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altecman

Quad ESL 57 Height / Angle ?

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Just picked up a pair of Quad ESL 57's manufactured 1965 or there abouts. I've read all the stuff on the net as you do when acquiring new toys. The thing that stood out about these fine speakers is that there's little info regarding what stands height /angles work the best and a comparison between the 2 most common stands available e.g. One Thing Audio (Rupert Stands) or Sheldon Stoke's Stands. The Rupert Stands raises them about 280mm and maintains the original tilt angle whilst the Sheldon Stoke's Stand raises them 460mm and places the speaker vertical as the top of the stands have a 12 degree face.

There seems to be a 50/50 response regarding what height and angle works best, some prefer the One Thing Audio solution and this set-up is what the guys at the Hi-Fi World magazine go nuts over when they appear refurbished in their magazine for review.

Others say that the ESL 57 sounds best when raised 460mm or so off the ground with the panel vertical like what Sheldon Stokes recommends.

I tried the vertical approach first and found that the sound was very forward and in your face, sure it sounded dynamic but would be fatiguing after awhile, if I wanted to be blasted away I could just play my Klipsch Cornwalls but I want to listen to the midrange purity what the ESL 57's are famous for.

Next I tried the One Thing Audio approach and found the sound to have better air, a little laid back but it sounded more natural as what you would expect if you were listening to live music.

I just want to get see what other ESL 57 users are doing regards stands and height/angle as I'm a little confused. I can see why people like the vertical approach as this places the projection correctly towards the listening but sounds bright whilst the tilted verson projects the sound above your head and some information could be lost:confused:?

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Ideally the panels should be at head height (seated) and flat, but lifting them up will reduce the bass which they don't have a lot of. So if you don't want to use a sub (or 2) with them then leaving them in their stands is probably the best outcome. They beam straight ahead so you need to point them at you.

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Guest m2catter

Hi,

I had my 57's lifted around 300mm off the ground (using bricks at the time). They were facing me directly, meaning the rear was lifted slightly more so that the panel was flat towards me. I also toed them in that they were looking at me directly. Might be the sound is a bit forward to start with, but this way it allows you to look very deep into the music, you achieve the max of a holographic image (IMO).

And fully symmetrical, both speakers same distance to listening position, with at least 1m away from any wall.

Good luck, cheers Michael

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Thanks for the replies above, it makes you wonder why the recent articles in the Hi-Fi World magazine got such glowing reviews, especially considering that they retained the original tilt angle with the only exception being that the height was increased by 280mm by the used of the One Thing Audio Rupert stands.

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Their natural crispness of sound is further improved by raising them to about 12-18 inches off the ground. Personally, I don't think it matters too much whether they are completely upright, or tilted slightly back. However, the theoretical aim is to have the treble panels directed at your ears - the angle is theoretically important for that reason. I think that Walker would have said that the purpose of the angle when they are on their little feet, is to achieve that goal - therefore, the angle will need to be reduced when they are higher off the ground.

Much more important than height off the ground is the condition they are in. They need servicing from time to time, as crossovers, panels, etc, move along way from their original values. Almost certainly, unless they have been fully checked out and serviced by a competent person in the last few years (not many of them around), and have not been abused since then, your speakers will not be performing as well as they can.

The person in Australia to do this work is John Hall in Melbourne. If you use someone like Smartsend, it will not cost a lot to send them to him (it is very cheap for me from Sydney). He is extremely knowledgeable, has complete integrity, and will have your speakers performing at their best.

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As for what I have done, I have the Sheldon Stokes stands for my ESL57s at work, at more of a tilt backwards than he advises, and I have custom-made stands at home; there, the speakers are not at an angle. The height of my Stokes stands is about 14inches, and I think the ones at home are about the same.

This is all about to change - I am going for two pairs of stacked quads, on hardwood frames, with the angles of each pair adjustable. This is overkill, of course, but I seem to have a need to follow the ESL57 experiment at least this far down the path! Preliminary jerry-rigged experiments with two pairs are that it greatly "solidifies" the sound, its more substantial.

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You shouldn't dismiss HiFi World just because they did not set it up in one set way that you see as the right one as you have to factor in room, personal preference and sitting chair heights ,etc.

I have mine raised on 4 Bunnings pavers and the panels angle adjusted with some books/wood off cuts. It looks damn ugly but it will do until i gett these legs from a friend.

Quad%2057%2040.jpg

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You shouldn't dismiss HiFi World just because they did not set it up in one set way that you see as the right one as you have to factor in room, personal preference and sitting chair heights ,etc.

I have mine raised on 4 Bunnings pavers and the panels angle adjusted with some books/wood off cuts. It looks damn ugly but it will do until i gett these legs from a friend.

Quad%2057%2040.jpg

Your friend's stands are very elegant. Grills in extremely good condition too. What you have done; muck around with pavers, books, etc, is exactly what I did, and have done in a more complicated fashion to sort out the way to stack them.

This is what you should do, altecman, to work out what sounds best for you. But as I said, it is likely you will get the most improvement by having them checked out fully and serviced.

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Actually that's not his setup, just a pic to illustrate the type of legs i will be getting later. I believe Quad Germany makes a shorter variant which costs like 450 Euro before shipping and Russ Collison of UK ( http://layers-of-beauty.co.uk/) can make similar legs for 200 odds pounds plus 100 GBP shipping.

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I don't mind the look of the stands above. I think they could be stained or painted as they look unfinished.

The hard wall behind could use something to absorb/diffuse the rear wave reflection.

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Actually that's not his setup, just a pic to illustrate the type of legs i will be getting later. I believe Quad Germany makes a shorter variant which costs like 450 Euro before shipping and Russ Collison of UK ( http://layers-of-beauty.co.uk/) can make similar legs for 200 odds pounds plus 100 GBP shipping.

If you had accurate drawings, you could probably have them made locally pretty easily. They don't look expensive to make, you might like to look at what that would cost. Made of solid, New Guinea Rosewood for instance. I think it would be the same or less.

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I know. I could try to make them myself but the finishing won't be as polished.

In my case, mine will be made in Hong Kong for much less money.

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I love the stands above but for me I think it too much of a change from the original and would be too much trouble to reverse, by doing this the resale value would reduced heaps. I think I found the right height/angle, the 57's are still at the 280mm mark but I have reduced the 12 degree angle what Sheldon Stokes states to about 10 degrees. This place the front plane a little off centre with the top of the speaker leaning back about 5mm from centre. Now I am happy !!! Next step is to pull them apart for a condition report. I just wanted to get the stands right first.

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