What you report about the Quad mid range sounds accurate to me. I suspect you may tire of the deficiencies in the bass and lack of dynamics eventually, not a one night stand however, but give it a few months and you may be pinning for some realistic sound levels.
If you are enamoured with mid range then I am curious if you have considered ATC's? They will not be as perfect in the mid range as the Quad but the little you lose in mid range perfection you stand to gain in bass, dynamics and a much larger listening sweetspot. (all round performance that might be enough to stop your penchant for short affairs...)
Luke you said
Within minutes i heard more from a recording than i ever had with any other speaker I have knowm.
Here is a review of the Quad ESL63
by J Gordon Holt.
He states "First of all, these speakers have inner detail like nothing I have ever heard!" and "this is one of the smoothest [frequency response] through the midrange that I have ever measured."
That kind of praise coming from Holt means they are indeed amazing! No doubt about it.
the audionote is not in the same class as the quad 57. as far as timbre is concerned the quad is as good as it gets.
no cone speaker can compete with the quads.
i owned stacked quads for 7 years. i was in audio heaven.
all other speakers, including panels are more inaccurate the quad 57s, in their range.
I can see where you are coming from. There is nothing wrong with your observations. I've always considered the 57's the speaker equivalent of an idiot savant, that is what they do well they do supurbly. Problem is there are so many thing that they don't do at all, or at least well, and its hard to agument them in a meaning way to compensate. Lots of folks tried, including stacked w/outboard tweeters amd sub woofers. Most gave up I think. But if timbre and resolution is your thing and you don't need the rest, enjoy to your hearts content.
Shadrone, Gordon was right - at the time at least. Anyone want to buy mine! :-)
I have both the 57 (although they are moldering in my basement) and the 63 (a Crosby modded pair), and let me tell you, to paraphrase something similar, I know the 57 and the 63 (even Crosby modded) ain't no 57.
THe 63 will play deeper, louder, is more dynamic and less beamy, but it is not as coherent as the 57. That said, the 57 does suffer from severe limitations. It is, though, so spot on with what it does right that it often makes you forget that it is like a painting in miniature. I have promised myself to get mine restored, and would love to try them with my Lamm ML 2s and my current front end, which is slightly more resolving than my turntable/preamp/amp system from the early seventies.
The Quad ELSs were really the first audiophile speaker I heard, but those guys sitting on the floor did not really impress me much. They had no dynamics or bass. Many years later when I bought the Quads, I bought two pair and did a frame to hold the bottom one upside down. This was better and having already owned Infinity ServoStatic and KLH 9s, I could appreciate the benefits and liabilities of electrostats. I sold them and continued my quest for a great speaker.
About two years ago the German made Quad 57s appeared at CES. I don't know whether they are still made now. At any rate, I dragged an audiophile friend in to hear them. He was utterly amazed and asked why I had never told him about these. I quietly told him to listen to the dynamics. He said "Oh!"
Considering when they were made, I guess they are impressive.
I'll chime in here. I have a couple of pairs of ESL 57s and a pair of USA monitors. The 63 does not even come close to the transparency of the 57. The 63 is easier to place for a forgiving centre image, plays louder and deeper so might be a more suited for modern musical fare.
Even at the age of 8 or so my son identified that the 57's sounded "more clear"... The frustrating thing about the ESLs are they sound small and don't play particularly loud. The bass is very good contrary to popular belief ,particularly, if the panels have been refurbished by Wayne Piquet.
It's difficult to give up what the ESLs do .. I've been looking for several years and can't narrow down a replacement without sacrificing what the quad's do well.
You don't have a one night stand. What you have is probably the finest production loudspeaker ever conceived. Perfect? No. But it has been an amazing speaker for 50 years and few others have truely improved on the beauty of the ESL. Once you hear the siren call!
Limitation in bass output and dynamic capabilities is largely a function of set-up, power amps, etc. The speakers will do honest bass down to about mid 40s with spenty of slam! If a clean 95-100dB output is not enough, then yes, get something else.
Hard to beat for the sheer ability to get lost in the music!
Get your speaker repaired. It is well worth the effort.
The most amazing speakers? Magico. And the most amazing thing about them? The price.
Thanks all for the enthusiastic agreement of my observations. A recent review in Hifi World stated that a rebuilt quad 57 was closer in dynamics and bass slam to his Yamaha NS (dont know if you are all familiar with this speaker in the USA, it does have a cult following)than he has ever known a Quad 57 to be. It was rebuilt by 'one thing audio' in the UK.
I believe that the older passive components and possibly the transformers may be the culprits. I will get these modified first then report back.
By the way in my room 15x13 feet I am not recognising any deficiency in the treble if anything it is crystal clear, extends as high as i would want itand very dynamic sounding (macro). If it is a lack of 'air' that people critisize the speaker for then i for one now truely believe that it may be exagerated on all other speakers. Reverb is captured beautifully more so than any other speaker i have ever heard and that is part and parcel of the aura of the stage is it not?
Tbg...You sold your KLH 9s? What a mistake!!!
Eldartford, two pair. I often go to extremes.
You are in heaven! I hope the honeymoon lasts. I have not seen the recent HI-FI World article but wondered what you thought of the Gordon Holt article I linked to above?
Also do you not agree with Newbee that this speaker forces you to recognize/concentrate on what they do so very well partly from the absence of competition from dynamics, bass and treble? "Idiot Savant" is perhaps derogatory but an apt term nonethless for a speaker that does only one thing really well.
Just curious or perhaps this thread will remain best as a eulogy to the great Quad ESL 57, rather than any meaningful discussion.
Try stacking a pair.Everything you like plus more "air" being moved so you feel as if there is more bass.
A hard speaker to forget once the honeymoon is over and you look for a speaker with other virtues and move on.
One of the systems I should have kept(paired with AtmaSphere MP3 and S30).I think everyone should have a pair at least once.My advice,when they start to loose the wow factor, don't sell them, just put them away,you'll regret the loss.
its certainly up there the hall of fame.
one more thing....i agree with mr tennis....the audio note speakers are not even in the same universe...as snell even
Jaybo, if you have ever heard the AudioNotes set up by Peter at CES, you would not say this. I tried them myself and could not duplicate what I heard at CES, but this is either me or my electronics, not the speakers.
Is Quad ESL57 most amazing speaker of all time?
Since this question appears rhetorical perhaps it seeks a circular answer?
How about this;
The most amazing speaker of all time is one that you keep and use as your main speaker in your system for all time.
So prove it by not making this another ETC ETC ETC in your long list of failed attempts at finding a great speaker.
i heard the audionote setiup at ces in the alexis park and visit the audionote room every year. the audionote is not close to the quad 57. i agree with jaybo.
you cannot expect a cone driver to emulate the sound of an electrosat. dispersion patterns are different as well as technology.
while you may like the audionote speakers, i would say, i could tell the difference between the audionote and quad speakers, other things being equal.
would you wager $100 in a blindfold test ??
i don't think you would.
Sometimes something is just so enjoyable,that one simply forgets about "how" they should listen,and just "listen" for enjoyment......The ESL-57 fits the latter catagory.
I DO remember my first experience with the ESL-57,it was sobering.I heard ,at the time my favorite LP,Steely Dan's AJA on this speaker.Utilizing some CLASSIC Audio Research gear,and an original Oracle table and early MC cartridge.
There is NO way I can put into words how the music seemed to "squeeze" out,and "flow" into the room.This was at the "old" Singer location,upstairs.I definitely did not think about "any" loss of HZ,anywhere,but loved the "presentation....A GREAT speaker!!!!
The audionotes have an incredible speed and transparency that they are able to draw you into the music pretty much like the Quads. How ever they do this by presenting a more midhall feel as opposed to the Quads more intimate view.