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Have Quad ESLs had their day?

Discussion in 'classic' started by fran, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    The OTA (slight) treble lift suits me because of my own treble (slight) loss.
    Jazz cymbals and hi-hats sound very close to what I hear on a real drumset in the same room!
    I’ve had mine for 6 years, and they have never disappointed.
  2. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    It looks as though this chap loves 57s and Sun Ra. Unfortunately I missed the event last January, (if it ever took place), but maybe someone on here attended. Anyhow, nice photo - and anyone that listens to Sun Ra’s quadrophonic recordings using 16 stacked 57s deserves a medal IMO:

    (Elan Carebell is head of sound at Dingwalls in London)
    MotelBlues likes this.
  3. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    Sorry had to read back to figure out who you were talking about. What work did you get done? The pair I had were owned previously by Rabski on Wigwam and @montesquieu . They were used by Rabski at a Scalford show with supertweeters and a subwoofer powered by Jadis monos. I had them for over 6 years and they sounded great to my ears.

    If it is OTA you are referring to I would suggest going back to them and chatting about it. They are very helpful and I am sure if there is a problem they would sort you out.
  4. ian r

    ian r 401's Nakman

    Thanks for your concern, ( without naming or agreeing as to the firm, it's hard enough making a living these day's) I did take it up and they unhelpfully said my amps weren't powerful enough....a very unhelpful response as I was using the same amplication before the full rebuild as afterwards (25 watt per channel valve monobloks) it left an unpleasant taste and it was some 8 years back now
    Literally they have been boxed ever since....another pinkfisher who also had stands and new covers done as part of the rebuild sold his 57's off as he found them unlistenable too.

    I use Maggies for now but they aren't a patch on Quads
  5. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    When you say unlistenable, what do you mean?

    What were the differences you and your friend heard back then that made you so disappointed?
  6. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    Just fitted the new EHT boards to my OTA63's. The old ones looked tired and one of the diodes was a bit dodgy looking. Haven't got them back up on the stands yet but with a couple of haynes manuals strategically placed 63's as well as sounding as detailed as previously have plenty of bass.
  7. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    The feet on the 63> series give a 3 degree tilt upwards, though they sound better with the centre of the panel at ear level and the 3 degree tilt removed IMO.
    Though the tilt also gives better stability against toppling, which was improved by adding a 3/4Kg steel block in the base of the 28> series.
  8. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    I agree the boards were fiddly to fit and I had connected the stand and deliver stands to my other pair. Too lazy to go to the hassle of changing them :)
    Interesting I suppose it makes perfect sense a nice chunky weight would give anything some stability. Tonight was just the hope that I would have sound and no smoke :D
  9. cupples

    cupples pfm Member

    I've just acquired a pair of slightly battered ESL57s and a 33 to run with my existing rebuilt 303. One of them seems to have a slightly lower output than the other. They are newer ESLs with IEC sockets and the protection circuitry. No arcing that I'm aware of. Where would I start with stripping them down a bit and checking them over? Is there an ESL maintenance 101 web page somewhere? They cost the princely sum of £100 so I'd rather DIY than send them away for work.
  10. brecklandboy

    brecklandboy pfm Member

    I would leave the speakers powered up for 24 hours and then play some music through them to see if the output levels match. If not, then my first port of call would be to replace the E.H.T. blocks in both units. Hopefully, this will resolve the issue satisfactorily.

    Quad produced an A5 size service manual for these speakers which should be available online for browsing or download.
  11. fran

    fran pfm Member

    So yes, definitely leave them powered up for a day before making any judgement. If at that point you still have an imbalance, the next step is to rebuild the EHT units on both. Depending on hw handy/confident you are with a soldering iron, you can either redo the existing boards, buy replacement boards online or send your eht units off to have them redone. Cost goes up with each of those options.

    I would also check that you are getting sound from each of the 3 panels (just by ear) without any odd noises that might indicate a torn panel etc.

    All you ever wanted to know is in the Sheldon Stokes book

    Obviously take care with both mains and high voltages etc etc.

  12. cupples

    cupples pfm Member

    Ok, there is definitely a channel imbalance there, so once I've finished recapping the 33 I'll have a look at the EHT units. Thanks for the link!
  13. Frizzy

    Frizzy Liberal anarchist

    I had a pair of ota 57’s, with Berning otl amp they were sublime. Tube rolling meant a good balance easy to tune in.
    Played virtually anything with blinding speed and tight tuneful bass. Only sold as new property front room too small. Preferred au naturel, no sub or supertweeter.
    Slowly starting to build a mono system for back room, might be using single 57 or 63, or maybe a corner horn. I just got a Lenco rigged for mono, so on way.
  14. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    The original ESL [57] was probably the best speaker design of the mono era, and the fact that it was also special as a stereo pair meant that it persisted in production for a long time as a mainstream even after the 63 came out much later than 1963.

    But the 63 will never be the mono speaker that a 57 is because the 63 is designed as an idealised point source speaker, which does help [paradoxically] in stereo replay. The 57 has a vast and not centralised mono image, and this does not sound like a point source, which helps "muchly" in mono replay as the whole panel seems to speak much as an orchestra on a stage in front of you. In live music making the sense of precise positioning of each instrument or section of the orchestra is minimal in live concert giving, and a mono ESL [57] gives a very fine presentation of the vague positioning with lucid balances [you imagine the phenomenon in reality and it is easy to do so], and absolutely minimal colouration compared to almost any speaker [mono or stereo set] before or since.

    If you want to optimise a wonderful mono replay set then an ESL 57 is a wonderful starting point to plan amplification and sources to use. A single ESL does not need a large room to create a convincing mono image though enough room behind the speaker is essential, and then you can listen at quite short range as there are no driver integration issues.

    I use one ESL [57] for mono VHF/FM and I have yet to find any home music on any other system as easy to forget and just listen to music. Mainly works best on live concerts [or delayed radio relays] ...

    Best wishes from George
    chartz and Frizzy like this.
  15. Frizzy

    Frizzy Liberal anarchist

    Thanks for info, never actually heard a 63 so good to know 57 is way to go. Going to listen to mono vinyl and cricket.
    George J likes this.

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