Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

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JohnG
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Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by JohnG » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:23 pm

I am now approaching, crunch time on a purchase of a second set of ESL 57's to stack and combine with a, kindly gifted, Audax HD-3P Gold Piezzo Tweeter.
I have I think, as I have not spoke with the vendor for a while, secured a 2013 One Thing Audio refurbished pair of ESL's to pair with my 2002 Quad refurbished ESL's.
If I get my price the combined purchase of both speaker pairs is £ 700
For those who follow Quads progress through different models, would I be wise to seek out a well cared for modern model, say like a 989, as Old Trout has just spoke very highly of ?, or a other model ?.
I don't see a chance to experience a A/B comparison, so I am hoping to receive some guidance on this subject from others who have had the experience of hearing different versions of Quad models.

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Paul Barker
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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by Paul Barker » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:57 am

You certainly need lots of opinions. A friend of mine that heard 57’s at same time as me in a living room in Leeds had same thoughts as I. solid state amp, dont know which. Vinyl source. Best projection of singer to the space midway between us and the quads. But just one sweet spot where this magic event occured, you had to take turns.

I could forgive 57’s for everything else with that one plus point. But I would never chase a 57 into a corner making it do what it can’t do. Work with it’s strengths.

Said friend had netx model up himself, is it a 63? didnt have that magic sweet spot. But was overall a better speaker. Did effortlessly more of the stuff you canot make a 57 do.

Said friend listened to a higher level design and I think it may be 989’s and didnt like them. But non of these three accounts are in same place at same time on same system.

I had an extremely satisfying experience listening to a single Martin Logan panel diretcly driven by my 212 amplifier with a couple of other guys in London. The panel was 1/3rd way into the room. Host played Cello music. wowser, this experience in thta flat beat the 57 at what 57’s do best and made up for the shortcomings.

Again differnt system and place.

My fairly long time in this whole game and vast amount of failures with a few very brief moments of sheer auralbliss have taught me its a drem that takes much hunting down to recreate a magic moment like that back at home.

I once hunted it all down in one room of my house dedicated to me with open baffle field coils and a rediculously over engineered valve amp thta had no capacitors and no resistors, whihc filled the room to achieve thta end and was totally unsafe. In the end after a few months of sheer Navana it was broken down, as other life priorities were allowed back into my life and rightly so, Or I would be divorced sitting in a one bed appartment with my 301 amp and speakers. Not a cost I am prepeared to pay.

So there is no right answer to your question. Most peoples answer to you will not produce Nirvana for you. Not thta they are liers. But for every person who tells you 989’s are the dogs danglies you will find equal number or probably more who tell you dont waste your money. My friend would definately consider you a fool to buy them, but thats just one opinito and ta thta 3rd party. But he is one of the very few, with probably just one other person in the world, that I can say categorically every little things we hera together we agree on. That is rare. So I wouldnt buy 989’s on his say so alone.
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Paul Barker
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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by Paul Barker » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:09 am

Stacked 57’s I have no experience of. People who own 57s that I have know always talk with hope that one day they may aspire to stacked 57’s but non have ever achieved it, and probably non have ever heard it. The benefit may be a myth for all I know. Wouldnt fit in my listening room anyway.

Best speaker I heard thta wouldnt fit in my listening room were Bruce Edgars Tightans demonstrated at the last ever VSAC but most importantly supplemented with his active bass speaker between them which sounded to me just as good as the cathedral organ at Westminster Cathedral as the bride walked down the aisle. I was the photographer.

Even before we got into Bruces room I thought I don’t know where that bass is but its ruining all rooms around it. Within the room it was totally balanced to the music and as lifelike as an analogue listening experience. Every other element of that room was the most perfect all round aural experience of my life. It contrasts so much with any e;ectrostatic it makes you fully aware of the shortcomings of all electrostatics and of most other sound radiators.

For me a speaker system like thta is a too far away objective against othe lifes priorities. But the field coil full range driver on open baffle comes a close second, and imho is ahead of an electrostatic most of the time, except that time in Vry’s flat in London with direct driven Martin Logan and at voicing, thta one time in a Leeds flat with 57’s. But the ob field coil is a better allrounder than both. But its an unfair view because it was on a specific amp which was not designed for any other speaker, most certainly of no value to an inefficient electrostatic. Same speakers would probably sound pants on an amp designed to drive electrostatics. That aside I have a hunch thta Bruces speakers would make the best of most amps. He demonstrated them on a small el34 amp which had cathode follower output stage. Sounded amaising. He bought the amp, nothing he made, hes a speaker man. No idea which specific amp it was. All comes back to that difficulty of recreating what you once heard or whta other people state categorically about a speaker which other people categorically give the contrasting opinion and nayway neither of those versions may manifest for you at home.
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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by JohnG » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:02 am

Thank you for your views, I have lived with the Selfish listening position whilst using Quad 57's for many years , and in 2017, reminded myself of their appeal to me. I know I,ve heard the 63's but can,t recall how they impressed me.
I have not heard any other models.

I am also a OB junkie and love to get out and hear a pair, when I can. I will have a DIY pair sitting by the ESL's one day 😎 .
I,ll be contacting the One thing audio, refurbished vendor in the next few days,
It sounds like there is much in common with other ESL models ,plus a few quirks, I am familiar with these and live with them, content in mind.
I am fortunate to have a wife who hates the ESL wash boards, her reference to them, but accepts them, as she knows I rate them in our system.
I have not quite let her know of the imposing presence of a stacked pair, but I have been encouraging her to buy two 2 x1 metre vertical wall hangings to add to the decor 😀

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Paul Barker
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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by Paul Barker » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:43 am

Worth mentioning that before Google was neutered as a search engine into something that only find things with revenue implications for themselves, googling subject like open baffle speakers netted a far better diy result.

There was a group of open baffle enthusiasts 20 years ago that within their small community discovered for themselves that as they saw it there was something special about the Quad 57 dimensions. Just as Briggs found and I think he mentioned in his article on OB. Though I haven it to hand.

Those dimensions I copied with my field coil OB which is my favourite sound of any which I have achieved at home.

But there was a pair which I hashed up for Owsten on 3ft x 6ft plasterboard portrait, which also enjoyed good imaging. Those remain in my lockup complete. No use at home but they could always make another venue one day if I can find the motivation and the justification to prioritise such a use within the constraint of the relentless and vicious demands on my time which if I don't shrink back from things I once found time for I shan't be around at all.

But they function as a demonstration that ob is not just about size of baffle, how that size is shaped matters. (In mine , Briggs's and this obscure vanished to search engines group of a handful of enthusiasts somewhere else in the world than Britain.)
I can do it right or I can do it now, but I can't do it right now.

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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by JohnG » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:56 am

OB's as a practical exercise seem to me, to fall right into my skills set. After meeting Ali at Owston and learning of hos 4 way cross over and how you can sit with laptop in hand and tweak endlessly, my attention was caught in the electronics department. I don't do soldering, in the same way I don't do mechanics, I leave it to others.
I like the host of materials available to be trialed for the baffle construction under the guise of experimentation R&D.
I have access to scrap materials from construction projects, and at present, have the mind to use fibre cement board laminated as a baffle. I also have my eye on Aluminium plate 550 x 800 x 8 that will be available next year as a redundant material from a project. I could laminate this as there is quite a few sheets that will become available, as with the fibre cement board, I'm thinking the outer lamination would be cut to allow the driver to recess, and the inner lamination will serve as structural surface to add extra rigidity and a surface for fastening the drivers to.
I could use wood for the ease of construction, but there are many DIY OB's constructed from wood so its properties are already identified.

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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by Firebottle » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:48 pm

The difficulty of course with stacked quads is the sheer size of them. I personally haven't heard a stacked pair so can't say how they sound.
However i do have a single pair which i will never part with. To bolster the shortcomings I have run a sub with them for many years, but have only fairly recently achieved the best setting to my ears, that is X-over at 40Hz, full range to the ESL's with no filtering.

The narrow sweet spot has been tackled in the last couple of months by accepting other compromises.
I have added some HiVi RT1C-A Planar Isodynamic tweeters, crossed in at 5KHz, which augments rather than replacing the treble of the ESL panels. The tweeters are fed via a variable L pad so the level can be adjusted at will.
The compromise now is that in the sweet spot the treble is added to so a little excessive, but in all other positions a well dispersed treble is present.
A good result as far as I am concerned.

:bounce:
Don't you just love valve phono stages 8)

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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by JohnG » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:21 pm

your post Firebottle is a good one for me, I intend on using a re-inflated Audax HD-3P Gold Piezzo with the 57's.
I have discussed bass extension on here before, I will play with the concept of adding bass to the 57's when starting the OB build, as I like the idea of a OB bass.

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Re: Stacking Quad ESL57's vs Buying a modern Quad ESL's

Post by theoldtrout » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:39 pm

Very interesting hearing of your experiences with the ESL57s and how you overcame their shortcomings. It was many years ago I heard stacked ESL57s and I accept memories over 40 years ago get muddled. However, the A/B comparison we did was against some Radford Studio 360 TL loudspeakers using Linn LP12, Grace arm, Entre cartridge Lentek M/C pre-amp, Radford SC22/STA25 and/or four Quad 11 [one to drive each loudspeaker]. The gear belonged to the father of a friend who let us play around for a whole Sunday trying different combinations. The ESL57s opened my ears to the clarity of midrange I'd never heard before but the beaming effect "sweetspot" and poor bass put me off buying any ESL57s. The Radford 360's did not have the accurate sound-stage of the ESL57s but superior treble and incredible bass. As I mentioned in a previous post, it was the chance loan for a couple of days of a customer's ESL63s I'd repaired and then a listen of some 989s that convinced me to buy them, a lot of money but worth it. The 989s have less of a sweetspot so sitting position is less critical.

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