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  1. #1
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    Stacked Quad ESL 57

    I heard a pair of Quad 57 with my current amplifier and I was very impressed, I am interested these vintage speakers at home, what are the caveats that I should look at for and what the benefits of a stacked pair? Thanks in advance.

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    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Stacked Quads are legendary

    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    I heard a pair of Quad 57 with my current amplifier and I was very impressed, I am interested these vintage speakers at home, what are the caveats that I should look at for and what the benefits of a stacked pair? Thanks in advance.
    The benefits of stacking are myriad. Bass, image size, dynamics, maximum uncompressed SPL, all increase X 2. I've heard a lot of speakers stacked, and I often run my speakers stacked. In my early days I stacked EPI's with KLH's, large Advents, and a friend even had two pair of DQ-10's stacked that was simply fantastic. ( I wish he still had that setup)!
    I still stack speakers now. I bet not too many people have stacked Magnepan 3.6r's with Gallo Reference 3's but I can tell you that for some recordings there's just nothing like it. If you have the chance to get a quad of Quads then I would recommend it without question.

    Caveats; Amplification that has the same gain. Contrary to what some people might tell you, you don't absolutely need matched amps. It would be nice, but if the amps have near the same gain, then it's not a big problem. Also, you will need a preamp with dual output. My vintage PS Audio IV preamp has this, but a lot of newer preamps don't. If yours doesn't you can always use a splitter.
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  3. #3
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    thanks Geoffchin, I was not aware that various speakers are used in stacked configurations.

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    Years ago the company that made the frames to stack the Quads also made a set to stack the DQ-10s. In a store that sold both lines had these set up and as much as I like electrostatics the double DQ-10 seemed the better speaker array.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Levy
    Years ago the company that made the frames to stack the Quads also made a set to stack the DQ-10s. In a store that sold both lines had these set up and as much as I like electrostatics the double DQ-10 seemed the better speaker array.
    Interesting, why did you prefer the DQ-10, I am not familiar with the DQ-10, so I am ears, thanks.

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    I am not a Quad expert. But I remember there was an advantage to stacking the electrostatic speakers. QUADs place a heavy requirement on amplifiers, not in the amount of amperage but in capacitative load. There are some very technical user groups specific to the QUADs.

    The Dahlquists have an interesting history. Briefly, Roger Dahlquist built a pair of speakers using dynamic conventional drivers in a phased array setup. He was so impressed with the QUADs that he decided to imitate them using conventional drivers. His crossover network and his "Phased Array" setup mimiced the QUADs in appearance as well as sound. Interestingly, he was also working on an electrostatic version which never made it to the public.

    Stacking DQ10s was a popular practice in the 80s -- again to mimic the Quads but there was no significant advantage other than creating a "Wall of sound" They looked impressive stacked but I suspect there was probably some cancellation and overlapping frequencies in the arramgement.

    I love my DQ-10s. I've admired them since my first experience with them back in 1982. Only recently have I been able to own a pair. And had to refurbish them back into operation but I've not got a functional pair of totally stock DQ-10s.

    But again, I am no expert. So my opinion is only worth the $.02 entry fee.

  7. #7
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    I posed this question to some Quad owners on the advantages of stacking ESLs

    The purpose was to increase overall square footage of the driver panels themselves. Since the drivers were so linear and the response approaching theoretical, often the sound would be characterized as lacking bass response. Stacking ESLs did not have the inherant cancellation nodes often evident with conventional speakers. Usual practice dictated two additional amplifiers to drive the additional pair.

    The results would be 6db increase in lower frequency response and 3db increase in mids and hi tones.

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    Nice thing about stacking is you can create a good line source, note you can series them or parlell them to useable ohmage on one amp.

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    The ESLs even in stacked mode was too limited in the bass and high end. In comparison to my KLH Nine full range electrostatics. The DQ10 while not having the magic midrange of the ESL had better extension. I listen to a fair bit of organ music and the ESL can not handle it. The later ESL 63 does a far better job than the ESL. If vocals and mainstream classical is your flavor, the ESL (or stacked) would be the better because of the magical midrange.

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    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Years ago one of the hottest setups was the Mark Levinson HQD system. It consisted of 2 pair of Quad ESL57's stacked in custom stands, a pair of Decca ribbon tweeters and one or two Hartly subwoofers. I heard one of those setups once and came away very impressed. Of course Levinson gear drove the whole shebang. Stacked ESL57's with a suitable subwoofer should sound very good. You must be careful of overdriving the 57's because the protection circuitry is hell on some amps when it kicks in. The 57's should not be driven by amplifiers that produce more than 100 Watts. You would still need a very good subwoofer. The Quads are so transparent that they will show everything that's bad with your gear. Some like them more than the newer Quad designs.
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    Drawings of the HQD cabinets

    Hello all, i'm building my own HQD system from Mark Levinson , Now i'm searching for the drawings or tech specs of the wooden frame in which the esl's and decca's are mounted , ist there any body here who can help me with that ???

  12. #12
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squeegy200
    The Dahlquists have an interesting history. Briefly, Roger Dahlquist built a pair of speakers ...
    Roger? That would be Jon Dahlquist. And they are exceptional speakers that coincidentally use the Advent woofer. I sold them back in the late 70s. Not a big fan of the piezo super tweeter though.

    As for stacking them (I have stacked New Advents in the vintage garage system), you pick up 6 db sensitivity.

    rw

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Roger? That would be Jon Dahlquist. And they are exceptional speakers that coincidentally use the Advent woofer. I sold them back in the late 70s. Not a big fan of the piezo super tweeter though.

    As for stacking them (I have stacked New Advents in the vintage garage system), you pick up 6 db sensitivity.

    rw
    The stacked Quads are OK but an awful lot of bother for little improvement.I really think these are overated speakers.I have Crown ES212s that are hugely better in every way and even something like the Martin Logan Clarity is better.

    JT

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgofish
    The stacked Quads are OK but an awful lot of bother for little improvement.I really think these are overated speakers.I have Crown ES212s that are hugely better in every way and even something like the Martin Logan Clarity is better.

    JT
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I compared a 30 year old Quad ESL to one of the Martin Logans hybrids a while back, in the same room and same amplifier and there was no contest, the Quad ESL was much better, the Quad was much more transparents and had a much better liveliness to it. A Quad ESL in good fettle is an extraordinary speaker, for my particular favoured genres i.e. classical, chamber, jazz, piano and such like it has few equals. The only other speaker I think of with so fondly is the Sonus Faber Guernari Homage, funny thing it has some of the same limitations of the Quads, so that should give you an idea of my preferences.
    It's a listening test, you do not need to see it to listen to it!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgofish
    The stacked Quads are OK but an awful lot of bother for little improvement.I really think these are overated speakers.I have Crown ES212s that are hugely better in every way and even something like the Martin Logan Clarity is better.
    To each his own. I favor full range electrostats over hybrids such as both the Crown (RTR) and ML models for their coherency. The Quad 57s are indeed wonderfully neutral speakers. Stacking them provides additional efficiency, low end extension and image size.

    After using various Acoustat electrostats for almost thirty years, I purchased a pair of Sound Lab U-1s last year. I find them to offer the midrange purity and coherency of the Quad with the extended bass of the hybrids along with a wider sweet spot.

    rw

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    To each his own. I favor full range electrostats over hybrids such as both the Crown (RTR) and ML models for their coherency. The Quad 57s are indeed wonderfully neutral speakers. Stacking them provides additional efficiency, low end extension and image size.

    After using various Acoustat electrostats for almost thirty years, I purchased a pair of Sound Lab U-1s last year. I find them to offer the midrange purity and coherency of the Quad with the extended bass of the hybrids along with a wider sweet spot.

    rw
    E Stat,
    Don't get me wrong,I do like the ESL57s.They are certainly one of the best speakers ever made.I have never heard a completely refurbished pair so maybe the ones I have heard were slightly off their best ,although they were in well above average condition and one of the last pair made.I used these for some time in the same room and system as my Crowns and I much prefer the Crowns.For a hybrid design the Crowns are very well integrated.Certainly some of the Martin Logan hybrids I have heard are not well integrated,but I think the Claritys are a well integrated model.The Crowns are just better all round speakers,are not beamy like the Quads,are much more dynamic and can handle more power.They do need a ribbon super tweeter though.The Crowns were much more expensive speakers than the Quads so they should sound better-they cost the same as a family car in 1974!

    JT

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgofish
    The Crowns are just better all round speakers,are not beamy like the Quads,are much more dynamic and can handle more power.They do need a ribbon super tweeter though.The Crowns were much more expensive speakers than the Quads so they should sound better-they cost the same as a family car in 1974!

    JT
    As someone who has owned 3 Quad ESL 57s in various conditions, now currently running a fully refurbished pair, I cannot agree with your assessment, First, I run the Quad ESL with a 100W amplifier and it does not complain, as for dynamics that is entirely down to amplifier, running them with medium power SET/P-Ps as is suggested is not the way to go, some of those amplifiers may clip gracefully and may make voices sound glorious and but dynamics takes a heavy knock in the process as those amplifiers run of out of puff when power most required in the lower midrange, the issue of beamy treble is more an issue of tired tweeter, EHT and/or poor positioning than any thing else, amplifier choice is also critical here since the Quad ESL deeps to under 2 ohms at the extremes, a wimpy amplifier will not produce any power here causing the speaker to sound midrange heavy. The sweet spot is wider than many reviews lead one to believe, it has limited vertical dispersion but that is limitation is common to Electrostatics, though it is excarbarated by Quads sitting on stock feet. I do not known much about the Crowns to comment.
    It's a listening test, you do not need to see it to listen to it!

  18. #18
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    ...it has limited vertical dispersion but that is limitation is common to Electrostatics
    Not with seven foot tall 'stats like the SL U-1s. Not to mention the nine foot tall Majestics.



    rw

  19. #19
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Talk about "wall of sound"



    Stacked Majestics?!
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    Impressive wall...
    It's a listening test, you do not need to see it to listen to it!

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    A Apogee buddy of ours in Jamaica runs tripple Stacked Quads and used to repair them. He did say that the standard versions of the Quads are simple very limited. He replaced the foils (1/4th the thickness), stronger magnets, different frames, tripple stacked and driven by handbuild SilverKing amps (purely silver [incl. circuit traces])....spposed to be freaking good. But in the end, its not a Quad anymore ;-)

    -Flo

    PS: On a side note, if you stack two speakers you do not get twice the bass, clarity, or dynamics ;-)
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  22. #22
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    if you stack two speakers you do not get twice the bass, clarity, or dynamics
    Not twice the dynamics (10 db), but you do typically pick up 6 db. And some low end extension.

    While I agree that increasing sensitivity doesn't improve clarity per se, it does allow me to run my Threshold Stasis at reduced power levels in pure class A with my double New Advents. It is smoother that way.

    rw

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Also, since they are stacked they create a linesource (tripple) and you get less drop off over the distance. By the way, did you ever measure your U's inroom responce?

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

  24. #24
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    By the way, did you ever measure your U's inroom responce?
    No. A good bit lower, however, than the Acoustat's they replaced. They are back home in Utah now getting repaired after the clowns who shipped them skewered them with a fork lift. One of the crates was destroyed.

    They worked ok for a while, but developed problems. At least, I didn't have to ship the entire 900 lb package back. The frames alone weigh 200 lbs. In April, I'm flying to Chicago to attend a meeting where I'll meet Dr. West and hear a pair of the new Majestics.

    rw

  25. #25
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I think i remember seeing the picture of the shipping crate. Did you post them in the AudioAsylum?

    The Apogee's are just as bad for shipping, and very critical. We had to remove the fence and get it through the window. How did you get your Soundlabs into the room? The reason i ask about the measurements is because i mesured the Maggie 3.6, Apogee Scinitlla, DIVA and the VMPS speakers and found that the Panel speakers have a almost flat responce (+-2db) exept in the bass where they have a huge output. Apogees are designed with the backwave in mind so thats easy to manage. The 3.6 has limited deep bass output but is quite weavy and with the help of a EQ can sound a lot better.

    Your Soundlanbs are quite interesting, and the panel is not curved but you have a multi driver array, so i am curious how this affects the room. Maybe some day you will measure them ;-)

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

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