Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

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Geoff.R.G
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Geoff.R.G »

savvypaul wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:37 pm
Bencat57 wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:11 pm I hesitated about adding this but I feel it sensible to offer the experience I had . I knew that the NVA amps were rated to be very good with Quad ESL 57 and as I have and use NVA amps every day in my active set up I like NVA amps. However I have to say that I did not find it the best match and could not really enjoy the two . I think there is a reason for this and it is pure guess work as i have no way to test it . My ESL 57 have had the One Thing Widget installed which makes it easier for some solid state to cope with driving the ESL 57 which are a very resistive load. Richard when he used NVA with the ESL 57 was probabluy using an original set and as the NVA are good at driving a resistive load they worked well . It may well be that the addition of the Widget while helping other solid state amps to drive the quad gets in the way of the NVA and just stops it doing the job it can do .

As i say only a guess but for me and my pair of ESL 57 not a perfect match with NVA .
If it's anything like the protection circuitry that Quad put in the 63, then Richard said words to the effect of 'they totally fecked it up'.

He told me his only complaint about the original 57 was a fairly narrow sweet spot.
Interesting point, I have been looking for a second Quad 405 but finding unmodified examples is getting difficult. It seems everybody thinks that Quad amps need servicing. OK so the op amps are outdated but the capacitors really shouldn’t need attention. Fortunately the original circuit diagrams are readily available so demoding shouldn’t be a problem. Many of the amp mods reduce the gain, strange that the purveyors of said mods have forgotten that the gain you remove from the power amp has to be made up in the pre amp if the resulting volume is to be the same. I don’t know if the ESL diagrams are available but I would certainly remove any third party mods.

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by savvypaul »

An old thread from elsewhere that covers some of the above...

theartofsound.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-12491.html

You'll have to copy the link text and paste it into your browser bar as links from here are still (it appears) blocked by AOS.
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Geoff.R.G »

savvypaul wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:12 pm An old thread from elsewhere that covers some of the above...

theartofsound.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-12491.html

You'll have to copy the link text and paste it into your browser bar as links from here are still (it appears) blocked by AOS.
Interesting read Paul, unfortunately nobody thought to look at the original Quad owner's manual. I have just done so and the one I found states that the ESL57 was specifically designed to work with the Quad 11. The service manual I found has a circuit diagram of the speaker and details the modifications required for use with a Quad 303 amplifier. I also found a service supplement that contains additional information relating to later production units, 1966 and on. I got the manuals from here, you need a log-in to download manuals https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_libra ... l-57.shtml.

I have the manuals and circuit diagrams for all my Quad units, though for most I also have the printed documentation that came with them. It appears that Quad recognised that users might not want to use Quad amplification and revised the documents accordingly. One would need the Quad 405 manual to learn about the internal change to use that amp with the ESL57.

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by valvesRus »

My memory has been jogged.

The pair of ESL57 that I used to have had been to One Thing at some time, but I can't remember what they did, it was before I purchased them.

Also, they did not seem happy with my 50W chip amp, better with my (modified) Quad II valve amps, and even better with my GK-71 (as a triode) SET monoblocks.




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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Latteman »

Possible alternative Paul

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/393308653325
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by savvypaul »

Article added to the NVA website:

NVA AMPLIFICATION - DESIGNED WITH THE QUAD ESL-57

https://nvahifi.co.uk/a/blog/nva-amplif ... uad-esl-57
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antonio66 (Thu Mar 03, 2022 2:30 am)
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Bencat57 »

Okay I own and use ESL 57 in my main music system and there are some things that need to be considered . Firstly they must and i do mean must be lifted away from the floor and tilted forward so that the panels are face on to the listener. They were an original mono design and with the small feet they were angled at the ceiling to bounce the sound off which gave a broader spread of sound.

Most will now use a pair and so if you want to get the best then they need to face you directly . Mine have been overhauled and serviced by AQuadThing Audio - Andrew Jones . Andrew services all Quad and other electrostatics and is in my view the best person to contact for advice and any work you need doing . be warned though he is often very busy (because he is that good) so you may need to be patient .

Next get the new clamps fitted to the units they mean there is no danger of you arcing the panels and they open out the use to other amplifiers.

Placement and space are a whole argument in themselves . Most will say that you are not able to use these close to a wall but I have heard them with no alterations and they sounded wonderful . My room is not big enough to have them out in the room but I used to have them about 14/15 inches away from the back wall and 26 or so away from side walls . However I use DSP in my system DIRAC Live to be specific and with this there was no loss of sound quality or imaging if they were placed hard against the back wall and measured from there . So this is what I did and it gains the plus point of keeping them out of harms way and please my wife that they are pushed back that way . When they are working and when you find the right amplifier for them they are wonderful and sound superb . I am currently trying to get things fully set up with a Croft OTL 3 which at this time sounds wonderful but is not going loud enough . I am hoping to get this sorted .

Because I have them I have used NVA P20 and NVA P30 power amplifiers with the Quads but in my view neither of these has enough power to fully drive them . I would love to try a pair of the monoblocks or even just the current most powerful power amp but do not have the spare cash to make this happen . I have a feeling that one of the more powerful NVA units could be the answer but I will have to wait for that lottery win to see if I am right .

And before anyone suggests it yes I do know that I could ask for 30 day trial and hear the results but in my view that would not be being honest with NVA as I would not be able to buy the units even if they proved to be as good as I think they would be. On the other hand if there are any review models not being used for month or so would be only too happy to give them a home and write a review on the results .

As for buying a pair there are a few ways but I would only advocate two options . Firstly contact AQuadThing Audio as they may well have a fully updated pair which while they will not be cheap they will be good for around 10 / 1`2 years of sensible use .

The other option is to keep looking on e-bay or the classifieds for a cheap pair that are good cosmetically then send them to AQuadThing and have them replace and upgrade then you will know exactly what you have.

My opinion only but the 63 in my view are compromised not only in the sound but also in construction and have issues with the panels coming away due to the break down of the adhesive used to attach them . This only last 5/6 years so even if you get them fully serviced you will have to budget for the long term replacement .
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NSNO2021 (Wed Mar 09, 2022 5:57 pm) • antonio66 (Fri Mar 11, 2022 5:02 am)

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by savvypaul »

Bencat57 wrote: Wed Mar 09, 2022 5:42 pm Because I have them I have used NVA P20 and NVA P30 power amplifiers with the Quads but in my view neither of these has enough power to fully drive them . I would love to try a pair of the monoblocks or even just the current most powerful power amp but do not have the spare cash to make this happen . I have a feeling that one of the more powerful NVA units could be the answer but I will have to wait for that lottery win to see if I am right .
I'd like to hear our new (70 watt) integrated with your 57s.

I could pop over with it for the day if you're up for that?

I would need to know about the 'clamp', though as I know that Richard found a problem with the 63s when they came out sporting some sort of new protection circuitry.
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antonio66 (Fri Mar 11, 2022 5:02 am)
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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Bencat57 »

Hi Paul

Not sure if you have seen this looks like a good option for a rebuild which could be done by Andrew Jones at AQuadThing Audio .

https://pinkfishmedia.net/forum/threads ... io.265909/

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Re: Quad ESL 57 buying advice, please

Unread post by Bencat57 »

With regards to the offer of the try out of a 70 watt amp that would be very interesting . However I am in Liverpool and that is quite a long journey . Plus with the set up I have it is not as simple as just replacing one amplifier with another . I would need to do a full DIRAC Live set up with the NVA in place . Given this I think getting things all set up and working plus being able to relax and listen in one day would be a little rushed. If you are open to it I have no issues about coming and collecting an amp from you with a deposit and then get it set up and working . You could then visit and all you would need to do on that day would be listen to the results then you could take the amp away . I am happy to continue this here but if you prefer them PM me and we can see what can be done . I would be quite happy to write up a review of any session and add it here on the The Wam and PFM after any listening session .

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