Help mismatch maybe?

Hello folks,

I recently purchased a pair of Quad 21L2's here on Agon. I tried them with some older Adcom electronics, which were uninvolving. Having read alot of good things about Nad products, and since they were in my price range, I purchased a C372 Intergraded amp here on Agon. The sound of the Nad and Quads are very detailed which I like more then less. Although, I would like the sound to be a little fuller & organic in the midrange. As it stands right now, the system sounds as though the treble control is almost maxed and the bass control is half way on the minus side. (I am in tone defeat mode).
My wife who is also my listening buddy, finds the setup too bright for her ears, and she is unable to listen with me now, unless the volume is very low. Our listening tastes in music range from Classical, to Classic Rock to Jazz, to Female/Male vocals, and everything in between.

Our front end consist of a Arcam FMJ CD23. IC's are of the Monster, and Z squared varity. PC's are PS and Z squared types. SC's Monster M2's Speakers are on the long wall in a Near Field configuration far away from the side walls and at least 3 feet from the rear. I have tried various placement scenario's and the NF seems to be the best overall.

Now, Is it possible That the Nad and the Quads are a mismatch?
If so, I would like to keep the Quads. If it's the electronics, I would like to stay with a Intergrated amp.
Are there any simular experiences, or recommendations you could offer?

Any help along these lines would be appreciated.
You didn't say what your room size is. I bet your Quads have insufficient bass capability for your room. This will leave the treble high and dry because spectral balance is relative to itself. I know your cables and CD player - they aren't the problem. Get a subwoofer and everything will change.

Hi Art and Jaybo,
Thanks for your input.. As far as speaker placement goes, I have done everything except turn them upsidedown. Room size is ~ 26'L x 16'H Cathedrial ceiling x~12'd. I am really stumped.
1) I think Art is right about the speakers inherrent lack of bass ability in a largish room. You can add a sub and that would help. However,

2) In my limited experience with placing speakers on the long wall I would guess that might be adding to your problem. I've never got it to work - the sound always sounded too clinical. Placing them on the short wall can get you some more room sound and warm things up. Just a guess in case you haven't tried it yet.
Thanks for your input.. There is nothing I would like better.. unfortunatlly, on the long end I am faced with a fireplace, on the other end, I am looking at a bedroom door. I just about covered all bases before I wrote in for help. I do appreciate your suggestion and under normal circumstances, your suggestion could/would be a remedy. I keep hoping that this mite be a simple fix, and I'm just over looking something obvious.
I think changing wire can help a great deal. You can certainly tame a harsh top end with good wire and warm up the bass too.

FWIW componet matching is nearly everything in this hobby,
of course speaker placement and room treatment is critical too

have you cancelled the first reflection point areas?
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Make sure speakers are not out of phase (+ to + and - to - on both sides is correct).

If so and still a major bass problem, I'd say its probably the room + add a sub maybe if you are sure the NAD is in good operating condition. Try the combo in a smaller room maybe to make sure everything is working as it should before changing out anything though.
Mapman's suggestion of trying the system in a smaller room is a good one. I've owned the NAD C-352 and did not find it bright.
A good sub properly set up sounds like the ticket.
Thanks to all the responses so far. For Mapman, I did check the polarity and every thing is good. Imaging is good vocals front and center. Just too bright. In the openion pole, it's starting to sound like I need a Sub down the line. For now I just need to tame the brightness so my wife can enjoy the music at a reasonable level. Also, trying in another room is impossible and I don't have a basement. Our listening room is also the living room if that matters. A fellow Agoner e-mailed and suggested to go to Home Depot and get some orange and black 14ga extension cord. That sounds like least expensive place to start. I have to go there anyway this weekend. So, I'll see what happens?
Speaker wire to tame harsh highs?
Hi capacitance will roll off highs nicely.
Could it be that the room is asking for a full range speaker?
a mundane lifestyle sat sub system is ok but why settle
if you and your wife are dreaming of true performance
Look into a used pair of Vandersteen 3A sigs the NAD will work
and you wont need to jump thru hoops needing a permission slip to see what everyone else here thinks.
Best Johnnyr
I have owned the Arcam FMJ 23 and also a pair of Quad 11L's and a pair of Quad 12L's. Also at one time owned a NAD 320b integrated. The NAD wasn't the smoothest in the high freq. that I have heard, the Arcam was not bright. The Quads were very detailed but to my recollection they did have a bit of brightness which was accentuated by the plaster walls in my room.
Audioconnection's idea is a good one, the Vandersteen 3a sig. would be great. I always have enjoyed a full range speaker much more than monitor/sub setup.
Indeed, your speakers are way undersized for your room. I have four 7" woofers in a room that is 14x15x8. With that I have a flat bass response from 300Hz down to 18Hz (+-4dB). That is what you need to have a full-range and balanced sound.

So for 26x16x12, you need a healthy subwoofer or much larger speakers. Cables and amps will not fix your problem. Your "mismatch" is only between speakers and room. Sorry for the bad news.

You have a mismatch. The speakers are a Power Paradigm device (they expect constant power from the amplifier, regardless of load), and your amplifiers so far are Voltage Paradigm (they make constant voltage regardless of load). Anytime you mix the two a tonal aberration is created; in this case your description is exactly how this combination will act. For more information see:

I understand your argument from other threads, I think, but aren't 99% of our systems technically "mismatched" based on your criteria?

What about an amp that doubles into 4 and 2 ohms better than the NAD, say a good Class D or a modest Musical Fidelity A3CR for that matter? Is there a better solution for speakers with complex loads of 8 ohms or less?
I have a pair of 22L2s in a room that measures 24' long by 12' deep by 7 1/2' ceiling. Speakers are on the long wall, a little more than 2' from side wall (left speaker), about 8 1/2' feet apart and about 1 1/2' from the back wall (measured to rear port). Zero problem with bass. Too much in most cases, but I find moving the speaker forward or back in 1/2 inch increments to either add or subtract LF response significantly. I've paired these speakers with an MF 308I integrated, an Anthem Statement A5 multichannel, a Sunfire multichannel and now another MF Integrated (an A5 this time that is rated 250x2 into 8 ohms). Zero problems with lack of bass response.

That said, unless your ceiling is the culprit (I doubt it), I'd suggest trying different amps and getting the speakers a little closer to the wall by 1/2" increments to see what you can come up with. I doubt the 21L2's are that lacking considerably in bass response compared to the 22L2s (perhaps a bit, but not that much). The more current powerful the amp (not necessarily wattage), the more slam you'll get from the speakers. If you have isolation tweaks, try removing those too as I've found time and time again that they can thin the LF response, particularly with amplifiers. Make sure the speakers are level and not firing at an upward angle, as that may thin sound as well.

Try ICs next, but I wouldn't spend my money on them until I got a better amp in your situation.
NAD is not always the smoothest on top end, but lack of bass in this system does surprise me also. I doubt lack of bass is due to teh NAD. I've heard them I believe on NAD electronics in a sizable showroom and did not notice an inherent bass problem. Of course, all rooms are different. The 22L did have a bit more inherent bottom end in comparison in the same showroom however.

Play with location some more as mb9061 suggests maybe.

Amps that double power output into 4 and 2 ohms, like some Musical Fidelities and many Class Ds will inherently do bass better than the NAD though.

Onkyo has a new 80 watt/ch Class D integrated that has gotten great reviews frommany and it can be had for under $500 I believe. That would be a low cost alternative to try perhaps if needed.
I am out of town as of today due to an illness in the family but have internet capability. Wow, you sure are giving me alot to think about and I appreciate it. I will be home by this weekend. But..guess what? Mb9061 may have hit upon something.. When I purched these speakers, I was advised to tilt the speakers upwards, plus..It was also recommended in a review I had read on the Quads to boot. The review even went on to show a level on top of the speakers indicating the amount of tilt to have. (I have never listened to them level). The point was, to insure the tweeters were at ear level etc. Would'nt it be nuts if that was the problem all along? I can't imagine it could be such a simple fix. But I'm hopeing.. I will keep all of you posted.
you have a mis match, sounds like you are out on the imput impedence. . how long are your interconnects? when that happens, it will always effect your bass. as in cut it in half. you get all the highs you want, but you lose base. you need to either change you pre or amp, or shorten you connect. check the stats on your pre amp and amp on the imput imped.
Mapman, the short answer is no.

All you have to do is look at the designer's intent, particularly with the speaker designer. What is the amp that he is using in the design process? Is it tubed? If so, its likely that he has engineered the speaker to work properly without the ability for the amp to double power as the impedance is cut in half.

OTOH, look at a B&W 802. There is not a tube amp in the world that will play bass right on that speaker- you need transistors, as the woofers are running at 3 db less efficiency as the midrange and tweeters are. You need an amp that will double power when it encounters the 4 ohm woofer load, while the rest of the speaker is 8 ohms. That makes the woofers play at the same level as the rest of the system.

In the case of all planar speakers, they must be at least 5 feet from the wall for proper response, otherwise you will not realize everything they have to offer. If people are getting good bass out of Quads with a transistor amplifier, nice times out of ten I find that the speaker is fairly close to the wall too. This causes a bass enhancement at certain frequencies, wherein the backwave is able to reinforce the diaphragm, but it results also in a 'one-note bass' sort of like a boom-car.
"OTOH, look at a B&W 802. There is not a tube amp in the world that will play bass right on that speaker- you need transistors, as the woofers are running at 3 db less efficiency as the midrange and tweeters are. You need an amp that will double power when it encounters the 4 ohm woofer load, while the rest of the speaker is 8 ohms. That makes the woofers play at the same level as the rest of the system."


I'm not certain, but I'm thinking the Quad 21L2s (two way dynamic floor standers) of concern here are not designed for tube amps and are more like the B&W's regarding load so that an amp that doubles to 4 and 2 ohms is the right match for these particular speakers and that this will also put the owner in the best position to move them away from the walls for better imaging with sufficient and more balanced bass.
Mapman, that could be- sort of. The problem is that ESLs in general do not have an impedance curve based on box or free air resonance. It is based loosely on a capacitance. Consequently, it will require constant power with respect to impedance, not constant voltage.

Unfortunately, but like many deisgners, Quad has chosen to try to make their products operate under the Voltage Paradigm rules, but if you have spent a lot of time with Quads, you know that they have had only limited success (don't believe me? -look at all the original 57s, 63s in service and they even went so far as to reproduce the 57...) with that route.

Martin Logan has been following that route for years (trying to get a Power Paradigm technology to work with Voltage Paradigm amplifiers) and you see similar issues: it takes the right kind of amp to really make the speaker sound like real music. Yes, you can drive them (the impedances are quite low, thus favoring transistors in a way) but its really really hard to get them to not be bright and otherwise sound natural. That's what I mean by 'tonal aberration'.

Its a fact that all amplifiers (transistor, tube and class D) sound better when driving higher impedances. So its important to understand that the differences between VP rules and PP rules are not about the total impedance, and more about the behavior of the relationship between the amp and speaker. Nor is it about tube vs SS, although that debate is better understood if you know the differences between the paradigms, which in fact is what that debate is all about (as is objectivist vs subjectivist).

The bottom line is that even though ML and Quad have been taking a similar path, both would benefit by increasing impedance, if nothing else.

BTW, a set of ZEROs ( will often allow a tube amp to easily drive either load.

OK, but the Quad 21Ls in question here are not electrostats. They are conventional box designs (2 way floorstanders) with a 6 ohm nominal impedance, I believe.
I have a second system with the Quad 21L2, Nad C325 BEE, Cambridge 640C CD player & Kimber 8tc Speaker wires, on the long wall in a room approx your size. Speakers are 2' from the rear wall and about 60" appart. Try to tilt them back to the top of the front screws, listen and lower a little at a time,see if that helps. Also while your away let the system play the Quads need time to break in.
Good luck
Tilting them can help a bit, but I was never happy with the result as it threw the sound stage up a bit and there was a slight loss of focus. That, and I'm using the 22L2's as my example which have the additional driver.

Biggest influence on bass from my experience is (a) amplification and (b) speaker placement from rear wall that doesn't exceed 24" and isn't less than say 16" when dealing with rear ported floor standers.

You may consider auditioning a MF A3.5 if the A5 is out of reach. Even an A3.2CR which can be had for around $600 used. These amps have the most low end of those I've demoed or purchased so far and they don't dissapoint. I know we all have our favorites, but I can attest that they work beautifully with the Quads as I've had both the A308I and the A5. They do wonderfully well in home theater duty as well. Some will mention MF amps add "coloration" to music like cardas golden cross interconnects, but everyone has their own taste and it sounds like low end response is what you're looking for (I can't necessarily reccomend the golden cross ICs though, I didn't care for them but others do...).
"Even an A3.2CR which can be had for around $600 used"

... or MF A3CR in about the same price range. I bought exactly for a similar bass/loading issue with my larger Ohms and it really nailed it.
Mapman, ya learn something new every day. I would not have thought that Quad would do something like that... from the looks of it, with the woofers in parallel and Quad's tendency in the last 20 years to use transistors, my bet is that these speakers are Voltage Paradigm devices- doing what they could not do with ESLs (although I am sure the ESLs have higher resolution...).
First of all.. I want to thank each & everyone of you for your time & input to my dilemma. From all your helpful info I was able to put some thoughts together & tame things down enough were my wife can now listen with out running out out the room. The remedy, or at least patial one is as follows:

1. A fellow Agoner e-mailed me a few times with a suggestion to go to Home Depot and get #14 Orange/Red and Black extention cord. They were temporarly out of the 14ga so I got the 12ga. Made up a double 8' run for each Quad to the Nad. Result: Almost immediate improvement. First imperssions (about 4 hours later) a much smoother high end minus that "Bite" that bothered my wife. Second it did not take away the detail (that I like so much) from the Quads.

2. (Approximatly 12 hours later) I moved the Quads closer to the back wall. Rear port 24" from rear wall with ~ 25 degree toe in ~7' apart. Result: Middle starting to fill in nicely and were starting to hear a more organic texture in things like Sax & vocals especially female, like we used to get from our ProAc's. Things are definatly starting to shape up nicely.

3. I played with the tilt,and decided to stay with the recommended amount from the review. The hight of the soundstage seemed like it droped too low in our inviornment with them on a level plane.


(Well at least my wife can now listen). Oh, and as far as the Bass it has improved, not stronger or louder, but it seems as though it stands out more from the music now. Hopefully as the wire burns in it will get better or until I can save a few Peso's to get the L series sub from Quad.
Thanks (to all) again. It's been fun..