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I finally got the Spider legs for my ESL57's and after some boiled linseed oil and lacquer, they were installed yesterday: It has changed the sound quite a bit but it mostly makes them easi

Here is my rig: Rega P3-24 > rega elys 2 > oldstep enhance phono > silverfi spirit > heavily upgraded quad twenty four > dh labs cables > quad forty monoblocks >

On a slight tangent, here is the dipole subwoofer I use with my Quads.  Behind the grill is a Hartley 24" driver.

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I was using a 20 watt Graaf GM-20 OTL amp with my ESL-63's and occasionally would hear distortion when I turned things up a bit. I substituted a Threshold S/200 amp I have and while the upper end distortion was gone, much of the life was missing out of the midrange that made the Graaf such a great amp for the Quads.

I sold the Graaf and went looking for a newer amp and came upon the new Harman Kardon HK-990 integrated amp. This thing appeared to be well made, was heavy as hell and actually sounded good. It had some of the midrange richness I liked about the Graaf and presented a very nice soundstage. It included a nice built in DAC that sounded fine and had DSP capabilities that were interesting to play with. I was seriously thinking about buying this when the internal DAC died. The dealer took it back and stated it was broke and while he could get me another I was concerned about the reliability of the unit and went looking elsewhere.

I auditioned a couple other amps and settled on my first piece of Conrad Johnson gear, a Premier 11a power amp. At 70 watts a channel it had the balls to drive the Quads nicely and I didn't have to worry too much about frying my panels. It had a nice touch of tube warmth and brought out the best of the Quads midrange. Bottom end wasn't sloppy so I'm not tempted to try and integrate a subwoofer (a useless endeavor I've read). Subsequently I found a CJ PV-15 preamp cheap and replaced my Forte F44 preamp. The PV-15 didn't add too much to the sound but matched the amp so the wife was happy (sort of ...).

So I think I'm set on my Quad system. The source is a Logitech Touch connected to a Emotiva XDA-1 DAC. The only thing that might change is a new DAC if the Audio-gd REF 7 DAC I'm auditioning soon offers noticeable improvement over the XDA-1. It really is a great sounding speaker system.

Edited by audiosceptic
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I came across to a Quad 77 classify asking 900€~1200$, being in my budget range I'm curious about them but unfortunately its a 3:30 hours drive. He says it was fully restored and have new units.

I would like to know what kind of precautions this speaker need and how long they take without a repair.

Also is the sound worth compared with more recent stuff at the same price range.

And last how do they sound if any one heard them.

quadesl57luidspreker.jpg

Edited by Spychedelic Whale
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I came across to a Quad 77 classify asking 900€~1200$, being in my budget range I'm curious about them but unfortunately its a 3:30 hours drive. He says it was fully restored and have new units.

I would like to know what kind of precautions this speaker need and how long they take without a repair.

Also is the sound worth compared with more recent stuff at the same price range.

And last how do they sound if any one heard them.

It is the ESL57, of which I own a pair. If they have not been reconditioned, the main problems are:

1. Burnt out mid/treble panel

2. Defective voltage multiplier

3. Leaky bass panels

4. Resistors and capacitors in the crossover wildly out of tolerance

But spare parts and reconditioned panels are easy to get - I used http://www.onethingaudio.net/ for mine, which is an hour drive from where I live. Two mid/treble panels, bass panel dust cover kit, mid/treble protection kit (to stop the new ones burning out!), new internal wiring and a kit of components for the crossover.

Stunning - there are things the '57 does that no other speaker does - particularly voice.

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The last new ESL57 was produced by Quad in 1984 (not counting the new production German units) so show me a dynamic speaker which is still going strong after 30-50 years. Not that many even last 15 before the cones have to be refoamed and the crossovers rebuilt. You will still get sound but it isn't up to spec. Same with most of the old Quads.

Add to this just how abused the Quads are and used by people who have no idea how to use them. There is one guy here who has a few sets in his house and they are all 100% functional with minimal servicing after 30+ years. He also knows how to use them and most importantly, keep them out of direct sunlight.

Edited by spritzer
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The last new ESL57 was produced by Quad in 1984 (not counting the new production German units) so show me a dynamic speaker which is still going strong after 30-50 years. Not that many even last 15 before the cones have to be refoamed and the crossovers rebuilt. You will still get sound but it isn't up to spec. Same with most of the old Quads.

Add to this just how abused the Quads are and used by people who have no idea how to use them. There is one guy here who has a few sets in his house and they are all 100% functional with minimal servicing after 30+ years. He also knows how to use them and most importantly, keep them out of direct sunlight.

I loved my ESL57, which I sold in '85, but I only enjoyed them with jazz and classical unless I used a sub. I also had trouble finding a good position for them in my small apartment. Sometimes I wish I still had them, but it's really hard most of the time to find a good spot for a pair of dipole speakers. I bought my Polk SDA CRS around the time I sold the Quad, and they're still running great 25 years later. I am very surprised they have not started to deteriorate yet. They're currently a bit more veiled than I recall the Quad being and not quite as transparent, but the soundstage is to die for, the bass is deeper, and they're much easier to drive than the Quad were. I suspect that decrease in detail and transparency is their age showing, which is sad. I wish good things could last forever.

Edited by HeadphoneAddict
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and they're much easier to drive than the Quad were

Indeed - the ESL57 has a horrid impedance curve - with a big 35 ohm peak at around 70Hz and then falling to less than 2 ohms at 20kHz. It seems that tubed amps (which is all there were when the speaker was launched) cope with this better than semiconductor ones, which can sometimes run into current limiting and self oscillation. The idea of damping factor, which is important with coned loudspeakers to control their motion, is not really relevant to electrostatics (where the moving mass is only a few milligrams) - so the much higher output impedance of tubed amps is not a disadvantage.

FWIW I use a second hand Audio Research D125 to drive mine, set to the 8-ohm taps.

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Tube amps are indeed the name of the game here or very well designed SS amps. :)

My ESL 57s are from 1984 and work perfectly. :) They actually get sunlight through a small window maybe 30 minutes per day; should I just put a cloth covering them while not in use or will this make no difference?

Sunlight will kill most plastics, let alone those that are 3.5um thick so I'd try to block it out as much as you can.

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Indeed - the ESL57 has a horrid impedance curve - with a big 35 ohm peak at around 70Hz and then falling to less than 2 ohms at 20kHz. It seems that tubed amps (which is all there were when the speaker was launched) cope with this better than semiconductor ones, which can sometimes run into current limiting and self oscillation. The idea of damping factor, which is important with coned loudspeakers to control their motion, is not really relevant to electrostatics (where the moving mass is only a few milligrams) - so the much higher output impedance of tubed amps is not a disadvantage.

FWIW I use a second hand Audio Research D125 to drive mine, set to the 8-ohm taps.

I had a 250 watt Heathkit power amp that seemed to do well enough with the Quads. I used an Onkyo integrated amp as my preamp to the Heathkit, and to drive the MK subwoofer. When I got the Polk speakers I swapped amps and used the 80 watt Onkyo for the Polk and the 250 watt Heathkit for the sub.

If my wife would allow electronics in the living room I'd consider something similar again, that I can set out from the walls just to see how I'd like a dipole again. My theater room is too small for that, and is cramped with just a 60" Panasonic RPTV and 6 home theater recliners.

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So technicalitys apart they are well worth the money ?

Well, that depends on the money. If you pay relatively little, you will have to spend some money fixing them. If you buy a pair that has been restored, you will pay much more.

I bought mine for £300 and then spent another £250 and a lot of time to bring them completely up to original specification.

Bear in mind that these are very old loudspeakers, and like a classic Ferrari need restoration and TLC. Mine are 1964 built.

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Well, that depends on the money. If you pay relatively little, you will have to spend some money fixing them. If you buy a pair that has been restored, you will pay much more.

I bought mine for £300 and then spent another £250 and a lot of time to bring them completely up to original specification.

Bear in mind that these are very old loudspeakers, and like a classic Ferrari need restoration and TLC. Mine are 1964 built.

That seems like a decent price, the one I was looking at is asking 900€ being fully restored. At this price range I think I'm letting this one go and play safe with newer speakers, maybe the new RX line from Monitor Audio.

Edited by Spychedelic Whale
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  • 2 weeks later...

dsc0165jq.jpg

emminence alpha 15A crossed over using miniDSP.

just got the miniDSP in the mail today, so i'm still experimenting, but early results are promising.

the emminence drivers aren't exactly high end, but they were free, so i'm not complaining B)

How do you find the sound with that placement? They are quite close to the back wall/corner with no damping I can see.

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How do you find the sound with that placement? They are quite close to the back wall/corner with no damping I can see.

they are about 80cm from the back wall, which works quite good in my opinion; can't hear any big difference when pulling them further out.

as for room treatment, i quite like the sound of this room as it is!

i have tried them in many different rooms, and none sound as good as this one, so i decided room treatments "weren't really needed" :rolleyes:

since my last post i have pulled the speakers closer together, and placed the woofers on the outside on top of some rickety boxes to have them at the same height as the quads.

quadbass.jpg

works quite a lot better then before, though i should probably look for some better stands :lol:

bassbak.jpg

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since my last post i have pulled the speakers closer together, and placed the woofers on the outside on top of some rickety boxes to have them at the same height as the quads.

I didn't realise that they were dipole woofers. I'm part way through a dipole subwoofer project to support the bottom end of the ESL57's. Using Shiva-X2 drivers http://www.diycable.com/main/default.php which I chose because there is no chuffing noise from the rear of the speaker ever at a scary 2" p-p excursion.

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