So, on a whim, I have won a pair of Quad ESL-57 in (what appears to be) mint condition from my local auction. I’ve never heard these speakers and I understand these have a cult following. I plan to collect them tomorrow, but in advance of this - Do you think they will challenge my Tab10’s? Should I be planning to completely rearrange my living room to accommodate these speakers?
Be careful how hard you drive them. They are basically quite fragile.
I read somewhere that they are good with a Nait 1 or Nait 2. And the guy I bought my sister’s Nait 1 from ran a pair happily.
There was a guy on here years ago who really loved his. I think he had a pretty small listening space, so volume wasn’t an issue. I have not heard them, but understand that the lower extension is limited, and that they may pair well with a modest and carefully balanced subwoofer (or two).
Yeah, I don’t think thay can do “loud” (or big rooms). Some people stack two sets!
This topic cannot be without @graham55 !
I have a soft spot for Quad. They’re neat speakers and while I prefer a dynamic speaker I can understand why people like them. I wonder what the new Nait would sound like with these speakers.
Your NAP140 should be fine with them. Do you know when they were last overhauled?
No idea unfortunately. They look mint so hopefully they have been well cared for. If there are any issues I will reject them. Good to know about the NAP, thanks!
As a former Quad 57 owner I can vouch for them being phenomenal when paired with the right amp. However I can say that looking mint and being mint are vastly different. You should have them internally inspected to see there has been no arching in the Mylar (?) panels. The grilles have to be removed by someone who knows what they are doing and looking for.
When I had them I used the Bedini 25/25 class A amp which was, I think designed for the Quads. You could fry eggs on top of the amp. It got very hot.
My husband called them sailboats. They may not be visually acceptable in many domestic environments.
From memory I believe they need quite a lot of space round them ?!
I THINK I recollect they were often used with valve amplification?
@Ian the original quad Amos to drive them were tube/valve. Yes!
I seem to remember that One Thing Audio of Coventry were the UK specialists for refurbishing Quad ESL to former glory, perhaps they still are? Any 15+ years old speaker deserves/ requires that IMO.
As a teenager, remember seeing and hearing a first pair of Quad electrostatics in the mid 70’s at a friends home. Pretty sure that first pair were 57’s. That inspired me to buy into Quad.
Later, I owned a Quad 34 + 405 II. But never got as far as adding ESL’s, which was the dream. As being a Uni student, meant space was always a factor. Or lack of it. So, I lusted after a pair of 63’s for years.
Heard a few since and they hold a special place for me.
Anyway, they are well known for really good midrange, very natural presentation, detail and spacial imaging. Others have said poor or little bass. But I wouldn’t say that bass is missing. More that other speakers designs do this better.
If you like classical music, you’re in for treat with Quad electrostatics. They seem well suited to that style of music.
Sound like a great project.
@davidhendon are they the beauties we heard in ‘81 in TCH?!
A friend of mine had a pair so I listened to them quite often. For ‘lighter’ music (chamber music, piano, some jazz) they were magnificent. For rock or symphony orchestra not so much. BUT a decent modern sub might just transform them! They need plenty of space behind them too.
I don’t clearly remember, but probably they were ESL63, which were remarkable I think. But anyway I think personally that electrostatic loudspeakers are very special and Quad was always in the front rank.
I think you do need to give ESL57s space around them and supplementing them with a woofer, if it’s set up well, and kind of emerges from the dark behind them rather than pushing in front of them like a stroppy bouncer, is going to be worth trying.
I grew up listening to 57’s from about the age of 3 to my mid 20’s! They were driven by a pair of Quad 11’s and a Garrard 301, I still have the lot but all in need of serious €€€. They really programmed my brain from an early age and everything I hear now gets sort of subconsciously compared to that reference. They’re just beautiful imo but need the correct amp, a friend had a pair years ago powered by a SS NAD and it was nowhere near as sweet as the Quad 11’s. Comments above about actual condition are correct. AFAIK One Thing Audio are no longer as the chap died fairly recently but there is a place in Germany who’s name escapes me.
Oh dear, had to look that up now. On the old site his brother announced continuing and even extending the ESL business, referring to a new website (similar name but without the audio).
Here in NL Quad is a very popular brand and there are several restoration specialists, some big others more cottage ones. Solosound, ESKonline, QuadESL (all dot nl) are known ESL specialists.