Review: Quad 57

Category: Speakers

New Owner Initial Impressions for Prospective New Owners


I am not affiliated with any of the manufacturers products mentioned. I am just a music lover and have been since I was a very young boy. Music is very important to me and I listen for hours on every day when possible. This review is my unbiased opinion, my impressions on these speakers having owned them for four months. I am probably about half way between initial impressions and being able to do a detailed review at this point. It is not a comparison between the Quad 57 and other ESL, dynamic or any other speakers although I make some references to others. Not sure why I waited to so long to try out a pair of these speakers. If I had this information four months ago I may have made a few changes in the way I bought my pair. More about this in the speaker condition section. For this reason my words here are for the sole purpose of hopefully helping those of you that are thinking of acquiring a pair to give you “more information”. I am not a veteran or expert on these speakers, and I am learning more about them with every listening session. But recognize that I also have other speakers, that I do listen to every week in different 3 systems, that are located in two different towns.

Rebuilt Quad ESL 57 Panels – Wayne Piquet aka (PK) Model


I am amazed no audiogon reviews on these 50 year old technology speakers that everyone talks so much about and uses so much so even today. To say they are a legend is totally wrong since they are anything but. Legends are myths, not real stories, something from the past. These 57’s are well-known, celebrated, prominent and used today as much as in the past. Yes they are famous and I think people get caught up in this when they bring them home expecting too much. These Quad 57’s are no different than other speakers in that they have strengths and weaknesses, but in my years of being a music lover they have struck a chord with me.
Of the speakers I have had and currently own these 57’s are one of the few that don’t need quite a bit of current to get them going to sound good. They also sound full at 80 db. Once you’ve heard your favorite singers voice’s on them a few times you will be hooked but not even know it. You will know it when you hear the same songs after some time on another speaker, something will be missing. So you go back to the 57 and sure enough there is that sound again. That effortless velvety midrange bloom. Its very addictive with the right music.


I define casual listening as enjoying the music itself for what it is, and how it is revealed on a specific speaker. Critical listening is listening for specific things like PRAT, bass tightness, transparency, high frequency roll off, soundstage (how wide / deep), transitions between all of these.
The 57’s I feel reproduce an excellent pin point soundstage, but I feel they are for me for listening to the “music” and not about going crazy wondering whether something sounds right or wrong in your system. In other words they are for normal volume casual listening and not critical listening. The 57’s sound great as they are - for what they are. I read somewhere that someone said they are like a “summer breeze” – that is very accurate I think. Natalie Merchant, Norah Jones, Jazz or Classical can sound to me like a “summer breeze”. AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen… maybe not. Well maybe one of Bruce’s ballads.
Even my teenage (IPOD / B&W Zeppelin RAP Music bass heavy) loving son figured out that there was something special about these speakers and appreciates their look and sound, and commented on them. That’s never happened before. When the day comes and the speakers get doled out he said “he wants these”. On the other end a contractor I had working in a room nearby during the winter thought they were really old room heaters. Little did he know what these 50 year old heaters cost!

FREQUENCY RESPONSE – Additional Subs and Tweeters

I have read and talked to people that have added a sub and or external tweeters to them. The person I bought mine from was using both a sub and the extra tweeters with them. I asked that they be disconnected for the audition. My personal opinion on this in the short time I have owned them. I believe if you have got to the stage where you are adding subs or tweeters to resolve any shortcomings to Quad 57’s, you are now doing critical listening, not casual listening. I also predict that you WILL end up selling them, because their shortcomings have now outweighed to YOU, their main advantage, the best midrange I have ever heard.
The Quad 57 bass and tweeter panel material is very thin and vibrates quickly. This is the reason the music comes out so fast. Other speakers sound slow by comparison. Musicians fingers on their instruments sound quicker like the picking of an acoustic guitar. They are faster than my Acoustat ESL. But then the Acoustats have a thicker panel material, are designed differently, and can take a lot of abuse. Much higher SPL’s. I have also been told (but have not heard in my room) that Martin Logan (not hybrid ESL) tend to be in between a Quad 57 and Acoustat in speed. Maybe others with experience here can chime in on this and confirm or not.
So how do you propose to add a sub or a tweeter to this quickness and get it to integrate properly? It will be a challenge. My opinion only is don’t bother and enjoy them for what they do well. But audiophiles are a rare stubborn breed and will keep doing it. Remember my prediction above.
I feel they lack nothing in the High Frequency (HF). Its all there, but its a delicate HF and non-fatiquing. People that add tweeters could be compensating for:
1) Bad tweeter panel – or at least not fully 100%. The tweeter panel is the one that gets damaged first when overdriven.
2) Possible Amp/Preamp/Source problems.
3) What about dirty ears – time to get that wax cleaned out.
4) Old or bad ears – HF is the first to go right. When is the last time you had your hearing checked. Women also hear better than men. So get the opinion of a female on them if you are a male.
Are the PK rebuilt panels that much better than stock 57’s ? Maybe someone with experience comparing the two (Stock 57 versus PK 57 rebuilds) can provide comment on this ?
Adding a sub to them? Again, are you sure the bass panel is 100% functional. Their bass sounds full at low volumes. Remember the summer breeze comment. Turning them up louder does not make the bass go lower. I am used to playing my music fairly loud and turning it up 90 – 95 + db with peaks well above 100db. These speakers changed my habits regarding that. They sound very satisfactory and full at 80-85 db.


Their ESL directional sound nature means placement is important and the sweet spot much smaller than with dynamic speakers. Turn your head and the image moves. Hence the term “head in a vice” in reviews. Mine are out in the room 7 feet from the back wall and I am getting 40 hz out of them. There is 5 feet from the inside edge of one speaker to the other. The sound stage in my room goes from the front wall to the actual speaker so is 7 feet deep. They were very easy to place as long as you can move them out into the room. I find with all my Planar, and Electrostat speakers, that being dipole (the sound comes out from the front and back) you need to give them “lots” of space behind, for the back wave to work and achieve good bass. And think about it, how many instruments go below 40 hz. A few but not that many. Clean tight full 40 hz bass, not room shaking bass.


I was warned you need to be careful with the wattage. The very thin panels that provide that fast sound can also be damaged very easily. If you are not able to control yourself and like to crank it up – these speakers are not for you. You WILL damage them and require the panels to be rebuilt. Reports say they they will play at 100db. I have not tested this and don’t feel a need to. Remember that music playing at 80-85 db on average can have peaks that are much higher. Studies have shown you can listen all day without hearing damage at 80db. Above that and you need to be careful.
I have tried a couple different amp/pre amp combo’s. I have used them with an Audible Illusions 3a Tube Pre Amp and a 100 watt Music Reference RM9 Tube Amp – being very careful with the gain controls. Wonderful room filling sound. Recently I started listening to them through a same era mint condition SS Quad Amp/Pre Amp, maybe a bit nostalgic, but these Quad Amps and Preamps are readily available for sale and trade. I had them checked out to ensure they were in spec. I then put resistors in the 100 wpc Amp to limit its output and keep the 57’s from getting damaged. So now these Quad 57 speakers, 405 amp and 303 preamp that I am currently listening to, are older than me, and I enjoy them immensely. That set the bar for “Vintage” for me.


Everyone I have talked to that has had them as their ONLY speaker have all said one of two things. 1) They love them and have had them for many, many years and would never sell them, or, 2) They sold them, for whatever reason, but they have all said they would have kept them if they were able to have more than one speaker and / or the room to store them and place them properly in the room.
There are many around in various condition. Originals in good condition, some in need of repair, and rebuilt models. Be wary of sellers – Do not buy unseen unless the seller is trusted. You need to ensure the panels are functional and will play at an SPL level that satisfies you when auditioning. If the owner won’t play them at the level you want – he/she is either covering up a problem or they will not play at the SPL you are looking for and are not the speakers for you. Check so see if the speaker connections and EHT power supply sections have been updated. One of my speakers has developed some low background noise in the EHT when it is really humid out. It doesn’t affect the sound and can only be heard when no music is playing but it is annoying. I live in the Great Lakes area of North America - summers are very humid. Consider a climate controlled room for them – this is an important point.
There are many people/places that fix and rebuild them. I am glad I went the route of finding a fresh pair that had already been rebuilt in the last couple of years, but again my EHT power modules need replacing. Easy enough to do by the DIY person but if you are not such a person look for a pair that has had all the work done already – panels, speaker connections and power supplies. I really wonder how many people that have bought and then sold them had a pair with something wrong with them. Problem panels will not play as loud, will not sound right, and will need more current since electricity being delivered is lost on possible leakages in the circuit.


OK - I admit – I DO need other speakers as well that do higher SPL’s, lower Hz…when listening to artists such as Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Roxy Music, etc… These are groups I grew up listening to at home and at concerts. I can’t listen to Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, PF “The Wall”, Roxy Music “Avalon” or Tears for Fears “Seeds of Love” as just a few samples, unless they are at least 90 db average with much higher peaks. These are all actual concert setting listening sessions for me for a couple of hours.
But once that fix is done, I now clearly miss the Quad 57’s for regular casual listening again to artists like Natalie Merchant, Norah Jones, Jazz, Classical, Sarah McLachlan, Blue Rodeo. Now the venue for me because of that midrange is intimate and they are on stage close to me, playing for me in a nightclub. Those voices in that midrange, they sound personal now. That is what is magic about the 57’s to me.

I really look forward to both of the above type listening sessions. A big reason I have multiple speakers. Nothing changes the sound more than different speakers. If you are the type that enjoys multiple speakers time to add a Quad 57 in there ! I think everyone in this hobby should have a go at these speakers at least once to hear why they are still so popular.


A 2 x 4 piece of wood under the stock rear leg pointing the speaker down - more at you, actually raises the sound stage.
I have found some Arcici stands and have raised them just recently so that the middle of the tweeter panel is at my ears in the listening position. It’s too early on but I have found the bass is not lost in any way being higher up. The soundstage seemed about the same level with my ears in my room but they do seem to fill the room with sound easier. They also do look more modern on the stands. I will provide more information on comparison regular wood legs versus Arcici stands once I have had more time to listen.

I hope this information helps those thinking of acquiring these great speakers which is the main reason I posted this here in the review section. So many threads and posts in Audiogon. I am also hoping selfishly that some of the Quad 57 veterans will chime in on tips and advice for me and others here. I’m all ears.

Associated gear
Audible Illusions 3a Tube Pre/Amp with Music Reference RM9 Tube Amp

Quad 33 Preamp with 405 Amp with resistor inserted.

Similar products
Acoustat Model 3
Acoustat Spectra 33
Eminent Technology LFT8a
14ba3cd1 2543 45b1 9f27 68348346ceaect0517
Nice review Chris.
Do you think the ESL-57s are able to highlight the differences between arms and cartridges as well as other types of speakers?
Wanted to make a couple of comments to clarify a few points. Full disclaimer: I sell and service ESL speakers primarily Quads. Wayne Picquet is a personal friend and we do business together from time-to-time. And I personally feel the ESL63 is a significantly better speaker versus the original but the scope of this discussion is about the original.

Does a PK rebuilt tweeter panel(or speaker) sound better than the original version? In some ways this is a tough question to answer. All original Quads that have not been restored are now at least 30 years old and most are appoaching 40-50 years in age. Most of them will have degraded to the point that a meaningfull comparison cannot be made.

But all is not lost. I purchased my first pair of originals in 1982 when they were still available new. And I have had the opportunity in the last 5 years to audition originals, never restored, that are still in excellent operational condition. I have a pair in for service at the moment that I would say are working at 95%+ original performance levels. I also pulled a pair of tweeter elements from a pair about 4 years ago that still performed at original specification.

IMO without question a Wayne Picquet rebuilt tweeter panel(or speaker) is an exact duplicate of the original. Why wouldn't they be? He uses the exact same materials as the factory used, and has the same tooling and processes as originally employed by the factory. Wayne's work is better than the original in terms of unit-to-unit consistency and better overall fit/finish versus what was originally delivered by the factory.

Can too much power damage the delicate tweeter panel? A resounding no provided the protection circuitry is in place. This protection circuit was originally developed by Quad in the late 80's for the ESL63. They modified the circuit to work inside the original. With the protection circuit in place it is simply impossible to damage the speaker. Believe me I have tried. It can't be done. And I personally use 300 watt mono block tube amps with my Quads, 63 or original. Worst case is you burn-up the protection circuit but the panels transformer remain undamaged. And the circuit has zero sonic impact. A win-win situation all around.

Any Wayne Picquet restored original will have protection circuits in place. I know because I produce them and he has bought hundreds of them in the last five years. If one has an original restored by Wayne they can use any amp they desire without fear of damage.

A properly functioning original with protection boards in place will indeed hit levels of 100dB. This is provided the amp has the ability to drive the speakers to this kind of level. Most of the amps recommended for the original don't have a chance of achieving this sort of performance. The key when chosing an amp for the original is one with a large and stable power supply. This rules out most of the flea-size amps generally recommended for the speaker.

If one is content with lower SPL levels then small amps can indeed produce a lovely sound. But they will never reveal all the capabilities of the speaker.
I have brought my sp10 to the location where the 57's are once for a week to try it out. My VPI TT is too big to move. So I am in the process of setting up a good TT at that location. My opinion so far and remember I am a linear tracker guy and I tend to keep the cartridge on there for a while before I change. But here is my opinion with examples.

Telling tonearm/cartridge differences - Low bass below 40hz will be an obvious challenge – HF needs to be worked on – 57 placement in room is very important. Any sounds in that midrange area will be very good – their strength - maybe too good (colored?) thus sounding better than they should? I don’t think this is necessarily bad. I explain later. Telling of cartridge differences in the transitions between these in the “57’s frequency range” will be excellent as these 57’s are very even in the db levels, I find between the high, mid and low sounds. It is very consistent.

Natalie Merchant Ophelia album and play the song – Effigy . These speakers give me the chills and goosebumps when the lady at the end finishes the song with only her beautiful voice. It is so strong and at such a low volume level it is incredible. This IS the 57 magic to me. I have to call whoever is in the house into the room to hear it and tell me if they hear it and if it is affecting them in the same way. I have played this song on my other speakers and they do a really really good job of it as well. But no chills. That is what I am looking for. I think different cartridges may do different things with this section.

HF – the 57’s really need to be placed properly and pointed at you because of the way they beam. They will compensate for “not ideal” tonearms/cartridges i.e. resonances, shrill sounding - better because their treble does not blare out at you. Another speaker like my 801’s would not let me play those tracks with those cartridges – they would be unbearable. But I find all ESL are sweeter in this regard as far as the HF goes. The 801’s are monitors and let you right away if u have put on bad LP. They cough it up.

Transparency - Chris Rea’s Auberge – Before this song begins we hear a man walking in the street, birds chirping, he walks from one side to the other and kicks a bottle across the street. What frequency does a kicked bottle do – higher midrange ? They reproduce this in a very uncanny way – the scene is so real in front of you. The bottles revolutions as it spins on the ground is so clear.

Soundstage- Eagles – Hell Freezes over – Hotel California – When people come over I like to do this test. The Acoustat Spectra 33’s are placed about 5 feet behind each 57 close to the front wall. The song starts with just instruments. Alternates from left to right at different depths for each instrument. People in the sweetspot think the music is coming from the bigger Acoustats in the back. The 57’s are only about 6 feet in front of them.

Bass – it is what it is – full to 40 hz.
Still The bass is tight and short. So if the cartridge tends to be more loose or longer sounding in the bass the 57’s will compensate and make it sound tighter.
My opinion – I think if a person likes voices and midrange sounds alot - you may not be listening to alot of music that has alot of music below 40 hz because it tends to take away from those songs where the voices are predominant?

Now I listened to Simply Red – Picture Book on my 801’s last night and it was phenomenal - highs, mids - lows . Can’t wait to hear this lp on the 57’s to compare.

The theme seems to be the frequencies they do well sound better ? Wonder why they are so addicting and still popular after all these years:)

With my TT project in progress for that room the 57’s make good recorded cd’s sound nice. Eric Clapton Unplugged is another one that comes to mind. I can’t wait to hear the vinyl versions more there. That is when I will be getting into a personal challenge with the SPL’s I think since vinyl is so linear compared to the compressed way a cd is recorded. I will be turning it higher without realizing it.
Henry I am going to have to stop posting after i have had a big morning coffee on Sunday mornings. I am finding I go on and on.
I am hoping someone that has been able to spend more time with the 57's will come on here and answer your question better. As my experience with them grows I will add more info as well.
Hi Kentaja

Excellent information.
I should qualify that the seller I bought my 57's from sent the panels to Wayne to rebuild. When they were returned to him he put them back into a stock 57 - hence no protection circuit. So this is why I am careful. Reason the title of this thread says "Panels". If I can change the title to prevent confusion I will following this post.

In your experience does this protection circuit on a "57" affect the purity of the sound in anyway ?

Also you said -

"And I have had the opportunity in the last 5 years to audition originals, never restored, that are still in excellent operational condition. I have a pair in for service at the moment that I would say are working at 95%+ original performance levels."

So to clarify then - if someone is looking to buy an original condition 57 speaker - and they find an excellent sample - would you agree the years on it will not have decayed the materials holding the panels together - even if it was stored away for 5 - 10 years ?

IME the protection board has no impact on the sonics. It is not like protection schemes of the past that were in series with the signal input. Instead this circuit rides parallel with the audio signal. It does nothing until the voltage threshold is reached and then it engages to prevent any further voltage swing. Simple, elegent with zero downside.

IME finding original Quads in all original condition that are still close to factory spec. is getting close to impossible. They are all so old at this point only a handful of carefully maintained examples will exist. Is it impossible? No. Improbable most likely.

The particular pair I was referring to was produced in the early 70s, the lovely bronze grilles! Original owner that imported directly from the UK in 1974, absolutely fanatically maintained, look as good as the day they left the factory, and have been in storgage for the past 15 years. Everything works perfect even the rectifier blocks. Musuem quality example of the speaker IMO and I told the owner he should not take less than $4-5K for the speakers. Very rare to find something this old that degrades as it does over the decades in this kind of condition either functionally or cosmetically.

OTOH I see lots of original Quads that look nice, even play nice, but are a far cry from what they should be and their owners want far too much money for them. Restored examples like from Wayne, or the few rare originals in top notch condition are worth $3,800-$5,000. Most of them are worth no more than $800-$1,200 IMO provided everthing is intact and the cosmetics are good. If not they are worth perhaps $300-$500.

IME there is rarely a deal to be found on an old electrostat. You get what you pay for. What initially appears to be a bargain may quickly become a money pit. Full or even partial restorations can get pricey. Again, I have seen great finds and deals on old Quads but that is really more a matter of luck anymore than anything else. It most cases it will work the other way unfortunately.
When I started hearing the noise in the one tweeter panel when music was not playing my heart dropped thinking it was the panel. I paid $1400 for mine. I had the one checked out and the person said it was the EHT (the box module where you plug the cord in) original and just getting old.

The rebuilt panels looked new - just some dust in spots.

In fact the speaker made no noise at all at his shop. It was caused apparently by the humidity at my place.

So one day I will have the EHTs repaired/replaced.

Kentaja - I have read about "trannies" when people do rebuilds on them and they say to not have them modified when rebuilt but put back original. Are they talking about the same box? Do you have more info on this ?

Would you agree that anyone looking at buying a pair of these from a private person should take the back grill off since it is easy to do "once discharged" and check for any burn marks on the panels?

September 6 - Update

I received 2 emails on this review asking if I was still enjoying the 57’s.

Here is an update.

They are still one of my favourite speakers.

Pros for 57's

U don't realize how much music actually lives in that midrange area that
they are famous for.
They make all cd's sound good even with a "so so" cd player.
They take away that CD "edge" because I think their treble is delicate.
All ESL are generally better at this I find.
They are easy to move around.
They don't need a lot of power to sound good and full.
Very easy to listen to.
My Acoustat Spectra 33's are in the same room
Bigger sound but they are really big too - its noticeable - they can’t be left in
position like the 57's.


They have a limit of 100db. That means music at 90 - 95db average will have peaks close to 100db.

Depending on how loud you listen you many need to install the protection board in them.

If you listen to music with lower bass that lowest octave is missing.

What is there is very good to about 40hz if placed well.
You need your head in a vice to stay in sweet spot.


I know people that went to 63's for the added db's /range but they missed the 57's midrange.

Never heard personally of anyone going from a 63 to a 57 and say they miss the 63 ?

Whoever offers opinions – ask them if they are dealers or distributors.

I would not buy an original good condition model unless I knew the owner.

Recommend you buy fresher new or used rebuilt panel models.

When auditioning “DEFINITELY” take off the front cover – it only takes minutes and look for condition.

Is there a lot of hair and dust in there. It will tell you how they were used.

Are there burn marks on the panels.
They will look like holes or cigarette burns.

Be Wary.

Even if you don’t listen at 95 db play them that loud during the audition to ensure they are functional. Bring a cheap db meter with you.

Hope this helps.
A short follow up since my last post over a year ago with this Quad 57 speaker.

They have changed physical location by 70kms and came home. I have had the opportunity to spend much more time with them. A sound so seductive at times with the human voice, that I have tried to make them the be-all and end –all; with external tweeters and subs. I kept bouncing back and forth between stock and modified form.

Then I did some research and discovered that Roger Modjeski used his Quad 57’s to voice his RM10 Tube Amp.

From Audiocircle
"As QUADAPHILES know that speaker has rather special requirements to both protect it from over voltage (sparking) and is somewhat amplifier fussy. The RM-10 has been popular among QUAD owners and it is widely known that I was using that speaker when I designed the RM-10"
Roger Modjeski

I already owned a Music Reference RM9. I did actually use it with the 57’s temporarily when I first got them; the sound was very good for the short time I did this; but as I was worried about damaging them, I didn’t use them for a long period in this fashion.

I acquired a RM10 a few months ago. I can say for now, I no longer feel the need to experiment. The Quad 57 seem to sing with the RM10 with no fear of over driving them. They go plenty loud as well in the fairly large room they are in. For what they can do - they do this very well for me, and provide their unique music perspective.

I also found out from the restorers of these speakers that the Quad 63 are much more fragile and susceptible to humidity than the Quad 57, based on the way they are built. Regardless, I have since purchased a large de-humidifier that I use in the summer along with the air-con to keep the area they are in dry so they will last as long as possible.

Disclaimer – I am not affiliated with Music Reference
I had stacked 57's and they were magic,more of everything you already enjoy about the 57's.If you ever have access to another pair, stack them,I had the stands made from wood,they aren't hard to do and the combo of stacked 57's and an Atmaspher S30 and MP3 pre was magic.

An old 1961 Bell tubed integrated amp wasn't too shabby either.

I veered off course for awhile, sold the Quads,and my CLS's,and moved to old Tannoys and nwere box speakers, but lost the magic.

That was until I got lucky and got a pair of Acoustat 3 model X speakers with modded/upgraded servo tube amps.

I had Acoustats back in the mid 80, but they were the newer non powered versions,the ones with the medallian transformers.
What I have now is much better.
I don't miss my stacked 57's anymore.
But they were special.
Hi Lacee

My WPK Quad 57's continue to be a very special speaker to me for two reasons.
I really enjoy the music on them, but they also help me to tune the other speakers.

I had stacked 57's and they were magic,more of everything you already enjoy about the 57's

I thought about this. instead of "more of everything" I would prefer "better of" in one area.
So I have a question for you.

Does stacking Quads allow them to go lower than 40 db (or) give a higher db level at 40db without affecting db levels of the midrange ?
or looked at another way - I rate their 40db bass as a 6 out of 10 - meaning - the notes are there when placed properly; its just that they have lost their heft (db level) compared to the midrange. This is a known thing about them.

So will stacking quads improve the 40db bass which I rate as a 6/10 on a single pair - to a 7 or 8 /10 when stacked?

If your answer is yes then acquiring another pair someday and sending the panels to Wayne for restore is worth it - imo. Look forward to your impressions on this.

I don't miss my stacked 57's anymore.

Here is my take on this based on my personal experience.
I can also go a long time without the Quad's and not miss them.
This is because I enjoy my other speakers.
Here's my opinion on it.
Its not till you re-insert them into play again that you realize that you "forgot" why you love their sound so much.
And it starts all over again for me. I never tire of this.
Building out the adjacent area in the basement as a 2nd music room allows me to keep them in play now.

I had an opportunity to buy restored Acoustat X speakers a couple of years ago.
Unfortunately it would have put my wife over the top.
Even I realized this. Enjoy the X.

You guys really ought to hear the Quad 57s without their metal grills and without their plastic dust protectors. Both of which really do vibrate like a bastard. I used to have Quads back when, between LS3/5Aa and Fultons; I had all Class A tube amps driving them along with a Maplenoll air bearing everything turntable.
I've tried to explain this before, but most times people don't understand.It's one of those, you have to hear it for yourself scenarios.
But here goes.

Stacked Quad 57's give you more bass.
By that I mean there is more bass in the room, but not deeper ,just more of the same bass that is there with a single pair.
It's not like adding a sub woofer, it doesn't go lower.
What the extra panels add is more air movement- more panels , more air movement.

So that while there isn't more deep bass, there is more bass in the room than before.
Again, some people associate more bass with more boom, more bass depth, lower frequency etc.
I am talking more bass pressence than with a single pair.

But it's just not about the bass.

There is more of everythingelse.

Again, the treble frequencies aren't raised like adding on a super tweeter,but you notice more high end,as you notice even more of the mid range magic the 57's are so good at.

You just get more of everything.

My first listen to a pair of stacked Quads was at an audio show in Montreal around 2000.
I was lucky enough in the next few years to find a couple pair in decent shape and had the frames built.

I stacked them so that the tops of each speaker met in the middle of the stacking,I believe as Mr Walker suggested.

The speakers were wired in a serie/parralel fashion as I remember so that the impedence remaine the same as for 1 pair(around 16 0hms).

THis was just perfect for my Atmasphere S30 OTL amp,(also Atmasphere MP3 pre).

I also used the 16 ohm screw taps on my old Bell integrated,and those 22 watts from ancient RCA 6V6 and Telefunken tubes was also something special.

I didn't have any solid state amps to try,but I'd suggest even with stacked 57's that you stay around 25 good watts, preferably tubed ones.

The stacked Quads will pressurize the room and fill larger rooms, such as mine, with more sound, fooling you into thinking you've turned up the volume or bought a more powerful amp.

At that same audio show, was a pair of restored 57's in a nice blue paint that an audio mentor/friend of mine(Matt Brazeau)was getting great sound and great comments from, paired wirh some Audio Aero tubed amps.The 57's were on Arcici stands I believe, but in a small room, this was all anyone would need.

If you have a large room,like mine(30'x 20'x 8' approx)then a stacked pair of 57's maybe just the ticket.

One reason why I like the AcoustatX is that they fill the room without being loud.
Again, it's hard to describe but when you hear it, you get it.
More panels, more sound.
Not really more volume, just less empty space.
The empty space is filled with more music,at the same normal volume settings.

Some speakers never fill the room unless they are played at loud volumes.

To sum up- more panels-more air movement- less volume needed from amplifier-less loudness but fuller sound.

I hope I haven't confused you.
Geoff, Now you're talking. I would like that!!! Nice :)
10-18-13: Geoffkait
You guys really ought to hear the Quad 57s without their metal grills and without their plastic dust protectors.
Geoffkait, I could not agree more, here is my post elsewhere..
10-04-13: Dover
Back in the 80's I traded in a pair of stacked 57's but did not like these, they sound very closed in. The best 57's I have were on stands lifting them of the floor, with the panels angled more vertically than standard, the plastic dustpanels removed, as well as the metal grills, and driven by Quicksilver 8417's. In this format the Quicksilvers did not overdrive the panels - I had no arcing issues. I can also recommend highly the addition of the Sequerra Ribbon if you can find some. I heard these on single quads driven by the original Electrocompaniet 25 Class A power amp & the Electroresearch Class A power amp.
The use of a stand and vertical alignment of the panels removes the 200hz suckout and helps the top end as confirmed in Martin Colloms review and measurements in Hifi News review..

The correct presentation of the soundstage gets compromised drastically with the stacked Quads compared with the single Quads on 14" stands. The double panel area is removing the point source and replacing it with a wall of sound. Some may prefer this but if you want the correct reproduction of what the microphones captured, this is configuration is compromised.
Review : Quad 57
I feel they lack nothing in the High Frequency (HF). Its all there, but its a delicate HF and non-fatiquing. People that add tweeters could be compensating for:
1) Bad tweeter panel – or at least not fully 100%. The tweeter panel is the one that gets damaged first when overdriven.
2) Possible Amp/Preamp/Source problems.
3) What about dirty ears – time to get that wax cleaned out.
4) Old or bad ears – HF is the first to go right. When is the last time you had your hearing checked. Women also hear better than men. So get the opinion of a female on them if you are a male.
These comments are not correct. The hi frequency rolloff has nothing to do with hearing loss. If one cannot hear the Quad 57 hi frequency rolloff then there is something wrong.
Quad themselves acknowledge in their own specifications and publications that the 57's roll off from 10kHz. The 57's have a resonance at 24kHz and a frequency spike at 16kHz that Quad leave in there to help the "illusion" of top end extension.
Furthermore as the speakers are driven harder, over 90db, then the hi frequency rolloff begins earlier, the HF rolloff begins down as low as 7kHz.
Quad specify a measuring distance of 3m to allow for proper integration of the panel outputs, so the approximate semi-anechoic graph illustrated must be regarded as no more than a 'close-up snapshot'. Given experimental errors, the speaker might scrape +/- 5 dB limits from 45Hz to 20kHz. The trend is not atypical of previously published data: the midband is smooth but a little prominent; the treble slopes away gently before peaking in the 16kHz region; the bass is prominent at 50 Hz with a suckout evident at 200Hz. While the lateral off-axis response was not too bad, the vertical plane distribution was rather poorer (not shown).
For a more detailed understanding of the crossover design and the hi frequency rolloff that increases with volume, here is an whole thread.
Despite the fact that these are not full range speakers, I agree they are very musical when set up correctly - on stands, nude panels, panels tilted so they are closer to vertical & driven by the best tube amps.
Lacee thanks for the reply

I hope I haven't confused you.

No you made it perfectly clear.

You just get more of everything.

thanks, will be sure to make a point to hear a pair if they become available.

Geoffkait -

I love to listen to music on a turntable that has no physical bearing as well as straightline air bearing tonearm. :^)
But for the ultimate hearing imo music with the Quad 57's using 15IPS master tape can be really special.

This music is really special with them. I am not affilliated with this company but I am a customer of their tapes.

I highly recommend the CD sampler for anyone.
I run my 57's nude but lately with the room being built out and things moving around I chose to protect the panels till things stabilize.

Dover -
always amusing to read ones comments almost three years after they were posted as a new owner.
When I first heard these speakers for the first time in my own room I was floored.
the perspective they bring to the music should be experienced by everyone in this hobby.
They should be heard in your own room to develop a reference.
their sound has amazed at least a dozen casual visitors to the location I originally had them in.

Dover - on stands, nude panels, panels tilted so they are closer to vertical & driven by the best tube amps.
the best tube amps ?
imo - I would reword to say amps designed for their requirements or that satisfy them. This applies to all speakers.
We all have our own preferences. I aim for a slightly elevated presentation in my rooms because this has been my experience over the years listening to music with people performing. I recall a phone conversation with Wayne Picquet a few years ago. His opinion may have changed since but he told me he likes the original stock presentation with the 3 wooden legs. They act as spikes and add solidity to the bass. Its been a couple years with them on stands. I intend to try them again on the stock legs again in the future (because I can) and have another listen to what the designer actually wanted us to hear now that I have an amp that was designed for them by Roger Modjeski.
They are not full range but imo they don't need to be.
I have other speakers that move serious air, and are full range.
Still if I want to listen to my girlfriends mentioned in this thread, or the types of music represented by those tapes I referenced, these 57's are a great choice for me.
When I got my first pair of 57's I listened to them stock, that is,on their own wooden feet and set up as the Quad web site suggested.

In my large room, the stacked Quads in ridgid solid wood stands that got them 1 foot off the floor was better.
Again, I went with the Peter Walker stacking method.

The Quad site mentions a multiple Quad in a semi circle array that the man behind SME used to prefer to a single set of Quads.

In my room, stacked Quads filled the room , while a single pair, as good as they sound, just didn't cut it.

I think most of North American audiophiles have larger rooms than the rooms the original 57's were made for in England.

If someone has a small space, then a single pair would be great, but I would still try them raised off the floor a bit.You can use simple cement blocks to try,or DIY your own wooden stands.
Also the other benefit to the wooden stand is that you can attach the Quads to the wooden stands using longer screws thru the stands and into the holes in the Quads where their side trim panels are.Again part of the Stacked benefits in the Quad site,but you can make stands for a single pair.
The sound of the panels in a secure stand is again, better in my opinion than when they are left free standing in the room.
Owners of other panel speakers ,like Maggies and Acoustats have acknowledged the benefits of securing the panels in a ridgid stand.
I found that the sound was a bit muffled, less defined when they were used with their own feet, just inches off the ground.

I also had a pair of Tannoy Ardens around the same time powered by some SET power amps from Cary and DecWare, these moved air and were also very close to the seamless sound of panels,almost as coherent.

But this still wasn't panel sound, so I went back to electrostats.I also have a dedicated HT room with Magnepan speakers.I like panels.

I wish I still had the Quads or even one pair for a small room.
They are unique,I've owned the 63, CLS11Z,and Acoustats,and even though they are all electrostats and share some similar qualities, they all sound different.
1957 meets 2016

Been a few years since the last post. Time for an update. I did post more info on my virtual system.
My personal recipe.  
Two Quad 57's hooked up to the amp designed for them - Music Reference RM10. This amp also eliminated the need for external tweeters.  Functional Quads are good to 18khz.  57's raised (see pic) to eliminate the "head in the vice" ;  this also provides for better room filling sound.  The 57's are run full from the RM10. The addition of two Dynaudio BM12s using the second set of outputs from the AI preamp completed this package nicely to fill in the bottom octave.

Here is the great part for me.
Crossover points, Phase and DB levels are set with the remote control from your listening position.   4 set positions on the remote allow for a choice of different setting for different genres.  I am using 3 positions right now. Lowest setting - Never off even with vocals as the subs add excellent room ambiance.  A Higher DB setting for Classical with its large dynamic swings, and a little less DB level for Classic Rock due to the compression involved.  My son's 21 year old friend is a big fan of Lorde. He wanted to take the Quads and subs home with him after hearing his favorite song.

The Dynaudio's remote allows for 15 pushes = 1 db per push (+) or (-) 15 db total.This is can be done for each sub separately; This allows one to account for room irregularities.  I found these NOS subs in a Country Studio and was permitted the opportunity to demo them first with warranty. .

One day I may try to coax an audio friend to sell me his Beveridge RM1 Preamp for this room - to complement the RM10; but other than that things are sounding really nice for all music genres in this room.  

Happy Listening.

Or, the audio friend may buy himself (again) the rm10 along with these speakers and hear for himself what all the fuss is about.

Nice review, Ct0517. Always learning from you.
After hearing a lot about the hi fi unicorns called Quad 57s, and after reading a lot about how "you haven't lived until you've heard Quad 57s!", I've finally gotten a chance to audition a pair. What follows are my first impressions, in particular in comparison to Magnepan MG-1 IMP:

The reason I switched to Maggies almost 10 years ago was the fact that, of all the speakers I've heard so far, these were giving me the best loud-vs-quiet sounds ratio. What I mean by that is when the orchestra is playing swelling crescendos, I want to still be able to hear clearly a tiny, quiet triangle ringing all the way in the back, in the farthest orchestra row. A pair of Magnepan MG-1 IMP were giving me that kind of presentation, which I found totally disarming. So I had to own them.

Lately I kept hearing how Quad 57s excel at exactly that -- a phenomenally low sound floor. So I had to hear them. Luckily, a friend had a pair just recently refurbished, so he was kind to organize an afternoon session of listening to Quads. He told me to bring any LPs or CDs of my choice, and to take my time. Which I did.

My overall impression is that Quads are similar to enjoying the old Dutch masters. In contrast, listening to my Maggies reminds me of enjoying Van Gogh's paintings. In a way, there are similarities between the two camps -- both are Dutch ;) Both Quads and Maggies are planars, using a flat membrane to produce sound. And that's pretty much where similarities end.

Maggies drastically differ in scale from Quads. Despite the fact that the host was pairing Quads with a subwoofer, the bass was woefully inadequate compared to my Maggies. Quads were giving me a very intimate overall experience, with a soundstage that resembled a doll house. In comparison, my Maggies are giving me pretty accurate real life soundstage. Drums look like real life drums, singers are standing in front of me with their real height (between 5 foot 5 inches and 6 feet tall).

Overall, Quads are definitely way more resolving. I'm hearing more details, longer decays, but at the expense of coherency. At certain points, it all sounded like a collage, instead of a coherent performance by the musicians playing on the stage.

Maggies seem to sacrifice some of the finer details for the sake of cohesion. Everything seems to gel with Maggies, while with Quads it's all scientifically, analytically correct and pin-pointed. But the 'sauce' to tie in all those accurately reproduced instruments is sometimes kind of absent.

Quads are amazing in that, for the first time ever, I had a listening experience that is like a combination of loudspeakers and headphones. Also, on top of being more resolving, Quads deliver warmer, silkier sound. But sometimes that warmth is at the expense of liveliness. Some of the sparkle that I'm getting from Maggies seems to vanish when Quads are playing.

In conclusion, Quads are awesome for intimate listening sessions. A small acoustic combo, breathy vocals, string quartets. Those types of recordings seem to make Quads shine. For other, more muscular type of music., I'd prefer Maggies.

Bottom line, I need both pairs in my house. Quite impractical, but I think it would be worth it.

Now the hunt begins for a good pair of vintage Quad 57s!

Maggies drastically differ in scale from Quads. Despite the fact that the host was pairing Quads with a subwoofer, the bass was woefully inadequate compared to my Maggies. Quads were giving me a very intimate overall experience, with a soundstage that resembled a doll house. In comparison, my Maggies are giving me pretty accurate real life soundstage. Drums look like real life drums, singers are standing in front of me with their real height (between 5 foot 5 inches and 6 feet tall).

The stock set up of Quad 57’s (three wooden feet on the floor tilted back) has been designed to give the illusion that one is viewing/listening to an orchestra / performance ......from the balcony. For the record, setting 57’s up with subwoofers in stock mode setup - is a big error - IMO. It will never work due to the way they were designed to radiate in stock mode (balcony illusion), and one of the main reasons people fail to implement subs with them. This balcony illusion is easily changed by putting a piece of 2 x 4 wood under the rear leg. By tilting the whole speaker system down the image rises. It goes against how we would think but this is the way it works.

Best to show a link of the Quad 57 setup you listened to for us to get a perspective of what you heard. I have had these speakers in every position, multiple rooms. This speaker more than any other I have owned are very sensitive to how they are placed in the room. I have set mine up to give real life images - no problem - and the performers are on an elevated (2 foot high stage) the way I like it. Raising the speakers themselves, (see the pic) and moving them (mine are 7 feet from the front wall); will give, if the speakers are functional, everything they need to showcase.

My Quad 57 Setup

All that remains then is a good amp designed for them, and two good subs - set 60 HZ and down. Not a small chore. Mine play down to 50-55 hz without subs no issues. Condition of bass panels and the amp used is important here.

As far as finding a good vintage pair. I would not risk this as you don’t know how good they really are. Are they a 6-7-8-9 out of 10 ? Buy a pair and send them to get restored. Leave no doubts.

I have a mint pair. Is it worth removing grills? Will the be structurally compromised and vibrate? Will I ruin them? Photo in VSystems.
Hi noromance -

The grills are easily removed to try and put back. For me it was definitely worth doing and I preferred them without, so the grills got stored away.
The panels can be more easily ruined with the grills off as they are exposed, easier to damage, and cause a risk for kids and pets. So one must be more alert around them without grills.

A couple things that become obvious with the grills removed.

1) A daily reminder of how the speaker has been designed, with the bass panels positioned forward of the treble panel.

2) Regarding vibration - A benefit of taking the grills off and leaving the dust membrane on, will show you how much vibration there really is. You can watch as the "membrane" will start to vibrate in unison to the bass panel pulses, when DB levels go up.

Yours appear to be secured well. My 57's are bolted to the Arcici stands which themselves sit on concrete blocks - painted black. The mid point of the speaker is about 45" high, and 7 feet from the front wall. The picture I posted is older, the room has changed a bit, but the positioning in the room has remained the same. 
@ct0517 Thanks for replying. Yours look great. Not sure I *want* to see naked Quads vibrating! Can you describe the sonic benefits?

The Quads sound even better after removing the dust covers, too. They only look transparent. If you have any issues with dust get some air purifiers. Obviously the stock power cords have to go, too.
@geoffkait If the dust covers are removed, can they be cleaned? Mine ar e in a relatively low dust environment. Can you use a can of compressed air to blow dust away? Etc.

@geoffkait An uncommonly short answer for you!
noromance - regarding your question of sonic benefits in removing the grills.

I have never seen or read anything from Peter Walker that says the 57 grills are anything more than fashion for that time. In contrast for example; Matrix 800 grills were designed for a purpose and that speaker system sounds coherent with the grills on. Without the grills Matrix 800 sound Hi Fi me.

Once I saw how much vibration there was with the grills off, it just made sense for me to keep them off. Why have this appendage attached to them as they are metallic and will resonate. Of course....whether this resonance hurts or helps the room sound, I think one needs to take on a one to one basis. Too many variables. So go ahead, take them off if you in are audiophile mode, and curious. My subjective opinion would go back many years now, and is a memory. I also did not have the dual Dynaudio subs at that time.


Years ago, I used to have these heavy Indian Swords hanging in that room where the Quads are now. They used to be on the wall in a X shape. One time I had Acoustat Spectra 3's going really good with company over. Someone was sitting in the chair 15 feet from the speakers, to the side below the swords, touched them and proclaimed.

these bloody Swords are vibrating.... 

Okay. Took the grills off. Used a feather duster to remove a pretty thick layer of dust from the dust covers.
There is a definite difference to the presentation. First off, better high frequency response - cymbals shine and shimmer. Definite improvement there. Second, the music is slightly dryer. It sounds a little more open, free of containment. It’s like comparing being outdoors in the woods verses being on a mountain. They are also a little quieter - as in comparing one with the grill and one without using a mono recording and the Croft Micro 25R separate volume controls. It may be that the metal grill was ringing causing some harmonic distortions. Vocals are less strident. Interesting.