Quad ESL 57 Floorstanding Speakers

4.75/5 (28 Reviews)


Product Description

electrostatic loudspeaker


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Reviews 1 - 5 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bart a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 4, 2016

Bottom Line:   
About 15 years ago i used to have a set of these ESL57. They were not in good shape but still quite impressive. They started to tick when you would play a little louder. I sold them and bought several other sets of speakers.
About seven years ago I found a dutch company ESL Labs (I'm dutch myself) that was specialized in refurbishing and restoring ESL57's. So i decided to find a set (not necessarily a very good set) to have them completely rebuilt at this company. New transformers, new foils, new connectors for the wires to the power amp and a overload protector. Buying the set and rebuilding them costed me about € 1600 in total and there is absolutely no other set in this budget range (new or used) that can compete with the ESL57.

The sound is so amazingly neutral. If you found a good position for your ESL's (they need space) and you found your sweet spot (it's true what everybody says: it's a small spot) they seem to disappear: you only hear the instruments in their original position, original size and with their original sound. You hear things you never heard before in the music you know so well.
The backside of this medal: so many CD's have bad recording quality and that is also revealed by listening through these ESL's.

I have a Quad 303 power amplifier (there are so many power amplifiers that cannot drive these ESL's, but this one is great). All the parts of this unit has been replaced by new parts. Especially for the big elco's I advice to do this with every amp that is older than about 10-15 years. The quality of these parts fade away and you'll hear the difference.
Further I use a Rotel pre amplifier, a Harman Kardon CD player (which is also the DAC for my Sonos Connect) and a Project 2 turntable. All this stuff is 10-15 years old or more and I really don't want to replace anything of my set. The ESL's will follow me until I die :)

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Tunaoue a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 9, 2014

Bottom Line:   
My friend has a set of these Quads. Since we're both audio buffs, we'd sit and listen several times.
The pro is the sound and imaging are stellar -- once you got everything dialed in.

Unfortunately, there are several cons.
First, the "sweet spot" is very fine, almost for a single person. It took a while to arraign the speakers so they listened well. Being on the floor with a slight upward pitch, the focal point for the listener ascends. The floor footprint is rather large, so these are not for a small room and the listening area must be dedicated to just that.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by opus10 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2011

Bottom Line:   
My pair of 57s is middle-aged (late70s) and still sounds breathtaking. Let me amend that: the music sounds breathtaking. This iconic 50+ year-old design has simply no sound of its own, none that I can hear at least.
A sublime design - were I a speaker builder I would either give up or do my best to copy this - that closes the book firmly on nonsense like exotic cables, expensive power cords and the like. Like Sri, I use a bog-standard set of interconnects, having got rid of all my expensive designer gear. Result; bliss.

I've attempted to augment the bass with a variety of subwoofers, some being rather expensive; nothing, repeat nothing was an improvement on the original. I would say the same for supertweeters.

This is the end of the line. Unless they get eaten by giant moths (unlikely) I am devoting my time to music from here on. No other speaker has what the 57 does: a midrange to die for. The extremes of frequency are utterly unimportant by comparison. The treble, like the power of a Rolls Royce engine is "sufficient". So is the bass. Why you would want more is beyond me. For those recordings that require a lift or a tilt down I have tone controls, but I use these exceedingly rarely.

I imagine that there are a few dealers of high-end gear out there that would like these speakers to vanish off the face of the earth....it must be upsetting to realise that the last 50 years of progress has been less than progressive....

My only criticism of any importance is against myself: I try not to think of the money and time that I have spent/wasted in the last 25 years! Peter Walker got it right first time, and the fact that there is a small army of listeners who will never be parted from their 57s is a wonderful testament to that. I am one of them.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sri a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2011

Bottom Line:   
Just bought a late serial numbered version of these immortal classics. Mine are in the 45000 range, which makes them near the end of the run. I consider this the best audio purchase I have made in the last 25 years.

Simply put, there is NOTHING that come close to the sound of the original Quads. I have owned the later Quads, including the 63s and the 989s. They sound veiled and bright in comparison.

In the fairly narrow sweet spot, these have a mesmerizing sound. Strings sound meltingly pure. Voices sound spookingly real. The sound of these speakers is like listening through an open window to an instrument or voice just outside.

They have sufficient bass to satisfy almost anyone, save those who treat their stereo as a toy wanting to hear subway trains or subsonic nonsense. Even in my very large room, they play loud enough for me.

The main weakness is that they are a very narrow dispersion design. The stereo image is really only satisfying for one person.

Don't waste another nickel of your hard earned money on nonsense like cables to fix badly designed products. I am using these with zipcord. The sound is better than anything I have ever heard in the last 25 years! I can now die in peace! I paid 1600 for these. I would not sell them for 10 times that price!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Michael from Oz a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 4, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Back about 1970 I first heard a pair of Quad ESL57s and I remember being unimpressed. They just sounded so ordinary. Many years later I bought the pair I have now and I realized that the fact that they sound ordinary is their greatest strength. They just sound like the real thing. OK, so they are not going to blow the roof off and organ pedal notes need a bit of help from my home made sub-woofer but everything else is just right. I can listen to them for hours and they are do not induce listening fatigue. For voice and accoustic instruments they are just so accurate. And the stereo image is so stable and deep. These things may have limitations but I am more than willing to live with them for the amazing ride they give on just about everything.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   From a friend




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