Quad ESL 57 - Which to buy

I have an opportunity to purchase one of two pairs of Quad ESLs. One pair has been fully restored recently ($2300) (original panels, new rivets, new mylar, new dust covers, new electronics and EHT) and the other is an original late 1970s, single owner pair ($1200) always driven by Quad II amps. Both look and sound great on their own(they are in different towns, so I have not been able to do a side by side comparison). Both are quiet, power up well and show no signs of arcing. Cosmetically, they look identical.

I'll be driving them with Quad II-40s.

I'm in Ontario, Canada.

Any opinions on which would be the better purchase?
I have a pair of restored quads and I love them. I would always be worrying about some component going bad on a stock unit such as the power supplies or a panel. Also look at the binding posts or the renovated versions to see of they work better with your cables. Remember that the original binding posts were close together and without a protection circuit, you could short them out easily. The other big selling point is the protection circuit for the speakers in the renovated pair...this saves you from any "oops" experiences.

Hope this helps....
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Hi, Elizabeth's points are right on. If cheap enough I would lean towards the originals and budget for a rebuild at some point.

I have a 989's and they are amazing, but each has required service. The services were painless, except maybe the shipping. The 989's are large and the original shipping boxes aren't all that great.

The main issue, IMHO, is once you hear ESL's it's difficult to listen to more conventional designs. Another bonus, if you can call it that, is that the Quad's do it with low watt (tube) amps.. I'm using a 25 watt EL 34 amp with, to my ear, great results (with Pangea power cords-thank you Elizabeth for your review of those cords). The original Quad amps, I believe, are 15 watts and more than enough to drive the 57's. So, be carefully with the 40 watt amps - you might consider selling those and getting the standard 15's.

Best of luck-enjoy

Note: consider ofc speaker cable that is either plated with silver or has silver strands mixed in--- that type of cable did make a difference on my Quads.
The rebuild was done this winter, but i am not sure of the cost. It wasn't done by Wayne Picquet or one of the better known US rebuilders. I don't know who did them, but I have seen photos documenting the rebuild of the panels and it looked very professional. Will see what I can find out.
Buy both pairs. Stack 'em. Bliss!

(I still have my old pair, in desperate need of restoration, as well as a later
Crosby 63. I find the original to be unmatched in coherence).
I am also from Ontario Canada,and used to own two pair of 57's which I stacked, so you can see where this is going.

Buy both pair, compare them and then if the modded pair sound better get the other pair modded from the same fellow.

Believe me, the small cost of a DIY frame(check the Quad esl sites)and the cost to mod the second pair(if needed)to give you a balanced stack will be worth every dollar and then some.

Stacked Quad 57's are a real treat and if more people could hear them, no one would settle for just a single pair.

I've been an esl fan for years, owned the 63, the stacked 57,several CLS, and now on my second Acoustat 3,this time the right way with the tube servo amps.

There's something very special about stacked 57's that set them apart from all the other speakers I've owned, and mine weren't matched.

If you can swing it, buy both pair.

I should note that I have no affiliation or knowledge of the Quads you are speaking about.I regretably sold my stacked pair about 7 years ago.
Unless I knew a whole lot about the outfit that did the restoration, and had complete confidence in them, I would opt for the original pair.

A lot of the parts used in the restoration are not exactly as the original. Do an internet search, and you'll see some of the highly esteemed aftermarket suppliers / rebuilders end up with something that does not remain true to the original. Apart from that, who can know the skill of the person doing the restoration?

I own and have owned an awful lot of speakers, including a pair of unrestored ESL57. In most ways, I am in agreement with those that believe they are the finest sounding loudspeakers ever built. Makes me wonder why people chase so many of today's poorer sounding products that cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Outside of the bottom octave and a half, and the ability to play well over 100 dB, have any of them (including Quad's current offerings) actually eclipsed the original Quads?
Another thing to consider.
If you are living near the great lakes you know there is tremendous humidity in the summer. Factor in a few hundred for a good dehumidifier for your space if your house is not climate controlled where they will placed. Humidity and 57’s / 63’s don’t mix well. In discussions with a couple of rebuilders the message was the same. 57’s are much more durable than 63’s in this area. Totally rebuilt 63’s can be destroyed in a few years if left in high humidity.
Good luck