Review: Acoustat Model 2 Speaker

Category: Speakers

To this day I remember the first time I heard Acoustat Speakers,they were the 1+1. Until that time I thought I had heard the best there was. But those Acoustats just literally blew me away. Thats tough for me to say being the jaded audiophile I am. However due to the 1+1 height of nearly 7 feet I just couldn't use them in the house I had at the time. What a disappointment that was. However a couple of year later the Model 2 came out. Same panels but this time mounted side by side instead of vertical. Now that I could use,in the house I had.

So the review here will be of the Model 2 Acoustats. I have never been disappointed in the sound of the Acoustats. I listen mostly to Jazz,Classical and Rock. The Model 2s always deliver the music with astonshing clarity,detail and depth. For me the most important aspect of a speaker is to deliver the music as close as possible to the orginal studio recording and the Model 2 truly excel in this area. In fact at times damn near startling in their presentation. I have as usual been searching for speakers that could truly out class the venerable Model 2. Have listen to every Planar speaker out there,and to this day have not found any to warrant replacing the Model 2. And for going on 20 years now that speaks volumes on these speakers.

The weakness of the Model 2 is that they need power at least 100 per channel.They are also dipole. You have to really tune them to the room their in. And once every few years the interfaces need to be serviced. Also if the rest of the system is not up to the task,the Model 2s are unforgiving.

Once a few years ago I did audition a pair of Martin Logans for a week in my home. The MLs were very good,but to my judgement the ole Model 2s were just as good.If the MLs had truly outclassed the Model 2,the I would have paid the $3,500.00 for the Martin Logans.

So the search continues in this field.

Frequency Response:35-20K + or - 2dB
Sound Pressure Level:105 dB @ 15' in a 12'x18' room
Minimum Power Requirements: 100 Watts RMS
Nominal Impedance:4 Ohms
Power Consumption: 5 watts 120V60 Hz
Control:High Frequency Balance above 10K Hz
Dimensions: 58"x20"x3 1/2"
Weight:64 pounds each with interface.

Associated gear
Acoustat TNT 200 Power Amp,Acoustat MRP PreAmp,Denon DCM 370 CD Player,Denon DP 61 F Turntable.

Similar products
Magnepan,Martin Logans,EROS,Vandersteen,etc.

When I was kid, my Dad owned a pair of Acoustat 2's. I will never forget the clarity and coherence. They helped me become a planar fan. There are many people who wouldn't trade them in for anything even the famous Quads. If you have them-hang on to them.
You say every few years the interfaces need to be serviced. Exactly what maintenance do they need?
The Duke contact Roy Esposito at
Roy worked at Acoustat in Ft.Lauderdale,Fl. for many years.He serviced the transformers and can tell you much more that I can.
I have a pair of Model 3's and have had them since 1985. I would not trade them for anything. I sure could use some new covers though. I even took a tour of the plant in Florida way back when.
I have a pair of Acoustat Ones, the smaller version of the 1+1 which includes a matching sub-woofer. Theses have been excellent however due to the size and age,I am now looking at replacing them. I haven't kept up with the latest technology but was wondering if selling them would be a mistake. I would be seeking a smaller speaker requiring less power than what is needed to push electros. Any suggestions...
First time on this forum. Good information on the replacement cloth cover kits, I will contact them. Now I have another question. I have an extra set of panels for my monitor 3s that I would like to get rebuilt. Anyone know of someone that does this. Used to be the Electrostatic Doctor would rebuild them, but he's trying to turn it into a DIY task, and I don't think this is a do it yourself project.
I have model 2+2 using Adcom 5800 amp hook up to a mixer. However, it doesnot have the clarity of my ESS Amt speaker. Any suggestion? Thank you
I worked for an Acoustat dealer during the companies heyday. I thought I'd supply a little perspective on how the models evolved. The first products with the transformer interface were the Model 2s followed by the 3s and 4s which I owned. (One would be wise to avoid the older models withe the direct drive tube amps built in the amps, not the panels tended to self destruct spectacularly and often.)The more panels there were the efficient the speakers were however the more panels put together did influence the imaging and coherence the speaker had. The model number tells the number of electrostatic panels. I owned the 4s for several years and they were incredible. Next came the 2+2, 1+1, 3+3, and 4+4s. This series of speakers were just a couple of inches shy of 8 foot tall, which gave you a true line source. The 2+2 sounded much better than the 4s and didn't dominate your listening room like the Model 4s did. The model 4+4s sounded incredible indeed but with the noted tradeoffs. The speakers themselves underwent several upgrades for instance the panals were wired with low oxygen content copper which increased the high frequency response significantly and contributed to the sense of speed and attack the speakers had. Next were the Medallion transfromers for the interface box on the back of the speakers, this was also a significant upgrade. In an effort to increase the efficiency and increase the bass impact, Acoustat mated subwoofers with the speakers and thus produced the model 1s and maybe a couple of more models with the subs, as I recall they did a much better job integrating the subs with the panels than any other manufacturer I've heard has done, but the sweetness was the all electrostatic designs which were virtually bulletproof and Acoustat claimed that the panels themselves never failed. One of the best choices for preamp and amps you can make is the Acoustat TNP and MRP preamps, the TNT 200, and the TNT 120 amplifiers. The amps were deisgned for driving the Acoustat speakers and at the time just trounced anything else we had in the store when driving the Acoustats which included Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Perraux, PS Audio, and several others.
The best sound we had in our store was with 2+2s, the TNT 200 amp, and the legendary Audio Research SP-10 wired with Fulton Gold interconnects and speaker wire. Even today, I compare systems I've owned and heard to this sound, and most cannot compare.
Unfortunately Acoustat ran afoul with a certain reviewer for the Absolute Sound, that I believe was unfairly critical of the design and owners of Acoustat. It was soon after this that the company had financial problems and Jim Strickland and his partner went there seperate ways disolving the company. Hafler hired Strickland and took over the TNT design, while the rights to the speakers themselves were sold I believe to an Italian firm, but I've never heard that they ever produced the speakers again?
I believe that like the demise of Apogee, the dimise of Acoustat was an incredible loss to hour hobby. I've listened to many electrostatics since, which includes Martin-Logan, Quids, Sound Labs, and another I can't recall, none of them have the sound that the Acoustats had.
Hope this helps those who were curious.
Looking for good amp to drive Acoustat 22 properly, other than the TNT-200...any ideas
The new Hafler designs using Jim Strickland's design should be good. Tube amps are out, at least the Audio Research amps never had enough current to drive the Acoustats, they always sounded underpowered with no bass. I'm sure Krell, Levinson or other high current solid state amps would work as long as they are stable into 4 ohm or lower load. The old Hafler DH-500/200 never sounded good with the Acoustats either.
I just bought a pair of Acoustat Model 2's and am seeking the manual. Might you still have it available for sending?

Thanks in advance,

I have a set of model 2s and can't imagine ever parting with them.Except for maybe a set of 2+2s. I am curious about one of the comments made about the transformers needing servicing every few weeks.!!!????!! huh!!!?? I have had these speakers for 25+ years and the only thing I have done was replace the socks (twice).(d__n cats!) I have the original manual and it says nothing about maintenance and states that they have a lifetime warranty.
Does anyone do mods to these? I would like to put better binding posts on them.
Also,I was considering going with the spikes for coupling to the floor.Is this a good idea? Anyone know what the thread pitch is? It looks like a 1/2 x 20 pitch. I guess I will take one of the feet to the hardware store.
ok enough rambling,old age is setting in.
Is there current contact information for Acoustat expert Roy A. Esposito?
According to the old phone numbers are not assigned to him any longer, and I do not think is currently in existence.
This is in regards to a vintage Acoustat MRP-1 pre-amp.
Don't get me wrong, i love ALL Acoustats except the hybrids that is but the best for IMAGING is the 1+1s i have owned 1+1s - 2+2s - Spectra 22s - and Spectra 33s living in a condo i am back with highly modified 1+1s special edition modified by my friend J.J. pictures in virtual systems MrAcoustat Keep It Simple
I just stumbled upon this blog by good fortune wondering if there was any chance of finding replacement socks for my 27 year old 1+1's which as glorious as they sound, are really looking shabby. My good fortune to learn about the Uphostery Company just a few miles from where I just moved to (Chandler, AZ). I am curious about the suggestion for servicing the transformers. Aside from replacing them, what can one do for transformers? Also, what about capacitors? I know they go bad in old equipment, but aside from looking for swollen canisters, what else would one do? One of my concerns is just degradation of the insulation in wires. I am the original owner of the speakers, and did assemble the bases 27 years ago, but my memory is not so good that I remember every detail. Aside from giving them a few hours to discharge, are there any special instructions?
I noticed a few comments about amplifiers and thought I might add a comment about my experience: I originally bought my 1+1's to work with a complete suite of Hafler electronics I had built, and it was VERY disappointing. Aside from the fact that the panels are 'tight" when new, the DH 220 amp just could not drive the panels and the subwoofer with passive crossover. I eventually took out the passive crossover, bought a Hafler XL 280 to drive the panels, bought a Richter Scale active crossover and used the DH 220 to run the subwoofer. WOW! OK, that's not high end stuff, but it really works. Eventually, I grew weary of the imaging problems with a single subwoofer. I don't care how many audio experts tell you that you can't hear the location of a subwoofer, well I can, so I bought a pair Klipsch powered subwoofers and put the DH 220 on the shelf. I am listening to KBAQ right now through my Hafler tuner, and it is just glorious. I should add that back in the mid 80's, I went out and listened to everything-Quads, Magneplanars, ML's, and aside from Apogees, which were prohibitively expensive, nothing came close. I should add that I used to be a professional classical guitarist and lutenist, and that I spent a lot of time listening to real instruments in concert halls. That's how I know that Acoustats sound more like the real thing than anything else.
Hi here is where you can get ORIGINAL socks for ALL Acoustat's models have a look at my 1984 1+1s do they look like 28 years old speakers ????? of course not they where modified in 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - by Jocelyn Jeanson Quebec Canada here are a few photos of his work.

My first pair of Acoustats, was the model thre with the Medallian mod.I powered it with a Conrad Johnson MV75A-1, and the CJ Premier 2 pre amp.
I have fond memories of that system, my first foray into Highe end audio which included the Oracle Dephi table ,FR arm and cartridge,and the huge Fulton Gold speaker wires and interconnects from Audio technica and a nice Janus sub.

You could walk thru the soundtage.
Never before nor since have I had the same magic, not even with my present set up -SME 10, Steelhead, Esoteric,Nordost, Shunyata, dedicated lines blah blah.

But my present Acoustats are the original model X, and I use the srvo tube amps.
Granted they have been tweaked and modded and most of the cheap parts have been replaced with better ones from Furutech,but the tube amps should not be dismissed.

If anything they are THE perfect amp for the Acoustats, because they were made just for the Acoustat panels.

All the other Acoustat speakers that use the transformers, medallain modded or DIY, share the common probelm that transformers bring to the party.
They add something to the sound.
Also, pairing up the panels and transformers to just the perfect power amp can be hit or miss.
The problem is, that, the Acoustats sound good no matter what you power them with, so the search seldom gets too elaborate.
Good enough rules the day, but great sound could have been just around the corner if only one had soldered on.

The servo amps, when modded and backed up with a nice supply of power tubes(no failures 2 years later)I feel is better than my old non powered 3 panel Acoustats.

The rest of my gear is also better now than before, but somehow that 3D eerie illusion has vanished somewhat.
Perhaps it's age related hearing issues, perhaps it's some magic that was in the old pre amp,or perhaps I've just had too many decent systems over the years and the novelty just wore off.

I miss those golden days of audio discovery.
Back in the early 80's I had a pair of Acoustat III's that I drove with an ARC Classic 60. I sold the III's and bought a pair of Acoustat IV's. Removing the grill cloths really opened things up. I still drove them with the ARC CL60 ... nice, but not near the power requirements of the speaker. But within the power range of the amp, the speakers sounded really ... really good. Then one night, a friend who was really into the Van Alstine equipment brought over two of VA's big 250 watt amps with VA's bridging devise. Well, after hooking things up with the best interconnects I had available, we ended up with 800 watts per channel. All I can say is Holy S**t!! The sound was enormous and never ended. The entire room became a pair of giant headphones ... and the sound was glorious. We cranked things up and couldn't stop laughing. The Acoustats with the grill cloths removed looked like two giant industrial radiators of some type. Plain ugly. Huge and ugly ... but what sound! The only mods I made beside removing the grill cloths was to change out the binding posts for Cardas copper. I do that for all of my speakers and have always experienced an improvement by doing so. But alas ... the Acoustats are history. We moved into a smaller home and I no longer had a dedicated listening room. Take it from me, there is no way the Acoustats with with the grill cloths removed, sitting in the living room, are going to pass the wife test. If you have the room, and plenty of power ... this is a fun way to go.
I have owned a pr of 2s for quite some time..the transformers have been updated and mods made by my friend Kevin Ferry.we both use Crown Studio Reference esoteric version amps as I had been the rep for Crown when they first introduced this amp.Kevin has the 4s and uses 4 amps in mono..while I use a single amp..that puts out about 750watts into a 4ohm load ..pleny of power to make the 2s really mono they put out 3500 watts...that right 3500 watts..not a typo....and boy do those amps sing in mono...nothing like um..I use a Conrad Johnson Pv 7 pre I must say I have done a lot of work getting my electric right..but this alone made all the difference in the these speakers
fcoz ...

Man, I'd love to hear your system. Haven't heard Acoustats since I got rid of mine 22 years ago. Power hungry beasts, but when done right ... they are sooo right.

I still have my Model X's. The servo's are out getting some basic mods and a couple of upgrades.  Can't wait to get them back to hopefully hear the improvements. I might even try replacing the power cords. ;)

^^^ Never heard the X's ... but I have friends who have. They said ... "fantastic."  :-)

Have an Austin buddy with(I believe) Model 2 hybrids from 1983. They seem to acquit themselves well when I visit
If anyone needs to contact Roy Esposito, who used to work for Acoustat, the latest info I have seen is:
Since the company has gone bankrupt and no longer exists, I wonder if there is any enthusiast among you who wants to bring back to life some of their legendary models?
I assume that some of their models are good even from today's criteria for sound and quality. This subject is interesting to me and I would be happy to deal with it.
Does anyone want to collaborate and work together to make several copies of these legendary speakers for personal use?
I don't think it's such a complicated task with the available information and a little reverse engineering.
Funny you should bring this up.  I had the same conversation with Roy Esposito last year, and he expressed a possible interest in being involved if someone could raise the capital to do it.  The design, both the panels and electronics, seem incredibly easy to reproduce.  If anyone has an interest in being involved in resurrecting the Acoustat line, please let me know.

My company is called Sound Insight and we are in the process of building a dedicated servo direct drive amplifier to drive a pair of 2+2’s along with 4 per side open baffle woofers with dedicated 1,000 watt Audio Control amps with DSP for the woofers. We are looking to find a company to supply us with the Acoustat panels or possibly work out some type of business plan to bring these to market. 
currently we have two engineers working for us in the state of the art facility where the speakers have a produce, the servo amplifiers and subwoofers can be manufactured.



As an owner of Acoustat 2+2s.......I loved them.  It was a great value at $2000.00 a pair. If someone could manufacture them, at what price?  And to drive them properly?  It started out with ARC SP-8 and D-115.2, but ended up as a second system with Spectral DMC-10 and DMA-50 Monos.

I am the original owner of some spectra 1100's that I just stopped using as through the years, I never had enough room to let them breath. They were always too close to the wall. I did love the sound, however and was driving them with a Mac 2100 (105w/ch) and a Mac c26. I have different speakers in my main system but am setting up a second (used gear) system upstairs in a very open high ceiling room. I have a Hafler DH220 (115w/ch) with a NAD preamp or a Carver HR-752 (100w/ch). Do you think that's enough juice or should I be looking for more power? I could also move the Macs upstairs. Thanks, Chuck

With a 1+1 pair I have successfully used a Mac 2100 with a Mac MX113 preamp in a smaller 10x17 room. The Mac’s transformers handled the demands of the Acoustat's very well, although I did not listen louder than 80-82 dB, at the most. The Hafler may not work to your satisfaction in a larger room, however, furnishings and musical taste will be a variable.

pix4work OK! I was worried I was missing something. Despite the weight, I'll lug the Macs upstairs and see how they sound with proper breathing room. Thanks.