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Quad Electrostatic l/s ESL63's

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by CambshireGordon, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. CambshireGordon

    CambshireGordon
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    Quad Electrostatic l/s ESL63's
    One of my speakers has developed an tizzing sound. I can get them serviced / repaired by QUAD - at a price ! I love the sound of the QUADs despite them being difficult beasts to place properly in the room.
    However, before I embark on a costly repair, I wonder if anyone knowing the 'sound' of these speakers, could recommend alternatives for me to audition. I know that the sound experience is a very personal thing - what is meat for one can be poison for another. My main music is Opera / Orchestral / Chamber / Soloists and Piano. Oh, and Rufus Wainwright representing 'today's' music!!!
    Thanks in advance
    CambshireGordon
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If it's a tizzing sound it may well be a damaged diaphragm.

    You may find the following site very useful in terms of prices and repairs,and I've used them and been very pleased with the service and help.
    If you like the sound of the Quads,you'll very likely only be interested in other electrostatics and if you really want to look at others,I'd suggest Martin Logan,and some of the other,newer Quads,but there is no reason why your 63's cant be fixed.

    http://www.onethingaudio.com/OTA/9152-OTA-MAIN.htm

    On the site,you'll also find their prices etc for spares and repairs.
     
  3. CambshireGordon

    CambshireGordon
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    Many thanks Alexs2. I have very quickly scanned their site and see they are based in Coventry. However, I will contact them next week. I have spoken with Quad, and a 'phone diagnose is just what you say, a damaged diaphragm, (or two!). They also suggested a change in the transformers as these have been updated since mine were manufactured. As I am only some 12 miles from Quad in Huntingdon, it is very convenient for me to deliver the speakers there.
    I agree with you that as a lover of the Electrostatics, I doubt that I would be pleased with anything else - maybe Lowther Acousta Horns - very good for brass and wind instruments I seem to recall
    Thanks again
    CambshireGordon
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Hi....glad that helped....in view of the distance from Huntingdon,it's obviously going to be much cheaper to send them there once the cost of transport is factored in.

    The Lowther horns are very nice in some respects....amazing attack and speed,plus good imaging,but I'd imagine their shortcomings in other respects(smooth response etc) would weigh against them.
    I've been using an old pair of ESL57's a lot recently,with a set of OTA stands,and I'm still surprised by how good they sound against modern speakers,within their power limitations,so much so that I'm in the middle of building a pair of 300B triode amps to run them from,instead of the Quad II's I also have.
     
  5. CambshireGordon

    CambshireGordon
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    Pleased to hear that there is at least one other appreciative user and lover of QUAD electrostatics! I would agree with your assessment of QUADs -v- Lowthers. Attack and speed were / are phenominal. In the 1960's I built both the free standing Lowther corner horns and later concrete monsters built into the chimney recesses - a design published in Hi-FI news.
    I always liked the idea of building the horns into the void under the floorboards, but at the time I had solid floors. This sets me thinking, having moved house, I now have a suspended wooden floor with a void underneath ... ... .... http://www.avforums.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=1335525#
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
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    LOL...there's always more you can do,and I need to have a clearout of all the assorted extra speakers and amps I have currently before I begin to get even more grief from the lady of the house....which of course may free up some cash for something else....and so on.

    Seriously though,I really do like the old Quads,but the II's are just a little too soft and underpowered,hence the 300B amps which should double the power to an amazing 26/28W...quite a change from the Krells at up to 800W into 1 ohm....and no,I haven't even thought of connecting those to the ESLs!
     
  7. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    It is hard not to fall in love the the ELS63's but I am not sure if the Quad II's allow them to fully shine. If it were my money, I would get Quad to service the speakers and then it is one less thing to think about for the next twenty years.

    Was it Cliff Stone or Partington who made some rather nice stands for the Quads in which they were held top and bottom?
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I think it was Partington,but there were a few others,and lots of pictures etc can be found on the OneThingAudio website,all relating to the various Quad ESLs.

    The beauty of the Quad IIs as far as the ESLs were concerned was it's inability to swing more than 30V at the outputs,thus avoiding the ESL treble panel arcing,plus it's tolerance of an awkward load(in common with most valve amps).
    Definitely,the sound is veiled,although smooth,but very reliant on decent valves,and well maintained internals..as I'm sure you know,there were lots of modified Quads made in the 70's,using EL34s etc,and most in no way comparable to the originals,but the mains transformers are definitely the weak point of the amp.....one of the many reasons for me building a set of 300B PP amps,to get more power,but without losing the attributes of the ESLs.
    The only other choice of amp I have currently is a set of KMA Krells which would be certain death for a pair of ESL57s!
     
  9. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    I remember hearing the '63's at a HiFi show where Glen Croft was driving them with a simple pre and power amp. No sexy brand names or equipment and the sound was sublime. Makes you wonder how much real progress has been made in the last few decades.
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Interesting to see that remark,especially in the context of my own experiences,and it does remind me of a comment about a show recently where a famous manufacturer(Quad I believe) was found to be using some rather luminous and quite thick orange cables for the speaker runs,and the sound was as usual,very good indeed,as you might expect from their ESL's.
    Anyway,a number of people asked about the cables,and they turned out to be from the local DIY/Hardware store,bought hurriedly when no speaker cables were available.

    it goes to prove that good sound is just that....doesn't matter what the equipment is,if it sounds right.
     
  11. howesey

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    You should have no problem with Quad, they can fix anything, and they do not charge over the top prices. I've blown up my Qc twenty four preamp this week, off for repair. Currently running a 99 CD, 99 pre, 909 poweramp for the bass and II-forty monoblocks for the mids and treble. Sounds lovely on a pair of Monitor Audio GR20's I have wired up at the mo.

    I had a pair of Quad ESL 989's for a while, very nice indeed. You need two subs to get the best out of them though.
     
  12. CambshireGordon

    CambshireGordon
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    Not been on site for a few days, so pleasantly suprised to return and to read all of the contributions. I have resolved to get the ESL63's overhauled / repaired in the new year and then re-audition them against other leading brands. I wonder, will I still be in love with my faithful ESL's :D or will I be seduced by some other brand? :nono:

    As Lodondecca has commented, I too wonder how much real progress has been made in the last few decades, (as opposed to statements of fashion) especially if you have a classic system properly maintained and set-up, such as that provided by QUAD.

    (PS - I have no connection with QUAD other than as a very satisfied user).
     
  13. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    To my mind, Quad speakers are like Decca cartridges (another very old design), if you like them, there is simply nothing else which sounds as good.

    Is Peter Walker still in charge at Quad?
     
  14. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Peter Walker unfortunately died earlier this year.

    ( http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/peter_walker_announcement.htm )

    However,the legacy of his achievements as you've already said,looks like surviving for years to come,and the original ESL design remains well liked and sought after.

    It's certainly a sound quality that I've enjoyed,and am now looking forwards to trying them with a set of 300B amps this Xmas.
     
  15. CambshireGordon

    CambshireGordon
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    Alexs2 - did you get the 300Bs up and running as you had hoped? How does the combination sound?
    CambshireGordon
     

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