The 9L Active package, which retails for $800, includes two very compact, self-powered bookshelf speakers that leverage drive unit technology from Quad’s critically acclaimed L-series loudspeakers. Further, the 9L Active package is set up to support three inputs: digital audio via a USB port (yes, the 9L Active features its own built-in USB DAC), plus analog audio via either a front-panel mounted stereo mini-jack or a rear panel-mounted stereo pair of RCA jacks. Finally, the system is supplied with an assortment of necessary hook-up cables, plus a small, easy-to-use remote control unit. In a nutshell, then, the 9L Active system stands as a very high quality, plug-and-play, desktop-audio-in-a-box package, where all you need to add is a PC, a personal digital music player/disc player or a preamp (or any combination of these).
But the 9L Active system is also quite different from any of Quad’s earlier self-powered bookshelf speakers. Whereas Quad’s 11L and 12L Studio Active self-powered speakers were voiced primarily for use as true monitoring speakers, the 9L Active system is in every way—including speaker voicing—geared specifically for desktop use.
Consider this self-powered desktop speaker if: you seek a desktop audio system that offers many of the sonic attributes of higher-end speaker systems (excellent detail, focus and soundstaging, with beautiful integration between drivers), yet that deliberately produces a warmer, richer, more full-bodied and more evocative sound than most desktop systems can. While some purists might consider the 9L Active’s “euphonic” voicing touches to be colorations (which, in a sense, they are), the fact is that the system manages to convey more of the feel of listening to a full-sized hifi system than to a small and potentially underwhelming and anemic-sounding traditional desktop system.
Quad 9L Active System technical highlights:
Features 1-inch fabric dome tweeter and 3.94-inch Kevlar mid-bass driver, both as developed for Quad’s higher-end L-series loudspeakers.
Robust bass-reflex speaker cabinets with dual rear-firing ports.
Each speaker features a high-quality, 60-watt built-in amplifier.
Offered in “pearlescent metallic piano hi-gloss” finishes: Red Ruby
Overall fit and finish of the product are exceptionally high (as denoted by the fact that the 9L Active manual comes packed with a set of white fabric gloves meant to help keep fingerprints off the glass-smooth surfaces of the speaker cabinets).
Supports three audio inputs: one digital audio input via a rear panel USB port, one analog audio input via rear panel stereo RCA jacks, and one analog audio input via front panel 3.5mm mini-jack.
Left-channel unit serves as the “Master Speaker”, housing all audio input jacks, an analog audio output to drive the right channel speaker and all remote control receiver electronics.
Right-channel unit serves as a self-powered “Slave Speaker” that receives analog audio inputs from the “Master Speaker”.
Comes with a small four-button remote that provides volume up/down functions, USB/analog input switching, and a mute function.
Driver complement: One 1-inch fabric dome tweeter and one 3.94-inch Kevlar mid-bass driver
Frequency response: 50Hz – 21 kHz, ± 3dB
Maximum output (short-term peak SPL): 105 dB?
Internal amplifier power: 60 watts/speaker
Sensitivity: 0.775 V (0dBu)?
Input impedance: 10k Ohms
Dimensions (HxWxD): 9.76” x 5.98” x 9.33”
Weight: 22.93 lb. (complete system, including both speakers and accessories)