Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

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savvypaul
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Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by savvypaul »

Richard designed the NVA amplifier circuit using the original Quad ESL57 (his favourite speaker at that time).

I'm looking to put together a blog article about using NVA amps with the ESL57 and would like to include some tips on what to look out for when buying them. Also, positioning and other tips on how to get the best from them. I know at least a couple of you guys here have owned them. What can you tell me?

TIA

PS. I might just pick up a pair for myself, one day, if a good pair come up locally.
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Latteman (Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:16 pm)
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by valvesRus »

I had a pair for a while, and I wish I still had them.

Mine had (fairly crude) home made wooden legs to raise them up off the floor, which seems to be a good idea.

Also, they need some room behind them.
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savvypaul (Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:37 pm)

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Geoff.R.G »

I too would like a pair of Quad ESLs but that may have to wait. All I will say is that Quad provided limiters with the 405 to prevent overdriving their ESLs, probably long since lost where the amps have been used with more conventional speakers. I would advise checking the on-line Quad manuals for more details of this but I doubt a 35W amp will be a problem.
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savvypaul (Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:53 pm)

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by terrybooth »

If you use to much amplifier power, they arc - not good for them because the diaphragm is perforated. (At least that's what I was told happened to mine!) So, certainly low power. I once heard on with some 60s valve amps which the owner reckoned sounded right. He'd been a harpist with the Halle Orchestra and told me that this was what music sounded like when you were in the orchestra. At the time I was a callow youth and thought this was waffle - if only!!!!

I first heard them in the Science Museum in London, they were suspended high up pointing down in an exhibition of hifi (this is in the 1960s). I fell in love with them and had to have a pair. I bought mine during the three day week in the early 1970s, when supply was being limited - had to search high and low for a pair.

Need to be in a lot of space to work best - not pushed up against a wall. The last time I heard a pair - in a fairly small room, they were about three feet out from the wall. The person I know who owned them then bought the newer ones - 28s and 29s I think they were then. He now has some rare panel speakers (I can't remember what they are) which need to be a third of the way up an oblong room (listening on the long axis).
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savvypaul (Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:54 pm)
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by TheMarlin »

Find a pair as original as possible. Some companies sell snake oil clamps and various other bolt-ons, that (to my ears) without exception, make them sound worse.
Quad will still service them if they need parts.
They loved my old Leak Stereo 20 abs Radford STA 25. Wish I’d kept those amps. The days of picking of a tidy Leak Stereo 20 for £100 are long gone.
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savvypaul (Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:04 pm)
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Principia »

I have a pair which have had the One Thing Audio treatment, ie new panels all round. Previous to this I had a more original pair, like a poster above I preferred the more original, and wish i had't sold them on of a "better" pair. Current ones are an unusual white finish with some oak legs that raise the speakers about 18" off the floor, bass is better and with a spike at the back the angle can be adjusted to suit. Looks quite modern for a decades old speaker. Positioning, some say a long narrow room suits them and that's my experience too. About 1/3 the length of the room from the front wall, and can be put right against the side wall.
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savvypaul (Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:04 pm)
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Fretless »

There is a shop in The Netherlands that specialises in refurbishing / rebuilding Quad electrostatics.

https://quadesl.nl/

They reckon that the ESL-63 is the best model from the range.

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by savvypaul »

Fretless wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:50 am There is a shop in The Netherlands that specialises in refurbishing / rebuilding Quad electrostatics.

https://quadesl.nl/

They reckon that the ESL-63 is the best model from the range.
One Thing Audio seem to be the most known refurbisher in the UK.

I know that Richard thought that the 63 was 'fecked up'. Not least because the crowbar protection they fitted in early 63s created a short circuit to the amplifier.

I've read that the 63 has a bit more bass but not quite the 'magical' midrange of the 57. YMMV
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Fretless »

The Dutch folks call their modified versions the 'ESL Plus' and claim that they have improved on the originals.

Hearing is believing, as they say. Unfortunately Tilburg is a bit out of the way just to pop in for a listen.
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Daniel Quinn »

Always wanted a pair of electrostatics based on a mythological memory of a pair of high end martin logan's at the music room in manchester.

The wanting was controlled by apple marc and zebbo replacing electrostatics with normal speakers.

They seem to be a speaker everyone wants to try but nobody keeps.

Also I only listen to rock music.

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