surface reflections. Though some room treatmetn is still recommended to dampen out the rear wave. By sitting up close and spreading the speakers wider than the distance from you to the speaker youwill get incredible soundstaging and channel seperation. distortion will seem to drop appreciably as you minimize channel crosstalk. Bass will be considerable improved in resolution, tone and imaging. All considered I believe its a superior setup though it does feel a little weird being that close to the speakers. Alot has been written about speaker placement and sound quality. the truth remains however that you want to try and isolate right channel information for the right ear and left channel info for the left ear. That is after all what stereo is all about. Because of their ability ot produce most, if not all of the frequencys from a single driver, electrostats are ideal for this purpose. Since quads are 'full range' (sort of) they should work fine although I think they do use two different drivers, you'll have to experiment with how close you can get before you start to lose the blending of the two drivers. I hope this helps.
Hello 90493, I've a pair of A-1's, what is the distance you consider to be nearfield ? Thanks
One of my friends has a quad / quicksilver KT88 system. The listening chair was about 5-6 feet from the speakers. Small room. No power, generally good imaging, but tonal midrange to die for. If you're into vocals, that's a great setup. The speakers were 2-3 feet from the back wall, on stands.

I had some magnepan 1.6QR's for a while. Incredible bargain. They played optimally when 7 feet from the back wall, and about 7 feet from the listening chair. It's not much fun to look at a 'wall' that is so close. I usually kept them 3 feet from the back wall.

Check out the audio-physic line. Those image very well too and are small enough to make near-field listening unobtrusive. They don't have the top-to bottom coherence and large soundfield image placement of a true panel speaker, but do portray slightly truer instrumental and vocal sounds. The spark, tempo and virgo are all excellent. You mainly sacrifice bass as you go cheaper.

Panel speakers tend to be picky as you move around the room. They get thinner sounding if you leave the sweet spot.
Hello Bryceeboy My Soundlabs are about 7' apart from center to center. I sit back such that its about 5' from my ears to the center of each speaker. The speakrs are angled such that a perpendicular line coming out from the denter of each speaker would intersect each respective ear. Hope this helps.