A long-established German manufacturer of loudspeakers, Quadral has a very broad range of offerings and is said to be the 3rd largest speaker maker in Germany. Skimming through the Quadral catalogue online, I think I counted an astonishing 46 speakers and subwoofers! Something for everyone, perhaps.
Quadral’s largest model, the appropriately named Titan VIII, comes in at a lumbar crunching 88Kg. But the speakers under review here, the Chrome Style 30, are more easily handled at 5.5Kg each and look very elegant atop a suitable stand.
A seriously cute little ribbon hybrid speaker, hand made in Germany, the Chromium Style 30 is just on 32cm high. The review samples came in a beautifully finished piano black, but white is also available as an alternative.
A ribbon tweeter crosses over from a 135mm metal-coned mid/woofer at 2KHz. A bass reflex design, there is a large port at the rear of the speaker, below the single pair of high quality speaker cable binding posts.
These speakers really do need running in for a few days to rid the ribbon tweeter of a curious wispy edge to its presentation, almost like a swishy after-taste that lingers alongside the high frequency sounds. But after quite a short while this pretty much disappears leaving a nicely pure and extended treble range with very good resolution, and a residual hint of upper mid and treble prominence.
The bass is a little too tight to start with, the words ‘duck’s arse’ seem to come to mind! But after a day or three of normal use, things loosen up and become much more free-flowing and naturally musical.
These need to be placed with a bit of space around them if the sound is to fully open out – I’d say a minimum of 12 inches from the back wall, preferably a bit more. They still sound good closer to the wall, but the size of the soundstage is a constrained and you aren’t getting the best out of them.
I used Atacama 24 inch (60cm) high stands, sand filled. I think that height is about right and allows a big and open sounding presentation that fills even a moderate sized room very nicely.
The Chrome 30 look fine with the grilles on, but I reckon they are seriously sexy without them! The drivers are beautifully finished and the whole “German hi-tech” thing just looks great, for my tastes.
There’s a slight sonic advantage to grille-less-ness as well – a bit more clarity and a more open sound.
These are easy speakers to drive. Yes, my big 250wpc Parasound amp could deliver all the loudness and control you wish, but my little 8wpc Mini-T t-amp came quite close and would be fine for small to moderate sized rooms.
It would be interesting to hear these speakers with a low to medium power valve amp, as I suspect there would be excellent synergy. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to do this.
OK – you’ve had a few hints already about the upper frequencies and the imaging, but the bass performance is perhaps the first thing to mention as it is quite a surprise to hear such deep and powerful lower frequencies from such a small speaker! The bass response holds up remarkably well, the spec says that these small speakers go down to a very creditable 40Hz, that’s pretty good for such a small speaker and I am happy to report that it does it with some gusto, too!
Bass quality, as well as extension, is very good. Well controlled and punchy in the upper bass, drums are particularly well caught.
These little speakers really can fill a fair sized room with not far off full-range sound. OK, let’s be realistic, against my own much larger MBL floorstanders (at about 30 times the price!) the deepest wall-flexing bass is significantly down in level or missing, but in the absence of comparisons I think a lot of music lovers will be very satisfied with the bass depth, power and definition on offer here. These little fellas can really pump it out!
Vocals are clear and articulate. There is a slight emphasis on the upper range, leading to a slight lack of body and tonal fullness. My own preference would be to use ancilliary equipment with a sound lying on the warm side of neutral with these speakers.
Resolution is good, with lots of naturally presented detail, perhaps helped a little by the slight uppermid-treble emphasis. But there is more rez to be had. Playing my favourite recordings of solo lute music by Silvius Weiss on Naxos CDs, a nicely focussed sound is heard with good image depth, but I have heard greater inner detail of the pluck and decay of the strings. Still, resolution is not bad, not bad at all! You’ll hear most of what is going on in a recording, and will probably have to raise your budget if you want to get significantly better musical insight.
But in a way, I’m leaving the best until last. It’s the imaging / soundstage thing that really captures my attention – for such a small speaker these do an amazing job of filling even quite large rooms with nicely focussed, musically enveloping sound. It’s hard not to smile in surprise at what these little Quadral speakers can deliver!
These are a great choice if you want either a small speaker with a BIG sound, or if they simply fall within your planned expenditure. With a pricing of around £700 in the UK, plus stands, I think these are great value for money.
|Design principle:||bass reflex|
|Nominal/music power (W):||60/90 W|
|Frequency response (Hz):||40…65.000 Hz|
|Crossover frequency (Hz):||2000 Hz|
|Efficiency (dB/1W/1m):||87 dB|
|Woofer:||135 mm Ø Titanium-PP|
|Cabinet size (h*w*d):||319 x 166 x 232 mm|
Author – Jerry
Review system: MBL 116F speakers, Parasound Halo A21 power amp, Restek Consens pre-amp, McCormack UDP-1 silver disc spinner, Pioneer PL-71 direct drive turntable, Zu/Denon DL-103 moving coil cartridge, Trichord Dino phonostage with Never Connected power supply. .