Speakers for string Quartets

Hi, I know already this is not a great question to ask, but…I’m looking for speakers that will only be used for string quartets.  Looking for something that will give me some of he sound of the body of the violin, not just strings. Looking for transparency with great tone, but don’t care too much about bass.
I have a large room, but never listen above 80db

current amps are Pass xa25, first watt F8, Aric Audio Single ended kt88, PS Audio m700.

just looking to really hear the violins, cellos. 
hHopefully the narrow range of music can reduce the list of prospects.




While you don't NEED a separate system for acoustic string music, I have a hard time parting with gear from old systems so tend to assemble them into systems with certain strengths.

My 'string system' is a pair of original Martin Logan CLS powered by a large Class A amp (Classe DR3 VHC). It is magic for acoustic strings.


The chap that suggested Quad ESL 57s was on the same wavelength. Both are fast enough to reproduce the subtleties of low level strings.  You might think that you'd miss out on the low bass, but even a stand-up bass fan will be happy as those speakers are fine with the 250-500 Hz low end usual for that instrument (although they will play lower).  My CLS are 3 dB down at 45 Hz. The Quads are good to 50 Hz,

No one mentioned time coherence. Quads got me interested in coherent speakers more than ½c ago.

Vandersteens are pretty good. Maggies can be if set up properly. Spice TC-50 on stands with sub in a good room can transport you.

Tri-amped, time corrected Eminent Tech LFT-8b w dual subs are outstanding! 😉

With 650 wpc, they will make you duck in the finale of the 1812 or have you stomping along with Queen’s "We Will Rock You". Jaqueline du Pre and YoYo Ma live  here!

Small string ensembles in a good room are extremely rich in coherent harmonics.

Speakers plastered on a flat plate are never going to cut it.


Quad 57's with the right room set up and proper amps matched to them

Quad 2805's again, with proper amps matched to them.  

the 2805's perform well down to about 33hz

Quad 2905s.  more speaker area.  more bass response.  2905s perform well down to about 28hz... again with proper room set up and amps.  

Magnepan's: several great options.  I used Maggies for over 30 years.  I like the 1.7s, the 3 series... and hot rodded Tympani's.  Maggies need a bit more power than the Quads.  and again proper room set up and proper amps matched to them.

I am not a big fan of the ML's. the ML's are nice.  really good in fact.  I personally don't care for the bass range being driven by a cone speaker and trying to match that with the planar mid range / treble via a cross over.  Again very good.  But for what you are specifically looking for.... 

nothing will come close to the Quads.  Seriously.  NOTE: I have not tried Quads with any of the amps you list.  I drove my 2805's with AirTight ATM-3 mono blocs... sublime!!!!  

I know several amazing violin and cello players.  some are world famous.  I am familiar with standing near them while they play live.  I know the sound and the feeling in my bones from strings being played,  I have been actually in the recording studio with some famous violinists and know the sound WELL.  The Quads are stunning close.  Especially when set up properly.

The Maggies are quite nice as well.  I just prefer the Quads.. they are amazing.


fascinating read,

Re tonality of speakers Im amazed to hear strong recommedations for Vanderteen.

My limited experience of that touted brand was entirely negative,

One of our respected audio store here in Toronto was offerin a record cleanibg service for LPS back in the day.

About 10lps having been cleaned and dried he played one back on the house demo system-the speakers being Vandersteen Towers.

Well the lps were cerainly cleaned up but the sound was brutal.

Id assume this upscale shop wdve had the speakers properly set up in their listening room and paired with sympathetic electronics but granted the reputation of the brand very likely not.

At any rate my experience and that long ago.

Most posters are blasting past the amplifiers you have.  You would need to decide between the lower powered ones and higher power.  Most recommend choosing a speaker and then getting the right amp to power it.  For timbral purity with lower powered amps, such as you mainly have, I'm going to repeat my recommendation of Audio Note.  I was at Deja Vu in Washington DC and put on my favorite CD of English viol consort music (the antecedent of the string quartet) and I was blown away.