Quad ESL-63 loudspeaker The Arcici Quad Stands
The Arcici stands came at the right time in my life—just as I decided to forget about the Martin-Logan CLS and Apogee Caliper to stay with ESL-63s. I had been offered a pair of the Chicago Speaker Stand Quad stands for audition, but wasn't impressed by what I saw (I didn't have much chance to hear them). Most important, the Chicago stands don't significantly add anything to make the speakers' frames more rigid, which is what ESL-63s really need. Moreover, filling the CSS stands with sand or lead shot—as recommended—makes them weight two or three hundred pounds! You can hardly move them around, a big disadvantage for a reviewer (though perhaps not for you).
The Arcici stands seemed much more promising. For one thing, they raise the Quads over 16" off the floor, while the old Stand and Deliver stands raise the Quads just over 8". I thought the extra height might be beneficial, raising the soundstage along with the speakers. Also, the Arcicis reinforce the frames, holding the speakers at the base and clamping to each side with setscrews top and bottom.
You get other benefits, too. With the Arcici stands, the Quads become very stable. It would be hard to tip them over, which is otherwise a real hazard with the Quads, especially if mounted on the S&D stands with little kids or large dogs running around the house.
The Arcici stands change the appearance of the Quads rather dramatically. The speakers look more 1986 and less 1963. (If you are buying a pair of Quads at the same time you buy the stands, you might choose black for the wood finish; it will blend better with the Arcici's black wrought iron.) The sound is affected, but not dramatically; it is, however, a definite improvement. Raising the speakers does raise the soundstage, and helps the Quads fill the room with music. The Quads can use all the help they can get in this regard, since they don't play particularly loud. Bass is tighter (the stands are spiked), and the overall sound has a little more clarity and definition. An altogether worthwhile improvement for $175/pair.
The stands are a good value, too; that will become obvious when you see how well they are made. A lot of careful thought went into the design, and they can't be cheap to make. I'm surprised they cost so little. (Don't raise the price, Ray, the way John Iverson raised prices when we called his Eagle 2 a bargain.) You must fill the stands with sand or lead shot (or a mixture of both), however. Otherwise, they ring; besides, the added weight in the base increases stability. And you must install them carefully, to avoid damaging the speakers. If the setscrews are not firmly secured, you could have a disastrous crash; with the setscrews firmly in place, stand and speaker become one, each supporting the other. Be prepared, too, to touch up the stands with semi-gloss black spray paint; UPS can really rattle these around. (Actually, they should be wrapped in bubble pack for shipment so you don't have to worry about paint.)
I don't regard stands for the Quads as optional, and the Arcicis are far and away superior to those from Stand and Deliver. With the speakers selling for such a premium over the UK price, it's nice that the Arcici stands are made in America. They are worth every penny and every Quad owner should immediately order a pair. (It's also nice to see us get a leg up—no pun intended—on the British, standwise. Bravo, Arcici!) If you have difficulty in finding Arcici, they can be located on (212) 724-6021.—Sam Tellig