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 Post subject: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:06 pm
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Location: Verdun, QC, CA
My friend tells me Quad ESL57 are very high impedance and hence would produce muffled sound if plugged into my current modern amplifier. He suggests I need a Quad Amplifier. Is that exact? Thanks.

Sorry for the newbie question.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:12 am
Posts: 234
Location: Windsor, CO, US
Quad ESL57's, (and most electrostatic speakers) require an amp that is stable into a 1ohm-2ohm load to sound and work their best. There are quite a few amps that can do this.

I've owned a couple different pairs of ESL57's and ESL63's and have never used a Quad amp, never owned one.

What "current modern amplifier" do you have?

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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:43 pm
Posts: 51
Location: ferndale, WA, US
I drove a pair of Quads with a Hafler DH-220 for years without any problems and an ARC D-75 before that which really didn't match-up well sonically for some reason.
I wouldn't buy a Quad amplifier and the power requirements for those speakers is far and above what Quad recommends, IMO.
Quads are great for a small space and high-quality source material
but they simply cannot fill a room with music unless you tread carefully with volume so you don't arc them.
I found that they sound their best in a room that exploits their dipole nature,
raised up off the floor about 16" and sitting plumb
and that horsehair crap they stuff in the back removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:44 am
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Location: Glen Head, NY, US
I have been using Quad 57s for the past ten years and have used various amps. The best amps I have tried and still use are Emotive Audio tube mono blocks. These have only a 4 ohm tap from the trannies and the sound is sublime.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 11:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:11 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Glen Allen, VA, US
You do not have to use a Quad amp, in fact they were never a good match. The ESL are great speakers and I use a McIntosh MC 402 with my 63's and they sound great, I had a mine pair totally rebuilt by Kent at Electrostatic Solutions. I even had Kent upgrade the power supply's. These things can now play as loud as I want or could bare.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 1:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Chicago, IL, US
I have a pair of ESL-57's and love them with my Harman-Kardon Citation II

If you are going to use an amplifier over 30 watts, I suggest you contact Wayne Picquet at http://www.quadsunlimited.us/ and get a pair of his ZENER CLAMP BOARDS.

This will protect your speakers from BLOWING UP with higher-powered amps. They are fairly fragile speakers.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:40 am
Posts: 24
Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
Quote:
My friend tells me Quad ESL57 are very high impedance and hence would produce muffled sound if plugged into my current modern amplifier. He suggests I need a Quad Amplifier. Is that exact? Thanks.

The original Quad ESL had an impedance of 16 ohms, and was originally designed to be used with the Quad II tube amp. Using a modern amp will not be a problem, and will certainly NOT give you a muffled sound. However they do need to be placed properly, and definitely not overpowered. They can't handle a lot of power, an amp from 15 to 30 watts is sufficient.
Set them up correctly and you will be rewarded.

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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:43 pm
Posts: 51
Location: ferndale, WA, US
If you're only gonna give Quads 15 or 30 watts to eat and expect them to produce quality sound waves,
you may as well just toss them in the trash and buy some headphones.
Believe it or not,
amplifier power to a speaker does more than increase its volume.
They really aren't as fragile as some are suggesting since they give plenty of warning distortion before they ruin themselves.
I found that the more stable power you give them,
the better they sound in presence, depth and especially bass.
They do have a history of sounding dampened and muffled mainly due to placement and the horsehair that wrecks their dipole nature.
My ARC D-75 should have been a perfect match for Quads but they never really opened up until I built a Hafler and took out the back panel insulation.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 11:57 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:16 am
Posts: 2
Location: New Paltz, NY, US
I love the sound of my 57's with Naim 250.2 and for tube the Rogue Audio Cronus or Atlas amplifiers. They are both completely stable and are good synergies.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 2:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:54 am
Posts: 1
Location: Portland, ME, US
I've had 2 pairs of Quads using both tubed and solid state amplifiers. I first used Mark Levinson ML-2 which I liked but were very expensive and very heavy! I have also used an Audio Research Classic 30 with great results. It's hard to compare the sound of the systems due to different locations as well as associated components; I liked the sound of both and had no arcing problems with the Quads due to overdriving them.

I currently am using a Bedini 25/25 which I like very much. Class A and compact.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:00 am
Posts: 1
Location: kirkland, QC, CA
Heard stacked Quad 57's with Quad II amps, SET 845's, McIntosh 2100 and Quad 303's
Best performance was with SET 845's then two Quad 303's each output channel powering it's own '57 speaker, then McIntosh Mc2100 and lastly Quad II's
Quad II came in last last only because of lack of bass definition but midrange timbral accuracy was lifelike.
SET 845's had it all, well articulated bass and even slightly better midrange and HF accuracy than any of the other amps.
Best placement in that Room was 42 inches from back wall, 7 feet apart measured center to center , slightly toed in and sitting 7 to 9 feet back. Rear panel Horsehair in place , front metal grills removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 5:59 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:42 am
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Location: armonk, NY, US
I have Piquet restored 57s. I drive them with a Berning EA230. Wonderful sound.

I also have a pair of Piquet restored 63s that I drive with a Krell KSA150. Just so you don't think I don't like big power. Sound equally wonderful but different.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:51 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Laguna Woods, CA, US
louism wrote:
My friend tells me Quad ESL57 are very high impedance and hence would produce muffled sound if plugged into my current modern amplifier. He suggests I need a Quad Amplifier. Is that exact? Thanks.
Sorry for the newbie question.



This question is so rich:
There is much experience with the 57 ... so many were manufactured ... and such a variety of experience.

Most audio guys either love them or don't get excited at all.
If they love them, they'll take extreme measures to extract the best from them.
This remains true 60 years after their introduction in 1957.
That alone is indicative of their important in the history of audio reproduction.
When a pair of Quad 57s is working well, in a good room, with well matched electronics, they regularly allow a listener to suspend belief and swear the performance is taking place right in the room.
In that way, they are magical in a way that few speakers can match.

I owned a pair from 1979 to 1982 ... loved them ... drove them with a Marantz 7C pre and 8B amp. That was a fine match. I was young. I attempted to play them too loud on occasion ... and I arc'd them on occasion. I sold them because I had a young family and needed / wanted to get my speakers up off the floor. My next speaker was the Spendor 15 ohm LS3/5a.
I have had many speakers and systems after that, but I always dreamed / knew that I would someday return to the Quad 57s.

I was able to accomplish that about four years ago when I picked up a newly refurbished pair from Quads Unlimited.
They are the same as they ever were; and much better; both.
Tonally, just right.
But they perform like original Quads ... on steriods.
They have slightly better extension top and bottom;
They enjoy improved dynamics (micro and macro) and can play louder without stress.
They are just much more authoritative.
They amaze on a regular basis.

They can (and will) sound significantly different using different amps.
This aspect of the speaker is important. It is not often discussed as such ... which is why there are so many opinions.
I would say this aspect of the Quad 57's personality is as dramatic as how much a phono cartridge will change the character of a given stereo system.
So there's no 'correct' answer as to what is a 'great' amp or the 'best' amp for the Quad 57.
You have seen many good amplifier recommendations in group of responses.
They are not going to help tell you what you may like or love about the Quad 57 ...
You get to figure that out. :lol:

What I've found.
For solid state:
1. I've listened extensively to Avondale preamps and amplifiers. They are superb with the Quad 57s. More 'lit up' than I prefer. I found Avondale to be a better match with my Tannoy System DMT15 MKII studio monitors ... had that system for almost 10 years. I continue to use an Avondale phono pre-amp and power supply for my phono section.
2. The Quad Elite integrated amplifier is a fine match ... but does not takes the Quad 57s to a magical state as often. For the money, this is certainly a smart amplifier to consider.
For tubes:
1. Quad II mono block amplifiers are wonderful. They allow magic. They are underpowered for what the Quads Unlimited refurbished 57s can achieve. The Quad IIs are vintage ... they need to be rebuilt for reliability and to sound their best.
2. I use a completely refurbished Harmon Kardon Citation II in triode mode (with about 35 watts per channel). This is a classic tube amp designed and manufactured in the early 1960s. This is the best amp for the 57's that I have ever heard. Together they create lots of magic.

WTS


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Chicago, IL, US
I have tried about 10 different amplifiers on my Quad ESL-57's.

As I said earlier, my favorite is my H-K Citation II.

But these also worked well except as noted

Sugden A25 - Sounded good but not quite enough power.
NAD 7250 - Sounded good, a little dark perhaps but no solid state "tizz" or "glare." Very good sound for an old receiver!
NAD 2100 - Sounded good, a little dark perhaps but no solid state "tizz" or "glare."
Monarchy SM70 - this is the original class-A SM70, not the class A/B SM70 Pro. One amp in stereo sounded good but not quite enough power; two SM70s as mono amps sounded great.
Forte 4A- my favorite solid state amp on the Quads
Yamaha A700- This is the vintage A700, not the current similar model. So-so sound. Kind of bright, grainy.
Yamaha CA-800 - Vintage, amp from the "silver" period, capable of low power operation in Class A. Sounded the same as the A700, above.
Audioromy FU-29 - Chinese tube amp. Did not like the low impedance of the Quads in the treble, sound was bass-heavy and dull. This amp sounds great on "regular" speakers, but not on the Quads.
Yaqin 845 SET amp - Did not like the low impedance of the Quads in the treble, sound was bass-heavy and dull.
Dynaco Stereo 70- sounded OK but lacking detail. "Too smooth" sounding.

Wayne Picquet, of Quads Unlimited, once told me he likes using the higher-powered NAD amplifiers with Quads. This was some years ago. He knows his stuff when it comes to Quads.

There are **LOTS** of good amplifiers to use with the Quad ESL-57's. I have found that SOME tube amps will balk at the low impedance of the ESL-57's in the treble and the sound will lack highs, and some older solid state gear- like that Yamaha stuff I tried - will reveal some of it's flaws on a speaker as good as the Quads.

Lack of highs from a pair of ESL-57s can also mean that the high voltage bias supply is weak (which happens over the years) or that the tweeter panels have been damaged. A new high voltage power supply is not costly, but getting your tweeter panels rebuilt is not cheap.

Also please be aware that you have to plug these speakers into an AC wall socket for them to work at all. It takes maybe an hour - or more - for the electrostatic bias charge to fully stabilize once you plug them in to the AC outlet, so don't try to use them right away, the sound may be very low in level encouraging you to crank up your amplifier and cause damage. Plug the speakers into AC power and go make a cup of tea (coffee if you must) for yourself, after a proper interval the speakers will be good to go.

I have lots of speakers, very good speakers, but if I had to give everything up except one pair, I'd keep the Quads. They don't do everything right but what they do get right, they get REALLY right.


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 Post subject: Re: Quad ESL57 question
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 10:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:27 am
Posts: 2
Location: Surrey, BC, CA
Try a 15 watt push pull amp. Even tubes. ESL 57s don't like single-ended amps.


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