Quad ESL 57 Floorstanding Speakers

4.74/5 (27 Reviews)


Product Description

electrostatic loudspeaker


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (27 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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.

Expand full review >>

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.

Expand full review >>

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!

Expand full review >>

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.

Expand full review >>

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



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

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2006

Bottom Line:   
These were bought on eBay and the price incudes a complete refurbishing by ESL specialists Quad Musikwiedergabe GmbH in Germany (whom I cannot recommend highly enough).

Is this the greatest loudspeaker ever made? I don't know, but I've heard enough to convince me that it might be. An open, airy and above all EFFORTLESS sound. A common criticism is lack of bass. It's true, they won't do bass on the Richter scale, but what's there sounds so natural and unforced that I throttled back my subwoofer on my other speakers to match.

A word of warning - the last authentic Quad ones were made in the 1980s, so they are all getting on and will occasionally need some TLC from people who know what they're doing. However, they are so addictive that you can't wait to have them back in action. Of course, you can avoid that problem by contacting Manfred Stein at Quad Musikwiedergabe and buying a pair of the brand new ones he makes (QM inherited all the tools for making the ESL 57 from Quad, including the wondrous contraption for stretching the membranes).

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $2000.00




Reviews 1 - 5 (27 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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 ... Read More »

Quad ESL 57 - Walker's little wonder

After a bit of scouring and soul searching, I have been offered a pair of Quad ESL 57 :D , Any tips? Thanks in advance. [IMG]http://www.tandv.ru/images/a_esl57_mod_3.jpg[/IMG]Read More »

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.Read More »

Read More »





PSB Speakers:



PSB Speakers: