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PureAudioProject Quintet15 10” Coaxial open-baffle speaker system Review

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PureAudioProject Quintet15 10 Coaxial (stock picture)

Entry points to this article

If you are unfamiliar with the PureAudioProject brand of speakers, I encourage you to explore the other articles I have written, as a great deal of background and discussion of their sound quality is contained those reviews. Those reviews are here at

Trio15 TB (featuring the Tang Band W8-1808 driver, now upon request)

Trio15 Voxativ

Trio15 Horn1

Quintet Horn1

Trio15 10” Coaxial

As might be expected, the link that is most pertinent to this article is the latest, the review of the Trio15 10” Coaxial. If your interest was piqued by the 10” primary driver and you do not have as much interest in the other models, then perhaps a quick look at that article will set you up for what follows. If, however, you are undecided which iteration of PAP speaker might suit you best, then feel free to backtrack and explore the other versions.


Building on the excellence of the Trio15 10” Coaxial speaker

This review does not have to be extensive, as the Quintet15 model using the identical 10” Coaxial driver builds upon the smaller version speaker, just as the Quintet15 Horn1 is a fuller expression of the Trio15 Horn1.

The frame, four additional 15” woofers per pair, and the height of the larger speaker are significant changes from the smaller speaker, and they contribute to a larger scale and more palpable bass experience. The locus of the concentric driver is physically higher, which is an advantage of the Quintet15. Within reason, whenever the primary wavelaunch is elevated, the listener wins because the entire soundstage rises to a more lifelike height. I do not favor the lower wavelaunch of speakers emanating beneath the height of the listener’s ears. Frankly, speakers such as the old Quads bug me. They generate an experience like listening to an orchestra playing from an orchestra pit. I have no problem with speakers that float the wave launch slightly above the listener’s ears, as does the Quintet15. To my ears the result is a more gracious and grand experience.

The additional woofers do not push the frequency response appreciably lower, but instead alter the macrodynamics by bringing in more presence in the lower frequencies proportionate to the upper end. Another way of putting it is that the additional woofers cause the bass to take on more solidity and punch. To feel the bass when using the Trio15 speaker one must raise the listening level quite a bit. With the Quintet platform there is more oomph, more bass output to build a solid foundation for the music. This puts the low end of the Quintet15 more in line with larger dynamic speakers with woofers from 12’ to 15”.

To reach much lower than 28Hz either with the Trio15 or the Quintet15 one must add a subwoofer or two. That does reformulate the experience and moves it in the direction of SOTA (state of the art) sound. Especially with the inherent scale of the soundstage created by the Quintet15, that extension of bass to well under 25Hz provides additional sound shaping characteristics, such as spatial cues to the recording environment. Adding a subwoofer also can warm up instruments and voices in the mid-bass frequencies. I will speak about that aspect of system building in a bit when I share my listening sessions.

The crossover used in the Quintet15 10” Coaxial speaker is the same one as the Trio15, but with a larger transformer. I already had the Trio15 and Quintet15 speakers’ frames, crossovers, and horn drivers to assemble either speaker following their reviews. Since these models of PAP speakers are modular, for the previous Trio15 10” Coaxial speaker review the company did not send me an entire speaker, but a set of 10” coaxial drivers, appropriate baffles, a small box with mounting hardware, and the crossover matched to the 10” drivers. For the current review the company sent me a three-pound box containing slightly larger transformers (coils), which I exchanged on the crossover boards.

In preparation for the Trio15 10” Coaxial review, like stripping a car, I reduced the Quintet15 Horn1 version to a shell, leaving two metal frames with 15” drivers on the top and bottom. For this review, I reversed the process and raided the Trio15 for parts, reducing it literally to the two metal frames. Everything else went into the chassis of the Quintet15.

Honestly, one of the reasons I have done five previous reviews of PAP speakers is because dealing with them is easier than it is with typical floorstanding speakers. In a couple of hours, I can transition one version of PAP speaker out of my listening room and another into it. It is much more pleasant than working with a shipper to have speakers delivered and then having to unbox, set up, and, when finished, repackage and ship five different speakers! I’m not an audio slacker, as can be determined by the list of speakers I have reviewed. But convenience is an ever more attractive thing, perhaps for you as well.

The beauty of a speaker with multiple voices

The modularity of the PAP designs offers great flexibility in pursuit of different voicing due to different primary drivers. I encourage PAP customers who long for variety to strongly consider owning the 10” Coaxial primary driver as well as some other version of the speaker, whether the platform chosen is the Trio15 or the Quintet15. In my most recent review (of the Trio15 10” Coaxial), I unabashedly recommended that driver as my favorite of all reviewed. It captures a great deal of the stunning coherence that is sought by fans of concentric and single driver speakers, and if I were constrained to one PAP primary driver, it would unquestionably be my choice. Persons who like a relatively more forward, upper end energy-infused character to a system would likely enjoy the Horn1 as their go-to primary driver. Either of these options will offer a refreshing break from traditional dynamic or dipole speakers.

In terms of system setups used for this article, I spent less time running the speaker in the simplest two-channel amplification mode versus the alternative passive bi-amp mode. PAP offers the owner of certain models a significant performance opportunity by including two jumpers on each crossover (both the Trio15 and Quintet15 10” Coaxial speakers have this feature) which, in the most basic setup, uses only one set of speaker posts. However, when the jumpers are put in position to allow passive bi-amping, both sets of speaker posts are used, one set associated with the woofers and the other associated with the primary driver. It is nearly a sure-thing upgrade.

Consequently, to run the speaker in passive bi-amp mode requires four channels of amplification. In some setups I use an additional pair of interconnects if the preamp has two sets of outputs, or a Y-cable at the preamp leading to two interconnects per channel, or a single interconnect at the preamp with the appropriate Y-cable at the amp. You may think it ludicrous to try reversing Y-cables and interconnects because presumably it couldn’t make much of a difference in the sound. That is an incorrect presumption, which is easily dispelled by trying the variants. I caution that some low-power or esoteric preamp and amp combos might be unsuitable for doubling interconnects if their output is insufficient to drive the lower impedance of the additional length of interconnects. Nearly any pre/amp combo can do so within reason, i.e., driving two 3M interconnects and a Y-cable. As with other alternative setups, this is a do-at-your-own-risk idea and, if you are unsure, check with the maker of your preamp and amp(s).

There is usually significantly more cost associated with passive bi-amping with four channels (unless one is using a much less expensive multi-channel amp), interconnects, and speaker cables than a two-channel setup. Some of the expected advantages of transitioning any speaker with passive bi-amp capability from two-channel to multi-channel power include more powerful macrodynamics with tighter bass, cleaner transients, expanded soundstage due to more detail being revealed, and more openness with less stridency in the upper frequencies.

Remember, you can start with lower cost amp channels and cables to achieve bi-amp capability, and upgrade each part incrementally for additional improvement. Having compared such things many times, beware it is possible for a very high quality two-channel amp and single wiring option of a speaker to be preferable to a lower cost bi-amp configuration. But in my experience the performance and cost gap between the two setups would have to be enormous. In most cases the benefit of moving to a passive bi-amp configuration on a speaker such as this is a step up in sound quality.

2 Responses to PureAudioProject Quintet15 10” Coaxial open-baffle speaker system Review

  1. Stephen Carlson says:

    Great review. I have owned the the Trio 15 coax speakers for a couple years now. I love the ability to fine tune their presentation by swapping out crossover components and cabling. Once I got my speakers located and settled in I felt the coax were lacking in a bit of high end sparkle. I played with cables and resistors swapping in silver cables to the tweeters and replacing the inline crossover resistors with Path Audio resistors in an effort to get a bit more energy. Then a day came along when I felt the mids were to forward and pronounced. This lead me to model the crossover to see how I could back off the midrange slightly. The crossover for the coaxial is no simple affair. I believe its fourth order for the mid. Once I got the crossover modeled in Xsim it was apparent that dropping the value of the R15 resistor would drop the output of the midrange. Swapping an 8 ohm resistor, supplied by PAP for purposes of tuning the speaker, was a revelation. With this small change to the crossover everything fell into place. The midrange forwardness I was perceiving fell back into plane with the rest of the spectrum and the treble I felt the speakers were lacking began to shine through as it was no longer crowded out by the mids. YMMV of course but the point is to underlie the versatility of PAPs open crossover design. I too run two SVS 4000 subs with my Trios. The added palpable weight they add is addicting and adds to the you are there feeling. More importantly when properly positioned the subs help to balance out the inevitable frequency nodes in the room. This allows the speed and accuracy of the PAP 15″ woofers to shine through. Once you here proper open baffle free moving mid bass its hard to go back to the congested midbass of a box speaker.

  2. Stephen,
    God’s Peace,

    You seem to be a well versed owner who has explored many of the enhancements of the Trio15 Coax! Kudos on your creativity and persistence in tuning to perfection. I know of few companies that combine the flexibility and precision with on site tuning of a crossover and the fit and finish of a mass produced speaker. It’s a winning combo imo and one reason I have done so many reviews of PAP speakers.

    I am happy that you added your thoughts about subwoofers. My article is not to suggest that there is anything inherently deficient with the PAP speakers, or even with the Quintet15 version. Vastly capable subs add to all but the most radical and extremely expensive large floor standing speakers, many upwards of $100K. After a review, I put the Perlisten subs with all floor standing speakers and would not use any of my speakers without them. It’s a case of more is better regardless of the speaker.

    You’re right about the “internal” wiring. An upgrade to it is also potentially efficacious. That is another bonus with the design, well, any open baffle design that allows such things.

    One thing I did not see in your comments is passive bi-amping of the speakers. That, too, brings a sea change in performance and is well worth the effort. I love the impact and resolution that the Legacy Audio i.V4 Ultra brings with its four channels at 600 wpc. I use a Y cable to split the signal to obtain 4 line level signals for the amp channels. At the very least, perhaps try bi-wiring as an affordable upgrade. Perhaps you have done all this already. Remember that if you are doing bi-wiring or bi-amping you want to remove the tiny jumpers on the crossover board. I believe there is an image on the PAP website with instructions. I’ll not debate whether a more prodigious amp in two channel or a four channel amp with passive bi-amping is superior. Most of the time I have to run the actual comparison real time to know definitively. Even the cabling can make a difference.

    I’ll add this tangentially; I’m quite pleased over the years with the combo of the Eastern Electric Minimax Tube DAC Supreme and the Kinki Studio EX-M1+, as both allow discrete opamp rolling! I can tune a rig to a very high degree with opamp rolling both of these components, a rarity. There is a compounding benefit in having a lot of flexibility with both of those components. While not state of the art, they are very pleasing when tuned well.

    Blessed Easter,
    Douglas Schroeder

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