Quad latest loudspeaker range, the Z Series, is the first of many new products planned for 2016 in celebration of the brand’s 80th year. Like the S Series, the new range combines advanced Kevlar-coned bass and midrange drivers with a ribbon tweeter. The Z Series takes this fundamental design to a whole new level with re-engineered drive units, crossovers and cabinets. The range comprises two standmount models (Z-1 and Z-2) and two floorstanders (Z-3 and Z-4). The Z-1 stands 383mm high and incorporates a 150mm bass/mid cone, while the larger S-2 uses a 175mm bass/mid cone. The two floorstanders sport three-way configurations, coupling a 150mm midrange driver with two 175mm bass drivers in the Z-3, and three 165mm bass drivers in the Z-4.
All Z Series models have a bespoke ribbon tweeter. Like the ribbon unit developed for the S Series, the composite sandwich construction of the Z Series ribbon ensures “it is robust enough to handle high-powered amplifiers”, but at 90x12mm it is significantly larger than the S Series ribbon.
Designed especially for the Z Series, the speakers’ bass and midrange drive units use cones fashioned from woven Kevlar – an exceptionally strong yet light aramid fibre that is as ideally suited to speaker diaphragms as it is body armour. A key feature of these drive units is their unique double-roll cone surround, “which controls breakup modes to enhance accuracy and transparency”, coupled to a cast aluminum basket. All the Z Series models feature bass reflex loading. This incorporates a dual-chamber filter system inside the cabinet, with the reflex port exiting via a specially shaped expansion chamber in the plinth that is filled with resistive foam. “The result is the sensitivity and extension expected from a bass reflex system but with the clarity and transient attack of a closed box design”. The treble, midrange and bass units are aligned via a phase-compensated Acoustic Butterworth crossover devised using computer-aided design coupled with listening tests.
Every Z Series model cabinet is constructed from multiple layers of wood fibre composites of varying density, extensively strengthened using multiple circumferential braces, all of which reduces panel resonance to “below the level of audibility”. Each speaker is has a piano lacquered finish, made up of multiple layers of piano lacquer, each layer being hand-polished to a high gloss before the next layer is applied.
Commenting on the design of the Quad Z Series, Peter Comeau said: “The Z Series is the pinnacle of Quad’s enclosure speakers and features the largest ribbon treble unit that I’ve ever used, giving the Z Series a clarity and definition throughout the upper midrange and treble that is utterly beguiling.”
Recommended retail prices
Z-1: £1199.95 per pair Z-2: £1499.95 per pair Z-3: £2499.95 per pair Z-4: £3199.95 per pair