Quad ESL 63 Floorstanding Speakers

Quad ESL 63 Floorstanding Speakers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 45  
[Apr 02, 2020]
audionerd


Strength:

There is an alluring sound of the speaker because of the dipole effect; however, the goodness ends there.

Weakness:

There are some inherent weaknesses in electrostats. First, they are very inefficent which makes them difficult to drive. Some will argue to just add more power; but wait, inefficiency is a flaw that is not overcome. This inevitably means that the transducer material (plastic) is very lossy, which translates to a loss of detail--they actually resist current put to them and thus will fart out before reaching a reasonable concert level SPL. This is manifest in the fact that they rarely have enough treble in them, because they just aren't fast enough to reach 20k hz or beyond. Also, because of their limited excursion, they cannot produce bass and other dynamics naturally as a piston type cone speaker. Also, the sound off the back of the plastic panel diaphram is slightly later than the sound off the front, which creates phase error; something that will inevitably spear the micro details to the ear. Also, the panels are so large that they create an unatural image and sounstage. A vocalist or a guitar is not as big as the wall. On the contrary, a good box speaker can create a 3D effect in the listening space with the musicians of proper size. Also, the panel is routinely used to cover frequencies from the treble to the lower midrange, but there is no reasonable way for the panel to move at 15k cycles at the same time as 300 cycles--something must give--the end result is more detail smears and or a lack of treble. Also, plastic is known to color the tone of the signal; so if you like the sound of muted plastic instruments, this speaker is for you. This is one of the reasons why these speakers are almost always demo'd with uncomplicated acoustic type music with midrange only. If you want to hear what they are really cable of doing, play some rock or pop with them, something with not only midrange, but with complex bass and treble passages at the same time; the speakers will fall apart and quickly reveal their inabilities to fly with the box cone speaker. In the end you have a speaker that has a large cool sound, but lacks treble, bass, SPL output, refined tonality, proper imaging and detail because of its inherent design flaws. I suggest sticking with a well designed large box speaker, thus with a large woofer and all low mass, low loss material drivers such as paper cones and soft domes. There was a time when box speakers sucked and thus the electrostat was created (late 50s); however that time is long gone and manufacturers make a much better box speaker.

OVERALL
RATING
2
[Jan 31, 2019]
in phase


Strength:

Staging paints a perfect image of the engineers studio.0 color.

Weakness:

Hates Humidity on the west coast of Canada.

Price Paid:
1200 us
Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Dec 25, 2018]
Belien


Strength:

I just have them and still doing a lot of listening. Until now really impressed by the sound. It doesn’t matter from Allison Krauss is breathtaking.

Weakness:

Getting your wife convinced they should be in the living room can be a bit challenging;-)

Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Aug 26, 2017]
Ralph John Steinberg
AudioPhile

Although I was quite happy with the Martin-Logan Sequels, I have dreamed of owning Quad ESL's since 1981. I finally decided to upgrade to full range electrostatics, so I purchased a pair of ESL-63's from One Thing Audio, who specializes in rebuilding Quad speakers and bringing them up to current audio specifications. WHY DIDN'T I GET THESE SPEAKERS YEARS AGO?????? These transducers sound only like real music, no more, no less. Of course, One Thing Audio is to be praised for making a legendary speaker into a PERFECT legendary speaker. I hear no problems with low volume, shy bass, or head in a vice directionality. And unlike any speaker I have ever heard, they get you into the emotional content of the music; I listened to Igor Levit's recording of the Beethoven Piano Sonata #31 and was NEVER as moved by the music and the performance as much as when I heard it over the Quads. That is the highest praise any music (notice I don't say AUDIO) component could garner. And again, 50% of the praise goers to the basic design, and the other 50 goes to One Thing Audio. I will never own any other speakers, I am what I'd call QUADIFIED!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 03, 2010]
servicef
AudioPhile

With my association with audio stores I have been able to preview numerous speaker and amp combinations. Of all those that I have listened to, the Quad 63 and its later varients, along with the esl 57 presents the closest approced to the original sound.

I posted a review of these speakers here, some years ago. I have since had all the panels replaced by Wayne Picguet of Orlando Florida, (who I highly recommend) this past Christmas.

My system consists of:

Grado/Decca,London/Stanton cartridges which I switch from time to time
SME arm
Linn Sondek turntable
Quad/Krell/Mark Levinson preamps and amps which I switch from time to time
Quad Tuner
Quad CD player
Meridian DAC
Alpha-Core/Pure Silver Sound cables again I switch them from time to time
Quad 63 ESL USA Monitors

It has been some years since I left my review of these speakers. Since that time I have had Wayne Picquet of Orlando Florida to replace all the panels with his panels. His panels are very close to the originals except that the coating material is a bit superior to an already excellent material, and he stretches his membrane at optimal tension. He also replaces the capacitors in the electrical system of the speaker.

The results of which were they sound like they did when new, except the highs have been extended (cymbal crashes, and brush) and the lows have been extended. I can now hear and feel low A, 27.5cps with the refurbished speakers.

My speakers sit on a suspended wood floor. (Yes I have heard them on a marble, and tile floor, they do not sound as good.) The speakers couple with the floor, and the bass sounds real. (I do not use terms like fast or tight.

The Quad 63s are placed so that one of them fires down a hall about 17 feet long from the rear side of the speaker. Therefore there is no wall from the rear of the speaker to the end of the hall. Maybe this accounts for the bass response. They do not sit on stands.

I have measured the speakers and the maximum amount of bass, (or any other frequency) occurs at the resonant frequency of the speaker, which is about 40cps. Meaning they play louder at this frequency.

The speakers measure as loud at 30cps as they do at 50cps. Therefore pipe organs which I listened to a lot, are no problem for this speaker.

It appears to have heavy bass when the tuner is tuned to the rhythm and blues stations, according to the 18 and 20 year olds that have heard them.

I do not recommend that a sub woofer be used. PM speakers are not fast enough.

Because of the extended treble I have had to switch from my 99 cent cables to decent ones which I now use.

It is my belief that these speakers come close to the original sound. The only way to judge this is to listen to live performances a lot; and then compare them to a speaker. Soundstage and Imaging are nebulous terms and do not mean much in high fidelity. It either sounds like an oboe or it does not. That is what these speakers achieve, a close approach to the original sound.




















OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 30, 2009]
groland
AudioPhile

I bought my ESL-63s about nine months ago. In my many years of audio exploration, I have owned many other speakers. During the last four years, I have had PSB Stratus Golds, Magneplanar MG 1.6QRs, Klipschorns, Thiel CS 3.6s and the Quad ESL-63s. The Quads are the only ones left in my listening room. That may say enough right there.
My two primary concerns before buying them were their supposed lack of bass and inability to play loudly. I was able to audition them before purchase and considered that they played plenty loudly enough for me. They have a lean, quick, articulate bass without exaggeration or boom. They may not go as low as some speakers, but the articulation of the bass that is there is musical, true to the timbre of the instruments and matches that of the rest of the system. My listening room is 14 x 22 ft. with 7.5 foot ceilings. I can play music louder than I am comfortable listening to it with the Quads, and their reproduction is superb.
I listen to classical music, opera, acoustic music--folk, blues, some pop, rock, soul, etc., a pretty eclectic array of program material. With small ensembles, the inner detail of the music is simply breathtaking. I can hear each instrument clearly in the mix without exaggeration or unrealistic highlighting of any instrument. In some orchestral music it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between, say, a clarinet and oboe. Not with the Quads!
The real acid test for me is reproduction of the human voice, particularly operatic voices. Over many speakers, opera singers, sopranos and tenors, sound hard and edgy, sometimes almost metallic, the sound is unbearable. I attend at least four live operas each year, and I have never heard anything like that kind of sound emanating from a singer in an opera house. The Quads handle these voices with uncanny realism. The character of different singers' voices is preserved but that artificial "hi-fi" edge is simply not there. I am so pleased to find myself no longer feeling my shoulder muscles tightening in anticipation of some unbearable screech at a climactic moment--no cringing, no "listener fatigue"--just singers!
Orchestral strings are another area where many speakers screech, The Quads produce superb strings--resiny bowing, clear, clean string timbre whether loud or soft in volume.
All the speakers I have owned were well-regarded and each had some particular strength. The Quads outperform them all, providing those aspects of speaker performance that count the most for me.
If you have been curious about them, I urge you to do your utmost to audition a pair. I heard Quad 2905s at a dealer before I bought my ESL-63s. I could never afford the 2905s and there is actually very little difference between them and the ESL-63s. Very highly recommended.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 18, 2008]
Wempie Pauned
Casual Listener

Strength:

Especially vocal may be the best, instrument almost no coloration added. Able to reproduct some missing tones on cone speaker, especially fast tones.

Weakness:

Low sensitivty and need high power amplifier to drive to match the listener's listening level. At high level volume in high humidity may cause spark on the panels. Limited bass level at large room.

Quad ESL63 sound very close to original sound, no coloration added and the most interesting is non fatiquing for hours of listening.

Customer Service

Quad Huntingdon - England after sales service ce is very good and responsive. Not only for their amplifier but also for ESL-63 parts.

Similar Products Used:

Magnepan MG?

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 21, 2005]
franksmith
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

If you can affort them (including possible reparation), you can live with what i describe in weaknesses, I cannot see anything like them that I heard in shows and stores and don't cost more than my car.

Weakness:

Large, need big room, need to be rised from the floor. Dipolar, can be hard to position and may need absorbant panel behind them. They need very stable power with a lot of reserve. I use a old mcintosh amp with superb result at raisonable price.

I had many speakers in the last 5 years mostly totem, elipson, klipsh. On some occasion i got to listen to esl-57 and esl-63 and they slowly grow in me. Each time i was amazed by them. One of the best setup i ever heard was based on esl-63 with good stands in a very big basement. More i was searching for my sound, more i was interested to electrostatic speakers. In another hand i was affraid of the high cost maintnance and reliability of the quad and find some flaw on mangnepan speaker exept on very high-end ones. I finaly I found a good deal and take my chance on a recently rebuilded pair who seem to sound good in the very small seller room. At home it was simply a revelation, any speakers i even own was simply forgeten in a couple days of listning. With position tweaking (lot of space on the back and from sidewall), rising them 14 inches and using the 16 ohms tap on my amp and I'm now in my nirvana. They certainly don't lack in bass, the mids are sweet as hell and instruments really sound like they should. All thoses years that i wanted them but was too afraid to buy a pair ... Thoses speakers are for real music lover, not for excesive purist.

Similar Products Used:

Nothing with standard driver if you are in that kind of sound except some back loaded horn designs.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 26, 2004]
kb0000
AudioPhile

Strength:

Awesome imaging, inner detail, transient response, and vast sound stage. Most like real music of any speaker ever.

Weakness:

These ain't cheap. Go to eBay after searching the web for how to tell a fried panel.

My first pair of ESL-63 speakers were the original International Monitors, serial # 5000s. These were purchased in England years before a modified ESL-63 was sold in the USA as the US Monitor. After 22 years, one of them developed a leaking capacitor which makes weird noises, and I replaced it with ESL-63 USA Monitors (serial # 21,000s), an upgraded version of the originals. The original ESL 63 was the best speaker ever made, especially for classical music. The US Monitor is better, being a bit more open. These speakers are not fussy unless they are over powered. If you have pop music induced hearing loss, you won't like them. Quads roll off from 40 Hz (which is pretty good bass unless you are a hard rock nut), and a little low base boost makes sense, but running the Quads through a crossover is not a good idea, it only makes things worse. I built my own subwoofer with its own amp that rolls off -6db between 30 and 40 Hz, and the signal is terminated at 40 Hz. That way. in only adds bass in the region where the Quads roll off without taking anything away from the Quads.

Similar Products Used:

MacIntosh, Quad, Adcom, Tandberg, Berning, Crown, and Marantz amps. Magnavox, Sony, JVC, CEC cd players. Ariston 400 turntable/Ortofon OM-40 mm cartridge.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jul 05, 2003]
mchpeters
AudioPhile

Strength:

Transparent, "open window" reproducers of the natural timbre of acoustic instruments and voice, if faithfully recorded. Beautiful mid-range fidelity. Wide,stable soundstage.

Weakness:

Lack the "punch" of dynamic speakers. Difficult to blend-in a dynamic subwoofer. Require a lot of space around the speakers.

I purchased my new Quad ESL 63s with "Stand and Deliver" stands in late 1979, along with a Janis 15" W-1 Subwoofer and crossover/amp. In 1988 I traded them for a pair of ESL 63 USA Monitors. They have always been driven by Audio Research M100 tube monoblocks and an ARC SP-9 hybrid preamp. After 14 years, this system continues to thrill me with the transparent, holographic delivery of beautiful music, especially with the acoustic classical and jazz performances now becoming available using the new DSD SACD recording. The Quads deliver astonishly real(true) voice, piano and woodwind sound, and with a well-blended sub do not seem to slight the musically deep bass notes on the DSD disks. I have an all-digital Meridian home theater surround sound system, which is really great for movie sound as well as music, but it can't input the DSD multichannel SACDs, so I prefer my Quad ESL63/tube system for stereo listening to these super-fidelity recordings and other good analog source material like Direct-to-Disk and high quality vinyl. Over these many years, I have had no problem with the speakers deteriorating.

Similar Products Used:

VPI T.T., Souther Linear Tracking Arm, Koetsu MC Pickup, Sony SCD-777es SACD

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 45  

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