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Quad electrostatic speaker owners club

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Welcome to the place for owners of the worlds finest speakers.

Man has debated long & hard about which speakers reproduce sound that is closest to real instruments.

ESL owners know that the genius Peter Walker invented them decades ago.

So tell us what you've got. 57's, 63's, 989's, 2905's?

What you've done to them.

Are yours fettled?

One Thinged?

Stacked?

Tweetered?

Partnered with a sub or 2?

Here's my "journey", as they like to term it in those online confessional posts :sick:

Having unsuccessfully demo'd umpteen box speakers, I got to hear some 57's.

They were playing Bach's Tocata & Fugue at the time and it was like being back in Barcelona Cathedral when the organist struck up.

So after some searching I found a pair of 2nd hand 989's, that have given me several years of total pleasure & aural joy.

I was a happy bunny.

A very happy bunny and then came Scalford 2014.

Where I got talking to former sound engineer Mark (Missing Link) who was attempting, against all odds, to drive the lounge with his 2805's.

Now I've heard these in his listening room & they sound lush.

So I mentioned a dealer had a pair of 2905's & wondered, hypothetically, if they might do a part ex.

He persuaded me that I would be insane to pass them up if I could get a decent price on mine.

To cut a long story short, I got a brilliant deal, and these arrived this week...

2905.jpg

ESL 2905's.

Are they better than the 989's?

Yes.

A lot better.

They just do everything... really well.

The treble is crystal clear, the mid is to die for and the bass is serious.

And they are lightening fast.

I am now like a happy bunny on Prozac :D:D:D

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I have 989's but not using them currently, my room is too small. I had them set up on some 11" stands to get the centres ear level, using them with AI second audio amps sounded lovely. Looking forward to enjoying them again when I move.

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Hail Dudes.. looks like the right place for me.. my lecturer in my early days of electronics explained when i was a young spotty student that the ESL was the only loudspeaker that could reproduce a square waveform without distorting the shape of the waveform this had a large impression on a young student with a love for electronics and all things engineering physics and research related.. and yes later that year he did a demonstration for the class he brought in a BBC LS/3-5A and also a Quad ESL 57 it was the first one i had seen in the flesh i thought it looked horrible at the time i was the proud owner of a pair of handed down leak sandwich speaker which at the age of 18 i had decided were the best in the world as they had large bass drivers made from polystyrene ( nice units actually ) both the BBC monitor and the Quad were sat neatly on a desk next to a quad 303 plugged into a signal generator roughly just in front of the speakers was a wonderful bbc/stc 4083 ribbon mike plugged directly into an old valve scope and yes after he persuaded us all to be quite after watching the scope draw the kind of trace that only 17 teenagers can make their it was for all to see the holy grail.... a perfect square wave being reproduced on the scope... this shows how incredibly fast the transient response of the trusty old 57 is.... the bbc LS3 bless its little heart made a nice Tommy cooper hat shape... over the years i have tried this with all of the ESL Loud speakers and all providing they are in good working order can manage this across the frequency spectrum... i know many will argue that a square wave is not music but is most certainly the ultimate test of a loudspeaker being able to reproduce a larger version of what went in and its still the same shape when it comes out this had a big impact on my as a fledgling studying electronics and sound engineering and i have owned ESL's for 30 years now in my domestic environment and as for peter walker... he is my rock star a man with no academic background who actually got the design to work before celestion and also ( jointly ) to be fair produced the current dumping circuit all products way ahead of the competition i have never found a single loudspeaker of the many i have tested in my various places of work over the years than can perform this neat trick... what goes in comes out simple really and for that Mr Walker i am eternally great full this has given me an open window to asses the many pieces of kit i have had the fortune to asses over the years and has certainly opened my eyes to the Good the bad and the sheer lunacy that is hi fi...

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My journey began in 1972 at a Heathrow HiFi show where Sinclair (I know) were using ESL57's to show how great and reliable their amps were!! They were using an early generation Reel to Reel copy of Abbey Road as a source and I heard a sound unlike any other, it was wonderful and stayed with me never being equalled by the various Tannoys, Rogers and KEF's I used for the next 35 years. I never considered that I had a room suitable for ESL's until I moved into my current flat in 2007, when I saw the empty 29 by 13 foot lounge my first thought was not where to put the furniture but ESL's. I soon purchased a very late pair 57's that had hardly been used, usual problem with WAF, and started to enjoy all that I had been missing, bliss. Of course being an audiophile the thought very soon crossed my mind that if the 57's sounded so great then the 63's would obviously sound better still. A purchase on the bay soon had me revelling in slightly more bass and an extended treble until one of the pair started to crackle. The offender was sent to Quad for repair but a quotation of £1200 soon knocked that idea on the head. A quick trip to Devon and another pair were set up at home and the spare packed up in the spare room, just in case . Sound was superb and further upgraded with the purchase a pair of lead shot loaded Arcici stands, more rigidity more bass and the treble now at a better height for listening. Fast forward to 2013 and a pair of 988's that had just been serviced by OTA at £995 with a years guarantee, were too good to refuse and were a slight improvement over the 63's and I was an even happier bunny. The pair of 63's, the spare 63 and the Arcici's were all sold, for what I paid for the 988's (a free upgrade wow) on this forum to various enthusiastic Wammers and I now spend many many hours enjoying the best sound my equipment has ever produced, and of course dreaming of 2805's after hearing Mark's 2905's at Scalford.

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Thank you for the Compliment Wiz if you are ever passing our premises you are more than welcome to pop in and listen to the 85's as are all you fellow warmers... again just give us a bell first bring your fave music the drinks are free and no need to be interested in purchases it gets me out of the workshop and listening to music and I am always up for that but you will have to like cats at The Missing Link we have 5..... looks like the ESL club is off to a flying start thanks to Barneys Dad.. ( PS Grats Steve welcome to nirvana the only problem now is all the wife nagging while tying to squeeze as must listening time in as poss....

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one of my fav speakers is the 2905 , if they weren`t so dam ugly I would have some but very happy with my logans currently

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I went to Scalford a few years ago with an open mind having limited experience of different speakers, let alone electrostatics. Rabski had his ESL57s with supertweeters and subs and for me, it was the most realistic sound of the day. This stuck in my mind as I had never considered the importance of the instruments and voices in the room sounding 'real' although I had read the phrase, 'Like they were in the room with you', many times. This thought niggled me and I always found myself comparing new things this way.

A few months later, I am in the supermarket and those for sale cards catch my eye. One of them is poorly written but says electrostatic speakers with amplifiers. I give it a call and meet the chap as he is not too far away. It turns out his son was a hifi enthusiast and had persuaded him to get a Quad set up in the late 70's. A sad tale as this old fella had outlived his son and although continued to enjoy his music, had fallen out of his loft and needed to move to smaller, sheltered accommodation. I gave him his asking price and he chucked in a Beatles LP box set and wished me 'happy listening'. My speakers have good kharma.:flowers: They are from 1978 and are black.

I fell in love immediately and saved up to get them serviced by Quad. Drove them down to Cambridge for the one day service and they needed two new treble panels. I went for the Quad Germany ones. I got the 303 serviced too and after trying different preamps, passive & active, have settled on a Quad 34. The speakers sit on Ikea Lack side tables that have been lowered to about 14" off the ground. My room is small so I sit 7ft away and they are the same distance apart touching the side walls. GIK accoustic panels in the room and behind the speakers made a big difference. I have tried the OTA widgets in and out but cannot decide if there is a difference. No subs or supertweeters required.

I find myself still getting a twinge of upgraditis although I know my Dac is pretty good and the amps are a perfect match. I have a t-amp in the garage so might give that a whirl just to feed the habit. Apart from that, dare I say it, I am happy and maybe lucky to have reached my hifi nirvana quite early on without too much expense. My young son sits on my knee for a listen sometimes and I see his head turn and tilt as he hears new sounds in recordings he had only heard in the car. I hope he wants them when I hand them down. Of all the electronic items I have ever owned, these have brought me the most joy.

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I have a pair (edit: of 57s) that I never listen to, mainly because they no longer sound "equal" to each other and are probably in need of some panel replacement. I've been dithering about sorting that out, but maybe I should since my amps mate very nicely with them. Any thoughts on One Thing Audio vs alternative options?

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I have 2 pairs of 57's

one pair cosmetically challenged

One pair mint like new ( these were at the WW show this year in my room number 36 ground floor :D)

And I also have a pair of 63's ( These were also at the WW shoe this year , on loan too Paulf2007 in his room )

I LOVE QUAD SOUNDS :cool:

The 63's were reputedly serviced by onething and had new bass panels

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Will have to try and get a listen to one of the newer models one day.

always welcome if you're back round melton mowbray Stu

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I have a pair (edit: of 57s) that I never listen to, mainly because they no longer sound "equal" to each other and are probably in need of some panel replacement. I've been dithering about sorting that out, but maybe I should since my amps mate very nicely with them. Any thoughts on One Thing Audio vs alternative options?

Simon I don't think there is another viable/similar financial option.The germany route will mean mega expenditure. Like this thread and will post my tuppence worth at some point.

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One day I will return to Quad ESLs.

There are, let's be fair here, many things they don't do well. The earlier they are, the better they are in some ways. However, the more the inherent issues become apparent as well. Big orchestral stuff with serious transients are a major issue. The sweet spot is absolutely miniscule and they don't go massively loud. At least, not for long!

However, until you've heard Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald on a pair of properly sorted 57s, you haven't experienced just how lifelike musical reproduction can get.

As to the restorers, there are two conflicting paths in effect. Quad are clinical and accurate. A very good service with extremely good backup in workshops that are spotless, and the speakers are revived to original spec. One Thing have workshops where you need to wipe your feet when you leave, rather than when you enter, and where you daren't drink anything, because Smirnoff bottles are most likely to contain lethal chemicals involved in panel production. And they have a cat.

However, I love the OT approach. They are enthusiasts and music lovers above all else, and produce what they consider (and personally I agree) sensible improvements.

The jury is out on this. There are equal advocates on both sides. I have little doubt that used values are probably higher for Quad serviced speakers. To my ears, music is enhanced by OT ones. Others disagree on this point. As always, your ears and your tastes are the ultimate decision makers.

Either way, and I have said this many times, anybody serious about hi-fi and music needs to live with a good pair of 57s for a while at least once in their journey. The things they do well are unequalled by virtually anything else I have ever heard.

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