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  1. #1
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    Question Pat D and other, How does the ESL 63 compare to the ESL 57, soundwise?

    Pat D, I have an option to acquire a fully refurbished ESL-63, how does it compare to my much loved ESL 57 which is just so sweet, coherent and tactile, context, listening to Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the common man, How does the ESL-63 compare especially wrt to their respective areas of strengths?

  2. #2
    RGA
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    You could also post your question on Audioasylum and ask for Morricab and the LongtimeQuadOwner oir send them PM's. Morricab thinks your 57 is vastly better from my conversations with him than the ESL 63 but he didn;t go into specifics as to why. I get the sense that you own the finest speaker Quad ever made -- Other companies also bought the 57 for research purposes and so there may be a wide spread feeling beyond just people who by them retail that the 57 was the best.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    Pat D, I have an option to acquire a fully refurbished ESL-63, how does it compare to my much loved ESL 57 which is just so sweet, coherent and tactile, context, listening to Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the common man, How does the ESL-63 compare especially wrt to their respective areas of strengths?
    I haven't heard the original Quad ESL (often called ESL-57) nearly as much as the ESL-63. They are quite different speakers in many respects. The ESL-57 is not really a dipole in the rear, the upper frequencies are absorbed by a felt pad or something. The ESL-63 is a full range dipole. The ESL-57 is even more directional than the ESL-63, which has a somewhat wider dispersion in front of it, although still the extreme highs are pretty directional.

    As you know, the ESL-57 doesn't have much bass, maybe useful bass down to 50 Hz or so I would estimate--you would know better than I. The ESL-63 has pretty good bass output capability down to about 70 Hz, below which it will start limiting itself at loud volumes. At ordinary levels, it has useful bass down to about 30 Hz and can give quite a nice rendition of Saint Saens Organ Symphony or 16 foot organ pedals at reasonable levels..

    The ESL-57 has a fairly strict voltage limitations and will not play as loud as the ESL-63. I presume your ESL-57 is fitted with a protection board so that it is protected from overdriving, as this came out about 1979, I think.

    The ESL-63, being a dipole, needs considerable space behind it to get the best balance--I used a little more than 4 feet but I know some with big rooms have put them a lot farther out than that. I found they can be placed fairly close to the side walls, maybe 15", since they do not radiate directly to the sides (the front and back waves of a dipole cancel each other out there), with a little toe in.

    Sorry not to say more about the sound of the ESL-63 but that is highly dependent on the placement. They will often sound clearer and more detailed in the midrange than most other speakers because of the way they interact with the room, the dipole radiation thing and directionality with fewer reflections off the side walls. The balance and clarity are affected by the placement, too, especially the distance from the back wall. It is difficult to get a really good piano sound in a small or medium sized room, I think, because they need considerable distance from the back wall. On the other hand, they can do a first class job on male vocals with careful placement, female vocals, full orchestra, massed chorus, and so on. They certainly aren't limited to string quartets. I prefer the ESL-63 to the ESL-57 but not everyone does.

    You will have to decide how much you like the ESL-63 and whether it suits your needs. Much as I like it, in our house it doesn't work as well as a good forward radiating speaker. I suspect it is somewhat more difficult to place than the ESL-57, but has a somewhat wider sweet spot--though nothing as wide as something like the Ethera Vitae. Good luck.

    I don't know whether you are familiar with Gary Jacobson's site, but it has a lot of good information on it.

    http://www.quadesl.org/index.html
    Last edited by Pat D; 09-09-2005 at 09:25 PM.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  4. #4
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    Morricab is a good personal friend of mine. His main system uses Apogees now, but he also has Acustats, Stax, his own ribbon hybrid. He is very knowledable, you can look him up.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  5. #5
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    Thanks,

    Looking at Pat D comments and some other corroboration I have seen somewhere else, the ESL 63 is out of the question because I do not have the space for them, I was thinking of damping the back radiation with a pair of SALLIE a la Soundlabs style, but maybe that is unrealistic at the present time. My listening room is rather small at 13'2'' x 13'7' x 7 '7', so the placement options are fairly limited, the ESL 57 can be fairly close to backwall, which is a bonus for me.

    I may stick with the ESL 57 and maybe go with B&W new PV1 for lowest bass. The ESL 57 has that special something in the midrange, sweet is the word, basically caressing the ears, in my room, the ESL 57 does not boom which is great plus, thanks for mentioning the piano sound, because in my room, it the 57 captures the piano sound very well and I will hate to loose that as the piano is one of my favourite instruments and I play my piano recordings disportionately more than some others.

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    I think you are wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    Thanks,

    Looking at Pat D comments and some other corroboration I have seen somewhere else, the ESL 63 is out of the question because I do not have the space for them, I was thinking of damping the back radiation with a pair of SALLIE a la Soundlabs style, but maybe that is unrealistic at the present time. My listening room is rather small at 13'2'' x 13'7' x 7 '7', so the placement options are fairly limited, the ESL 57 can be fairly close to backwall, which is a bonus for me.

    I may stick with the ESL 57 and maybe go with B&W new PV1 for lowest bass. The ESL 57 has that special something in the midrange, sweet is the word, basically caressing the ears, in my room, the ESL 57 does not boom which is great plus, thanks for mentioning the piano sound, because in my room, it the 57 captures the piano sound very well and I will hate to loose that as the piano is one of my favourite instruments and I play my piano recordings disportionately more than some others.
    I do consider that room to be too small to get the best out of the ESL-63, especially for things like piano, and it is difficult to get male vocals properly balanced unless you can have some distance from the rear wall. The ESL-63 can produce a great image for orchestral works and I think you could do that in that room. As I recall, the old ESL-57 was one of the very best speakers for piano sound. If it plays loudly enough for you, and I gather it does, why change?

    I'm not familiar with that B & W subwoofer but the ones I have seen were not very good values. Gradient at least used to make dipole subwoofers for the ESL-57 (they worked as stands for the speakers, too) but they were expensive and not particularly stellar performers for that kind of money. I notice your room is almost square and probably has resonances in two out of three primary room nodes at about 41-42 Hz

    When the power supply for one of my old ESL-63s went, we discussed getting the Quad 988 but our house simply doesn't have the space for those speakers--the listening space is roughly the same size as yours but it's not a completely enclosed room. It's not quite the same problem you have but it has some similarities. So we went with some very accurate mini-monitors (we already had a big subwoofer) and we both like them a lot.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat D
    I do consider that room to be too small to get the best out of the ESL-63, especially for things like piano, and it is difficult to get male vocals properly balanced unless you can have some distance from the rear wall. The ESL-63 can produce a great image for orchestral works and I think you could do that in that room. As I recall, the old ESL-57 was one of the very best speakers for piano sound. If it plays loudly enough for you, and I gather it does, why change?

    I'm not familiar with that B & W subwoofer but the ones I have seen were not very good values. Gradient at least used to make dipole subwoofers for the ESL-57 (they worked as stands for the speakers, too) but they were expensive and not particularly stellar performers for that kind of money. I notice your room is almost square and probably has resonances in two out of three primary room nodes at about 41-42 Hz

    When the power supply for one of my old ESL-63s went, we discussed getting the Quad 988 but our house simply doesn't have the space for those speakers--the listening space is roughly the same size as yours but it's not a completely enclosed room. It's not quite the same problem you have but it has some similarities. So we went with some very accurate mini-monitors (we already had a big subwoofer) and we both like them a lot.
    Thanks Pat D for confirming my suspicion about restricted placement options with the ESL 63. You are corrected the ESL-57 works for me in my room because of its forward radiation pattern. As you have noted, I do concur that the piano is very well captured by the ESL-57, so there is really no need to change.

    I am considering the B&W PV1 which is more expensive than usual, but may its design may well make it much easier to integrate with the ESL, and as you have noted the Gradients command a premium that I cannot justify for my needs.

    I am acquiring some stands which should raise the speaker about 16inches off the floor, I hope that further improves its midrange and lower bass clarity.

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