As Ardbeg has hinted above, I have experience of ESLs. I have three pairs of ESL57s in my system.
One Thing Audio here in the UK will repair them, or do as I did, and have a word with Manfred Stein, the MD of QUAD Musikwiedergabe in Germany (their website is easily found).
The design may be getting on for 60 years old, but the speakers have never been surpassed for clarity. The bass is pretty good, but doesn’t have the trouser flapping cabinet resonance found in conventional designs.
I’ll be happy to comment further, if anything is needed.
@graham55 As you said. Their clarity was like nothing I have heard before or since. The closest for me was the Celestion SL600 and SL700. Listening to early Beatles with a Linn Sondek and the Quads was magical. I gave them up due to concern about how they dominated our living room. Domestic tranquility ruled.
I had a pair of these 40 years ago, when I was aged 23, in Australia. This was all pre internet obviously and I never read hi-fi magazines. A friend whose Dad worked in audio told me they were good and I spied a pair cheap in my local trading paper. I already had a Quad33 pre and 405/2 power amp so it seemed like an inevitable marriage. I snapped them up. They certainly didn’t excel in bass and were eventually replaced by a pair of 12’ dual concentric Tannoy HPD-315 which I still own. The Tannoys satisfied the craving for bass, but honestly the ESL was streets ahead in every other respect. A number of years later I heard some ESL63s in a shop which I think sounded better. Of course they cost multiples of what I sold the old ones for.
Never lacked bass or level when I had 57’s - driven by Audio Vois V21/210 - but the treble certainly disappeared when you stood up…
I’ve always been intrigued by these. Apart from a review in one of the rags back in the day (where it was considered an interesting alternative to the NAC42/NAP110), I’ve never actually seen a pair in the wild, so to speak, let alone been able to get hold of them to try for myself.
I thought it was pretty good. As a complete contrast to 57’s it also worked well with the Kans I had too - possibly better than the demo system which I think would have included a 42/110…
Here’s a pic of them in the flesh. They came with some nice looking speaker cables too.
Unfortunately one of them has no low/mid so I think these will be going back. The one that does work fine sounds beautiful! It’s like being in the studio with the band!
Just to add, there are stickers on electronics behind each one that say these were repaired 06/23. So its a bit disappointing that one of them is faulty
Don’t give up yet… I’d think it’s worth trying to find out what the ‘repair’ was and if it’s covered by any kind of warranty.
How long did you leave them powered on? It might take a couple of hours to fully charge the panels - especially if they are originals and (maybe) 40 years old…
Thanks for the advice. I’ll give it a go!
They were powered on for about 30 mins.
They should work immediately after power on
When I enquired a few years ago, the factory at Huntingdon would recondition them for very reasonable ££. If I had the space I would have kept my old ones.
Had them on for a couple of hours now - no change yet. Should I leave them plugged in overnight then see in the morning?
You might have created a problem for yourself! They are incredibly revealing.
They need the very best source but not the most powerful amp. Also factor in if they don’t need to be serviced now they will need to be serviced in the future.
If you’re unsure about them, I wouldn’t leave them on while you’re in bed…
If no improvement after a couple of hours though, looks like it’s time for plan b.
They should; but older panels might take a while to fully charge - and seeing if anything changes over a few hours helps diagnostics.
Doesn’t sound promising though…
There were a couple of articles in Stereophile about rebuilding these, I think buried in Art Dudley’s Listening column.
@mbear - have you decided what you’re going to do with the ‘57s yet?
Yes, I returned them yesterday. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or spare £ at the moment to seek repairs myself. If the seller is able to get them repaired and re-auction them I will bid for them again (in the hope of getting them for a similar price) as I was extremely impressed with the sound quality of the working panel.
Let us know if you win them again…