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Big Dog RJ

Quad ESL 2905

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G'day mates! Trust all are enjoying your music and keeping well; go the storm! 

 

Been a while since my last post, was in the zone of an interesting ride with my Quads, and thought this is something I must share with anyone who has Quad stats or is thinking about purchasing. I've being using Quads for couple decades, since the 80's, and I must say that the ESL 63's were far more reliable than today's models in terms of quality control and British parts. 

 

In 2010 I purchased a brand new pair of 2905's which gave me immense pleasure & satisfaction until the one speaker started giving problems. Although my journey has been somewhat painful in terms of repair costs, I will try to keep this as simple as possible in point form:

 

First I had a panel failure after about 3 years, only on one speaker; Unitech services are qualified to work on Quads but do not "repair", rather they only "replace" parts at a high cost from AVR in Sydney. Parts for these are expensive and your final service bill will include a high labour charge as well, due to the time it takes to dismantle the speaker to get to the panels.

 

After about another 2-3 years, around Feb this year, the audio- mains transformer burnt out! This is a cheaply constructed Chinese made transformer that costs nothing more than $50. However, AVR charges $415 for this transformer. (note, this is not the EHT transformer) There is a person based in WA who can locally make the identical transformer to spec with genuine better Australian sourced parts, therefore giving your speaker far more life than the Chinese production runs. (note: nothing against the Chinese, but their QC is very mediocre and not up to par).

 

The fuses kept blowing in the speaker, and we couldn't quite determine what was causing it until we placed in a 1Amp fuse. Since it had nowhere to go, the transformer blew, with a very nasty burning smell coming from the entire panel, and the problem was finally identified.

 

The speaker was sent to Unitech services and it took over 3 months for AVR to send a simple transformer part. Many excuses were made by their GM, who claimed they didn't have the part at first, was away on holiday, and various other excuses to Unitech for not having stock. I made a few phone calls to the big wigs, and managed to get hold of their GM, finally a stock take was done around June end, and the part was suddenly available! It was shipped overnight.

 

After this was replaced, around July end the speaker was sent back, worked for just 1 week, until two other panels failed. However, this time I did not send it to Unitech, I managed to contact the “guru of Quad repairs†John Hall. Truly an amazing person and one that has a passion for Quads.  

 

1.    These Quads must not be transported! By doing so it causes other delicate elements such as panels to give way.

2.    They are quite well built up to the dust covers, which are extremely delicate, working on the panels takes time and patience, plus experience. They require a very careful check list that must be executed by all qualified service techs, otherwise you can learn this yourself and do the job within one full day.

3.    The parts inside, wires, clips, diodes, panels and accessories are very simple, not expensive or high grade in nature compared to dynamic drivers or ribbon speakers, such as maggies.

4.    Based on point 3, John can repair damaged panels for a fraction of the cost and his panels are far more sturdier compared to the Chinese factory, unless these were coming out from the UK, which is not the case.

5.    No where in the history of the previous Quads, has an ESL63 ever blown its audio transformer. This is a common problem with the current production runs, therefore it is highly advisable to retain your damaged transformer and get one locally done up to spec as a spare.

6.    All the panels will eventually fail in the Quads, that’s just the nature of this speaker but the life span can be stretched towards 10-15 years if one placed, just to leave them there without moving around. They don’t like to travel and they should not be transported.

7.    John Hall comes to your place to do the repairs, and he has all the required parts plus is the only person in Australia who has the original conductive coating that is applied onto the mylar.

8.    Super glue is used on the electrodes, this is not effective long term. Super glue only hardens on point of contact, after a period of time this glue breaks up and becomes brittle, causing panel failure- *this is the basic problem for panel failure*

9.    John applies a normal glue that hardens over time, takes around 24-48 hrs to dry, thus giving longer life and greater rigidity. If the Quad factory adopted this, the Quads would never fail.

10.  The internal layout of electronics is not very clever either, transformers and parts are located without careful thought in the event service is required. Basic layout functions have not been considered, therefore to change a transformer it would typically take around 3-4 hours and about 3 hours just to replace a panel.

 

These were my basic findings and I have now gotten the hang of how these actually work, quite simple and straight forward no complicated cross overs to deal with. Just a matter of time and patience it all it takes to get a Quad speaker back in full working condition.

Cheers to all, RJ 

 

 

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Agreed. John Hall is an amazing and generous man. I serviced a pair of 2905s for an SNA member a couple of years back. One of the mains transformers had failed. After discussion with the owner, we decided to replace both transformers with custom wound Australia types. The cost was far less than if the transformers had been sourced from the Australian distributor.

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Regarding transport, what if you have the original speaker cartons including the integrated shipping pallets. These cartons 'cradle' the speaker panels and the base so would minimise problems.

Does J. Hall undertake work outside of Melbourne?

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Re. to transport, no the original cartons aren't that great.

True these are the original packing that comes with these stats, however if they are transported back and forth several times to the service centre, this causes trauma to the panels, resulting in panel failure, which is what exactly happened to mine. At the end of the day, I had transported these things more than 10 times (includes taking into account two trips for to and back from the service centre)= total 5 trips. This was disaster for the Quads!

 

If you really have to ship them to a particular service place, then I suppose you would. But if you could get some hands on experience in servicing them yourself, as I did, then attending to panels is not at all difficult. You just have to have a tremendous amount of patience remain sober...

 

The repairs can easily be done, unfortunately John Hall only operates in Melbourne and the outer suburbs as he is located in Frankston. He's totally against the idea of transporting these and is VERY passionate about Quads, when he works on them, it is like he's attending to sick child...

He is able to identify the problem sometime even without opening them up, and when he does, he seems to know where exactly the problem is.

 

This level of service and experience the current service centers like Unitech wouldn't have a clue because they are new to this type of technology. Therefore, their service is more trial and error, and the more Quads they get in (which lately has been quite a lot) the more experience they would have in fixing / replacing what is required.

 

If you are located away from VIC, then I would suggest to get in touch with someone locally known who can attend to stats or ribbons- very similar in nature, just different mechanisms but requires about the same dedicated type of work.

That would be my best advice, cheers and hope all goes well.

RJ 

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Agreed. John Hall is an amazing and generous man. I serviced a pair of 2905s for an SNA member a couple of years back. One of the mains transformers had failed. After discussion with the owner, we decided to replace both transformers with custom wound Australia types. The cost was far less than if the transformers had been sourced from the Australian distributor.

Hey mate, thanks for your message. If you can source a person who can do the transformers, then I would like to get in touch with that person as well.

Would be kind enough to keep me in mind, since I have already replaced one transformer, I am sure the other one would konk off, perhaps it's a matter of time.

I'll be in touch with you. Cheers RJ

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Good info but Jesus doesn't that put me off of the speakers :s

yes! it would certainly put a lot of people off these Quads, especially after having spent around 16 grand for the pair and another 2 grand just to repair them and goodness knows how much more I would have to spend down the line...

 

But all I can say is that when you're in love with that Quad stat magic, you're hooked for life and no turning back no matter what the maintenance issues are. Something the wifey thinks I am a total retard to have bought Quads...

Cheers to stats! RJ

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John is not the only person in Australia to have the original conductive coating for the mylar. Having talked about this with a handful of experts who specialise in the electrostatic field as I was close to getting a 2905, from what I know and have heard a number of Staticide solutions are superior to what Quad uses, but not easily available. Should they be applied properly by somebody who does know what they are doing and have the right tools and methods of doing so could provide an easy 20+ years of listening joy provided the esl speakers are placed and stored in a clean, non humid and non-direct sunlight or hotspot environment.

Edited by willio747

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I do miss my Quads but I also had trouble with them.

The transformer also went on one of my speakers, it was an intermittent fault for a while until it stopped working

I found the distributor was very little help and I found that Quad in the UK tried to help but what they were suggesting was not the problem, they were adiment it could not be the transformer it was only by me dismantling the speaker I was able to find the fault

After paying a lot of money for these speakers I was very disappointed with the build quality as I was taking them apart

The internal dust cover had a rip in it and was just patched up, screws were put in crooked with a couple of the heads sheared off and just left there and the overall quality was, well cheap, even the electronics were nothing special.

But the sound is nothing more than spectacular I just wished they had taken more care with the construction

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I think I have to say I have owned my 2905s for 5yrs now and they have never missed a beat (touch wood!!). Always switch them off after the listening session unless I'm coming back for more in an hour or so. They sit on 4 concrete pavers (to position the centre closer to ear height and not have them so raked back) therefore they can be moved around for small positioning tweaks. To go up the sound ladder I think I'd have to invest a substantial amount. One item that many people don't realise is that these larger Quads actually 'do' bass very well - not slam bass, but well integrated , balanced bass - mine measure well in my room to 30hz.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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