Who prefers the Quad 57s over the 63s?

It seems like most who have heard both, think the 63 is the more accurate, detailed, extended, and better imaging/staging speaker. However, there are some die hard 57 owners (including some high end recording industry professionals and reviewers), who believe it's the better speaker. They say the 57s are more transparent and has midrange no other speaker can quite match. And even go on to say it does better imaging/staging (may be they mean more natural) than the 63s. Any thoughts?
I always preferred the 57, it has a magic that the 63 lacks.

The 57 may have perfect tone or maybe a bit more nuance it is hard to say but they seem to have a more palpable presence.

I always felt the 63 may be more 'neutral' but maybe in a subtractive sense so a less musical effect.
In any case, the grills must be removed to get the full Monty.
But the grills are so pretty and woven work of art...and the thought of accidentally getting electrocuted.
No guts, no glory. :-)

Besides, do you really think the room heater look is art?


I think what has happend with this debate which is about 35 years or so old...hmmmm, maybe less--can't remember the exact date that the 63's hit the market--I know I sold them in, I believe 87--and believe they'd been out for some time.
In designing speakers, there's always a moment of OMG, or shock when going from the 2 way to 3 way design...in which you say, well, there's more heft and bass extension on the 3 way, but there's a 'purity' to the voices and midrange that the 3 way can't quite match...I believe that the simplicity, (out on a limb here as I'm only peripherally familiar with the 57's) of the 57 compared to the 63, makes it sound a little 'purer'...and those I trust still claim that to be true when doing that comparison. (That analogy is for comparisons since we're not talking about dynamic two and three way speakers BTW.)
I DO know that the 63 is truly amazing in resolution and purity--the 57 set up correctly must be an amazement to all who hear it. Didn't the BBC use them for monitors 'back in the day', late 50's?

The 'problem' of which is better is an audiophile's 'delicious dream'.

Good listening,
I believe Peter Walker worked on the 63's from 1963 to 1981 hence the name ESL 63.

If after removing the grille your 57 sounds better, then your panels need rebuilding. IMO the 63 are the better speaker well yes and no.

I do prefer the 63 , but a well heeled 57 has a certain magic and recently I have heard both rebuilt and modded and preferred the 63 if u have a big room, small room. 57 wins hands down.....

Not only do the grills rattle and buzz but they block much of the sound. 57s sans grills are much more dynamic, open and natural. Leaving the grills on is OK if you like listening to the radio.
I know this debate must have been argued over the years. But I'm waiting on a pair of rebuilt 57s and wondering if I should have gone with the 63s. But I tend to go with the more "musical" speaker over a more accurate speaker. It seems like many make conclusions on the sound of Quads, both 57 and 63s, based on speakers that are decades old and not refurbished to factory spec. The grills should not rattle if it is properly refurbished. But I may give the 57s a go sans grill and see. May be if I stick my tongue on the diaphragm while it's playing, I will get better bass response :-).

I know I had many preconceptions about the Quads that were not true, as explained to me by several who refurbish these speakers. The more I researched the more I have come to appreciate the genius engineering behind both the 57 and 63s.

What's interesting is this. People who refurbish Quads seem to prefer the 63s, while recording engineers seem to prefer 57s for monitoring. I think Chesky uses the 57s. I would have thought it would be the other way around.

Here's another interesting tid bit. 90%+ of the internal wiring in the 57s are STEEL, not copper. From what I understand, the transformers were also wound with steel. Didn't they discover copper way before 57s came out? :) Although the 63 and 57s are engineering marvels, the actual build quality, if you ever took one apart yourself, is just awful - imagine a thumb less monkey. The factory spec for the 57 bass panel is 12 micron thick mylar, but QUAD has been known to use much thicker mylar (like 50 micron!). Why? Sometimes they would have difficulty sourcing 12 micron so they went with what was available.

But it's just amazing the 57 and 63s have endured all these years, even with all the new models of Quads, which left me underwhelmed.

As far the 57 looks go with the grills, they're works of space heater art!

Weseixas, why does the 57 win hands down over the 63s in a small room?
Has anyone done a side by side comparison of a stock 57 vs a 63 with the input cap/resistor circuit bypassed? That will make a 63 smoke like a 57 when overdriven for sure, but is the 63s lack of magic simply due to that lossy C/R combo?
"Not only do the grills rattle and buzz but they block much of the sound. 57s sans grills are much more dynamic, open and natural. Leaving the grills on is OK if you like listening to the radio." -06-23-11: Geoffkait

Strongly disagree , if this is the case your speakers needs refurbishing ...

"Weseixas, why does the 57 win hands down over the 63s in a small room?" -06-23-11: Dracule1

Not sure dracule, it is sized differently was was originally designed to be used closed to the ground in small rooms.

On the occasions that i have had the opportunity to A/B the 57 worked very well in small rooms where the 63 worked better in larger rooms. If your listening space is 12x12 then i would believe the 57 to be the better performer.

I have heard 57's on the ground on stands, single , stacked, triple stacked and whats strange in every situation the sound was different. Going from excellent to really bad...

The first stacked was the Levinson QHD system many moons ago and it was the best for me at the time. Last month i was present at another listening session with modded and redone 63, in a fairly large room (24x36 my guess ) and the sound was very good, excellent sound stage , imaging power and delivery, a bit shy in the low bass ,but good..

The double stack and triple stack ( 57's) take on a different personality, power and pace galore , but lack the intimacy of a single 57 or 63...

Either way , currently modded Quads 57 or 63 are a win win if you like the quad sound and the power is frightening if you are used to older Quads...

Weseixas, thanks. Do you prefer the midrange of the 57s or 63s?

Just the mids..:)

Hard to say, both are pretty good, the 57 has a bigger sweeter voice, the 63's, better seperation of instruments and voices, a bit more image perfect, with better localization.

.........Tough choice :)
Weseixas, that's would most seem to experience. I listen to a lot of vocals so bigger sweeter voice may be more to my liking, although "colored" to some. I already have a one of the best two way I have ever heard when it comes to imaging and staging and neutrality, but sometimes I wish for a more transparent midrangey speaker that can convey the subtle expressions of vocals. Do you think the 57 is more suited for this than the 63?
Based on your response , yes 57 ( updated and refurb) if the main focus is the middle ....

best with original trannies, be careful of updated or modified trannies..

Thanks. As far as I know, the trannies are original.