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Subwoofer(s) for QUAD ESL 63

Discussion in 'classic' started by F456gtm, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. F456gtm

    F456gtm pfm Member


    I am looking for owners who have successfully integrated their QUAD ESL 63s with a subwoofer(s).

    I have had several pairs of ESL 63s. I bought my first pair in the UK in 1982, sold them later and in 1987 I bought my second pair from the same dealer, later sold them too. When I did not have the QUADs I used monkey boxes such as B&W DM6, Tannoy Silver and Red, kits from Falcon Acoustics, Mission 770, Proac, Goldmund Dialogue, Aerial 10T, etc. but the 63s are very hard to live without when you know what they can do. Therefore, I recently bought a used pair and had them rebuilt, panels and electronics.

    My problem is that I am particularly fond of large-scale symphonic works such as Wagner’s The Ring , Beethoven, Mahler, Strauss, etc. but the 63s are very special and very frustrating used full range, they have limited bass and dynamics. I think that crossing them over to a sub, maybe at 80 Hz or whereabouts, will probably get rid of some of the frustrations, although dynamic headroom limitations at higher frequencies will continue to intrude from time to time.

    QUAD made some subs such as the LT88, LT66 and 102 but I am retired now, with a fixed income and cannot afford to spend money to make experiments. That's why I would like to get in touch with owners who obtained optimal results using a subwoofer.

    Gradient W63, Janis W-1, ENTEC and Velodyne are hard to find and very expensive, some are in so so condition.

    I have a pair of Decca ribbons and also would like to integrate them with the QUADs, "a la Mark Levinson HQD" but this will be an almost impossible task without modifications.

    Best regards,

  2. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    I have used 1 & 2 B&W PV1's and feel they blend excellently with the Quads. Either 57 or 63's.The trick is to just dial them in for the lower registers. If you are in the UK you will pick one up easily enough and if you don't like the result you can move it or them on easily. They are very fast and taut sub woofers. I actually have one for sale having sold on my other one. What I have find is improving the source to a high level negates the requirement.
  3. F456gtm

    F456gtm pfm Member

    Thanks for your suggestion. I live in the Miami area, Florida.
  4. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Not 63s but stacked 57s. I got 2 car sub's and ran them off a car sub amp and xo made by vibe. Proprietary cabinet, 12v supply. Less than100 UKP. Set it by ear, just a subtle fill. When a tannoy owning pal calls I have to dial it up or he complains. It works, details on request if you want to go that way. It shouldn't work but it does.
  5. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    I used a Tannoy TS-10 sub to support my ESL-63s. When I used the built in highpass filter the ESLs were less transparent so I ditched it.
  6. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    If you can hold out for a nice pair of Gradients, they are in a different to the single sub I tried. If you have a big enough room, they would be worth the effort.
  7. Copperjacket

    Copperjacket pfm Member

  8. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    I have used s/h RELs successfully with both conventional speakers and ESL57s.

    There are cheaper options, and provided you go for an active version with variable phase, volume and crossover frequency you should be able to integrate one (or two) seamlessly. If you don't get on with them they can always be sold on.
  9. F456gtm

    F456gtm pfm Member


    I did a search on ebay, there are several REL models but are expensive even used. What model have you used?

  10. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    Back home I have Focal Micro Utopia BEs with a REL Strata III. I picked up a Strata II a while ago and had intended to use REW to integrate that as well. Here in France I recently acquired ESL57s, and all I have is a single Q150E Mk2, which I would call a 'TV sub'. (Around £150 on eBay). It's tucked away in a corner and provides the same basic foundation for the Quads, which was a pleasant surprise. It's a cliche, but set up correctly you're unaware of it until you pull the plug and suddenly 'hear' what's missing. Using the high level input its amplifier is barely ticking over, so unless it's been abused a second hand one should last for years. You can download the user manuals and set-up guides before deciding.

    As the holiday home is morphing into a permanent residence, I'll bring the big RELs on my next trip and use REW with the Quads, but the smaller one does work; one of the older, cheaper Monitor Audio subs on eBay would give you an idea. (My first taster was an even older pair of passives which cost if memory serves around £40. They weren't flexible enough to integrate properly but did convince me that standmounts (and ESLs) benefit from some assistance at low frequencies.)
  11. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    I used a relatively modest BK Gemini II sub with my 63s. I had it dialled in to come in around 50hz and it filled out more stentorian program material nicely. I didn't have it on all the time, though. Listening led me to the suspicion that 63s roll off at the bottom quite gradually, which would make integrating them with a sub without a crossover quite tricky, but I stand to be corrected.

    They are, of course, the best speakers ever made.
  12. lsinclair

    lsinclair file under 'curmudgeonly'

    I made some Gradient clones from plans I found on the Internet. You may not want to go down that route (athough it's pretty straightforward if you get someone to make a kit of parts for you - I did) but if you do I can probably find the plans.

    I found a photo the other day showing one of them in a half-finished state. Now they are finished they look indistinguishable from the real thing.


    Of course you would need to find a crossover. Mine (black box with silver knobs behind the speaker) was made by a guy in Sweden - I don't think he sells them any more.
  13. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    I successfully use a Linn Sizmik with my 57s. The Sizmik is a sealed box design, and is very 'fast'. Although my 57s are now part of my TV 5.1 system rather than my main 2 channel setup, I don't have it set for 'sound effect' bass, and for some reason it always sounds better with the sub firing at right angles to the Quads. The 57's are run full range. it works really well.
  14. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Jesus, how big's your room?
  15. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    The TV room is separate from my listening room... in fact it's in a separate building 13m across the courtyard, and the room is a multi-use space, art gallery, photo studio, spare guest room, and TV room. Its 10m long and about 5m wide divided into three 'bays' by the beams (its an old barn) so the TV section is 3m wide x 5m deep and we have the Quads as the main stereo fronts, Meridian M30 actives as the rears, an open back Fostex driver for cente, and Linn Sizmik for sub. All runs off an ancient but worthy Yamaha home cinema amp, but we generally only watch Dr Who, Masterchef and the F1 GPs, 90% of our leisure time is spent with the 2 channel 'main' system.
  16. F456gtm

    F456gtm pfm Member

    [quote="lsinclair, post: 3101106"]I made some Gradient clones from plans I found on the Internet. You may not want to go down that route (athough it's pretty straightforward if you get someone to make a kit of parts for you - I did) but if you do I can probably find the plans.

    Hi, they look great to me, Everything you can find about your subs including brand of drivers will be greatly appreciated. I have plenty of wood panels in my garage.

    Best regards,
  17. mandryka

    mandryka Active Member

    I recently had the chance to hear quad ESL 63s with an M J Acoustics Reference 400 sub. I think they sounded at least as good as with Gradients with the Gradient crossover.

    I spoke to someone who works for a company which specialises in refurbishing quad electrostatics who concurred that top of the range modern subwoofers can be better than Gradients. He thought that the best solution may be a pair of good RELs, but I haven't heard how this works - I suspect these things are very room dependent.
  18. It's time for a change if you feel your Quad ESL 63s need a Subwoofer?
  19. mandryka

    mandryka Active Member

    I'm interested in it because I listen to organ music, organs mostly make sounds which the quads cope with very well, but often enough some really deep bass comes into play and the electrostatics are a bit disappointing for that. If anyone has a really good system for reproducing organ then I'd like to know.

    I also listen to harpsichord music, and it's surprising how deep the overtones on a harpsichord note can go - I think more so than a piano.

    And then there's the deep overtones of a bass viol, and even a cello in a modern string quartet, when it's well recorded, can go pretty low.
  20. F456gtm

    F456gtm pfm Member

    Looking for an MT Audio Design XO-2001 crossover.

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