QUESTED S7R by ISedlacek
Short description: Quested S7R are two way active monitors of medium size (35 cm high) with 6'' bass driver and soft dome HF tweeter. The weight is about 11 kg, they are black, with rounded corners and they look very sophisticated, well-built and serious at the first sight.
But I will not talk about technical and design aspects now and will rather concentrate at what I heard.
Well, I should not have brought these monitors in my studio ... I did not expect they will shake with something that I thought was already no subject to change ...
(It was just few days ago when I tried another, quite renowned monitors here and was quite disappointed by the overall sound).
First impressions: So, without much expectations, I put S7R on the stands and started playing the usual tracks I heard 1000 times and that I always use for evaluating any monitor. When Diana Krall's "Let's fall in love" song started playing, my attention was raised a lot. The sound was surprisingly organic, balanced, "breathing", with clear detailed articulation of every instrument and vocal, with larger sound stage than I would expect from monitors of this size. The vocal was very clear and extremely detailed, it seemed to me that I heard the subtle reverb tails more clear than any time before ... The instruments sounded very full and natural, with no artificial timbre and with unusually full bass for such monitor size. Overall I felt that all the elements of the music were clearly separated within a nice general depth and I could concentrate at any instruments or vocal, perceiving very subtle details.
I continued with many other tracks of various genres (from hiphop to Bach) and this impression was quite consistent.
Comparison to other monitors: I had two other monitors in the room - my main huge Geithain 901k and Unity Audio Rock - and I was switching among all the three. And I continued in it also the next few days with fresh ears.
In the end I had a feeling like eating a sweet organic apple from the tree (Quested sound) and eating apples with some spicy sauce, little salt, chilli and other ingredients (the other monitors). At first you may feel - oh, how tasty/hot the sauce is, while the apple itself tastes just plain ... But it may not take long before you realise that within that pure, natural taste, you can actually perceive much more lively details, it is less demanding for your "sound digestive organs" and more enjoyable. It is like watching the nature through a window with some nice coloured foil on it and then opening the window ... For me, the second way became quite addictive (although I confess that at first the question - does it have enough highs ? - really arose for a moment when switching to other monitors, but was quickly replied - YES.
Faithfullness of sound: The real revelation happened to me when I played some of my acoustic instruments (guitar, monochord, flute, djembe etc.) - something I do most of the time for many years, creating my own music. The recording chain is such, that it would be quite difficult to improve (Schoeps, Forssell or Thermionic preamp, Forssell AD) - yet , I had often feelings, that it still does not sound as smooth and natural as I hear it when playing ... (so I often used headphones to be satisfied)
So , I played my concert guitar, huge monochord, flute and then listened to the results ... when playing on Quested, to my surprise I finally heard the sound of these instruments as very close to the sound as I hear in my room - in most of minor details, timbre and overall feeling. When I switched to Geithains, the sound was nice, but with a kind of sizzling "spice" in higher frequencies that I would rather prefer to miss ... Similarly with other instruments - on Quested I heard the flute smooth and full as I heard it in the room, on Geithains (and especially on the Rock), it sounded more shrill than it really sounds ... This was quite revealing for me ... And the impression deepened when I later listened to lot of classical recordings, violin recordings etc. The sound was again very natural - I could feel the real "wood" of some instruments, without artificial colours added.
Bass: these are nearfields, so we cannot expect the bass to go extremely low .. for sure, it cannot be compared to the "cellar" sub basses of the huge 16'' Geithain bass driver. Yet, the bass performace of S7R is quite impressive too. For me it was as if the bass around 60-120 Hz was somehow thicker, more "meaty" than I could hear on Geithains. At that time I was mastering one single of a local pop singer. I sent the first version and the producer's comment was - it sounds nice, but if you could make more pronounced and sophisticated bass, it would be even better. The second time I used only Quested for the adjusted master. I immediately received the comment - oh, great, now it sounds superb ! Well ...
I think these monitors could be definitely used as standalone for any smaller studio, because the bass performance is quite sufficient and revealing. If you want go deeper, you can always connect a sub. But in most situations I would not feel that need.
Mids: are fabulous ... full, detailed, revealing ... When we listened to some rock recordings with the owner of the Rock monitors, he was scratching his head a bit - the fullness of the mids performance was too great with Quested
Highs: Quested do not follow the common line of hyped, aggressive, emphasised highs, as perceived with many other modern monitors. If you are used to them, Quested may (or may not) sound a bit plain at first. But quickly you realise that the amount of highs is just right with all the details present - what sounds shrill, will sound shrill here as well, what sounds veiled, will sound veiled and what sounds right, will simply sound right.
Sound adjustment: To adjust bass and high frequencies, there are switches in the back, where you can add or cut some amount of highs and cut some bass frequencies (if your room requires it). I tried some of the settings but found that for me the neutral setting sounds the best.
Stereo separation, depth and listening angle:
I found the L/M/R stereo separation very clear, the depth quite nice (if we forget the size/volume difference, it was not that different or limited comparing to the big Geithains) and the sound quite consistent , even if you move around your listening position - including my favourite position in the other room with door open
CONCLUSION: Quested S7R are very high quality, sophisticated monitors, that bring full range sound in extremely natural, full, unhyped, highly detailed rendering - that will result both in non-fatiguing work and also in very good translation of your work to other systems. They can be easily and reliably used as the only monitors in your studio, giving you all the information you need for recording, mixing, mobile recording, self-mastering or post-production. And they can play loud too ...Should you need to go deeper to sub bass, you can consider a sub, but not really needed in most situations.
For me - the most impressive nearfields I have heard so far - for the price that is more than favourable.
My personal follow up: Getting a taste of more natural sound than I was used to, very soon I am going to explore more options - the bigger Quested V2108 and 3110 and also the PSI monitors range (maybe there I will be surprised even more ? I am open to it ... ). I may share my new findings soon ...