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Thread: Quad ESL 57 -- what am I missing?

  1. #11
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

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    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walpurgis View Post
    Get a listen to some proper Apogees. You'll be amazed! Panel speakers that do everything, big time.
    Another one on my 'must hear' list (Acoustats are on there too).

    Trouble is, for some reason all the commercial demo rooms are so poorly set, that one cannot really get a proper impression of the chosen gear. The staff always manages to mismatch the components for some reason. So the only way to really hear some component is to sweet talk some buddies to talk to their friends and convince them to sacrifice half of their day to let you listen to their gear.
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  2. #12
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

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    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walpurgis View Post
    Perhaps they were not best suited to the room?
    The way it was described to me, Quads were built in 1957 to accommodate rather small British living spaces. They are not supposed to be finicky with regards to listening rooms? True or false?
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  3. #13
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by narabdela View Post
    Quad 57s don't blow people away, they're much too subtle for that.
    A few people whose views I value told me that once you hear Quad 57s, you cannot resist them and must get them. which pretty much denotes the end of the road regarding hi fi upgraditis.

    I interpreted that as 'you will get blown away!'
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  4. #14
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    Quad ESLs do some things superbly - that micro-detail, the left-right placement (though it's 2D ... they can't really do 3D), fine expression and accurate timbre. It's hard to get these elements at that quality elsewhere even if you spend a lot, lot more. I loved mine, my second pair in particular which were quite special in the improvements made to them. So sweet, so intimate, so pure.

    However, it all fell apart when an old schoolfriend came round - a guy who was a close mate in the 70s, we went to our first concerts together (at the SNO Proms at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, when we were both in our mid-teens) but who I had hardly seen in 30 years. He was impressed at the look of the hifi and wanted to hear it .. I said go for it and he looked at my record collection and pulled out a Mahler symphony.

    To be frank, it was underwhelming. And at that point I realised that my listening had shunk over the previous 2-3 years of having ESLs, to the point where I was only playing stuff that sounded good on them - string quartets, baroque trios, small jazz combos, Lieder. No big rock, big orchestras, no full monty piano music, no full-scale organ. Half my record collection was going unplayed - though because the other half was sounding lovely, I was reluctant to admit it.

    I went back to Tannoys .. the wife loved their ability to fill the room, the fact that she could sit off to the side marking essays and exam papers and not lose the treble (ESLs beam badly and have a tiny sweet spot), that they sounded great from the next room too. It took me a few years, experimenting with cabs and crossovers and over 30 different amplifiers to breed out the Tannoy weak spots, but it **is** possible with a bit of effort. It's not possible to do that with ESLs because, to coin a phrase, ye cannae change the laws of physics.

    If you are looking for Tannoy or JBL versatility and impact, then ESLs (or, frankly, most other panels with the exception of Apogees) will not get you excited. (And Apogees require serious amplification). I bought some ESLs not so long ago to try them again out of curiosity but I couldn't live with them now, despite re-experiencing their charms. They went again pretty sharpish.

    So .. what are you missing? Depends what you are looking for in a speaker. Could be - not a lot.
    Interestingly, the sound I liked the best on Quads was the sound of big band. Which is counter-intuitive, because the dynamics and the scale weren't there, and yet...
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  5. #15
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    A few people whose views I value told me that once you hear Quad 57s, you cannot resist them and must get them. which pretty much denotes the end of the road regarding hi fi upgraditis.

    I interpreted that as 'you will get blown away!'
    It was mono back the so you only had one of them. They are pretty big speakers from a visual point of view plus you need space behind them ideally so I don't buy the 'designed for small living room' thing. They were way ahead for their time in 1957 but this is 2018, and if you have the money then you can do better. I don't think anyone would argue otherwise.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  6. #16
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

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    I'm Alan.

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    Tom I have to disagree with a couple of your points. My 75 s definitely do 3D but I guess you do need good quality amplification and good placement.
    Like you with the Tannoys I have worked to overcome the limitations of the Quads, particularly the small sweet spot. I can play any genre of music and enjoy it.
    Each to their own and forever shall that continue.

  7. #17
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,026
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    Interestingly, the sound I liked the best on Quads was the sound of big band. Which is counter-intuitive, because the dynamics and the scale weren't there, and yet...
    Quads do timbre very well so big band can be very convincing even if it doesn’t have ultimate dynamics. The problem with orchestras and ESLs is compression of dynamic range, starting at ppp you simply run out of loudness to properly represent fff at the other end, big band does not require the same dynamic extremes. (Fun music though I used to play bass in a big band, it’s a kind of easy entry to jazz for a classical musician as it’s all - or nearly all barring the odd solo - written down!)
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  8. #18
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos

    Posts: 9,964
    I'm Jerry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    It took me a few years, experimenting with cabs and crossovers and over 30 different amplifiers to breed out the Tannoy weak spots, but it **is** possible with a bit of effort.
    Nope - it can't be done.
    They still sound like Tannoys, which is good if you like the characteristic "Tannoy Sound" but nowhere near as good if you don't!
    Jerry

    Qobuz Hifi / Spotify Premium streaming, SMSL M8 DAC + L-PSU, Herron VTSP-2 valve preamp, Trigon TRE 50 monoblocks, MBL 116F.

    Cables: Wireworld Starlight USB, Ixos Ixotica i/c, W&M speaker cables, Belden 19364 mains cables

  9. #19
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,026
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandl100 View Post
    Nope - it can't be done.
    They still sound like Tannoys, which is good if you like the characteristic "Tannoy Sound" but nowhere near as good if you don't!
    You still haven’t heard these Jerry I will convince you in the end. Classical music day is planned after I get my STA100 back from Will which is in less than a fortnight now!
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  10. #20
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos

    Posts: 9,964
    I'm Jerry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    You still haven’t heard these Jerry I will convince you in the end. Classical music day is planned after I get my STA100 back from Will which is in less than a fortnight now!
    I've heard a near-identical RFC Tannoy at Paul RFC's place.
    Yes, a lot of the Tannoy Nasties have gone or been substantially reduced, but enough remain to drive me batty after a fairly short while.
    It's one of those Marmite things - either you can get on with Tannoy's particular failings or you can't.
    It's weird, I can't think of any other speaker make that manages to irritate me so much .... mmmm, OK, maybe some (but not all) AN/E.
    Jerry

    Qobuz Hifi / Spotify Premium streaming, SMSL M8 DAC + L-PSU, Herron VTSP-2 valve preamp, Trigon TRE 50 monoblocks, MBL 116F.

    Cables: Wireworld Starlight USB, Ixos Ixotica i/c, W&M speaker cables, Belden 19364 mains cables

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